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You know you love me,
Copyright © 2009 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.
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Visit our Web site at www.HachetteBookGroup.com.
Poppy is an imprint of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
The Poppy name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
First eBook Edition: May 2009
The characters, events, and locations in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Gossip Girl novels created by Cecily von Ziegesar:
You Know You Love Me
All I Want Is Everything
Because I'm Worth It
I Like It Like That
You're The One That I Want
Nobody Does It Better
Nothing Can Keep Us Together
Only In Your Dreams
Would I Lie To You
Don't You Forget About Me
It Had To Be You
You Just Can't Get Enough
Take A Chance On Me
If you like gossip girl, you may also enjoy:
The Poseur series by Rachel Maude
The Secrets of My Hollywood Life series by Jen Calonita
Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith
Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Footfree and Fancyloose by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain
We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
—Hamlet, William Shakespeare
It's mid-October, otherwise known as Indian summer—the schizophrenic time of year when girls wear their favorite Alice + Olivia frocks layered over their wool Tibi leggings, when coffee orders suddenly switch from iced to hot, and when certain people (you know who you are) still think it's acceptable to bust out their Malia Mills bikinis and sunbathe in Sheep Meadow on weekend afternoons, hoping the pickup soccer game–playing St. Jude's boys might notice.
According to historical legend, Indian summer was known as the time of year when tensions were especially high between natives and newcomers. And here on the Upper East Side, history seems to be repeating itself. Case in point? O and R, the former best guy buddies whose city bromance was one for the books, swam together, ran together, drank together—they seemed inseparable. And they were… until R caught O hooking up with his girlfriend. O got a bloody nose… and the girl. Now that O has completely stolen K from R, the two won't so much as talk. Sad. I guess sharing isn't caring, after all.
And that's not the only skirmish we've witnessed this fall. The freckly-faced ballerina J and socialite-in-training A have already had territorial battles over everything from couture to classmate loyalty. And even though A seemingly gained ground when her sister B dated J's ex, now B is flying solo and A is fighting solo. Good thing A is going to be spending her afternoons safely ensconced within glass-walled offices for her highly coveted media internship. And since J's back with her boyfriend, maybe she can forgive and forget. Miracles can happen, right? And not just on Thirty-fourth Street?
So what to do if you're feeling a chill in the air that's not related to a dropping thermostat—one that can't be fixed by your new DVF A-line herring-bone coat? Well, why not take a cue from one sparkly-eyed bohemian nymph and skip town? B has been avoiding stateside drama in favor of exploring the beaches, shops, and cafes of the Spanish seaside in Barcelona—solo. Is she second-guessing her hasty breakup with a certain Manhattan mogul-in-training, doing some soul searching, or looking for a certain Spanish boy who was recently visiting NYC? One thing's for sure: She may be single, but she's not alone. She's been spotted all over Barcelona, constantly trailed by an army of admirers. Some girls have all the luck!
A at a newsstand on Seventy-second and Lex, picking up copies of Vogue, French Vogue, Italian Vogue, Harper's, and Tatler. Boning up on the competition before her big Metropolitan internship? Or just making a really ambitious collage?… O and K making out next to a rack of chips at a bodega on Madison and Sixty-second. And on a bench in Central Park. And on the downtown 6 train. Either these lovers don't know about secluded rooftop terraces, or they seriously get off on PDA…. The recently reunited J and J.P., sharing an Evian at Corner Bakery on Ninety-third, with J.P.'s three puggles in tow. R throwing dozens of ripped-up photographs into the East River, crying the whole time. Brings new meaning to drowning your sorrows… And a smiling B, on La Rambla in Barcelona, being catcalled by everyone in her path. Hola, bebé!
I have heard a rumor of a beautiful brown-haired girl in Barcelona, looking for a man she met in New York. I believe that was me. Please to tell her that I am in Majorca, on my submarine, and I would love to see her.
a: Dear LL,
Sadly, I don't know where your tousled bohemian beauty is either, but we're hoping she comes home soon.
q: Dear GG,
I'm a senior at Barnard and I was supposed to score this amazing internship at Metropolitan, the legendary New York fashion mag that totally propelled the career of anyone who's anyone in the industry? And suddenly I hear some girl who's a junior in high school scored the internship? WTF? I guarantee you she doesn't even know her Joan Didion from her Mary McCarthy. What's wrong with this world? Seriously, I'm just about ready to give up on New York.
a: Dear EE,
Unfortunately, sometimes it really is who you know, so maybe this girl had some legendary connections. But look on the bright side: Perhaps you don't want to know those people anyway?
