Monday, 6 March 2017

Paradise Lost Chap 6

That night, when I came down off the high of the day's excitement--the private jet, the natural beauty
of the island, meeting Upton, shopping with the girls--I came down hard. I felt as if someone had
emptied a vat of concrete over my head and let it harden. Exhaustion set in around nine p.m. and the
negative thoughts returned with it. Why hadn't Josh called me? Was my relationship with Noelle ever
going to be the same? What about the rest of the Billings Girls--the ones who had voted me out of the
house? And would it even matter if Easton closed forever? As these questions crowded my mind, all I
could think about was crawling into the cushy bed in the Lange family's guest room and passing out
until morning. Unfortunately, nine p.m. was the exact moment the guests started to arrive at the
Langes'. Of course, Noelle had to host the first no-adults-allowed party of the vacation, thereby
establishing herself as the female in charge. And I, of course, was so not in the mood.
I heard Kiran squeal her hellos as she joined the revelers in the great room at the center of the house.
Knowing that there was no way Noelle was going to let me go without a fight, I pulled on a sweatshirt
and slipped down the hallway, waiting until she went into the kitchen to deal with some sort of snack
food snafu. Then I slunk along the wall and out the patio doors, quickly racing down the flagstone
steps to the beach.
The moment I walked out onto the sand, my phone beeped, indicating I had a text. My heart jumped
into my throat, and I fumbled in my pocket for the phone. There was no doubt in my mind that the text
was from Josh. It had to be. He had gone radio silent for far too long. Was Ivy okay? Had she been
released from the hospital? Did he have something more to say to me about us?
But the moment I saw the message, the anticipation died. It wasn't from Josh. It was a photo message
from Constance Talbot, one of my best friends at Easton. A pic of her and Kiki Rosen taken backstage
the night before at this huge pop music fest called Jingle Ball, which Constance's father had some part
in promoting. Their tongues were stuck out at the camera, and Chris Daughtry was in the background,
looking at them like they were a couple of drunken groupies.
Which they probably were.
The caption read: you wish you were here. I dropped the phone back into my pocket, disappointed.
Why hadn't Josh contacted me yet? Didn't he want to talk to me?
I kicked off my flip-flops and stood there, digging my toes into the soft, cool sand. Taking a deep
breath, I looked out at the vast, seemingly unending ocean. I listened to the crashing of the waves and
waited for all the Zen sensory experiences to calm me. Waited for some kind of divine sign that
everything was going to be okay.
"It's a bit intense in there, isn't it?"
I jumped at the nearness of the voice. Upton's voice. He had snuck up behind me without a sound.
"Intense?" I asked, turning around to face him. My breath caught at the sight of his utter perfection in a
cable-knit white sweater and jeans. A. Mazing.
"Crazy .. . loud . .. packed out," he explained with a smile.
"I guess."
I turned back toward the ocean to prevent myself from drooling on his feet. Also because I had to
absorb the fact that he had seen me leave. That he had come after me. That instead of partying with his
friends on the first night of vacation, he had chosen to be alone on the beach. With me.
"Anything I can help with?" he asked, stepping up next to me.
"Help? Do I look like I need help?" I asked.
"No. Of course not. Sorry," he said with a quick laugh. "But you did look like you were having deep
"Are deep thoughts bad where you're from?" I challenged, arching my eyebrows.
"Never," he replied. "We're very deep in England. But in St. Barths, there are no deep thoughts
allowed. Did Noelle not inform you of this rule? Because if not, I should admonish her straight
I laughed and looked down at my bare feet. "Actually, she did say something similar."
"Good," he said with a nod, looking me up and down. "So, did you girls have fun at the shops?"
"It was okay," I replied. "I didn't buy anything."
"Because nothing could do you justice, I suppose," he joked. I laughed so loudly I had to cover my
mouth with both hands to hide my embarrassment.
"Sorry, but wow. They were right about you."
Upton raised one eyebrow. "They? Intriguing. Who might they be and what have they been saying
about me? "
"Just that you kind of... get around," I said, drawing a circle in the sand with my toe. Upton tilted back
his head and laughed. I couldn't help but grin. He had such an uninhibited laugh. The way a laugh
