Author's note: I posted the first chapter without any additional notes or explanations; I was just anxious to get it up on the site and I had people coming over so I just kind of skipped over that whole "introductory note" thing. What was the point of this? I'm not sure, really. Oh, and this chapter hasn't been spell-checked, so if you catch any errors, I apologize.
The following weekend, Phillipa brought a "special guest" that she hoped would give the girls an incentive to really get into their knitting. The invitee happened to be the youngest of Phillipa's four sons, Gregory. Phillipa hated to brag but she would concede (to herself, her boyfriend, and most of the people within her immediate family) that she and her late husband had produced one fine piece of ass. All of her sons were attractive, of course, but Gregory looked like a model with a tall figure, prominent muscles, tousled dark blonde hair and opaque navy blue eyes.
In short: Gregory was a poster pin-up, and the perfect person to get Phillipa's students motivated. Especially the teenagers- or more specifically, Miranda.
When the women filed into the classroom, all looking wilted thanks to the intense humidity outside, their eyes all gravitated towards Gregory. He smiled at each one with charming courtesy, and even waved at the mother with the baby. It was clear that all of these women wished they'd put more thought into their appearance but in former weeks the knitting class had been a haven for women; with a male as solid and good-looking as Gregory, it was as though their sanctum had somehow been breached. Phillipa chuckled to herself; the lesson hadn't even started and already the girls were squirming about anxiously. This was the first time Phillipa could ever remember having such a restless class.
Ginger, to her credit, tried her very hardest not to ogle so openly at Gregory's physique. She contended herself with staring into her lap and imagining what could happen between the two if she were just a little older, and just a little more aggressive. Like Miranda.
Speaking of Miranda…
As if on cue, the door creaked open and Titi pranced in first- as always- with Miranda shuffling in last. As always, Phillipa reprimanded them for being so late.
"Look, lady-" Miranda began in a sharp voice, raising her head. "I don't even want to be-" when her hawk's eyes fell upon Gregory, she halted, mid-tangent. And then she just stared. Phillipa smirked.
"Class, this is my son Gregory Darrow. Gregory, this is the fine group of ladies I was telling you about."
"It's a pleasure to meet you all." Gregory sent Miranda a fleeting smile before turning his attention on the class- the new mother in particular looked ready to attack him and give into her most carnal desires. The post-pregnancy hormones combined with the heat must've been driving her a little nuts.
"Miranda, Titi, will you please take your seats?" Phillipa gestured to both of their individual spots and Titi beamed, grabbing her surprisingly dazed niece's elbow.
"Come on, Merdea!" She urged brightly. Miranda snapped out of her stupor and fixed her aunt with a cold glare.
"It's Miranda!" She rectified brusquely, yanking her trapped appendage out of Titi's grasp and flouncing over to her seat. She sat down with a pointed thump and Titi, oblivious as ever, floated away.
Phillipa's plan did not work as well as she'd first anticipated; rather than encourage the girls to knit, Gregory's potent prescence proved distracting. Most of them admired him openly and quickly looked away before he could catch them, giggling behind their hands and whispering. It was as if they were all back in high school. Ginger was mortified to see that her mother was practically mentally undressing him telling the woman beside her some sort of crude sex joke about what she'd do to him if they were locked in a closet together.
"Ouch!" A low hiss from beside her made Ginger look Miranda's way to see that the girl had accidentally pricked herself with a needle. "What are you looking at, Foutley?"
"Same thing as you are." Ginger was surprised at her placid response, jerking her head toward Gregory who was leaning against the desk and conversing with his mother.
Miranda grinned slyly, slanting the male a lascivious look. "Mhmm, he's hot."
"I think everybody here agrees with you." Ginger offered timidly. Miranda made a 'humph' nose, flicking her head the other way. Ginger was more surprised than she should've been by the snub- until she realized that the hottie in question was looking at her, and she, like a fool, was staring right at him!
The red-haired girl quickly looked down, almost dropping her yarn in her haste to appear busy. From beside her, Miranda let out a low ripple of laughter.
