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An all-expenses paid trip to Cancun for spring break? It wasn’t exactly a hard sell for Leigh, Eva, Gia and Joy, frenemies from Arizona Southern University. But all is not well in the land of silver or lead. Soon after arriving, Leigh and the girls stumble upon some cartel carnage—a bloodbath of debauchery that makes even their wildest desert party seem tame.
Instead of doing the proper thing, like contacting the authorities, the girls go down the rabbit hole in this tale of sex, lies, and bloodshed. It’s all fun and games until they make the acquaintance of Guero, a cartel kingpin who is none too pleased with their newfound lust for blood money.
These perky coeds aren’t on campus anymore, and after Guero lets them know just how serious he is, they make a run for the border no one will ever forget.
“I can’t believe you read that garbage,” Gia said in a loud voice, strategically crossing her arms to emphasize the lowness of her top. She paused, looking around to see if anyone noticed.
“I’m sorry, were you talking to me?” Eva replied, knowing the comment was directed at her but still pretending to read the In Touch Weekly she had in front of her.
“I just think it makes you look stupid,” Gia countered, shaking her blonde curls casually with one hand.
An airy voice interrupted the tense banter.
“The only person who can make you look stupid is you.”
This nonsensical comment came from Joy, drawing the blank stares of the entire clique.
The foursome was seated at a departure gate at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, with only one girl declining to enter into the fray. Leigh sat motionless, looking at her own magazine with a frown and pretending not to hear the rumblings of a meltdown.
Gia, pack ringleader and mean girl extraordinaire, had gone on the offensive moments after the friends from Arizona Southern University took their seats. Wickedly beautiful, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a model figure, she had dressed that morning ready for her beach vacation—meaning she had on barely any clothes to speak of.
Gia shifted in her short jean skirt, her bare skin making an obnoxious noise on the faux leather seat. Glancing to one side she smiled at Joy, who was positioned next to her. The two had been friends since Xavier prep school, long before either Leigh or Eva was on the scene.
Extremely beautiful and incredibly stupid, Joy was fiercely loyal to Gia, who she mirrored in looks and appearance. But while Gia’s hair was so blonde it was practically white, Joy had shiny, chestnut hair that could be in a Pantene ad. Today it hung straight as a pin, and Joy tossed it carelessly while rifling through her oversized bag.
Eva, the one with the offensive reading material, sat opposite this twosome. She was the only girl whose skin color was due to genetics and not a tanning bed. Growing up in South Phoenix, Eva had been one of many Mexican girls. But in this clique, she was the only one. Eva warily glanced at the two girls opposite who merely stared back, filling the air with tension.
Next to Eva sat a still silent Leigh. Adjusting her own dark brown—almost black—shoulder length mane, Leigh began flipping through her magazine. Never able to get her milky skin the deep, desirable tan of the group’s signature look, Leigh had applied an extra layer of spray tan before leaving for the airport that morning. Anxious for any distraction, Leigh studied her legs, noticing a spot she had missed.
Leigh was a longstanding member of the group, having met Gia freshman year when Gia attempted to copy off Leigh during a written exam. Her clumsy attempt and Gia’s disarming southern drawl were endearing at first. Leigh soon learned that Gia’s father literally owned all of Tempe. This meant every Cardinal or Suns player knew who Gia was, and every club and restaurant welcomed her like a VIP.
Leigh reveled in her baptism into the A-list of the young, rich, and beautiful. And after a few months with Gia and Joy, it became clear that they shed “best friends” as quickly as they gained them. Somehow, through freshman year and beyond, Leigh had managed to stay on Gia’s good side.
Through the years Leigh had seen the less fortunate girls bite the dust. Some of them were simply cut out of the group painlessly. Others underwent a kind of social torture which initially horrified Leigh. There were viral photographs and hate-filled social media campaigns. If there was a Nobel Prize for social torment, Gia would win. Leigh got used to it though, and had a history of sitting on the sidelines while Gia put her Machiavellian plans into action.
As so it went up until their junior year, when the neat little threesome of Gia, Joy, and Leigh was upended. After being introduced to Eva during a game of strip poker at their favorite frat house, Eva proceeded to lose the game—badly. And instead of ridiculing her, as Leigh was expecting, Gia latched on to their new acquaintance.
It seemed Gia couldn’t get enough of Eva’s exotic looks, so fundamentally different from her own. Unlike the other girls, Eva never went to private school, having grown up in a seedy area of south Phoenix. Gia didn’t seem to mind, as Eva’s value was in her looks alone. Eva was her new toy, and Gia was ready to show her off.
