The Lipstick Laws

Free The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

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Authors: Amy Holder
emerge from the bathroom five minutes later, completely embarrassed and thinking my social life is over.
    "Took you long enough. Are you okay?" the girls ask, following me into the other room, where my clothes are hanging innocently in a closet.
    "I just need to get dressed," I say, shooing them out of the changing room. "Privacy, please!"
    "Damn, she used all the toilet paper and clogged the pot! Funny thing is, her shit doesn't even stink!" I hear Inspector Brandon yelling from the bathroom.
    ***
    "Thanks for almost drowning, April. It gave me some alone time with Kyle," Britney says with a devious grin. "He's an amazing kisser."
    We're finally back at her house. I've changed into my pajamas and am trying to erase the trauma of the night from my mind.
    Jessica comes closer, inspecting me for death bumps. "Why didn't you tell us you're allergic to chlorine?"
    "Well, I know what good friends you are ... and I felt like if I had told you, you might've canceled your plans. I didn't want to ruin your fun," I say, trying to make them feel guilty.
    It's unsuccessful.
    "We wouldn't have canceled," Britney says impatiently. "Don't act like some saint, April. I'm allergic to peanuts, but I wouldn't ban everyone else from throwing a peanut butter party. Anyhow, considering the geek procedure you pulled, I can't believe that Brandon thinks you're hot. I mean, you looked like a total nerd-herding chumpnut tonight."
    "What?" Erin, Brianna, and Jess blurt simultaneously, as if they're sharing the same brain.
    "I'd rather not know," I mutter under my breath.
    "Yeah, Brandon totally digs April. He even asked if we want to go to Troy Hoffman's annual bonfire in two weeks. Yummo! What I wouldn't do to get with Troy. If only I could find a way to bump off his girlfriend," she says casually, picking at her fingernail polish.
    "April, did you hear that? Brandon invited you to Troy's bonfire party! You're so lucky! He digs you, and he's totally popular," Jessica recaps.
    Getting invited to Troy's party is a big deal; he's the most coveted guy in Penford High School. But getting invited to accompany Brandon the slug makes me want to vomit.
    "Ummmm ... no, I'm not going," I state matter-of-factly.
    "Ummm ... yes, you are!" Britney argues.
    I throw up a little in my mouth. "Brit, I think he's beyond repulsive!"
    "It doesn't matter what you think. According to Lipstick Law Seven, your decision is based on the group as a whole. Brandon is totally popular—and you're totally going!" she demands.
    "I don't even know if I'll be available," I reason.
    "Oh, yeah, like you have other plans. What, with your dork-tower brother? If you're not already available, you'll make yourself available!" She twists her lips into a scowl.
    I loathe her. Unfortunately, I lipsticked my soul to the twit.
    "But you know I like Matt, and I'll ruin things with him if I go out with someone else," I say.
    "Boo-hoo! The sacrifices you have to make for friends..." Britney says, antagonizing me with a fake smile.
    I temporarily pause at the word
friends.
She's right: If I screw this up, I may not have any friends at all. But, on the other hand, friends should want what's best for me, right? And, clearly, Brandon is not what's best for me!
    "Brit, I can't—"
    "You're not even dating Matt! Come to think of it, you haven't even talked to him on the phone, have you?"
    I look down with embarrassment. It is pretty pathetic now that she says it like that. I don't have a cell, and I don't want to give him my home number. I mean, I can't risk my brother answering the phone and humiliating me.
    "You have to get over him!" Britney points her finger at me heatedly. "I've liked Kyle since the sixth grade, and since I can't have Troy as long as he's with that skanky girlfriend, Kyle will have to do. And you're not going to ruin my chances with him!
    "Since Kyle and Brandon are brothers, and Brandon likes you, you'll have to pretend to like him as long as I need you to. That means you can't talk

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