Laney The Gossip

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Laney smiles quickly as she twists around to look at Mr. Borden, a pained smile that gives out the blaring signal for this conversation to be over. I know she must be desperate, because she rarely ever pays any attention to Mr. Borden’s rambling lectures in history. But she’ll probably be deduced to writing detailed notes on today’s topic, ‘The Seymours; The Rise and Fall of An Iconic Tudor Line’ before I’m done with her.
“But why do you think it happened? I mean, you know Jen, right?”
“Yeah, kinda.” She attempts to focus her attention on Mr. Borden again
“It’s just, they seemed so perfect.”
“Uh-huh.”
“A dream couple.”
“Totally.”
Alright, it’s time to reel her in again before I lose her completely. I lean in conspiratorially.
“I heard that Johnny Fisher caught her and Ken making out behind the boys locker room on Friday.”
There it is, the bait falls into the water with a splash. Laney’s eyes widen, and I know I’ve got her hooked.
“No way?”
“Way.” I say with the cheeky, eye-to-eye grin I’ve seen the blonde, made up girls doing when they’re squealing about who did what with who and how they were at what party and how far it went when somebody’s boyfriend inevitably came barging in.
“Ohmygosh! Well, don’t tell anyone, but Ellie Crowin told me Luke was flirting with Alyssa non-stop at her birthday party. But, I think she might’ve been lying. I mean, no offense to her or anything, but Ellie can be a bit of an attention-w****.”
Yes, that exactly the kind of language you use when you’re not trying to offend someone.
“And with all the rumors she spread around when Lauren Peggsten got suspended… she’s like a chronic liar. But, anyways, I think I might know the real reason they broke up.”
“Yeah?”
“I heard,” she says, lowering her voice dramatically “Jen was flirting with guys as usual, and Luke had a lot of s*** going on with some other girl- no, not like that. Like, his old friend that he broke it off with a while ago. So the girl, she came up all of a sudden after all these years and wanted in with him again, which is kind of weird. ‘Cause, I mean, if the guy hasn’t talked to you in like 10 years he obviously doesn’t want to start now. God, some people just can’t take a hint.” She rolled her eyes “Apparently Luke and the girl go way back, and he’s all mixed up about how to shake her off nicely and everything else right now- ‘cause, you know, I heard he was having some major family problems, and then dealing with the new d*** of a football coach. Anyways, Jen started getting on his back about the other girl, even though the only reason he hasn’t told her to eff off is ‘cause he’s too sweet. Then he saw Jen flirting with some college guys at Sylvia’s party and just had had enough of her s***t, so he ended it.”
“Oh. Wow.”
“I know. It’s so surprising ‘cause we all thought, you know, Luke and Jen, the couple that was gonna get married and have kids eventually. So much for that. Jen was in the girl’s bathroom sobbing her eyes out when it happened. Danica told me she was really depressed about it. But, according to Jimmy D., now she’s out for revenge.” Laney smiles wickedly “Luke’s stalker ex-friend better watch out.”
A crumpled ball of paper hits her on the shoulder, and Laney gives me a parting look, turning her attention to the note she’s now unfolding.
I slump in my seat, sure that everyone can sense my fear. Laney, a new arrival in Janesville, wouldn’t know the grisly details of what happened in this town before the beginning of sophomore year. She doesn’t know a thing about Luke’s dead mom, or my prison convict father. And she might be the one person in the school who is unable to connect the dots from Luke’s ‘stalker ex-friend’… to me. I feel endless relief for this, but know that soon, someone will inform her. When that happens, there’ll probably be a lot of no way!’s and I heard...’s and a lot of awkward, spurning glances directed my way. And I can take that. I can deal with that. What I’m afraid I can’t deal with though, the cause of a growing upside down feeling in my stomach, is a gorgeous, perfectly toned and vengeful mass of evil named Jen, apparently heading my way at top speed.





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