by Rosemary Clement-Moore
teeth flashed; I fought the instinct to recoil. Perfectly
white, perfectly even, possibly once human. Coral pink lips
pulled back all the way to the gums, giving the smile an unfortunate
equine quality. “Soooo . . . ?” The owner of the
teeth and lips drew out the word and flipped it up at the
end in a question. “What’s your major?”
An untruth. I don’t tell them, as a rule, but I’d
been asked this question five times in the last hour, and
the lie rolled off my tongue now with ease.
you must have to read a lot, huh?” Another blinding
smile; I hoped my squint passed for an answer. “So,
Maggie. What made you decide to go through Rush?”
pronounced it with a capital R. Five rounds of the cattle
call officially known as Sorority Formal Recruitment had run
together in my banality-numbed brain, and I couldn’t
remember where I was. I glanced around the crowded room for
a clue. The noise was formidable, the chatter of a hundred
or more coiffed and groomed girls like purebred dogs at a
show, their yelping echoing from the walls.
like every other sorority house I’d been to in this
first series of parties. Here, though, the décor was
Cotton Candy Pink and Tampax Box Blue. Verily, I had reached
the lair of the Delta Delta Gammas.
Ashley . . .” My slightly breathless drawl mim- icked
hers. “I thought Rush would be fun. Get to know people,
laughed, her eyes squinched up in two half-moons of insincerity.
“Soooo? Which dorm are you in, Maggie?”
kept checking my name tag. At every house, the girls had used
my name exhaustively, making me feel as though I’d wandered
onto a used car lot.
living at home.” This much was certainly true. “I
grew up here in Avalon.”
Her smile, and I use the word loosely, was forced. “Well,
at least you know your way around. You probably have a car,
too. What kind is it?”
segues could really use a little polish. “It’s
really?” She raised her brows with renewed interest.
A Ford Pinto.”
Beneath her carefully applied self-tanner, the corners of
her mouth were white with strain. “Your parents live
here in Avalon?”
would be hard to live at home and go to school here if they
didn’t. But smart-ass wasn’t my persona here at
the International House of Snobcakes, so I merely answered
enthusiastically, “My dad works here at Bedivere University.
He’s an engineer.”
he really? Mechanical or civil?”
She glanced at her watch, then searched the room for rescue,
or maybe just an avenue of escape. “Well, it’s
been real nice meeting you, Maggie. I need to go . . . um
. . . talk to these girls over here.”
took off; I knew from my research that leaving a rushee standing
alone was a big fat no-no. Unless, of course, you’d
rather invite a chimpanzee to join your sisterhood. And no
one in the Delta Delta Gamma house looked like Jane Goodall
since I’d been deserted, I reached into my purse and
turned off my microrecorder. No sense in wasting megabytes.
from Hell Week by Rosemary Clement-Moore Copyright ©
2008 by Rosemary Clement-Moore. Excerpted by permission of
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House,
Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced
or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.