'HER PERFECT REVENGE'
WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE FOLLOWS.
16 Years Earlier...
Was it her imagination or was everyone staring at her? No, everyone was staring at her—and they were laughing too!
Putting her head down, fourteen-year-old Christina Matteo walked quickly down the school hall, trying to avoid catching anyone's eye. Clutching her books to her chest, she increased her speed but as she went by a gaggle of girls lurking at their lockers, the girls suddenly burst out laughing.
Ignoring them, Christina continued her brisk pace down the hall, towards her locker. It was probably just her imagination. This was only her third week of her freshman year at Cloverdale Public High School. She didn't know anybody here—and they didn't know her.
Super shy and self-conscious, Christina had kept to herself since school had started. Except for her girlfriend Jenny, she hadn't socialized with anyone. Not that anyone would want to anyway. After all, short, dumpy girls who wore glasses and railroad tracks on their teeth weren't exactly on everyone's party list.
Christina swiveled her head to her right. Tall, skinny Gary Porter, a senior at the school, was in a corner with his friend, Barry Mahoney.
"Why don't we party tonight and you can do me?" Gary puckered his lips and made a slurping, sucking sound at Christina. Barry burst out laughing.
Mortified, Christina swung away and kept walking. What the hell was happening? Reaching her locker, Christina fumbled with the combination lock. She just wanted to get her stuff and get the hell out of the hallway.
Nervous and tense, Christina jumped. She turned to find a very out-of-breath Jenny beside her.
"I ran all the way here. I thought I was late again and…" Jenny suddenly stopped her speech as she noticed Christina's pale face. "Chrissy, what's wrong?"
"Nothing." Embarrassed, Christina kept fumbling with her lock. Jenny studied her friend. Her street smarts were telling her something was wrong.
Even though they were the same age, Jenny was taller and more developed than Christina. She was also more confident and tougher but still not a member of the A clique, or the B, or C—not even the D, but she didn't care. Jenny was lower class and knew how to fight dirty.
The two girls had been best friends since grade school. Christina had begged her parents to send her to Cloverdale High when she'd found out Jenny was going. Although her parents had wanted her to go to St. Joseph's, an all-girls, private, boarding school outside Philadelphia, they'd relented after an entire summer of pleading from their daughter.
Not rich by any means, Nunzio and Gabriella Matteo had scrimped and saved, and had wanted the very best for their little girl. That meant a private, convent school. But their resolve had melted with Christina's tears and they allowed her to stay at home in Bensonhurst, New York, and attend public school.
Jenny continued to study Christina's bent head. "Chrissy, what's happened?"
"Nothing," Christina mumbled, as her lock finally released.
As she swung open her locker door, an envelope fluttered out. Jenny bent down to pick it up. It was an envelope addressed to 'Chrissy Matteo'. She handed it to her friend. Perplexed, Christina quickly tore it open. Whomever it was from had wedged it between the door and upper frame of her locker.
It was a letter from the Anderson Family Planning Clinic—and—shocked, Christina looked up at her friend. Jenny snatched it from her shaking hands and began reading it out loud.
"Dear Miss Matteo… We regret to inform you that a sexual partner of yours, who has requested to remain anonymous, has contracted gonorrhea and is currently being treated at our clinic. We are writing to urge you to seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine whether you have also been infected… holy crap! Is this…?" Jenny looked up at Christina with new eyes.
"No, it's not true! Jenny, how can I get that… that disease when I've never even kissed a guy?" Christina hissed.
"Well, you don't get it from kissing."
"Okay, okay. But why is this addressed to you? And in your locker?"
"I don't know." Panic coursed through Christina's system and she felt weak.
Jenny was studying the letter again. "You know what this is? It's a joke."
"Chrissy, official letters from medical clinics don't get stuffed into student lockers. And look." She held up the envelope. "There's no stamp on it. These kind of letters get mailed to you or they try to contact you on the phone."
"But who would do that? We don't know anybody here."
"I don't know but we're going to find out." Jenny's face set with determination.
"Jenny, no!" Christina shouted, as the first bell rang warning everyone to get to class. "If my parents find out, they'll ship me off to convent school and you know how much I had to beg to stay here." Christina snatched the letter from Jenny's hands and stuffed it into her sweater pocket. "Promise me you won't say anything to anybody." Jenny stubbornly remained silent. "Jenny?"
"Okay, I won't."
Inside their English 101 classroom, Christina and Jenny took their seats along with the other freshmen. The final bell hadn't rung yet and Mrs. Lauder, their teacher, hadn't arrived yet.
Jenny leaned over to Christina and whispered, "Maybe it's Ashford over there." She nodded toward Stevie Ashford, a big, bulky kid who excelled in sports but not in school. "I think he likes you."
