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Red Threads

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Welcome to Barden High, home of the Spartans. Also known as Hell in public school form. Stacie touched up her makeup in the mirror while other girls milled in and out of the locker room. Stacie was captain of the volleyball team and a prized member of the robotics team, although most of her peers had deemed her the school slut and Stacie didn’t care much about correcting them. 

 

“Ugh, what’s she doing here?” An annoying voice sounded from over Stacie’s shoulder. Stacie turned around to meet brown eyes and a curled upper lip. Alice, the captain of the color guard team. Stacie always felt the urge to claw the other girl’s eyes out, after all, it had been Alice’s words that began Stacie’s “slut” reputation. It wasn’t Stacie’s fault that the girl’s boyfriend had hit on her during homecoming the previous year. 

 

“Oh, great, the wicked bitch of the west;” Stacie drawled. 

 

Alice grimaced in her direction while the other color guard girls crossed their arms and rolled their eyes. “Any reason you’re hanging around in the locker room? You’re not trying to spy on girls changing, right?” 

 

Stacie held back a groan at the other girl’s ignorant comment, “No, and my sexuality does not mean I would creep on anyone. Suggesting otherwise is really homophobic, Alice.” 

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I have a gay cousin;” Alice retorted. Stacie shut her eyes tightly for a moment and let out a deep sigh. Yup, that’s enough. 

 

“Alright, I don’t have time for this. I have to go;” Stacie grumbled. She pushed past the lingering girls and stomped towards the exit with her bag slung over her shoulder. High School sucked. 

 

 

Stacie was marching in the direction of the student parking lot, keys in hand and humming a tune when she saw a flash of gold. She stopped and turned to see a blonde-haired girl spin up into the air, land on one foot, and strike a pose as her fellow cheerleaders held her up. Their eyes met briefly and the girl raised an eyebrow in interest before falling back into the arms of her teammates. Stacie smiled as she watched the blonde land on her feet in the grass and let out a cheer. 

 

 

The neighborhood she lived in was a regular suburb. White picket fences, four-pane windows, white-edged houses with shingle roofs. Painted with crisp blues, whites, and light cream, the houses were uniform in appearance. When she pulled into her driveway her oldest friend, Beca Mitchell was sitting idly on her skateboard.  Stacie hopped out of her Hyundai and locked the doors with a click. “Becs? What are you doing here? I thought you were working on an arrangement with Cynthia Rose for the school talent show?” 

 

“She got the flu so she canceled;” Beca shrugged. 

 

“And your first thought was to come here?” 

 

“No, I tried Jesse first, but he was busy playing video games with Benji.” 

 

Stacie pursed her lips and gestured for the other girl to follow her inside. She decided to ignore the fact that she was Beca’s third option. “How’re the arrangements going?” She inquired instead. 

 

“They’re okay, I’m also helping some others out for their sound;” Beca said.

 

“Would any of those others be an effervescent redhead named Chloe Beale?” Stacie teased. 

 

“I-shut up, she asked for some help. I wasn’t going to say no;” Beca blushed. Stacie laughed at her friend’s embarrassment and tossed her bag onto a nearby seat. Beca had been crushing on Chloe Beale since freshman orientation. The ginger had been one of their orientation counselors and the tiny DJ had been harboring a crush on the girl ever since. “Tell me you’re at least asking her to prom,” Stacie pressed. 

 

“What? I can’t do that. She goes with Tom every year anyway;” Beca spluttered. 

 

“Not this year, Tom was caught with Barb and now he’s on the outs with red;” Stacie informed her friend. Beca’s eyes widened for a moment as the smaller girl lapsed into thought. “When did you hear this?” 

 

“Volleyball practice,” Stacie smirked. “They haven’t been together for a couple of months now, actually.”  

 

Stacie allowed her friend to ponder the news while she set about making herself a sandwich. Grabbing the bread, turkey, ham, salami, mozzarella, and butter, she slathered the ingredients on top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper before shoving the sandwich into her mouth. “Dude, don’t you need to chew that?” 

 

Stacie swallowed the food thickly before answering, “Haven’t you heard? I’m really good at swallowing.” 

 

Beca let out an amused snort. “You’re not that sexually active.”

 

“I mean, I’m pretty sexually active;” Stacie hummed. 

“You haven’t told me a single uncomfortable story this entire school year,” Beca argued. 

 

“Maybe I’ve been too busy doing, extracurriculars;” Stacie’s voice turned sultry when she said the last words. Her finger traced a lineup of Beca’s arm as the shorter girl squirmed. “Stop that,” Beca griped. “If you don’t want to tell me, fine, but whatever it is, I’m proud of you. You’re finally giving the hunter a break.” 

 

“The hunter never needs a break;” Stacie scoffed. 

