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Zapruder and Carrot Cake
Having given Principal Hall the names of the dealers, though not the name of her informant, Sam had been relieved that as yet there had been no comeback on either her or Nicole, not even Josh and Sugar had thought it odd when the article on eating disorders came out. The piece on Marley was a masterstroke, they'd managed to write on anorexia without everyone thinking it was about Brooke and Sam didn't think it could have worked out any better.
Nicole, was still being a bitch at school, but Sam had finally managed to separate the two and their meetings outside were getting longer and more frequent. They didn't need to, but once the article was planned they talked of other things and Sam was constantly surprised to find who much they had in common.Watching the blond walk through the door now, she was struck yet again by how gorgeous she was, gorgeous, smart, funny, somehow she seemed to be a walking thesaurus where the cheerleader was concerned and not one of the words was an insult; coloring slightly as she felt eyes on her, she stopped staring and looked at her notebook.
"Jen you're an angel" the blond said turning as the waitress came over with their coffees, "How's Danny?"
Jenny broke into a smile, "He's fine, came running home from school one day last week, said he did exactly what you told him and the bully backed off!"
Nicole smiled, "Tell him from me he did good!" The woman left expressing her thanks and the blond sat and smiled again into her coffee. Looking up she saw Sam looking at her, a puzzled expression on her face. "What?"
"You're giving advice on how to deal with bullies?"
"Can you think of anyone better qualified?"
"Well no, but isn't that a little hypocritical?"
"What can I say, I'm not perfect".
"Well since I get to choose the subject this time, I choose bullying, you can give your advice to the school". She took a deep breath, "... I also think you should try being nice to people".
"We're doing an article on bullying, so I have to be nice?"
The brunette smirked, "look on it as an empirical experience".
Nic's eyes narrowed at the challenge in her voice, "You don't think I can do it, do you?"
"Oh I know you can, look at what you did for that kid... Jen, Terry, Me doing this, we all see a different side of you, why do you have to be such a bully at school?"
"It's expected, people need order in their lives, I give it to them".
"I think you're just scared to let people see the real you, it's so much easier if they see you as a hard-as-nails bitch, always in control." Nicole looked at her but didn't respond, "Well?" the reporter continued, wondering if she'd pushed to far.
Nic examined her nails and frowned slightly at a small chip, digging in her purse she said, "What do I get if I succeed in not being a bitch until the article comes out?"
The alteration of the wording was not lost on the reporter and waiting until her companion looked up, she said, "The satisfaction of knowing you were being a better person", with a perfectly straight face.
"Nice try, but we both know that I'm not and that really doesn't do it for me".
The brunette grinned, "What do you want?"
Nicole sipped her coffee and thought, a myriad possibilities racing through her mind. Discarding most of them for the time being she said, "You have to spend the day with me doing anything I want", leaving it suitably open-ended as to what they would do.
Well that would be easy enough the brunette thought, "Ok, but if you fail... you have to let Carmen onto the Glamazons". Nicole was actually speechless, all the things Sam could have asked her given the differences in their wealth and social status and she'd asked on behalf of her friend. There was the real difference between them Nicole thought I'm a bitch who's sometimes nice, Sam on the other hand is a nice girl who's sometimes a bitch.
The cheerleader blinked quickly, "Deal" she said, vowing that this was one challenge she was not going to lose, and not because she didn't want to see Carmen on the squad.
"Good, now we'd better get back to the article so, ideas?"
"I'll do the personal bit... and as I have a feeling it's going to take sometime I need to shoot". The cheerleader stood up, "Do you want dropping anywhere?"
Sam looked surprised, "Erm, no I'll just hang for a bit, get some ideas onto paper".
"I'll see you then" Nic said walking away without a backward glance, pausing only to lift a hand at Jen before she was gone.
Sam stared after her, not sure what had just happened, frowning she looked back down at her notebook and started to write.
Nicole meanwhile had got into her car and started to drive, she wasn't sure where but it didn't really matter. She had tried being nice before, the only place it had gotten her was crying in her grandmother's arms. The experience had convinced her that if you didn't stick up for yourself you were toast, which meant that if she was going to do this, she really had to come up with a plan.
