Lucky | Chapter 12 of 34

Author: Cecily von Ziegesar | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 4613 Views | Add a Review

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Brett walked, sock-footed, down the polished hardwood halls of Dumbarton, with Chloe trailing behind her. The prospective was talking nonstop about Holden lying to his parents and running around New York City after he’d been kicked out of boarding school. “Has anyone at Waverly ever done anything like that?” she asked.

“Uh, I don’t think so.” Brett glanced over her shoulder at the petite pre-frosh, who reminded her a little bit of Reese Witherspoon in Election, one of her favorite movies. Reese played an ambitious, seemingly straight-edge girl who ran for class president and wound up playing dirty to get what she wanted. But Chloe seemed way too sweet and innocent to do anything like that, especially given the incredulous look in her wide blue eyes at even the talk of running around New York unchaperoned.

It was something Brett had kind of fantasized about—getting kicked out of Waverly, and instead of heading home to her parents’ gargantuan house on the Jersey shore, living on the lam in Manhattan, staying in hotels by herself and getting drunk in dirty bars with bohemian writers and artists. There was something totally glamorous about it.

Except not really. Her parents would probably track her down, kill her, and dress her in zebra print for her own funeral. No, thank you.

As they rounded a corner, Brett noticed that Kara’s door was open a crack, just enough to allow the scent of a strawberry candle and the fading chords of a Shins song to leak out into the hall. Brett smiled. She and Kara had spent all day yesterday lazing around in Kara’s room, reading comic books and watching DVDs on her laptop, occasionally pausing to kiss. After twenty-four hours of lying low, away from all her whispering classmates, she was feeling much better about everything. With Chloe on her heels, they wouldn’t exactly have alone time, but being with Kara was better than dealing with the girl on her own.

Brett didn’t pause to knock, and strode through the doorway. The room was characteristically neat and slightly barren. She had no idea how Kara kept her desk so clean—all it had on it was a closed laptop and a cup of pens. Kara was curled on her side on her Batgirl comforter, her head resting on her bare arm, the brightly colored pages of a comic book open in front of her. The Shins song had finished, and a Decembrists song Brett could never remember the name of was now filtering through the speakers of Kara’s iPod docking station.

“Hey.” Kara smiled as she took in Brett, raising her head slowly. She sat up and tugged down her charcoal gray T-shirt. The word brooklyn was screen-printed across it in uneven cursive, and Brett remembered how Kara had promised to take her down to Dumbo to visit her up-and-coming fashion designer mom’s loft studio. She wondered briefly how Kara would introduce her if they ever went. Hey Mom, meet my new girlfriend?

“Smelled the candle a mile away—you know Pardee would love to bust you for that.” Brett gestured toward the candle on the nightstand. Candles were banned in dorm rooms, and Angelica Pardee, Dumbarton’s live-in dorm adviser, was notorious for unexpectedly appearing at girls’ doors and slapping violation notices into their hands. Brett suspected she had an entire cabinet full of half-burned candles that she gleefully lighted herself while taking bubble baths and drinking cheap merlot.

“The candle was more powerful than advertised,” Kara explained, throwing her legs off her bed and leaning over the nightstand. She cupped one hand behind the flame and blew it out, tiny smoke vapors rising up to the ceiling. “It was supposed to be ‘lightly scented.’”

“It smells like Pop-Tarts,” Chloe piped up, stepping onto the off-white woven rug in the center of the room.

Kara leaned back on her elbows and cracked the half smile that Brett loved. It made her look like she knew something you didn’t. She stuck her hands in the pockets of her faded black Diesel jeans. “Who’s this?”

“This is Chloe, one of the prospectives.”

“Nice to meet you, Chloe.” Kara folded her legs up beneath her and gestured toward the bed. Chloe didn’t need to be asked twice and immediately sat down on the mattress, her feet dangling off the edge. Brett dropped into the beanbag chair in the corner.

“So how do you like Waverly?” Kara took a yellow plastic barrette from the drawer in her nightstand and secured a stray piece of her light brown hair, pulling it away from her face. Brett always thought it was impressive when girls could do their hair without looking in a mirror.

“It’s pretty cool.” Chloe picked up the X-Men comic and leafed through it. Yesterday, Kara had insisted that Magneto was cuter than Wolverine. Brett smiled, remembering how adamant Kara had been. “Everyone here seems really . . . cool.”

“You clearly haven’t met everyone then,” Kara answered wryly, and Brett laughed.

“It sure feels like I have,” Chloe said, a little sadly. She put down the comic book and pushed her rectangular-framed glasses up on her nose.