Christina gave Stevie a sideways look before turning back to Jenny. She kept her voice low. "If he likes me, why would he do that? It doesn't make sense."
"Maybe you're right. I'll bet he can't even spell gonorrhea."
"Jenny, shut up. Somebody's gonna hear you."
"Hey, you're Chrissy, right?"
Christina looked up to see Billy Havenwood, class leader and superhunk, sidle up to her desk and place his elbows on it. He leaned forward into her face and the room went deathly quiet.
"Y…Yes," she replied.
Christina was wary. Billy Havenwood had never spoken to her. The school term had only begun three weeks ago and everyone had already been pigeonholed into his or her clichéd roles—class clown, nerd, jock, wannabe. Billy was none of those. He and his best friend, Jake Monroe, were the superstars. Popular, brash, arrogant and gorgeous, they knew what they had and what they could command.
Rumor had it that Billy came from a wealthy family. His mom, a liberal, hippy-type, had insisted her son attend public school in order to learn how 'normal' people lived. His businessman father had sternly objected but then finally relented.
And Billy? Well, he didn't care where he went as long as he could party. His drinking exploits in his first few weeks of school had already made him a semi-legend. Even the seniors were impressed.
Christina was not—although she did have a secret crush on him. All the girls did. But why was he talking to her now with that wild, glazed look in his eyes?
"I've got some advice for you." He slurred his words slightly.
Repulsed by the smell of beer on his breath, Christina leaned back. "W…What?"
A slow smirk spread across Billy's face. "Next time you wanna hump, use one of these." He threw a wrapped condom at her. As if on cue, the entire class burst out laughing. Then Billy yelled, "Now." And, suddenly, the other students pelted Christina with condoms.
Christina sat there in shock as a hot, fire of humiliation spread from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. Looking around at the sea of laughing faces, her breathing stopped. Billy stumbled back to his seat and gave his friend, Jake, a high five.
Aghast, Jenny jumped up and started yelling around the room. "Stop it! Stop it!"
No one paid any attention. They just kept laughing. Suddenly, both Christina and Jenny spotted a photocopy of Christina's family planning clinic letter tacked onto the bulletin board. Everyone had seen it!
Christina's bottom lip quivered. She had never been so embarrassed in all her life. What was going on? And why? Summoning all her courage, she finally spoke up.
"It's… it's a lie. It's not t…true." She spoke louder. "It's not true."
Jenny made a beeline for the letter and tore it off the board. "All of you, shut up," she ordered.
As if on cue, the other classmates pulled out their own copies and held them high. Everyone had one. Christina finally broke down. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she grabbed her books and turned to her peers.
"W… why are you all being so m…mean to me? I never did anything to any of you," she sobbed and screamed.
The laughter died down and Christina looked into their faces. This couldn't be happening to her—her of all people. She had always done everything right. She'd been nice to everyone. Always blended into the wallpaper. Never made waves. Why this? Why now? Why her? With a final cry of anguish, she clutched her books and ran from the room in tears.
Jenny found Christina sitting inside a stall in the first floor girl's washroom sobbing her heart out. She bent down. Yup—those were Chrissy's shoes, all right. She knocked on the door.
"It's me, Chrissy."
Slowly, Christina opened the door and came out. Her eyes were red and swollen.
"Is everyone still laughing?" Christina tentatively asked.
"No, they all shut up pretty fast when Mrs. Lauder came in."
"How can I ever go back there again after what happened?" Fresh tears started flowing down Christina's cheeks.
"You can and you will." Jenny was angry for her friend. "Now listen, I found out who's responsible."
"Who?" Christina stopped crying.
"Billy Havenwood and Jake Monroe."
"But why? They don't know me."
"I was told they had to pull a prank on the…" Jenny looked at her friend apprehensively.
"On the… what?" Christina demanded.
"On—the class nerd."
"And that's me?" Christina began to feel the first stirrings of anger. "Who said?"
"Mindy Mackenzie. She said Billy picked you out as the class nerd."
"Because you're smart and shy and you wear glasses, I guess. I don't know."
"That creep!" Christina was seeing red. This wasn't fair. She didn't deserve this treatment. Not from them. Not from anyone.
Jenny continued. "Mindy said Billy and Jake had to come up with a really clever stunt on you if they wanted to get in good with some of the seniors. Kinda like an initiation. Word would spread round the school and they'd be cool."
"And I would be the laughing stock?" Christina was getting madder. "What about his buddy Jake?"
"You know that story. Jake goes along with whatever Billy says."
"Jake stole some official stationery from the Anderson Family Planning Clinic and they wrote you that letter. Then they made copies for everybody and Billy bought all the condoms. After you left, he picked them all up saying it was his supply for the week." Disgusted, Jenny rolled her eyes up. "Then he and Jake split before Mrs. Lauder came in."
