Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pride and Princesses Matresses and Meetings chapter 15

Chapter 15

Mattresses and Meetings

      Teegan, Tory, Brooke and Freya had been wracking their minds over the meaning of that one page of muddled notes they’d discovered weeks ago and the fact that we seemed, every now and then, to be juggling a list of men for possible dates in between our busy schedule of school, rehearsals and semi-professional auditioning activities.

      Unbeknown to Mouche, I have to admit, I’d flirted with Trey. Unbeknown to either of us, I think Jet was beginning to like Mouche again (he’d glanced over at her in rehearsals more than once to see if she was noticing him) and maybe because of this or in spite of this, I was really noticing when Mark was noticing me. It was like the fact that I had ignored him peaked his interest. Then once (or was I imagining it?) he seemed to be watching Mouche’s dance scene with more than professional interest. As if I cared. There were nine other men on my list.

      Plus, although Tory was getting louder and pushier by the hour, I was still the lead character in the play. But I was offended and had a long memory (like an elephant’s, my mother once said). My pride had been sorely injured by Mark’s remarks at the dance, more than I cared to admit. Although the letter was nice, it took until the visit to Mark’s house, many days later, for me to start seeing my tormentor in a different light.

    In the meantime, I was becoming friendlier with Joel.

    This seemed to hit the spot, Mark’s sore spot. For some reason Mark just hated Joel, who, although friendly with multiple girls, always took extra time to say ‘hi’, and hang out with me now. I knew he might be a bit unreliable to actually date but I was happy to become friends with him.

    ‘You know, Phoebe, you are actually my first friend who is a girl,’ he said analytically, as we snacked on pretzels during my rehearsal break. We talked about lots of things, not just the novels we had to read for English, or his guitar solos. We talked about New York and how it is one of the most fantastic cities in the world. 

     Known only to Mark, Freya had offered (as the social secretary of junior year) to show him around Sunrise one weekend. It would have been totally against our original rules to make all the running, but Freya had a hot new car her father had bought for her birthday and wanted to show off it and herself. I heard her tell Tory she had plans to be Mark’s ‘special girlfriend’. I’m not sure even Mark knew what that meant but Tory seemed momentarily put out.

    Tory explained it (many weeks later) in the guide thus: ‘In England, macking is called snogging, and since Mark had been in England for a year, he seemed to think dating was just hooking up and snogging. So when I suggested we hook up and go to the movies, Mark was, according to Jet who told Teegan who told Mouche who told me, ‘too polite to refuse.’

    We all had a little laugh at that entry, especially me, and it seemed the days when I imagined Mark to be ‘the one’ were long gone. 

     But I forgot to tell you how the Princesses got involved.

     In the beginning, they all, rather cluelessly and obviously, tried to target Mark. We shuddered at their appalling lack of smarts in this area. He had them on speed dial and even more confused than he’d had Mouche and I. The other girls evidently needed our savvy.

     Mark, the alpha male, was playing them.

     ‘I don’t understand why charms I’ve worked on countless pre-men seem to fall short with Mr I love myself Knightly,’ Teegan complained.

      Tory listened to Teegan’s whining then relayed it to Brooke who told me.

     ‘You won’t believe it,’ Tory added, ‘but Teegs actually said to him after rehearsal one night when she was taking notes, ‘your place or mine?’ when he offered her a lift. Anyway, he obviously didn’t like her that much since he offered Phoebe and Mouche a lift also. Mouche said ‘yes’ before Phoebe could say ‘no’ because it was late at night and she thought it would be in their best interests to swallow their pride.’

     My ears burned at that one. It was true, I hadn’t had a chance to say no, but we were not in a position to refuse. Trey had borrowed Mouche’s car (his was at the local garage) and I didn’t have one. Trey’s cell was on answer which really annoyed both Mouche and me, because we have a rule to never walk home alone in the dark.

    ‘I’ll talk to Trey about that later,’ Mouche promised, as if she was the parent and Trey, the child.

     After Mark had slighted me, Mouche had considered spreading the rumor that he was a man-slut but then we mutually decided that this would just enhance his reputation and make us sound bitter. We were more amused watching the Princesses fail to make headway in the dating game with him, one by one.

    ‘Sometimes it’s best to let bygones be bygones,’ my grandmother always used to say which I suppose means, forget about past hurts. So I left the idea of Mark as ‘the perfect boyfriend’ alone, where it ought to be, and just got on with my life. Then the Princesses lives entwined with ours in the most obvious way. 

    We’re not sure how far Mark and Freya went after he dropped Mouche and me off that night after rehearsal, but the next day Brooke and Teegan and Tory were seen huddling around a crying Freya who was whining something about, ‘he kissed me and everything but now I don’t think he even likes me. How could he not like me? I’m the smartest, funniest, coolest girl in the school!’

    ‘Ah, that would be a matter of opinion, Freya,’ Mouche uttered under her breath. But this time I was glad that nobody heard because Freya was visibly distressed.

     You could see the confidence draining out of Freya and her Princess sisters on a daily basis and I felt a little uncool that I couldn’t give them advice. Why did girls let boys affect their self-esteem this way? It was lucky I loved the stage and Mouche loved to dance. These loves gave us a lot more to focus on than boys.

    ‘Perhaps we should share the benefit of our research,’ I suggested that day, thumbing through the last of my dating guides, The Good Girlfriend (a gem of a tome), written by anonymous.

    ‘Oh please,’ Mouche said, ‘they’d only listen if it was wrapped in pink paper and tied with a ribbon.’

    ‘It is,’ I said, tapping our half-filled Boy Rating Diary.

     The Princesses were all having a pity party for one another because nobody else would bother to have any kind of party for the nastiest girls in school.

