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Welcome to New York City’s Upper East Side, where the girls are dazzling, the guys are gorgeous, and the summer heat is the perfect excuse to throw a fabulous roof-deck pool party. As if we need a reason!It’s our last summer together before heading off to college, and things are sizzling — no, it’s not just the weather. Despite that steamy kiss on graduation night, Blair, Serena, and Nate have gone their separate ways…though not for long. Blair is off to London with her English Lord boyfriend, Serena’s about to become a movie star — as if she wasn’t a star already! — and Nate’s rolling up his well-worn khakis and heading to the Hamptons. Back in New York, Dan and Vanessa are rekindling their love. Fiery! Watch out, this summer is going to be hotter than ever.
Copyright © 2006 by Alloy Entertainment
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group USA
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroupUSA.com
First eBook Edition: May 2006
Disclaimer: All the real names of places, people, and events have been altered or abbreviated to protect the innocent. Namely, me.
It's been summer for about five minutes and already the city sidewalks are a hundred degrees. Thank God we can finally ditchour tired, hideous blue-and-white seersucker school uniforms—for good. Unless we decide to resurrect them for our first collegeHalloween party. Pleated kilts drive boys wild!
It was hard work surviving four years of high school, balancingpartying, shopping, studying, partying, and shopping with just theright amount of grace and poise to land us in the Ivy League. Wedid it, though, and we've got the diplomas—and the graduationpresents (vroom, vroom, vroom!)—to prove it.
In case you've had your head under a rock all year long, we're the kids who play as hard as we shop, and now that we've amassed our new summer wardrobes, it's time to get down to some serious play. You know us, and it's okay to admit it: you wish you were one of us. We're the girls strolling around Manhattan in crisp Marni sundresses and who-cares-if-we-ruin-them Jimmy Choo flip-flops. We're the tanned-since-spring-break-in-St.-Barts boys on the rooftop of the Met slugging Tanqueray and tonic from antique silver flasks. Summer's here, and those tedious worries like APs and SATs are over. The next couple of months are all about the good stuff: love, sex, fame, and infamy. Speaking of which . . .
the most famous girl in town is about to become even more famous
She's a local legend already, but could she be headed for a whole new level of notoriety? Like, Vanity Fair covers and red-carpet premieres? It sure looks that way now that S has managed to land the only summer job worth getting: a starring role in a major Hollywood movie headed up by potentially insane rogue director Ken Mogul, playing opposite that gorgeous, golden-stubbled megastar T. Swoon. Judging from her history, T will soon be her leading man offscreen, too. Some girls really do have all the luck.
Even though everyone thought B was destined for the part, she appears to have gotten over losing out to her best friend . . . again. Maybe she's getting used to it, or maybe she's too busy cavorting with her delicious-looking new boyfriend between the perfectly pressed 600-thread-count cream-colored Egyptian cotton Claridge's of London hotel sheets to care. That's right: her whirlwind affair with that strapping English gentleman Lord M has changed settings from steamy New York to swanky London, and I can only imagine they're putting B's hotel suite to good use. Of course, Lord M's manor is purported to be even nicer than Claridge's, if that's possible—so why isn't she staying with him there? We'll find out soon enough: word of her escapades is already making its way back across the pond.
Scandalous information about our favorite perpetually stoned but still perpetually cute N is also making its way back to the city— although he's only a jitney ride away, in the summer-lovin' Hamptons. He's doing hard time on Long Island after that pesky stealing-Viagra-from-his-lacrosse-coach-and-almost-not-graduating episode. I hear he's already tan and persistently sweaty from all the reroofing he's doing at his coach's house. Some of the local ladies have been doing drive-bys just to get a peek at him with his shirt off. Meanwhile, on this side of Long Island—that's Brooklyn, FYI—V was seen enjoying the spoils of her short live-in with B. Hello, black silk DVF wrap dress! Only B would leave that behind like a used toothbrush. No one knows if V was having a fling with both sides of that stepsibling duo or not, but both A and B have moved on. Literally. Last I heard, A had taken up with a tattooed belly dancer in Austin, Texas, with two boxer puppies of her own. Thank goodness for D—he's been seen all over town frantically checking out the city like a tourist. Looks like someone's getting sentimental about his big move out west this fall.
