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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
"Yup. And he says they've been heard growling."
"Oh-kaythen." Sunny laughs. "So you've got to secretly infiltrate their ranks and figure out where they stashed the quarterback."
"Something like that."
"What I want to know is how the heck you're going to make the squad."
"Extreme pep makeover, I told you."
"I hate to break it to you, Rayne, but it may not be that simple. One, they're going to see right through your pink clothes. Your tattoos won't be easy to cover up, just FYI. And two, regardless of whatever stereotype you have in your head, I gotta tell you, there are some minimum skill require-ments for cheerleaders."
"Please. They just jump around and wave pom-poms. How hard can it be?"
Sunny shakes her head. "Fine. You'll see. But I suggest you practice before your tryout. A lot." She hands me a pair of yoga capris and a tank top. "Seriously. And even then, you're not going to be able to master a round-off back-handspring by tomorrow evening. There's going to be lots of girls more qualified than you."
"Not to mention Mandy's the captain of the team. And we all know what Mandy thinks of you."
"Right," I say, suddenly inspired. Mandy Matterson. Captain of the squad. Former best friend. That gives me an idea.
"Sunny," I say. "Forget the makeover. I have a much bet-ter plan. One that will guarantee I make the squad, no ques-tions asked."
Oh yeah, baby. This is going to be fun.
"Okay, we're going to call you out by name, one at a time. You'll step out in front of us and perform your cheer. Then we may ask you some questions. We only need two girls to fill the squad, so obviously most of you won't make it. We're very selective here at Oakridge High. We have stan-dards. High standards."
After finishing her speech, Captain Mandy sits back down in her seat behind the row of tables, joining the seven senior squad members serving as judges today. She tosses her long blond hair behind her shoulders and clears her throat.
"Okay," she says, after a glance to her clipboard. "Up first, Britney Smith."
A giggling blond girl jumps up from the bench the rest of us wannabes are sitting on and cartwheels over to the center. Hmm, nice open.
"Hi!" she exclaims brightly. "I'm, like, Britney Smith. Thanks for having me!"
Do we get bonus points for over-the-top, air-headed be-havior? Something to consider. Not that I think for one mo-ment I'd be able to pull off that level of vapidness.
"I'm so nervous," squeaks a voice next to me. I turn to the girl in question. She's smaller than the rest of the hopefuls and really thin. The kind of girl who'd get to be top of the pyramid were she to make the squad. Still, she's not as . . . Barbie doll looking as the others. Her brown hair's a bit on the stringy side and her huge, unmade-up eyes are a muddy shade of brown. She's wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and baggy shorts that do nothing for her figure. I'd like to say those things don't matter and that it's all about talent, but I can't imagine that's a realistic assumption in this sce-nario.
"Meh, you'll be fine," I say, trying to calm her nerves. Not like I'm not a bundle of them myself.
"My mother was captain of the squad back in the 1970s when she went to Oakridge," the girl continues, her voice literally quaking with fear. "And she really wants me to fol-low in her footsteps. When I didn't make the team last year, she was so upset."
Wow. Talk about pressure. I hate parents like that. The ones who try to relive their own sad, pathetic youths by forc-ing their kids into activities they used to enjoy. Who knows, this mousy little girl could
have been a terrific artist or track star. But she's going to waste all her effort in this air-headed, pseudosport because Mommy Dearest wants to be able to brag at bridge.
"Well, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you," I say. "I'm Rayne, by the way. What's your name?"
"I'm Caitlin. But everyone calls me Cait."
"Okay, Cait." I hold up my crossed fingers. "Good luck."
"Thanks, Rayne," she says, beaming back at me. She seems like a really nice kid. I hope that she gets picked. Me and her. That would be ideal.
"Up next, Cait Midwood." Mandy already sounds bored.
"Ooh!" Cait squeals, throwing herself at me for a hug. Did I mention I hate hugs? Or any kind of public displays of affection. After all, there's a three-foot bubble rule for a rea-son. But I endure it because I know she's so excited. "Here goes nothing! Wish me luck!"
"Luck!" I wish. And I mean it. Though I don't know how optimistic I am.
She bounces up from her seat and skips out into the center of the room. I watch as she starts in on a pretty elabo-rate cheer. Wow. Even I can tell that she's good. Really good. Almost as if her joints are made of springs, always bouncing from one trick or jump to the next. She ends the cheer with a round-off back-handspring, back-tuck, and then throws her arms up into aV,a huge smile on her face.
She knows she's nailed it.
I'm so excited for her, I break out in applause, then real-ize no one else is clapping and lower my hands, a bit embar-rassed. But whatever. She did an amazing job. Ten thousand times better than the girl before her. They'd be a fool not to accept her on the squad. Then again, they are fools, so really, all bets are off.