Devious | Chapter 19 of 37

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

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“Don’t even think about leaving yet.” Isla pressed herself against the closed door of her bedroom on the first floor of the dean’s house. The room was very non-Isla—the white four-poster bed was covered with a faded floral quilt trimmed with lace, and frilly white curtains draped across the windows. The walls were painted a shade of cotton-candy pink that only a five-year-old girl who dreamed of being a princess could love. “I’ve got something that’s only fun when shared.”

“That sounds intriguing,” Tinsley replied, flicking open her phone to check the time. “But I’m supposed to meet Julian soon.” They were meeting up in half an hour, and she definitely didn’t want to be late. It was Wednesday night, and she’d somehow managed to not see him at all for the past few days. She’d been so busy with Isla, scouting places around campus for photo shoots. They’d just come back from pawing through the overcrowded racks at Next to New, the secondhand clothing store in town, to drop off their bags of loot onto Isla’s shaggy white rug.

“Come on.” Isla threw her jacket onto her bed and opened the top drawer of her antique-looking bureau. Isla pulled out a bottle of Ketel One from under a pair of black silk pajamas. “We’ve been working all day. You need to chill out a little first.”

Tinsley considered. She could use a pick-me-up—and there was something really illicit and exciting about drinking in the dean’s house. Especially when he and his wife were playing backgammon in the living room. “How can I refuse? And nice room, by the way,” Tinsley added, giggling.

The room was neat and clean, the only decoration on the pink walls one of the Waverly calendars sent out to parents and alumni. It was filled with scenic campus pictures and “candids” of students looking well fed and healthy in the library and on the quad.

“I think Marymount had a kindergartener with a princess complex.” Isla laughed as she grabbed two shot glasses from the drawer. She set the glasses and the bottle on the floor next to a rocking chair. “I kind of dig it. It makes me feel like I’m living in a dollhouse. Besides, it was the only bedroom on the first floor, so I had to take advantage.” Isla poured a generous shot of vodka into each of the shot glasses and handed one to Tinsley.

Tinsley sat down on the shaggy white rug and tucked her black tiered Charlotte Ronson skirt around her knees. “Funny, I never saw a dollhouse with a shot glass like this,” she laughed, examining her glass. Imprinted on the side was a picture of a hula girl holding up a wreath of flowers over the words I got lei’d in Maui.

“I collect them,” Isla said proudly, holding up her own glass, which was imprinted with Cyrillic-looking writing. “It says ‘Russian girls do it better.’” She shrugged. “I’m half Russian, so I guess I do it half better.”

“What are we drinking to?” Tinsley asked, clinking her shot glass against Isla’s.

“To new friends.” Isla smiled deviously.

Tinsley tossed the liquid down her throat, enjoying the burn. “And to making people stare.”

Isla laughed and walked to her closet, pulling off her sweater in a rush of static. She hung it neatly on a hook before throwing on a plain white men’s dress shirt, only buttoning half the buttons. Tinsley had always wished she had a brother: not only did it guarantee cute boys around the house, but she also loved wearing men’s shirts, and just buying a new white men’s button-down from Bloomie’s didn’t do it for her. You had to have one so worn-in it was tissue-soft with the undeniable scent of a former owner still clinging to it.

Isla flicked on her stereo, and the sounds of The Raconteurs filled the room. She refilled the shot glasses. “Only trouble is, now we have to outdo ourselves.”

That afternoon, they’d found a couple of gorgeous vintage prom dresses in the theater department’s costume room and had pranced around the crowded dining hall wearing them. Tinsley had worn a delicate, seafoam green satin bodice with a full ballerina-style tulle skirt, while Isla donned a lavender strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline, her hair in a loose upsweep. They took turns photographing each other as they walked through the lunch line, the plastic dining hall trays contrasting with their frilly dresses. All the girls had stared at them jealously, while the guys looked on with dreamy expressions. Tinsley loved the feel of everyone’s eyes locked to her, and the sounds of whispers as she strolled by. It felt like the good old days.

Tinsley stretched out her long legs in front of her as she downed another shot. Before she knew it, two hours had passed. Isla was interested in hearing all about Tinsley, and Tinsley loved talking to someone from outside the Waverly bubble.

“Shit,” Tinsley exclaimed finally, staring at her phone. The shots of vodka had blurred together and she’d been with Isla for hours longer than she’d planned. It was almost midnight. “I’ve got to get to Julian’s.” She jumped to her feet, wavering slightly. She had to put a steadying hand on Isla’s dresser as she slid into her black ankle boots.

“Whoa, girl.” Isla laughed, swinging her bare feet to the floor. “You sure you can make it out the window?” She hoisted up her window with a noisy squeak.

“Don’t worry about me.” Tinsley blew her a kiss as she slung her legs through the window and let her body fall gently to the ground. Her head buzzed pleasantly, and the snow glittered in the moonlight. The campus was nearly silent, and all Tinsley could think about was Julian. She was late—really late—and she hoped he hadn’t gone to bed yet.