So there I was, in Heathrow Airport on my way to this totally fruity British boarding school my parents are making me start this summer, when whom should I see but B, aka the girl of my dreams. I thought my problems were solved, until I arrived on campus and heard three very disturbing rumors:
1) B is not only dating some English douche bag, she's engaged to him.
2) He's already engaged to someone else.
And, craziest of all:
3) Lord Douchebaggio isn't satisfying B's womanly needs, if you catch my drift. Maybe he's too tired out from spending time with his fiancée?
Help a brother out, here. I'm going to freak the F out if I don't find a girl who knows that soccer is not called football.
—B Back on the Market?
P.S. I can go all night.
Dear BB on the M,
I don' t know how they do it in England, but here in America seventeen is way too young to get married. Hello, we haven't even hooked up with our freshman year hall mates yet! Sit tight. Nothing lasts forever. . . .
P.S. All night, huh? What did you say you look like?
It took a lot of begging and pleading, but I finally convincedmy dad to shell out for a summer rental in Southampton justfor me and my friends. Now we're here and no one else is. What gives?
—No Sex on the Beach
If you must know, getting to the Hamptons too early in the season is a little ... well, tacky, unless you have to be there, like some people I know. In the meantime, why not shake it up? You've got a whole house at your disposal—fashion those palm-frond-patterned ABC Carpet & Home sheets into togas and get into the college spirit!
B accusing a Virgin Atlantic bag handler of stealing one of her many Cosabella lace thongs from her Tumi duffel. That's what you get for flying commercial! S reading—reading? Hello, school's out!—a tattered paperback copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's on a shady bench in Central Park. No doubt she'll reminisce about it someday on Inside the Actors Studio. A sweaty N pumping up and down and up and—there goes my imagination!—through East Hampton center on his old red Schwinn tenspeed. What happened to the Range Rover? V at Bonita, that tiny, rustic Mexican place in Williamsburg, asking someone to wipe down the table before she sat down. Maybe B really did rub off on her. D cruising up and down West End Avenue for hours— where's he supposed to park that big blue Buick pimpmobile he scored as a graduation present, anyway?
That's all for now. I'm out of here. After all, you don't have to be an MIT-bound math geek to realize there are only eleven weeks of summer—a mere seventy-seven days—before we have to grapple with things like coed dorms and declaring a major in fashion design and maybe a torrid extracurricular affair with that probably-pretty-cute-under-his-tweed-blazer-and-bow-tie English lit professor. But let's not get ahead of ourselves: it's hot outside, and things are already getting steamy. Life is full of mystery—not to mention cute girls in polka-dot bikinis and hot guys in pastel-colored surf shorts. The summer, with its lack of rules and schedules, provides the perfect setting for some severe misbehavior. Right now, I'm taking my new oversized pale pink Gucci sunglasses, a copy of French Elle, some Guerlain SPF 45 sunblock, and a cozy turquoise-and-tangerine-striped Missoni towel and hitting the park. Which part of the park? Wouldn't you like to know?
You know you love me.
"Good morning, madam!" trilled a female voice in a super-perky British accent.
Blair Waldorf sighed and turned over onto her side. She'd been in London three days but still wasn't over her jet lag. She didn't mind, though: it was a small price to pay to see her movie-star-handsome, real-life-English-blueblood boyfriend, Lord Marcus.
