The Princess and the Plague : 9

The Princess and the Plague
(Life after Camp Kumoni)

By Anistasia Allread
Edited by Nick B

“Guys, you've all wanted a peek up these skirts and if you are on the squad, you get to peek daily,” she smiled.

The guys in the student body cheered and whistled at that.



Eric woke up knowing that it was going to be a long, busy day. He grabbed some breakfast and met Samantha at the door. The blonde who had his heart for the past few years was dressed in her red and white cheer uniform.

“So will you try out for cheer?” she asked.

“Shhh, not so loud,” Eric cautioned. “We don't want my mother to hear.”

“We do have boys on our cheer squad,” Samantha scolded, but lowered her voice as they walked down the drive.

“I have no cheer abilities. I can't do the splits, I can't cartwheel let alone tumble and I have two left feet,” Eric explained. “If I make the Rally squad will you be happy?”

Samantha frowned.

“We'll be at the games together,” Eric reminded.

“Fine, I'll talk to Melinda and see if she can get you on the Rally squad.”

“Krystal too,” Eric stated. “If Krystal doesn't get on, then I won't either.”

“Does Krystal even want on the Rally squad?”

“Secretly, I think she does, but I think she thinks she's too fat or something.”

Samantha sighed. “I'll talk to Melinda.”

“Thanks, Samantha.” Eric grinned, “What should I wear today? Since I'm not trying out for cheer, I don't have to wear anything special do I? And what about the game? What should I wear to that?”

“You'll need to wear something comfortable or bring something comfortable, because if you're going to be on the Rally squad. You'll have to spend the afternoon before the game practicing routines and cheers.”

“The Rally squad does cheers?”

“They do pretty much everything that cheer does, except tumble and the more complicated routines. They don't do pyramids either, but they dance and cheer just like we do.”

Eric rolled his eyes. “Oh great.”

“You can't go chickening out now,” Samantha warned. “Especially if I can get you and Krystal on the Rally squad. Besides, look at it this way, it'll be a great way for Krystal to work out.”

“Good morning,” Tricia greeted them from the kitchen. “I laid out two outfits for you upstairs. I'll be up as soon as I finish my breakfast.” She looked at Samantha, “You look pretty in your cheer outfit.”

“Go on up, I'll be up in a minute,” Samantha instructed.

Eric went up to Tricia's room and found the two outfits. One was a knee length skirt, sweater, leggings and heeled boots that went along with a wide belt. The other was a pair of denim capris, a pink long sleeved shirt and a low cut short sleeved white sweater. A pair of flats were set next to the outfit. Eric looked at each for a long moment he went to the door and called down, “Samantha, I need your help.”

“Coming.” Samantha called back. The blonde cheerleader stood next to Eric, “They're both very cute and would look fantastic on you.”

“Which one should I wear?”

“Wear this one,” Samantha suggested, pointing to the skirt. “But bring the capris and a pair of tennis shoes to change into for Rally.”

Eric nodded and took the outfit into the bathroom.

“You almost ready?” Tricia asked.

“Just finishing up,” Erika said. A few moments later, Erika emerged from the bathroom wearing the royal blue sweater with skirt, leggings and boots, “It's time for a bang trim,” she said referring to the fringe that was now too long even with it fluffed and rounded.

“Damn girl! You look fine.” Tricia looked her up and down. She stepped up to Erika and kissed her pink glossy lips, “Don't go giving me up for cute guys asking you out.”

“Guys?” Erika grimaced, “Why would I want to go out with a guy?”

Tricia shrugged.


“So Erika,” Jake smiled. “I was hoping that you'd come and watch me play tonight.”

“Why would I want to come to watch you?” Erika asked. “I don't even understand football.”

“Well, most of the school shows up for our football games. Last year we went to the state finals. We're expected to win this year.”

Erika tried to show disinterest. “That's nice.”

“What could you possibly doing tonight that would be more fun than going to a football game?”

“I can think of a few things.” She looked over at Tricia, who mouthed 'I told you'.

“Well, just in case, I hope to see you there tonight.” Jake smiled.

Erika smiled back.

“I've got to go and get ready.” Samantha told the other two.

“Getting ready for what?”

“The pep rally.” Samantha got up, “When you get on Rally, you'll be coming with me.” Samantha gave Mrs. Anderson a knowing look and left.


