Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Gossip/Rumors (either or both) (10/28/10)
TITLE: Haylee's Lies
By Dusti (Bramlage) Zarse
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“Lookie what I found. Lose something, Lizzy?”
Elizabeth turned pale.
Haylee bent over. “Thought I’d do you a prop and give it back before it fell into the wrong hands,” she whispered, tapping a French-tipped nail on the cover. ‘Lizzy loves Maggie’ was scribbled in bold strokes. “Wouldn’t want the whole school to know—” her words dropped— “that you’re gay and all.”
“I’m not gay,” Elizabeth mumbled, hurriedly turning the notebook over and blinking back tears.
Soft snickers of those around them echoed Haylee’s laugh. “That’s not what your notebook says.”
Elizabeth shoved the notebook. “It’s not mine.”
“Sure it is. It has your name all over it. Lizzy loves Maggie. Oops!” Haylee lifted a hand to her mouth. “I forgot. I was trying to keep it a secret for you. Oh well. It would have come out eventually.” She gave a false shrug, still giggling, and took a seat two desks back.
Shayla’s low voice slipped across the aisle. “I think you just outed her. At a Christian school.”
Haylee rolled her eyes at her friend. “She didn’t even write it. Steph Rhinde did. I just thought it’d be funny.”
“Hey, Lesi Lizzy, come’ere.” Haylee’s bangle bracelets clinked as she waved to Elizabeth from across the cafeteria.
Elizabeth looked down at her empty food tray and shuffled toward Haylee’s table.
“Look—” Haylee pasted a smile— “I feel bad about the other day. The whole lesbian thing. “
Elizabeth flushed. “I’m not gay.”
“Oh, I believe you. And I’m going to help you prove it. Homecoming dance is coming up. Let me hook you up. I’ll even pick somebody cute. Whatdoya say? Amends?”
Elizabeth’s head lowered. “Mnogoin.”
“I said I’m not going.”
Haylee laughed. “But everybody goes to homecoming!”
“Not me.” Elizabeth tucked her tray against her chest and shoved a lock of hair behind her ear.
“Well, geeze, Lesi Lizzy.” Haylee’s smile slipped. “I mean, come on. I’ve tried to do you a prop twice now, and this is the thanks I get? Just go away.”
“Guess. What.” Shayla’s thin legs slipped beneath her desk as she raised two eyebrows at Haylee. “You will never guess. Lesi Lizzy is preggers.”
“No way! She’s pregnant? How do you know?”
“Overheard her talking to Coach Mason about how she’s been ditching PE. I made sure to bump into her in the locker room, all casual you know. Totally preggers. I thought she was just getting fat.”
“No way. Steph’s gonna flip.”
“Hey, Lesi Lizzy,” Shayla called, “who knocked you up?”
Elizabeth slouched in her seat.
“Was is Martin Mellion? Your lab partner set you straight?”
“Probably.” Haylee sniffed. “I’ll bet she got so drunk at one of their study sessions she let him go crazy. Ugh, what an image. You know she’s never sober anymore.”
Shayla rolled her eyes. “Geeze they’re gonna have an ugly baby.”
“Did you see her crying?” Haylee plunked her backpack on the kitchen counter before going to the fridge. “What a reject.”
Steph flipped on Haylee’s TV. “I’d probably cry too if I let Martin Mellion do me.”
Shayla laughed. “Mind if we watch the news? Total dullsville, I know, but there’s supposed to be something about the homecoming pep rally.”
“Whatever.” Haylee dropped onto the couch and popped the tab on her soda.
The TV screen faded in “—live from the courthouse where Randall Cain pled guilty on the sole indictment of aggravated child molestation today. Both Mr. Cain and his lawyer refused to com—”
Haylee’s hand froze around her soda can. “That’s Lesi Lizzy’s dad—”
Shayla sat dumbfounded while Steph clicked the mute button. “You don’t think—?”
Haylee looked horrified as she glanced at her friends. “Guys, what if we were totally wrong...about everything?”
“Can we fix it? You know, tell everyone at school the truth?”
“Is the truth any better?” Haylee bit her lip. “We should have just left her alone. I mean, I can’t even imagine. Her own dad.”
“Did you hear?” The girl at the desk beside Haylee leaned across the aisle. “Elizabeth Cain killed herself last night. Note said she hated you more than her dad, even after that stuff he’s accused of. Geeze, Hay, what’d you do to her?”
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