Devious | Chapter 18 of 37

Author: Cecily von Ziegesar | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2955 Views | Add a Review

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13

A WAVERLY OWL MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION TO LEAVE CAMPUS AFTER CURFEW.

It was dark by the time Jenny stepped onto the unshoveled sidewalk that led to the Field House. She shivered in the cold night, rubbing the arms of her red Gap peacoat. Her small hands were covered by the cute white Anthropologie gloves Brett had given her for Christmas, but the thin angora wasn’t made for snowy days in upstate New York, and her fingers felt like icicles. At least her legs were warm under her Citizens jeans—she had on a pair of thick wool stockings. Totally worth it, even if they made her look a little thicker than normal. A cold breeze picked up, chilling Jenny’s face, and she wondered why she’d been so urgent to have her walk with Isaac tonight. It could have waited until tomorrow.

But then she caught sight of him, sitting on the steps outside the Field House, a gray canvas messenger bag slung across the shoulder of his navy coat. A thick cream-colored wool scarf was tucked casually around his neck. He looked totally adorable, in a British-prep-school way. He straightened up when he saw her, the electric grin lighting up his face. Her stomach flipped.

That was why she came. “I like your hat.”

Jenny touched her head automatically. She was wearing her ancient navy-and-white cap with the snowflake pattern. It once had a pom-pom on top, which had since, thankfully, disappeared. “Thanks. A present from my grandma, about a million years ago.”

Isaac stood up and dusted off his pants. “It’s still pretty cute.”

Jenny felt her cheeks flush, which helped fight the cold. Not that she was thinking about the cold anymore. “So, where do you want to go? I’ll be your tour guide.”

“What’s this place called the crater that I keep hearing about?” Isaac asked, stuffing his gloved hands in his pockets. He raised his eyebrows mysteriously. “I heard something about animal sacrifices, and naturally I was intrigued.”

“The crater?” Jenny repeated. The crater was, of course, a notorious place on campus for partying. It was just beyond the edge of campus, a big granite crater in the woods that felt like a kind of sunken living room when filled with Waverly students. Heath Ferro had thrown his big End-of-the-World party there a few months ago, when the trees were covered with golden autumn leaves. It would be kind of interesting to see it covered in snow. But it was late already, and it was a bad idea to be caught that far off campus, even during laid-back Jan Plan. Technically, students weren’t allowed to leave campus in the evenings without a special pass. Jenny was pretty sure that wanting to take a romantic moonlit walk with her new crush would not have qualified her for one. “Well, that’s kind of off-limits.”

“I was joking about the animal sacrifices, by the way.” A look of worry crossed Isaac’s face. “Did it come out weird?”

Jenny giggled. She breathed onto her frozen hands, hoping to bring feeling back to them. “It’s not that. I just don’t want to get in trouble.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine, right?” Isaac glanced around. “It’s not like we’re hauling a keg out there or anything. Although I did bring refreshments.” He pulled a stainless steel thermos from his bag. “Hot chocolate.”

“Nonalcoholic, I hope.” Jenny giggled, watching her breath turn into vapor in the dark night air. Isaac somehow managed to make her feel nervous and comfortable at once. It was so sweet of him to bring hot chocolate. It made her think of the horse-drawn carriages that clomped through Central Park with happy couples snuggled under wool blankets.

Isaac snapped his fingers in mock disappointment, but in his thick gloves, his fingers didn’t exactly snap. “I didn’t even think of spiking it. I guess I’m still learning.” They headed toward the woods, away from the warm yellow lights shining through the windows of dorm rooms. In the distance, Jenny could hear a few students heading to Maxwell for the open mic night that a group of seniors had organized, and the faint strumming of a guitar. Even though their laughing voices sounded happy, Jenny was right where she wanted to be.

“So…” Jenny asked, curling her toes in her boots to keep them warm. Up ahead, the woods loomed, and she thought of the Robert Frost poem with the line “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.” “You like Waverly so far?”

Isaac glanced sideways at her. “It’s got its pluses.” Then he laughed. “I signed up to take a class instead of doing an independent project. I’m taking beginning Mandarin.”

“Wow.” Jenny rubbed her hands together. Waverly offered intensive courses in each of the foreign languages it taught over Jan Plan for students who wanted to get ahead. “That sounds ambitious.”

