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 The Love Drug chapter 5
The first boy I saw on Monday, the second
week of junior year, was Joel Goodman.Joel is dangerous and wild and I have it on good authority that he dated
both Teegan and Tory at the same time. He managed to hook up with them at Sunrise
Mall one afternoon last summer. Joel is known as the virgin-converter and has a
network of older and more devious buddies and a slightly unkempt air about him.
There is no denying he is good-looking but he’s known to be a very bad person,
not that I’m trying to moralize, it’s just that people talk.
‘Whoa, he gave you such a nice smile,’
Mouche said as Joel walked past. We were on our way to the auditorium.
‘Please,’ I said, ‘he’s monosyllabic and
barely grunts in class. Besides, I could never date a man who didn’t challenge
Peter Williamson, who was a math genius as
well as a dancer, was a rare combination. He walked past us on the way to
‘Looking fine, girls,’ he said as he rushed
‘Why is it all the best boys bat for the
other team?’ Mouche asked confidentially, although it was hardly a secret
And it was good to know a boy with awesome
fashion sense had noted we were looking our best.
We’d planned new outfits for every day of
the month. Our make-overs, along with our dating strategy, were sure to elevate
us to a whole new level of social acceptance. We walked down the hallway with a
unique resolve, like we owned the place. We were dressed very sharply in our
new skirts and sweaters. Even our shoes had extra shine.
After all, we’d had the previous weekend to
‘We should definitely start by wearing more appealing, feminine clothing,’ Mouche had
suggested after we’d finished our Sunday night swim. We’d dragged some old
dating and beauty guides back with us from the library that weekend and had
raided our mothers’ vast quantities of them. They had titles like Sophia’s Pathway to Beauty and Ava Gardner’s Guide to Gorgeousness. There
was also Marilyn Monroe’s Blonde Beauty
Secrets and basically the stories of all the great movie stars with beauty
guides from the 1960s and beyond. (For example, did you know you can make your
own lip balm with beeswax, rosewater and natural food colouring?)
I don’t want to sound shallow but we
decided to start from the outside and work to within. Until midnight, we practiced
hairstyles and make-up. We even dressed up Wednesday. We made her look like a
smurf, then she fell asleep.I don’t
mean to sound like a Princess but we really felt we deserved some fun after our
daddies had dipped into our so-called college funds and we would be working
every spare minute during future holidays just to have enough money to last
even a week in New York. We imagined a future time, when drenched in French
perfume and looking like movie stars, we resided in our own luxury apartments
overlooking Central Park. Man servants doted on us. Boyfriends wept at our
Reality checked in along with dawn.
We were wearing pink gloss and oatmeal face
masks. The pasty oats were moistened with warm water and mixed with Vaseline so
they didn’t drop off in clumps into the pool. Wrapped up in bathrobes, heavy
duty moisturiser smoothed over our elbows and heels (our ‘rough edges’ according
to Sophia’s Beauty @ p.29), our feet
dangled in the water making us seem like ladies of luxury.
‘I have a need for speed and a strange
feeling I’m going to win this bet...’ Mouche said as she pulled her raisin feet
out of the water.
I looked over at Mouche.
‘Don’t be so sure, Mouche, I’m totally
going to give you a run for your money.’
Mouche flicked some water at me.
‘That’s it,’ I said, ‘you’re going under,’
and instead of feet sloshing around a pond the pair of us were engulfed in a
tidal wave, our clothes soaked through.
‘Hey, you pushed me first, I just pulled
you under!’ Mouche said.
We splashed about for a few minutes then
stayed awake, texting plans, long after everyone thought we were sleeping.
The following day, Friday, was audition
As we filed into the auditorium and looked
up at the proscenium arch, Miss Tartt and Mr Sparks waved to us then pointed in
the direction of our seats.
‘If I didn’t know better, I’d say we almost
look like the Princesses,’ I mused aloud...
‘Except there are less of us and we have
more taste.’ Mouche added. ‘I am so going to win this bet,’ she said, as if
she’d solely invented the boy dating and rating competition in the first place.
you’re going to win, huh? Not so quickly Mouche, I’d thought laughingly.
The truth is we were both looking
sharp; our clothes were new, our hair extra shiny and our lip gloss sparkled.
Boys were noticing us, especially Mark and Jet. We’d made a big effort as
prescribed in our dating guides ad
is such a shame we had to entice them with teen glam,’ Mouche conceded.
‘It might be time to put away the old
games of cards and tea leaves. We should rely on common sense and instinct,’ I
‘Of course,’ Mouche agreed.
The entire student body endured the welcome
speech. Due to scheduling difficulties, it was delivered by our Principal a
week later than usual.
