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Chapter 7
thirty seconds of true lov e Serena held Drew's cheeks in her hands and blew steam into the lenses of his glasses. Then she rubbed it off with the tip of her perfectly shaped nose. "Promise me you'll come to New York?" She'd spent the entire afternoon sitting right next to Drew in the pit during orchestra practice. The conductor had even let her play the timpani and the bells! Of course, she could hardly keep time watching Drew play xylophone. The way he closed his eyes and pursed his lips and tapped his feet as he played was beyond adorable. After practice he'd bought her a cappuccino in the coffee house, and they'd started to share a brownie. But by then Serena was so smitten she'd had to drag Drew back to his dorm room for a private xylophone lesson. Uh-huh. Not that she'd gotten him out of his neatly pressed J. Crew cords—he wasn't that kind of boy—but he definitely knew how to kiss. Now they lay entwined on his narrow bed, their clothes all rumpled and their hair matted to their heads. Serena wanted to stay that way for the rest of the weekend; unfortunately, she had to go. Drew took off his glasses and cleaned them on his pillowcase. He put them back on and cleared his throat. "So, do you think l decide to go here in the fall?" "Definitely," Serena breathed. She nuzzled her head into his chest. "I don't know how I'm going to make it until then without you." There were only two weeks left of Drew's sophomore year. I hen he was off to Mozambique for the summer to study percussion. Drew kissed her hair. "I'll come down and visit before I ho, and I'll write every day while I'm gone." Aw. Serena closed her eyes and kissed him for a long, long lime. It was dinnertime and the dorm was quiet. Then, all of a sudden, voices resounded in the hall outside as people returned to their rooms to do whatever it was people did after dinner at college—study, flirt with the hottie down the hall, study, hook up with the hottie down the hall, pretend to study, make cosmos, play strip poker, order pizza. The door opened and Drew pulled away from her. A redheaded boy wearing a red baseball hat and black basketball shorts stood in the doorway. "Hey. S'happening?" he said in a strong Massachusetts accent. "Wade, Serena. Serena, my roommate Wade. Serena is from New York. She's on her way down to Brown," Drew explained, looking flustered. Serena sat up and wiped her mouth. "Just stopped by to check out Harvard," Wade observed in a mocking tone. "Guess you liked it okay." Serena blushed even harder. She swung her feet to the floor and slipped them into her brown suede Calvin Klein flats. "I better go. My driver's been waiting for over an hour." "I'll walk you," Drew offered. As soon as they were out of the room and walking down the hall to the exit doors, Drew gave Serena's hand a little squeeze. "For the past two years Wade has given me shit about not having a girlfriend. I don't think he expected to see me with someone so . . ." He faltered and bit his lip, as if embarrassed by the stream of adjectives that was about to pour out of his mouth. Mouthwateringly hot? Supremely bodacious? Superbly succulent? Female? Serena grinned up at him as he held the door open for her, her cheeks pink with the rush of love. Drew didn't have to finish his sentence. She knew how he felt, because she felt exactly the same way about him. A gray Lincoln town car was waiting at the bottom of the steps, ready to whisk her off to Providence. She wrapped her arms around Drew's neck, pressed her cheek against his, and inhaled in an attempt to absorb as much of him as possible. "I love you," she whispered in his ear before pulling away and running down the steps and into the car. Drew raised his hand to wave good-bye and the car pulled away, leaving Serena smiling and crying and happier than she had felt in a long, long time. At long last she'd found true love. A love that would last for at least thirty seconds. crying and happier than she had felt in a long, long time. At long last she'd found true love. A love that would last for at least thirty seconds. "Okay, so you want to hear something totally gross?" Forest, one of Rebecca's Georgetown roommates, asked the group. Blair was seated around a table with Rebecca and her three roommates in the back of Moni Moni, a cheesy Georgetown karaoke bar. A tour bus full of nerdy-looking Hungarian men in tracksuits monopolized the karaoke machine, putting everything they had into "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees. Blair and the other girls were drinking green kiwi-flavored frozen cocktails called Kiwi the Snowman while they pretended not to notice how obnoxious the so-called music was. The drinks were ridiculously strong, and they were having trouble stringing sentences together. "I'm sure you're going to tell us, even if we don't