Monday, 6 March 2017

Paradise Lost Chap 12

Shutters was, apparently, the go-to hangout for the St. Barths crew, as I found out when Noelle drove
me and West back there that afternoon for a late lunch. The storm had been short-lived and the patio
roof, which also was a shutter with slats, was open to let in the sun. Upton was spending the afternoon
with his family, but Kiran already was there with her parents and Taylor, and Noelle's father had
commandeered a large table overlooking the water. He was sitting with Sawyer, Graham, and a man
whom I assumed was their father. The two dads were engaged in some serious conversation while
Sawyer read his book and Graham texted on his BlackBerry.
Marquis led Noelle, West, and me to a prime table at the opposite corner of the patio from Mr. Lange
and the Hathaway family. We were seated only for a moment when Kiran and Taylor got up to join us,
bringing their iced teas with them. Kiran was wearing a demure (for her) black sundress that had a
full skirt hitting just above the knee.
Taylor wore a gauzy off-the-shoulder top and white shorts, her blond curls back in a skinny headband
much like the one Poppy had been wearing the night before.
"Hey, girls," Kiran said as she sat down. She started to take a sip of iced tea and then paused, looking
at West. "And boy."
West grinned. He reached over and took Noelle's hand, holding it on top of the table. Kiran, Taylor,
and I simply stared. Public hand-holding? I had known they were flirting, but this was big. I glanced
at Kiran and Taylor. They both shrugged with their eyes, as baffled as I was.
"Where're Tiff and Amberly?" Taylor asked, sipping her tea.
"Tiff is scouting locations with Tassos, and Amberly is boycotting us," Noelle replied, pushing her
frameless Kenneth Cole sunglasses up into her hair.
"Boycottingus? Why?" I asked, incredulous.
Noelle ducked her chin and looked at me. "Because of you," she said. "Apparently you're being mean
to her," she added in a light voice.
I sat up straight, my jaw on the table. "I'm being mean to her? She told you that?" Noelle's silence was
"Unbelievable! She has been evil to me ever since she got into Billings and she totally trashed my
room! She does not get to boycott me!"
Noelle lifted one shoulder and shifted in her seat, clearly amused. "Apparently, she does. And you
might want to dial it down," she added, glancing pointedly at the other diners. "These are the types of
people who save their shrill for behind closed doors."
My cheeks warmed, and I made an indignant noise in the back of my throat, dropping back in my
chair. Who did Amberly think she was?
West chuckled and shook his head. "You girls and your drama. There should be a support group."
"Do not comment on what you do not understand," Noelle told him with a smile and a hand squeeze.
West grinned, and I exchanged looks with Kiran and Taylor again. This new relationship just did not
compute. Noelle and West had known each other their entire lives and had never shown an interest
before. Now we were suddenly supposed to believe they were a handholding couple?
"So, Noelle, what's up with your dad and the Hathaways?" Kiran asked, leaning back in an elegant
pose, her legs crossed and one arm casually slung over the back of her chair. "Is he sharing stock tips,
or something?"
"Actually, he's trying to convince Mr. Hathaway to take the headmaster job at Easton," Noelle said,
closing her menu with a slap. "He has this rep for turning around troubled institutions, so Daddy and
the Board think he'd be a perfect fit for Easton." She signaled for the waiter.
I looked across the patio at Mr. Hathaway. Compared to the Crom or Dean Marcus, he was so young.
So . . . un-intimidating. Slight of build like his sons, with jet-black hair, tan skin, and nary a wrinkle
on his handsome, boyish face. Were the students of Easton really going to respond to such a man? As I
looked away, my eye caught Sawyer's, and he quickly glanced back down at his book. I felt a weird
rush of uncertainty. I hoped he didn't think I was checking out his dad. Ew.
"Where's Jen, anyway?" Taylor asked as West placed his order with the waiter. "I haven't seen her."
"Taylor! Shhh," Noelle scolded, lowering her voice as her gaze slid around to the nearby tables. "Jen
Hathaway passed away last summer."
"What?" Taylor and Kiran said breathlessly.
"How?" West asked, clearly disturbed. "Why hasn't anyone said anything?" Noelle leaned in to the
table. We all did the same, knowing she was about to say something not for public consumption.
"Because she--" That was all she got out, because at that moment, Dash McCafferty walked out onto
the patio. Noelle visibly paled at the sight of him, but she seemed to recover instantly. She sat up
straight and pretended to be riveted by the surf crashing against the sand on the beach be-low. Dash
found us with his eyes, and his handsome face registered about ten different emotions in as many
seconds. Excitement to see Noelle. Then trepidation. Then confusion over seeing me with her. Then
dread. Then recognition of Kiran and Taylor. Then, finally, shock. Because he'd finally noticed
Noelle's and West's hands entwined on the table. He froze, and for a second I thought he was just