Wendy, one of the three maids whose round-the-clock services came with Blair's penthouse suite at Claridge's, clacked across the blond parquet floors and deposited a heavy mahogany tray onto the king-size bed, which was so big Blair had divided it up into four sections: one for sleeping, one for eating, one for watching TV, and one for sex. So far, that section had remained unused. Wendy drew the thick maroon velvet curtains on the massive wall of windows, flooding the enormous room with light. It reflected off the opulent gold-filigree ceiling and bounced off the gilded mirrors that lined the attached dressing room.
"Ouch!" Blair cried, pulling one of the six sumptuous goose-down pillows over her head to shield her eyes from the sun.
"Breakfast as requested, Miss Waldorf," announced Wendy, lifting the silver cover off the tray to reveal a barfy-looking mush of watery scrambled eggs, massive greasy sausages, and a pool of stewed tomatoes.
Classic English cuisine.Yum.
Blair smoothed her tousled chestnut hair and straightened the straps of the soft pink Hanro cami she'd worn to bed. The food looked disgusting but smelled delicious. Oh well, she deserved a little treat, didn't she? She'd worked up an appetite the day before, walking around West London sightseeing.
If you call Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Whistles sights.
"And your paper," added Wendy setting the International Herald Tribune on the tray with a flourish. Blair had requested the daily paper when she checked in—a Yale woman had to keep up on world events, after all. So what if she hadn't exactly gotten around to the reading part?
"Will that be all?"Wendy asked primly.
Blair nodded and the maid disappeared into the sitting room. Blair speared one of the huge sausages with her fork and picked up the paper, skimming the front page. But the tiny typeface and matter-of-fact photographs were so boring she couldn't concentrate. The only paper she ever read was the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times, if only to scan the charity event pictures for familiar faces. Why would a worldly woman like herself need to read world news, anyway? She was world news.
Blair had always been impulsive, but her presence in London had actually been Marcus's idea. His graduation present to her—other than the ridiculously extravagant Bvlgari earrings—had been a plane ticket to London. Blair had envisioned rainy weeks locked in his enormous stone castle having chain-sex—the equivalent of chain-smoking—stopping only to gnaw on a cold leg of mutton or whatever medieval snack was stored in the castle's primitive but well-stocked kitchen. But Marcus had been so busy working for his dad all he ever had time for was lunch and a brief snog.
Dropping the unopened paper onto the floor, she scanned her bedside table for British Vogue—she'd stocked up on all the English magazines so she'd know what to buy and where to buy it—when her new razor-thin Vertu phone chimed prettily. There was only one person who had her new London telephone number.
"Hello?" she answered as sexily as she could with a mouth full of scrambled egg.
"Darling," Lord Marcus Beaton-Rhodes greeted her in his charming British accent. "I'm coming round. Just wanted to make sure you were up, love."
"I'm up, I'm up!" Blair was unable to control her excitement. She'd spent the last two nights alone, and her horniness was bubbling over into near-frenzy. How they'd made it this far without actually doing it, she wasn't sure. Was this their chance for a morning interlude sans knickers?
"Right," he continued in his charmingly straightforward way. "I'll be by shortly. And I've got a surprise."
A surprise! thought Blair giddily as she shut her phone. That was just the kind of wake-up call she needed to get her out of bed. She scurried to the bathroom, discarding clothes as she went. Could it be roses and caviar? Chilled champagne and oysters? It was kind of early in the morning for that, but judging from the last present he'd given her—the Bvlgari pearl earrings, with their dangling gold Bs—it was bound to be good. Some equally exquisite symbol of his undying love? Everyone back in New York was so insanely jealous of her perfect English boyfriend that they'd spread rumors Marcus was already engaged. There was only one way to put that rumor to rest forever: return to New York wearing his ring. Preferably a flawless, four-carat, emerald-cut diamond, although an old family heirloom would do.
How humble of her.
Lord Marcus had initially invited her to spend the summer at his father's Knightsbridge mansion, but when he'd picked her up from Heathrow in his chauffeur-driven cream-colored Bentley he'd taken her straight to Claridge's. "We simply haven't got the room, sweetheart," Marcus whispered directly into her ear, his hot breath sending shivers down her spine as the desk attendant handed her the room key. "Plus, when I come over, we'll have complete privacy."