Isaac grinned. “I don’t know. I kind of like a challenge.” He raised his eyebrows suggestively and held a snow-covered pine tree bough out of the way as Jenny stepped onto the path to the crater. “I mean, academically.”

“Of course.” Jenny giggled and ducked under the branch. “I hope I can still find the way. The last time I was here, it wasn’t exactly snow-covered.” But just as she said that, the narrow path opened into a clearing. A giant saucer-shaped depression lay in front of them, covered in a foot of perfect, untrammeled snow. “Ah! Ta-da!”

“Perfect.” Isaac headed toward one of the giant logs at the edge of the crater. Enterprising Owls had dragged fallen trees around the edges of the depression years ago, to create a kind of sunken amphitheater. He swiped his gloves across it, sending the snow flurrying to the ground. Then he pulled a thick fleece blanket from his bag and spread it out across the top of the log. “And now you don’t have to freeze your butt off.”

“I’ve never had such service before.” Jenny pressed the back of her hand to her forehead in a fake swoon, sitting down on the blanket. Isaac twisted the cap off the thermos and poured a steaming cup of hot chocolate for Jenny. “But I guess I’ve also never been on a winter picnic before.”

“You’re missing out.” The aroma of cocoa combined with the healthy pine smell of the forest and Jenny settled in, wrapping the corner of the blanket over her lap. Isaac sat down next to her, the sleeve of his thick coat brushing slightly against her own. There were so many layers between them, but Jenny still felt a little charge.

She took a tiny sip of the steaming liquid. “This is delicious.”

Isaac grinned. “It’s an old recipe… also known as Swiss Miss.” He fumbled through his bag for something else and pulled out a pair of dark gloves. “I forgot—I brought extra gloves, in case you needed them.” Before she knew what he was doing, he had grabbed her hand and was holding it in his. “Yours don’t really seem warm enough.”

Her gloves weren’t, but her hand still felt the electricity of his touch jolt through them. Reluctantly, she pulled her hand away, taking the extra pair of gloves with her. “You’re so prepared,” she teased, but really she was incredibly flattered. How was it even possible that Isaac could be so thoughtful? He was a teenage boy, after all.

Isaac rubbed his own hands together and laughed. “I know that you girls are kind of, you know, delicate flowers.”

“Hey.” Jenny slapped him playfully with her newly warm hand. “I’m no delicate flower. You should have seen me play field hockey this fall.”

“You have no idea how sorry I am that I missed it.” Isaac laughed. He picked up a tree branch from the ground and raked it across the smooth white snow at the edge of the crater. “You know, you don’t seem like all the other prep-school girls.”

“What do you mean?” Jenny asked slowly. Not that she minded someone telling her she wasn’t like the other Waverly girls. She didn’t really feel like them—and she’d made her peace with that. But she wanted to know what it was about her that made it so obvious. It couldn’t be just that she wore clothing from the Gap.

Isaac shrugged, digging a little hole with the end of the branch. “I dunno. Just ’cause of my dad, we’ve been around schools like Waverly my whole life. And there’s always some cool people… but there’s always a lot of… you know.” He stared up at the sky. “Girls who only care about pearl earrings and designer clothes.”

“There’s plenty of shallow boys here, too,” Jenny pointed out. Even as she said it, she kept staring at his gorgeous, full lips and thinking how nice they’d feel to kiss. His mouth was probably warm and cocoa-flavored. “But there’s also a lot of nice people.”

Isaac looked at Jenny’s face thoughtfully. She’d never seen eyes the color of his, an almost celery shade of green. “I like that you watch people. I saw you doing it that first day in the chapel. Your eyes were just sort of taking everything in. Thinking about it.” He brushed a lock of dark hair off his forehead. “I kinda thought you might be an artist, then.”

Jenny felt her skin start to glow. His eyes were staring right at her in a look that made her feel completely naked. Her lips parted, but she couldn’t think what to say.

Just then, a bright light shone on her face. Standing ten feet away from them was Ben, the cranky, middle-aged grounds-keeper, holding his flashlight firmly on their faces. Gotcha! his face seemed to scream. He lived for getting kids into trouble.