She knocked at his window. Thank God for first-floor bedrooms. The curtains were drawn, but a faint light shone through. She thought she could hear the murmur of music. She knocked harder, her bare knuckles rapping against the cold glass.

Finally, Julian’s face appeared at the window. He seemed surprised to see her, but he quickly opened the window and held out a hand. She grabbed it and tried to pull herself up, but the bottoms of her shoes kept sliding down the brick wall. Eventually, she was able to climb over the ledge, her feet landing softly on Julian’s floor.

“I must be out of practice.” She giggled. She dusted herself off and threw her coat on Julian’s roommate’s empty bed. “Hey, baby.” Tinsley turned to Julian and threw her arms around his neck.

Julian stiffened and gave her a funny smile. “Hey.”

“Sorry I’m late.” She pressed her cheek to his chest. He felt so warm and delicious. “Isla and I were just having so much fun working on our project. It’s just… the coolest project ever.”

“Uh-huh.” Julian disentangled himself from Tinsley’s arms and sat down on his bed, yawning. He wore a plain white T-shirt and a pair of striped gray flannel Abercrombie & Fitch pajama bottoms.

“Were you sleeping?” Tinsley teased, crawling into bed with him. “That’s so cute.”

“I didn’t think you were coming.” Julian let her kiss him, briefly, before leaning back on his elbows. “And, dude, take your boots off. You’re getting snow in my bed.”

Tinsley kicked her boots to the floor and then crawled back next to Julian. “Isla has an amazing eye. We’re doing this whole series of photographs of ourselves in these high-contrast poses. Everything looks so gorgeous so far,” Tinsley gushed drunkenly.

Julian pushed a piece of pale brown hair out of his face. He smelled like soap, and Tinsley wanted to kiss him all over. “Yeah. I heard what you’re doing.” He shrugged. “Everyone has.”

“What does that mean?” Tinsley sat up straight. She definitely didn’t care for his tone. Tiny alarm bells started to go off in her head.

“I don’t know. It just seems like… an easy project. Two beautiful girls? Taking pictures of each other modeling in skimpy clothes?” Julian shrugged. “Are you sure that’s what you really want to be spending your time on? What about directing and film?”

“But it’s not like it’s just modeling,” Tinsley explained, running her finger over Julian’s knee. She was starting to get annoyed with him. “It’s art. Isla has this amazing art book of all these classic photographs of women in these, like, normal settings, but wearing clothes that are completely out of context. It’s all about contrast, and the unexpected, and…” Tinsley trailed off. The vodka had left her brain sluggish, and she was irritated that her jumbled words didn’t do their project justice.

Julian swung his feet to the floor and sat up. “Sorry, but when everyone shares their Jan Plan projects at the end of the month, I don’t think the guys at Waverly will be thinking about contrast or the unexpected when they look at those pictures of you practically naked.”

“Julian!” Tinsley got to her feet. “Why are you being such a prude?” Her eyes narrowed. Was that even what this was about? Or was Julian just… jealous? “Or is this about me choosing to work with Isla instead of you? That’s really immature.”

“No, it’s not that.” Julian rolled his eyes. “Look, I’m sorry. You can’t blame me for not loving the idea of the entire male population of Waverly ogling my girlfriend in a bikini.”

All the blood rushed to Tinsley’s face. She’d never felt so insulted before. How could he be so ignorant? Didn’t he have any sense of what art was? For the second time in twenty minutes, Tinsley steadied herself on a dresser and slid her feet into her ankle boots. “Then maybe I shouldn’t be your girlfriend.”

She got all the way to the window before realizing that Julian hadn’t answered. She glanced back at him. He was still sitting where she’d left him on his bed, his handsome face lit from the side by the moonlight streaming through the window. He stared at her as if he’d never seen her before. It was a mix of disappointment and confusion.

Well, if he wanted to sit there in silence, fine. He could be boring and sit around in his room for the rest of fucking Jan Plan if he wanted, watching movies in his sweatpants all day.

He’d just have to do it without her.


art Instant Message Inbox
SageFrancis:I was just out snowshoeing with Ryan and I think we saw a bum in the woods.
CelineColista:No, I think that’s HEATH. He’s doing an outdoor-survival thing, eating berries and building fires.
SageFrancis:Wow, I knew he was dirty, but he looked FILTHY.
CelineColista:If he was horny before, think what a few days without female contact will do.
SageFrancis:Hmmm… if only Brandon had some of that wild animal quality, maybe we’d still be together. Tho yesterday he looked… different. Good.
CelineColista:Yeah, I saw him, too. The scruffy, jet-lagged look does a body goooood.
SageFrancis:I thought there was something going on with you and Lon?
CelineColista:Hmm, sounds like someone’s a little jealous!

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user comment image
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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