want to know," Gaynor replied. Gaynor had black hair streaked with blond and a nose that was so severely pugged, Blair could see straight up it. Not that she was really looking. "Will you just tell us already?" Rebecca whined. "Okay," Forest said slowly. She lit a cigarette and paused dramatically. Forest was Korean-American and had bleached-blond hair that would have looked so much better if she just le it be brown. Not that Blair cared enough to say anything. "So you know how Georgetown is supposed to be all about brotherly love and there are no fraternities and everything is supposed to be all uncompetitive and all? Well, I just found out that there's this underground lacrosse fraternity, and for orientation the older boys make the younger boys eat a cracker with their jizz on it. It's like this whole ritual thing. And if you, like, don't eat the cracker, you don't get on the team." Everyone made a face, including Blair. Sometimes boys were just. . . gross. Except for Nate, who would never ever do anything remotely that disgusting. "You're from New York City?" Fran piped up. Fran was only four-foot-eleven, weighed about eighty pounds, and spoke in a breathy whisper. Her skin was so transparent, Blair thought she could actually see Kiwi the Snowman pumping through her veins. "I've only been there once. I got food poisoning at a sushi restaurant and spent the whole week puking." "As if you don't puke enough already," Forest quipped, suggesting that Fran's diminutive size was self-imposed. "Do you know that guy Chuck Bass?" Gaynor asked Blair. Blair nodded. Everyone knew Chuck, whether they liked it or not. "Is it true he didn't get in anywhere?" Rebecca asked, crunching ice between her slightly bucked teeth. "That seriously bites," Forest said, without a hint of sympathy. Silently, Blair gulped of her drink. Since Georgetown was looking less and less appealing and she basically had no other options, she could almost sympathize with Chuck. "Do you know Jessica Ward?" Rebecca asked. "She came here for a term and then transferred to BU?" Blair shook her head. She didn't know Jessica, but she could see why she'd transferred. "Do you know Kati Farkas?" Fran asked. "We went to ramp together." Blair nodded tiredly. The game was wearing thin. "She's in my class at Constance." "What about Nate Archibald?" Gaynor asked. She nudged Forest's arm with her elbow and wiggled her eyebrows suggestively. "Remember him?" Forest nudged her back. "Shut up," she snapped, looking pissed-off and sad at the same time. Blair's hackles rose. "What about him?" "He visited here once. And seriously, he was the biggest stoner ever. But I heard he got recruited for lacrosse at all the best schools, even Yale. I don't think he bothered to apply here. He didn't need to." "He visited here once. And seriously, he was the biggest stoner ever. But I heard he got recruited for lacrosse at all the best schools, even Yale. I don't think he bothered to apply here. He didn't need to." "Shut up!" Forest snapped again. Blair's stomach churned. The Hungarians were taking a stab at Eminem now. Na, na, na, na, na. Na, na, na, na, na, they rapped obnoxiously. She pushed away her drink. "Nate got into Yale? That's such a lie," she said, almost to herself. Then again, when it came to Nate, she never knew what to believe. "Why would we lie to you? We don't even know you," Gaynor retorted bitchily. Blair stared at her for a moment and then bent down to retrieve her purse from underneath the table. "I'll be right back," she announced, and then stumbled towards the bathroom. n is for naughty Brigid had interviewed Nate back in the fall, so she already knew he'd spent every summer since he was born sailing up in Maine. Because of this she assumed he liked lobster. And because she was supposed to lavish him with the best of everything in order to entice him up to Brown, she took him to the restaurant Citarella, where she'd preordered a giant broiled lobster for the two of them to share, along with a bottle of Dom Perignon and a basket of pommes frites. "I grew up in Maine," she explained, tugging on her pearls. "Camden. All my family ever did was sail and eat lobster." The truth was, Nate thought lobster was sort of ridiculous, like some silly crustacean cartoon character that could dance on its tail and hold a microphone in its claw and sing and tell jokes and make people giggle. It certainly wasn't the sort of food he craved when he had the munchies. Which was basically all the time. "So." Brigid topped off her champagne flute, even though the waiter had just filled it. She'd changed into a low-cut orange dress and was wearing sparkling lip gloss and mascara. Her strawberry blond hair was freshly brushed and she looked even cuter than she had earlier that day on the lacrosse pitch in the park. She fiddled nervously with the stem of her glass. "So, enough about