Monday, 6 March 2017

Paradise Lost Chap 8

The party that night was in the penthouse suite of the Simon Hotel, a towering structure built atop a
cliff overlooking the ocean. The high-ceilinged room was decorated in an eclectic style, mixing
modern furniture with a Grecian sensibility. Square couches, pillows, and ottomans dotted the room,
arranged on a gleaming marble floor around ornate columns. Huge palm fronds were displayed in tall
urns, and the sconces on the walls looked like colorful pieces of paper curled into cones. Weird, yes,
but somehow it all worked. Possibly because no one was paying much attention to the decor. It was
all about the people. Everyone I had met since I'd arrived was there, along with about thirty other
people all under twenty-one--all drinking heavily. One look at the outfits and I was grateful that Kiran
and the others had forced me to shop. Colorful dresses, strappy sandals, and designer bags were the
order of the day. If I had walked into this party in jeans and Chuck D's, I might have melted under the
I was wearing the green-and-blue dress with a pair of subtle gold sandals and a gold cuff bracelet
Noelle had leant me. Kiran had put my hair up in a messy bun with plenty of wispy pieces tickling my
face. I felt beautiful--and like I belonged. I spent the first hour dancing with Kiran, Taylor, and Tiffany
in the center of the room. Just letting loose and having fun. Pretending the world didn't exist. Finally
the new shoes started to pinch my toes, and I had to take a break. I grabbed a glass of water from the
bar and maneuvered my way to the couch, where Noelle was hanging out with West.
"So, where's this Poppy girl?" I asked, dropping down next to Noelle. Her knees were turned toward
West's, and she let out a tinkling laugh as she turned toward me. I blinked. Her hand was on his chest,
and he was looking adoringly at her.
Wait a second. Noelle was flirting with West? I mean, okay, he was one of the most coveted guys in
the senior class with his deep brown eyes, lacrosse star body, and addiction to Ralph Lauren. But he
wasn't Dash.
"Oh, she likes to make an entrance," Noelle told me. "I'm sure she'll be here soon." I waved off a
waiter offering a flute of champagne, and Noelle went back to cuddling into West's side and
whispering in his ear. I couldn't wrap my brain around Noelle being with anyone other than Dash. It
was just too odd. Like watching your mother flirt with the dude at the drive-through window or
something. As she ran the backs of her fingers along his jaw line I had to look away...
... and ended up looking right at Upton. Of course. All night I had been trying not to search him out,
and all night I had been doing just that. Right then he was leaning back against the bar, swilling a clear
drink as Kiran chatted in his ear. Apparently she had decided to take a break from dancing as well,
and she had gotten right back in the game. Upton nodded and pursed his lips as he swallowed,
obviously tasting the sourness of the alcohol. Then he placed the glass on the bar and turned to Paige,
who had just laid her hand on his opposite arm. Amberly sidled up to him as well, trying to edge out
Kiran. Damn, these girls were shameless. I wondered if he knew it was a competition. My guess was
no. He probably thought he was simply irresistible to all women.
Which, let's face it, he was.
In spite of myself, I slowly inspected every inch of Upton Giles. His square cheekbones. The curve of
his shoulders beneath his light-blue shirt. The slightly exposed skin of his chest. He had missed a
button at the bottom of his shirt, and every once in a while he would shift or make a gesture and a bit
of his toned stomach would be exposed. Every time this happened, my throat caught.
I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to kiss him. And then I realized that these girls who
were flirting with him--Kiran and Paige and Tiffany--all knew what it was like to kiss him. And for
the first time, that realization didn't gross me out. Instead, it pissed me off. Why should they get to win
the Upton Game when they had already won in previous years? It simply wasn't fair. Someone else
should get to win. Someone new. Someone who was definitely not Amberly.
As I glanced around the dance floor, I noticed that there were couples everywhere. Graham Hathaway
was dancing with a blond beauty who was at least six inches taller than him. Gage was putting the
moves on some unsuspecting girl with thousands of braids hanging down her back. It seemed like
every girl on the dance floor had a guy who was obviously into her.
And back home, Josh had Ivy. And I was here. Alone. On vacation. Being Carefree Reed. Screw It
Reed. Fun, Fun Reed. So I was going to have a little fun. And talking to Upton would be fun. And so
would wiping that perpetually smug look off Paige Ryan's face. I stood up and crossed the room,
weaving my way around the various couples. Upton caught my eye as I approached. He stood up
straighter, casually shrugging off Paige's hand.
"Hey," I said, looking into his eyes.
He appeared intrigued. "Hello."
"Want to get me a drink?"
"At your service," Upton said with a half smile. He turned and signaled for the bartender. Kiran
raised her eyebrows, impressed, and tipped her glass toward me like she was welcoming me into the
game. Paige backed up a touch and crossed her arms over her chest. She eyed me with obvious
"Well, well. Look who's a player," she said.
I simply smiled. My heart was pounding so hard I couldn't do anything else. Upton turned and handed
me a glass of champagne. He had a new drink for himself as well.
"Perhaps we should go someplace a bit more private?" he suggested.
"Absolutely," I replied.
He took my free hand and a jolt went through me. His hand was warm and slightly rough, his grip
confident and firm. Every girl in the room eyed me with envy as we wound through the crowd. My
heart fluttered around on feathery little wings. I had no idea what I was doing or where this was going
to go. All I knew was that this was 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*