Shane Cooper, Student Body President, has a dark secret that he can't let anyone find out.
|It was five minutes until the assembly was supposed to start and Shane Cooper's scuffed blue converse shoes hit the last stair as he jogged through the school. Thundering music boomed out from the gym as the crowd of students waited for their Student Body President to start off the pep rally. The biggest basketball game of the season was to be that evening and the school's team had a good shot at winning the state championships.The Student Council had planned lots of exciting events to get the students revved up for the game but since everyone was already excited, it was really just a time to celebrate it.
"Where were you? We've gotta start," Stacy Jorgins, Cheer Captain and fellow Student Council member, whispered to Shane harshly as he finally made it into the gym.
"I'm sorry. Let's get started." Shane grinned at her charmingly and his tardiness was forgotten.
"Good afternoon, everyone," He greeted the student body loudly from the microphone.
It took a moment before they were quiet enough for him to start since everyone was stomping their feet to a favorite song and chatting loudly. As they settled down, Brian, also on the Student Council, presented Shane with a cordless mic so he could move around the floor easily and not be fixated behind a podium.
"Let's get this party started!" Shane echoed from the mic and got the students cheering loudly again.
The Student Body President led the pep rally which started off with a milk drinking competition. The JAG TV team had cameramen out on the floor videotaping the action and the huge speakers of the sound system threw out blood-pumping music and Shane's charismatic voice to all in attendance. They all ate it up like luscious chocolate cake on a day they would remember for the rest of their lives -- especially on quiet evenings while they aged into their 30's and wondered if their lives would puff out like a meaningless cloud of smoke, they would remember Shane's lithe form as he conducted the events and the crowd like some famous orchestra.
"You were awesome out there!" Stacy beamed up at Shane as they watched the students file out of the gymnasium. They were talking so loudly everyone had to shout to be heard and it just made it all the more deafening. No one minded, though.
Shane smiled back at Stacy, surprised at how calm he felt. "Thanks. I think it went pretty well. I bet Alex is going to have a bruise after he fell down like that."
She laughed in memory of Alex trying to win a relay race with a hula-hoop around his foot and Shane couldn't help but admire her wavy blonde hair as she threw her head back and said, "I'm sure he will."
He couldn't wipe the grin off of his face even after Stacy went to go talk to her friends who had come down from the bleachers to chat energetically. His eyes roamed the huge gymnasium and watched as hundreds of his peers headed out the double doors. There was laughter and cheers and even a few jumping up and down to wave at each other. Shane couldn't help but feel proud and confident as he surveyed his kingdom despite the close call he had had that morning. It was moments like this that made his secret struggle worth it. He considered his shape changes a challenge that he could overcome and hide in order to be his true self. Still, he reminded himself silently as his grin dropped a few degrees, he needed to be more careful. Even now, getting too excited about all the attention could trigger a change and he definitely couldn't afford to do that now.
Shane helped clean up the gym from the rally and then retreated back to the small room the student council called their office. Members from a previous year had found an old couch which took up most of the space and a desk with a computer took up the rest expect for a small area for people to walk through.