Song 27 ♪ We Will Shock You

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The next day was what felt to me like the beginning of the end.

The period before lunch ended and Addy and I stood up, chatting about how hungry we were. I was really hoping there was pizza at the cafeteria today, because I felt like I needed a treat after acing a couple of assignments. And then Link got up behind me and intercepted us on our way to the door.

"Ladies, follow me."

Addy and I exchanged a glance. I narrowed my eyes at her and she shrugged.

"What? I really don't know what his deal is."

Out of curiosity, we followed him. He stopped just outside where Ashton stood, unfurling a colorful poster. The other boy reached out to help him tack it on to the announcements board of our floor. Once they stepped back and I was able to see the content of the poster, I felt like my stomach plummeted to the ground and I realized that I never should have agreed to his challenge.

"Drummer and bassist required for the coolest rock band on Earth. Auditions this Friday," Addy read with a sense of awe to her voice. "This is finally happening, huh?"

"No." I took a step back, shaking my head. All of them turned back to me. "No, no."

I stopped when I bumped into someone. I turned around to find Quinn and Madison, holding hands as they looked at Ashton or the poster. I wasn't sure.

Link broke the sudden tension that had fallen into the group. "You guys applying or what?"

The queen bee flipped her perfect hair back and said, "As if. Let's go." She tugged her boyfriend's hand away and even though his body followed, his eyes stayed on us for a while longer.

Was that longing on them?

I turned around, seeking for an explanation from anybody. Addy at least looked as confused as I was, but the two boys were back to focus on the poster.

"Ta da!" Ashton spread his arms open as if regaling me with a great feat. "Challenge accepted."

I balled my fist at him but then I remembered this was Holy Trinity High School For The Rich And Uptight, and that I had the upper hand in the demographics. Rich kids with the world on their hands wouldn't be interested in this. He could do whatever he wanted.

I regarded the poster again and nodded. "Good move, but you're still going down."

He faced me off with an annoying little smile. "We'll see."

By the time lunch was done, this was all everybody could talk about. The whole school was abuzz with the fact that the top hottest senior wanted to make a band. I overhead a bunch of girls in the bathroom talk about how they planned to start learning drums or something just so they could join his band and stare at him up close. After a bout of giggling about how gorg he was, one of them complained that four days was not enough, and that it was so unfair of him to not give them more time until the audition.

I stepped out of my stall at the same time as someone else did. Madison. The younger girls took a look at us and scrammed.

"Fools," she said as she lathered her hands with the nice soap they put out in the bathrooms. "What they don't get is that that's precisely the point. Anyone who is ready to audition in such a short notice is already prepared."

I paused. Then I looked at her. She deliberately checked her makeup in the mirror with probably more care than was necessary.

No way, she wasn't going to-

She rolled her eyes. "It's only logical."

I couldn't shake off the feeling that something was off as I watched her leave. Nothing about Madison seemed casual. Maybe it was because of the way people referred to her that I had a feeling like she was focused, controlling and manipulative. Sure, we'd been wrong when we thought she was the culprit behind my disappearing clothes, and maybe I was reading too much between the lines, but it kind of seemed to me like she was interested in this audition thing.

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