“What do you mean?” Brett asked. She stared at a framed black-and-white photo of a young, bushy-haired Bob Dylan holding a sign that said look out.

“I mean, I’ve been walking around campus, being passed from one person to another. . . .” Chloe crossed her arms. “No one wants me around.”

“That’s harsh,” Kara said, shuffling past an Iron & Wine song on the iPod that made Brett think of Jeremiah and the night they’d almost slept together. Was her whole life going to be like this now, avoiding certain songs or music that reminded her of her mistakes? Billie Holiday made her think of Eric Dalton; Iron & Wine was Jeremiah; and if things didn’t work out with Kara, she’d never be able to listen to Bob Dylan again. By the time she reached her twenties, she’d be a huge, lumbering mass of musical baggage.

“I guess I missed a great party on Friday night, huh?” Chloe blurted. “Were you guys there when the barn caught fire?”

“We were all there.” Kara grabbed the comic book and flipped through the pages nonchalantly, as if fires happened at Waverly all the time.

“Were you inside? Did you have to run for your lives?” Chloe’s eyes widened excitedly, and she bounced a little on the bed.

Brett laughed and leaned back in the beanbag. She was feeling more relaxed by the minute. She had overreacted on Saturday and was glad she hadn’t voiced her worries to Kara. With everyone obsessing over the fire, who even cared about a little thing like two girls kissing? “If we’d been in it, we’d be dead.”

“I heard some people were in it,” Chloe said matter-of-factly, leaning her back against the wall behind Kara’s bed.

“Like who?” Brett shifted again in the beanbag. She’d never noticed how uncomfortable it was. It was like sitting on a bag of frozen peas.

The prospective gave a winsome Mona Lisa smile. “You know. A bunch of people: Easy and Callie and Jenny and this guy Heath, and also some guy named Julie or something like that.”

Kara laughed and threw her head back on her pillow.

“What?” Chloe looked hurt.

“Julian,” Kara corrected her. “His name is Julian.”

Chloe’s face reddened. “Well, that’s what I heard anyway. I guess I didn’t hear it right.”

“I doubt all those people were in the barn,” Brett noted casually. Jenny? She hadn’t really seen Jenny around this weekend, although Brett had been kind of keeping to herself. Or rather, spending time alone with Kara. “We were having a movie party on the lawn around the barn. The fire was just an accident.”

“They found a lighter that belongs to one of the students.” Chloe shook her head vigorously, her feathery blond hair fluttering around her shoulders. “Arson,” she added in a whisper.

Brett looked at Kara, who mouthed the word wow. Clearly, Chloe had met nearly everyone on campus, and she had overheard quite a bit.

“There might’ve been some people in the barn,” Kara said, tapping her fingernails against the wooden headboard. “There were probably people in and out of it all night. You know, hooking up and stuff.” She raised her eyebrows suggestively at Brett, and Brett blushed.

Luckily, Chloe didn’t seem to notice. She hopped up and started looking through Kara’s white Ikea bookshelf. All the dorm rooms had been fitted with standard furnishings: a bed, a dresser, a desk, a bookshelf, and a wooden chair with the Waverly crest on it—but Kara somehow seemed to have her own furniture. “You’ve got a lot of books.” Chloe traced her hand across the long line of alphabetized titles. “What’s this about?” she asked, pulling out a copy of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.

Kara smiled wickedly and glanced at Brett. “Well, it’s about two women who love each other but can’t be together because of the society they live in.” Kara reached for the ChapStick she always kept in the top drawer of her nightstand and put some on her pink lips. They looked totally kissable. “They’re forced into loveless marriages instead.”

“Oh,” Chloe said, looking a little startled. She held the book at a distance from her body, like it might burn her.

“You can borrow it if you want,” Kara offered, a glint in her green-brown eyes. Brett had to stifle a giggle. Chloe was sweet and all, but Kara had the right idea—if they made her uncomfortable enough, maybe she’d leave and they could be alone together.

Chloe blushed and put the book back on the shelf. “That’s okay.”

“Maybe it’s time to go find Alison,” Brett said pointedly, looking at Chloe.

“Where’d she go?” Kara asked. Brett mouthed Alan’s name. “Oh, right.” Kara nodded. “She did have to study.”

Chloe seemed a bit crestfallen. “Okay, yeah,” she agreed, stepping away from the bookshelf. She looked like a puppy that was being ushered inside while its siblings played in the yard.

Brett followed Chloe to the door, practically pushing her out through it. “You can find your way to Alison’s room, right?” She didn’t wait for the girl’s answer and pulled the door shut, turning to grin at Kara. She was glad they didn’t live in Virginia Woolf’s time.

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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