Zach Ruschemski (unionwellsfreak) wrote in alpha_logs,
Zach Ruschemski

The Freak Brigade Adds a Recruit

Who: Max Riley and Zach Ruschemski (with a cameo by Jackie Wilcox)
What: Finding a new friend
Where: Union Wells High School, Odessa TX
When: Wednesday, August 15th, 8:00 am
Status: Finished

She hadn’t even entered the building yet, but she already didn’t like it. Scowling and mumbling a few choice words, Max Riley jogged up the school steps and entered the crowded hallway.

The students were typical high schoolers, bustling in the halls and crowding around lockers. She passed a gaggle of blondes who were located around one particular locker. Cheerleaders, probably… Her suspicions were confirmed when the clique stopped talking as she strode by, then immediately burst into laughter once she passed. Yep, definitely cheerleaders…

The school office came into view on her left and she slipped inside. A secretary sat behind a large desk, clacking away at a keyboard that looked to have seen better days. Max stood by for a long minute while the older woman typed away, waiting for her to look up. She didn’t, even after another minute passed. Finally, Max cleared her throat loudly, causing the woman to startle, looking up from her monitor.

“Oh, hello there,” she said politely. “Can I help you?”

Finally, Max thought to herself. “Yeah, I’m here for my schedule. I’m a new transfer student.”

“Okidokey then,” the secretary chirped cheerily. She went back to her keyboard. “Your name, honey?”

Don’t call me ‘honey’, woman… “Max Riley.”

More clacking. After a few seconds, the secretary smiled and said, “Ah, here we go. Maxine Riley, grade 12. Alrighty, let me just print this out for you.” The warm piece of paper was handed to Max a minute later. “Now let me call you someone who can show you around the school. Just to get you acquainted.”

“No, you really don’t have to –” Max began, but the secretary had already picked up the intercom.

“Jackie Wilcox to the office, please. Jackie Wilcox to the office.”

Max sighed heavily. The last thing she needed was some snooty do-gooder leading her around by the hand. And at that moment, the snooty do-gooder walked in.

Jackie Wilcox turned out to be a tall, thin blonde, pretty in a sort of bland way.  She stopped in the doorway, took in the scene in front of her, and wrinkled her nose in poorly concealed distaste.  The look vanished, however, when the secretary looked up, replaced by a very bright, very fake smile.

“You called me, Mrs. Bednarski?”

“Yes, dear,” the aging secretary replied, already distracted by some paperwork.  “This is Maxine.  She’s new.  Would you mind showing her around today?”

Jackie looked like she minded very much, but her false smile didn’t waver.  “Sure thing, Mrs. B.  You know you can always count on me for anything.”

“Thanks, hon. I’m sure you two will be great friends.”  

Jackie turned her back, rolled her eyes, and strode out of the room, obviously expecting Max to follow.
As soon as the door clicked closed, Jackie rounded on Max.

“Alright, let’s get this over with.  Let me see that schedule.”

Max was not in the mood for this. Jackie was one of the laughing cheerleaders she had passed not five minutes ago. Narrowing her eyes, she kept a hold of the schedule and crossed her arms over her chest, leering down at the shorter girl.

“Okay, let’s get one thing perfectly clear here, kid. I did not ask for your help, nor do I need it. This school is pretty damn small, and I’m sure I can find my way around just fine without you. Thanks anyway.” And the thanks did not sound like a ‘thanks’.

Jackie’s eyes widened.  No one spoke to her like that, not ever.  After the shock passed, though, her competitive nature got the better of her, and her eyes narrowed.

“Listen up, freak.  I own this school.  And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll respect that, because I can and will ruin you.  Now, I’m not gonna have some rude bitch messing up my rep with the office, so let me see the freakin’ schedule!”

Max laughed at the cheerleader’s threat, a smile spreading on her face that didn’t match her glare. “Ruin me?” she repeated. “What’re you gonna do? Tell everyone I wear mismatching socks?” She gasped theatrically. “The horror.”

Looking away from the cheerleader, Max checked her schedule casually. First period was in room 210, computer science with Baker. “Hmm,” she hummed, “Room 210. I think that’s on the second floor. Right? 210?” She prodded at the blonde, waiting for her to explode. “Or, you know, I could be wrong. 210 might be in the basement here and all the levels are mixed up. Is that why I need you to guide me around?”