3 days later she decided that on the whole it was working, currently however her desire to retaliate was overwhelming her desire to win, it was ridiculous really, they were the only two in the corridor and she hadn't been deliberately teased since 3rd grade. "Spam, you..." Nicole started in frustration, just in time she saw the amusement in the girl's eyes and leaned in, finishing quietly "know you rock my world".
An arm shot out as the cheerleader moved to pass her, "Exactly what is that supposed to mean?"
"What you just said" Sam replied somewhat confused, " what did you mean?"
What I just said? what did I oh "It's just an expression Sam, can't be a bitch remember" Damn could I be any more obvious?
"Oh right you really don't want to lose do you?"
Nic smirked, needing to cover her mistake and recover her rep, "With an entire day to torture you as a prize? I don't think so". She watched in amusement as the reporter's eyes widened.
Nicole left class happy, Sam had stopped trying to break her, largely through fear of the consequences; she had finally finished the personal side of the article and mainly by avoiding everyone, had still not been a bitch; there had been a few near misses but the reporter had conceded that so far the bet was still on, thank God I didn't say I'd be nice or I'd have lost already. Walking into the hallway she saw Brooke pick up a pen at Carmen's urging, looking above the blond's head she noticed that it was another of Lily's campaigns. Studying the sign with more than a cursory interest she suddenly yelled, "Brooke, put the pen down and walk away from the table!"
"Listen", an angry Lily marched up to stand in front of Nicole, "the objectification of women will not end until we stand up for ourselves, and you have no right to tell anyone else that they can't sign a petition... isn't that right Sam?" she ended looking for support.
Sam looked around from her locker, "Erm well... Everyone has free will, they don't have to do something just because you say so Satan"... is that a new shade of gloss Nic's wearing? it looks
"If you think that " is Sam looking at my lips? "the Glamazons are going " maybe it's because I'm speaking? No she's still looking, that's interesting what if I
What is she Oh god I think she caught me
Oh yeah, definitely looking
damn now what "Yeah whatever you say Brooke"
Brooke looked confused, "You were saying, not me".
"You said 'If you think that the Glamazons are going'... and then you stopped"
"Oh... right... if you think that the Glamazons are going sign a petition trying to ban them from wearing their own uniforms you must be..." Nicole stopped and took a deep breath, she was not going to lose, she was NOT going to lose, "The Glamazons will not sign this petition Lily, not now, not ever. Now if you'll excuse me, I need fresh air". Turning, Nicole stalked down the hallway and out of the building followed by a confused Brooke and Mary Cherry, this was proving harder than she had thought, Sam was definitely checking out my lips.
"What was that?" Lily asked back in the corridor.
"Was she actually almost polite?"
"Nah, not possible".
"Give her a break guys" Sam said shutting her locker and turning to her friends.
"Ok, did Hell freeze over? Because I could have sworn you just stuck up for the Queen Bitch of Kennedy High".
"Harrison, Nicole just walked away instead of being a bitch" Sam pointed out.
"So Hell did freeze over, because you are both acting weird!"
Getting a bizarre sense of Deja Vu as the car swerved in front of her, Sam opened the door and got into the passenger seat without thinking. Strangely, school was not easier without Satan, it was actually getting increasingly more difficult as the days went by. She brooded in silence, staring out of the window without really seeing anything, Nic was going to win the bet and the reporter was getting worried as to the retribution she would take for putting her through it. Far from giving the cheerleader a break, her friends, Harrison especially, seemed to be going out of their way to push every button they could. They may not have known why Nicole wasn't retaliating, but they were taking advantage of it at every opportunity. The car stopped and she realized where they were, "Why have you brought me to make out point?" she asked, trying not to sound hysterical.
"Hello, it's the middle of the day, which means there's no one here".
"I ask again, why have you brought me here?"
"So that we can talk about the article without being interrupted..." Nic raised an exquisitely plucked eyebrow, "Why? do you want to make out?"