Mr Sparks, our drama teacher, appeared
slightly dazed by the length and monotony of the address and could be seen
dozing off during the speech. If Mr Sparks had been talking to the entire
student body, he’d at least have added a light show, ‘and maybe some disco...’ Freya sniggered in a sarcastic horse
Teegan, the Barbie, was the next person we
bumped into that day and she said, ‘hi,’ in a newly mature way. We said ‘hi’ in
return because it doesn’t pay to let the enemy know exactly how the land lies.
Mouche and I still resented her and her friends for taunting us when we were
children and invading our new school to boot. She almost tripped over her own
shoes running down the hallway barking, ‘Mark! Ma-ark!’ as if she owned him
I hadn’t seen Teegan this anxious to get
someone’s attention since she chased an assistant casting agent through our
school car park to try to snare the lead in a teen angst afternoon special.
‘Now observe her undignified display,’
Mouche noted, ‘desperate to try to get Mark’s attention. Doesn’t she realize, ‘if she has to work that hard in the
beginning she’ll have to work like an Olympic athlete towards the end?’
‘Who told you that?’
‘Oh, this great dating tome is called, ‘How to Treat ‘em Mean to Keep Them Keen...’
only problem is ‘they’ have to be keen in the first place...’
Mark seemed pretty busy ignoring Teegan as
he walked on by but when she finally fell at his feet and her notes scattered
around him, instead of stepping over them like some sort of android, he
stopped, picked Teegan up and gave her a sincere smile. What a gentleman.
‘Clearly, her decorative exterior has won
‘I just knew she’d be busy chasing Mark
Knightly,’ Mouche said.
‘You are so psychic, I can almost hear her
thoughts, ’ I replied.
‘True. You are so telepathic,’ Mouche added.
‘She’s just pretending to be nice. Why can’t
he see through her?’ I mused.
‘Absolutely,’ Mouche replied. ‘If only
they’d learnt what we have...men have zero radar for feminine wiles...’
‘I’ve noticed...’ I stated succinctly.
‘High school is an anthropological exercise
at the best of times,’ Mouche replied.
The faces of Joel, Teegan, Mark, Peter and
Ethan merged into the crowd as she spoke. Ethan was a pianist, the others have
been introduced. Two Princesses and one listed male (Jet) were missing, but we
knew they’d make an appearance sooner rather than later.
With morning classes over, I was sitting
alone at lunch with the unfilled diary, wearing my Sunrise High oversized
sweatshirt and my black cut off ballet tights (the black pair layered over the
pink). I was busy plotting a course of action for the remainder of the day and
waiting for Mouche to get out of class. Sitting at a lunch table, sipping fizzy
water through a bendy straw with the sun peeping in through the long bay
windows of the room was conducive to dreaming. I kept imagining the boys on my
list and what they’d look like given a style make-over and some re-programming,
when Mouche arrived early.
‘I already have the order of dating in
mind...but there are quite a lot of them and only one or two I can actually see
potential chemistry with...’
‘Good,’ I said, ‘me too, that will make
things less complicated.’
‘It says here men hate over-achievers...’ Mouche said as she carefully applied
some lip balm from a tiny container.
‘Mmm...we’ll just have to re-educate the
boys on that one.’
‘Here, I signed the contract in lipstick
pencil. Want some?’
‘I don’t think that’s legal.’
‘I added my signature in pen just in
‘Listen, I’ve been thinking,’ Mouche said.
‘Why don’t we just...help each other in the beginning, see what we come up
with, pool our dating resources in the so called ‘dating guide’ then go for it
for the last few dates. See how much useful treasure we can get from thefirst ‘dates’ without them knowing they’re
just being used for information and teach the boys a thing or two in the
As we ate, we made notes. A few boys from
the opposite table actually looked up. Like I said, Mouche had re-vamped her
look (and so had I) but hers was obviously working particularly well in
relation to Jet Campbell. Jet has a fabulously inoffensive smile. He is about
the same height as Mark and as fair as Mark is dark-haired and seemingly a hundred
times more amiable, completely unaware of the annoying idiosyncrasies of those
around him. Freya is messing up Jet’s hair and I can see him staring at her
fake diamond necklace, sparkling in the lunch room light.
‘It’s sad that men are so attracted to
artifice, but also very true according to the Young Ladies Guide and my own limited experience,’ I told Mouche.
‘Agreed,’ Mouche replied, highlighting a
chapter titled, ‘How to please your
potential husband,’ written in 1963.
Have you ever felt like someone else has
stolen your life? I was daydreaming after writing notes on Mark Knightly (tall, British-like, uptight) and I was
imagining how divine it would be to star in a hipper, teen remake of Pride and Prejudice, we could just call
it Pride...when Mouche interrupted my
train of thought.
