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That Bitch: A Love Story

Cover Photo: © Rosalie Thorne

Best Fronds Creations, LLC

Editor – Z. V. Ezell

To that bitch I used to know:

Happy birthday, this March 28th.

(I remember when you used to call

The Twilight Saga your bibles.)

That Bitch: A Love Story

By Rosalie Thorne

“I’m not perfect, I’m no snitch,

but I can tell you she’s a bitch.

- Don’t Trust The B- In Apartment 23



“This is a work of fiction. Still, given an infinite number of possible worlds, it must be true on one of them. And if a story set in an infinite number of possible universes is true in one of them, then it must be true in all of them. So maybe it’s not as fictional as we think.”


“How is it looking?” Cailey asks, without glancing up from editing her most recent Instagram story.

We had spent the last Saturday before senior year giving her bedroom suite a Great Gatsby makeover. Though, making sure to keep the Parisian, gothic, vampire, luxury-girl undertone she is known for. The last few weeks had been filled with shopping, redecorating, and rearranging, and yesterday it all boiled down to the more glorious of Instagram feeds. @FleurDeLis will never be the same.

Today, until she is ready to show her personal makeover, she is posting perfectly manicured “behind the scenes” stories. Granted, I had taken most of the videos and pictures for her, but they were all meant for her account. Well, except for the few she discarded and said I could post and tag her in.

That’s the life of a beta, I guess. And as I double-check that the line between her natural brown hair and dyed black hair is straight and clean, I look at her face in the mirror. “Your roots are done; you can’t even tell. I just need to clip it on top and then we wait.”

Her eyes flick to mine in the mirror for a moment and there’s a shadow of a smile. Back to her iPhone, she lets off her signature hum before saying, “You know, if I wasn’t doing this hairstyle, and you did it, you’d totally look like Narcissa Malfoy.”

Which is why I had suggested the hairstyle at the beginning of Summer, finally feeling courageous enough to dye my blonde hair. “Oh, but I could never dye my hair black… remember all those videos you sent me of how the blonde would never be the same and it would take years to grow out?”

Now she smiles and slips her phone upside down on the bathroom sink. “Exactly. Really, though, Delilah, how you could ever change from the pale hair with the pale skin and the pale eyes? It’s so naturally vampiristic.”

Yes… yes… I am the vampire, pale with pale features, thin, soft-spoken, and I was raised to be more sophisticated with great etiquette. Bethany is the witch, tall, dyed red hair, with a fiery spirit to match, bohemian style, and kind of floats on the edge of different friend groups. Tamera is the werewolf, dark skin with dark features, petite, curvy, overly emotional, and has a crush on so many guys it’s hard to keep track. And Cailey is the evil queen, the alpha, intelligent and cunning, always with some sort of plan brewing, traditionally beautiful, and has crafted a meticulously perfect appearance, (in person and online), for the world to see. We formed the gothic Mean Girls in eighth grade and have been ruling the alternative world of Fairmont High ever since.

Waiting for her to leave the bathroom, I then follow her through her bedroom and into the kitchen. As I fill two glasses with her mom’s spiked lemonade, she opens the DoorDash app to order Subway. “That teriyaki chicken sandwich, right?”

I nod, “Please.”

I gave up a long time ago lying to myself about one of the benefits of being Cailey’s friend is the money. She almost never comes to my house because then we’d have to eat frozen pizzas or soup or something cheap and basic. At her place – that has been my second home this Summer, where I will also spend before and after school and most weekends – she gets to order whatever she wants us to have.

I also gave up lying to myself a long time ago that I much prefer it when it is just me and her, instead of the whole group. (Which Cailey sometimes calls her wolf pack, vampire clan, or witch coven.) She is way less formal and less authoritative when it’s just the two of us.

I love when we’ll sit on the cool tile of the kitchen and actually talk about emotional things. Those nights in the empty house, as we lay on the kitchen floor waiting for sweets to bake, that’s really where our friendship bloomed. She actually opened up to me about her parents’ divorce, about her romantic entanglements, and that she cared for our group deeply, willing to do anything to protect us.

Being an only child myself, I understand her need to belong… I think that’s why our group works so well. A true pack dynamic, in fact, with a rather Slytherin attitude. Those we trust, though few and far between, are closer than family, and those we’d defend at all costs. Which, incidentally enough, is why Bethany got suspended Freshman year.