should be.
"Well. That was blunt," he said, his blue eyes sparkling.
"Sorry, but lately I've come to believe in absolute transparency," I told him, lifting one shoulder.
"Have you now?" he asked, crossing his arms over his perfect chest.
"Believe me, if you'd seen what I've seen, you would too," I assured him. Upton narrowed his eyes,
sizing me up. "You have a dark past, don't you, Reed Brennan?" I swallowed down a sudden lump in
my throat. My eyes wandered back to the ocean. "You could say that."
"Well, then I consider it my duty to make you forget all about it," he said. "At least for tonight."
"Oh, really? And how, exactly, do you intend to do that?" I asked.
"Like this."
In one swift motion, Upton managed to sweep my legs out from under me and send me sprawling into
the sand. I let out a surprised shout as my butt hit the ground.
"What the hell are you doing?" I demanded, laughing as I sat up.
"Getting you to relax," he replied.
He sat down next to me, so close our knees brushed. A warm rush of excitement crashed through me.
This was it. This was when the player made his move. Part of me knew I should storm off, offended
that he'd think I was this easy, but I couldn't make myself move. Then, he lay down and looked up at
the sky.
"Come on. Down you go," he said, tugging on my arm.
"If you wanted me to lay down, you could have just asked," I said, moving my head around on the
lumpy sand until I found a comfortable position. "You didn't have to sweep the legs."
"Right. If I had said 'lay down,' do you really think you would have?" he asked dubiously, turning his
head to face me.
I blinked. "You have a point."
So when the hell was he going to try to kiss me already?
"All right then, lookup," Upton said.
Okay. I guessed he wasn't. Feeling embarrassed, I did as I was told. The sky was completely jammed
with so many stars that there was actually more light than darkness.
"Wow," I said breathlessly.
He smiled. "Try to think dark thoughts while looking at that." We lay there in silence for a moment,
and I started to feel calm in a way I hadn't felt in days. I let the feeling wash over me and sink in. The
sounds of the party behind us--the shouting, the laughter, the music--slowly faded into a soft hum.
"When I was a boy, my mum and I used to camp out in the yard under the stars. She made up loads of
stories about all the other planets and the goings-on in their unique alien societies."
"Sounds like fun," I said.
"It was. She's got a bloody fantastic imagination. Should have been a writer." A boy who loves his
mother Cute.
"Tell me one," I demanded.
Upton laughed. "It's been ages. I'm not sure I could remember."
"Yes, you can. You wouldn't have brought it up otherwise," I teased. Upton considered this for a
moment, then he frowned. "All right, you've caught me out," he said. "I'll tell you my favorite one. It's
about these tiny little creatures called Puffnicks. They live on the planet Puff."
I laughed, shimmying from side to side to get more comfortable. "Puffnicks. They sound cute."
"Oh, but they're not cute. They're actually fierce little buggers. With fangs," Upton replied.
"And this story is about the year they went to war with the Bangrots."
"Oooh, I love a good Puffnick-Bangrot war story," I said, folding my hands over my stomach. "Let's
hear it."
"Our story begins on one dark, stormy night in the village of Jangle, when the sole Bangrot lookout
spied the mast of a vast ship on the horizon. ..."
I sighed and settled into listen to Upton's strange childhood story. His melodic voice was lulling,
soothing, and I soon found myself drifting into the dream world he created all around us. He didn't try
anything, which was intriguing. Upton was not only the hottest guy on the planet, but he was also
smart. Funny. Creative. Uninhibited. And he made me forget all about Easton and Billings and Sabine
and Ivy and Josh. We spent the entire night out there on the beach, telling stories and laughing, and I
didn't think about my "dark past" once. By the time he walked me back up to Noelle's house, the party
was winding down, and I was no longer encased in cement. Instead, I felt as though I'd been wrapped
in cashmere for the past few hours.
As I made my way up to the Langes' guest room and shut the door behind me, I realized that if I had
been looking for an island fling, Upton would have been perfection. But, staring out the window at the
stars sparkling in the Caribbean sky, I reminded myself that I was not. No romance for me. Not for a
while. Not even for Fun Island Reed. I was simply not ready. Right?

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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*