CHAPTER 2: Better Things To Do.

Strutting across the parking lot, Madie to her right, Hailey had a bounce in her step as they headed towards the entrance of Chubby's tavern. The sun had set on Ferndale, California the moon's glow providing just enough light to see.

"I'm starving what about you?"

"Are you sure about this?" Madie asked while scrutinizing her fake id. According to the thin piece of laminated plastic her name was Missy Vanslouth, she was twenty-two, with brown eyes and 135 pounds. Anyone with a brain could tell that Madie, who stood at 5'3, 105 pounds was not her alias, Missy Vanslouth, who to Madie, looked like a three-dollar hooker.

"Of course I'm sure about this. When am I not sure?"

"Well there was tha -."

Hailey stopped abruptly before the entrance, the country music blaring inside. "How's my hair?" She fooled around with her auburn hair that flowed about her shoulders in loose curls.

"Looks the same as it did five minutes ago when you asked me." Glancing at a rusty, metal sign near the front doors, she felt uneasy whenever she read it.

NO WEAPONS ALLOWED – LEAVE YOUR GUNS AND KNIVES AT HOME

She had figured that the sign was posted after a bar fight a few years before. She was in Junior High School then; the rumor around school was that a man in a cowboy hat slit a truck driver's throat and did a shot of his warm blood with his feet propped up on the man's dead body. With the men she met in Ferndale, Madie would not be surprised if the rumor were true.

"Okay, let's do this." Yanking open the door, Madie followed behind. Hailey could not help but wrinkle her nose at the smoke that rolled through the bar. Hiding her disgust she forced a sexy smile as she pranced towards the crowded bar in her black heels. She felt eyes watching her, she figured her short black mini-skirt and green halter-top did the trick.

"Excuse me boys." Hailey pushed her way between to scruffy men who looked as if they had not seen a bathroom, not alone a shower in days. "Okay, what do we want?" Hailey tapped her fingers on the bar, as Madie sat down on the stool beside her.

Something strong Hailey thought, very strong

"What you want?" The raspy-voice woman asked, who sounded as if she were one pack away from lung cancer.

"Ooh order cheesy sticks."

"Okay, we want an order of cheesy sticks and a pitcher of beer."

"C'min' right up." That was one perk about Ferndale; nobody cared enough to ask for id. Except for the Quick Stop gas station down the road, the only gas station in Ferndale. After getting busted for serving alcohol to minors for the fourth time, Dwayne the owner supposedly grew moral responsibility and stopped. Hailey knew better than that, she assumed that Dwayne just got better at covering his tracks.

"You know what I don't understand?"

Leaning back slightly, Madie cringed as a tall man wobbled on by, "Let me guess, does it involve a certain guy we know?"

"I just don't know what he sees in her. She is so not his type. In fact, she's on an entirely different spectrum than Levi…the loser spectrum."

"That's 3.75." The raspy woman interrupted, sliding the pitcher across the bar.

"Come on Hail, she ain't that bad. Least she's not a bitch."

"No she's worse; she's Mother Theresa in a skirt." Hailey shot back, as she poured herself a full glass of beer. "Just another reason for Levi to drool all over her."

"Just admit it; you're pissed because ever since Levi met her, he's got those googley eyes."

Raising the glass to her lip, she savored her first sip. "Makes me sick. Just the thought. And it's not just the googley eyes, did you see how he bailed on us today? What was up with that? Does he think that he's too good enough to party with us now?"

"Did you ever think of talking to him about it?" Madie poured herself a glass of beer. "You two are best friends; I don't know why you couldn't just tell him."

"And I'd say? Oh hey Levi, my bestest buddy your bookworm broad blows. Ditch the bitch."

"Oh that would go over well. I could just see it now." Madie laughed, "I don't know say something like, I think you are making a mistake…" Madie rambled, "I dunno, you are the one who has the problem with her."

"So you don't have a problem with her?" Hailey raised her eyebrow.

Taking a gulp of her beer, she pondered for the correct answer. If Hailey had a problem with Jenna, Madie better have one too. It was an unspoken best friend principle of support. "She's uptight?" Madie shrugged, not one of her more greater answers.

"Being uptight is only half the girl's problem. Not only does she have Levi under her spell, but I'm pretty sure Trent is too."

Trent and Jenna? Madie thought, her stomach tightening.

"Cheesy sticks." The raspy woman plopped the red basket in front of them, scaring the thoughts from Madie's mind.

"But then again, Trent likes anyone that has two legs and a vagina." Hailey reached for a cheesy stick, "I just can't wait until Levi wakes up and breaks up with miss goody-goody. And for things to be back to normal again. Well, Ferndale normal that is."

"You think he will? Leave her?"

"Oh yeah, give it time." Hailey nodded, obviously sure of herself.

She will be yesterday's news before long, Hailey thought, here today and gone tomorrow . . . But since when did she have confidence in a man's judgment?

"You know what you need?"

"A shot of something much stronger than this." Hailey chuckled, raising her beer.

"Well that too." Madie grinned, "But maybe you need to let loose, forget about Levi and his Jenna-drama and find something else to dwell on for awhile."

"You know what, you're right. But it's hard with the lovers constantly in my face." She dusted the crumbs from her fingers. "I can only handle so much of this boyfriend girlfriend drama before I go over the edge."

"Dwell on homework." Madie joked, making them both laugh.

"No, no…" Hailey smirked, "Maybe I'm going about this all the wrong way"

"What you mean?"

"If Levi won't break up with her…"

The evil look on Hailey's face made Madie chew slowly. "Are you saying what I think your saying?"

Hailey raised her glass, ignoring Madie's question, "Cheers, to being Seniors. This is going to be without a doubt, one hell of a year." As their glasses clanked together, Madie could only imagine what Hailey Manning was up too next.