I had loaned her my paperback copy of The Beast, the newest Black Dagger Brotherhood book at the time, and when a kid snatched it from her hand and wouldn’t give it back, she smacked him so hard across the back of the head his face smashed into his own desk. No one messed with our group after that, and Cailey likes to think we are feared.

As I glance at the timer on my phone for Cailey’s hair, I wonder how much of that is true. How much of Cailey’s talk about how everyone perceives our group… perceives her, is true. Freshman year, Sophomore year I loved like to think we were the powerful bitches of the school. But when we started to separate because of our classes and extracurricular activities, and I got some space? I’m not so sure.

The doorbell rings, taking me out of my train of thought. Because Cailey is waiting for her hair dye, it is up to me to grab the food. Back in the kitchen, I see her waiting on a bar stool, a smirk on her face. “Guess what I just got,” and she waves her iPhone back and forth.

I smile, “What?”

“A personal, texted invite to Elias’s back-to-school party!” Smiling, she starts unpacking the Subway bag. “I bet you’ll get the Facebook invite soon enough.

“God, it sucked that he had to stay with his father in Montana all Summer! What the Hell is in Montana anyway?” she rolls her eyes.

“His pictures on Instagram were really beautiful,” I comment softly. I had probably liked and saved all of them… ‘big sky country’ was right and where he was in the southwest corner was gorgeous. Plus, I totally word-vomited in his comments my jealousy of the Milky Way pictures he got on his grandparent’s farm.

“Yeah, but he must have been so bored, you know? And the cell service was so bad we barely got to text.”

Which is something I knew to be true, too. Though that might have been for the better because without being in the same French class anymore, I was totally nerve-racked to talk to him without a default subject to fall back on. “Right… I think he posted on Facebook that he could only ever connect to internet at his dad’s place.”

Cailey waves her hand dismissively, “Well, anyway. He’s back! He’s back, he’s single, end of Spring and Summer sufficiently enough time for him to get over What’s-Her-Face.”

Claiming she was too insignificant to be remembered, Cailey never says Jennifer’s name. But we of the group knew it was because she hated ‘that bitch’ for ‘snaking Elias away’, out from under Cailey’s grasp, (or as she liked to describe it). I hadn’t been in their advanced math class, so I couldn’t be sure.

As Cailey continued to gush about Elias, I noticed my phone light up with a new and find a missed message:

Elias: Hey girly, you’re coming to my party, right? Cailey said she’s down, so you have no excuse!

Of course! I wouldn’t miss it.

“Why are you all smiley?”

“Oh, Mary sent me pictures of her cat,” I lie quickly.

Cailey rolls her eyes. She hates Mary because… well, she can’t control Mary. Mary is my only best friend outside of our group. I met her when I joined color guard, (which is something Cailey also hates, seeing as her stance is anti-anything High School-related), and I bonded with her because she helped me catch-up with the rest of the team. On the rare occasion she is free, I hang out with her. But, because of her totally stereotypically strict Asian parents, that isn’t very often. So, we mostly talk on Instagram or Facebook.

Becoming overly interested in my bag of chips, I ask “… did Elias say anything else about the party? He usually does it next Saturday, right? The first Saturday after school starts?”

But the timer on my phone goes off suddenly, and Cailey literally drops everything and heads to the bathroom. Her bedroom door is closed without another word, and I find myself scrolling through the familiar stream of pictures on Elias’s Instagram feed instead.

Chapter One

The apartment I call home always seems that much smaller after staying a significant time at Cailey’s huge house. To be fair, it is a three-bedroom apartment with an eat-in kitchen, living room, and screened-in patio big enough for a hammock and two chairs. As Mom says, if it was big enough for me to grow into, it’s big enough for us to stay in.

Fending for myself because Dad is out of the country – God knows where, because of the Air Force – and because Mom’s job as an EMT has crazy hours, it takes a grand total of five steps in any direction to move around the kitchen and make mini pizza. Mom and I are blessed with a Gilmore Girl-esque metabolism and color guard keeps me pretty active… though, as I eye the clock on the microwave, I am running out of time for my nightly jog.

Easing into the corner chair around the tiny kitchen table, I start mentally prepping for the first day of school. For a moment I close my eyes and try to remember my classes in order and where they are on campus. Struggling with what comes before lunch, I look down at my phone. “French two… right.”

Are you taking French II this year?

