Wicked Games (Deadly Cool #3) by Gemma Halliday

CHAPTER ONE





hey…u there?

I was in science class when I felt my phone buzz to life in my pocket, barely audible above the sound of Mrs. Perry's lecture on common alleles and DNA daughter cells. I carefully extracted it, making sure my textbook covered it from her view as I checked the screen, reading Chase's text. With one eye on Mrs. Perry's back as she turned to the white board, I let my fingers do the answering.

in science, I texted back.

A few seconds later his response buzzed in.

snoozefest

I grinned.

agreed

Almost instantly he responded. ditch?

I glanced up at my teacher. She'd turned to face the classroom again. While she continued lecturing without missing a beat, I'd swear her eyes lingered on my desk just a little too long, as if her Spidey, some-kid-isn't-paying-attention sense was tingling.

cant. eagle eyes on me, I responded.

The truth was, I wouldn't have ditched anyway. As much as I wasn't loving the lecture from arguably the toughest science teacher at Herbert Hoover High, I needed the A in this class if I was going to get into AP Physics next year. Which I needed if I was going to get into a college that didn't have the word community in it. Which I needed if I didn't want my mother to disown me.

I was just slipping my phone back into my pocket when it buzzed again. I froze, one eye on Perry as I slowly pulled it out. I glanced down.

busy this weekend?

I bit my lip. Today was the Friday of a much anticipated three-day weekend. Most kids I knew were going skiing in Tahoe, hitting the beach in Santa Cruz, or taking off for camping trips up north. Me? My mother was a single mom on a budget (a fact she brought up every time we went to the mall together and I eyed the window displays), so my big plans included a marathon of watching 90 Day Fiancé on TV with my best friend, Samantha. Not exactly stuff to write a How I Spent My Vacation essay about.

I felt my stomach flutter a little at the idea of having plans with Chase this weekend instead.

Chase Erikson was a year ahead of me, which made him a senior. Tall and slim, he wore his hair a little on the long side, his clothes a little on the dark side, and his distaste for authority right on his sleeve. He was also crazy smart, the editor of the high school's online paper where I work, the Herbert Hoover High Homepage, and had a habit of looking at me like he was picturing me in nothing but my sports bra while simultaneously teasing me on a little-sister level. I'm pretty sure if you looked up Bad Boy on Wikipedia, Chase's picture would be there. He was a confusing mixture of enticing and dangerous.

no plans. y? I finally texted back.

I stared at my screen waiting for his reply. The truth was, as confusing as my feelings for Chase were, his feelings for me were even more of a question mark. Sure we spent a lot of time together for the paper. And ate lunch at the same table in the school cafeteria more days than not. And he'd recently asked me out for pizza. But while the pizza at the food court and the two of us taking some corny pictures in the photo booth at the mall had been fun, it had all been pretty platonic too. No kissing. No hand holding. No professions of undying love. It had left me still kinda wondering if Chase saw me in the realm of friends, Homepage colleagues, or something more. Then again, I wasn't entirely sure which I wanted it to be, so the ambiguity worked for me at the moment.

Sorta.

"Ms. Featherstone?"

I snapped my head up to find Mrs. Perry's eyes narrowing at me behind her wire-rimmed glasses.

"Uh, yeah?" I asked, licking my lips.

"I asked which messenger code RNA goes with this transfer RNA sequence?"

I blinked at her, looking behind her to the white board where she'd scribbled sequences of DNA codes. "Uh…I'm not entirely sure…"

Mrs. Perry frowned, craning her neck to see over my textbook. I slipped my phone between my knees, doing my best innocent impression.

"The second one! U, C, A," I finally settled on.

Mrs. Perry glanced at the board, frowned again, and did some more eye narrowing. "That's correct, Ms. Featherstone."

I let out a sigh of relief that I was sure the people all the way in the last row heard.

Mrs. Perry turned her back on me to scribble more sequences just as my phone buzzed between my knees, making me jump in my seat.

I quickly glanced down to check the screen.

cool. got an assignment for ya. I'll pm you details

I felt my shoulders slump. An assignment. Right. Of course that was why Chase wanted to know what my plans were. I texted back, I'm on it, before shutting my phone off and slipping it into my backpack.