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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
"What did she mean, Rayne?"
I swallow hard, my mind racing for believable lies. But nothing's coming to mind. "About what?" I ask, stalling for time.
Cait looks up at me, an angry, accusatory look on her tear-stained face. "What did she mean when she said you blackmailed her to put me on the squad?"
"Um, I don't know," I say, laughing nervously. "Who knows what that girl means half the time! She's so dumb she—"
Cait scrambles to her feet, hands on hips, looking furious. I take a step back, worried she might actually try to hit me.
"Don't lie to me, Rayne!" she cries. "I can't take any more lies." She squeezes her small hands into fists.
Her whole body is shaking with fury. "Tell me the truth. Did you or did you not have something to do with me getting on the squad?"
I stare down at the ground. Time to come clean, I guess. Just hope she'll understand I only had the best intentions . . .
"Um, well, sort of," I stammer. "But only 'cause I thought you were so good. That you were better than anyone trying out. And I didn't want them to discount you because . . . because ..."
I trail off. What can I say? Because you don't have highlighted hair? Because your clothes are frumpy?
Because I didn't think your athletic skill would overcome your lack of style?
"Because I'm not cool enough to be a cheerleader," Cait finishes. "Of course. And you figured you'd help." She shakes her head, looking defeated. "God, how could I have been so stupid? To think they took me 'cause I was good enough. My mom was right. I'm not cut out to be a cheer-leader."
"But you are!" I protest. "You're, like, the most talented cheerleader on the squad!"
"How would you know?" Cait asks, narrowing her eyes. "You suck."
Ouch. I wince. That hurt. Sure, I'm not the most natural cheerleader in the world. But I have been practicing. In fact, I thought I was getting pretty good—
"What I don't get is why you're even on the squad to be-gin with, Rayne. You don't like it. And you obviously think you're so superior to the rest of the girls. Why are you wast-ing your time? Filling up a slot that could be taken by some girl who actually enjoys waving pom-poms."
"Uh, well, actually that's a long story ..."
Cait rolls her eyes. "Whatever, Rayne. Just eff off and leave me alone."
She storms off. I watch her go, wishing I could stop her, to tell her that she's totally off base. But I guess in all actuality, she's not. After all, I am only on the squad to infiltrate the werewolf pack. To accomplish my mission, not have a good time, learn skills, and meet new friends. But weirdly enough, I also kind of enjoy it now. It's kind of fun in an odd way. And I do like a lot of the other girls . . .
(Please do not tell anyone, ever, that I just admitted that or I will hunt you down and kill you slowly with much tor-ture!)
I slump to the ground, furious at myself and the situation. Why did I think interfering with Cait's life was a good idea? I mean, I know I had the best intentions. But still! Now she'll never know if she would have made the squad on her own merit or if the only reason she's here is because of my stupid blackmail trick.
Mandy's right. I'm no better than the rest of them.
Too depressed to go back to cheerleading practice, I decide to head home. When I walk in the front door I'm greeted by the most glorious smell in the entire universe. Like a bug to a light I'm drawn to the kitchen, practically salivating over the aroma.
I find David at the stove, wearing my mom's apron, and stirring something in a pot. Ugh. For some crazy reason I was holding out some inane hope that my mom had somehow taken cooking lessons and was responsible for the delicious food currently being prepared. Even though I knew that was about as likely as Paris Hilton getting her MBA and launch-ing her own accounting firm.
I consider turning around and fleeing, running to my room—er, Sunny's room—but realize it's too late to do so in a way that wouldn't make David think I'm purposely avoid-ing him. Even though, of course, I am. But I suppose I've got to face him at some point and it might as well be when I'm in as bad a mood as I am now. After all, the night can't get any worse at this point.
"Good evening, Rayne," he says, turning to me, a big smile on his face. "How was school?"
Oh nice. I love how in the short time he's been here he's made himself so at home in our house. As if he belongs here and pays half the mortgage. Not to mention how he seems to think it's his job to play
Daddy since poor Sunny and I are es-sentially without that whole father-figure thing. Next thing you know he's going to start asking how my grades are shaping up and if I need help on my homework.
"Fine," I mutter, opening the fridge to rummage through longingly. I'm so hungry. Well, not hungry exactly, but crav-ing food. Chocolate, ice cream, baked potatoes—heck I'd even take some of my mother's hippie hash or tofu burgers at his point. Just something to chomp down on, savor, and swallow.
I had thought that once I became a vampire all I'd crave was blood. I had no idea how much I'd miss chocolate chip cookies, pasta, and pizza. I'd almost sacrifice immortality at this point, just for one more Krispy Kreme donut.
"What are you cooking?" I ask, against my better judg-ment. I don't want to engage in any sort of meaningful con-versation with the intruder—make him feel like he's welcome or something—but my mouth is watering and my curiosity overcomes my good sense.