me. Do you, um . . . ?" She bit her lip. "Do you have a girlfriend?" Nate poked at his salad, smearing goat cheese all over the leaves. He was pretty sure Brigid's low-cut dress and flirtalious behavior went beyond her mission of getting him to matriculate at Brown. He suspected she had a crush on him. I tut she was still his Brown interviewer, and he wanted to make a good impression. "Um. Sort of," he told her hesitantly. "I mean, sometimes we're together and sometimes we're not." She seemed to like that answer. "Are you together now?" Nate had always preferred beer to champagne but he gulped his wine Blair-style. In theory, he and Blair were together again, happily, hooray. But they hadn't exactly discussed the terms of their relationship. Did flirting with his Brown admissions officer really qualify as cheating? Suddenly his phone rang and he whipped it out of his pocket, kicking himself for forgetting to turn it off before dinner. He glanced at the phone's little screen. Speak of the devil. Nate's head was a little fuzzy from the six bong hits he'd done at Anthony Avuldsen's house before he came out. Speaking to Blair might knock some sense into him. "Um, I should take this," he told Brigid. "Hey," he said into the phone. "Hello," Blair responded coldly. "Before you say anything I just have to ask you a question." Her voice was clipped, as if she was trying to use as few syllables as possible. Nate could tell she'd been drinking. "Okay." "Tell me the truth. Did you apply to Yale?" Oh, boy. Oh, boy. Brigid was smiling at him expectantly, her lips all shiny and glossed. At least he could take comfort in the fact that Blair was miles away at Georgetown, and he was having dinner with his Brown interviewer, who was dying to see him naked. He decided to tell the truth. "Yeah, I did. And I guess I got in." Blair made a strange gurgling noise, and then Nate heard the distinct, familiar sound of her puking into a toilet. "Fuck you," she growled into the phone before hanging up. Nate turned the phone off and tucked it into his pocket. The waiter arrived with the lobster. "Boy, does that look good," Nate said, his voice hollow. "Do you want to share the tail?" Brigid asked, handling the steaming crustacean with practiced ease. She pointed at the stainless-steel claw-cracking tools the waiter had brought. "Or get started on a claw?" What Nate really wanted was to do a few more bong hits and then eat a big bowl of Breyers chocolate ice cream while sitting comatose in front of The Matrix, which he'd already seen eighteen times. Brigid put down the lobster. "Are you okay?" He shrugged. "I think my girlfriend just broke up with me again." Brigid's green eyes opened wide. "You poor thing." She motioned to the waiter. "Can we have this to go?" She pushed back her chair. "Come on. I'll buy you a beer and a cigarette." Nate tried to tell himself that since Blair wasn't around to murder him right now he was basically safe and should enjoy the next twenty-four hours before she came back. He could even hook up with Brigid if he wanted to. The thing was, he was sick of always breaking up with Blair when they both knew that they were supposed to be together for the rest of their lives. And unlike Blair, he didn't really care what college he went to. In fact, he'd be fine with not going to college at all for a couple of years. As far as he could tell, the only way to put himself and Blair back on a level playing field was to try and get his Brown and Yale acceptances revoked. And what better way to do that than to act like an asshole? "Fuck it," Nate said under his breath. He stood up and helped Brigid into the denim jacket hanging on the back of her chair. His fingers brushed her neck as he pulled her hair out from underneath the collar. They were standing very close, and Brigid's breath smelled like Hawaiian Punch. "How badly does Brown want me?" he murmured into her ear. Her green eyes opened wide. "Bad," she whispered unsteadily. Her hotel room key was on the table. Nate picked it up and dropped it in his pocket. "Bad," she whispered again. The waiter handed Nate a plastic bag with the twenty-pound lobster wrapped up in foil inside it. He chucked it on the table and put his arm around Brigid's waist. "Show me," he told her gruffly, disgusted with the sound of his voice. Guess he wasn't talking about the lobster. s takes the mad less traveled Only a half hour into their journey to Providence, Serena asked the driver to stop at a gas station. The convenience store was tiny and badly stocked, but she bought a Coke, a Twix bar, and a local newspaper just to have something to do while she was mooning over Drew. Outside, a boy was standing just beyond the pumps, holding up a sign that said brown. He was wearing faded jeans and a nice blue-and-white-striped button-down shirt, and docksiders without socks. On his back was a complicated