mandyhubbard (mandyhubbard) wrote,

GETTING CAUGHT-- The first chapter

Happy (early) Friday!

I wanted to let everyone know that GETTING CAUGHT is promo-priced at 99cents for October, and is available for both Amazon and B&N's Nook.    And of course, if you don't have a kindle or nook, both sites allow you to download the apps for your phone or computer.

GETTING CAUGHT is a full-length YA novel about two friends in a prank war that won't end until one of them gets caught. And, you know, there's a boy. ;-)

Here's the first chapter if you'd like to check it out! :-)

Today is the day Jess Hill goes down.

I’m not giving up until she’s been fully discombobulated, disgruntled, disparaged. Until she’s been dismembered.

I’m standing behind the gym, near the dumpsters, waiting for the transaction to be made. This must be where all the smokers light up before class, because the smell of stale cigarettes mingles with the garbage. Also because a couple of scruffy-haired losers came out here a second ago with butts in their mouth and freaked when they saw me, as if being Valedictorian means I’m also Willow High’s narc.

Okay, so I’m probably the first person ever to hide out behind the school reading the Princeton Review’s SAT prep book. My version is dog-eared and rumpled, since I’ve had it since freshman year. I’ve memorized every single word in the vocabulary section, from A to Z, but I’m working on the D’s again just to make absolutely sure.

I look up from the book again, and a trickle of sweat slides down my ribcage. It’s January, the first day back since Christmas break, so I should be freezing, not sweating. Though Ken told me the only people who come to this side of the building are the stoners and the janitors, I’m still nervous about getting caught with the offending material. The war has raged for three years now, and with each passing prank I’m more determined to see to it that Jess is the one who gets caught.

I just want to make the deal and get the hell out of here so I can watch her humiliation unfold. She so deserves what’s coming to her. I grit my teeth, thinking of the stunt she pulled last month. I’ve always loved reading the school paper because there’s a section in it where I talk about senior class activities. I’m the president, after all. But she went and ruined it. Somehow she slipped in a half-page ad, right below my column, that read, “Peyton Brentwood loves wiener dogs.” At first, I just snorted in disdain. It seemed totally stupid. But the guys went crazy over it. You should have seen the looks I got in the hallway that day. It was a bunch of smirks and winks and even a “How you doing?” I figured they’d forget about it over Christmas break, but that was giving them way too much credit. I’m still the wiener-dog loving Class President.

I clip those articles, too. I’m building a file in the hopes it will help me get some freelance jobs to help with college tuition. And now I can’t use that one at all.

I’m dying to get this new prank rolling, to redeem myself from the utter humiliation of, well, loving wiener dogs. I don’t know why I let that one get to me. I don’t know why I let any of them get to me but I do, and every time she gets a really good one in, I’m filled with so much rage I can’t even begin to see clearly. Jess Hill does not deserve to have the upper hand. She’s a backstabbing loser of a wench.

Plus, she half-asses everything, and I put hours of planning into my pranks.

Finally, Ken Greeley pokes his head out of the door. “All clear?”

He gives me one of his famous smiles that makes half the Senior class swoon. I just find it annoying. “You’re late,” I snap.

He sidles over to me and scratches his head. “Who’s helping who here?”

God, he is so slimy. I don’t know how a guy like him could be so popular. Maybe it has something to do with those big blue eyes, dimples, rippling muscles, and perfect hair. He’s what most girls at Willow High call a major catch. When Bryn, my best friend, asks me why I don’t think so, I tell her it’s because I’ll do my fishing when I’m safely ensconced in the Harvard campus. The guys there have to be more mature, and less, oh, disingenuous.

When he reaches out to tug my crazy blond curls, I bat his hand away. “Quit it. I have to get to Physics. So let’s make this quick.”

“All work and no play…”

That’s the problem with being smart, but not a total geek. All the guys have this fantasy that under my uptight schoolgirl façade there’s this wild sex goddess waiting for the right man to unleash her. I suppose the infamous prank war somehow perpetuates this fantasy. They don’t realize that pranks have nothing to do with being wild and crazy. It takes military precision and copious amounts of planning. And it’s fueled by an unlimited supply of anger, not the desire to be a jokester or clown or, God forbid, a rebel like Jess.
I glare at him.

He shrugs as if to say It’s your loss. Whatever. “Fine. Give them here.”

I reach into my backpack and pull out a paper bag. Making sure the edge is folded securely so that nothing will come out, I hand it to him. I’m instantly relieved, because at this point, there’s no possibility of being caught red-handed. Even if the principal freaks over this prank, he won’t have evidence to tie me to it. “You guys know what to do, right?”

“Hey, I’m an expert with these things.”

I roll my eyes.

He grunts. “Yeah. You told us, like, a hundred times.”

 I give him a little grin, knowing he’s probably right. That’s the reason why I’ve gotten straight A’s since kindergarten. It’s not just a matter of having book smarts. I never leave anything up to chance. I analyze the risk, consider the consequences. I prepare. So of course I’m going to win this prank war. Because as the rules go, there’s only one way to lose. And that’s by getting caught. And there’s no way Jess, with her fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants tendencies, is ever going to beat me.

“Dave is helping, right?”

Ken just gives me a blank look.

“It’s important that Dave is in on it. Salt in the wounds, so to speak.”

“I got it, Peyton. Chill.” He reaches out as if to rub my shoulders, but I shrug him off.

“Thanks!” I say, hurrying away before he can come on any stronger. As I jog off to Physics, I slather Purell all over my hands. And as I enter the classroom and return the hall pass to its peg near the door, I breathe a sigh of relief.

The planning is over. Now all I have to do is sit back and enjoy the show.

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