Well, that's hard to argue with.
Blair wasn't sure what Marcus's dad did for a living, but it had something do with bonds, and whatever it was sounded very boring. Marcus was interning at his dad's office for the summer, and late nights and early mornings meant he had hardly any energy for . . . sex. Blair had only done it a few times with Nate Archibald, and she was beyond eager to try it with someone older and more experienced, like Marcus—not that sex with Nate had been so bad.
Her rosemary La Mer bath tonic and minty Marvis toothpaste masking the stink of scrambled egg and tomato, she hurried back to the bedroom and hopped into bed, wearing only a light sheen of lavender-scented bath water, Chanel No. 5 perfume, and the Bvlgari earrings she hadn't taken off once since her graduation party at the Yale Club a little over two weeks ago.
After ditching Vanessa Abrams's small apartment in dingy and weird Williamsburg, with no intention of moving back to the crazy world she used to call home, Blair had decided to live at the Yale club. She and Lord Marcus had met in the elevator, and his hot accent and neatly ironed jeans had gotten to her right away. Fate had it that their rooms were side by side, and she could imagine the feel of his sexy English breath on her neck even before they'd kissed—which had happened that very night. After pouring her heart out to him over six or seven cosmos, Blair was so sure she'd found the love of her life, she practically threw herself at him. She was too tipsy— and he was too much of a gentleman—to do more than kiss. But all that was about to change.
Blair draped the sheets over her body and lit a cigarette, striking a pose that said, I'm on my honeymoon and worn out from doing it, but what the hell, let's do it again. She grabbed the newspaper off of the floor and propped up the front page so it looked like she was reading it. There. Perfect. An intellectual sexpot. A worldly woman who read all about international crises—and preferred to discuss said crises in bed. If only she had a pair of vintage fifties reading glasses to perch on the tip of her nose.
All the better to see you naked with!
As if on cue, Lord Marcus flung the bedroom door open and Blair turned her head slowly, as if she could barely stand to break away from the current poultry deficit in Asia. He was wearing a perfectly tailored charcoal summer suit with an olive James Perse T-shirt underneath that made his striking green eyes look serious and deep and oh-so-promising.
"What's this, then?" he asked, furrowing his golden-brown eyebrows. "Remember I said I had a surprise?"
"I've got a surprise for you too," Blair cooed sexily. "Come look under the sheets."
"Right," he continued a little impatiently. "Well, put on your clothes, love."
"I don't want to," Blair complained, pouting.
He hurried across the room and kissed her quickly on the nose. "Later," he promised. "Now throw on some clothes and meet me downstairs in the lobby." Then he turned and left the room, leaving her perfumed, well-moisturized, and depilated body naked and alone.
This better be a good surprise.
Blair emerged from the wood-paneled elevator in a hastily chosen ensemble: a chocolate brown Tory Burch tunic (thank you, Harrods), a favorite pair of old True Religion jeans, and clunky gold Marc by Marc Jacobs clogs. She looked like a jet-setter on holiday. Just right for a weekend jaunt to Tunis in Lord Marcus's private jet. Could that be the surprise?
The grand, chandelierlit marble hotel lobby was abuzz with activity, but Blair noticed a hush fall over the crowd as she crossed the tiled floor, her clogs clopping noisily, to the overstuffed black velvet chaise where Marcus sat waiting for her. He was so goddamn handsome Blair couldn't help admiring him, like he was a painting or some rare piece of sculpture, and it was hard to resist plunging her fingers into the thick waves of his golden-brown hair. She was so busy mentally rhapsodizing over her gorgeous English lover that she barely noticed he was holding hands with someone who was definitely not her.
Ding, ding. Hello?