Sam's temperature went off the chart, "With you?, nevernotinamillionyearshellwouldfreezeoverfirstneverno...no".
"Finished?" Nic asked, mentally smirking, oh yeah protesting much. Sam nodded, "good" reaching into the back she picked up an envelope, "here".
Taking it, Sam pulled Nic's part of the article out, noticing that it contained perspective from both bully and victim. The cheerleader leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes while her companion calmed down and read, it had taken a long time to do, the conflict between being honest and her desire to maintain her reputation after it was published, making the article even more difficult to write than normal. The last thing she needed was a bunch of freaks trying to psychoanalyze her based on an article they didn't know she'd actually written.
Putting the paper down, Sam leaned back and turned her head, regarding the blond, "I'm sorry they're giving you such a hard time".
Nicole opened her eyes and shrugged, "What did you think would happen?"
"I don't know... I just never... I thought they'd see... you".
"It's human nature to prey on the weak Sam, I do it in the hallways, you do it in the paper..."
"Did you think they'd be any different?"
"You're hardly weak Nicole".
"No, but for once I'm not retaliating, in their eyes that's a weakness".
Sam took a breath, "You don't have to continue this, we can call the bet off".
"Oh no" Nicole smiled, "Deciding what we are going to do on Saturday has been occupying my every waking moment for days".
Sam resisted all temptation to swallow the lump that had appeared in her throat, not quite sure if it was because Nicole had been thinking of her, or because Nicole had been thinking of what to do to her.
The cheerleader started the engine, "Come on, we'd better get back".
They had not been going for long when Nicole said, "Get down!"
Sam, hunched in her seat, though not knowing why, found herself getting very angry, "That's it, let me out right here!"
"Wait a minute" she looked in the rear view mirror, "It's ok you can get up now".
"Oh thanks" Sam replied sarcastically, "I said stop the car!"
"Stop the damn car!"
"Sam, you're overreacting".
"I'M overreacting? I'M the one on the floor so that your social status isn't damaged!"
"It was Harrison".
"The reason I told you to get down, I saw Harrison, that's not my rep it's yours".
"Riiight, I don't care if Harrison sees me!"
Nicole glanced at her, "You'd never hear the end of it if he knew you were working with me! He'd probably never talk to you again if he knew we were friends!"
"Don't judge everyone else by your standards."
Disregarding the fact that she was driving she turned and looked at Sam, "You really believe I'm doing that don't you?"
"Yes... no...... I don't know. " the brunette closed her eyes and sighed, remembering the things Harrison had said over the last few days, she said, "No Nic, I don't believe that".
That was it, the article was published and in the calm and certainty that followed Satan's return to the hallways of Kennedy High, the collective social strata breathed a sigh of relief, no longer uncertain of their place in the greater scheme of things. Only two people knew instinctively that things had changed, the one making a conscious effort to only pick on those she knew would retaliate in order to maintain her rep, the other looking at her friends in a different light.
Seeing the two blonds walking towards Nic's car on Friday afternoon, Sam knew she needed to prove herself wrong, "Listen, I'll see you later guys, Mom wants me home so I'm going to get a ride with Brooke and Nicole".
"Like Satan''ll let you in her car!" Harrison said.
"She's taking Brooke home anyway, there's no reason why she shouldn't take me" Sam pointed out.
"Did you forget, this is Nicole Julian we're talking about" Lily said, "she doesn't need a reason to be a bitch".
"Yeah" Harrison continued, "It's like a cat needing a reason to eat a mouse, it's just nature! When Hell was created she was kicked out for being too nasty..." Sam tuned out, Nicole had turned to say something to Brooke, she could see her mouth moving on the periphery of her vision, but was trapped by the eyes she could feel on her. Without conscious thought she moved in their direction. "Hey, didn't you hear a word I just said..." Harrison called after her.
"Erm, can I catch a ride?" she said, breaking eye contact to look at them both.
Nicole's lip twitched slightly, she had watched Sam talking to her friends and wondered what they had said, what ever it was, she put money on the fact that she was about to prove them wrong, "Sure" she replied as Brooke looked at her in surprise.
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