Mouse and Leo came to sit by us in French.
I studied Mouse, "Hmm...."
"What?" Mouse said firmly.
I gestured to her hair, "Did you do something different to your hair?"
"It looks nice." Chris said, smiling politely.
Leo grinned, "Oh, well I suppose you've never seen her hair like this, have you?"
Chris, Alice, and I shook our heads, "No, never. What did you do with it?"
"I washed it." Mouse said flatly.
We all blinked, exchanging glances.
Chris sniffed and leaned closer to Mouse, causing her to tense up.
He sighed, "I'm not gonna hurt you, Mouse."
Mouse scowled at Chris and he sniffed her hair and stared at her in surprise, "You used shampoo? Your hair smells like lavender!"
Mouse's shoulders tensed more and she looked embarrassed, "Uh, yeah.... I-I used this stuff Stephanie gave me yesterday..."
We all gaped at her and, eyes wide, Chris said, "Stephanie? Stephanie as in cheerleader Stephanie? Stephanie as in Stephanie Bradley?"
Mouse nodded reluctantly, "Yep, cheerleader.... Stephanie Bradley."
We all looked around at each other, curious and confused.
Mouse said, sounding strained, "Why do you guys have to freak out about that? I mean, a girl's gotta wash her hair sometime..."
We all gaped at Mouse stupidly, not sure how to answer.
All we knew was that Mouse would never usually say something like that and she would never usually have anything to do with the cheerleaders.
We let it go for now and got to work on French stuff.
Mouse walked as slowly as she could to the gym after school was over. She wasn't afraid of the dark or anything, she was more afraid of the cheerleaders coming out of nowhere and ripping her face off with their bare hands.... or something like that.
Her sneakers squeaking on the wooden floor, Mouse opened the gym door and turned the lights on. The whole gym lit up with bright lights, causing her to flinch. Mouse turned around and almost had a heart attack, Lydia and Melonie stood right in front of her.
"What the hell?" She hissed.
The cheerleaders cocked their heads to the side creepily and Mouse said, "You, like, appeared out of nowhere!"
The cheerleaders stared at her with that creepy blank look they had, spinning on their heels and Melonie pushed open the supply room door. She turned on the light and walked into the largish room. Well, large for a supply closet, anyway.
Melonie opened a box, revealing a stack of orange and white cheerleading uniforms.
Lydia reached for a uniform and Melonie slapped her hand away, picking one up herself and holding it up to Mouse.
Melonie shook her head and picked up another. She sighed and started going through the box, trying to find one that would fit Mouse.
The cheerleading uniforms were kind of thoughtlessly sized and annoyingly small. They were basically meant for tall, ultra skinny girls, and Mouse was neither of these things. She was a bit heavy-set and very short for her age; Shorter than Chris, which drove her crazy.
Melonie finally pulled out a uniform and thrust it carelessly at Mouse, remarking rudely, "Here. It might be a little tight." She turned around, mumbling, "God, she's so short."
Annoyed by Melonie's perfectionism, Mouse went to the bathroom to try on the uniform. She predictably hated it in every way. It was orange, it had a short skirt (Mouse wasn't particularly fond of skirts in general, but this one bothered her more than most), and for many other reasons.
Having changed back into her normal clothes, she returned to the gym. "Thanks, girlies."
Melonie smiled tightly and said, "Arrive at practice from 3:30 to 5:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays."
Melonie hadn't let Lydia say a single word the whole time, but Lydia managed to say quickly, "Bye, Mouse!"
"Yeah, whatever, Cheerleader." Mouse said without turning around.
Mouse sighed and left the gym, regretting ever saying yes to being a cheerleader.