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8. In the Gym

7. Jon's Day

6. Karyn "helps" Jon

5. Bumping Into Sarah in the Hall

4. First Period Honors English

3. It's Kyla's House

2. Karyn's Detour

1. You Are What You Wish

In the Gym

avatar on 2024-02-16 12:06:00
Episode last modified by Ms. Cork on 2024-02-16 12:06:56

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The bleachers were almost full by the time Jon stepped onto the gym floor. He was received with a cheer, but it wasn't quite a cheer of support, more like a cheer that something was happening. That Jon had showed up. He didn't have a choice, but they didn't know that.

He looked over to the tumbling mats: Sarah was there, of course, flanked by Tiffany Sanders and Melissa Smith, Sarah's closest friends. Just a little behind them were Erika Weber and Lucy Corinth, who rounded out the current cheerleading squad. All five looked perfect in their white uniforms with blue-and-gold trim. Five-on-one didn't seem fair, but none of this did.

Jon scanned the crowd to see if he could find any support there: Karyn was sitting in the front row looking more subdued than those around her. She mouthed "good luck" and gave Jon a small thumbs-up. Zoe was in the back at the far corner. Jon couldn't always read his sister's body language properly, but now she was huddled among a small cluster of her friends, all of them wearing their characteristic goth attire, and it was like a group of zebras camouflaging each other to make it even harder to tell what any one of them was doing. Jon saw a few of his male friends, like Jay Duncan and Tim Brant, but they were completely assimilated into the cheering, jeering crowd that was ambiguously chanting Jon's name.

All it did was make Jon's ribs feel like the floorboards from The Tell-Tale Heart.

Jon did not make note of Kyla Leeson, sitting as close to the tumbling mats as she could manage and subtly brandishing her #2 pencil. But who would? It was just Kyla Leeson, what trouble could she cause?

"So you showed up," Sarah said matter-of-factly. "Well, that's step one. But while we're here, let's make this interesting."

"Interesting?" Jon gulped.

"Yeah. Stakes," Sarah clarified. "You've already given your terms: if you win, you're on the squad." Sarah gestured broadly at her be-uniformed compatriots, basking in her own sarcasm. "So what do we get if we win?"

"Wait," Jon interrupted. "You've already got five cheerleaders, there's no room for a new member."

Melissa took a step forward, punctuating the gesture with a burst of laughter. "Hah. If you win, I'll give up my spot for you."

It was a boast, one that might have be taken back as a joke should the need arise. But, unnoticed, Kyla gave her pencil a small wave and grinned. She wouldn't have been able to do this part if the confrontation wasn't already so thoroughly entangled in Kyla's magic, and she wouldn't dare drain her resources this low, this close to all of the cheerleaders, if she didn't have Karyn as a back-up right in the same room. But it was not mere chance that these factors were currently in Kyla's favor.

"F-fine," John couldn't think of another out, but he also couldn't back down. Karyn's damn wish. "And if you win, I'll..."

"You'll wear whatever we tell you for a month," Sarah finished for him.


"Every morning, you'll report to us before class, and you'll change into whatever outfit we give you."

Jon was going to object, but he already knew he wasn't going to lose. "Fine. Can we just get started?"

Sarah's grin widened, like a wolf eyeing her prey.

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