"Blake! Blake! Blake!" the roar of the adoring crowds filled his ears and made his chest puff in pride. Roj Blake, quarterback extraordinaire, sought after by football scouts. He was the best, just like he kept telling everyone.
Roj posed, his hands flared on his hips, his square jaw jutting out, just like he'd practiced for hours in front of the mirror at home.
In the crowd full of the faces of his sycophants, people who considered him a football god, was one that did not fawn like the rest. Roj's eyes scowled even as the rest of his face kept up the mask of the hero. Kerr Avon. The stuck-up bastard who thought he was better just because he graded higher than anyone else. Well, he showed him, didn't he?
They love me. Roj Blake. They workship ME, not a squint-eyed geek with the pallor of a ghost who rarely left the computer lab. Roj snorted a scoff. He rarely heard Kerr say anything except in derision, usually at him. Anti-social. That's what he was.
The boy had the gall to claim that his football success was pure luck and that his reputation was built on beating inferior teams and the superior tactics of the coach.
Why was the geek even here among the crowds he detested? Of course, he wasn't even watching the game, his head bent down to work on a tablet computer.
This was HIS big moment. Everyone should be focused on him, even stupid geeks who didn't have the presence of mind to recognize greatness. Well, he would help him with that. Kerr obviously needed a bit of attitude adjustment to help him fit in with everyone else. It was only for his good.
Roj strode forward through the crowds and they melted before him as if they were in the presence of royalty, which they were. People grasped at his sleeves. A girl fainted and he rushed over to help, a warm smile on his face at her stuttered thanks. He paused for a second to give the cameras a chance to catch his good side.
Blake continued on like a beacon focused on his prey, a friendly smile his weapon as he plopped down beside Kerr, his arms spread across the seats, one possessively behind the geek. With a smooth gesture, he yanked the tablet out of Kerr's hands with a smile on his face and said loudly so his words could carry to the cheap seats, "Glad you could come, Kerr. I appreciate your support."
Kerr scowled, his eyes following the confiscated computer. "I didn't come to…"
Blake drowned out his words. "I know how busy you are to spare your precious time for ME."
The crowds murmured their approval and that made him uneasy. "I know you're betting against the school team." The approval turned to glares. That was better.
"That's alright. You only know numbers," said Blake, "You don't care about people. About school pride or loyalty." His lips stretched to a wide smile so people would see that he held no animosity, though the glare he gave Kerr, only for him, was full of menace.
The geek stared at him, his face without emotion.
"You did crunch the numbers, didn't you?" Blake challenged and everyone hung on his words.
"Of course," replied the flat voice, his eyes steely as he moved to get up.
Blake clamped his thick fingers on the geek's thin shoulders, squeezing tight. "Don't leave. The game hasn't even started yet." His face assumed the ever-ready smiling mask so people would think it was a gesture of friendship.
Kerr didn't react even though Blake's hand became a punishing vice, but his jaw tensed in a hard line.
Stubborn bastard. Won't even flinch when he should.
"Stay here," Blake commanded and his voice became warmer, though his eyes didn't, "Enjoy the game. I'll come by later." To check that you've followed my orders. He said this bit louder so that his fans would know his edict concerning this traitor and make Kerr's life extremely uncomfortable if he disobeyed.
This is MY school.
Roj leaned closer, a bit of a chuckle on his lips as if he were about to share a joke with his new best friend and whispered, "You could always leave the school."
Of course, they both knew Ensor High had the best computer program in the entire country.
The geek darted him a vicious glare. "You will be the first to know."
Blake guffawed at the joke only he shared and clapped Kerr on the back so that the weakling coughed, the wind knocked out of his lungs. "You should spend more time in the gym instead of the computer lab," Blake said with vicious jocularity.
The people around them laughed in shared mockery of the weak boy.
Don't think people will follow you because you think you have brains, thought Blake. People follow those who give them something to cheer. Heroes to worship.
Jenna, wearing his oversized football jersey and her golden locks flowing in gorgeous wave as she came up the stairs, said, "The coach is looking for you."
"Of course, he's looking for me," announced Blake, standing up like a tower of muscle and still gripping Kerr's computer tablet. Without him, there was no team. He put his arm around Jenna's shoulders and went down the steps. He didn't need to check if Kerr would follow his orders. The boy had no choice if he wanted to study in peace in this school. Plus he still had the tablet. As long as he held it, he could lead this boy around by the nose no matter how much he hated it.
And everyone would think that Kerr Avon, the school hermit, had finally come around because Blake had deigned to become his friend.
Kerr glared at the back of the strutting buffoon and his latest decorative conquest. Blake was the boy he hated the most in the school. The fool was an attention-seeking sociopath with the face of a hero. His fellow students were blinded by the bluster and attracted by the act. He couldn't wait for the day when they woke up to what he was.
He rubbed his shoulder, wincing at the tenderness. That was all he needed. A month's supply of bruises.
If only he could project the other face of Blake so that the others could see, could hear the words Blake only spoke for him, those menacing snarls and thinly veiled threats.
The boy had the cleverness of the bully, and the stupidity of one.
He wanted to kick himself for his response to Blake's question.
"You did crunch the numbers, didn't you?" The question had sounded so innocent, but the insinuation was anything but.
Of course he had to answer in the affirmative. Everyone knew his affinity for numbers and statistics. Any other answer and they would know it was a lie, but it didn't follow that he would betray the school.
The fools. And Blake was a Machiavellian bully.
If he wanted to make money, he might have thought of it. Blake was far too lucky for statistical analysis, except those times when he failed, and he tended to fall loudly.
Plus, if Kerr hadn't studied the attack patterns of the other teams and sent his suggestions to the coach, their school, with such a reckless fool as a quarterback, would never have had such a successful season.
Of course, he made sure the coach would never leak his involvement. He never wanted to associate himself with someone like Blake and once he got what he needed from the computer program, he was out of here.