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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
Oh great. Here goes nothing.
I try to jump up from my seat as I saw the other girls do and bound across the gymnasium floor.
Problem is, I manage to trip on my untied sneaker and fall flat on my face, slam-ming my knees against the shiny floor. Ugh. A rippling of laughter comes from the stupid peanut gallery.
I try to look as dignified as possible as I pick myself up off the floor and brush the dust off the tight, sexy yoga capris and tank Sunny let me borrow. (So not me, but at least they're black.) Then I head to my position.
"Hang on a second!" cries Mandy. "Rayne McDonald?"
Eight pairs of eyes stare at me from behind the tables, utter disbelief written on every Kewpie-doll face.
"Uh, yeah?" I ask, feigning complete innocence. "That's me!"
"Um, yes, we can see that. It's just. . . well, why are . . . you . . . trying out for cheerleading?" sputters the girl to Mandy's right.
I clear my throat. I've prepared for this very question. "Well, I just felt that lately Oakridge High has become a cesspool of dispirited youth and it would be irresponsible of me not to rise to the challenge of inspiriting our young peo-ple. To bring cheer to the uncheerable. Spirit to the spiritless. Joy to the unenjoyable."
Blank looks all around. Hmm.
I try again. "And I just, like, thought, like, it'd be really cool to be one of you guys?"
Ah, there are the head nods of understanding.
"I'm sorry," Mandy snorts. "But I really don't think you're cheerleader material."
"I see." I study her thoughtfully. "Yet, funny, I seem to re-call your flyer saying everyone is allowed to try out. I believe this rule is in response to some sort of Big Betty episode back in 2004?"
No one can say I didn't do my homework. A few years ago, the cheerleaders excluded some three-hundred-pound girl with facial acne from tryouts on the ruling that, well, she was fat and had zits.
Turns out, according to the school's pol-icy and procedures manual, that's not an acceptable reason to deny someone the opportunity to try out and her mother sued the school. Betty got enough money for plastic surgery and stomach stapling and last I heard she was living in Man-hattan, modeling for Calvin Klein.
The cheerleaders murmur to themselves. Obviously it takes eight brains to come to one decision in this crowd. Good thing they have one another. I can't believe Mr. Teifert thinks these chicks are a threat to the school. I doubt they'd be a threat to a paper bag. I am so wasting my time here.
"Okay, fine," Mandy says at last. "You can try out. But don't get your hopes up. I hardly think you have much of a chance."
"Like, thanks!" I cry, all school spirit. I clap my hands. "You guys are the best!"
Mandy rolls her eyes. "Just go."
I jump into position, wishing I were a real vampire with powers. Preferably the power to flip and kick.
Then this would be uber-easy.
Oh well. Here goes nothing.
"Wolves, let's hear you yell go-GO
Wolves, let's hear you yell fight-FIGHT
Wolves, let's hear you yell win-WIN
Wolves, all together yell go fight win-GO FIGHT WIN GO FIGHT WIN!"
Ugh. I'm already out of breath and that's just the first stanza. How do these girls last a whole football game doing this crap? Forget part two. I'm ending this while the ending's good.
I launch into a straddle jump—the kind where you're sup-posed to touch your toes with your hands.
Unfortunately for me, I'm sort of balance challenged and instead I end up fling-ing myself backward and landing with a thud on the gymna-sium floor.
"Goddamn it!" I cry, rubbing my bottom. If I wasn't a vampire, I surely would have just broken my butt.
Even as a vampire I'm likely to end up with a nasty bruise.
"Um, thank you, Rayne, that was . . . interesting," Mandy says. "We'll let you know."
I flash her a fake smile and then prance over to the bench. Cait greets me and gives me a comforting squeeze. I can tell she thinks I totally blew my chance.
"Are you coming?" she asks, hopping to her feet and ges-turing to the locker room. "I think we're done."
"You go on," I tell her. "I'm going to watch the rest of the girls."
"Okay," she says. "I hope you make the squad!"
"You, too," I say, smiling up at her, suddenly realizing I just may have the power to make her dreams come true as well. Power I plan to use.
Cait waves good-bye and walks away. I turn back to the tryouts. Some perfect blonde is doing some kind of bendy Cirque du Soleil-type movement. It hurts just to watch. Nice.
Anyway, after what seems an eternity, all the wannabes finish their tryouts. The cheerleaders dismiss them with haughty good-byes and insincere good lucks and begin exit-ing the gym. Mandy is the last to leave, gathering up all the score sheets and stuffing them in a manila envelope. Perfect.
I approach the table. "Hey, Mandy," I say casually.
She looks up, disdain and no friendly recognition on her face. I can't believe she and I were once BFFs.
"I'm sorry, I can't tell you the results." She sniffs. "You'll have to wait until Mon-day like everyone else.
Though I guess I could give you a hint. You ever hear the expression 'a cold day in hell?' "
"Actually, that's not it," I say sweetly, ignoring her jab. "I—well, I have this one other cheer I was working on. Sort of a custom-made, personalized thing. I was wondering if I could run it by you."