"Tami, are you up there?" Cynthia Craig called out as she stood on the third step of the circular spiral staircase.
The T-shirt clad seventeen-year-old was a member of the high school's library squad. The object of her search, Tamika Ryan, was one of the squad's Lieutenants.
"Tami," she repeated as she moved up a few steps. "there's someone down here to see you."
"I'll be down in a minute," came a voice from the second floor storage room.
The long-haired redhead climbed back down the stairs and turned to face the girl on whose behalf she had been searching for Tami. There was an obvious animosity between the two girls, evident in both the way they looked at each other as well as the inflection in their voices.
"Tami will be right down," Cynthia said with disdain.
"Thank you," Laurie Murdock said with insincerity.
Ignoring the intended slight, Cynthia turned and left Laurie standing alone among the rows of books and periodicals. It was the first time the tall brunette had ever been in this part of the library and simple curiosity led her to check out some of the titles on the shelves.
The sound of sneakers on metal steps caused Laurie to look up and see Tami coming down the winding staircase. For the tenth time that morning, Laurie tried desperately to think of another way to solve her problem. As she had the previous nine attempts, the eighteen year old came up empty.
Stepping off the bottom rung, Tami turned and saw Laurie. If she had to pick the last person she ever expected to see in the research section of the library, Laurie Murdock was it.
"What do you want?" Tami said in a tone that clearly showed she shared Cynthia's opinion of Laurie.
"I need to talk to you," Laurie said, coming right to the point. "In private."
Tami's first thought was to tell Laurie to go to hell. Curiosity then got the better of her and she decided to see what the taller girl had to say.
"We can use the office in the back," Tami said. "It's about as private as you can get around here."
As the door to the office, which doubled as a lunch room for the squad, closed behind them, Tami jumped up onto the long desk and faced Laurie. It was obvious that the brunette was a girl with a problem.
"Okay, you have five minutes," Tami said, glancing down at her watch to emphasize the limit of her patience.
Despite the time limit, Laurie seemed in no hurry to get to the point. Instead, she took long moments to just look at Tami, getting the nerve to ask what she had to ask.
To an observer, Tami and Laurie were about as opposite as two girls could get. Laurie had long dark brown hair and stood five foot nine. Tami was four inches shorter with very short reddish brown hair. Laurie was also very full bodied with a bust that drew attention the minute she walked into view. Tami on the other hand had a small athletic form with modest, firm breasts. The final physical difference between the two was that Laurie had a tanned Mediterranean complexion while Tami had almost porcelain white skin, the result of her Amerasian heritage.
As great as they were, the physical differences were minor when compared to the difference in their personalities and lifestyles. Laurie was one of the most popular girls in school. Possibly the most. Captain of the cheerleader squad with a social calendar that read like a high school who's who, she was the odds on favorite to be crowned Prom Queen.
Tami on the other hand, kept to herself and a small circle of friends. Academically successful to the point where valedictorian seemed almost a given, she had also earned a reputation for being just a bit strange.
"I'm in trouble!" Laurie finally said.
"The rabbit died?" Tami asked, wondering if Laurie would even understand the reference in an age of instant pregnancy tests.
"Not that kind of trouble," Laurie quickly shot back, an unbidden memory of worrying about just that a few months previously came to mind.
"Three minutes," Tami said, attempting to bring the conversation to a point.
"I'm in Mr. McKenzie's American History class," the brunette said. "and I have a research paper due tomorrow. If I don't turn it in, I'm going to fail the class. Mr. McKenzie counts the end term paper as fifty percent of your grade."
"Laurie," Tami said. "I don't know if you've ever noticed, but I sit four rows behind you in American History. I know that there's a paper due tomorrow. I've had mine done for over a month now, but obviously you haven't finished yours."
"Actually I haven't even started it," Laurie admitted.
"You're right," Tami grinned, "you are in trouble. But tragic as that is, what does it have to do with me?"
"Originally, Mike Russell was helping me with the paper," Laurie went on.
"In other words, he was writing it for you," Tami interjected.
"Yes," she admitted.
