I write stories like movies. Legally Blonde inspired me to finish law school but I dream of caramel lattes in the morning and travelling to amazing places in the afternoon. The teen fiction on my blog is inspired by the classics Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. Tweeting @summerdaylight
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Pride and Princesses Apologies and Whispers chapter 14
The year was half over. Mouche and I had
not really been on any successful dates, and the treasure chest prizes all came
about in unexpected ways. We didn’t mind. The ‘treasure’ was all part of the
game. We stopped being so strict about how we obtained the items, which
resulted in multiple sweaters and pens hoarded in a spare locker awaiting
transfer to the real chest in Mouche’s room. We could sort out what we needed
at a later date. I hand washed, dried and ironed the black sweater and sewed a
row of sparkling sequins around the edge. It would be perfect for New
When we arrived back at school the
following Monday it seemed obvious that Jet had hooked up with Teegan after we
left. We also noticed Tory had her hand hooked firmly into the pocket of Mark’s
jeans as they all walked down the hallway together.
‘Men can be dogs,’ Mouche whispered.
I ignored the foursome, but I felt Mark’s
stare in the small of my back as Mouche and I walked past them.
‘Hey, Phoebe...’ Mark said as I passed him,
trying to disassociate himself from Tory.
Mark tried to talk to me again during study
hall and then at rehearsals but I ignored him. Later, we had dance rehearsal
for the part of the play with the musical interlude. I was huddled in the
corner of the theatre.
‘Now I’d like Phoebe to hold hands
with...Mark, can you stand in for Peter?’
‘Help me,’ I said under my breath when Mr
Sparks tried to pair us up. I stood about as far away from Mark as possible. I
looked in his direction only when I couldn’t avoid it.
Exasperated, Mr Sparks declared, ‘I have an
announcement to make. Since Peter injured his foot on the weekend, Mark will
stand in for him at rehearsals. He should be fine in a few days.’
I groaned inwardly. Mark had gone from hero
to zero all in the space of a week, in my opinion. A tiny bit of Mouche’s
pragmatism had entered my world. It was like I couldn’t be light-hearted
‘I may have had my pride badly injured but
I am determined not to let the seriously haughty Mark Knightly get to me,’ I
‘Mark’s behaviour puts them both under the
microscope,’ Mouche said, glancing at Jet.
We rehearsed scene three, then during the
dance number, Mr Sparks tried to make us touch hands again.
‘Enough already!’ I announced, stealing
Mouche’s favourite line. I broke away from Mark. Peter barked, ‘stop’ to Ethan
Mandel in his stage manager voice, giving the order from a chair to start
again. I sighed and even Mark noticed (how could he miss) that I was so over
‘There is no way I am dancing with the understudy,’ I said loudly to Mouche
after Mr Sparks decided Mark and I should dance together since he was the only
one left over (Mark had been hiding out in the lighting box trying to avoid his
understudy duties). He towered over me, like I told you, and it was easy to
avoid his eyes.
‘There is nothing in the world that could
inspire me to touch his hand,’ I added in a hoarse whisper. ‘In fact, I’d
rather not be in the dance number at all.’
Besides, I had my soliloquy to practice
and there was no way he was going to succeed in putting me off my lines.
‘Drama queen,’ Mr Sparks added under his
breath, ‘while Miss Phoebe-the-Star has her own personal tantrum we’ll just
continue with Act Two and come back to the dance scene tomorrow – oh and you
two are definitely partners. The tension will create chemistry. You’ll just have
to find a way to stop acting like children, start acting like young adults and
make it work. Remember, it’s for extra credit.’
‘And Mouche, you have to at least pretend you like Jet in the dance
sequence.The play is the thing, Mouche.
What will Julliard say if I write on your transcripts, ‘not a team player?’
‘I’m going to NYU or Yale, Mr Sparks.’
Mr Sparks looked surprised.
‘But Mouche, you might waste your talent.
You have a God-given gift.’
‘I’m going to be a lawyer, Mr Sparks. I
want to help people and earn lots of money.’
‘Ah the evils of finance!’
Mr Sparks had a point, though -
blackmail. It usually worked.
Mark was looking very sheepish by now. I
wondered when he’d grow up to behave like a man and have something to say for
himself. Perhaps my expectations had been too high all along.
Then Jet started flirting with Mouche
without her realizing it and meanwhile Teegan flirted with Mark without knowing
she probably shouldn’t be if she wanted his undying devotion. I stood my
ground. When Mr Sparks called ‘ten minutes everybody,’ I left the room to find
Joel. I think I needed a distraction.
