Beth Gadon would do anything to be noticed. She knew that she wouldn't make the cheer squad, or dance team, so she volunteered to prance around in the sweat drenched lion mascot suit. Every pep rally, sporting event and assembly, Beth felt needed and loved. The flocks of freshmen to the sprinkling of seniors who unironically and ironically wanted their pictures taken with her made the stench of corn chips and mildew, and the sweltering temperature that rose with each breath she took- worth it.

Her sophomore year, a boy in the hallway changed her life. His friends dared him to grab the butt of the first girl to walk down the hall for five bucks. Beth happened to be that lucky girl. He did it and she ran to the bathroom. Not to cry, or to overhear the gossip, but to see what he saw. She saw through her thrift store jeans and found something that was enough. She had heard the whispers in the hallways– naive, wannabe, desperate– but she didn't care. Beth had something someone wanted.

The rumor that the hottest guy in school had called her a butterface, set Beth into motion. A new fauxbomb account took hold of Oakdale High School butter_liz. It was filled with neck down shots of what she wore to bed every night and the occasional cosplay. Every night, the private messages would flood her inbox. The people she shared the hallways with by day, confessed everything that they kept hidden as they walked down the halls. She was desired, the girl of her followers' dreams.

Beth Gadon was not the girl of Tyler's dreams; she was the most accessible. She was someone for him to use. She was someone to make him feel big when no one else could. She worshiped the ground he walked on because he was nice enough to her. And Tyler felt a little guilty at first, meeting up with her to do the things that Lindsay wouldn't. He didn't mind the scratches from her braces. He didn't mind the acne on her face, or the greasiness of her hair that had gone one too many days without washing. He didn't mind the cheap bargain bin perfume that left a sickly floral stench behind. He didn't mind because he didn't think of her as someone- she was something to him.

She was a blow job in the back seat of the car. She was a bent over quickie in the broom closet. She was practice. She wasn't real to Tyler.

That's why he was so mortified on the off chance that Beth would look his way in the halls, or pass him with her tray in the cafeteria, or stand too close to him in her mascot suit. Tyler wanted to preserve his duality. The public life with Lindsay, the Ken and Barbie fantasy and the private trists with Beth, everyone's fantasy butter_liz.

"I thought you were supposed to be with Lindsay tonight," Beth said, lacing rubber bands through her braces while staring in the rearview mirror. Tyler let the silence hang in the air and Beth continued her routine: fixing her braces, wiping her lips with one of the many fast food napkins in the glovebox and then reapplying her lip balm.

"Yeah," Tyler stopped and considered if he should tell Beth the full truth, "she had some kind of friend emergency. And we kind of got into a fight." He was mostly truthful. Beth was mostly listening, she was scrolling through her Photobomb account to answer all of the DMs she had gotten since she posted a picture of her ass in the new Star Trek underwear a follower bought from her online wishlist.

"See you're acting like Lindsay now— giving the phone more attention than me," he squeezed the steering wheel in his hands, the leather succumbing to the friction from his palms. Beth let the silence hang in the air. Pensive, she bit her lip and her eyes darted to the door handle. One of Tyler's tantrums was the last thing she wanted to deal with.

Beth pulled her hands into the sleeves of her pilling pink sweatshirt— still slightly damp from her spit and his sweat. She licked her lips to taste him one last time before opening the door. She thought about how kind Lindsay was. She thought about how Lindsay was the only person that made her feel like a part of the pep team, despite the cheesy lion suit. She thought about how Lindsay's crystal blue eyes would cloud with pain and flood with tears if she knew how Beth anonymously betrayed her in parking lots and broom closets. Lindsay was too beautiful for pain.

"Tyler, I'm not doing this anymore. It's not right to do this to Lindsay," Beth was swelled by the thoughts of her burgeoning friendship. She was no longer a violator of girl code, or common decency.

