Samantha Spring was immediately suspicious when the two senior girls walked over to her table in the Oakview High School cafeteria. She was only a junior, and a junior most of the other girls shunned as a matter of course. She always had the table to herself while she ate whatever semi-palatable slop the cafeteria happened to be serving. To have any other girls approach her was unheard of in its own right, but these two were not just any girls. They were Mignon Benning and Alexandria Mason, arguably the two most beautiful and popular girls in the entire school. They were part of the upper echelon, the high school elite. They normally didn't eat their lunch in the cafeteria at all, but out on the quad with the other elite.
"Hey, Samantha," Mignon said cheerfully, as if Samantha was one of her closest friends and confidents. "Can we sit here?"
Samantha hesitated, searching their faces for what the joke was. Mignon was the head cheerleader and vice president of the student council. A buxom blonde with a petite frame just made for wearing a short skirt imprinted with school colors, she radiated an air of smug superiority. Alexandria - who shunned the natural nickname of Alex - was her trusty sidekick. She was an equally beautiful brunette with small, aristocratic breasts and the sort of legs men dreamed about at night.
"Well?" Mignon chirped, raising her eyebrows.
"Why do you want to sit here?" Samantha asked warily.
"Because no one else is," she told her. "We're just being friendly. Is it a problem? We can go somewhere else if you want."
"Yeah, Samantha," Alexandria put in just as cheerfully. "It's no big or nothin'. We just thought we'd come over and say hi."
Samantha didn't trust them. Their reputations as hazers of underclassmen and derisive teasers of any girl or guy less popular then they preceded them by years. They were the ringleaders of the gossip groups that spread any and all rumors about pretty much anyone outside their little circle of elite. They were the organizers of the targeted blacklisting of any girl who didn't meet with their favor. They were also the driving force behind the rumors that had been circulating about Samantha herself since early in her freshman year - perhaps the vilest of rumors in a high school society, vile enough to make her a social outcast among even the nerds and the stoners. The word being passed - primarily by these two cheerleaders - was that Samantha was a lesbian, although that was of course not the terminology they typically used. It was reported she was often seen staring at other girls in the locker room, that she had tried to seduce several girls, and that she was having an affair with Ms. Foreman, the patently gay physical education teacher. These rumors had been circulating so long and with such assuredness that they were now taken as fact. And, as with many such rumors, there was a grain of truth buried within.
Samantha suspected that she was a lesbian. Typical of a sixteen-year-old girl dealing with feelings she did not yet understand, she still had not actually admitted that fact to herself. There were some compelling signs, of course. The most obvious and hard to deal with being the fact that she wasn't sexually attracted to boys. Looking at the football players on campus, at male actors on television, at pictures of Justin Timberlake, did nothing for her. She had no longings to touch males, to see them, to feel them, to be in a relationship with them. However, she did get a thrill out of looking at girls, out of seeing the attractive nymphs walking up and down the halls in their tight, low-riding pants and their midriff-baring shirts. She felt tingly inside when she looked at pictures of Hillary Duff or Sarah Michelle Geller. This had been true ever since she was thirteen and first started getting sexual feelings. They had always been towards the feminine sex. The biggest clue had come when she'd discovered a hidden file deep in the bowels of the family computer one day last spring. The file had been full of pornography. Whether it belonged to her father or her older brother, she knew not, but it had been full of still pictures of nude women of all shapes and sizes. She had stared at picture after picture in rapt awe, feeling her vagina getting wetter and wetter with each image that went by. Soon, she had begun rubbing herself between her legs, at first through her shorts and then under the shorts over her panties and then, realizing that she was actually masturbating for the first time, she had undressed from the waist down and really gone to work. Her first orgasm had exploded in her body shortly after - brought on by images of naked females with their legs spread, their breasts on display, their sheer femininity out for her to see.
It was then that she started to suspect she really might be a lesbian. This suspicion was met with a variety of conflicting emotions - sometimes horror, sometimes shame, sometimes something that approached acceptance. It was this last that was most rare. She didn't want to be a lesbian. Even though this was California, perhaps the most tolerant place in the nation for such things, tolerance was a relative thing. Her parents - both members of the First Baptist Church of Heritage and staunch right-wing conservatives - certainly would have a shitfit if they thought their only daughter was a lesbian. They would probably send her to psychiatrists and church counseling sessions. And her peers! She had already seen what the mere rumor of homosexuality was capable of doing in an upper-middle-class dominated public school.
The rumors had started during her freshman year, and out of all the stories circulated about her, there was only one that was strictly true. It had to do with the locker room before and after gym class. Immersed for the first time in an environment in which girls were actually undressing in front of her - even if it was only down to bra and panties in most cases - she had been unable to help but stare at them at times. She had thought she was being circumspect about it. But she hadn't been, or at least not circumspect enough. By the time her second semester in gym rolled around, she found herself ostracized. The other girls avoided her when it was time to change. The word that Samantha Spring liked to look at girls quickly spread throughout the whole school.
From that true rumor, the other not-so-true rumors sprung. The stories that she had tried to seduce other girls came from mere conversations she'd had with female classmates who - by virtue of being either new or uninformed - had not heard of her reputation and had chosen to talk to her. Once informed - usually by Mignon or Alexandria or one of their cohorts - that Samantha was in fact the school lesbian, the girl in question would inevitably break all contact with her and within days the rumors of how Samantha had tried to seduce her would run rampant through the school. This was something that Mignon and Alexandria were particularly good at. Samantha had heard them with her own ears more than once. Did you hear? Samantha was talking to that new girl and tried to get her to come over to her house. Uh huh. She told me herself. Samantha said her parents weren't home and she had some really hot movies they could watch. Uh huh... can you believe it?
And then there was the Ms. Foreman rumor. That one was perhaps the most damning of all and the one most believed by the majority of the student body. That Ms. Foreman was a lesbian was not in dispute. She was a shorthaired, tattooed gym teacher who drove a Subaru Forester with a rainbow sticker on the bumper. She wore earrings that consisted of two Greek female symbols overlapping each other. When coming or going to school she was known to wear baggy blue jeans, flannel shirts, and to have her wallet on a chain. Interestingly enough, Ms. Foreman was one woman who did absolutely nothing for Samantha as far as physical attractiveness went. Samantha preferred feminine looking girls - the more feminine the better. She liked girls in dressy and frilly clothing, girls showing their bellies and their boobs and the tightness of their butts. She received nothing more from looking at Ms. Foreman than she did by looking at Justin Timberlake, or at Steven Call, Mignon's hunky, dumb as a rock, quarterback of the football team boyfriend. No, the rumor had started simply because putting the confirmed lesbian and the suspected one together was a natural inclination of the rumormongers. However, when Cindy Brecken -a member of the Mignon/Alexandra inner circle - spotted Samantha coming out of Ms. Foreman's office one day before gym, the rumor took on the assuredness of fact among all that heard it. The visit had been nothing more than a friendly advice session from the older woman who had been through all of this in her own teen years to the younger one she had spotted undergoing the same trauma.
"I'm not saying you are or you aren't anything," Ms. Foreman had told her. "But, as I'm sure you're aware, the girls think you're different from them in a fundamental way and are delighting themselves in feeling superior to you because of it. Am I right?"
"I guess," Samantha had answered noncommittally, in the way of teenagers.
"All I'm trying to tell you is that - whether you are or you aren't - high school is the worst it gets. For a girl who is... you know... different in that way, there are challenges and tribulations to come - I won't pretend that there are not - but the blatant cruelty and ostracization is the worst its going to get. It will only improve from here. I just wanted to reassure you of that."
.... There is more of this story ...