It doesn’t take me long to find her.
“So that’s her,” I whisper to myself when I come across a picture of Bonk posing with a bunch of cheerleaders.
Wow. Pink hair reminding me of cotton candy. Big blue eyes. Snow white skin. She’s the opposite of me. Zara Hughes is her name.
I’ve never seen the girl before, but when I click on her profile I’m inundated with information. She posts something on her page every day or so, whether it’s a picture or quote or some kind of comment about her day.
She doesn’t mention anything about Trey, and there are no pictures of them together. But then I come across a post she made in June, when I was four hours away vacationing in Door County with my family.
Best night of my life. Secret relationships are the best ones. No drama, no bullshit.
My heart starts pounding fast. As much as I want to live in denial, the puzzle pieces are starting to fit into place.
In the morning, my boyfriend is standing in front of my locker with a red rose in his hand.
“Sorry about last night,” he says, handing me the flower. “I was stressed out.”
“It’s fine,” I tell him, taking the rose and noting the thorns still on the stem. I wait for him to explain Zara’s text. He doesn’t. “Is that it, Trey? That’s all you want to say?”
“No.” He looks me straight in the eye. “To be completely forthcoming, Zara is a girl I met at Lollapalooza. She was joking around when she sent the text.”
“Do you like her?” I ask tentatively, not knowing if I want to hear the answer.
“As an acquaintance, yeah.” He holds his hands up, as if he’s frustrated by my comment. “Can’t I have friends who are girls?”
“Yeah,” I tell him. “You can. I just don’t expect them to flirt with you. She flirts with you.” On the tip of my tongue are words I’m holding back… Do you flirt with her?
“I don’t know,” he quickly says.
I think he expects the subject to be over. It’s not.
Not by a long shot.
When our group of friends appear in the hallway, Trey drapes his arm around me. It’s a show for everyone, so they don’t know that our relationship is in trouble. I hate the show, but I know he doesn’t want everyone to know we’re having problems.
“Don’t ditch us tonight, man,” Vic tells Trey. “Or I swear I’m gonna kick your ass.”
“Ditch you for what?” I ask, curious. Trey never mentioned he was going out with the guys tonight. Then again, he doesn’t share much with me lately so I shouldn’t be surprised.
“A prank on Rolling Meadows High,” Derek chimes in. He looks around to make sure no teachers are in hearing range. “It’s gonna be awesome.”
“What’s the prank?” I ask.
“It’s a guy thing,” Trey says, making me feel like an outsider.
I sneer, the insult hitting home as I brush his arm off me. “A guy thing? Seriously?”
“Yeah, like Vic working at Enrique’s Auto Body,” he says. “It’s a guy thing.”
I put my hands on my hips. “I could work at Enrique’s.”
Jet, Derek, and Trey laugh. Vic looks horrified I’d even bring it up.
“You guys are so sexist,” Ashtyn chimes in. “Monika can do whatever she wants, including working at Enrique’s.”
“Yeah,” I tell them. “I can work at Enrique’s if I wanted to.”
Vic grabs his math book out of his locker. “No, you can’t.”
Trey drapes his arm around my shoulder again. “Because you’re not used to doing manual labor where you might break a nail.” He nods to the guys. “Now let’s talk about tonight.”
My mouth is open in shock. I can’t believe he just said that, even as I glance down at my freshly manicured nails.
“Jet’s house,” Vic says. “Eleven thirty sharp. I’ll get the supplies while you guys figure out logistics.”
Ash shakes her head. “Don’t get caught.”
“We won’t,” Jet says with confidence. “We’ve got masks.”
“Oh, right,” Ash says sarcastically. “As if putting on a stupid mask is an assurance that you guys won’t get in trouble.”
Derek kisses her. “Don’t worry, Sugar Pie. It’s not the first time I’ve pulled a prank, and it won’t be the last. You girls aren’t cut out for pranks.”