Saturday, August 10, 2013

THE HOTNESS: A Modern Teen Pride and Prejudice (chapter forty-three: Gym class)

Chapter Forty-three
Gym class
   But Darcy had run after Paige. He knew a short cut in the opposite direction that would meet Paige somewhere in the middle. He was athletic and after having been in school now for almost the entire semester, Darcy knew every hallway.
    A few Princesses and cheerleaders fanned him with “Heys,” and one even said, “Darcy, why so fast?”  But the bell had sounded for the final class of the day and Darcy wanted to catch Paige before she caught a life or reached gymnastics practice.
   Darcy finally found Paige chalking her hands at the bar.
   “Darcy? Are you stalking me?”
   “Is that all you have to say in response?”
   “I told you, I’m not going.”
   At this point a few cheerleaders, Princesses and even two teachers were listening in on their conversation. Enough people so the whole school would know in the morning that Darcy chased Paige all the way to the gym only to be turned down and humiliated by her. How could she? Some whispered. It was the prom. The high school prom. These moments were gold. They never came again.
   “So, you are rejecting me?”
   “If you have to put it that way.”
   “Which way should I put it?”
   “Any way you want, I suppose.’
   “I don’t understand. I thought we… liked each other.”
   “Well, I guess you thought wrong.”
    He stared at Paige for a moment, trying to work her out. Her slim but tough exterior belied a sweet interior, he was sure of it. But he was embarrassed, humiliated in front of a group of gaggling gymnasts. Once again, his pride got the better of his true feelings.
   “How dare you reject me! It was all a joke anyway. I chose to ask you above all the other girls in the school, some of whom had already bothered to ask me, not the other way round. But I was going to write about it on my blog and tell Mackenzie all about it the next day.”
   “Well, go for it Darcy. Mackenzie really is your perfect match!”
   “And who are you to judge me? I pulled strings for you and that stupid invented scholarship! My father sponsors the award. Do you want to know why they picked you? They made special consideration because you are poor… and a girl! And…FYI - your mother is a massive social climber…”
   “Oh, nothing like Mackenzie Bingley then…”
  “At least she has the finances to back it up.”
  “How dare you!” Paige was so exasperated, she threw her gym bag at him.
  “And your sisters… have behaved like total tramps. It’s all over the web… Rys Wickam has been talking up how easy they were when he got with both of them at that stupid beach party.”
   Paige looked surprised as Darcy darted behind a locker. He peeked his head out when he thought Paige had settled.
  “How could you not know? He’s told anyone who’d listen… he even filmed them…” Paige blocked her ears.
   “You need to stop talking now, Darcy. I really don’t need to hear any more from you. I have no inkling why you bothered to ask me to go to the dance with you since you think so little of my family and by extension – me. But apart from your insane snobbery, your rudeness, your conceited behavior and your arrogance… did you really think I would ever go anywhere with you when you schemed to destroy my sister’s relationship with Ryan?”
   Darcy looked shocked.
  “Who told you that?”
   “Rys Wickam. But he didn’t need to tell me. I suspected as much and the look on your face just confirmed it.”
    Darcy stopped talking.
    “Deny it! I dare you!”
    “I… can’t.”
    Paige also stopped.
    They stared at each other a moment. They looked into each other’s eyes. Both of their faces were red as beets. As the bell rang out for the end of the day and the beginning of the after-school activities it even looked as if they might move closer, make a truce and kiss. But instead, Darcy pulled back. He turned from Paige and left her standing in the gym with chalk on her hands.
   “Argh!” Paige exclaimed, as she went to the bar to warm up.
   “Are you quite ready to join us now Paige Bennet?” the gym teacher, who behaved in a troll-like manner, asked sarcastically.
   “Um… actually, no,” Paige said, uncharacteristically bursting into tears. She ran out of the room.
   It was only the second time Darcy had made Paige cry and she swore it would be the last.