purple-and-black backpack, the type people take on long hikes. His curly black hair looked clean and he seemed normal enough. "Need a ride?" she called over. The boy whipped his head around. "Me?" The boy whipped his head around. "Me?" The boy grinned shyly and followed her to the car. He sat close to the door and put his backpack between them. A patch of the Italian flag was sewn onto it. Serena drank her Coke and pretended to read her newspaper. Then the boy pulled a drawing pad and pencil from out of his backpack and began to scribble away. At first she thought it was homework or a letter, but then she yawned and let her head fall back against the seat back, surreptitiously taking a gander at what the boy was writing. Much to iht surprise, he was sketching her. Her hands, to be exact. "Do I get to keep that when you're done?" she asked. The boy jumped, as if he thought he'd been really coy and secretive about the fact that he was drawing her. He closed his notebook and tucked the pencil behind his ear. "Sorry." "That's all right." Serena stretched her arms over her head und then let her hands fall into her lap. "I'm in such a daze anyway. Go ahead. Keep drawing." He opened his notebook again. "You don't mind?" "Nope." After all, she was a professional model. She sat back and folded her hands the same way they'd been before. "Is this okay?" "Mmm," the boy answered, his head bent over his work. He had dark olive skin and thick black curls and he exuded an odor of fresh mint. Serena closed her eyes, trying to recall what Drew's hair was like. She remembered that his roommate Wade's hair was red. And Drew's was sort of ... dark blond? Chestnut? She honestly couldn't remember. She opened her eyes again and glanced at the boy again. The back of his neck looked soft and brown. If we had children, they'd have year-round tans and that sort of sandy blond-brown hair that's so pretty in the sun, she mused. Then she looked away again, horrified. What was wrong with her? She didn't even know his name! The boy looked up again. "Do you go to Brown?" Serena kept her gaze fixed on the window. It was dirty and she could see his reflection in it. His black eyelashes were curly and his brown eyes were wonderfully soft, like Bambi's or something. "Not yet, but I might, next year." Wait, wasn't she all about Harvard like five seconds ago? "I hope so," he said quietly before turning back to his drawing. Serena didn't know what had gotten into her, but she was totally turned on. What if I just grabbed him and kissed him? she wondered to herself. The driver was listening to some baseball game on the radio; he wouldn't even notice. "You know, you would be a great artist's model," the boy told her. "You could sit for the figure-drawing classes at Brown. Professor Kofke is always looking for good models." "Thanks. Actually, I have done some modeling," Serena began, but then shut herself up for fear of sounding like a brat. The boy tucked his pencil behind his ear, studying his drawing. "It doesn't even matter to me whether a model is beautiful or not. Usually I only do hands." Serena peered over his shoulder. He really did smell like mint. "You made my hands look much nicer than they are. Look at my thumbnail: I've chewed it to bits! And this one .. ." She held out her left pinky. "My poor cuticles!" But the boy wasn't even looking. He unzipped a side packet in his backpack, pulled out a piece of paper, and handed it to her. Serena unfolded the piece of paper. It was a clipping ripped from a magazine. "Tighter Abs in Seven Days," the caption read. "Turn it over," the boy told her. She flipped the clipping over. On the back of it was the ad for Serena's Tears. There she was, crying in the snow in Central Park, wearing a yellow sundress. "Is that really your name? Serena?" He asked, gazing at her with those Bambi eyes. "Is that really your name? Serena?" He asked, gazing at her with those Bambi eyes. He took the clipping back. "I lied about only doing hands. I tought I was dreaming when you picked me up at the gas station back there. I've been painting you for two months. From this picture. I'm still not finished. It's in the studio, up at Brown." He folded up the clipping and tucked it into his backpack. Then he held out his hand. "I'm Christian." Serena let her hand linger in his. She supposed she should have been freaked out, but instead she was more turned on than ever. "Would you mind showing me around a little when we get there?" she asked. "I'm supposed to meet my brother, but I'm already so late, he's probably already in a bar or something." Erik wouldn't mind if she blew him off. Brothers and sisters always blew each other off all the time. Besides, Christian could probably give her a much more thorough tour. Yeah, you bet he could. b joins exclusive g-town sisterhood The Hungarians were gone, replaced by three women in