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A New Year, A New Beginning Excerpt

Just as Caterina had feared, only an hour after Cahuenga had arrived at her party, the event had completely transformed from a fun but relatively tame get-together to an all-out rager at which the loud drunken laughter of the partygoers who had chosen to join Cahuenga and her friends in enjoying the vodka was completely drowning out the rock-and-roll pieces of Johnny and his band.


“Ew!  Go away!” shrieked Delia, shooting a disgusted look at some drunk senior, who was trying to hit on her, as she struggled to pull herself out of his grasp and keep her balance on the precariously thin four-inch heels of her gold sandals at the same time.  As the boy just shrugged and moved on to another girl, who was crazily dancing by herself nearby, she turned and stalked over to Caterina who was standing over near a long folding table that was loaded with beverages such as soda and water and bowls filled with chips, popcorn, and any other junk food that Johnny had found in the snack aisle at Jaminson’s Supermarket.  “Caterina!” she shouted over the commotion as she stopped in front of the shocked girl and straightened the salmon-pink button-down leather jacket that she was wearing open over a short light pink sleeveless dress, which had an olive-green deep V-neck bodice with light pink flowers embroidered on it and a light-pink-and-olive-green-checked bottom hem.  “This party was your idea!  So why don’t you get things under control before one more disgusting drunk guy hits on me?”


“And how exactly would you like me to do that?” demanded Caterina, giving Delia an incredulous look as she took her glass of soda from her lips.  “In case you haven’t noticed, Delia, the people who brought the alcohol are the most popular people in school!  So what do you want me to do?  Make myself out to be a total geek by kicking them out?”


Delia just shrugged as she smoothed her hair, which was pulled back with three salmon-pink hair clips.  “I don’t care what you do!” she shouted as Johnny launched into his famous “Wipe Out” drum solo.  “But just know that if you don’t do something soon, somebody’s probably going to be calling the cops!  And that won’t exactly make you cool either!”


As Delia turned and began to stalk off toward Johnny and his band in the hopes that sticking close to them would help keep any unwanted drunk boys from trying to dance with her, Caterina crossed her arms and sighed.  She’s right, she realized.  The Smagatones next door are just the kind of people who will call the cops if things get even louder over here.  So I have to do something.  But what?  How can I get things under control but still get fully initiated into the A-list group at the same time?


As Caterina stood grappling with her latest dilemma, Cahuenga herself strolled up to her with the vodka bottle with which she had been spiking people’s drinks still in hand.  “Hey, Cat!” she cheerfully greeted her.  “Want a little something to perk up your soda?”


As Cahuenga held the vodka bottle out to her, causing Cerissa and Tamara, who were standing behind her, to snicker, Caterina’s face went pale.  What’s going to happen if I say no? she thought.


Noticing that Caterina’s eyes had gone wide with panic, Zoe wandered up to the group and shook her head.  “Man,” she said.  “I knew it.  You’re too much of a goody-goody to ever fit in with us.  And you’re a total alcohol virgin, aren’t you?”    


As a few nearby dancers turned and snickered at her, Caterina felt her cheeks flash red with a mixture of anger and embarrassment.  “No, I’m not!” she insisted.  “So here.  Give me some.”


Cahuenga’s lips curved into a wicked twisted smile as Caterina thrust her soda out to her.  “Okay,” she said with a shrug.  “Coming right up.”  Tipping the vodka bottle over, she poured the remainder of its contents into Caterina’s plastic cup.


Jumping back a little as the cup threatened to overflow, Caterina gave the girls a worried look.  “Isn’t that a little…much?” she uncertainly asked.


Cahuenga just shrugged, that same mischievous smile still on her face as she retracted the bottle.  “Not for someone who’s super cool,” she replied.  “So go on.  Drink up.  Because once you do, you will officially be one of us.”

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