Sunday, July 28, 2013

THE HOTNESS: A Modern Teen Pride and Prejudice (chapter twenty-one: All Things Nice)

Chapter Twenty-one
All Things Nice
    Somehow, Shiloh had convinced Paige to go to Mackenzie’s place to help plan the pool party. Paige pulled on her sunglasses, stuffed her shoulder length hair in her father’s baseball cap and, lagging behind Shiloh who seemed to be in a rush to avoid the rumbling skies, walked across the park. The skies were turning and Paige listening to music as Shiloh rushed to find shelter. Paige had forgotten to bring her umbrella and Shiloh had walked ahead to the gazebo in the park center to avoid getting soaked through.
    By the time the sisters reached the grounds bordering Mackenzie and Ryan Bingley’s mansion, the rain from the morning had created a soup-like mud. Paige rolled her jeans up to just under her knees, her face was hot and flushed from the sun and her toes, fingers and cheeks were covered in grit. She barely cared. Paige liked feeling close to nature, even deciding to rinse her face, feet and hands in the lake before she arrived at the gazebo where Shiloh had walked on ahead.   
    Mud was slopped all over Paige’s lovely new boots, so she pulled them off, carried them in one hand and went part-way barefoot. Paige walked along purposely, having texted Shiloh to let her know that she was ‘catching her up.’
   After she’d washed her feet and splashed her face in the fountain, Paige climbed over the park fence. She wasn’t really concentrating on what lay ahead as she was going over her notes in her head for the forthcoming debate on ‘why television is a bad influence.’ Paige didn’t agree that most of it was bad, of course, but for purposes of the debate, she’d had to create a feasible argument.
     Paige had reasoned that that was how it would be when she worked as a lawyer. Then there were the few lines she had been given in their watered down version of Spring Awakening. Paige wasn’t really into the arts it’s just she was prompting when yet another person dropped out, so Paige had to step in. She really just went along with the arts program to keep her sister happy.
    Besides, it looked good on her college applications to have other interests.
    Yet Paige couldn’t help but agree there was more important work in the world than saying lines other people wrote for you. There were human and animal rights issues, for one thing… when Paige thought about those poor, hungry circus bears she’d read about that needed to be liberated, it brought a tear to her eye. She knew she’d incorporate something about them if she was given a human rights topic at regionals…
    Stomping up the hill that led to the Bingley’s, she was suddenly stopped by a soccer ball nearly landing in her face. 
    Paige caught the ball in her arms and looked up to find Darcy Donovan running over the hill towards her. Paige didn’t know whether to speak or smile. She knew she’d never envisaged talking to him again, but she supposed it was inevitable, given the situation she now found herself in.
   He was Ryan’s neighbor and best friend, after all.
   In the end it was a very lukewarm smile that she offered as Paige threw the ball back at Darcy, hard.
   “Thanks,” Darcy said sarcastically.
   He couldn’t help but notice her bright blue eyes flashing in the sun. Paige too, couldn’t help but realize how tall and muscular Darcy looked in a wet t-shirt as skies continued to weep.
   “I better go,” he said turning, “Hey, are you coming to the pool party at the Bingley’s next weekend?”
   “Um… yes. We came today to help Mackenzie organize it… and she invited us to stay for lunch.”
   “Oh, well, it’s a bit tricky to get through security so maybe Ryan and I could walk with you.”
    “Uh…” Paige had no idea how to say no. Ryan had forged ahead to search for Shiloh. Paige smiled and sucked it up. Darcy may have dissed her looks and tried to make her sound foolish in debate class but that was then, this is now, Paige thought as he led the way to the Bingley mansion. He was all tall and dark shadows but seemed sincere in his desire to help.