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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
"You can do this. You've trained hard all week. You know the cheers. You know the pyramids. You're just suffer-ing from stage fright."
"No, I'm not!" I retort, offended beyond belief. After all, I'm the Slayer. I vanquished an evil vampire and saved the world, for goodness sake. There's no way I'm afraid of some stupid humans at some stupid football game.
"Those people?" Shantel continues, gesturing up at the throng in the stands. "All the girls want to be you.
They want nothing more than to be standing on this very field wearing a cute skirt and sweater just like you. And the guys? They all want to be with you. They'd hook up with you in a second just so they could claim they dated a cheerleader. So no matter what you do, no matter how badly you screw up, they'll still worship you and want you." She grins. "Or if that doesn't help, you can always picture them in their underwear."
That I can do, in fact. For real. X-ray vision is one of the few vampire powers not gimped by the blood virus. I decide to give it a try, concentrating hard, finding the power within me. I let it rev up in my mind as Jareth taught me to do. Then I look back up at the people in the stands.
And start to laugh.
Mr. Gordon, our nerdy science teacher, is wearing boxer shorts depicting cupids and hearts. The French teacher, Mademoiselle Dubois, who all the boys are in love with? She's wearing very unsexy granny panties. And is that Miss Robinson, our more than pleasantly plump cafeteria lady, up on the last row, wearing a very tiny thong? Gross.
Shantel's right. I feel better already.
"Thanks," I say to her, after taking in a deep breath. "You're right. I feel better already."
Shantel gives me a thumbs-up. "No prob," she says. "First-nightitis. It happens to everyone."
The whistle blows and the game begins. They kick the ball. We kick our legs. They make a goal. We wave our pom-poms. It's kind of fun, in a weird way. And exciting, too. Es-pecially when we're tied, 21/21 at the last few seconds of the fourth down (see, I've been studying!) and one of our players is set up to make the game-winning field goal.
"Go, Trevor, go!" the cheerleaders cry, nearly breathless in their enthusiasm. They really do seem to care about the outcome of this game. Crazy. Though, at this moment, truth be told, I've got my fingers crossed for the home team as well.
"Too bad Mike Stevens isn't here," Cait whispers to me from my right. "He's the best kicker."
I'm about to say Mike Stevens can go kick himself where it counts for all I care, but then I remember my mis-sion. "Where is he these days?" I ask. "Haven't seen him around."
Mandy shoots me a sharp look. "He's nowhere. Don't worry about him," she scolds. "Just concentrate on the game."
Hmm, that seems a bit of a harsh answer to a very simple question. MaybeTeifert's right. Maybe the cheerleaders are holding some kind of secret. Or Mandy could just be a rude, no-mannered bitch.
Actually, that seems more likely.
The players line up and Trevor gets ready to make the kick. I watch as he backs up, then runs forward, foot making contact with the ball and sending it soaring. The pigskin flies through the air. Everyone (including me) holds their breath.
It's . . . It's . . .
The crowd goes wild. The cheerleaders bounce. I bounce, too, an electric excitement sparking through my body. I can't believe I'm this revved up over the outcome of a football game. After all, I'm not exactly the high school football type. Maybe this skirt/sweater/pom-pom combo is slowly sucking brain cells from my head.
But whatever. We won. That's all that matters at the moment.
After the game we head to the locker room to change out of our uniforms. I've never been one to change in front of others, but the cheerleaders all whip off clothing like it's prom night. Soon, the room is filled with bra and lacy thong-clad girls, talking animatedly to one another. I guess if you have perfect bodies you don't need the modesty gene.
I notice across the room that Cait is the sole exception to the exhibitionism displayed in the locker room.
She ducks into one of the bathroom stalls to change out of her uniform. And she emerges wearing a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. Which is somewhat weird, considering it's probably seventy degrees out.
I overhear whispers about an after party at Mandy's house to celebrate their victory, but no one invites me along. Not that I care. The last thing I want to do is go to some cheerleader party. Still, I can't help but feel a slight sting from being so obviously excluded. Stupid popular crowd.
I slip out of the locker room, ready to go home and back to my real life. Maybe I'll go see if Jareth's about. He's been acting kind of distant lately, and I'm hoping nothing is wrong. Maybe we'll go to Club Fang for a little dancing. Whatever. As long as I don't have to go home and face David, the now live-in boyfriend, and the toilet seat he forgot to put down. Being a Slayer Inc. operative, he'll want to know all about the cheerleaders and I really don't have any info on them except that they didn't want to talk about the missing Mike Stevens mid-game. Who knows, maybe they just didn't want to jinx the guy with the ball.
I've reached the gym exit. One push on the door and it's back to real life. But guilt gnaws at my insides and forces me to pause. A party is a perfect opportunity to learn more about the missing football player.
To do recon for my Slayer mission. How can I just go home now? I've worked so hard to become one of them. To gain their trust. Now I've got to use it to my advantage. After all, up until this point I haven't learned anything. We've been practicing so hard there's been little time to socialize and find out the 411.