Sunday, July 28, 2013

THE HOTNESS: A Modern Teen Pride and Prejudice (chapter twenty-five: The Truth About Darcy Donovan)

Chapter Twenty-five
The truth about Darcy Donovan
    Monday was debate trial day. The class got paired up for the intra-schools competition. Paige was the second last to arrive. She’d been helping Mackenzie organize the costumes and had even painted scenery for Spring Awakening. It was remarkable how much Mackenzie had improved in recent days. She was practically being helpful and so excited about the pool party on Saturday night.
    Paige couldn’t say the same about Darcy Donovan. He’d regressed after the weekend and reverted to his former self.
    In the crowded English Lit classroom, Paige inched away from Darcy in her chair. He was always the last to arrive. He’d rocked up late after getting stopped in the hall without a hall pass, even though everyone was heading to after school activities. The entire student debate club turned to look at him as he arrogantly hooked his sunglasses on the top of his hair and slid into his chair, in the back row, behind Paige. He had no idea what had come over him on the weekend. He could barely be civil to her today – his rival, his competition and friend to his enemy. He couldn’t believe he’d been roped into this debate club. At least he wasn’t captain. He still had to show up and it wouldn’t look good on his transfer papers. Just the sight of Paige and Rys together in class made him really angry... or was that jealous?  
    As Mrs Tartt went through the names, pairing people up for the next debate, which was to be held at a school near Santa Monica, Paige cringed. When she said she hoped she’d never have to speak to Darcy again, she meant during school hours. Social occasions were impossible to avoid. Darcy looked almost as uncomfortable as Paige shrunk back into her chair whilst one half of the group of students drew pairs from a hat.
     “Paige Bennet and Rys Wickam.”
     Darcy rolled his eyes.
     “Darcy Donovan… and Mackenzie Bingley.”
     At this point, Mackenzie Bingley sashayed into the classroom and took her place directly beside Darcy. She smiled at him and bit her pen as if any form of academic learning was a total imposition.
   “Ah, since… Darcy is the last person to join… I mean, second last now, you two should make a good pair.”
    Mackenzie turned around in her chair and gave Paige the smuggest smile imaginable. “Hi Paige,” she said, putting her arm behind Darcy’s chair to claim ownership. Paige shrugged and sighed.  
    It had been too much to expect Mackenzie to remain nice all afternoon.
    Rys whispered to Paige, ‘Don’t worry about her. I’ve known her and Darcy since our fathers were involved in a business together.  She’s got some serious personality problems,” he added, tapping his head. “Both Mackenzie and Darcy think way too highly of themselves,” Rys assured Paige. Paige was going to ask a few questions but she thought that could probably wait until after school because Mrs Tartt was already handing out potential debate topics.
     Paige looked at the ones that landed on her desk: Gaming Should Be Banned Except on Holidays. Enlightening, Paige thought. Technology was not her favorite topic but Rys eyed the words enthusiastically along with the following topics:

Should schools use standardized testing?
Is homeland security more important than individual privacy?
Are violent video games harmful?
Is television really a bad influence?
Should going to school be compulsory?

    “So, do you think video games are bad for us?” Ryan asked.
    “Ah, that would be a ‘no’ for me,” Rys said from the side table. As he looked up, he noticed Mackenzie and Darcy, heads together and whispered Paige this story:
    “Actually, I don’t care what we argue as long as we beat them. Darcy is jealous of me and I can’t stand him either.”
    “Why not?”
    “When I was a child, and he came out to Los Angeles a few times with his Dad, from Australia, he used to play at my house. His father is actually my Godfather. Anyway, my father insisted on us being friends and I’d take him outside and we’d swim in the pool and hang out together. We became friends. Then his sister joined us and, well, she was a freak. She threw herself at me then blamed me for dumping her…
     Anyway, by then, my father had invested so much money in his father’s company that it was quite a shock when Darcy’s father left my Dad in the lurch financially – literally. Dad and I were homeless and living out of a car for six months - all because of Darcy’s selfish father.”
    “Are you serious?”
    “Absolutely.  And his sister? She still tries to contact me. What a stalker! She started writing me notes and stuff until they had to send her to a clinic for losing her mind. I don’t want to bad mouth her, so I won’t go into that now…”
    Of course, Rys had already ‘bad mouthed’ Blair and his comments appeared to have had the desired effect.
    Mud thrown first, sticks hardest. At least that’s what Honey told me, when I told her what I’d overheard Paige and Shiloh talking about at recess.  
    Paige was shocked, although from what she’d seen and heard of Darcy, he was really just living up to his reputation as one of the most irritating and stuck up snobs Paige had ever met, unable to make his mind up about ordering pepperoni or fries. Typical.
    Paige used her pencil to tie up her hair in a knot and sighed as she waited in the lunch queue. 
    Darcy glanced over at Paige when she was looking at her shoes. He smiled. She looked confused. He couldn’t understand why Paige ran hot and cold. It was driving him nuts. Literally. He purposefully took an extra moment with the menu to study her in repose.
    Paige took a quick glance up at Darcy and his dark hair and perfect tan and exceptionally clear blue eyes and wondered how such a bad person could live under such a nice exterior.