His nostrils flared and he gripped the steering wheel even tighter. Rage rose like the tide from his gut to the back of his throat, transforming into bits of malice and cowardice. He snapped his head over to Beth, who was now outside of the truck. She looked so small, almost doll-like. But that didn't matter to Tyler now. She became one fewer thing he couldn't have. His quest for status and perfection became littered with pursuits of possession and power.

"You don't get to talk about her," Tyler's face contorted with a quiet fury, "you're nothing like her. She wouldn't let herself be fucked in the middle of a parking lot."

Beth didn't cry, she wanted to but couldn't. The bass from a passerby reminded them of the anonymity and public nature of this liaison. Tyler reached under his seat to pull a roll of one-dollar bills and tossed it. The roll landed at her feet.

Beth had siphoned a little over two-thousand dollars from Tyler over the course of their arrangement. Most meetings two-hundred dollars bought her silence and put her on call to make him feel good, and to make herself feel wanted. The money was an amazing benefit, but she did it to feel the euphoria of hundreds of anonymous likes. He was the personification of everything she wanted to have.

Looking down at the money, tears welled in her eyes. Her chest tightened. Shrouded in the red hue of his taillights, she reached down to grab her final payment. They each had one less follower on Photobomb by morning.

"You know you don't have to come to Geoff's party if you don't want to," Lindsay squished a tapioca ball between her teeth after taking no less than thirty pictures of the full sweet, light ice, pink taro milk tea collecting condensation.

She was talking about the annual Halloween rager at the Petronijevic compound. Completely secluded and the place that everyone from Oakdale. No one around for miles, shrouded in pine trees. Why wouldn't she want Tyler to come?

Tyler's brow furrowed and took an extra long sip of milk tea that was no longer in his cup, "It sounds like you don't want me to come." He stared Lindsay down— poring over her to trick her into telling the truth, or whatever he thought the truth was.

Lindsay traced her finger over the letters carved into the picnic table from lovers and delinquents past. Her acrylic nail catching along the grooves in the wood, stopping short of giving her a splinter. She bit her lip, like she only does with Tyler and trying to reject her little sister's friends when they asked her out. A nervous bite because she'd have to take a moment, however brief it was, to hurt someone's feelings.

"I mean I kinda don't," her eyes peeked through her overgrown curtain bangs. She sipped more of her milk tea.

Rage slowly ran through Tyler's veins— he exhaled sharply. "Well what the fuck, you're my girlfriend. We're supposed to do stuff like this together." He was squeezing his knuckles white again, the feelings were bubbling back up again.

This was one of the few times he had seen Lindsay in the last few weeks. She had been responding to texts less frequently— three dots would dance across the screen only to yield one word answers or emojis that were more ambiguous than the one word answers. She wouldn't want to ride to school in the mornings, because she needed to 'study' or 'get in a morning session at the dance studio.'

"Tyler," she bit her lip again, "it hasn't been fun being your girlfriend lately."

That was it. Everything he had built up since the beginning of the school year comes crashing down before Remembrance Day. The gifts, the trips, the time— none of it meant anything.

"Fuck you," Tyler gritted between teeth, fury and vengeance becoming one.

"Tyler," Lindsay reached out to his knuckles, already turning white.

"Fuck you!" He snatched his fist back from her. Tyler knew he couldn't hit her, she was still a doll. Delicate, beautiful.

With all his might he slapped the boba tea away from the table— plastic crunched, ice flew and landed across the grass beneath them and a few pieces making it their melting point on the hot asphalt, the pink drink and boba covered them both. Tyler didn't care— he felt he was doing her a favor, only embarrassing her with a soaking wet and stained t-shirt.

Pink drink dripped from her bangs, a few drops cling to her cheeks, forehead and lips. She still looked beautiful.

Her voice was small, her breath shallow, and her eyes piercing, steely "Don't you ever fucking talk to me again. You fucking piece of shit. Freak."

She headed for her car and peeled off, sending dust and pebbles across the parking lot. Of course, he knew that she was starting a group call with Heather and Courtney. Of course, she had pulled her hair into a high ponytail and licked the pink taro tea from her lips. Of course, she was going to walk, no run away from Tyler like the overly comfortable pest he became. Of course, she was still better than him.

