I remember just sitting there, painting my nails atop my desk when she walked into the classroom. “she” had brown hair with ratty curls tangled together, baggy black ripped jeans, an ACDC t-shirt, and a black baseball cap that she was wearing backward! She looked like someone who belonged at a skate park by the beach, not the nicest private school in malibu! Besides, where was her uniform? I decided right then and there that I was gonna make her one of us. By us, I meant us. The “It clique” If you will. I don’t quite know what I was thinking, perhaps I was bored, but I wanted a new project, and she was standing right there! Awkwardly sure, but all eyes were on her, and she didn’t have a place to sit! What else was she supposed to do?
I walked up to the new girl at lunch. “Hi, you’re the new girl right?” I more said than asked. “I’m Ellie.” I held out my hand for her to shake, she stared at it blankly for a while, and then she slapped it, probably trying to give me a high five. Who was this girl!? I laughed a little nervously but proceeded to ask “Do you want to come over to my place after school?” unsure if I actually could help her or not. “Uh… that’s totally random, but sure.” she agreed, “My name is Ava.”
Two and a half hours later my mom was driving me and Ava back to our house. “So how did you two meet?” my mom asked, a little too sweetly. “Um she actually,” Ava started, but I interrupted her. “We are in the school musical together mom.” An easy lie, and one I didn’t have to think too hard about. My mom knew I was in the school play, and she didn’t know who else was in it. Ava gave me a weird look but said, “Yup.” and we all left it at that.
When we got to my house, Ava’s mouth dropped. She quickly closed it, probably hoping no one had noticed, but I had, and it made me feel very awkward. My family was, put simply, rich. My father was the mayor of Malibu, and my mother was a successful realtor. It made me feel weird though when my friends came over for the first time and gawked at our huge, modern house with waterfalls, a pool, and even a helicopter pad. Sometimes I wish I could be a normal girl. Kids at school who have never met me, know me as “That rich brat” and even my friends think I’m spoiled.
I took Ava out to the docs, and we sat with our feet in the water, watching the boats bob up and down with the incoming tide. “Why’d you invite me over?” asked Ava. This caught me off guard, so I just said “What do you mean?” “I mean,” she replied, “that you are like this rich, popular kid, and I’m the new kid who forgot to wear her uniform.” I contemplated telling her the truth but decided against it. “I just… thought it’d be nice to make some new friends,” I said. She gave me a skeptical look but didn’t push any further, which I appreciated.
For the rest of the time, we played Fortnite together In the media room, Her playing on the 85-inch flatscreen TV, and me playing on our neon gamer setup computer, we raided the rooftop bar mini fridge and had cokes and cheese sticks. Dad even let us take the jet ski for a spin! After her dad came to pick her up, I realized I’d totally forgotten about my whole plan to help her fit in! I decided I’d have to do it some other time.
The next few days at school went as normal, other than the fact that I’d sit with Ava at lunch. My friend Lucy joined us, and me, Ava, and Lucy hung out almost every day after school! It turned out Lucy and Ava lived in the same neighborhood! We hung out at Ava’s house most of the time, because Lucy’s parents had been fighting a lot lately, and my house was 30 minutes away from school. Ava’s house was a modern-day version of a cottage. With big windows and a beautiful view of the ocean. The more I got to know Ava, the less I wanted to change her. She was an amazing girl, with so many talents! She taught me and Lucy how to skateboard and paint landscapes (neither of which I was good at but were both really fun!) and she even taught us some good Spanish curse words! Nevertheless, my other friends didn’t like her so much.
Lucy and I sat at our normal table with the popular crowd at lunch on Monday, because Ava was out sick. At first, it was the normal chat of the popular table: gossip about celebrities, who was dating who, why lipstick was better than lipgloss, ext, but then Katie spoke up. In her high-pitched, almost squeaky voice, she asked “So Ellie! What’s your plan about Ava?” She giggled. “What do you mean?” I asked, completely confused about what she meant by “Plan”. “Come on! Tell us, you don't have to be shy about it” she gave a little wink “We know you’re figuring out her weaknesses. I mean, you couldn’t possibly actually be friends with her! She’s a total rat!” The entire table burst out laughing! “What!?” I asked “I wouldn’t, I-I couldn’t.” I stammered. Why would they think that? These kids were a group of total perras! As if reading my mind, Lucy said, “You guys are jerks you know that? Ava is dope.” That just made them laugh harder. Me and Lucy packed up our lunches and left. Little did we know, they were planning the perfect crime.
The next day, Ava and I were laughing about some meme on Instagram when Lucy stopped us in the hall. “Oh my god Ava!” she gasped, “I was looking for you everywhere! You-your locker! It’s… It’s really bad.” We ran as fast as we could to her locker, but a ton of people were crowded around it “It must be really, really bad.” I muttered. Lucy nodded. We shoved through the crowd and found ourselves face to face with Ava’s locker. Tied by the tail to one of the vents was a dead rat, and underneath, scrawled in messy sharpie was, “RAT! XD”.
Before I could fully grasp the situation, Lucy grabbed me by the arm and pulled me down the hall as fast as she could. “What are you doing?” I asked, “Ava.” was all she said. I looked up to see Ava running in the direction of the girl's bathroom, tears streaming down her face.
