“CHEERLEADERS VS. THE APOCALYPSE”
I’ll skip forward to after school. Can’t say anything interesting happened during the day. Xandi attended her classes dutifully, and then she went to cheer practice. Afterward, once all the routines have been run through and plans for the evening game are in place, is when she approaches Marco with her proposal.
He’s a part of the squad, one of four male members, actually. It’s his fault she’s even a part of the team. She saw all of the fun he had at the end of the previous school year, as well as the potential for meeting more students. Her charisma mixed with her athletic abilities guaranteed her spot. Taylor isn’t on the squad. After practice is one of the few moments they have together when it’s just the two of them.
Xandi clears her throat as she puts the last of her things into her backpack. When Marco doesn’t catch the hint, she does it again.
“If you want to talk to me, just say ‘Hey, Marco! I need to talk to you!’” He flashes her a smile.
She smiles back. “It’s one of those important kinds of talks.”
“What’s wrong?” The concern he wears on his face is a huge shift from his previous chipper self.
“I’m not sure how to explain it.” Her gaze lowers to her feet, and it’s clear she’s still searching for the right words. “After the game tonight, do you have plans at all? I’ve got something I need your help with.”
“What kind of a something? I can call Taylor and have her—”
“Only you.” She says it a bit too quickly, and Marco’s frown changes to one resembling anger. Xandi bites her lip, and speaks again before he gets a chance to protest. “Don’t misinterpret this, but it has to do with my foreign exchange student program. And it’s a conversation I need to have with her at another time.”
“I don’t get it.” He shakes his head. “Why can’t we talk about it together. All three of us.”
“I’ll explain that tonight.”
His frown returns to one of pure concern. “I mean, I guess. I didn’t have any plans tonight. Taylor’s got a ton of homework, so I wasn’t going to see her once we got done cheering.”
“All the more reason why I’ll tell her later. Don’t want to get in the way of homework!” The enthusiasm Xandi speaks with is fake in a painfully obvious way. Even I winced.
“You’re worrying me,” he says softly. “Should I be?”
Her smile returns and she shrugs. “Aren’t you always worried about me?”
“This is a new kind of worry.” He raises both of his eyebrows at her to emphasize his point.
“We’ll talk after the game.” She walks away before he can ask anymore questions. For now, her answer will tie him over. Getting him to meet with her will be the easy part. The hard part will be convincing him to join the cause. She spends all night coming up with a plan.