And of course, there Tyler stood in the middle of this empty public park, covered in his share of pink boba tea, alone and severed from any social clout he was gaining, and down another Photobomb follower.

The news spread like wildfire through Oakdale High School. This was in the league of gossip like Katie Fernandez being pregnant and not knowing who the dad was, or Noah Patel overdosing on Adderall during finals. Underclassmen, upperclassmen, even teachers were talking about the end of Oakdale's Ken and Barbie. Everyone hypothesized why the couple broke up: it was all a ploy for social media, their dads had a business deal fall through, Tyler had a micropenis, Lindsay was in love with a guitar player. But the truth? Tyler was obsessive.

#Lindsquad was trending by lunch, anyone who was anyone seemingly sided with Lindsay in the breakup. And #Tyleraiders had minimal traction with the freshman football team— and that ended when Lindsay posted her daily selfie and quickly joined the opposing side. Tyler was without allies, without any tactical advantage and without anyone to eat lunch with. And he to face the fact that #Lindsquad is clearly the better name.

"So you gotta tell me, you did get to fuck her right?" Someone whispered as he kept his head down in the halls. It didn't even matter who asked, Tyler couldn't tell the truth. He still knew that Lindsay deserved better than such a transparent lie. Everyone from a mile away could smell the unneeded shame of virginity on him— at least that's what he thought. So he just kept walking through the cafeteria, past the friends he thought he had and between the whispers and stares.

His truck, just a few minutes there with the music blasting and maybe he could call Beth— no he can't call fucking Beth even more. Even she thought she was too good for him— for the first time in months Tyler truly felt alone, no options back to nothingness and obscurity. But, some comfort was right beyond those doors to the parking lot and no teachers in sight.

"Hey! It's not free period, no parking lot access!" Fuck. He was finally defeated. Tyler turned on his heels and shoved his hands down into pockets hard, he wanted to feel the roughness of the denim, he wanted the metal eyelets to press too hard into his skin, he wanted to feel something other than this. And then he did.

There she was. His first obsession. He was all alone with her, just like they used to be in his fantasies.

Mrs. O'Halloran aka Mildred "Blaineley" Andrews O'Halloran. She was Tyler's dream— long legs, slacks and jeans that were always a little too tight for school, blouses that squeezed all the parts he wanted to. How he wished he was a discounted cashmere sweater in spring, or school spirit tee in the fall. Tyler fell hard and fast for the history teacher. He stopped by her class at least once a day— to compliment her, leave a snack at her desk, even to just smile at her or get a whiff of her lemon-lavender shampoo. She was the woman he'd dreamt about since he was old enough to want a woman. He needed her and he became obsessed.

Finding her old locked up MyPlace profile was easy enough, but what sent him down the rabbit hole was her Netwerk page, Mildred Andrews O'Halloran— East River University Alumna. From there he found her sorority alumna Photobomb account and from there he searched the followers getting excited from every small glimpse of a blonde in her late 20s. Then he found it— her FauxBomb account, Blainley. Unlocked and in all of its glory. Bikini pics from bachelorette trips, skimpy loungewear sets for her rosé and rom-com nights, and her fucking engagement ring— it was a treasure trove for Tyler.

Then he started messaging the account, liking pictures, sending pics, videos. He became her biggest fan, or so he thought. The last thing Mrs. O'Halloran needed was to lose her job because some horny teenager thought she was hot. So she blocked him, acted like nothing happened, changed her passwords, changed her online handles and names— she tried to make it go away. But Tyler wouldn't let her go that easy.

He made more accounts, he liked more, commented more, DM'd more. More more more. Until she asked him to come to her class during lunch, alone. He thought he'd won. When he opened the classroom door to a distraught and sleepless Mrs. O'Halloran next to her seething new husband, Mr. O'Halloran— he realized he hadn't.