Elias: Yes, ma’am.

I think my class is right before lunch.

My heart thuds hard in my chest.


Yep! You?


Guess we’re study-buddies again.

And then the smirking emoji?

I look around, my brows knotted. The smirking emoji? Really? The “if you know what I mean”, flirty, heavily sexual smirking emoji?

Probably a mistake, I side-step it all together and reply:

Did you use Duolingo at all this Summer?

Nah. Internet sucked in MT.

MT looked gorgeous tbh

Oh, for sure!

Just felt like an alternative universe or something.

Is it really that different from OH?



My dad lives in this tiny town…

I STG, it was an hour to the Walmart.

And four! Four hours from the airport.

Wow, that’s crazy.

Are you happy to be home?


I’m happy to be back at school.

To be back with the people I care about.

Yeah! That does sound a lot better.

Well… I need to go for my jog.

See you tomorrow?

Yep! Have fun.

Be safe.

Chapter Two

Forty-five minutes later I walk out of the bathroom in a towel and realize I still have no idea what to wear tomorrow. Following Cailey’s rules means no blue jeans until Friday, all black is reserved for Wednesday, and we can only wear our hair in a plain ponytail for gym. She had sent a picture of her outfit earlier, as well, which means I can’t wear red and black, or it’ll be too match-matchy to her vintage Frederick’s Of Hollywood corset. Though I don’t always fall in with the goth aesthetic, she had made it clear she wanted us to make a statement on the first day back….

Looking through, but not really seeing the contents of my closet, I stand and wonder. It is still a little too hot for a dark academia look, so perhaps something vintage? Twenties? No. Fifties? Eh. Nineties? Now, that could work.


Unplugging my phone from the charger, I quickly look through my saved photos on Insta. There was an image of a girl in shorts with tights that came to mind, though a little more grunge than I was thinking, but. Yep! There it is….

I’ll do my black uber-sheer tights under my black jean shorts, with the black leather Coach belt I got from the outlet for Christmas. I just need to get my grey, cami bodysuit out of the dryer and find my oversized, floor-length, black lace cardigan. With my black Oxford booties to match, I’ll just need to finish it off with my faux black pearl earrings, a black ribbon choker, and my matching medallion necklace (that each of us in the group has), and I should be good to go. Posting it to the group chat, I head to the bathroom to blow dry my hair.

Ready for bed, I notice a reply.

Cailey: Trade out the belt.

The gold clashes with the silver medallion.

Plus, I want us all to wear the Tiffany bracelets I got us this Summer, remember?

God, how could I forget!

Right! Of course.

I send a corrected picture:

How’s this?


Morning comes way too quickly, my night filled with crazy, abstract stress dreams. Feeling not at all rested, I am so sluggish getting ready that it becomes too late to eat before heading to Cailey’s. Leaving a rushed note for Mom on the kitchen counter, I remind her it’s my first day of school and I’ll be home by six.

Though the habit of me being at Cailey’s before and after school started Freshman year, when I couldn’t drive and Mom’s schedule was during school hours, it is still something I do today. Even if that means driving past the school to get to her gated neighborhood, I make my way across town and park on the street outside of her house…. I had texted her my ETA, but also knock on the door loudly.

The uncomfortable moment between knocking and her answering always seems like forever, my stomach tumbling, and my intrusive thoughts making me question what if (for some reason unbeknownst to me) she doesn’t let me in? And a sense of relief spreads through me when she swings the door open.

After a flicker of a smile she waves me in. She doesn’t even say anything as she walks away, while I close the door and lock it. As per usual, I follow her to her room on the other side of the house and sit on the edge of her bed as she goes into the bathroom.

Glancing at the morning news that she always has on, it seems the weather will be quite pleasant for this Ohio in August school day with a high of seventy-five, blue skies, and sunshine. After the blow dryer is done, Cailey pokes her head into the room, “Did you see Elias post his schedule on Facebook?”

“Oh? No. I haven’t checked anything today.”

She leans against the doorframe, “I cannot believe I don’t have a single class with him this year, ugh!” she grimaces.

“There’s always the Autumn play and Spring musical,” I offer.

The tension in her face lessens, “Right… and we have the same lunch.”

“And his party on Saturday! Plus, you’re still having that pool party before your mom closes it up for the season, right?”

She lifts from the frame with a mischievous smile, “Very true. Well, maybe this semester won’t be a bust after all.”