‘Oh, by the way...I have to tell you
‘Planning time, don’t interrupt.’ I waved
my paper in her face.
Mouche ignored my request.
‘Jet Campbell left me this cute little
post-it note on my locker and... he spoke
to me again and...I think he might be the
‘Are you joking? You can’t just settle for
one. You’re starting to sound really unimaginative...like a Princess.’
‘I guess...I’m getting some lunch.’
Tapping my pen on the table, lost in
thought, I’m inadvertently drawing attention to myself. As I look away, I
notice the very emo/gothic looking Jack Adams who actually smiles back at me. I
happen to know he is working on another teenage horror film script because he
sent me a group email over summer, asking me to write comments about the stupid
plot he’d written. I didn’t want to lie to him so I still haven’t replied. I
look away even though he definitely has potential. I don’t want to encourage
him just yet.
A few minutes later Mouche is on her way
back to our table with today’s least offensive lunch fare – macaroni cheese and
a peanut butter sandwich, fries and two sodas.
‘Okay, I also got us two apples...for our
So we sat there, munching the apples,
reading each other’s diagrammatic plans.
‘It says here,’ Mouche read, ‘... the surest way to mess up a date is to
be too focused on getting a boy to like you, so take the focus off the boy and
create other objectives...’
This is what Mouche wrote:
to be gathered for our New York Adventure:
A lucky feather
Jeans - vintage (Mouche and I both wear the same size)
A black sweater (every girl should have one)
The perfect shoes
A winter scarf
A golden bracelet (prefer eighteen carat)
A pair of Chanel sunglasses
A cashmere coat
‘I’m inspired...this will allow us to
focus on our future journey. The list will give us ‘other objectives’ for the
dates so we won’t be so focused on impressing the boys and thus end up
‘Of course, and all these items will be
useful in New York; they start with the most easily sourced and become a little
more difficult to obtain...’
‘Quick, twelve o’clock,’ Mouche whispered
before I could say anything more on the subject.
I looked up instantly.
‘It’s Mark Knightly glancing at us from
across the room. Don’t stare. You’re being very obvious,’ she whispered.
We could overhear Freya talking at the
how did you find out he was rich?’
‘Well, by the
water fountain, on my way here...’Brooke added.
the water fountain,’ Teegan repeated. ‘That’s
starting to sound very romantic.’
Anyway, I heard him talking about a rich uncle in Scotland who’s planning to
leave him a castle after he croaks...’
wish my uncle would leave me a
castle. Then we’d never have to worry about our college funds.’ Mouche said
‘Never mind. We’re going to be self-made
women, Mouche. By the way, are they serious? I’m not sure if castles in
Scotland are worth that much but maybe we should move him to the number one
spot on our list...just in case,’ I joked and considered removing Jet’s name
(even though his family owned multiple companies – according to Teegan - and
she googles everyone) with the stroke of a pen.
Mouche instantly picked up her pink pen and
drew another line straight through Jet Campbell and wrote Mark Knightly over it and added a bunch of love hearts. Then she
scrawled: wildly rich -major possibilities.
‘That’s so twelve years old Mouche. I never
knew you were such a gold digger.’
Underneath Mark’s name she made a space for
his advantages / disadvantages / physical
attributes columns. We haven’t filled that out yet.
‘Objectively speaking, money is just a bonus
and I could never actually marry a man for that, even if my college fund is
depleted.’ Mouche said.
‘Who said anything about marrying? Perhaps
we should wait until one of us has actually had a proper conversation with him
‘You’re right. I doubt marriage is even
legal at our age.’
‘Oh great, one o’clock, Miss Tartt...’ I
whisper, hoping not to draw attention to myself.
‘Hello girls. Did you have a good summer?’
‘Yes Miss Tartt,’ I said. Mouche started to
smile as I spoke.
Miss Tartt is a failed Broadway actress
with shortish sticky-out red hair and the figure of a former dancer who’s
started to binge eat just a little too often. She doesn’t like me. Competition.
She gives me looks that could kill roses. I don’t think it’s very professional
to behave that way. Like, when we had try-outs for last year’s fashion show,
she made me re-audition about ten times and waited right until the end to call
my name as part of the ensemble. And only a few dance majors were available.
‘Hi Miss Tartt,’ one of the boys called out
from across the room. Boys can be rude like that.
Miss Tartt should have ignored him, as
etiquette might dictate but, never one to shrink like a violet, Miss Tartt
actually said, ‘hello boys,’ in a
very theatrical voice.
I’m so embarrassed for her. The guys
certainly seemed to like it though. Obviously, she needs our future dating
guide. We’ll add advice for older women.
‘Do you have an audition piece ready for try-outs,
‘I didn’t realize they were on today, Miss
Tartt. I’m thinking of working behind the scenes.’