These are strange days, where one morning it feels like you should be sunning in Sagaponack rather than slaving away at pre-calc, and the next it's back to frigid. For my part, I'm off to Barneys to stock up on cozy TSE cashmere cardigans. You may not be able to control public opinion, but you can control your own comfort. No matter how cold it gets—or how icy your former besties are acting—don't let it stop you from being hot.
You know you love me,
the love you make is equal to the love you take
"Ow!" Owen Carlyle grunted as a bagel hit him, hard, square in the center of his broad shoulders. He whirled around and furrowed his blond eyebrows at the swimmers hanging out on the steps of the Y. Scrawny Chadwick Jenkins and linebacker-size Ken Williams smiled back at him angelically, as if they were choirboys at St. Patrick's Cathedral rather than testosterone-laced high schoolers.
"Quit it, okay?" Owen grumbled, looking away from them and toward the gridlocked Second Avenue traffic. Owen was all for swim team bonding, particularly before their first meet of the season. But it was a little embarrassing to be surrounded by these guys when they were acting like Ritalin-pumped kindergarteners. Especially when his new girlfriend, Kelsey, was supposed to meet him any moment.
Owen whirled around and saw Kelsey walking toward him. It had been pouring all morning, but by early afternoon the rain had finally devolved into a misty light drizzle. Kelsey's strawberry blond hair was slightly damp, as if she'd toweled off after a shower, and her pink rubber rain boots matched her fitted pink trench coat, belted loosely at her tiny waist. From a distance, it looked like she wasn't wearing anything underneath. Owen's mind started to work overtime.
Right, just his mind.
Every time he saw Kelsey, Owen's heart thudded hard in his chest. He'd felt it ever since he first saw her, back in July, at a party in Nantucket. He'd been hanging at the outskirts of one of the typical summer beach parties, and she'd come with some friends from the Cape, on vacation from New York. They'd seen each other at the same time, and by the end of the night, they'd wound up on the other side of the beach, losing their virginities to each other. It was kind of wild, but also the most romantic night of Owen's life. When he moved to New York a couple months later, he kept hoping to run into her. And in a ridiculous twist of fate, he had. On the first day of school Rhys Sterling, the St. Jude's swim team captain and Owen's new friend, introduced Owen to Kelsey—as his girlfriend. A few weeks and one bloody nose later, Owen had lost a friend and gained a girlfriend. He'd never been happier.
Or more Shakespearian?
Kelsey tapped Owen on the temple with a slim, pale peach–polished fingernail. "Hello?" she asked, acting mock-hurt at his spaciness.
"Sorry!" Owen quickly tore his thoughts away from fantasy Kelsey. The real thing was so much better. He pulled her to him, rubbing his hands up and down her back. He planted his mouth lightly on hers. Her lip gloss tasted like Swedish fish.
Behind them, the guys started whistling and cheering. Owen reluctantly broke apart from Kelsey and glared at his teammates.
"God, you guys are so lame," Kelsey called out good-naturedly, sticking out her tongue at the team. Owen kept grinning like an idiot. When Kelsey was here, everything was just better. Of course, there was the ever-present nagging feeling of guilt that he'd totally screwed up his best friend's life.
There's always something….
"I missed you today. I was thinking about you," Kelsey whispered, playing with a delicate silver flower-shaped necklace that landed in the center of her chest. Drops of rain gave her skin a dewy, glowy look, and Owen wished they were in his flannel-covered bed instead of the middle of the street. He tore his gaze away from the hint of cleavage and instead locked it on her coral-colored lips. God, she was sexy.
He pulled Kelsey closely to him again, nuzzling his nose into the top of her honey-colored, slightly damp hair.
"Fresh roasted nuts!" the street vendor on the corner hawked. Behind him, the swim team guys snickered as if it was the most amusing thing they'd ever heard. Owen pulled away from Kelsey in frustration.
"Let's take a walk," he suggested, flicking his gaze back and forth as if he were a spy on lookout. Ninety-second Street was pretty empty, with only one woman hurriedly walking her slobbering black Lab past each fenced-in tree.
"Okay. But I don't want you to be late to the meet." Kelsey bit her lip. Owen smiled, loving how concerned she was. It was nice to feel taken care of.
"I won't be," he said definitively, wrapping his fingers around her wrist. He caressed the well-worn silver surface of her Tiffany ID bracelet, memorizing the grooves in the loopily engraved letters KAT. It was the bracelet Kelsey had left on the Nantucket beach that summer. Owen had brought it to New York with him and used to sleep with it under his pillow, trying to somehow conjure Kat, his dream girl. He hadn't known then that K. A. T. were her initials: Kelsey Addison Talmadge. The mystery behind her name somehow suited her, the way she'd just appeared in his life.
