I had to do it.

I’d been trying to be one of the populars ever since fifth grade. I begged my mom to put me in cheerleading and ballet and tennis and basketball with the cool kids. I drank what they drank, smoked what they smoked, dropped my grades, starved myself, cut myself, and shoplifted from whatever expensive-ass store was “in” that week. I even skipped my grandfather’s funeral to go to Leanne’s birthday party. I was desperate to fit in somewhere besides the math club. I was their puppet.

So when Leanne and her giggling little bleach-blonde posse came asking if I wanted to help them prank my brother, how could I say no? That would go against what I’d been doing for the last five years of my life. I figured it would be half a second, no tongue, just a harmless little kiss. Sure, it would be kind of gross. But they do that in Europe, don’t they? And if it made the populars laugh a little, it would be worth it. Right?

I didn’t expect for it to go any further.

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