Monday, April 28, 2014
Pride and Princesses It's Not Over Till It's Over chapter 27
It’s Not Over Till It’s Over
There was a lot of anxious waiting on that park bench under the street light. Mouche and I were nearly frozen by the time we received another call, this time from Mark.
“I’ve got her,” Mark said exactly two minutes and twenty-eight seconds later.
Turns out Wednesday had fallen asleep underneath the long table cloth that covered one of the round reception tables. How could Mouche and I have forgotten all about her? I hugged her so much when she arrived I almost squeezed her awake. But she was blissfully unaware of all the drama as Mrs Mouche, tears streaming down her cheeks, opened the front door. Trey was mercifully at school and had missed the entire episode. He’d be livid, so that was one less glare I could expect in my direction.
Mark arrived at our house, twenty minutes after he’d texted me, with Wednesday in his arms. She was bundled up in a tablecloth she’d taken a fancy to, oblivious to the commotion.
Mark was driving his own car and arrived with Joel (who was also on his best behaviour and sheepishly deposited Ella as well). The runaways had told Mark they’d been in the Sunrise car park: Ella practicing on her new rollerblades and Joel, skateboarding.
“I just don’t know what the fuss is all about,” Ella whined sleepily.
“You call me,” her mother lectured her, “anytime you are going to be late and we don’t know where you are...”
Mark spoke softly to my mother on the steps. Meanwhile, I was sitting on the porch swing with Mouche’s surprise, the rescue dog. This one was a new mixed breed puppy who ran to Mouche’s arms the minute she held them out.
“Oh,” Mouche said, “she’s gorgeous. This is big love.”
Our moms raised their eyebrows then walked inside.
Nobody was really talking to us, except maybe Mark and Jet.
“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have asked you to keep my note private. Joel is a reckless person but I think in the end, he meant well,” Mark said.
“It’s okay,” I said, “really, its Ella’s responsibility to call her mom. I was sure Joel and Ella couldn’t have gone too far...”
“But you wouldn’t mind going...away, sometime...” he seemed about to suggest something when my mother walked out onto the porch.
“I think it’s time you came inside, young lady.”
What was all this “young lady” business? I felt like I was in a Swiss Finishing School instead of standing opposite the man of my dreams.
“Thank you, Mark,” my mom said. He smiled at her congenially.
Joel had passed out in the back of Mark’s car after sampling the punch. He was mumbling something about wanting to go to the Metropolitan Museum and not thinking anyone would be worried.
“According to Joel’s father, Joel had reserved flights to go and see some band in New York on his father’s credit card. Honestly, I don’t know how that boy arranged everything so quickly. He must be a genius...” my mom said.
“Perhaps he just needs someone to keep an eye on him...” Mark suggested.
I knew Ella was not exactly truthful and the combination of her and Joel could have led to a much bigger drama than this one. There was already talk that Ella would be on the next flight back to Phoenix to stay with her father and Joel was being sent to military school for his final year.
“You know,” Mark said, “I was thinking, this summer, would you and Mouche consider coming with me and my sister and Jet to France for ten days? Our family own a Chateau there and we can go exploring and then visit Paris. I think you’d like it.”
“Are you serious? But I’m saving for college.”
“That’s okay. It will be my treat on the family jet.” Mark flashed his black card. I noted his name engraved on it in gold. “Think about it.”
Then Mark turned on the stairs, under the porch light and looked over at me, reached out and kissed my lips. It was perfect. We got a little more passionate until I pulled away...
“Oh, my goodness.”
“I just remembered something,”
“Until next week then?”
“What’s next week?”
“Prom. We’ll pick you both up at 6.30pm.”
He turned around.
“You’re supposed to ask me...properly.”
Then he did something with all the charm he’d kept hidden from me these last months. He got down on one knee and said, “Phoebe Harris, will you go to the junior prom with me?”
“Yes,” I said and kneeled down to his level and kissed him quickly.
It was consolidation night. Although I’d won all the prizes the last thing I wanted was to have the competition made public in any way. The Princesses were waiting for our midnight meeting at Teegan’s house where we planned to upload information from the past year onto The Boy-Rating Blog.
“There’s something I have to do,” I said to Mark as I rushed off the porch to Mouche’s place.
Mark looked a bit perplexed but since he’d retrieved Wednesday and saved my cousin Ella from possible social scandal I think he knew his true character had finally been revealed to me and he just smiled in a relaxed manner and said, “Sure, I’m not going anywhere except home.”
I realized my life being “news” and winning a competition with Mark as the prize, would not make me happy the way I thought it would. I mean, the Boy Rating Diary was invented before I realized that Mark was my perfect man all along. I’d really messed up. I so didn’t want all our secrets released onto the World Wide Web.