Eric had only been to one other pep rally. Students made sure that they had left a wide berth around him as he sat on the bottom riser off to one side. It had taken him five minutes in the bathroom, afterwards, to get all of the tiny pieces of paper and popcorn out of his hair. In the process he had found two signs posted on his back. One read: 'Stay Clear, Contamination', the other: 'Loser'.

Erika, Tricia, Krystal and Victoria sat together up towards the center top of the stands as the student body around them cheered, yelled and screamed along with the cheerleaders working on the gym floor.

Erika found a new respect for Samantha and her squad as they tumbled and lifted one another up into the air in acrobatic poses. In front of the cheer squad and sometimes off to either side, the Rally squad, interacted and augmented the cheer leaders.

Tricia squeezed Erika's hand. “You might be down there next pep rally.”

“I don't know. It looks a bit daunting.”

“Yeah, but you'll look great in that short skirt.” Tricia smiled.

“You're trying out for the cheer squad?” Krystal asked.

“The rally squad,” Erika corrected, “I can't do those flips and things.” She looked at Krystal, “I would really like it if you would do it with me.”

Krystal looked shocked. “Me?”

Erika and Tricia both nodded.

“Huh,uh.” Krystal shook her head.

“Please, Krystal.” Erika begged, “Think about what a good workout it would be.”

“They aren't going to allow someone as large as me to go anywhere near a uniform like that.” Krystal still shook her head, “Imagine what they would say about me being a warthog, the jokes that I would have to put up with.”

“They all deal with those,” Erika assured. “At least come with me this afternoon to the tryouts?”

“Let me think about it,” Krystal relented.

“Imagine Rachel's pride if you made the squad,” Victoria added.

“She would be pretty impressed,” Krystal admitted.

Melinda, her long ebony hair pulled back into a pony that bounced and swayed when she moved, introduced the captains of the foot ball team. Jake, Tyler and Greg were among those wearing red game jerseys, standing in the center of the gym floor as the student body and faculty cheered for them.

“Come on, get up and cheer,” Victoria encouraged.

“I will not cheer for those Neanderthals,” Erika swore.

“Erika doesn't know that,” Victoria reminded.

Begrudgingly, Erika stood and clapped her hands without enthusiasm. The cheering died down and Greg stepped forward to take a microphone and made a speech, which Erika ignored.

Only after everyone started applauding again, did she tune back in to see Greg hand the mic back to Melinda.

“Okay, everyone,” Melinda began, “We're having Cheer and Rally try outs this afternoon. Come by the gym here and try out…We need guys too.”

She paused.

“Guys, you've all wanted a peek up these skirts and if you are on the squad, you get to peek daily,” she smiled.

The guys in the student body cheered and whistled at that.

“That's gross,” Tricia said, shaking her head.

“The only ones that get a peek are the ones that tire of it soon enough because of all the work involved,” Victoria promised. “Melinda will to see to that.”

The band began playing the Warthog fight song ending the rally.

“See you at lunch.” Victoria got up and followed mob of students back to class.


“What did you think of the Pep Rally?” Samantha asked at lunch.

“You were really great.” Krystal sipped at her iced tea.

“Melinda had almost guaranteed you a spot on the Rally squad.” Samantha told her.

“How? Why?” Krystal was bewildered.

“You're my friend and I vouched for you.”

“But, I'm fat.”

“You are not fat!” Samantha, Victoria and Erika hissed.

“They probably don't even make uniforms this big,” Krystal protested.

“That is enough, Krystal,” Samantha admonished. “I want to see you along with Erika at try outs,”

Greg approached the end of the table. “Hey, Samantha. Have you been feeling ill lately–after being exposed to the plague and all?”

Erika turned her head to keep Greg from seeing her redden with embarrassment and rage.

“Greg, grow up,” Samantha scolded.

“I heard that after his bath in the mall fountain, that he has quarantined himself,” he chuckled.

“Oh my, Greg, such a large word. Did you learn that one all by yourself?” Victoria sneered.

The football captain ignored her.

“Why would you be seen with that loser?” Greg pressed. “Come on, it’s 'The Plague'.”

“Go get tackled,” Victoria hissed, glaring.

“Greg, if you took the time to get to know him, you'd find a very nice guy,” Samantha defended.

“Oh, is he a sissy boy?” Greg said with a lisp. “I'm sure he's a very sweet boy.”

Victoria stood. “Greg, get out of here!”