Tyler never told anyone what happened in that room, but it involved a credible threat from Mr. O'Halloran to quote "beat the shit out of a little pervert shit like him" and a reasonable bribe from Mrs. O'Halloran that Tyler would leave her alone in exchange for answers to every test he'd ever need. Tyler had saved all the photos he needed, and had learned how to take a good deal from his dad. So, he took the deal and left her alone outside of academic activities for the last three semesters.

But here she was stunning as always, maybe a little more bloated than usual, staring him down in his hour of need. She softened for a moment, obviously having heard the story of the day. Was she #Lindsquad or #Tyleraiders?

He stared down at the white and blue speckled tile— maybe he could disappear. Her steps were louder and louder the closer she got, soon he couldn't hear them over his thudding heartbeat. Blood rushed everywhere he didn't want it. He was aflame and freezing at the same time. He felt like drooling though his throat was drier than it's ever been. He picked his head up and she was there inches away, well maybe a foot, but closer than he's been in months. Tyler could smell the lemon-lavender shampoo and it felt like home. Her voice was warmer and sweeter than it was when discussing the rise of the Orange Order.

"I'm not giving you special privileges, but you should probably go home. I've heard how shit your day's been."

A sad smile crept across her face, it was a look of pity. But it was something for Tyler to have for the lonely hours tonight. He could already build the fantasy now.

"I've heard how shit your day's been. I'm giving you special privileges. You should probably go home and think about me— on the beach, covered in suntan oil, soaking wet and ready for you Tyler."

His eyes darkened, "Yes ma'am, Mrs. O'Halloran."

Lindsay felt free— she felt on top of the world, well maybe she was just on cloud nine and the shots made her feel on top of the world. The bass thudded in her chest, it'd been forever (a few months) since she been to a good party. And Geoff's Halloween rager was just the thing. She felt alive as the costume glitter scratched her face, as the sweet and sour stench of weed and spilled beer filled her, as her breath was shallow because Heather insisted on pulling her corset as tight as possible because "it makes your tits look even more perfect." She felt like floating away with the angel wings attached to her back. A silky white corset with matching skirt, nude sparkle tights, curled and teased hair, and enough body glitter to put a disco ball to shame all made Lindsay feel like the girl every guy dreams of— but more importantly the girl she always dreamed of being. Independent, hot and that's it.

"Courtney, I can't believe couldn't get Duncan to put on a fucking suit to be Charlie. Now we're just three angels," Heather sighed while reapplying lip gloss in the side mirror of someone's mom's borrowed car.

Courtney adjusted her costume for the umpteenth time. She liked the logistics of a group costume, but wasn't as comfortable outside of her unofficial uniform of sweaters, jeans, and the occasional cardigan. "Well Heather, Duncan doesn't get very spirited about many holidays— but Halloween is his favorite and I wouldn't want to take that from my Dunky."

"And, Dunky doesn't love being talked about as if he's not here," Duncan sneered while checking to see if his film grade prosthetic devil horns were menacing enough coming out of his forehead, "and what's better than a devil and an angel, classic Halloween combo." He kissed Courtney on the cheek and she tried to pretend she didn't like the cliche.

"Thanks for all of this you guys, I just," Lindsay stopped short, "I wanted to have fun after all of ya know." She didn't want to cry from embarrassment or anger or some other third emotion she couldn't name. She just wanted a regular fun night, like before him.

Then she saw the other him— Trent. And suddenly she had the urge to ask him for a drink and a dance.

"Linds, you go ahead! I'm gonna take some pictures of Courtney and hellboy before they sneak off somewhere," Heather yelled over the increasing roar of the party. Lindsay smiled and seemed to float into the crowd, bringing everyone into her orbit like the celestial creature she was.

"So we have the plan if that freak decides to show up?" Courtney's eyes dashed between the angel and devil in front of her. Heather bit her lip and furrowed her brow. Duncan's nostrils flared and he clinched his jaw.

"That doesn't involve him getting his daddy to sue us," Courtney added. Heather and Duncan softened and nodded.

"Good, now let's go and have a good fucking night!" Or at least what they thought would be one