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 Scandal chapter 7
Mouche had us sorted. She’d read the entire
contents of Dating Yourself into Oblivion
and used her instincts to ‘encourage’ Jet to consider coming to the Fall
As social monitors of the year, we were
totally prepared to attend, cameras in tow, by ourselves: but arm candy always
made the other girls jealous. And who could resist that? Mouche left an
old-fashioned note in Jet’s locker, waiting for Jet to take the bait. When she
pulled into my driveway that morning looking very excited, I thought he’d maybe
‘Not so much, turns out I might have been a
bit previous with the note, I’ve been up half the night doing extra research. I
think I should’ve made the pursuit more of a challenge for him...meanwhile...’
Mouche thrust a handful of highlighted pages in my face.
‘Guess what I’ve come up with...’
It turned out Mouche had refined and
highlighted the next entry of the Boy-Rating
Diary with a specific list:
THE BOYS OF SUNRISE HIGH
Transfer student from Loratio and England, seriously hot,
very dark and broody
Also a transfer student, just as hot; recently obtained
his pilot’s licence. There really doesn’t seem to be a downside to this man...
Dangerous, brutish, charming
Film school tragic; owns and runs the film club every
Friday lunch time
Wants to be a stockbroker, possibly more interested in
money than dating
Art major, sci-fi fan
Musical theatre star (a real challenge for a date),
Academic genius, slightly stooped from being bent over
his microscope, doubt he has ever spoken to a female, interested in insects.
Dubious moral values, rumored to run a school gambling
Future concert pianist, always dragged into composing the
Xbox fan, martial arts expert, quite the rebel, caught in
freshman year smoking who knew what and suspended from school for a week.
Boy next door (literally lives across the road)
While Mouche was parking, I executed a few
ballet twirls and a high kick up the steps before I leapt and landed on my feet
near the fence. This isn’t so unusual in our school, and besides, no one was
looking. Oh, except Mark. My face went red as I hastily looked away.
‘How deeply embarrassing,’ Mouche said.
‘Why? I’ve gotta warm up for class,’ I
covered, as if I wasn’t the least embarrassed.
‘Wow. You’re becoming more like Buffy every day,’ Mouche said.
‘What a shame that series was cancelled.
I’d have auditioned for a role and we wouldn’t have had to go to school at all.
You could’ve been my assistant.’
‘Thanks, I’m sure that would be a rewarding
job, Phoebe. Face it, we should’ve fleeced our father’s bank accounts and
emigrated to New York years ago. We could’ve attended the Professional
Children’s School thus avoiding HSYL altogether.’
‘Those days are over, Mouche.’
‘Thanks for the memories.’
time at HSYL had been very harsh, if you haven’t gathered that already. Mrs
Mouche had dated the school guidance counsellor and a scandal had erupted when
their relationship resulted in the birth of a child – Mouche’s half-sister,
Wednesday. As it turned out, Wednesday’s Dad was actually Mr Married Guidance Counsellorfrom nine streets away. Mouche was
understandably keen to vacate this town, maybe even this state, permanently. (Of
course, Mr Married Guidance Counsellor had never told Mrs Mouche that he was
attached and since we’d never needed his guidance, we didn’t know, but it was
all a mini social nightmare in our street and everyone was treating Mrs Mouche
like the town bike).
Mouche and I had felt more like lepers in
the Gothic halls of HSYL that month after the scandal broke. Between trawling
through academic work and being taunted by the Princesses chanting, ‘sluttie mommies, sluttie mommies, you both
have sluttie mommies...’ You can imagine the rest. It was all caused by Mrs
Mouche’s scandal and the fact that my mother totally stood by her (that’s what
friends are for). And of course, I stood by Mouche, just as she had always
stood by me. People saw us as the offspring of our morally dubious, adulterous
mommies. Although, as Mrs Mouche said, ‘I wasn’t knowingly committing adultery
since he lied to me – he was the jerk!’
sure that’s why, after playing the good girl cards, we decided to go for it and
turn the Boy-Rating Diary into a real
challenge. We’d learned a lot about being social pariahs at HSYL and placed our
competitive natures aside to learn what it took and how important it was to
have a loyal friend.
‘You only need one,’ my mother once said,
‘as long as it’s a good one.’
Or was that husbands?
‘I totally love my mom but I just can’t
believe she did it with him,’ Mouche admitted,
‘You’d think she could’ve used
contraception... but then we wouldn’t have Wednesday, who is seriously cute.’
