Thursday, August 8, 2013

THE HOTNESS: A Modern Teen Pride and Prejudice (chapter thirty-three: The truth about Rys Wickam)

Chapter Thirty-three
The Truth About Rys Wickam
    Mackenzie’s pool party was in full swing by midnight. Her publicist and all the paparazzi had left the premises. Paige was starting to think the Mack and Darcy relationship was fake by the time she got the tip off from Wednesday – bringing Darcy down a bit further in her estimation.  She’d noticed they only kissed or smiled when other people were looking or photographs were being taken.
    Outside, in the cooler air, the infinity pool was lit with colored lights and people were playing games and blowing whistles and dancing on the patio.
     Bingley and Shiloh, oblivious to the other joys that surrounded them, were talking between tentative dance moves. Paige was being monopolized by Rys. Darcy had noticed this in between being constantly monopolized by Mackenzie Bingley and each of the Princesses who asked him in turn if he wanted to party.
    Mackenzie finally dragged him on to the dance floor, whispering, “so uptight neighbor. I think it’s time to get your freak on Darcy,” when she was sure all the other Princesses were in full view. 
    Darcy shrugged her off when the song finished. He noticed Rys and Paige dancing on the other side of the dance floor and wondered if he should ignore them or take the high road.
    By the next song, Darcy thought, perhaps it’s time to take a moment and make her notice me.
    He had the cool factor, he definitely had the hotness. Even Paige, who looked up from her discussion with Rys, noticed it. The chandeliers and lava lamps glimmered and the party music seemed to be noticeably louder, even the lights had been softened along with the DJ’s rendition of a slow eighties lurvve ballad. Everyone was mellow as Darcy made his way through the crowd, interrupting Paige’s conversation with Coco.
      “So then he said, ‘I haven’t seen any good looking girls since I got here… Honestly if I never had to speak to him again, I’d be happy. I certainly would never boogie with him…’” Paige added. “Oops,” Coco said, gesturing behind Paige. Darcy ignored what Paige had said and took the high road – he smiled. 
     Rys noticed Darcy noticing Paige and stepped forward but Darcy reached Paige Bennet first, and spoke. “Paige, I’m wondering if you want to dance the next one… with me.”
     Paige was stunned. She’d vowed never to talk to Darcy again (she’d already broken that promise) but she never imagined this moment.
    Usually quick with a reply, Paige faltered. For once, she was stuck for words.
    “Um… I… have…” Paige looked around but Rys had been side tracked by Rebel jumping up and down and grabbing his hand. Then Coco appeared to be in deep conversation with Wednesday and Honey, suddenly.
     Paige didn’t know where to look, much less turn. She wanted to remain cool, “Sure,” Paige said, hesitantly.
     Two Princesses gave Paige mean looks, but Wednesday, Shiloh and Coco smiled at her.
      The music changed up and Paige was surprised to see that Darcy had rhythm. He even knew how to do some funky moves which made people laugh, not at him but with him. It was a revelation to Paige who, having attended so many gym classes and recitals, also had rhythm.
    But the two clashed verbally. When the music went slow and Darcy actually attempted to hold her hand, Paige was reluctant. She kept her distance and Darcy appeared to be losing both interest and patience.
      Paige hadn’t forgotten she had sworn to loathe him forever.
      “You look good in a dress,” were the next words to come out of Darcy’s mouth.
      “Thanks. Your costume suites you too,” Paige added. It was hard work, this dance of mutual compliments.
      “Are you enjoying the party?”
      “Of course, it’s fun and a lovely venue.” Paige looked straight at Mackenzie, “I feel unexpectedly welcomed.”
     “Well, we aim to be good neighbors.”
     “Really?” Paige asked sarcastically.
     “Do you always talk while you dance?” Darcy asked.
     “Only when I’m asked questions, but generally I prefer to be anti-social and intolerant,” Paige said taking a dig at Darcy’s behavior during debate class. He had hoped she’d forgotten and took the high road. 
     “I’m not used to girls like you?”
     “What, American?”
     “No… smart. I mean, of course, I’ve met smart girls before, I just, never had to mix with girls… I went to an all boys’ school and this is the first co-ed one I’ve ever attended.”
    “Oh,” the music softened.
     Darcy smiled as they moved closer to one another.
     “I’m getting used to it.”
     “That’s good. Practice makes perfect,” Paige said snarkily. “I’m sure Mackenzie will benefit from your practice.”
     Paige pulled back. Darcy frowned. “About that…” but Paige turned her head. He was tempted to explain everything – she was just doing him a friendly favor but Paige clearly wasn’t interested.
     She went to sample the punch when the song ended and Darcy tagged along.
     “I… I saw your sisters, your younger sisters in Century City the other morning.”
     “That must have been thrilling. They were at a casting for some new music show that Rys and his dad are producing.”
     “Don’t tell me you’re jealous you’re not in it.”
      “No, not at all… It’s just that…”
   “He’s popular for a reason, Darcy. He’s helpful. He makes an effort. People like him and not just because his family have money. My sisters think of him as an older brother.”
    The music changed pace but Darcy stopped dancing.
   “You don’t need to elaborate…”
    “You need to get over yourself, Darcy.”
    “Oh, you can talk,” Darcy retorted.
    The music stopped. The dancers jumped up and down and clapped, things started getting wilder.
    “Excuse me,” Darcy said as he left Paige standing alone with her drink and walked purposefully over to Mackenzie, who looked stunning in her red velvet dress and blonde hair under the light. She glanced over at Paige as if she were not a rival worth having.
    Mackenzie then laughed when Darcy spoke to her as if he had had just told her the funniest joke in the world.
    Typical, Paige thought.