Книга "Kaye, Marilyn - Replica 05 - Secret Clique" - читать онлайн (Kaye Marilyn)

Marilyn Kaye: Secret Clique (Replica #5)


1

In the hallway at Parkside Middle School at 8:15 A.M. on a Monday, Tasha Morgan gazed around at the clumps of students talking, slamming locker doors, and generally hanging out. Then she spoke with an air of gloom.
"This school is so boring."
Her best friend, Amy Candler, considered this statement. "Why do you say that?"
"Think about it," Tasha explained. "Every day is exactly the same. In precisely three minutes the warning bell will ring, and we both know what's going to happen. Everyone will stop socializing and go to their homerooms. Two minutes after that, the final bell will ring. Then my teacher will clap her hands three times, which is the signal to stop talking. And it's always three timesЧnever two, never four. What's the first thing your teacher does?"
"Ms. Weller raps on her desk with this paperweight she has," Amy told Tasha. "It's in the shape of the Statue of Liberty."
"And I'll bet she does that every day," Tasha said. "Right?"
Amy nodded. "Every day."
"And then she calls roll, right? And after roll call comes the daily announcements from the principal's office."
"But those announcements aren't the same every day," Amy pointed out.
"They're practically the same," Tasha argued. "Club meetings, special events, and sports. Right?"
Amy had to admit that the daily announcements pretty much followed that pattern.
"And what comes next?" Tasha asked.
Amy thought. "Ms. Weller usually has something to pass out. Notes to take home, forms to fill out, that sort of thing."
"Then I'll bet she collects something she passed out the week before," Tasha went on. "After that she'll tell you to study. Or if she's in a good mood, she'll give you permission to talk quietly. Right?"
"Right," Amy acknowledged.
"It's the same routine in my homeroom," Tasha said. "Then the bell rings, and we go to first-period classes. Then we go to second-period classes. Then toЧ"
"I get your point," Amy interrupted. "Okay, every day is pretty much the same. But I think all middle schools are like that."
"That doesn't make me feel any better," Tasha said. "Wouldn't it be nice if something different happened once in a while?"
"Remember when that horror movie was filmed here?" Amy reminded her. "That was pretty different."
"That was then," Tasha sighed. "This is now."
Amy grinned. "Cheer up. Life is full of surprises."
"For you, maybe," Tasha said. "But you're different."
"Thanks, I really need the reminder," Amy said sarcastically. "And would you mind lowering your voice?" The warning bell rang, and everyone started moving. "Meet you here after homeroom?" she asked Tasha.
Tasha nodded. "Don't we always meet right here after homeroom?"
Amy laughed at her friend's sorrowful tone. But she had to admit that Tasha was right. A day at Parkside Middle School was predictable.
On this particular morning, Amy slipped into her seat an instant before the final bell. She had about ten seconds to greet homeroom friends before Ms. Weller banged her Statue of Liberty on the desk. Then the teacher called the roll, with perfect timing. Less than a second after Adam Ziegler said "Here," the intercom crackled.
"Good morning, all Parkside students and staff," Dr. Noble began. "May I have your attention for the morning announcements?" The principal didn't wait for an answer. And her announcements held no surprises.
"The Chess Club, the Spanish Club, and the yearbook staff will be meeting after school today. On Wednesday evening, the Parkside basketball team will be playing Turner Middle School, and the Girls' Chorus will be performing at the Sunshine Square minimall on Sunday afternoon."
There was a warning about overdue library books, a reminder about recycling cans and bottles in the cafeteria, and the results of an election held the Friday before to replace a student council member who had moved away. "In the special election for ninth-grade class treasurer," the principal announced, "the winner is Lori Kessler."
Amy didn't belong to the Chess Club or the Spanish Club, and she wasn't on the yearbook staff. She already knew about the basketball game, since her boyfriend, Eric, was on the team, and she made a mental note to check out the Girls' Chorus if she happened to find herself at the minimall on Sunday. The election didn't mean anything to her. Seventh-graders didn't vote in a ninth-grade election, and she didn't even know who Lori Kessler was.
But someone in her homeroom was clearly pleased with the election results. Jeanine Bryant let out a little squeal of delight and clapped her hands. What's she so happy about? Amy wondered. She glanced at her neighbor, Linda Riviera, who happened to be Jeanine's best friend. A flicker of annoyance crossed Linda's face; apparently she wasn't particularly happy about the election. Or maybe it was Jeanine's reaction to the news that displeased her.
Amy had to admit she was mildly curious about this. As her archenemy since first grade, Jeanine was always a subject of some interest. Linda and Jeanine were pretty much joined at the hip, and Linda usually followed Jeanine's lead in every way. Obviously, something had changed in that relationship.
Amy had to wait until Ms. Weller had distributed PTA flyers to take home, and until forms distributed the previous week had been collected, and until the teacher had given permission for quiet conversation, to satisfy her curiosity.
Amy turned to Linda and got right to the point. "Why does Jeanine care about who's going to be ninth-grade treasurer?"
Linda responded sullenly. "Lori Kessler's in that clique."
Now Amy understood. There were a lot of cliques at ParksideЧcliques made up of athletes, or computer nuts, or boys who hung out at the video arcade, or girls who hung out at the mall. There was a clique made up of kids who had taken over the school literary magazine and the Arts Club, and there was a group who dressed in punk style and dyed their hair wild colors. As someone who wasn't much into group activities, Amy was never quite sure who was in which clique.
But she knew the clique Linda was referring to. She'd seen Jeanine with them on the school steps on recent mornings. They were popular kids, mostly ninth-graders, with only a few seventh- and eighth-graders allowed to hang out on the fringe of the group. Amy didn't know much about this bunch, but they clearly thought they were pretty special.
That explained Jeanine's response to the news, and Linda's reaction to Jeanine's response. Jeanine now considered herself part of this clique, and she'd dumped Linda as her constant companion. Linda was hurt.
Cheer up, Amy wanted to tell her. Jeanine's not worth it. But she couldn't do that because that kind of conversation could be dangerous. It could lead to friendship, and sharing secrets. It could lead to Linda's learning more about Amy than Amy wanted her to know. More than Amy wanted anyone to know.
Almost anyone. One of the exceptions to that rule was waiting for her in the hall when the bell rang. Tasha's homeroom was just across the hall, and their first-period classes were side by side, so the girls always walked together.
Linda was just behind Amy as she came out the door. "See you, Amy," she called. "Hi, Tasha."
Tasha watched Linda's departing figure in surprise. "Why is she being so friendly all of a sudden?"
"She needs friends," Amy replied. "Jeanine blew her off for the clique that hangs out on the front steps." She kept her voice low as she spoke, since Jeanine was walking just a few yards in front of them.
"I still can't believe she's running around with them," Tasha marveled. "You see those girls she's walking with? They're ninth-graders. That's Blair Cavanaugh, she's a cheerleader. And the girl with the blond hair, that's Kristy Diamond, she was a runner-up for Miss Young America."
"Don't be so impressed," Amy advised her. "They can't be all that cool if they're letting Jeanine hang out."