‘It says here, ‘the ‘accidental’ conception is rare past thirty...men are terrified of needy, baby-hungry,
gold diggers desperate to secure them for their net value and sperm...’
‘Ew...once again...disgusting. Besides, ‘men need to re-learn to be grateful...they
require direction in the art of seduction...like in the old days...make them
thankful that women even want to sleep with them...’
diggers? Nothing in return? Who’s the gold digger? Who asks for nothing in
return?’ Teegan’s ears pricked up when we walked by her. She gave us a piercing
stare. Teegan was a virtual conduit for any form of relationship gossip. Of
course, this particular gem came from Miss
Suzy’s Bunny Girl Secrets but I wasn’t ready to share them with my nemesis
Singing had been re-scheduled and replaced
with English class because our teacher was in the auditorium with Mr Sparks,
preparing the audition roster for Rocco
and Julie. Before class started, the rain was tapping on my window. It
never rained in Sunrise and Mark was late. I was pending his arrival like an
ingenue awaiting her first Oscar but he didn’t appear and I was more
disappointed than I’d let show. Finally, ten minutes after the lesson
started,he showed up, late, which
raised eyebrows but since he was the only person in the class (apart from me)
who’d read the prescribed text (Wuthering
Heights), the teacher was willing to forgive him once she’d read his notes.
She seemed exceedingly pleased to have been graced by his mere presence. We
were working on a modern re-write of the dialogue from the famous scene when
Cathy tells Nelly it would degrade her to marry Heathcliffe as Mark walked down
the aisle towards the vacant seat next to me.
Teegan immediately staked her claim. She
planted her dainty, black tap shoe firmly at his feet to prevent him going any
‘Oh, hi Mark,’ she said, ‘I just love your
jacket. Did you get it at French Connection UK? My cousin used to work at the
store on Kings Road...’
He gave me an apologetic smile, then sat
where he was bade.
I was a little annoyed that my Franco
hadn’t fought for me, but since we hadn’t properly conversed there was little I
could do, except wait longingly and plan.
At lunch I was tapping my toe under the
table, humming the last bars of a piece I was learning on keyboard for music
class when someone touched me on the shoulder and all I could see was a mouth
move. Then I took out my ear plugs, turned off my play list and heard a voice.
It was quite deep and mature and male. The voice unmistakeably belonged to Mark
‘You’re on the swim team, aren’t you? I saw
you race yesterday. You won. You were good.’
‘Oh, thanks...’ I said, kind of lost for
the right reply.
Mark had already won points for making the
first move, which is very important.
Now, one of the first steps in my reference
guide (which Mouche decided was mostly outdated, but nevertheless quaint)
detailed how to appear nice, yet
I didn’t think this would really work but
when Mark said hello after English
class earlier that morning, I tried it. I didn’t actually speak, I just smiled
back shyly but when he kept walking, I thought I’d really blown it.
But here he was trying to get my attention
again in the last minutes of the lunch hour.
‘Well, um...I guess I’ll see you at the
‘Yeah, the play is compulsory,’ I said
dumbly. Mouche cringed.
‘But aren’t you and...your friend PA
‘Cos I saw you both...dancing around this
morning. So you must like...artistic stuff, right?’
I nodded and smiled like a total dork.
Silence sat uncomfortably between us.
‘...see ya, Phoebe,’ he said and walked
I looked at Mouche and flushed, ‘Did you
‘He said my name!’
‘Oh, please, c’mon, we gotta go...’
We ran down the corridor to the school
All the serious PA students were warming
up at the bar and a few people were hanging out backstage, going over scenes
for Rocco and Julie.
When try outs were about to start and we
were waiting in our seats, Teegan said to me, ‘so, did you manage to get your
hooks into Mark?’
‘Not exactly,’ I replied.
‘Why not? I saw him talk to you at lunch.
He’s definitely open to it. I’m sure he’d date you, even just for one night.’
I ignored her insinuation that I wouldn’t
be worth dating more than once.
‘That’s not true,’ Freya said with the
phony compassion she was renowned for. ‘He’s definitely into me,’ she smiled
patronizingly. ‘But you never know, if you wait your turn once I’ve discarded
I walked over to Mouche.