Knowing it is about time for her to start her makeup, I move to sit on the toilet next to the sink. I am one of the very few people that have seen her fresh-faced since she started wearing makeup every day in ninth grade. Even when she posts that she’s wearing no makeup, she is. Still, it always surprises me how quickly she can do full face makeup, with perfectly winged eyeliner and easily applied false lashes.

“Have you heard from your dad lately?”

I sigh, “No…. But he’s supposed to video chat with us on Saturday morning.”

She stops cleaning the edge of her lipstick to look at me fully. “I’m sorry. He’s okay though, right? I thought you said you got an email from him saying he was actually in a pretty safe place.”

I gnaw on my lip. “Yeah… yeah. He’s at a base. But… I mean, you know how it is. It’s all still a war zone.”

Cailey puts the Q-Tip down and leans to hug me. “He’ll be okay, Delilah.”

When she pulls away, she offers me a tissue. “Here.”

I stand next to her to see if my makeup was messed up by the tears at all. “Just one more month and he’ll be home again.”

She smiles softly, “You and your mom doing a welcome home dinner again?”

Nodding, I smile a little. “Like always.”

All finish in the bathroom, she hip-checks me and nods to her room. “Let’s get some selfies before we have to go.”

Chapter Three


I see a blur of blonde hair and black lace enter the French classroom just down the hall. Lifting from the wall, I shove my phone in my back pocket and reposition the strap of my backpack. I’d been waiting for Delilah to cross through the door, so I could follow and then sit next to her instead waiting and of hoping she’d sit next to me.

In the back corner, the spot to her right is open. I hover for a moment before sitting down. “This seat taken?”

She has to double-take from her planner. Then there’s a huge smile on her face. “Elias! Hi! No, go ahead.”

I cock my chair towards her, slipping my backpack under the table. “How’s your first day going so far?”

She closes her planner and tucks a lock of honey hair behind her ear. “Good… good. And yours?”

Her heart-shaped face is truly beautiful, and her aquamarine eyes are stunning. I had crept on her Instagram every day in Montana, the crush I had had while dating Jen snowballing into something more. “Great, actually,” which is true, now that I get to sit next to you.

“You had AP world literature with Grayson, right? Does it seem like it’ll be a hard class? I have him sixth period.”

Taking a moment too long staring at her face, her brows lift. I clear my throat and start unpacking my supplies. “Nah, I think it’ll be easy. Especially for you.”

I can see her cheeks pinken out of the corner of my eye. “I don’t know how you do it. AP everything! I’m basically taking tenth grade math and remedial science.”

“I could tutor you!” I blurt out way too quickly, throwing my hand between us.

Delilah expression becomes one of bemusement. “Um… sure! Sure, okay. Thanks! I’d hate for that to be the reason I don’t graduate.”

There’s a lull in the conversation for the final bell. But, it’ll be a couple of minutes before Miss Lavigne is ready, so I lean closer to Delilah, “Are you still thinking Ohio State?”

“Yep. That’s where my mom went, so why not?”

I nod thoughtfully. “That’s where I’m thinking, too.”

When Miss Lavigne gets underway with the first-day instruction, I daydream a little of Delilah and I going to the same university. Dates on campus, late night study sessions in the dorm, being away from all the bull shit of High School. God, wouldn’t that be great?

“Vous devriez vraiment utiliser Dulolingo pour aider avec le français,” Delilah giggles.

Catching ‘use Duolingo’ ‘with French’, I elbow her softly. “Ouais, ouais, d'accord.”

I follow her down the stairs as she heads out of the old building. She looks back for a moment, pushing herself towards the wall by the door. “Did you need to go to the cafeteria?”

Shaking my head, I open the door to the courtyard for her. “Nah, I brought lunch. You?”

She pulls her French textbook against her chest and squeezes by me, “Same.”

In the fresh air and sunshine, we slow and meander our way to the benches under the oak tree. Before sitting, she tucks her book into her bag and slides the bag off her shoulder to land on the grass. Then she takes off the lace cardigan and sits down. She closes her eyes, tilting her chin up, sunbathing.

As I sit, I notice little freckles on her shoulders. “Got some Sun this Summer, huh?”

She turns ever so slightly in my direction, though with her eyes still closed. “It’s never enough, though, is it? With Winter feeling like it lasts forever.”