Smithsonian Museum security uniforms singing Whitney Houston. "And leeeeleeel will always love you!" Talk about painful. The moment she hung up with Nate, Blair went over to the bar and ordered a pitcher of pink grapefruit margaritas for the table. "You guys saved my life," she told Rebecca, Forest, Gaynor, and Fran as she set the pitcher down. The girls' heads wobbled drunkenly in response. Blair sat down, lit a cigarette, took a drag, and then passed it to Rebecca. I'm just glad I got you as a tour guide, and not some loser." Rebecca passed the cigarette around, and the girls' lip glosses combined to make a smudgy plum-colored stain on the filter. "Last month Forest was taking this prospective student around—a guy. They got caught by the dean of students practically doing it in the laundry room. She got fired by admissions." "Shut up," Forest whined, but she was smiling. Blair tried to imagine what her visit would have been like if her tour guide had been a guy, but knowing her luck, he'd have been a total geek. She stared at Forest, wondering if maybe she ought to say something about how I West's bleached-blond hair looked cheap and slutty and no wonder the admissions office didn't want her to be a lour guide. But since she was drunk as a fish, she said something else entirely. "So, are any of you still virgins?" The four girls giggled and kicked each other under the table. Blair lit another cigarette, feeling slightly annoyed I hat she'd set herself up to admit that she was a virgin in front of four obvious skanks. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to." Rebecca blinked her eyes drunkenly in an effort to compose herself. "Actually, we all are. See, we made this pact." She glanced around the table at her friends. "Georgetown doesn't have sororities, but we sort of have one. We call it the sisterhood of celibacy." Blair's eyes opened wide. She was about to get indoctrinated into some sort of virginity cult, and she was so drunk and upset and vulnerable, it actually sounded like a good idea. "We aren't, like, against fooling around or anything. God no. All of us have done just about everything but go all the way," Gaynor clarified. She rubbed her pug nose. "We're saving that for marriage." "Or at least true love," Fran clarified. "I'm never getting married." "Fran's parents have each been married and divorced three times," Rebecca noted. Blair stamped out her cigarette. Fuck Nate. Fuck Yale. All of a sudden she wanted nothing more than to pledge their little sorority. "Me too," she admitted. "I mean, I'm a virgin, too." The four girls stared at her in amazement, as if they couldn't quite believe that a sophisticated New York girl like herself had never once experienced sex. New York girl like herself had never once experienced sex. Blair put her elbows on the table and leaned forward, ready for action. "What do I have to do?" The four girls giggled giddily, like they just loved their initiation rites. "I'm the newest member," Forest explained. "Her hair was almost black before," Gaynor put in. "First you have to let us shave your legs," Fran said. "And then we bleach your hair," Rebecca added. And they had a problem with the whole jizz-on-a-cracker thing?! Blair sat back in her chair. Her life was shit, and besides, she'd always wanted to know what she'd look like as a blond. She picked up her drink and poured it down her throat, banging the glass down on the table when she was done. "I'm ready," she told her new sisters. "Yippee!" the girls chorused, and poured themselves another round. "If I don't eat something soon," Rebecca moaned, "I'm gonna hurl." "Me too," the other girls agreed. "We gotta get to the drug store before it closes," Rebecca added. "We can pick up some Combos or something." Yummy. Maybe they could even have fried pork rinds! Blair grabbed her purse and rose shakily to her feet. "Last one in the cab is a drunk virgin bitch." The five girls linked arms and staggered out into the night. Question: Even if they were your new best friends, would you let four drunk virgin bitches shave your legs and dye your hair? two's company, three's a crowd "This is awesome," Dan enthused as he watched the spaghetti boiling in its pot. He glanced at Vanessa, who was standing next to him, slicing onions on a chopping board balanced over the sink. Onion tears streamed down her face. He kissed her damp cheek. "Look at us." Vanessa laughed and kissed him back. Actually, this whole living-together thing was fun. Ruby had left early that morning, and with one taxi ride full of stuff, Dan was all moved in. They'd spent the afternoon grocery shopping and buying stupid little things for the apartment like pet rock refrigerator magnets and black sheets with neon green UFOs on them. Now they were cooking their first meal together as a cohabiting couple. If you can call spaghetti with onions and Ragu