As soon as they rounded the corner, out of sight of the swim team boys, he gently pushed Kelsey against the redbrick wall of the Y and leaned in to kiss her. He didn't even care if it was in broad daylight. After weeks of having to keep their desire a secret, he and Kelsey could finally be together. He could feel her long eyelashes against his cheek and she just felt so good and—
"Classy, Carlyle!" A voice interrupted Owen's reverie. He broke away from Kelsey, wiping his mouth self-consciously with the back of his hand. Walking up the street, jauntily swinging his maroon Speedo St. Jude's swim team bag in one hand and stroking a full blond beard with the other, was Hugh Moore, a fellow junior and varsity swimmer. While all the swim team guys had grown ridiculous facial hair as part of a pact, Hugh was the only member who hadn't eventually shaved. He'd kept the beard because it made him look a few years older and got him into the divey bars that peppered Second Avenue without an ID.
"Hey Hugh," Owen mumbled, and turned back to Kelsey. He ran his fingers through Kelsey's hair and leaned in toward her. He kissed her neck and held the small of her back, not caring if Hugh was there, probably recording the whole thing on his iPhone to upload to YouTube. Perv. He pressed his body against hers, and she pressed eagerly back. They were kissing passionately, and Owen had practically forgotten where he was, when he heard an awkward throat-clearing sound from Hugh. Annoyed, he looked up.
There, rounding the corner, was Rhys Sterling. His maroon St. Jude's blazer was wrinkled and his face looked drawn and gray. His broad shoulders were slumped, and he didn't even try to avoid the puddles of rain on the sidewalk.
Hugh doubled back and clapped a hand on Rhys's shoulder, propelling him past Owen and Kelsey. "Ready to kick Oriole ass, dude?" Hugh asked jovially.
Rhys squirmed away from Hugh's meaty hand and stood, rooted to the sidewalk. He knew Hugh was trying to distract him from the scene in front of him. As if he could possibly forget what he'd seen: his former girlfriend and his former friend, together. Kelsey's strawberry blond hair tumbled down her back, and she was smiling. It felt like she was smiling just to spite him.
"Ready to rock?" Hugh repeated, clearly sensing Rhys's discomfort. He offered his hand for a high five. Rhys awkwardly tried to slap it, as if he couldn't care less that his ex-girlfriend and his ex–best friend were practically having sex on the sidewalk.
"Hugh, we're running late," Rhys announced in an artificially loud voice, just because he didn't know what the hell else to say. As soon as he heard his words, he cringed. He sounded like a neurotic soccer mom. He squinted down at the ground, forcing himself to move one John Varvatos limited edition shoe in front of the other. Maybe he should just keep walking until he reached Canada, or any other goddamn place where he wouldn't be reminded of how his girlfriend—the person he'd loved more than anyone in the world—had taken him for a fucking fool and betrayed him.
"Rhys?" Kelsey turned toward him, her large, ocean-blue eyes pleading.
"I'm not talking to you, Kelsey," Rhys spat angrily. He cringed. That was the best he could come up with? He wanted to kick himself as he trudged toward the door of the Y, avoiding eye contact with Owen.
"I should…" Owen shrugged apologetically as he let go of Kelsey's hand.
"I'll see you later. If you win, I might have an extra-special surprise for you," Kelsey teased, her eyes gleaming. Owen grinned from ear to ear, the guilt almost gone.
Out with the old, in with the… lewd?
a is for intern
"Fuck!" Avery Carlyle exclaimed as she stepped into a huge puddle outside the Dennen Publishing Enterprises building after school on Friday. It was the first day of her internship at Metropolitan, the legendary city-centric fashion magazine, and now her new naughty secretary–style black seamed Wolford stockings were soaked to the ankle, and her vintage Prada T-strap pumps squeaked with every step she took.
The Dennen Publishing Tower, opposite Grand Central, was a brand-new art deco–inspired architectural wonder that fit seamlessly into the New York landscape. Skinny women in towering Jimmy Choos and chunky Stella McCartney boots were clustered outside the row of revolving glass doors, sucking on Parliaments as they barked into their BlackBerries. Messengers hopped off bikes, their arms laden with heavy bags and packages, while a convoy of shiny black town cars waited patiently at the curb.
Avery took a deep breath and pushed nervously through a revolving door. Today was the first day of the rest of her new and improved life. She'd had a bit of a shaky start in the city: She'd immediately found herself the enemy of Jack Laurent, the bitchiest, vainest, most insecure girl in the junior class. Then Avery had won a highly coveted school leadership position only to discover it required weekly meetings with the Constance Billard board of overseers, who were really just a group of also bitchy, possibly alcoholic octogenarians.