 

“Fine, not a break, I just mean you’re prioritizing other things;” Beca corrected. Stacie met Beca’s expectant stare with a perturbed quirk of her brow, but let the subject drop. “I ran into Alice today,” she exclaimed instead. 

 

“Oh, great, the wicked bitch of the west;” Beca deadpanned. “How is my lovely step-sister?” 

 

“Terrible, as always;” Stacie chuckled. “I have something in my room that can turn her hair purple if you ever want to try it?” 

 

Beca let out a sharp cackle which was followed up by the clap of her hand over her mouth. “Dude, no, she’ll annoy the shit out of me for the rest of my life if I do that.” 

 

“Might be worth it,” Stacie grinned. 

 

 

The next day of school was monotonous, to say the least. Stacie arrived at Barden High three hours later than the rest of the school’s population as a result of her dual enrollment in the nearby university. The rest of her classes were mostly TA positions for the upper-level classes, a rare setup in a high school. Mr. Everett, the chemistry teacher, was one of the teachers that actually expected work from his TA’s. 

 

It was AP Chemistry and right before lunch. It was a class meant for the most advanced students, and that meant Stacie was the least expected person in the school to be there. “Conrad? What are you doing here?” Alice’s nasally voice sounded from the back of the room. Stacie looked up to see the older girl, resisting the urge to roll her eyes. “Oh my god, are you doing some ‘extra credit’ for Mr. Everett?” The girl’s suggestive tone around ‘extra credit’ made Stacie’s nostrils flare. The insinuation, clear. 

 

“If anyone needs extra credit it’s you, Alice;” Another voice broke in. Stacie whirled around to see the same blonde cheerleader from the day before. Aubrey Posen, straight-A student, captain of the Cheerleaders, and the school’s ice queen. “I can defend myself, thanks;” Stacie snapped. The blonde rolled her eyes, “I’m not doing it for you, Anastacia. Alice needs to be taken down a peg anyway.” 

“Excuse me,” Alice seethed. 

 

“I heard you went down to the auditorium and said something to Chloe, yesterday. You can make fun of me all you want, but you leave Chloe out of it. Got it,” Aubrey snarled. Stacie watched the blonde with interest as she went into a long tirade about basic principles and Alice’s lack of integrity. 

 

“And if you ever say that Chloe has no talent ever again, I will personally pull your head out of your ass myself. Understood?” 

 

Alice stood stock still in indignation, her small mind rushing to find a good comeback. “I’m going to be late for class, I’ll see you in English Anastacia,” Aubrey huffed. Stacie watched the blonde flick some invisible dust from her shoulders and leave with a flip of blonde hair. “Better get out of here before you’re late for class, you don’t want to hurt your small brain with advanced thermodynamics;” Stacie simpered as she pointed Alice towards the door.

 

 

 Volleyball practice ran late that day, which meant that Stacie was late to Robotics. They were supposed to be making a traceable solar car for the event coming up, and Stacie was one of the best designers that the club had. Since Stacie was late, she wound up staying longer. “Sorry Mr. Luther, they kept us later for volleyball. I’m glad we figured out the transmission, though;” Stacie exclaimed upon her exit. The engineering teacher waved her away as she set off into the rain. 

 

She made it to the doors of the gym and slipped into the locker room. She had forgotten her chemistry textbook, so she had to come back and grab it. The cheerleaders were in the locker room along with the color guard team, getting ready for the upcoming pep rally, probably. “Shut up Alice, no one wants to hear your theories on Conrad again;” A familiar voice said. Chloe, the redhead was apparently given a pass by their drama teacher to attend cheerleading practice. 

 

“You’re just defending her because she’s that midget’s friend,” Alice sneered. 

 

“Alice, you shouldn’t use that word, it’s offensive;” A girl, Kori, chided. 

 

“Whatever, ginger just has heart eyes for Becky smalls. At least Conrad has one thing going for her and that’s her looks. Although I think all of her assets went to”

 

“Alice, shut up. No one cares, Anastasia doesn’t bother anyone. You’re just mad that Danny wants to ask her out to Prom and not you;” Aubrey snapped. 

 

Stacie heard a gasp and a flurry of hissed words, followed by a muttered retort that had the entire locker room gasping. “Whatever, Posen. You’ll see, she’ll steal your boyfriend and I’ll get to tell you I told you so.” 

 

“She’s not going to steal Jesse,” Aubrey snorted. 

 

“You don’t know that, it’s not like she knows how to keep her legs closed for -” 

 

Slap.

 

More gasps sounded followed by approaching footsteps. Stacie backed up rapidly to make room for a furious Alice. The older girl had a red mark across her cheek. “Of course you would be creeping on us in the locker room,” Alice snarled before shoving the door open and disappearing out of it. Stacie stood in shock, waiting for the sound of all the other girls leaving through the other door. 

 

“Anastacia?” Aubrey remarked, surprised to see the taller girl. 

