Katrina Hayes ©2003
Hunter leaned against the tree, casually staring out at the contents of the parking lot. Mostly just cars, but there were a couple motorcycles, and a group of girls who didn't look like they could have been older than freshmen, if they were even that old, on the other side of the parking lot. One of them looked at her watch, as casually as he surveyed the parking lot, excused herself from her friends, and headed over in his direction. Two more figures emerged from the school building, and a car turned into the lot from the street. The other five approached Hunter's corner of the parking lot almost simultaneously. Gordon, or "G" as he called himself, tumbled out of his car, still stuffing a Big Mac into his face, and the little girl was sipping out of a milk carton from the cafeteria. Lunch break, and they were all in the far corner of the school's parking lot. Talk about freedom!
"So, who's got it this time?" Hunter asked, looking the little freshman in their midst. He knew she had it, it was always the one that he'd never seen before. He'd never bother sending one of his better runners on such a lame "mission." Much less make such a big deal about a little marijuana when he did.
"I did!" The girl, Veronica, glanced around the parking lot nervously.
"What's wrong, lil' girl, you scared? We know it's you, so go ahead and get on with it. We ain't got all damn day," G remarked.
"No... no, I got it right here," and she pulled out a rather innocent-looking brown paper packet out of her jacket.
"That's the stuff! Good girl." Hunter took the packet from her quivering, outstretched hand, and shook a few leaves into his own palm. "Good quality," he said as he passed the packet onto the girl standing next to him, Ashley, who just so happened to be his girlfriend.
All four of the seniors took at look at Veronica's wares, evaluating the quality, assessing the amount, before they would make a decision.
"You might be worth something to us after all." Veronica relaxed a little with this comment, which the seniors surrounding her took note of. Michael nudged Hunter when he noticed, but Hunter motioned that it was ok. Veronica didn't notice the interaction, she just stood there wondering what they were going to have her do next. Or was she done with their series of worth-proving tasks? That last comment of Hunter's made it seem so.
Hunter pulled Gordon aside, whispering for a few moments. Ashley pulled Hunter's jacket closer around her shoulders, as she and Michael watched Veronica with blank looks. Veronica regained most of her nervousness, shifting uncomfortably under their gaze, but unsure of what she was supposed to be doing other than just standing there. She hadn't been told of anything... or had she?
Ashley, on the other hand, had a completely different set of worries. Hunter had not done a single favor for any girl since she'd come along, and was not known at all for his kindness to the female gender. Not even giving them a place of worth in his mind, not even telling them they "might be worth something." Ashley had grown comfortable with that. She would not let this little freshman worm her way into their world.
"Michael, watch the kid. I'm gonna go." Ashley headed back towards the school, stepping with the confident prowl that many of the girls who idolized her had tried to imitate for years, without success.
Ashley prowled right into the main office. "Miss Johnson?"
"You might want to send someone to check out the parking lot. There's some suspicious looking students out there, and I think they might have some..." she lowered her voice to a bare whisper, "some drugs."
This drew a gasp from Miss Johnson, and Ashley had to stifle a giggle. It was so easy to stir up an adult who refused to notice the lives students had been leading around her. Miss Johnson scrambled through the door behind her desk, yelling "Mr. Banks! Mr. Banks! We might have a problem in the parking lot!!!" Ha! Ashley thought. That damn freshman was as good as expelled. Veronica would have no chance to sink her claws into Hunter now.
What Ashley had not expected was for Hunter to see right through her. He knew she was up to something the moment he'd seen her striding away across the parking lot, and made up his mind about Veronica. Ashley had been just about everything he hated about girls - from her fashion obsession to her pea-sized brain and extreme clinginess and jealousy, the only reason he'd kept her around was to keep beating her up. She was too dedicated to him to complain. He only wished some of his minions were as loyal. At least most of them had more sense than to go squealing to the administration about some drugs that she had been passing around just moments before.
Hunter, G, Michael and Veronica were chatting in a circle when Ashley returned with Mr. Banks. As they approached, they could hear parts of the conversation.
"No, I really think we can beat the Indians this year. I don't care what you think. We'll only be defeated if you don't work hard enough and help us; the rest of the team's been working their asses off."
"You're a real slave driver, G, and I know you're just trying to motivate me, but it ain't workin'. There's absolutely no chance of us beating them, and you know it."
"Ooh, but Michael! You can't give up! You look so hot when you're out there on the field, knocking over some other team's weak defense..." spouted Veronica, doing well in convincing anyone overhearing that she'd associated with these seniors for a long time. She even added a flirtatious tap of his chest, which steamed Ashley even more. At least she wasn't hitting on Hunter... yet. And she wouldn't get a chance to.
"Veronica, you wouldn't happen to have anything Mr. Banks would disapprove of, would you?" Ashley challenged. Mr. Banks allowed himself a brief moment of pride at how well the school's program prepared students to stand up against their peers. The school really did deserve its title of "Drug-Free Zone."
"No... why?" She looked no more terrified than any freshman did, looking at Mr. Banks. He didn't have a reputation for compassion towards students. "Then I'm afraid I'll have to search you. We'll start with that jacket." He found the brown paper packet almost immediately, and a smug look appeared on Ashley's face. Until a similar look appeared on Hunter's face. She only followed him to his car out of habit.