Chapter 1: A Nice, Quiet Coffee Date (NOT!)

As usual, Ellowyne was running late to meet her friends at Déjà Brew, their favorite coffee shop. “Hey, squad! Sorry but I went to a new thrift store and I lost track of the time,” she said when she got to the circular booth where Prudence, Lizette, and Rufus were waiting. She sat next to Rufus, who was in the middle of the booth, and put her hot chocolate on the table and her shopping bags on the floor. “I got the most amazing deals. Designer jeans for $10 a pair! Leather purses for $5! They even had an awesome selection of guys’ clothes.” She paused for a minute. “So Penn’s not here?”

Lizette answered, “No, we thought he might be with you!”

Prudence nudged Lizette with her elbow and pointed at Rufus, who had looked hopeful when Ellowyne sat next to him but was downcast when she mentioned Penn. She muttered, “Not in front of him!”

Ellowyne was oblivious to Rufus’ mood and Lizette and Pru’s whispered conversation. She said, “I just got a text from Penn. He should be here within five minutes.” With that, she got up to order a grande chai tea, Penn’s favorite. She searched the pastry case for Penn’s favorite treat, a blueberry scone. As she put these at the empty spot next to her at the table, she spotted a familiar—and unwelcome—face. She turned her head, hoping she would not be seen but it was too late.

Amber slunk over to the big, semi-circle booth where they all sat. She was wearing a dress so tight that it resembled the casing of an overcooked sausage. “Hey, bitches! Why didn’t you invite me to your little tête-à-tête??”

They tried to ignore her. Ellowyne skimmed some of the whipped cream on her drink. Pru took a bite of her chocolate chip cookie. Lizette looked at her latte to see if the barista spelled her name right. Rufus tried to avert his eyes when Amber leaned across the table at him, her breasts threatening to pop out of her slinky spandex outfit. He blushed and slunk down in his seat.

“Aren’t we just WILDE today?” Amber said, her voice dripping with venom and a touch of saccharine. “Maybe I should stick around. But sorry, I must head home to get ready for a fabulous dinner with my parents at their country club. But before I leave, here’s something special for you, Rutter!” Much to Rufus’ embarrassment, Amber turned around and jiggled her hips and backside.

His cheeks turned several shades of red and he whispered to Prudence, “Is she twerking?”

Amber spun around to confront Rufus. “You don’t know what twerking is? Seriously? Haven’t you ever seen Miley Cyrus or Nicki Minaj on YouTube?”

“Unlike you, Amber, I have better things to do,” Rufus answered coldly.

Amber was flustered by Rufus’ chilly response. She backed away and was silent for what seemed to be an hour. Finally she threw up her hands and said, “Whatever. I’m not going to waste any more of my time with you heffers. Bye-bye!”

Under her breath, Ellowyne whispered, “Bye, Felicia”, which made Pru and Lizette giggle. Amber glared at them, flipped her hair, and sauntered away. Everyone at the booth sighed with relief. But then they heard a shriek near the coffeehouse door. Oh no! It was Penn.

He stormed over to the booth where his friends were waiting. He was wide-eyed, his face was reddened, and the veins in his neck stuck out. He barely acknowledged anyone at the table and failed to notice the goodies Ellowyne got for him. He shouted, “SHE GOOSED ME! Amber just GOOSED me! Who does that?” He sat down next to Ellowyne and finally took a sip of the chai tea she bought for him. “What is wrong with that girl?”

Lizette shrugged and said, “We don’t know. All we know is that Amber acts so…so…so…”

“Outrageously?” Ellowyne asked.

“Atrociously?” Prudence queried.

“Inappropriately?” Rufus quipped.

“Yeah, like goosing guys she hardly knows.” Penn turned to Rufus, “This whole kiss and slap thing—has she always done that?”

Rufus rubbed his cheek. “Yeah, she’s been doing that ever since I met her.” He sighed. “Sad to say that I got my first kiss from Amber. And then she smacked me upside the head.” He looked at Ellowyne, shrugged, and took a deep breath. “I always thought my first kiss would be enjoyable.”

“Is she still hitting on you—and hitting you?” Penn asked.

“Not so much lately. I mean, she just thrust her cleavage and shook her butt at me. But now that you’re hanging out with us, dude, I think she’s turning her attention toward you.”

Penn frowned, shook his head, and took an aggressive bite out of his scone. “Awesome.”

“Hey, been there, done that, got the restraining order,” Rufus quipped. “Okay, I’m kidding about the restraining order. But sorry, bro, but it’s your turn now. It’s the price you gotta pay to hang out with these beautiful ladies.” The girls blushed a little and smiled.

“But remember, she’s obnoxious to us, too,” Prudence said. “Even if you weren’t here with us, Amber would be rude and condescending.”

Lizette shook her head. “It’s so hard to go shopping with her. She always picks the most expensive and outrageous clothing. She once paid a thousand dollars for a pair of distressed jeans!”

“And then she dissed us for looking at jeans for less than $100,” Prudence added. “That’s way too expensive for any of us.”

Ellowyne rolled her eyes and sniffed. “I can find those very same designer jeans at the thrift store. And, I can distress or embellish any jeans just the way I like. One time Amber bragged about an outfit that cost her over a thousand dollars. I put together one just like it for well under a hundred. She freaked out when saw me wearing it and freaked out,” Ellowyne said.

“Amber is terrible to shop for shoes with,” Prudence said. She has to try on all of the expensive shoes. She has made salesmen wait on her for up to an hour and she gets mad if they try to wait on anyone else.”

Ellowyne answered, “Remember that time you needed new Birkenstocks? Amber said they were ugly but when she saw that the price was well over $100, she tried on a pair herself.”

“Watching her try to walk in anything but her Louboutins was hilarious! She literally walked like a cow!” Prudence added.

Rufus smirked. “You mean like a REAL heifer?” The five friends chuckled. Penn laughed so hard his chai tea squirted out of his nose.

“You should see her in the perfume and makeup counters,” Lizette said, “She has to try on every perfume and stinks up the whole store. She kind of smells like bug spray.” Everyone laughed and Lizette continued. “And at the makeup counters she acts like she’s so much better than the salespeople working there. Remember the time she was so snarky to one of the makeup artists before he started her makeover? The guy was so pissed off he made her look like a clown!”

Ellowyne said, “Hey, I’ve got a picture of that on my phone!”

When the laughter died down, Penn furrowed his brow and asked, “But why does Amber do these things? Is she just a bitch or is there another reason?”

Rufus smirked. “Maybe she was raised by wolves!”

“Dude, I’m serious. Haven’t any of you wondered why Amber acts this way? Maybe she has a secret, something she’s never told anyone.”

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