cooking. Dan slipped one hand under Vanessa's shirt and turned the burner off with the other. Dinner could wait. Their faces pressed together, they staggered out of the open kitchen area and into the living room, where they fell back onto Ruby's futon, which was now their living room couch. It still smelled like Christian Dior Poison and that licorice tea Ruby was always drinking, but it was all theirs and they could have sex on it whenever they liked. "What will we do on Monday when we both don't want to go to school?" Vanessa wondered out loud as Dan kissed his way down her arm. Her hands smelled like onions. "Cut? It's not like we have to worry about getting into college anymore," Dan said. She whipped his belt out of his pants and flicked it at his butt. "Bad boy. Remember what your dad said? If your grades drop, you have to move back." "Hey, that feels good," Dan joked. "Oh, yeah?" Vanessa giggled, whipping him with the belt a little harder this time. And then someone sneezed. Dan and Vanessa broke away from each other, freaked out of their minds. A girl was standing in the doorway. Purple-and-black matted hair. Black shorts. Ripped black Ozzfest T-shirt. Black kneesocks. Black Converse high-tops. She was carrying some sort of pick-axe and an army-issue duffel bag. the doorway. Purple-and-black matted hair. Black shorts. Ripped black Ozzfest T-shirt. Black kneesocks. Black Converse high-tops. She was carrying some sort of pick-axe and an army-issue duffel bag. Ruby hadn't said anything about a friend coming to stay, but then again, Ruby wasn't the most organized human being on the planet. Vanessa extracted herself from Dan. "Ruby left for Germany today." Then she realized Tiphany had let herself in. "She gave you a key?" "I used to live here," Tiphany explained. "Your sister and I were roommates for a while." She walked in and dumped her stuff on top of the futon where they were sitting. Then she bent down and opened her duffel bag. A little head with beady eyes and whiskers popped out. Tiphany picked the creature up and cradled it like a baby. Dan blanched. It looked like a rat. "What is that?" Vanessa asked, intrigued. Ruby had never mentioned anyone named Tiphany, but Ruby had lived in Williamsburg a whole year by herself before their parents had let Vanessa come down from Vermont to join her. A lot of stuff had probably happened in that year that Vanessa didn't know about. "This is Tooter. He's a ferret. He has some farting issues, and he kind of likes to chew books. But he sleeps all curled up next to me every night, and he's such a doll." Tiphany stoked the ferret under the chin. "Aren't you, Tooter?" She held the creature out to Vanessa. "Wanna hold him?" Vanessa reached for the scrawny animal and held it in her arms. The ferret gazed up at her with its beady brown eyes. "Isn't he cute?" she asked, and smiled over at Dan. Having houseguests made her feel like she and Dan were even more of a couple, and Tiphany seemed way cooler and more interesting than anyone she went to school with, that was for sure. Dan didn't return her smile. Ever since he'd opened his college acceptance letters he'd been on a simple, happy high. He was into college and back with Vanessa. They were living together. Everything was easy and good. Tiphany was not part of that equation. "What's that for?" Vanessa asked, pointing at the pick-axe. Tiphany picked it up and swung it in the air a few times. Then she propped it up against the wall. "Work. I'm in construction. Demolition, mostly. I've got a big project over by the Brooklyn Navy Yard and I'm kind of homeless at the moment. So it was pretty cool of Ruby to let me crash here." Vanessa turned to Dan. "The noodles," she said urgently. Dan got up and went into the kitchen. He opened the jar of Ragu, dumped it and the onions into a saucepan, and turned the burner up to high. Then he poured the steaming pot of noodles into the colander in the sink. He pulled three bowls out of the cupboard. "I guess anyone who wants to eat can eat," he called out. "I'm starving. Oh, and I have a little present for us." Tiphany dug around in her duffel bag and pulled out a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels. She poured a little Jack into the bottle cap and held it out to Tooter. "Puts hair on his chest," she told Vanessa, and took a swig from the bottle. Vanessa handed over the ferret and went to help Dan find the silverware. "Are you okay?" she whispered. Dan didn't answer. He spooned instant coffee into a cup and mixed it with hot water right out of the tap. Tiphany put 'footer down and the ferret scampered over to a pile of Dan's poetry books and started nibbling on them. "No!" Dan shouted, throwing his spoon at the little rodent. "Hey, don't yell at him!" Tiphany cried, scooping Tooter up again and holding him against her chest. "He's just a baby." Vanessa offered her