Show her off she did. That summer, Eva was a firm fixture in the group—present at every social, football game, and desert party. As the weeks slipped past, the four of them had jelled well enough to go into their senior year with one goal in mind: spend spring break in Cancun.
But something had gone horribly wrong. Gia had obviously taken a dislike to Eva, and it had nothing to do with what she was reading. Running through various scenarios, Leigh surmised it had to do with Gia’s ex, Andrew, and his recent fascination with Eva. This was hardly Eva’s fault, and they all knew that, but none of it mattered. She wondered why Gia had waited to strike until they left for their trip. Perhaps to prolong Eva’s torment? In the tense moments that followed, Leigh felt a wave of relief she wasn’t on the chopping block that morning.
Usually, they all hitched rides down to Rocky Point for spring break. But this year, Gia’s father was flying them to Cancun as a special gift for his little girl. The destination? His timeshare at one of the city’s hottest resorts, the Sol II. All the group had to do was cough up the cash for the food and drinks package, and then do what they did every spring break.
“I can’t wait to lay out and drink,” Gia sighed, flipping through her Vogue carelessly.
“I know. I really need to fix my tan,” Eva muttered, testing the waters a bit. Too soon, Leigh thought, as Gia threw down her magazine in response. It skidded on the floor, landing with a thump at Eva’s feet. The group sat, motionless, waiting for her next move.
“I’m going to the bar. Let’s get a margarita,” Gia sniffed at Joy, who rose in response, adjusted her tiny skirt, and swung her purse onto her shoulder. Gia shot a look at the other two. “Watch our stuff.”
As Gia and Joy exited towards the bar, Leigh shot Eva a glance. Leigh didn’t want this latest outburst to impact her standing in the group. She was less than enthusiastic to be leaving that morning, and now Gia’s bad mood had further reinforced this opinion.
The guy Leigh had her eye on finally friended her on Facebook and was sending extremely flirtatious messages. It had been three months since her last boyfriend and the other girls were starting to notice. Now with leaving for a week, she would have to wait to pursue things until she got back. Leigh bent over to retrieve Gia’s discarded Vogue and began flipping through the pages.
“I cannot stand to look at that little slut one more fucking time,” Gia proclaimed, sucking down the margarita as properly as a Paradise Valley princess could. “I cannot believe she had the balls to show up this morning.”
“I have no idea how she could afford it in the first place,” replied Joy, rolling her brown eyes and tossing her long hair behind her for good measure.
“Oh, I’m sure she’s real connected Joy,” Gia said, adjusting her straw to break up the last bits of the frozen drink.
“Oh?” sniffed Joy, confused as to why Gia wasn’t playing by the rules. The whole point of sneaking away was to talk about the other two.
“Yeah. To our cab driver,” Gia replied, laughing. Joy giggled at the joke, before surveying a glassy-eyed Gia carefully.
“G, did you start without me?”
Gia opened her designer purse and shook the small vial of prescription medication.
“Joy baby, sometimes a drink just isn’t enough.”
Joy quickly rooted through her own purse for the pills she had found in her mother’s medicine cabinet. After the bartender came over, she eagerly grabbed the second drink.
They barely made the plane. Leigh had to cajole Gia and Joy, now seriously inebriated, onto the jetway while Eva shuffled stoically beside them. The stewardess was the second obstacle. She refused to let Gia board—not due to her physical state, but because her skirt was entirely too short. It took every play in the book to keep Gia calm, though Leigh assumed another barbiturate was up to the job.
At last, Leigh convinced Gia to pull down the skirt a few inches and they were allowed to board. Joy followed them, giggling, while Leigh eased Gia into her first class seat.
“You’re lucky you’re rich,” Leigh said, securing Gia’s seat belt.
“You love it,” slurred Gia, slumping back into her seat before closing her eyes. Leigh and Eva headed into coach, while Joy took her seat across the aisle from Gia.
Eva took her seat a few rows from Leigh. As she settled herself down for the short flight, she pondered her situation. What did she do to get Gia so upset? Eva felt her heart beating faster as her mind fell to the only obvious reason.
But it had been forever since Gia and Andrew dated! And besides, he pursued her. She hadn’t been looking to hook up with Gia’s ex. It just sort of . . . happened.
Feeling a knot rise in her throat, Eva considered Leigh’s silence during Gia’s earlier outburst. Leigh was the only one who might be sympathetic to her plight. But it was clear from Leigh’s silence that Eva wouldn’t be getting any help from that department.
No, she better think of something to get back into Gia’s good graces. And end the liaison with Andrew—before Gia found out. Eva spent the rest of the flight in a fit of nerves, leaving the In Touch
pan>in her purse, unfinished.
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