What to do? First, I told Mouche everything, about how I thought I’d liked Trey and then Mark and then Trey again but really all along I was in love with Mark and now he’d asked me to the prom which meant I had lost the part but won a competition I didn’t even want to win.
“Oh Phoebe, that’s the game. How could you lose sight of the prize? We are supposed to split the profits, remember?” Mouche was pulling on her winter boots. “I think it’s awesome that you won and Mark and Jet turned out to be totally different from how they seemed...”
“But I like him and I think he likes me.”
“Most men would not choose love over good financial sense, but we are not most men...” C’mon,” Mouche said, “We’re late. What were you doing? Don’t worry; I know what you’ve been doing. I’ve been waiting for ten whole minutes. We have to stop the Princesses before they announce our stupid game to the entire population of Sunrise.” Mouche had always been good at fixing everything...
“They can keep the stupid prizes if they keep their mouths shut...” I mused aloud.
“Something certain Princesses have never been very good at,” Mouche noted.
Teegan and Tory and Brooke and Freya had left early. We knew why: to prepare for the meeting, the unravelling of the Boy-Rating Diary and the uploading of that diary onto an internet blog.
Mouche and I jumped into her car but it wouldn’t start. Then we looked over to where Mark’s car was, but he’d already left. We thought about taking my mom’s car but we were fairly sure she’d go completely bananas so we tried to call a cab. It was late and there weren’t any available for at least thirty minutes. We were in a major hurry to get to the Lake House but the Sunrise Town Square was busy that night with Christmas celebrations and people (the entire town) spilled out onto the streets.
It seemed quicker and safer to walk, even quicker to run. We hitched up our bridesmaid’s dresses again and bolted like lightning through the Town Square and past the lakes to Jet’s house. I tried to text Teegan and all the other girls a dozen times but for some reason their signals were not getting through. We now had major trust issues with the Princesses and, let’s face it; we never should have risked leaving them alone with our thoughts, our words and our lives.
When we finally reached The Lake House, the lights were on upstairs and we pressed the buzzer and Brooke ushered us in.
“Hurry up, you guys need to be here for the unveiling,” she joked.
We raced up the stairs two at a time only to find Tory seated at Teegan’s desk, her hand hovering over the mouse as the Princesses gathered in a clump on the bed giggling. They each had an item draped over them and another in their hands: Teegan wore my sparkling sweater and my cherry cashmere scarf wrapped around her neck. She had claimed a pair of gloves with faux fur around the edges as she sprayed the scent of Mademoiselle in the air. The scarf, shoes, coats and clothes were draped across the furniture. The treasure chest was flung open. The girls were smiling smugly. It was as if the Princesses were doing a victory dance around the bedroom.
Tory was scribbling something with Mouche’s pen, the one she’d had to endure a whole date at the midnight zoo for, and all the pens from the various other dates (including my Century City date with my “older man” candy) were gathered in a bowl in the middle of the bed. Most of the items even had names and places tagged onto them.
Brooke was slightly plumper than the rest of us (“not a dance major,” Teegan once noted), and had squeezed herself into vintage jeans. This particular Princess had my beret perched atop her sugary curls, delicate as fairy floss. The ice-skates were in a bundle of wrapping on the floor, in almost perfect condition and Freya wore sunglasses (at night) on the top of her head so she could still see clearly as she enfolded the pure cashmere coat around her body, typing on the keyboard with an eighteen carat gold bracelet dangling from her wrist.
“Not a charm bracelet,” she smiled. The gold was obviously real. The best a boy in love could afford.
“Look what Jet got Mouche for Christmas. I was with him when he got it. It’s perfect for the treasure chest!”
And I realized then that unless we were careful, the Princesses were still Princesses and would cease to be minor players in our story and somehow take on leading roles.
“Stop!” Mouche said as Tory put her hand on the button to upload.
“Chill out, it can always be modified,” Brooke said incredulously.
“Yeah, besides its totally anonymous...just kidding,” Teegan giggled. “We decided to give you two star billing.”
I pulled Tory’s hand aside but Teegan just pushed right over the top of us and uploaded all the information the Princesses had deemed acceptable onto the web with one touch. It would take us at least a day to work out how to get rid of it and by that time it would have been sent straight to the inboxes of Jet and Mark.
And then I got this feeling, as if I was reading Teegan’s mind... she’d been so nice to me over the last few weeks. She’d promised, sworn actually, to keep everything secret – as had all the girls. We had been foolish to trust them.
After the diary was uploaded onto the Sunrise High blog site, the house descended into chaos as pillows and quilts for the planned slumber party (the last time, we, as older teenage girls would probably ever participate in such a juvenile event) went, literally, out the window. Our night descended into a disaster of girl-crazy, cat fight proportions.