Forgetting the romantic jaunt to Africa, Blair's eyes narrowed at the horsy blonde holding her boyfriend's hand. What the fuck?
"Blair, at last," Lord Marcus greeted her smoothly, standing but not letting go of his companion's hand. "This, my dear, is my darling cousin Camilla, the one I told you about. My soul mate. She's in town for a couple of weeks. We were practically twins growing up! Isn't that the most marvelous surprise?"
"Marvelous," echoed Blair, throwing herself onto a nearby armchair. She didn't remember hearing anything about any cousin Camilla.
But then, listening had never been her strong suit.
"I'm so delighted to meet you," said Camilla, staring down her long, prominent nose—the kind of schnozz even the best plastic surgeon couldn't fix. Her pale English complexion was layered with comical amounts of beige powder and primary-red blush. Her legs were clownishly long and skinny, like she'd been stretched on one of those old-fashioned lengthening machines Blair had tried to find on eBay.
"Mimi just turned up yesterday morning, unannounced," Lord Marcus explained. "Imagine, like a lost waif, with bags in hand." He chuckled.
"Yes, well, thankfully I can count on my dear Marmar to open up his home to me," Camilla gushed, casually running her free hand through her long, flaxen hair. Hair that could easily be cut off in the middle of the night.
"You're staying at his place?" demanded Blair rudely, already hating the crooked-toothed Camilla and her ugly yellow Indian silk sundress, which probably cost thousands but looked like a tablecloth. "But I thought there wasn't room."
"There's always room for family," Lord Marcus answered, squeezing Camilla's talonlike hand before turning back to Blair. "Not to worry, sweetheart. We'll all have a grand time together."
Sure they will.
one is the loneliest number
"Archibald!" Coach Michaels yelled up at the roof. "I want to hear your lazy ass banging those shingles. Now!"
"Yes, sir," Nate Archibald muttered as he watched Coach climb into his blue minivan and back out of the short driveway, honking a cheerful beep beep be-beep as he sped off down the suburban Hampton Bays street. Nate could picture him popping Viagra and jacking off to the pornos he probably kept in the glove compartment.
Douche bag, Nate added silently. Sweat stinging his eyes, he ran a hand across his forehead and frowned down at the black-shingled roof. Idiot, he told himself for the hundredth time that morning. It was only nine o'clock, but the brutal sun was pounding down, the scratchy shingles were tearing up his knees, and his back throbbed. Nate straightened up to full height and pulled off his drenched lime-green Stussy T-shirt. Then he dropped his hammer and sat down, even though the roof was so hot he could feel it burning his ass through his shorts.
He dug around in his pockets for the lovingly hand-rolled Thai stick joint he'd been smart enough to stash there the night before. Nate pulled out the yellow plastic lighter he kept tucked into his sock and lit the joint, inhaling deeply.
Wake and bake. The breakfast of champions.
His fuckup was costing him, that was for sure, but Nate was determined not to let one mistake ruin his whole summer. His days belonged to Coach Michaels, but his nights were still his, and he had his parents' place on Georgica Pond all to himself, since his folks preferred the splendid isolation of their compound up in Mt. Desert Island, Maine.
Nate flipped open his cell and scrolled through his contact list until he got to the first person he knew with a house in the Hamptons. There was no sense letting the perfect party house go to waste.
Waste not, want not.
"Hey, it's Charlie," said the voicemail recording. "I'm out of the country for a couple of weeks, but leave me a message and I'll check you when I get back. Later."
Damn. Nate hung up without leaving a message.
He scrolled some more until he came to the number for Jeremy Scott Tompkinson, another friend from school. Nate half remembered hearing something about how Jeremy was spending the summer out in LA, taking acting classes or something lame like that.
The only guy Nate knew for sure was in the Hamptons was Anthony Avuldsen, so Nate tried him too, but he didn't answer his phone either. He was probably still sleeping; no one with any sense would be awake this early in the morning.
