Real Deal

"This is the best deal you're ever going to get, because this young lady right here is the real deal."

I wanted to hit my teacher with the mic stand and push her off the stage. What the hell was she saying? I wouldn't have even agreed to this crap had there not been a threat to my scholarship, because this particular teacher knew my real situation with regards to it.

Long story short, she managed to convince – blackmail – me into this undignified auction. Earlier, one not-so-good-looking girl had been 'bought' by the very first (only) bidder; another one hadn't been 'bought' at all. While I thought she should have been rejoicing since she didn't have to go through the torture of a date (or some other horror of a time) with a stranger, apparently – judging from the very nasty glare she sent me when I told her this – she really really would have liked to be bought.

Trudging up the stage to where Ms. Cooke was when she called my name, I tuned out the noise of the audience in the school auditorium. I didn't know whether they were jeers or cheers, but I didn't care. I just wanted to get this over with.

Ms. Cooke, smiling her 1000-watt smile, gestured for me to take the microphone. "Go ahead, Jade." Then in a low undertone, she whispered, "Remember what's at stake here – "

"I know," I hastily replied. There goes my final hope that she had any drop of mercy in her body.

I took an internal deep breath and faced the audience, consisting of the school administrators, teachers, guests, and fellow students who had a part in this event. Unfortunately, most of those students aren't ones I got along well with – not that I was friends with a lot of people. In fact, these preps, the same students who organized this Save-the-Trees campaign, which explains its utter cliché-ness, along with the incredibly high school idea of an auction, pretty much hated me, the reason for which I saw staring back at me smugly from the row reserved for special guests.

Him. The bastard who I will someday kill with a blunt knife and –

"Jade, stop scowling, start smiling. And start talking," Ms. Cooke hissed, interrupting my vivid imagination.

I stepped in front of the mic stand and looked out at the idiots who attended this stupid thing. Who said I had to be nice about this?

"I'm Jade Adams, and I think this auction is utterly degrading, not only to those being auctioned off, but to everyone who ever even thought this was an idea. Auctioning people off like this is no better than practically prostitu – "

Loud feedback from the microphone was suddenly heard all over the place, effectively drowning out the rest of the words. I winced and covered my ears. I couldn't even have freedom of speech now?

After the feedback cleared, I was able to catch a glimpse of the school administrators' faces. Hilarious. I grinned contentedly. If that hadn't killed my chances of being 'bought', I don't know what would (short of really embarrassing stunts that would make me a laughingstock, that is).

I was all ready to say goodbye to Ms. Cooke as she desperately tried to salvage the situation, saying I was an English and Physics tutor, I was an outreach program volunteer, and I was smart enough to be a scholar and to be a candidate for valedictorian. While I really was all those, she forgot to mention that I had to be the first two to be the third one. The last one wasn't exactly in the foreseeable future – I was somewhere in the bottom of the valedictorian race. Like tenth place.

So there I was, about to jump off the stage with my dignity safe, when the voice – the voice of a thousand devils from all circles of hell – called out, "Ten thousand."

A hush fell over the auditorium. I could see the people craning their necks, wondering who the hell was crazy enough to give that much money for someone who wouldn't even have anyone else bidding for, and shouldn't even be bid for because of her incredibly inappropriate words.

Then he stood up, started walking towards the stage. "Ten thousand," he repeated calmly, an awful smirk on his face.

I was going to kill him. I was going to flay him alive with that blunt knife. I was –

"Sold! Claim your girl!" Ms. Cooke crowed happily. I swear, I was going to stuff that microphone down her throat if she said anymore.

The jackass was coming nearer. I was caught between running and looking like a total coward, and staying and suffering. He arrived before I could make up my mind.

Using all the nastiest thoughts I could muster, I trained my evil eye on him. Burn, bastard, burn. Go up in flames. Fall to the pits of hell, get cremated alive. No matter how hard I wished, however, nothing happened, except him glancing at me and saying into the mic, "She doesn't know how lucky she is."

Oh no David. I know how lucky I am, cause I'm finally close enough to skin you alive.

A/N: This, if I must warn, is a cliché of rather epic proportions. (Okay no, that "epic proportions" part was cliché too.) So have fun!:))

Thanks to my pseudo-editor, Charlie. Even though I still will not let you read all my stuff.

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- che