‘Oh. Well, they’re 3pm sharp. See you both
there. Oh, and Mouche?’
‘I’d just love it if you could help design the costumes again.’
‘Oh, yeah, sure,’ Mouche said, trying not
to sound too enthusiastic.
After Miss Tartt left, Freya joined us and
‘Oh, that would be marvellous, Miss Tartt...ew...you two are such suck ups. That woman
is totally skeezie – no wonder you’re both her favourite students in the whole
world...she’s only nice because she wants you to do her dirty work...’
‘Ah, I believe that is your modus operandi, Freya,’ Mouche
‘You know, she’s just a teacher who really
wants to be an actor and keeps casting herself in the lead role – Tory’s role,’
‘I think that might be Phoebe’s role you’re confusing with Tory’s role, Freya,’ Mouche
Mouche and Freya both had a point.
Freya huffed off and said, ‘later girls,’
as if we were all friends.
Suddenly Mouche leaned in and stepped
lightly on my toe under the table.
Knightly is walking back this way. See if you can convince him to talk...’
We put our notes away in a pink folder.
I was busy reading How to Please your Potential Husband. Mouche had opened up A Woman’s Guide to Bringing out the Best in
Her Man – Part 1; The Approach.
‘I’m so not ready for the approach. We’ve never even spoken,’ I
added with hesitation.
‘Well, I’m ready now – first cab off the
rank and all that.’
This could be like watching a train wreck
in motion and I was nervous for Mouche. After all, she was just as
inexperienced as me at proper dating and bound to make a fool of herself with
an older, more mature man.
Freeze the image:
We were all alone in the cafeteria by then,
since almost everyone else had left for study hall. Freya, Teegan, Brooke and
Tory had drifted off. The chatter had quietened down and we hardly noticed Mark
and Jet again, so immersed were we in reading our guidebooks and finalizing
dating guide was open on a page titled;
How to Attract Your Prey:
a bright shade of lipstick
sweet smelling perfume
be interested in your man’s conversation
sure your hair is soft and shiny so he can rub his hands in it
sure you wear attractive, feminine clothing; skirts and dresses are uniquely
I’m wondering if this old-fashioned advice
could get much worse. I quickly close the guide.
‘It would be enough to make my mother
retch,’ Mouche says, ‘she collects these guides as a joke.’
Suddenly Mark is walking towards us.
‘Our ‘man-friendly’ looks are definitely
getting us noticed....’
‘Or is that our cousin’s unfounded
reputations?’ Mouche whispers. ‘Boys think the
apple doesn’t fall far from the tree so we need to act remote.’
‘If he talks, you should talk,’ I replied.
‘Just ignore him,’ Mouche says, as Mark
walks straight past us on the way to study hall.
‘Well, that conversation went smoothly,’ I
‘Give him time, Pheebs. Guys are analytical
and need extra moments to process attraction...’
I laughed as we walked to English but my
expression changed to disappointed when I realized Mark and Jet had ditched the
has been the case from time immemorial, while the boys ditched, the girls
worked...the boys hunted...the girls gathered...’
I was reading over my history notes in
study hall after Mark and Jet had successfully managed to abscond. I saw them
leave the car park via my study hall window, but nobody as yet recognized Jet’s
car and from a distance they looked like teachers....albeit very rich
‘Second week of school and they’re already
in trouble,’ Freya stated.
‘I just love bad boys,’ Teegan replied.
After biology, which I’d slept through,
history was cancelled but our classes were late so although I’d also tried to
ditch along with Mouche, we got caught in the entrance hall (or exit hall in
our case). The teachers are more than a little militant at the start of the
semester, but luckily, they let us off with a warning.
‘Sometimes I just can’t wait for school to
be over so I can start my real life,’ Brooke mused like a child.
skills are far more important than intelligence; it says so right here.’ I
whispered to Mouche in the library.
‘I’m not so sure about that,’ our teacher
‘We need to network!’ Mouche passed me a
note attached to the diary. Page nine was open with all our gathered quotes
from man-dating guides of yesteryear attached. The basis for the diary was
gaining some real momentum.
‘Honestly, if school is just like a
microcosm of the real world, it’s a wonder any of us survives it. At least in
the real world you can hide from people you hate,’ I whispered just as Freya
walked by, a little too close to my ballet slippers for comfort. Behind her,
her twisted sisters trailed like ducks near a pond. They were caught leaving by
the overly zealous teacher and had been herded up like cattle. Now they’re all
chewing gum in retaliation; so ninth grade.
Freya ‘accidentally’ kicked over my bag as
she entered the room.
‘Oops, sorry,’ she said. Usually, she
travels in a pack. It makes it a lot easier to disguise her evil intentions.