Tuesday, July 16, 2013

THE HOTNESS: A Modern Teen Pride and Prejudice (chapter fifteen: Truth or Daring)

Chapter Fifteen
Truth or Daring
     Ryan looked at him incredulously.
     “I can’t believe you’re standing alone, Darcy. California Girls are hot.”
     “Says who?”
     “The classic song, for one. Mate, if you don’t pull your head out of the clouds and stop sulking we’ll never have a senior year to remember, let alone a junior one.”
    “Never mind, we’ll probably get to repeat it in Australia if my father has his way,” Darcy added sarcastically.
     “Not if we get involved and get good grades and start meeting women,” Ryan added optimistically. “There are so many fine looking girls here...”
     At this point Paige and Coco were standing almost directly behind Darcy and Ryan, but the boys seemed oblivious to this.
     “You have been talking to the only girl I’ve given a second glance to all night.”
     “You can’t be serious. What about her sister? I just saw her somewhere around talking to her friend...” At this point, Paige and Coco were silently listening on the balcony above the throng. I was standing by the punch bowl giggling with Honey as we made notes on our cell phones. It was impossible not to overhear the boys talking in their hot Aussie accents above the din.
     “Paige Bennet is one of the most obnoxious girls I’ve ever encountered. I was in debate class with her a few days ago and her attitude really sucked. Plus, she was seriously pushy. But apart from her personality – which left a lot to be desired – I wouldn’t give her “looks” a second glance. In a roomful of attractive girls, she’s somewhere in the middle. I have no idea how a girl, with two such trampy younger sisters (as he said this, Rebel was being swung around on the dance floor, shrieking), can be so pleased with herself.”
     “Shut The Front Door!” Paige said loudly, climbing down the stairs, staring at Darcy and brushing past him in disgust. 
     Darcy could not have misunderstood her meaning, although most of the other people at the dance were way too interested in what they were doing to notice Paige and Darcy. We – Honey and I – raised our eyebrows and busily punched notes into our cell phones.
     Ryan immediately excused himself to get some punch for Mackenzie. Besides, he wanted an excuse to see Shiloh again.
     If Darcy thought that Paige was going to stand next to him, or even near him, much less talk to him again, he was severely mistaken.
    “C’mon,” Paige said, taking Coco’s arm, “The Princesses are expecting us at their table.”
    Darcy, once again was left bristling, red-faced and speechless.
    It was clearly keyed in by me: He’d never encountered such an exasperating person as Paige Bennet. She didn’t even give him a chance to explain himself.
     Wednesday added: Paige regaled the senior Princesses: Shiloh, Wednesday and Coco with the entire tale, while we freshman Princesses sat and listened and whispered in awe.
     Meanwhile… Mackenzie was busy infiltrating the Praise & Worshipfuls – a prayer group she also maintained popularity with - on the other side of the room. Darcy could tell by the way the entire table of fashion forward Princesses looked down at him, that he’d been misquoted. He turned his back on us. As if he cared what a bunch of gossiping females thought!  
     The truth was, he’d thought very highly of Paige. Too highly. After he’d let her win in debate class there was no way he’d let her get the best of him socially.
      I wrote: I think, Paige is way too much for Darcy to handle but he’d never admit it or let her get the upper hand, like she just had. She’s bested him publicly, twice already. What does he expect her to do next? Tell everyone how hot she thought he was? Before she changed her mind?  
    “Besides, what on earth do you say to a pretty girl, who’s already smart? I mean, you can’t tell her she’s pretty,” Ryan wondered quietly to Mackenzie after he’d talked to Shiloh but she’d acted like her usually reserved self. Mackenzie just smiled over her punch and shrugged. Mackenzie was far more interested in who Darcy was interested in because it clearly wasn’t her.  
   “That’s where Darcy goes wrong,” Honey stated. “He should have complimented Paige. Taken the high road and all the rest could never have happened…” Honey and I were eating ice-cream at my place later that night, reflecting.
    “Never mind, Darcy,” Mackenzie Bingley whispered as she walked over to Darcy. “I’m finished making small talk for the night with those girls who think they are it. Besides, I’m getting quite fond of the Praise & Worshipfuls.”
    This was a table full of students who held daily prayer meetings. Mackenzie was keen to infiltrate them as they held a lot of sway over the vote in all things student related. Basically, they held the power balance at Sunrise High School.  
     As long as Mackenzie was ‘stuck’ at Sunrise High School she intended to own the place. Besides, she believed in Jesus and doing unto others, didn’t she?
     “Remember Darcy,” Mackenzie said, “Paige Bennet will never best you. Trust me; she’ll reveal her inadequacies very soon. The truly classless always do. God doesn’t give with both hands.”
     Darcy looked at Mackenzie as if she’d just inhaled glue.
     That night, when Honey and I were being driven back to Honey’s place for a sleepover, I texted before bed (to remind myself of what we had to add in the morning): What Mackenzie really meant, of course, is that the qualities she identified in Paige and her sister Shiloh were ones she herself lacked (and therefore envied).