The dance music was pumping out of the speakers when Toby and Jack arrived at the dance. Jack looked about, scanning the crowd.
‘Well, we have our usual clicks going on but nothing out of the ordinary,’ reported Toby.
‘Hey! Geek squad!’ Steve called out as he approached them from behind, draping an arm over each of their shoulders.
‘Oh look, Toby,’ Jack said pointedly, ‘it’s the traitor.’
‘What?’ cried Steve. ‘I’m not a traitor!’
‘You ditched us for your more popular gang of friends,’ complained Jack.
‘I became the school quarterback,’ protested Steve. ‘I didn’t ditch anyone.’
‘Then explain not hanging out with us since the start of school, huh?’ Toby folded his arms.
‘I’ve just been busy. Look, I was hoping we could all hang out tonight.’
‘Because that’s not gonna end in disaster,’ muttered Jack.
‘Come, let me introduce you to the gang.’ Steve steered Toby and Jack towards his teammates who stood huddled and eyeing the girls passing by. ‘Guys, meet my friends, Toby and Jack.’
‘They’re your neighbours,’ corrected Dylan. ‘Doesn’t make them your friends.’
‘Dylan, play nice,’ warned Steve. He walked up to his teammates, grabbed a couple of glasses of punch from the table behind them and passed them to Toby and Jack. ‘So this is Dylan, that’s Geoff with the beard.’
‘Sup!’ Geoff raised a hand in a small wave.
‘And that’s Don with the tattoo,’ said Steve.
Don sized Toby and Jack up and down and nodded but said nothing.
‘Toby and Jack are two of the smartest guys in the school and my oldest friends,’ explained Steve. ‘I thought it would be nice for us all to hang out.’
Geoff shrugged. ‘Sure, whatever, man.’ He turned to Toby and Jack. ‘You boys know how to beer pong?’
‘Well, I mean, we know,’ began Toby.
‘Good, then we’re cool. Game later.’ Geoff grinned.
At that moment, Beth, the most popular girl in school, walked by. Her short sparkly dress was cropped mid-thigh, her hair was tied up with locks curled to perfection. She was the lead cheerleader. Jack and Toby shared a glance.
‘Hey, Beth,’ Dylan cooed, sliding to her to stop her.