"Smooth, Foutley." She muttered, though not in a mean way. Ginger's cheeks burned and she chanced a peek through her eyelashes; Gregory was still looking at them.
"Looks as if he likes you, Foutley." Miranda observed.
"What?!" Ginger whispered incredeoulously, "no. I-I don't think so."
"Jeez, calm down. I was only kidding- like a man that fine would ever show an interest in you." Ah, there was the Miranda Ginger knew and… tolerated for Courtney's sake.
"Maybe he's looking at you." Ginger suggested with a thin smile.
Ginger's mouth fell open a little at that- how could Miranda be so conceited?
"Again, I was kidding. Clearly you have no sense of humour."
"If he was looking at me with any sort of sexual intent, he could probably get arrested or something since I'm jailbait."
"Wow, Foutley, you're dull." Miranda sighed impatiently and Ginger cursed her apparent slow-wittedness. It was girls like Miranda, who reeked of authority and confidence and designer perfume, that moved ahead in life. Girls like Miranda always got the best of everything- including boys. Ginger was too timid to be confident or authoritative, and there was no way that her mother's pay cheque would support the expense of overly-priced celebrity fragrances. Girls like Ginger would always be left with "sloppy seconds". The thought made irrational tears well up in her eyes.
"Ugh, Foutley!" Miranda sounded disgusted. "Are you crying?"
"No." Ginger blinked away the moisture so as not to draw any attention to herself. "I had an eyelash in my eye."
"Sure you did."
"How's it coming, girls?" Both of their heads shot up, and their eyes widened when they saw Gregory, hovering over them with a Crest toothpaste commercial smile on his chiselled face.
Ginger blushed, hating the fact that her tongue seemed to be stuck to the roof of her mouth. "Good." She said quietly.
"Awful!" Miranda declared viciously. "I despise knitting!" The tone of her voice made Ginger flinch and scoot her chair backwards, but Gregory didn't look very put out. His mother had filled him in on Miranda's 'situation' before class began and, since Gregory was going through school to become an elementary school teacher, he'd learned that the best way to deal with kids was to react with patience and understanding- even if he really didn't understand what made Miranda so ornery.
"You want some help?" Gregory offered blithely, "when I was younger my mother taught me to knit."
"Sure." Miranda was only just hiding her self-satisfaction. Ginger gasped, wondering if her outburst had been part of a ploy to earn Gregory's attention. What did it really matter anyway? He was much older than Ginger, even if he'd been in her age range she had the sinking suspicion that he'd be out of her league. He'd probably go for someone more like the dark-skinned girl he was tending to now.
Life was just so unfair.
Ginger worked in silence, contemplating the deeper mysteries of the universe- like why she couldn't ever get a hot guy to notice her, for instance. She figured that maybe the universe was biased, good things just didn't suddenly happen to good people (as Ginger had naively believed for the past thirteen years); it was like being picked to play on the basketball team at recess. Only the big, strong, powerful kids got picked first- and there were some kids who never got picked at all, who would always have to wait on the sidelines watching others bask in their glory. Ginger's fingers itched for a pen. She could probably write an excellent poem about her feelings right now- how unfortunate that she was stuck in this knitting class.
"Ugh." She let the jumble of yarn fall and rested her chin on the desk in front of her- why bother working? It wasn't as if she enjoyed knitting, and it wasn't a score that was going onto her report card.
"Do you need help?" Gregory's voice made her lift her head and her cheeks spot with colour.
"I… sure I guess." Could she be more lame? Obviously she wanted some TLC! But Ginger wasn't stupid enough to just allow Gregory to assist her- she watched Miranda's face, waiting for the other female to glare at her or mouth 'back off!' but the darker girl did nothing. She didn't even flinch.
Gregory helped Ginger set up an easy, steady rhythm with her needles, placing his hands overtop of hers. By the time he finally let go to see how Miranda was progressing, Ginger's hands were warm and still prickling from the sensation of being held.