"So what happened?" Tami asked, now a little curious.
"Mike had a computer crash last week and lost both of our reports," she explained. "He's spent the last seven days just rewriting his own."
"Gee, you'd think someone as bright as that would've learned to back up his data," Tami mused. "But you still haven't explained what any of this has to do with me."
"Mike said that originally you and I were both writing reports on the New Deal, but that you later changed your mind and wrote about the Japanese Internment instead."
"Actually, I finished a first draft of the New Deal paper, then changed my mind," Tami explained. "But I still don't know what any of this..."
"I want to buy your paper so I can turn it in as my own," Laurie said.
Tami's response was both instantaneous and explosive, her laughter filling the small room. This had to be the funniest thing she'd heard all year.
"Damn it, I'm serious!" Laurie yelled.
"I know," Tami said, unable to stop laughing. "That's what makes it so funny."
"If I don't get a report by tomorrow I'm not going to graduate," Laurie yelled. "And if I don't graduate I don't get to go to Europe this summer."
"And that would be such a shame," the short haired girl continued to giggle.
"I should've have know better to think that someone like you might help me," Laurie snapped as she started to storm out.
"Wait a minute," Tami said, finally bringing her laughter under control. "Maybe we can talk about this."
Laurie stopped and turned back around.
"Then you'll sell me the paper?" she asked.
"Let's just say I'm willing to discuss it," Tami replied. Laurie thought about it a few seconds then walked back to the table. After all, what choice did she really have.
Now it was Tami who sat silent as she composed her thoughts. Laurie kept staring at the large white letters on Tami's pink shirt. Large letters that spelled out BITCH, and smaller ones that read Babe In Total Control of Herself.
"So as a starting point," Tami said. "How much are you offering for the report? I'll admit it's just a first draft but I think it's at least a B minus paper."
"I was going to pay Mike twenty dollars."
"Twenty dollars huh," the Amerasian girl said. "Doesn't seem like much in exchange for helping you graduate. Are you sure there wasn't something else involved?"
"Well, I seem to remember Mike telling me about this girl he was helping with her grades," Tami said, "and what she had promised him in exchanged for his help."
Laurie let out a deep breath.
"All right, I did promise him something else," she said.
"And what would that be?" Tami asked.
"Do I have to say it?" Laurie asked in return.
The expression on Tami's face said that she did.
"Okay, I promised him a blowjob," she admitted. "Are you happy now? What did that accomplish?"
"Well if nothing else, we've helped establish the value of a term paper in history," Tami smiled. "Or at least a starting value since it stands to reason that a paper would become more valuable the day before it was due. Especially to someone who didn't have one at all."
"So how much do you want for the paper?" Laurie asked, deciding to cut to the chase.
Tami, however, was enjoying the game and not about to let it end so soon.
"You're dating Jerry Simon, aren't you?" Tami abruptly asked, seeming to go off on a tangent.
"Yes, I am," Laurie said, wondering why Tami had asked. Jerry Simon was the Captain of the football team.
"Knowing your reputation, I assume you're sleeping with him," Tami went on. "Is he a good fuck?"
Laurie suddenly figured out where this was all going. With a wide grin, she said.
"He's a fantastic fuck!"
"That good huh?"
Laurie felt on solid ground for the first time since she walked into the library. Tami had something she wanted, and now the brunette knew she had something the Amerasian wanted as well. Tami wasn't an unattractive girl. In fact, Laurie had heard guys refer to her as being very cute. However, those same guys had also made mention of her perceived strangeness as a reason why they wouldn't ask her out.
It was entirely possible that Tami was still a virgin. Who better to lose her cherry to than the Captain of the football team. Laurie could see herself on the plane to Paris now.
"Why don't we just lay our cards on the table," Laurie said, feeling very good at having the situation turn into a tradeoff. That was something she could deal with a lot easier than going to someone she normally wouldn't even be seen talking to and asking them for help.
"Cards on the table huh," Tami smiled. "Okay, since you seem to have this all worked out, why don't you go first."
.... There is more of this story ...