“I don’t need to guide you anywhere,” Jackie hissed.  “It was a favor for a friend.  But you probably don’t know anything about that, since no one would ever be friends with such a bitch.”

This incredibly hilarious scene was being carefully scrutinized by a boy near the courtyard.  Zach Ruschemski leaned nonchalantly against a pillar, drinking in the carnage.  The boy next to him, a rotund, curly-headed kid with a Grateful Dead t-shirt, could not control his laughter.  However, at Jackie’s latest comment, Zach felt the need to take action.  He abandoned his post with the Dead-Head and headed over, a winning smile plastered on his face.

“Hey, Bitches!” Zach exclaimed.

Max turned her head and blinked at the interloper. Had he just said what she thought he just said? “Pardon me?” she asked.

“Ugh,” Jackie said at the same time.  “Not you.  Piss off, Ruchemski, nothing to see here.”  She accompanied this statement with a dismissive flap of the wrist.

As his favorite pastime was thinking of things to annoy Jackie, Zach was well prepared with his retort.  “Hey, Jackie.  Aren’t you supposed to be off, like, making a sleazy sex tape?  You aren’t gonna be the next Paris Hilton unless you get up off your ass and, well, get back on your ass.”  He held his camera poised in his right hand just in case he could catch that perfect disdainful glare.

He got the glare he wanted, full blast, and with an accompanying sneer.  “Hey, Zach,” she mocked, replicating his tone of voice.  “Aren’t you supposed to be, like, gay?  I didn’t know if I believed it, but hey, you’re awfully obsessed with ass.”

With that questionably offensive remark, Jackie performed her patented ‘ha ha, I got the last word’ hair flip and flounced off.

Max stared at the retreating back of Jackie. Once she disappeared around a corner, Max turned towards the young man with the video camera in his hand and raised a brow. “That was it? That was the best she could come up with?”

Zach issued his usual comical grimace at Jackie’s backside, then turned to Max.  “Well, Jackie likes to cut and run when it comes to insult fights.  It messes up her complexion.”  Returning his camera to his pack, Zach offered his hand.  “Zach, demon cheerleader hunter.  And you are?”

Max grinned a little and shook his outstretched hand. “Max Riley, speed demon and Union Wells’ newest socialite outcast. Pleased to meet you.” She hiked her backpack higher up on her shoulder. “So is this going to be a daily occurrence, or will she generally avoid me like the plague from now on?”

“Plague, but sometimes she likes to play laugh-at-the-lepers.”  The school’s electronic bell began to ring incessantly, but they both ignored it.  “So, what brings a girl with personality like you to Odessa?”

“Nothing of my own accord,” Max muttered. “My parents moved here from Manhattan a while back, and dragged me here with them. Thankfully, however, I was wrong to assume this school would be full of mindless zombie trendies.” She gestured to Zach with her hand. “So does our army outnumber theirs?”

Zach stifled a laugh.  “By, like, millions.  Though, you really gotta embrace your inner freak with us.  You see Kirk over there?”  Zach gestured to the Dead-Head, who was now ogling Max from head to toe (mostly in between).  “Don’t let him get started on Return of the Jedi and the flaws in the Death Star design.  You’ll fudge yourself out of boredom.”

Had Max been drinking any liquid, it would have just been rocketed onto Zach’s t-shirt. After bridling her laughter, she sighed and swept her two-toned hair back from her face. “Oh, wow. Maybe living here won’t be so bad. You, Mr. Ruchemski, have a wit many would die for.”

“Good, since I killed this one guy and took it from him.”  Then, as if timed to chime at a specific moment (which it was), the electronic bell rang a second time, and Zach groaned in frustration.  “Seems like class keeps happening.  Damnit.  So, do you need help finding the second floor?  There’s these things called stairs…”

“Okay, there, pal. No need to drain your funny bone dry.” Max turned towards the stairs and started towards them, pausing at the bottom. “I’ll be seein’ you around Zach. You have the honored position of being my first friend.” Then she took the stairs two at a time and disappeared to the second floor.

Crying out over the bustle of late kids, Zach shouted, “See ya later, freak!” before turning and disappearing in the opposite direction.
Tags: max, zach
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