“Oooh, look who has grown fangs,” he smirked.

“Should I remind you that I control the articles that go into the school paper?” Victoria snarled.

Greg stood back. “I'm the one that they all want to read about.”

“I can inform them on just who does your homework for you,” Victoria whispered angrily.

Erika thought she saw Greg flinch.

“Some friends you've made, Sam.” Greg turned to walk away.

“Don't call me Sam,” Samantha warned.

Greg waved over his shoulder.

“I'm so sorry.” Tricia gave Erika's knee a squeeze, “That was a creep. You had to deal with those guys on your own?”

Erika nodded.

“No wonder you didn't want to come back to school as Eric.”


Erika joined Krystal as they were about to enter the gym, “You ready for this?” she asked her camp friend.

Krystal shook her head. “No. I don't know why I'm even here.”

“Because I want you here,” Samantha greeted them. She took Erika and Krystal's hands and walked them into the gym where other girls were sitting on the bleachers watching the cheer leaders as they spoke and stretched.

“Hi Erika,” Melinda greeted them. “I'm glad you decided to give this a shot.”

“Do I need to change?” Erika asked.

“Yes, if you brought something more– suitable for dancing and cheering, then go on into the locker rooms and change.”

“I didn't know I was trying out today,” Krystal apologized. “I don't have any other clothes.”

“Can you dance a bit in what you're wearing?” Melinda asked.

“I think so.”

“Great. I'll see you in a few minutes.”

“I'll use the bathroom,” Erika told Samantha, “I'll be right back.”

Dressed more comfortably, Erika sat on the bleachers with Krystal as Melinda took the floor.

“Hi everyone,” Melinda greeted. “I'm glad to see some guys are with us today.” She smiled up at the couple of guys who looked uncomfortable being at the tryouts. “However, if you're not here to try out, then I'll have to ask you to leave.”

One of the guys nudged the other and they got up and left.

Melinda continued after the two guys left the gym. “We'll get to the tryouts in just a few minutes; first I want to talk to you about cheerleading and the commitment it takes.

“Cheering takes up all of your spare time. If you don't want to spend Friday nights as well as some Saturdays at football games, basketball games, other sporting events, charity benefits and helping our athletic students out, then cheering isn't for you.

“We make and hang the posters Thursday nights before the games. We prep the football and basketball player’s locker rooms Friday afternoons. We put on pep rallies and help our community in lots of different ways. That doesn't even include our practices. On top of all of that, we have to maintain a 'C+' average. If any of think that is too much, then I thank you for showing an interest and maybe you'll try out again next year.”

A few girls got up, some with slightly flushed faces and left the gym.

“Some of you are interested in cheering, the others of you are interested in the Rally squad.” Melinda went on to describe the differences and similarities in the two, “So, if you are interested in Cheer, please come down this way, those of you who want to be in Rally stay where you are.”

Taylor, the leader of the Rally squad stood before Erika and the others. “Hi,” she greeted.

Erika didn't know a whole lot about Taylor. She kept to herself most of the time. Last year, Eric had a class with her, but it she seldom spoke up in class. For someone as beautiful as she, she didn't socialize much. Her mixed heritage gave her skin the color of a latte and her hazel eyes tended to be more gold than green or gray. Today, her hair was straight and pulled back in a pony, but Erika had seen her wear it in long ringlets, or cornrowed. Taylor was one of those girls who made everything she wore look great.

“My name is Taylor and I'm in charge of the Rally squad. We don't get the glory of the cheer squad, but we work just as hard as they do, and in a lot of ways harder. They need to reserve a lot of their energy flipping and throwing themselves at each other. We pick up the slack and use our voices, our legs, and our cute looks to keep the crowd entertained.”

Krystal leaned close to Erika. “Why am I here?”

“Because if I am joining the rally squad for Samantha, you can too. Besides, it will help you lose even more weight,” Erika told her.

Taylor looked the girls over. “Let’s have you get up and pair off with another Rally girl, teach you a basic routine and see how you do.”

Erika tried to keep up with the dancing as best as she could. In a way it was almost like when Tricia had taught her how to waltz out in the forest at camp. After a few times of going through it, she finally felt like she was getting the hang of it.

“Okay, girls.” Taylor stopped them. “Let’s see how you use your voices. I'm going to yell a cheer; I want you to copy it, one at a time.”