‘Never mind,’ Mouche said. ‘It’s payback
Mouche and I huddled together in our
tights and oversized sweaters and ballet shoes. I have had loads of pairs of
those pink shoes over the years and so has Mouche. But Mouche is not
sentimental. I am. I have all my shoes displayed along the walls of my bedroom,
along with the programs of every play I ever attended, when my mother and I
went to New York. We saw every show on Broadway, using Daddy’s credit card
before he had it blocked off.
‘Here. So, you get to write up today’s
entry, should be interesting.’ Mouche whispered, placing the pink diary in my
‘I’ve decided we take it turnabout; you get
this week – then, in the end, we combine the knowledge of everything we have
learned from the first ten dates.’
‘You’re hopeful. I kind of messed up at
lunch. So I think we can safely say we will be attending Fall Fling alone.’
‘Give it a few days.Teegan is a piece of work.If Mark has any brains he’ll work that out;
meanwhile we need to re-focus. I think these old guides are really good. If
nothing else, they might show us what not to do. Are you ready?’
‘Yep,’ I say, ‘I’m a bit nervous.’
‘Don’t be, you’re fab. I’m so excited. I
love auditions when I’m not doing them. You’re going to be amazing.’
Mouche could be humble like that. She
really is an excellent performer when she deigns to grace the stage. I guess
she just finds more joy in being behind the scenes these days, and for this
production, she will get full credit for design and choreography as well.
The strobe lighting was being tested as
together we sat in the auditorium in the semi-dark, our new bags on the empty
chairs beside us, a picture of a fake universe on the roof making the theatre
appear like a wondrous planetarium. Our favourite teachers, Mr Frames and Miss
Love were busy organizing the order of auditionees.
Mr Frames said, ‘oops, wrong show’ into
the microphone when he mixed up Mr Sparks’ directions and generally acted
uncoordinated in front of Miss Love. Then he finally projected the right slides
for the background: modern day images, Los Angeles streets, a mock version of
Marina Del Rey, The Grove, Santa Monica Pier.
‘How does it look people?’ Mr Sparks asked
‘Awesome,’ some wish-to-be called out
As we turned our heads, we overheard Freya
discussing possible junior prom themes with Jet Campbell.
‘I changed the theme because we need a
couple of boys on the dance committee.We’re not sure whether to do an inspired Bond theme or ...’ Tory,
meanwhile, looked intently at Jet but he seemed to be bored with her attention
and lit up when he saw Mouche.
‘Mmm,’ Jet said, looking in the direction of
Mouche and me. He even took a step back when Teegan tried to paw his arm.
Perhaps he had better taste than I imagined.
The soccer team, led by Alex and Tom,
arrived and sat behind us. They began talking very loudly about how they were
only here because Mr Sparks (they said his name in mocking high tones) had
promised them extra credit and time off to do what really matters – play
We felt slightly outnumbered but refused to
be intimidated. Watching straight men audition is not pretty. The director, Mr
Sparks, was preparing his opening speech (always a classic) and testing the
microphone with a little tap of his fingers.
Ethan Mandel was rather begrudgingly
warming up his fingers on the piano (I have to admit I love to hear him play).
He was practising his ‘incidental theme’ composition and Mouche and I were
whispering about the content of today’s notes.
‘Mmm... this really is a nice shot,’ Mouche
whispered, pasting the first photograph of Mark Knightly, taken on her cell
phone, into the initial pages of the Diary, along with the one of Mark and Jet
arriving at LAXand a combined
photograph of the Sunrise Soccer Team . Teegan
looked over as if she sensed something was up and not just a change of hairstyle.
‘I hope this isn’t stalking. This could be
misconstrued as evidence at some kind of teenage stalker of the year
convention. You don’t think it could fall into the wrong hands and make us seem
more viperous than the Princesses, do you?
‘No, it’s not for public consumption, yet.
Anyway, leave it to Teegan, her nasty side is going to be revealed without too
much help from us...’
By late afternoon, Mr Sparks was getting
more and more frustrated. Most of the boys refused to take ‘the process’
seriously. Only one of them could really sing, dance and act; Peter Williamson,
no surprise there.
‘I wish we were doing a musical,’ Peter
said, rolling his eyes as he sat down next to Mouche, his scene study partner.
‘Me too,’ Mouche agreed tolerantly.