"Are you getting the hang of this, Merdea?" Titi's voice called from the back of the room; Ginger rotated in her seat to look at the older woman. She had a feeling Titi was eccentric (who carried a plastic fireman helmet in their purse?) but as Miranda's escort to the class, shouldn't she at least know her name?
Miranda stabbed Gregory with a knitting needle. "It's Miranda!" She snapped, pushing her chair backwards (slamming it into poor Gregory) and stomping out of the classroom. An eerie hush fell over the women in the room, not even the baby dared to cry.
"Ginge," Lois looked at her offspring pointedly.
"Yeah, I've got it." Ginger sighed heavily, knowing that her mother probably wanted her to be noble and check on Miranda's well-being. Sure, having someone forget your name was irritating but it wasn't something to get that upset over.
Ginger stood slowly and reluctantly made her way out of the room, unaware that Phillipa was smiling (she'd hoped the two girls would form some sort of friendship) and her mother was, too. As for Titi… she remained clueless to the reason that Miranda had taken off, chalking it up to an overflow of teenaged hormones. She resumed her needlework without a second thought.
Ginger walked down the hall, every step she took against the community centre's tile echoed, bouncing off the walls. She wasn't even really sure why she was doing this- after all, Miranda would never seek her out to lend a helping hand. But then, Ginger thought, perhaps that was one of the big differences between she and her adversary; she was capable of compassion and empathy while Miranda lived only to serve herself.
Shaking her head, Ginger pushed open the door to the girl's lavatory and found it empty. She sighed and bent her head to check underneath each stall, not surprised when she discovered Miranda's purple flip-flops peeking out from beneath the third to last cubicle.
"Miranda?" Ginger straightened up, clearing her throat awkwardly. "Uh, are you okay?"
"Foutley? Oh my God. You've got to be kidding me… why the hell are you here?!" She demanded rudely. Ginger's rarely-seen temper flared.
"I came to check up on you. See if you were alright. Not many people throw silly tantrums after others mispronounce their name."
"She didn't mispronounce it!" Miranda exclaimed indignantly, bursting out of the stall…. Was it just the cheap fluorescent lighting flickering above their heads or did Miranda's eye makeup look smudged? "She's called me Merdea since I was little! She's stupid!"
"Oh." Ginger said quietly.
"Yeah, oh." Miranda scowled and shoved past her to get to one of the sinks, twisting the tap and throwing the permanently lukewarm water into her face to freshen up. "Don't assume you know everything, Foutley."
"My name's Ginger."
Miranda snorted, grabbing a paper towel from the dispenser and drying off. "It's not like I care what your name is, Pony Girl." She scoffed, and left Ginger standing there in shock.
That evening, after changing into her nightclothes and bidding her mom and brother goodnight, Ginger went up to her room and stood before her shelf of pony and horse figurines. What was wrong with horses? Everything, if you wanted to fit in with the "cool" crowd, or at least stop them from ragging on you all the time.
Sighing, Ginger let her eyes rove over each statue, mentally naming the horse breeds as she did so. American cream draft horse, American mustang, American saddle bred, Camargue, Chicksaw Pony…
Ginger sighed and turned away, clambering onto the bed and pulling back the covers. Miranda's attitude was grating on her nerves; she now dreaded her Saturdays instead of savouring them. She stared up at the ceiling, mentally running through a list of excuses that could get her out of going to next week's class. Gregory probably wouldn't be there, and she'd have nothing to divert her from Miranda's cruelness. Maybe she could just plead with her mother… but she knew Lois would never stand for that. Ginger's mother didn't exactly 'believe' in letting other people bully her or her daughter. Probably because in her youth, she was one of the cool "tough" kids.
Well, Ginger thought before her eyes closed, if worst comes to worst I'll just have to swallow my pride and eat some of that gross orange stuff Carl's been growing in his clubhouse.
So there you have it! Please send me some feedback and let me know how I'm doing with this so far.
Thanks for reading!