     What we do know for sure - Mark was definitely not saving himself for marriage or true love or any of that because he was spotted reading Lolita in the town library - quite the scandal around here.

     Mouche noticed it when she was researching a legal case for part-time work she does at a homeless shelter in LA once a month. In fact, I’d say Mark may have taken Freya up on her offer and now maybe both of them regret it. At least, that’s what I’d say.

     It was kind of sad actually - their little love fest gone wrong. Last night at rehearsals, Freya was giving Mark soppy puppy dog looks and he was just totally ignoring her in his snobbish, uptight way. I could have told her he was a mean, proud, nasty person but she didn’t ask. I’d never advise Freya, willingly. Besides, Mark was clearly the target; he’s supposed to be the date at the end, the best date, and now I doubt I will ever speak to him again since he’s clearly the most conceited boy in school. Well, who wants some stuffy old castle in Scotland anyway?

    ‘I’ve mentally moved on,’ I assured Mouche.

    But I should tell you what happened with Mouche and Jet. She wrote about it in the dating diary:


     Mouche: ‘Jet and I got so friendly that we dated more than once. We went roller skating, then he took me to dinner and a movie and drove me right to my front door in his seriously hot sports car. He opened doors and paid for everything and the most he even tried was to hold my hand. Then, on the third date,  Jet got cold feet and told Scott Williamson to tell Phoebe at rehearsals to tell me that he couldn’t meet up with me that weekend because he ‘had to go with Mark and his sister and their aunt and uncle for a skiing holiday in Telluride...’

   ‘Telluride! That’s a lame excuse’, Phoebe said.

   ‘I agree. I mean, I’m not the best or most experienced skier in the world, but if he was going to abruptly change plans, then he could’ve at least invited me or told me himself.’     

    I drew a line through him on the list and spent an entire Saturday crying. After I’d dried my eyes, I gathered Wednesday to me and said to Pheebs, ‘I do solemnly swear that I will never get my heart broken ever again.’

    It was many weeks later before we found out what really happened.


    Wednesday tugged at Mouche’s hair, attempting to braid it in a sisterly fashion.

    ‘He’s no loss if he will do that to you without a proper explanation,’ I offered.

    ‘This,’ Mouche said, ‘is the first and last time I will ever cry over a man.’

     ‘He’s so not worth it, I said.

     ‘Not worth it,’ Wednesday agreed.

     ‘And neither is his proud, superior friend.’ I couldn’t even say Mark’s name by this point.

      At rehearsal, Mark Knightly was standing near me when Peter came over to chat.

      Peter winked at Mark and Mark ignored us both.

     ‘Actually, he looked kind of sheepish...Mark’s a weird guy.’

     ‘Maybe not so much...’ Mouche observed. ‘It’s true that he hurt your pride and he was wrong to do it, and wrong about you, but at least he didn’t pretend to like you then ditch you like Jet did to me. I genuinely think he was just trying to cover up how he felt. Perhaps he has his own reasons for his strange behaviour. He seems to have better qualities than some of the boys at Sunrise. At least he has a level of maturity and says what he thinks.’


     ‘Well, he was too quick to judge, but then so were we. I mean, look how wrong we got it. We actually thought Jet was Mr Nice Guy.’

      Even in the throes of her own misery, I started to feel like Mouche was getting the better of me again.

     That evening, we conversed in my room, ‘I’ve heard in Europe, people aren’t at all particular about whom they sleep with. Maybe that’s when Mark became a man-slut.’

    ‘Maybe,’ Mouche just shrugged and flicked on a repeat of episode of some teen reality programme.

    ‘I’m so over this show,’ she said. ‘The only thing to do when you’ve been ditched is to eat an entire box of chocolates.’

    ‘At least...you didn’t do it with Jet or anything. I mean, it’s not like you went that far...’     

    ‘I’m destined to be the only sixteen year old in Sunrise who hasn’t even been stage-kissed more than twice,’ Mouche said.

     ‘Ah, that would be me, also.’ I must admit I was shocked at Mouche’s revelation of her entire lack of love experience. I thought surely she’d kissed Ethan Mandel. I tried to cheer her up, adding, ‘well, maybe, that’s a good thing. I mean, whatever happened with Freya certainly didn’t make her happy. Maybe we’re too young for relationship drama.’

    Mouche just started crying all over again.

    Anyway, a few days later (the last week of October to be precise) another note arrived, attached to the revised script breakdown, Act One page 9.  At first, I thought it was a note from Jet, because it had Mouche’s name on it and I immediately walked over to Mouche, who was taking a break from rehearsing the opening dance number and handed it to her.

    ‘Maybe this is the formal apology...it could be from him.’


    ‘I don’t know, maybe.’

    ‘Perhaps I should forgive him for standing me up.’

    ‘That’s not in the rules. Don’t you have any pride? I’m sure Mrs Robinson would deem our interest in men who have already disrespected us asunforgivable’. We have to be better than that.’



    ‘You take it, open it.’

     Mouche unfolded the entire piece of notepaper.

    ‘You must’ve had it wrong the first time. It says, ‘Phoebe and Mouche.

    Maybe he wants to double...’

    ‘This might be out of our league...here, you open it.’

     I do as I’m told. Everyone is on morning break and huddled around in groups but I’m sure I noticed the evil glances of the Princesses in our direction because this is what the note said;


    We know what you’re up to...we want in on the competition or we’ll tell everyone what a pair of Skeezie hoes you both are...dating ‘boyzamples’ and acting like mattresses etc. Love Teegan, Tory, Brooke and Freyaxxx


    ‘Mattresses!’ Mouche exclaimed.

     We’d show them mattresses.     

     Mouche excitedly grabbed the most recent set of notes right out of my hand and said, with a slight glimmer in her eye, ‘just let me consolidate what we need for the meeting...’