By now Ethan Mandel, was secretly swigging
some suspicious liquid out of a flask he brought from home which he referred to
as ‘cough syrup.’ In any case, his playing just got better and better, to the
point where he didn’t want to stop even when everyone was talking. Rumor
abounded by 6pm that the silver ‘flask’ contained absinthe (wildly popular in
Paris at the turn of last century for containing hallucinogenic properties).
By 6pm the preliminary list of names was
read aloud: the last two boys and the last two girls standing; ‘okay, now can
we have Phoebe, Freya, Peter and ...Tobias...’
Miss Tartt spoke the words with a flick of
her dancer’s skirt, ‘the parts would be finalized and placed on the bulletin
board next week.’
‘I have an announcement to make,’ Mr Sparks
said, ‘...this will be my last play here. As some of you know, I recently
completed my PHD in Elizabethan studies...yes, you may applaud.’
A few of the drama geeks clapped tepidly.
‘Thank you...really that’s not necessary.
Anyway, I’ve accepted a post at the Royal Academy next year, so let’s make this
production the best ever.’
Everyone groaned. The jocks because they
knew they had an easy option and the drama students because we were used to Mr
Spark’s bizarre theatrical ways and would really miss his enthusiasm.
Mouche rolled her eyes next to me and
whispered, ‘go get ‘em!’
It was my turn for a recall even though I
wasn’t certain which part I was up for.
‘I don’t want you to impose character just
yet,’ Mr Sparks spoke loudly to justify the fact that he was still in the
process of stealing our teen dramas in order to complete his ‘original
masterpiece...a comic and heartbreaking journey through teen world titled: Rocco and Julie – a tragedy in three acts!’
When the boys came back to the raked seats
and Jet and his group sat behind me, Alex pulled my ponytail like a twelve year
‘I’m surprised you didn’t try to snap her
bra-strap as well, you moron,’ Teegan, sitting beside me, said loudly. It was
suddenly an unlikely alliance, almost sisterly. Teegan seemed to be coming over
to our side.I gave her a hesitant smile
and she gave me a truce smile in return. I’m kind of glad Mouche didn’t see me
do that, though. I caught Teegan peering over my shoulder to see what I was
writing and I snapped the pages shut.
Alex had wrecked my concentration, I began
reading over the part of Julie in my seat, waiting for Mr Sparks to say, ‘thank you, Freya. Phoebe, you may begin...’
and noticing Jet notice Mouche as she discussed dance moves with the
teacher-choreographer for the first scene.
When Mouche sat down in the stands, as I
was heading onstage for my audition, she suddenly whooped and hollered like a
one woman fan club, breaking the dating rules and not caring what anyone else
thought.By then, Mark was sitting
quietly in the corner. He looked unimpressed about the possibility of being
roped into the roles of stage manager and understudy.
As I glanced at my script, I have to tell
you, although it was based on the original, it was quite different; from scene
one, it wasn’t quite what everyone expected. Mr Spark’s version of Romeo and Juliet starts at a dance, in a
school gym, with starlight for a rooftop...
Act I: ROCCO AND JULIE
plays.ROCCO holds out his hand to Julie
at the party where they first meet. Julie is dressed in high fashion, Rocco
Our tale of two star crossed lovers begins
with two families...both from opposite ends of Los Angeles. Rocco lives in a
trailer park and Julie resides in Bel Air. Rocco and Julie see each other
across the dance floor, Rocco’s best friend Tyrone is with him.
I’m out of here
I’m staying to meet the girl of my dreams.
Julie is serving
herself some fruit punch.
Really, you shouldn’t reveal so much before
we’ve even met.
Julie by the hand.
Palm to palm and lips to lips...
Not so fast...Rocco. We’ve totally just
Then take my hand.
Julie takes his
And feel my heart
Julie feels his
And hear it beat for you
Okay, so we stopped the audition before the
Afterwards, when I was hanging around
backstage, pulling on my jeans over my dancer’s tights, Mouche hastily
scribbled on page three of her entry in the dating diary:
Something weird is happening. Phoebe is a star and boys
are noticing us.It
must be the ‘Guide for Young Ladies’ advice in chapter 2 – ‘feign disinterest’-
that’s working, because Phoebe and I have been ‘feigning disinterest’ all
week...and MARK KNIGHTLY and JET CAMPBELL have already spoken to us.
PS. Jet Campbell just handed me a note. It said: Wanna go to Fall Fling together? Jet He
left his number. Does that mean I’m supposed to text him? Does that even count
as a love letter? Mouche