Jenny squealed and scrambled to her feet, sending her cup of hot chocolate spraying across the snow. Ben had famously caught Heath Ferro smoking pot out on the soccer fields last year, and Heath had to bribe him with his expensive Cartier watch in order to keep his mouth shut. The groundskeeper probably had no need for Jenny’s pink Swatch watch.

But Isaac got to his feet calmly. “Oh, hey, Mr. Greenwood.” He stepped toward Ben, who had reluctantly lowered his light. “Nice night for a walk, huh?”

To her complete surprise, the old man actually chuckled. “I don’t know about that.” He shook his head slowly. “Awfully chilly. But you kids keep warm, y’hear?”

Isaac laughed and casually draped his arm over Jenny’s shoulder. “Thanks, Mr. Greenwood. You want any hot chocolate?”

Ben laughed again and turned. “No, thanks. I’ve got some soup on the stove, waiting for me to get home. G’night.” Jenny stared after him as he marched away.

It took a minute before she found her voice. “I think that just took three years off my life.” She pressed her gloves to her heart as if to slow it down.

“You okay?”

Jenny was acutely aware of the fact that Isaac’s arm was still on her shoulder. “It’s just… I don’t think I’ve ever seen that man crack a smile before.”

Isaac laughed and stepped away from Jenny. “Mr. Greenwood? He’s a puppy dog.”

Jenny settled back onto the log. “A puppy dog? Normally he’s a Rottweiler.” Her heart was still beating from the surprise of getting caught. “You know, I’ve actually kind of been in trouble before. I totally felt like it was going to happen again.”

“You? In trouble? Now that’s a story I want to hear.” Isaac leaned over to pick up Jenny’s fallen cup. He dusted the snow off with his sleeve and refilled it for her. “Refill?” he said, holding it out.

Jenny smiled and took the cup of cocoa, but she couldn’t relax completely. She was grateful that the groundskeeper wasn’t going to bust her for being off campus, but she was starting to wonder how this whole dating-the-dean’s-son thing was going to work.

But then she caught Isaac smiling at her and decided she might be okay with special treatment, after all.

 

art Email Inbox
From:[email protected]
To:[email protected]
Date:Wednesday, January 5, 3:43 P.M.
Subject:Coffee?

Devon,

Hope you’re taking full advantage of Jan Plan and relaxing and enjoying the snow.

Listen, I was wondering if you’d mind doing a little favor for a field hockey teammate? I was just hoping for a little background info on someone and I heard you were the right person to talk to. Can I buy you a cup of coffee? Today or tomorrow? Let me know!

Brett

 

art Email Inbox
From:[email protected]
To:[email protected]
Date:Wednesday, January 5, 5:23 P.M.
Subject:Re: Coffee?

Brett,

Mmm, sounds intriguing. How about tomorrow at 11am? If this is about who I think it’s about, we’ll have a lot to talk about. =)

See you then!

D

 

WildernessMan Log: Heath vs. Wild

Day 3

Woke up in the middle of the night to what looked like my mother’s overweight Persian cat digging through my pack. I called out its name, Here Peeshie, Here Peeshie before I realized that it wasn’t my mother’s cat but a goddamn raccoon. I yelled and he ran away, a pack of dehydrated ice cream in his teeth. Fucker. My last end-of-day treat. Are raccoons edible? Maybe I’ll teach that fattie a lesson and fry him up.

Noon temp: 20 degress F. WTF? Abnormally cold this time of year. Gotta roll with it.

Food: Sat in tree watching snare trap, but squirrels and chipmunks avoiding it. Do they talk to each other? Don’t they know I’m just trying to survive? Can’t they help a brother out? Went for hike to search for berries, but none exist. Even looked for bugs to eat, but none big enough to have any nutritional value. Broke into my emergency jerky reserves. Hate to have to do that so early, but feeling kind of weak. Not sure it’s all from hunger.

Warmth: Foot fell asleep this morning for about 45 minutes. Thought it might be frostbite, but eventually feeling returned. Slept w/ BB’s sleeping bag wrapped around mine. Helped a little.

Mood: Keep hoping more skiers will come around. Or snowshoers. Gets kind of quiet listening to birds chirp. Kind of lonely, too. But that’s what you’ve gotta deal with when you’re a WildernessMan.

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Comments

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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