Jenny's Books
It's All Downhill From Here

SPLASH!

I leaped back just as a big, green truck drove through a puddle of slush by the side of the road. Unfortunately, I didn't jump fast or far enough. In an instant, my jeans and shoes were covered with a cold, wet mix of snow and mud. Yuck!

Just then I heard some giggling coming from the the other side of the school bus stop. I looked over and saw Addie Wilson laughing hiysterically into her cell phone, "You should have seen what just happened, Maya," she said. "Jenny McAfee just got covered with slush! It's ok, though. It's not like she ruined a nice outfit or anything."

My face turned beet red. Addie was always making nasty comments about the clothes my friends and I wore. But she was wrong. I knew my pants were cool. They were skinny red jeans, just like the ones in the teen magazines my frined Chloe has strewn around her room. There was no snow on the ground, so I'd figured it would be safe to wear them with my regular shoes. Of course, I hadn't considered the slush still left by the curb.

Actually, more than being upset by what Addie had said, I was kind of amazed. She was only standing a few feet away from me, yet somehow, Addie had managed to avoid being splashed by the truck. Her jeans and shoes were completely slush-free. I wasn't surprised, though. Being covered in slush just wasn't something that happened to Addie—or to any of the Pops, for that matter.

The Pops. That's what my friends and I call Addie and her group of friends. They're the popular kids in our school. You know—the ones who always have the best clothes, makeup, cell phones, and stuff. Every school has a group of Pops. Sometimes they're called the Queen Bees or the Cool Kids. But whatever you call them, they all have one thing in common. They're a very exclusive group that just about everyone wants to belong to.

I realized I didn't have a chance at being a Pop on my very first day of middle school. Even though Addie and I had once been best friends, she made it clear the minute I ran into her in the hallway that our friendship was finished. Over the summer Addie had dumped me. No explanations, no apologies. When I left for sleepaway camp we were friends, and when I came back we weren’t. Just like that. And now she was a Pop, and I wasn’t.

Brrr...A cold, icy wind started to blow. My legs went numb under my wet, red jeans. I crossed my legs and rubbed them together for warmth.

"Ha! Now she looks like she has to go to the bathroom," Addie told Maya. "No, I swear. She's doing the pee-pee dance like a little kid. She may as well go in her pants. They're already soaking wet." She started to laugh again.

As I listened to Addie giggling into her cell phone I frowned and made a face at her. I wanted her to know I'd heard what she'd said, and I thought it was pretty mean. Of course, she took just that moment to use her phone to take my picture. Grrr...Now Addie was sending a photo of my goofy face to all of her friends. Any second now they'd all be laughing at me. I don't know why that bothered me so much, but it really did!