Home > For the Love of a Vampire (Blood Like Poison #1)(2)

For the Love of a Vampire (Blood Like Poison #1)(2)
Author: M. Leighton

And just like that, the pyramid came tumbling down.  Actually, it was more like a gentle folding, thank God.  But I knew that just because no one was hurt this time didn’t mean it wouldn’t end badly next time.

“Aisha, I’m switching you to the shoulder stand on the end.”

“Thank God,” she muttered, angrily flipping her long, intricately braided hair.

Ignoring her, I directed my attention to the slightly stocky brunette with the pigtails at the other end of the formation.  “Carly, can you help hold Trinity for the center?”

With a snort and a roll of her eyes, Carly agreed, albeit ungraciously.  “I guess,” she said weakly.

We looked at each other expectantly—me waiting for her to move and her waiting for…I don’t know what she was waiting for, but it was obvious Carly had no intention of moving whatsoever.

Carly was my whiner.  I wanted to slap her.  I wanted to slap her a lot.  Seriously, I did, just not as badly (or as often) as I wanted to punch Trinity.  And I mean really punch her.  Hard.  Right in her pouty mouth.  Trinity was the type of personality that would’ve brought Gandhi himself to violence.

I was rarely ever surprised by the behavior of the other cheerleaders, only irritated by it.  After all, I understood them better than anyone.  Until three years ago, I was fundamentally the same as them—shamefully selfish, vapid, useless and vicious.  But when tragedy strikes, it leaves no part of your life, of your being, untouched, unscathed, unscarred.  No, tragedy had carved a whole new person out of my less-than-ideal former self, and in a way, I’m thankful for it.

Now my eyes are open and I’m content, at least for my soul’s sake, to be growing more and more different, growing further and further apart from them.  It does make things more difficult, though.  Much more difficult.

Pushing both the violent and the troubling thoughts from my mind, I simply smiled sweetly and asked Carly, “Then how about getting over there so we can try it?”

With a loud, exaggerated sigh, Carly obliged me by moving toward the other end of the line.

“Ridley, you better not get me killed,” Trinity said theatrically as she followed Carly into position.

“Don’t be so dramatic, Trinity.  Just keep your balance and you’ll be fine.”

“I don’t see you up here, risking your life for a pyramid, Moby Dick” Trinity mumbled under her breath.

Her comment was point in case.  Trinity was convinced that anyone who wore a size greater than a four was a cow.  She was unbelievable.

Though the barb rankled, I ignored her.  As always.  She assumed that I didn’t hear her, but she couldn’t have been more wrong.  I simply disregarded her remarks because anything less than that was like pouring gasoline on a fire.  If her nastiness was given the tiniest bit of attention or credence, she just acted out all the more.

So, as I’d done a thousand times before, I swallowed my anger and my retorts, opting for a future at Stanford instead.  My college dreams, my life’s dreams were riding on a scholarship and Trinity was a great flyer for the squad, just another reason not to rock the boat.

My biggest goal was to keep my nose clean until graduation.  The end.  And if that included ignoring Trinity so as not to get her too riled up, then so be it.

“Alright, let’s see it from the ground up with the music,” I shouted, hitting the play button on my iPod’s docking station.

Usher’s Yeah blared from the speakers and the cheerleaders began to move in time with the beat.  Steadily, they climbed and built the pyramid until Trinity was once more perched on top, a foot in each of two girls’ palms.  Then, right on cue, they lifted her until she was standing high in the air, atop their extended arms.

“Perfect,” I said, clapping excitedly.  “Now we can work that new toss in from right there.”  I approached the girls as they dismounted.  “Let’s take five and then we’ll work on flying for the rest of the afternoon.”

Shorts-clad cheerleaders disbursed to the bleachers to get sips of their bottled waters and complain about what a slave driver I was.  Same drill, different day.

After a couple of minutes, I heard Trinity say, “Stalk much?”

A few seconds after that, several of the others chimed in.

“Hell-o, Sexy!”

“He can stalk me any time.”

“That’s just creepy.”

“He looks weird.  And dangerous.”

I looked up to see who was causing such a commotion.  All the girls were looking back toward the fence that surrounded the practice field.  Curious, I turned in that direction, too.

The setting sun was right in my eyes, but if I squinted, I could see a guy in a black hoodie, standing at the fence.  Since I hadn’t seen him around school before, I could only assume that he was new.  He was leaning against the metal chain link, one arm draped casually across its top, watching us as if we were shiny new things that puzzled him.

I held my hand up to my eyes, shielding them from the bright light so that I could get a better look at him.  When I met his eyes, I realized that he wasn’t watching us; he was watching me.

“Got a new admirer, huh Ridley?” Carly liked to tease.  Carly also liked to spread rumors.

“And you’ve got a great imagination, Carly,” I said lightly, not wanting to make a big deal of it.  I was dead set against my name being bandied about in typical cheerleader fashion so I made sure to give her as little ammunition as possible.

A masculine voice interrupted our rude staring.

“Hey, T!”

It came from somewhere behind me.  I recognized the voice of course, but even if I hadn’t, I still would’ve known who was hailing me.  It was Drew.  For some unknown, inexplicable reason, when he didn’t call me Ridley (which was most of the time), he called me “T”.

Some of the cheerleaders gossiped that it stood for “tease” because I didn’t put out, but I doubted Drew was that crude.  If I really thought he was, I wouldn’t be with him.

Reluctantly, I turned from the stranger to find Drew.  He was coming across the field, decked out in his football pads, looking attractively sweaty and mussed.

“Hey, babe, can you get a ride home with Trinity or Summer today?  Josh wants me to go with him to pick up some parts for the Mustang after practice,” Drew explained.

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