Joel was in study hall when we were in
rehearsal and we found reasons to meet up more than usual now. Was it possible
we’d even started to become friends? He’d started talking to me a lot more ever
since the night he dropped Mouche and me home. Suddenly the prospect of dating
him seemed tempting. So, when he texted me to meet up with him for ‘a mental
health break’, I was kind of glad. I didn’t even mind being texted at the last
minute since we weren’t dating and I wanted an excuse to avoid the peeps at
rehearsal. Plus, Mouche was working on costumes.
Thoughts of teenage romance were
superseded by the possibility of our friendship. I studied Joel as he walked
towards me carrying his guitar. Would dating a true man-slut ever really be a
good idea? It seemed like our friendship was doomed from the start. I know what
Mrs Jones would say: ‘men and women can
never be friends; the possibility of romance always gets in the way. Avoid
Romeos like the plague. Man-sluts will always play the field and one woman will
never be enough to satisfy their lust for female attention and popularity...’
‘Hey, Phoebe,’ he said casually when we
met up at the intersection of school hallways.
Words were unnecessary. Joel was on a
break from detention again and I was obviously not enjoying rehearsal.I was impressed with his musical interests,
though. He’d just released a single on his website but was too cool to ever
appear in the school play.
We sat together near the vending machine
while Joel tuned his guitar and ninth graders stopped to shyly ask him for his
autograph. After they left, we considered silently where the day had taken us.
Before Joel finished his drink, he gave me a suggestive little grin and said,
‘okay, gotta motor, see ya later...’
I put Joel out of my mind and began thinking
about Mark as I wandered back to the auditorium. I felt like I needed to lick
my wounds and take a break from the game. Even if Mark and I were never meant
to be, I was glad to finally be standing up for myself, going with the moment,
so to speak. I’d previously stood off stage in my own shadow.If Mark hadn’t dissed me, I’d never have
possessed the courage to disrespect him in public. But then, I’d never have
needed to. I was beginning to enjoy annoying him. Just mentioning Joel’s name
seemed to make Mark flinch.
Before I left rehearsals that day, he came
up to me and said, ‘I didn’t know you were friends with Joel Goodman.’
‘Well, I tutor him,’ I said hesitantly, ‘not
that it’s any of your business.’ I was so angry I’d spoken to him directly but
he caught me unawares. I thought Mark deserved the silent treatment a little
longer but he had forced my hand.
‘Besides, it’s nothing to you how I spend my
‘I know, I didn’t mean anything by my
comments. It’s just that I don’t think he...’
‘He’s already told me about you and what
your family did to him. You really don’t need to elaborate.’
I turned and flounced off leaving Mark
So that was the state of our boy-rating
plan by November, the month of the play. Teegan and Freya and Brooke and Tory
had been hunting around open lockers and portals of blogs and discarded pages
of The Sunrise News (ones that they’d
even contributed to) searching for the missing parts of a puzzle they felt sure
were somehow important to them, but they couldn’t quite put all the pieces
together. They’d noticed we dressed sharply and boys talked a lot more to us,
boys they’d once envisaged being more interested in them.
They had confronted us recently inside the
girl’s changing rooms.
‘We need to talk,’ Teegan said. ‘Soon.’
‘We’ll schedule a meeting,’ Mouche said.
‘How’s next week?’
Teegan had no idea what we had in
‘Better to keep them wondering for as long
as it takes us to decide exactly how to play this,’ Mouche said.
Our dating diary was filled with all the
tiny mishaps and possibilities of the previous months. We didn’t want to let
them know more than was necessary.
Way back at the beginning, we counted the
note from rehearsal week one as a love letter. And we included the diagram of a
movie set. Matt sketched it on a script at my audition (I found it discarded in
the wastepaper basket) along with the word Star.
We included it because the little house made of squares and circles and triangles
and a few scribbles was meant to represent the ocean at Venice Beach where he
was telling the other casting assistant he once lived. We think that vision is
one we aspire to even if dating Matt never really happened.Star is
a word that we love and the beach is a place we both like. So you could say
we’ve learnt to take the good from every mishap; and write it all down. We can
learn from it.
Of course it had been a busy time, what
with Mouche studying and working on the costumes for Rocco and Julie and her dancing perfection. Meanwhile, Mark noticed
neither of us were very friendly towards him. Though he was once on top of our
list, he was now at the bottom, especially as he appeared to be letting Teegan
(who was all over him like a rash) flirt with him. But we could have told her
she’d have problems reeling in the catch. Teegan was pawing his arm, fawning
over him and making him ‘special’ lunches, but you could tell it was just
making him more uncomfortable.
Jet was busy ignoring Mouche after she
stopped talking to him because Mark had insulted her friend (me) which was very
loyal of her. ‘Besides,’ Mouche said, ‘I’ve totally moved on.’