"Yeah. Mindy said she overheard them talking about going drinking under the bleachers."
Christina quickly gathered her books. She was all fired up and like a volcano, about to blow. She needed to release this anger and direct it at the one who had caused it—Billy Havenwood—that bastard! Determined, she stalked to the door.
"Where are you going?" Jenny asked.
"To tell Mr. 'Popularity, I-Can-Do-Whatever-I-Want' Havenwood off. You comin'?"
"I told old Lauder I was just going to the bathroom but you go get him, girl."
Jenny smiled and gave her friend a thumb's up sign. Christina was now on the warpath and operating on pure adrenaline.
Christina could barely make out the shape of two people crouching low in a back corner underneath the school bleachers outside by the track—but they were there. She knew it.
The schoolyard was empty and no one had seen her. Coming closer, she could hear laughing and snickering—probably at her expense, those jerks. Creeping to the open side of the bleachers, Christina scooted underneath. She could see them now—Billy Havenwood and Jake Monroe. They were half-sitting, half-lying down in the dirt and both were drinking from beer cans.
Christina slowly made her way towards them, clutching her books against her chest for protection. Suddenly, in his inebriated haze, Billy Havenwood finally noticed her.
"Who the hell are you?" he slurred his words.
He squinted his bloodshot eyes trying to focus on her face. Jake just sat there and burped.
And that's when it happened. Christina lost her last remaining nerve and froze. What was she doing? She couldn't go through with this. It was one thing to talk about what you were going to do when you were safe in the girl's washroom but it was another when you were actually facing them. She was feeling weak again and her knees started to shake. Any moment now, she would faint—right in front of these bozos and be embarrassed all over again.
Billy suddenly stood up. With beer can in hand and wobbling a little, he came towards Christina.
"I know you. You're that class nerd." He burst out laughing, as did Jake. Jake, still on the ground, didn't know what was going on but if Billy laughed, he laughed.
Mortified, Christina turned to run. This had been a bad idea and she needed to get away as fast as possible. She took a few quick steps but in her haste, her foot landed in a hole in the dirt. She fell onto her hands and knees. So there she was—on all fours—with her bum stuck in the air—right in front of them. Billy laughed harder.
"Hey, is that an invite?" he asked, as he slugged back more beer. "Because if it is, I don't do charity."
At that moment, something in Christina snapped and she could feel anger roiling through her system again. Who the hell did this jerk think he was? Slowly she stood up, brushed the dirt from her clothes and picked up her books. She turned to face Billy Havenwood and defiantly raised her chin up.
"Go fuck yourself." There. She'd said it. What a relief!
Jake drunkenly laughed in the background. "Whoa… no chick's ever said that to you before," he cackled.
Billy's eyes narrowed on Christina and his spine straightened. "What? What did you just say to me?" he demanded.
"You heard me. And I may be the class nerd but it's better than being the class drunk like you," Christina accused forcefully.
No one had ever spoken to Billy like that before, except maybe his father. This was new territory and he didn't like it one bit. Who the hell was this little nobody telling him off anyway? Throwing his empty beer can to the side, he took a few predatory steps towards Christina. She instinctively took a few steps back.
Suddenly, Christina realized that this was not a very good place to be—alone with two drunken guys, hidden under the bleachers, with no one else around. What if they…? Nobody would hear her screams or cries for help. Her courage deserted her and she took a couple more frightened steps back.
"Stay a…away from me," she stammered.
And in that instant, Billy Havenwood read her mind. So, this chick thought he might force himself on her, was that it? He laughed to himself. Why not play along and teach this little bitch a lesson? He wouldn't do anything, of course, but she didn't know that. And this might be fun. She deserved to be taught a lesson after what she'd just said to him.
He smirked at her then. "What do ya think I'm gonna do?" he asked menacingly, taking more steps towards her. "Have a little fun?"
Christina backed away even more. "I… I… said… stay away. Don't come any clo… closer." Her words came out breathy, as fear coursed through her system.
"Is that why you came to find me, for a little mid-morning action? Because baby, if you wanna fuck, I'm ready." He was leering at her now with those glazed drunken eyes of his, as he brazenly looked her up and down. "You know, for a class nerd, I gotta say you've got great tits." He slurred his last few words as the five beers he'd already had that morning took their toll on his body.
Shocked at his dirty language and frightened to the very pink-polished tips of her toes, Christina suddenly turned and ran out from under the bleachers. She could hear Billy Havenwood laughing and laughing as she kept running at full speed, across the track, through the parking lot and into the school building. She didn't stop until she reached the first floor girl's washroom.
Panting hard, Christina splashed cool water on her face. This had not been a good day but things were about to get worse…