By the time we got to the bathroom, Ava had already hidden away in one of the stalls. I could hear her sobbing, but I couldn’t tell which stall it was coming from. Lucy was the first to speak, “Ava, Are you ok? They’re just idiots who want attention, you know that right?” there were a few more sniffles and then a stall door towards the middle opened, but it wasn’t ava that came out. It was Katie.
“Is that really what you think of us?” Katie asked while wiping her eyes with some toilet paper. “That we’re just “Idiots who want attention”?” “Obviously.” Lucy said without missing a beat, “You guys are jerks. You only care about how popular or cool you seem, how many followers you have on social media, and who is lame or weird.” It was at that moment that I started to feel really awkward. Katie used to be my best friend. Sure she was a little rough around the edges, but saying that stuff to their faces, or at all for that matter, didn’t that make us just as bad as they were? Katie shoved past Lucy and me, elbowing Lucy in the ribs as she went. Lucy let out a little grunt but stood her ground. “Oh and just so you know,” Katie said. “I didn’t put that nasty thing on her locker.” and with that, she stormed out of the bathroom.
“We need to find Ava,” I said a few moments later, “But what about Katie?” Lucy asked. “What about her?” I replied, feeling worried about Ava, and wanting to get out of that bathroom, it wreaked! “We can’t trust her! You know deep down she did it.” Said Lucy, apparently determined to do something, anything, to Katie. “We don’t have time to worry about that, we have to find Ava!” I said. “Fine, whatever,” Said lucy, rolling her eyes, “But mark my words I’m gonna give her a taste of her own medicine.” “Please don’t.” I groaned, not wanting there to be any more drama than need be. “Why not?” She snapped, getting more and more red by the second. “Because we don’t need drama, Lucy! God, you’re just as bad as the rest of them!” I yelled. “Oh my god Lucy, I’m so sorry… I didn’t mean…” But Lucy interrupted me. “It’s pretty clear what you mean Elizabeth.” and with that, she to stormed out of the bathroom, the same way Katie did.
I spent the next hour on my own, looking for Ava. I missed french but that was fine. I didn’t care much for “Mme Laure” Anyway. Eventually, I just went to the front desk, and they said Ava had been picked up by her mother early. Well damn. All that time was spent for nothing. I finished the school day and was happy when the bell rang and it was time to go home. “How’d your day go sweetie?” my mom asked when I got into our tesla. “Fine,” I answered. “Any quizzes or tests?” “Yeah, I had my social studies test.” I didn’t bother mentioning that I no doubt flunked.
The next few days of school were pure hell. Ava was nowhere to be seen, and Lucy kept avoiding me. It didn’t matter that we had 4 classes together, 3 of which we sat at the same table, she avoided me nonetheless. Every day I went home with less and less hope that Ava and I would ever be friends again. At this point, she’s probably moved to new york city, where she had plenty of friends and was happy! But all of that doubt melted like snow when I saw her standing on the front steps of the school on a hot Thursday morning.
I got out of the car and ran over to her. “Ava oh my god!” I hugged her tight, not caring if she hated me or not. I didn’t know why she could possibly hate me, but everyone seemed to hate me then. To my big surprise, she hugged me back! We pulled apart and I was about to say something when we saw Lucy walking in our direction. “Ava! Thank god you are here! I was just about to go get revenge on Katie.” She smirked and held up a small, brown, paper bag. “Actually…” Ava started, “But but but,” Lucy interrupted, I have a perfect idea.” “No Lucy listen,” Ava said. “They found out who it was, and it wasn’t her. It just so happened that my family had a camping trip planned, so that’s why I've been gone all week.” “Who was it?” I asked, ashamed of it, but curious all the same. “And how’d you catch them?” Lucy added. “Well, the cameras caught the whole thing, Lucy.” She put so much emphasis on Lucy’s name, and that’s when it dawned on me. I gasped, It was Lucy!? No- no it couldn’t be, maybe there was something else I was missing? “Ya know Lucy, I really thought you were my friend.” Ava said, “You should do drama as your elective next semester!” Oh my god! It was her! I couldn’t believe it! Lucy went wide-eyed, and then one tear slipped out of her eye. “I’m really sorry.” She muttered and then ran away.
3 weeks later
“Ya know, we never did figure out what was in that bag,” I said. It had been three weeks since I found out about Lucy. Ava and I were sitting in her room, and I was braiding her hair. “What bag?” Ava asked keeping her eyes on the laptop screen, where a youtube video titled “How to do the perfect smokey eye” was pulled up. “Ya know, the one that Lucy was holding that day.” I put a bobby pin between my teeth and twirled her braid up into a bun. “Oh yeah!” Ava said, “It was probably another rat.” “Har har, so funny,” I said, the words coming out weird because I was still holding the bobby pin in my teeth. I rolled my eyes but tried again. “Seriously! What do you think she had in there?” “No I seriously think it was a dead rat,” Ava said. “Hm, I guess that’s possible, but I feel like that’d be too obvious, like, wouldn’t it be kinda strange that she knew how to supply dead rats?” We kept discussing the topic while giving each other makeovers for the school dance.
In the end, I got what I wanted, Just not exactly the way I pictured it.