And her dancing? It was spectacular! I
caught Mark watching us both practice our solos from backstage, with more than
a spark of interest.
Then there were Mouche’s designs for the
play which were so gorgeous even Ethan Mandel commented on their gloriousness.
Maybe that’s because I’d caught him trying to kiss Mouche behind the stage
curtains one afternoon. Love had given him extra incentive to be sweeter and
Mouche got some ideas for the play the day
we took Wednesday to the local vintage store for research on the costumes of
the punk era. We also went online. There were some amazing photographs of punks
and clothes from the 80s all over the web. We also had the Trish and Mrs Mouche
family photograph albums for historical reference. Mrs Mouche’s family were
from the South originally and full of old Southern traditions. For example,
manners were big way back then and being ‘ladylike’ was held in high regard.
‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ were important words. Perhaps some of the boys could
learn that – especially Mark. Our mothers held tea parties when they were our
age instead of nasty girl gossip fests. All very civilized.
Our moms told us, ‘we could never discuss
anything with our mothers, we are so lucky we have you girls for advice, to set
Wednesday clapped her hands in approval,
‘wet us wait,’ she repeated in her cute baby voice.
Someone else who needed to be set straight
was Mark, but it seemed the opposite was occurring.
Although the scheduled meeting with the
Princesses had distracted us, it was with sheer disbelief that I discovered a note
from Mark one day in my locker.
‘What took him so long?’ Mouche asked.
It was, I suppose, a letter of apology
because Mouche had told Tory who’d told Jet who’d told Teegan who’d told Mark
that I was ignoring him because I’d heard him dissing me at the Fall Fling. I
promptly stuck the note in the glory box guide, after passing it to Mouche to
The letter was surprisingly humble. It
I just wanted
to write to say I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings at the Fall Fling. I was
having a bad evening. I was worried about my sister, Petra, and I said some
things I shouldn’t have. I didn’t want people to think I liked you. For what
it’s worth, I think you are a really good actress and perhaps it is me who is
lacking in social etiquette, not you.
‘Mmm. Quite the backhanded apology.’
Mouche said, obviously shocked.
want people to think he liked me?’ What was wrong with liking me? I
‘What an arrogant nightmare. I’m glad to
be rid of him.’ I said.
‘Still, it was quite unexpected. From
another era even,’ Mouche replied.
‘Perhaps the Neolithic one,’ I added.
I stuck the note straight in the Boy-Rating Diary under the heading Phoebe’slove letters. Pleased with my work, I highlighted the headings with
glitter glue, ‘I think that almost counts, don’t you?’
Mouche laughed and said, ‘I think it’s
kind of beautiful; an apology, even if it was poorly worded. Maybe we’re too
young to have hearts of stone.’
Meanwhile, the hole in the brick wall
between our houses had grown bigger because our locker was one third full and
our little treasure chest was filling up with items and secrets.
For a week or so, the dating game took a
back seat as study and school life and the general business that became a game
of dodging Princesses (before the meeting) took over.Mouche and I, after our initial surge in
popularity, struggled with how to proceed.
We had a page about all the boys on our
list, and had put off the ‘secret meeting’ with the Princesses for as long as
Trish and Mrs Mouche’s first post-break-up
dates were successful enough to encourage them to start dating properly again,
but nothing memorable had happened for them in the form of love letters, or
anything else (except dinners).
In the meantime, both of our moms were on
vacation for a week and during that time they threw themselves into self-care
(manicures, hairdressers, deep tissue massages) and mothering which we admired.
Trish began to cook again using her
mother’s recipes. Together we had mother / daughter meals which were both
memorable and delicious. Mrs Mouche even invited Martin around to share in the
meal as a return for the night he took her bowling and let her win. He had a
son named Eli as it turned out who was two years younger than me and very
studious. Eli seemed quite interested in being friends which was flattering,
but he was too young to date, although quite the reader. In fact most of the
boys on our list at Sunrise were such a mismatch for me, that I started
wondering what it would be like to properly date Joel or Ethan or even Mark;
the guys I’d initially been attracted to but who for obvious reasons, hadn’t
really worked out thus far.
Meanwhile, Mrs Mouche was dating an
accountant from her work whom she’d decided was, ‘boring boring boring,but at
least he’s teaching me how to organise my taxes.’
*Note to self:
men who teach you something useful...especially about money and boy stuff (ie.
mechanics) are good to know (because a lot of women don’t know as much as they
should and being unknowledgeable about money and cars leaves you open to
financial abuse....). That is a direct quote from
In any case, work and socializing were
keeping our mommies who drink very
busy these days. We were also indulging in a social whirl. Our moms were too
pre-occupied to check up on us which was perfect because we hadn’t really
refined our dating game properly; and the best was definitely yet to come.