going to bolt. I tensed up, deciding to rank this moment as one of the most excruciatingly
uncomfortable of my life. And then, salvation came . . . in the unlikely form of Gage Coolidge. He
ambled up behind Dash and slapped his hands down on Dash's broad shoulders.
"Dash, my man! You made it! We thought you were going to let the whole Brennan Sex Tape Scandal
keep you away!"
Okay, so it wasn't perfect salvation.
Behind Gage was the rest of the crew. Poppy, Paige, Daniel, Sienna, and Amberly crowded in around
Dash, all pausing to kiss him hello or to slap his hand. Before long, Marquis seated them at a table in
the center of the restaurant, where they set up a loud, raucous camp. I had no idea which person's
presence to focus on first. Dash, who was going to make these next couple of weeks a lot more
complicated. Amberly, who had somehow gotten in with Paige and her crew in less than twenty-four
hours. Or Paige and Sienna, who were basically trying to annihilate me with their glares from across
the patio. It was odd that Paige and Sienna were the ones so openly hating me, and not Poppy. Was it
possible that Paige had told Sienna and not Poppy that I had hooked up with Upton before Poppy had
arrived on the island? It hardly seemed possible. Girls like Paige lived to gossip, backstab, and
sabotage. But then why wasn't Poppy staring me down? Did she not care? Or did she not feel
threatened because her relationship with Upton was, in her mind, secure?
I let out a sigh. Maybe West was right. Maybe girls were addicted to drama.
"Hey, you wankers! Come over and join us!" Poppy shouted at our table, waving her hand over her
head. Apparently she hadn't been clued in about Noelle and Dash's breakup. Or perhaps she was too
flighty to think about it. Everyone in the restaurant smiled and shook their heads, like her behavior
was just so endearing. It seemed they didn't mind Poppy's shrill in public.
"There's no room," West replied quickly. "We'll catch up with you guys later." Poppy made a loud
scoffing noise, like we were incurable losers, then turned to Daniel, who edged his chair as close to
hers as it could get. He put his elbow on the armrest and leaned toward her, completely rapt with
attention, as she spoke.
"Looks like Daniel isn't quite over Poppy just yet," Kiran pointed out, choosing wisely to ignore
Dash's appearance on the scene.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Oh, Daniel and Poppy had this huge thing last Christmas," Kiran said, leaning back as our food
arrived. "He was totally head over heels for her, and they spent the entire two weeks holed up in her
penthouse doing God knows what. Then, on New Year's Eve, they finally came out and she dumped
him in front of everyone. It was not pretty. He had one of his patented Daniel Ryan freak-outs." West
laughed and reached for the salt and pepper. "Oh, yeah. The rowboat. I forgot about that one."
"Daniel's freak-outs usually include destruction of personal property," Taylor explained, noting my
confusion. "Or destruction of the face of whomever pissed him off."
"He couldn't exactly kick the crap out of the girl he loved, so he went after some poor fisherman's
rowboat instead," Kiran said. "With an ax." She used her knife to demonstrate the point before digging
into her salad.
I looked around. "And you guys are friends with him?"
"I use the term lightly when it comes to Daniel," Noelle clarified, munching on some greens.
'What? Daniel's cool," West said defensively. "He just has a temper."
"Aw. So cute how you're defending your little lacrosse mentor," Noelle said, giving West a big fat
kiss. From across the patio, Dash noticed and blushed, which was, I think, the point of her doing it. I
was starting to wonder if there was anyone in this crowd who wasn't jealous of someone else, if
anyone was immune to the drama.
"Speaking of lacrosse boys, I'm thinking I might hook up with Graham tonight," Kiran said, glancing
over at him as she took a swig of her iced tea.
"Really? Why Graham?" Noelle asked.
Kiran's eyes sparkled. "Because he's the only one left."
"You haven't hooked up with Sawyer," West pointed out. Kiran, Taylor, and Noelle all laughed.
"What? What's wrong with Sawyer?" I asked.
"Sawyer is the pure one," Taylor explained.
"I don't think he's ever even kissed a girl," Kiran added. I looked over at Sawyer, who was slumped
down in his chair, his book open in front of him. He wore three woven bracelets on his arm, two very
tattered, the other a lot newer.
"Maybe he likes guys."
"Oh, no," West said. "He's into girls. Trust me. He's just too scared to seal the deal."
"Or too polite," Taylor amended, crunching on some ice from her now empty tea glass.
Sawyer turned the page in his book and sighed, glancing out at the ocean. He didn't seem quite as
stoked to be in St. Barths as the rest of us were. I wondered if he thought he was above all the
partying and debauchery, or if he wished he could get involved and didn't know how. Either way, I
felt for him. I knew what it was like to be an outsider in a crowd like this. And it was never fun.

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Terima kasih sebab sudi menerjah ke ruangan saya kali ini.
Anda diwajibkan untuk komen. Amaran keras!
*ceh tipu je HAHA =P*