MacKenzie wasn't jealous of that freak that glommed to her locker, per say.

She just shared a mutual hatred for the girl's "talents". As if scribbling ultramarine pen marks on students' body parts was really considered art. Art that could possibly be better than her fashionably dressed mannequins. Hours wasted on those tacky, faceless models to not even win a fucking prize. It was like nobody even noticed them. No compliments. No swooning fans. Nothing. A "bootylicious" from an impatient friend was spared, yet such outdated words meant nothing to the girl. She sniffed impatiently and let hatred burn holes in her thinning blood, yet tried to remind herself of the positives. There were plenty of things to smile about in the current situation. After all, she was a reasonable girl.

MacKenzie had an ear for gossip bested only by the sonar system of a dolphin. And word was that the Bug Girl was leaving school. Forever. Pfft, Bug Girl. What an ignorant name. If MacKenzie was given some time to think about it, rest assured that she would have thought of a much better nickname for that ugly animate lump of clothing named Nikki if she was given a few more minutes to think about it. Yet time was not on her side and she didn't want to expose her drying lip balm to the air any longer. So, yes. Bug Girl. At least she wouldn't have to deal with creating such an embarrassing name for long. Some guy (MacKenzie didn't bother with names when the people attached to them were so unimportant in the scheme of things) had apparently seen Bug Girl, drenched with rainwater and the humiliation she damn well deserved, emptying her locker into a moth eaten cardboard box. There wasn't much in there; a few mirrors, a few sorry excuses for drawings, and books. Apparently, when asked what she was doing, she replied with a tear ridden "I'm switching schools". A blessing, really. MacKenzie might be able to focus on that guy now...

Though when Jessica bounced down the hallway with the second bit of news, MacKenzie couldn't exactly pinpoint the feeling in her heart. It was all over the place, a pulpy mess, much like the blonde, perfectly make-upped teenager that bobbed around her.

"Jessica, freaking spit it out before you choke, girl."

"That girl Nikki, OMG! She, like, won the art fair!" She sounded as if she was scolding her words, an angry mother to her grammar.

MacKenzie almost wanted to reply "Thanks for reminding me, bitch."

But she settled for rolling her eyes. Mascara flakes crumpled into her eyes, adding to a pissy wince she shot at her so-called friend. "Tell me something I don't know. That's, like, so five minutes ago. God Jessica, why are you always so slow?"

"Dude, that's not what I was going to tell you. Duh. No, no, Nikki is staying in our school. Since she, like, you know, won the art fair with her tattoo thingies, she was all 'Oh, I change my mind'. Isn't that, like, totally awful? We still have to go on with our social lives with that freak. Not that I care. It just is so, like, uggh."

For once, MacKenzie found herself unable to open her trap. Really, a new experience for her. She could dart her words with poison toward the young "artist", or...no, she was at a total loss for anything rude. Chills ran down her spine like track stars.

"Yeah, it's a real shame." she simply stated, flat as a plateau.

She couldn't describe the sudden feeling coming over her. Anger? Pain? No. Those were the basic words a seven year old would learn as vocabulary, and did little to fully capture her emotions in a burst of imagination.

Sudden awareness?

It wasn't malicious thoughts that plagued her brain, nor was it barbed insults aimed at the ready. Terrible thoughts did tap dances in her brain. Why didn't she see the vicious pattern before? God, how stupid was she? It was like seeing the final piece of the puzzle.

"Hey MacKenzie, you alright?" Mock worry swarmed Jessica's voice like red ants. She didn't really care. It was only necessary to keep up the act in front of fellow classmates.

"I...I need a minute."

Her pink heels sort of led themselves to the art exhibit without her noticing, guiding her carefully through the hallways. There, she saw little Nikki, too caught up in self-realization and a flood of friendship, love to notice her enemy's presence. Surrounding her were her two friends - who cared what their insignificant names were? - and...Brandon. God, how did he let himself get caught up with that girl? MacKenzie was prettier, wasn't she?

Wasn't she?

How can you be pretty on the outside if you're so rotten on the inside? Face it, my love, you're jealous.

"No, I'm not." she wheezed to her subconscious. The voice hissed and recoiled like a snake.

I can feel it in you.

"I have great friends. Trusting friends."

You know that's a lie. Popularity is the one band that draws you all together, nothing more. Besides, my mind was not on your friends. I was talking about Brandon.

"I'm not jealous. Men like him are a dime a dozen. Easy to obtain, even easier to get rid of."

You wanted him to pay attention to you when you won the art fair. Wasn't that part of your little fantasy? Were you not reciting the lines you would say to him once he congratulated you? I can even repeat bits of your speech. Any of this jog your memory, MacKenzie?

"I don't need a man's pitiful attention."

"Brandon, I like you."

"I don't."

"Brandon, I love you."

Her mind spoke a truth that had secluded itself to the creases of her dangerous mind. She was jealous. Jealous of the friends who dedicated themselves to Nikki simply through friendship, not by threatening nor the fear of being left out. Pure freaking love, you could feel its sickly scent punching you in the nose halfway across the school corridor. Friendship. And it wasn't just coming from the art exhibit. No, everyone wore the perfume of affection, it seemed, except MacKenzie and her group themselves, a lip gloss flavor that would forever elude her. Nikki had won the boy of her dreams, not through flirting and low cut shirts, but by being her. She wore no mask to cover her face, and MacKenzie's lip gloss reacted to this statement, pulling on her drawn lips.

Yet, she couldn't help feel...respect. Popularity was a game for MacKenzie. And so far, it had been far too easy to win. It was almost as if she had a competitor now. Someone worthy of a challenge, someone the school's little princess actually had to take her claws out and fight for. It was new. It was dangerous.

And damn, did it sound fun.

She couldn't even wait to get started.

And as Nikki's smile beamed even wider and constant blackness continued to swallow the CCP's heart into a flaming abyss, MacKenzie made a vow. A statement, more like it, but the gal would stay true to her next words. Why wait for the starting pistol to sound when MacKenzie could take the initiative and shoot the bullet herself?

"Let the games begin, Nikki."


AN: I hate this book with a burning passion, but what I hate more is how one dimensional MacKenzie is. We're supposed to believe she doesn't feel anything? That she has no story to her at all? I think not.