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Natasha And Stacey MAG
Natasha sat on the tiled floor in the deserted high school corridor, leaning against the door of her open locker. A few papers and notebooks had slid down onto the floor beside her, but she didn't feel like picking them up. The heat of the September day was oppressive and Natasha was dead tired. In the past two days she had had very little sleep. Natasha lifted the soda can beside her and held the cold metal to her hot skin. Keeping the can pressed to her forehead, she ran a hand through her thick, black hair, pulling it away from her face. She closed her eyes and thought of her soft bed with its cool sheets.
Natasha started as she heard the unexpected voice in front of her.
"Well, what?" Natasha sneered as she regarded her friend, Stacey. Stacey had bright, happy green eyes and sandy hair. She had a friendly manner and always seemed to be smiling about something, unless she was angry or embarrassed.
"Well, how did you do on the test?" Stacey inquired.
"Oh, that..." Natasha's voice softened and she relaxed again. "You scared me, I didn't hear you coming...I probably got a B or a C."
"Did you study?"
Natasha closed her eyes and wished Stacey would go away, melt, just disappear. Stacey had become just another one of the clones that roamed the halls of Eastville High School, only concerned with grades, competition and, worst of all, school spirit. As much as she missed the friendship she and Stacey had once shared, Natasha didn't feel like dealing with her. Natasha clearly remembered a time when Stacey had had different priorities, and they had had good times together. Although she had never been as daring as Natasha, Stacey had been a lot more interesting before she joined the ranks of the preppy conservatives here at Eastville High. Natasha often wished that Stacey had grown up as she herself had, with the attitude that growing up should be a time for fun, freedom and experimentation, but their views had diverged. Stacey seemed to believe that the only purpose of being a teenager was to prepare for later life. To Natasha, this line of thinking was utterly stupid. Of course, you should think about the future, she thought, but having a good time in the present was just as important. Natasha could not understand how anyone could study all the time, unless he or she planned on being a brain surgeon or nuclear physicist. Natasha studied a moderate amount and got B's and C's in her classes. She was satisfied. Stacey was always studying. She got straight A's, but she was often dissatisfied.
Natasha got up, opened her soda and took a long sip. She shoved her notebooks into the messy locker and pushed it shut. Then she turned to Stacey.
"My class was cancelled. I'm going down to the bathroom. I'd ask you if you want to come, but you probably have to get back to class," Natasha said matter-of-factly.
"No, I'll come!" Stacey quipped, a big annoying grin on her face. "I finished my lab early, so I don't have to be anywhere for a few minutes."
Natasha smiled, glad to have some company, and glad not to be discussing her history test grade. I'll give her one more chance, thought Natasha, and that's it.
"What are you doing tonight?" she asked her friend.
Pushing open the light wooden bathroom door and entering the brightly lit, smokey-smelling room, Stacey hesitantly replied, "Well, I've got to study for a while tonight."
"Study after school."
"Well, I can't. Do you have to smoke in here? It makes the bathroom smell."
Natasha leaned back against the sink and turned her head to one side. She blew a cloud of white smoke in Stacey's direction.
"Yes, I haven't had a cigarette in almost two hours. Now, why can't you study after school?"
God forbid she not have a cigarette every hour, thought Stacey."Well, I have field hockey practice after school."
"Field hockey?" Natasha's mascara-rimmed eyes grew wide with astonishment.
"Field hockey," Stacey replied self-righteously, feeling just a bit foolish.
Natasha chuckled softly, looked at the ceiling, and took another drag on her cigarette. Stacey hated her right then. So I like field hockey, so what? she thought. At least I'm not wasting my life doing useless things like getting drunk every weekend. Although she would never have admitted it to anyone, Stacey sometimes wished she could do some of the things that Natasha did. Popularity came easily to Stacey, but although she got along well with guys, she knew that they did not think of her as sexy or mysterious. Natasha had a way with guys that was hard to explain. She wasn't too popular in their class, but then, she wasn't unpopular either. When Natasha was interested in a guy, however, she usually had him within a short time. Stacey was attractive, but Natasha was beautiful. For these reasons, a strange combination of scorn and jealousy, Stacey was sometimes angered by her friend.
"Well, if field hockey doesn't take up too much of your time, we're going down to Mike's house tonight. We're going to rent a movie...nothing big."
Stacey knew that "we" did not refer to her high school classmates. Natasha's friends didn't live in Eastville. Most of them worked, having graduated or dropped out of school. Those who did go to school didn't take it too seriously. Stacey went out with Natasha and her friends only rarely. Sometimes they had a lot of fun together. Other times, Stacey was frustrated with the stupid antics of Natasha's friends, or felt out of place. Stacey knew that Natasha's friends accepted her, while she also knew that they did not like her as much as her more liberal friends.
Stacey lifted her green eyes to Natasha's pale blue ones.
Oh-oh, thought Natasha. I must have said something that bothered her.
Stacey's facial expressions were a clear indicator of her mood, and right now, her obvious sadness showed through. Natasha did not have time to analyze her friend's reason for being upset because Liz marched into the bathroom.
The short, blond girl saw NatashaAs lit cigarette and gave her a quick, icy stare. She then turned to Stacey. "You going to practice?"
"Yeah, I'll be there," Stacey replied.
Natasha looked at Liz, for whom she had always had an intense dislike, as the girl washed her hands and reapplied her lip gloss. Liz was obnoxious, condescending, and not likely to associate with anyone who didn't wear outfits costing over sixty dollars. Natasha thought that Liz's face resembled that of a rat. As Liz departed, Natasha grinned at the thought.
Stacey sensed the tension between Natasha and Liz, and could guess by Natasha's smile that she must be thinking something insulting. She also noted the fact that Liz avoided Natasha's stare and quickly left the bathroom. She's actually afraid of Tasha, Stacey thought. Stacey found the fact that anyone could be scared of Natasha surprising, for she herself knew how sensitive her friend could be.
"Is it just me," Natasha asked, while quizzically regarding the door through which Liz had just exited, "or does that girl look like a rat?"
Stacey's smile returned.
"Maybe the heat's just getting to me."
"No," the other replied, "It isn't just you."
Natasha looked up in surprise.
"Listen, I can't make it tonight, but drink a beer for me, okay?"
"Stacey, you don't drink...but I'll do it anyway," Natasha replied with a smile.
"You want to go to the mall on Saturday?"
"Yeah, Stace, yeah...I'd like that. It's been a while."
Natasha put out the cigarette and picked up her soda can. I miss you, you know that, she thought of her friend. She said nothing, but put an arm around her friend's shoulder. Natasha looked at Stacey, the big dumb grin still on her face. n
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