Song 20 ♪ Chop Mary Sue

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The top queen bee looked from Ashton to me, back and forth a couple of times.

"Never mind," I said, chickening out even as I felt like grabbing her hair and smashing her perfect face on the table. "We were just leaving."

Ashton shook his arm off my hold and bent down to lean on their table. He looked at each girl in turn and finally rested his eyes on Madison.

"Is it true?" he asked.

She tilted her head. It sent her long golden hair into a cascade over her shoulder.

I fidgeted with my hands and looked around and cringed. Even if I ran away now the whole school would have already seen me in the middle of the mess.

"Is what true?" she asked.

Ashton's voice lowered and it gave me a shudder. "That you stole away Vera's clothes this morning?"

The girl's eyes widened to an almost impossible extent. Mine did, too. Not only because Ashton's voice sounded like he was capable of committing murder, but because he also had just outed me as the idiot who streaked this morning.

I slammed my elbow onto his side. "Gee, thanks for telling everybody that it was me!"

He grabbed his side in pain and looked at me with his entire face scrunched up. "I'm trying to help you."

"As usual, I really can't tell if you're helping me or making me sink deeper."

Madison stood up and I jumped. I'd almost forgotten that she was there. She looked me up and down, not with hostility but with pity. And I didn't know which was worse.

"Look, aside from reading the message that half of the school has read, I have no idea what you're talking about." Then she looked at her ex. "And frankly I'm offended that you'd think I was the person behind the prank. What do you think I am?"

Oh, I didn't know, a cheater? Cheaters had no regard for other people's feelings. Plus, the fact that she'd seemed so upset that Ashton kissed me made her a prime suspect for revenge.

A new voice joined us. Addy. "I don't know, the jealous ex? Not to mention, you had your minions, Thing 1 and Thing 2 over there do the same thing to me years ago." Said minions gasped in outrage.

Madison threw her hands up in the air. "I never asked them to do that!" When it was crystal clear that we didn't believe her she turned to her friends who looked down.

Thing 1 said, "Sorry." And she and her other friends looked genuinely like they were hoping Earth would swallow them whole.

I exchanged a glance with Addy. Her jaw was as unhinged as mine. I figured it was probably more shocking for her, after having gone for years resenting them over the episode.

Madison tossed her hair over her shoulder and folded her arms. She honestly looked hurt. "Why do you all keep assuming the worst of me?"

I could feel a headache forming on my temples, and we hadn't even started class yet.

"Wait," I said, lifting a hand up and drawing the attention to me. I didn't recoil from it this time. "If it wasn't you, then, who was responsible?"

We all started looking around, as if we'd be able to see a giant neon arrow pointing at the culprit. But life was never that easy, so-

And then I saw them, two girls a few tables away. They jumped out of their seats, grabbed their bags and ran away as though we'd sniffed the truth out of them. They passed Quinn who was entering the cafeteria. He stood there stunned and as confused as everybody else, until Ashton screamed at him.

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