Frowning, Nate took another deep drag on his joint. He could just imagine the endless march of hot, sweaty days and lonely, quiet nights before he would finally pack up and head off to Yale in the fall.
From his perch on the roof, Nate could see the coach's wide backyard, the very yard he'd be in charge of mowing and landscaping for the next few weeks. He'd been so preoccupied, he hadn't noticed the best part of the view: the coach's wife, lying poolside, sunning herself in the bright morning rays, top-less. She was a mom and she wasn't young, but she wasn't that old, either. At least her boobs had aged well. He'd seen The Graduate, and he'd never been with an older woman. Shit could happen. Maybe working for the coach without pay wouldn't be so bad after all.
Or maybe the sun is getting to him.
v's date with destiny
Teetering ever so slightly on her black peep-toe Celine plat-form sandals—okay, so they were technically Blair's, but she knew her onetime roommate would never come back to Williamsburg to collect any of the stuff she'd left behind— Vanessa thwacked over the cobblestones of the too-trendy-for-a-place-that-smells-like-dead-meat Meatpacking District toward the unmarked rusty door of Ken Mogul's massive live/work loft.
Despite her classmate Serena van der Woodsen's drunken promises to put a good word in with him at Blair's wild graduation party a couple of weeks before, Vanessa Abrams had never seriously expected to hear from Ken Mogul again. Earlier that year, he'd taken an interest in her career when some nearly-X-rated film footage she'd shot of Jenny Humphrey and Nate Archibald hooking up in Central Park surfaced online and tried to take her under his wing as a protégé. But Vanessa didn't like the idea of being under anyone's wing, and working on a major Hollywood production out in LA wasn't exactly her thing. She was more a dead-pigeons-and-used-condom film auteur than maker of big teen block-busters, but Breakfast at Fred's was going to be shot right on her doorstep at Barneys uptown. It was tempting to write it off as a learning experience. Still, something about it made her uneasy. She rang the buzzer marked only with the director's initials and waited, fiddling nervously with her clothes. Nearly her entire outfit had been garnered from the spoils Blair had left behind. She'd paired a black sleeveless Mayle cowl-neck top with her own tattered black jeans, Blair's clunky Celine sandals, and the steel-gray leather DKNY messenger bag Blair used to carry her laptop in. The look was sophisticated and artsy: she looked like someone who didn't care about things like looking sophisticated.
Like she ever cared?
Suddenly the door flew open to reveal an incredibly tall girl sporting super-short cutoffs and a pink tank-top. Her skin was dark brown and flawless; her hair was long, jet black, and perfectly straight; and her eyes were huge, green, and sparkling. She smiled, showing off a mouthful of absolutely perfect white teeth.
All the better to eat you with . . .
"Yeah?" the Afro-Asian model-goddess demanded with a hostile grimace. She looked almost like an evil character in that Xbox game Jade Empire, and Vanessa could imagine being decapitated with a flick of her long, lean, fighting-machine wrist.
"Um, yeah, I'm here to see Ken."
"Come on up," Jade Empire muttered, turning around. The heavy steel door slammed shut as Vanessa followed her up a narrow cement staircase and into a huge, bright, open room. A forest of rusting steel columns supported the vaulted ceiling, and a bank of windows showcased an incredible view of the Hudson River. The vast space was divided by a long, open bookcase and was overflowing with heavy art books and vinyl records, framed photographs and dusty vases. The latest Arcade Fire album blasted from tiny Bose speakers mounted to the top of the bookcase, and the music echoed all around.
"He's in here somewhere," Jade Empire explained, clearly disinterested. "You've got an appointment, right?"
"I think so."
"Well, just hang out. He'll show up sooner or later. Good luck with whatever it is." She shrugged and kicked off her beaded yellow Chinese slippers and shuffled away into the depths of the loft, disappearing behind the bookcase.
- On Sale
- May 10, 2006
- Page Count
- 256 pages