a bowl of spaghetti. "Dan's a poet," she said, as if that explained everything. "I can see that," Tiphany said without a hint of bitterness. She took the bowl and brought it over to the futon to eat. Tooter sat in her lap, balanced his paws on the bowl's edge, and began noisily slurping up noodles. Suddenly the entire apartment stank of rotten eggs, sour milk, and burning sulphur. Tiphany cover her mouth with her hand and snorted. "Oops! Tooter tooted!" Suddenly the entire apartment stank of rotten eggs, sour milk, and burning sulphur. Tiphany cover her mouth with her hand and snorted. "Oops! Tooter tooted!" "Jesus." Dan grabbed a dish towel and pressed it against his nose and mouth. "Come on," Vanessa whispered with her fingers clamped over her nose. "It's not so bad. She's nice." Dan stared at her over the dish towel. He could feel himself crashing down from his high at an alarming rate and was disappointed with himself for being so annoyed by a girl who actually did seem perfectly nice, in a kooky, ferret-loving way. He tossed aside the dish towel, served himself up some spaghetti, and carried it over to the other end of the futon. "So," he began, deciding to make an effort, "where'd you go to college?" Tiphany giggled and wound her spaghetti around her fork. "The school of life," she answered gaily. "Cool," Vanessa responded. "I have to interview you for my film." "Cool," Dan agreed with slightly too much zeal. Or maybe not so cool. topics previous next post a question reply Disclaimer: All the real names of places, people, and events have been altered or abbreviated to protect the innocent. Namely, me. HEY, PEOPLE! Where do we belong? Ever wonder what your life would have been like if you went to a different school in a different town and had a completely different set of friends? You'd probably look completely different than you do now; talk different, dress differently. You'd do different after-school activities, listen to different music. Well, that's exactly what's happening with this whole which-college-should-l-go-to? thing. Of course, your parents and teachers will tell you it doesn't matter where you go, it's what you make of it. I'm sure that's partly true. But if I'm not going to fit in at a certain school because everyone there wears Seven jeans instead of Blue Cults or thinks carrying your caramel poodle puppy around with you everywhere in a Burberry doggie tote is pretentious, I want to know now, Not that the jeans or the dog make the girl. Well ... actually, they sort of do. The good thing about all of this is that if any of us have made or are about to make any major social-status-altering blunders, we'll have the blank canvas of college with which to reinvent ourselves. And it looks like some of us are going to be reinventing big-time. Remember that guy who didn't get in anywhere? His dad had the brilliant idea that military school was the place for him. Four more years of uniforms. No Prada. A crew cut. And no more monograms! Your e-mail Dear GG, I go to Georgetown and I'm pretty sure I saw this girl B you're always talking about hanging out with all these skanks in this skanky karaoke bar where only skanks go, and she was having the time of her life. They were totally shitfaced and got driven back to campus by this greasy-looking guy in a Lexus. —dia Dear dia, Do I detect jealousy in your tone? What did these supposed skanks ever do to you? I think it's nice B's branching out and making some new friends. —GG Dear GG, I thought N was already into all the Ivy League schools, but then I think I saw him and the woman who interviewed me in at Brown in this restaurant where I was with my parents, and it kind of looked like they were about to hook up. What's his deal? —celeste Dear celeste, Good question. Maybe he's worried Brown will change their minds. Or maybe he's just sick of being denied so many times by you-know-who! —GG Sightings J with a personal shopper in Bloomingdale's, getting more lingerie advice. At least she's finally seeking professional help—thank heavens! N and his Brown admissions officer riding up the elevator together in the Warwick New York Hotel. Let me guess: She wanted to conduct a second interview. B and four drunk blond girls in a Georgetown Walgreens buying disposable razors and blond hair dye. S lying on the roof of the art studio at Brown counting stars with some Latin-lover type. Man, that girl gets around! D, V, and some ferret-toting older girl with purple-and-black hair in a Williamsburg coffee shop doing espresso shots. Looks like D has settled in with the locals nicely. I have a feeling it's going to be a long and sordid night—like that's so unusual. Drink lots of Red Bull and Gatorade in the morning and by Monday you'll be good as new. Can't wait to hear all about it! You know you love me, gossip girl

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