 

“I forgot my chemistry book,” Stacie explained. She offered the blonde a small smile and stepped closer towards Aubrey in the direction of the lockers. 

 

“Of course you did,” Aubrey chuckled. The blonde stepped to the side and allowed Stacie to pass. The brunette started to say something but was interrupted by the sound of Chloe humming. 

 

“Bye Bree, see you tomorrow!” Chloe called out, followed by the sound of the door shutting behind her. 

 

Stacie made her way to her locker and entered the code, taking her time as she heard Aubrey’s footsteps mill about the room. “Got my book,” Stacie exclaimed. She shoved the book back into her bag and turned around as Aubrey turned the corner of the lockers with a fond smile. 

 

“Looks like you sufficiently cleared a room,” Stacie grinned. 

 

“Yeah, I did;” Aubrey said.

 

The pair sprung forward, hands rose to clutch one another as their lips pressed together. Stacie hummed at the contact, enjoying the feeling of Aubrey’s tongue swiping along her bottom lip, asking for entry. She opened her mouth and let Aubrey’s tongue in, her own caressing in a playful pattern. Aubrey gently sucked on her tongue while Stacie moaned lowly before the pair parted for air. 

 

“I missed doing that,” Stacie smirked. 

 

“Me too,” Aubrey sighed, her thumb swiped along Stacie’s bottom lip. Stacie bit the tip of Aubrey’s thumb teasingly and offered her girlfriend a playful wink. “So, the word in the locker rooms is that you have a boyfriend now?” 

 

Aubrey snorted and backed away a step, Stacie’s hands settled around the girl’s hips and pulled her back. “He asked me to prom and I said yes, he’s a good guy. Chloe vouched for him.” 

 

“Hmm, well there goes my plans of asking you to prom,” Stacie teased. 

 

Aubrey leaned forward and tipped Stacie’s head forward, pressing her lips to the other girls in a chaste kiss. “I wish I could go with you,” Aubrey mumbled into the kiss. 

 

“I know, but your southern parents wouldn’t stand for it, I know;” Stacie finished sadly. 

 

“If you want, you can meet me in Atlanta and we can go dress shopping?” 

 

“Aren’t you worried someone will see us?” Stacie sighed. 

 

Aubrey paused for a moment in thought, “Maybe we play hooky and go during a school day?” 

 

“The great Aubrey Posen, the goodie-two-shoes queen, breaking a rule?” Stacie feigned outrage, clapping a hand over her mouth in shock. Aubrey slapped her shoulder in indignation before crossing her arms and beginning to pout. 

 

“It was just a suggestion, I thought you wanted to see me in my dress.”

 

“I think I’d prefer to see you out of your dress,” Stacie flirted, pressing a kiss to the blonde’s temple. 

 

“Stacie!” Aubrey hissed, “I swear, you’re absolutely incorrigible.” 

 

“Haven’t you heard? He’s a hunter;” Stacie joked, nodding her head in the direction of her crotch. Aubrey snickered in response and graced her girlfriend with a roll of her eyes. “Last I checked, The Hunter retired.” 

 

“Retirement? Never. He just works for a very specific boss now, maybe you know her? Blonde, gorgeous green eyes, wonderfully pouty lips and legs that some people would die for.” 

 

“Stacie, your legs are nicer than mine,” Aubrey chastised. 

 

“Yeah, well I love yours more, maybe because of who they’re attached to,” Stacie whispered into Aubrey’s ear. She heard her girlfriend gulp, a Cheshire grin stretched across her face as she moved her face closer to Aubrey’s and leaned down to press their lips together once more. Where the kiss before was rushed and desperate, this one was slow and sweet. Aubrey’s lips were always so soft, and her breath always smelled of fresh mint. When they separated they smiled warmly at each other, their heartbeats ringing in their ears. 

 

“I love you too,” Aubrey hummed, resting her forehead against Stacie’s. “When I leave for college, text me every day, okay?” 

 

“Well, actually;” Stacie began, but the sound of a door opening interrupted. The two sprung apart, Aubrey turned to fiddle with her lock as Stacie pulled out her chemistry book. “So, I was hoping you know what I’m supposed to do for problems 3 and 7 of the Chemistry homework?” Stacie inquired. Aubrey spun around and looked at the textbook as Stacie pointed at the appropriate number. 

 

“Oh, you two are still here?” Flor Fuentes, one of Aubrey’s fellow cheerleaders, said. “I thought I would be the only one left. I was actually hoping I could get a ride? Emily got a ride from Benji and I forgot to ask Jessica.”

 

“Oh, yeah, sure. I can drive you;” Aubrey replied warmly. “I’ll send you a link on how to do conversions later, just give me your number and I’ll send it over;” Aubrey said to Stacie. The brunette nodded and scribbled a set of random digits on the piece of paper before handing it to Aubrey. The blonde offered a small polite smile and a wave as she left with Flo in tow.