Taylor went up to one of the girls and yelled. Erika noticed that even though the brunette was yelling, she never seemed to lose her smile.

Erika let her voice carry as loud as she could, not caring if it sounded a little masculine. The thing she focused on was trying to keep smiling. It was harder than it looked. For the first time that afternoon, Taylor smiled.

“That was perfect.” Taylor nodded. “Did you all see and hear what she just did?”

“She was loud,” a girl stated.

“Not only was she loud, she projected,” Taylor explained, “She didn't just force air through her vocal chords, she focused her sound and bounced it off the wall and the whole time she was, smiling while she was doing it.”

Krystal gave Erika a nod of support.

“Good job, Erika.” Taylor smiled, she leaned in closer to Erika, “I know Samantha and Melinda want you on this squad, but I don't like playing favorites. You have a voice. You just need to learn to dance better.” She turned to the others. “Can any of you tumble? Do cartwheels, flips, and the like?”

One girl raised her hand.

Taylor stepped towards her, “Why aren't you trying out for cheer?”

“I like Rally uniforms better.” The girl smirked.

“They could use you if you can tumble.”

“I also don't like getting hurt,” the girl replied, “Statistically cheerleaders get hurt worse and more often than football players. I would rather have my feet on the ground than being thrown into the air and trust someone will catch me.”

“Me too,” Talyor nodded. “Okay,” she addressed the girls, “I'm going to have Jordon start teaching you all a cheer. Melinda and I'll make cuts accordingly. If you are cut, please leave quietly and without drama. You might make the squad next year.”

Jordon's blonde hair was pulled back into pigtails fastened with red ribbons. “Hi everyone.” She gave a small wave. “You are all doing great.” She gave them a toothy grin. “This is one of several of our basic cheers. I'll do it a couple of times and you follow along.”

Jordon turned to face away from the nervous girls and began the cheer, yelling and dancing at the same time.

By the time Melinda and Taylor had made their cuts, there were six girls left, Krystal and Erika included.

“Krystal, how much can you lift?” Melinda asked.

Krystal shrugged, “I don't know, why?”

“Only one of the guys trying out for cheer is acceptable and we could use another person who can spot. Could you come with me?”

Krystal looked confused. She looked to Erika, who nodded and smiled.

“The rest of you will meet in here every afternoon after school,” Taylor told them. “Welcome to the Warthog Rally squad.”

A few of the girls squealed with delight.

Taylor walked up to Erika, “Welcome to the squad, Erika. You really projected and presented, well. You just need to learn your left foot from your right, okay?”

“Thank you, Taylor. I'll try.”

“See you tomorrow.”

Erika picked up her duffle and walked over to where the cheer squad was working. She watched as Krystal hoisted a cheer leader up overhead and held her there for a moment before her arms began to give. Jorge and another guy standing nearby stepped in and caught the cheerleader as she half fell into their waiting arms.

“That was better than the guys could do,” Melinda observed, “If you worked on your upper body strength, would you consider joining Cheer?”

“Yes!” Samantha exclaimed clapping her hands together. “Say yes, Krystal, say yes.”

Krystal looked from Samantha to Erika, who smiled and nodded, then to Melinda, “I won't have to tumble will I?

“No.” Melinda smiled. We can work a routine around you so you won't have to tumble or do any aerials.”

“Aren't I too fat?”


Krystal looked at the ground ashamed. “I'm fat.”

“This isn't 'Bring it On',” Melinda stated. “We need you Krystal. We need your strength. Besides, Samantha vouches for you. She says that you've lost a lot of weight over the summer while at camp.”

Krystal blushed but nodded.

“Please, join cheer,” Melinda pleaded.

“Okay, as long as I don't look like a whale in the uniform,” Krystal relented.

“You'll look just as sexy as the rest of them,” Jorge spoke up.

Samantha jumped up and wrapped herself around Krystal. “You're so awesome,” she said. “You'll love it, just wait and see.”

“It'll be a lot of hard work.” Melinda warned. “I'll need you to work out on weights with Jorge to get that upper body and arm strength built up.”

“We'll start tomorrow,” Jorge nodded. “While you are all doing your wind sprints, I'll start pumping iron with Krystal.

“I won't get all brawny and bulky will I?” Krystal was alarmed.

“No, I'll keep you looking gorgeously feminine,” Jorge promised.

“I'll do it.” Krystal let out a breath.

To be continued…

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