But, Avery reminded herself as she patted the thick black and silver Marc Jacobs headband perched atop her wheat-blond hair, her luck seemed to be changing. Ticky Bensimmon-Heart—the world-famous editor in chief of Metropolitan—was on the Constance overseers' board and had rescued Avery by offering her an internship at the prestigious magazine. Soon, all of the New York media world would love Avery, and Jack Laurent and her bitchy posse would wet their pants in jealousy.
She marched up to the marble-topped security desk in the corner. A bored, white-haired guy looked her up and down.
For security purposes only.
"Avery Carlyle. I'm here for Metropolitan," she said in her most professional voice. The impressive lobby had waterfalls flanking the escalators and gorgeous white marble floors, and she suppressed the urge to twirl around, Funny Face style.
"ID?" the security guard asked in a bored voice, oblivious to the moment Avery was having. She fished for her Massachusetts driver's license in the brand-new Hermès bag she'd bought in Soho this weekend as a starting-work present.
"Good luck." The security guard winked as he handed her a dorky visitor's pass sticker. "Floor thirty-five. Top of the heap. Make sure to wear the pass until we get you a permanent one."
Avery slapped the sticker on her skirt, where she could camouflage it with her bag—no way was she going to wear it like a dorky name tag. She followed the herd of gazelle-like girls up the escalator and toward the elevator banks, pretending to know where she was going. On floor thirty-five, the elevator opened into an all-white reception area decorated with huge, blown-up photos of Metropolitan's most famous covers. Avery stared at the images of Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, and Jackie Kennedy. She sucked in a deep breath. She was in.
"May I help you?" The girl sitting behind the desk didn't bother to look up from her gleaming white iMac. She had straight black hair that landed halfway down her back and thick bangs that skimmed her eyes. She looked like Angelina Jolie in her goth, vial of blood–wearing years.
"I'm here to see Ticky Bensimmon-Heart," Avery announced, pleased with how official that sounded. She was even more excited than she'd been on her first day at school.
And remember how well that day turned out?
"Who are you?" The Angelina look-alike looked up from her computer.
Avery smiled her best first-day-of-work smile and squared her shoulders. The photograph of Jackie seemed to be smiling at her. "Avery Carlyle?" She hated how it came out like a question. "Avery Carlyle," she said again, emphasizing her last name. "I'm the intern," she added.
"You're an intern," she repeated, the way she might have said, You're a garbage truck driver, or You're a proctologist. "You're not seeing Ticky, trust me. I'll call McKenna to fetch you. She's the intern wrangler."
Avery furrowed her eyebrows. Intern wrangler? What did they think she was, a farm animal?
Avery perched on the black leather couch and flipped through the latest issue of the magazine. A fashion spread featured models lying languorously on the Brooklyn Bridge, about to get hit by oncoming traffic. The headline screamed, The Danger of the Downtown Look, followed by text deriding the downtown boho style. Avery smirked, thinking of all the girls at Constance who tried to downgrade the simple elegance of their uniforms by pairing them with flip-flops, keffiyeh scarves, and ripped leggings. She was definitely going to like it here.
Avery glanced up. Standing at the glass door was a super-tall, super-skinny girl with a severe blond bob and whispery bangs framing her heart-shaped face. She was probably just out of college, and wore straight-leg jeans and a pink Thakoon blazer Avery had seen in this month's Vogue.
"Avery, this is McKenna Clarke," Goth Girl said as she turned back to her iMac.
"Avery Carlyle." Avery stood up and stuck her hand out formally. "So good to meet you, McKenna."
"Follow me." McKenna turned crisply on her four-inch purple suede Christian Louboutin ankle boots. Avery had to practically run to keep up with her as they walked down a white hallway.
"So, how long have you worked here?" Avery chirped, struggling to match McKenna's supermodel strut. Inside the office were rows and rows of cubicles. They passed a glass-walled conference room filled with willowy, pouty models. A harried-looking blond girl was frantically taking Polaroids of each of them.
McKenna sighed, not breaking her stride as she darted between racks of fur coats that had been set up, mazelike, in the hallway. "A year. And, listen, generally, interns are seen and not heard. That's just the way things are at Metropolitan."
Is it, now?
Finally, McKenna slowed down, in front of a glass-walled corner office. Avery could see Ticky, holding a rotary phone receiver in one hand and frantically typing on a typewriter with the other. Ticky's bright red henna-highlighted hair was teased a full three inches above her heavily Botoxed forehead, and she wore a beaded gold Chanel jacket.
"I'm going to just say hi to Ticky—she's expecting me," Avery explained, moving toward the '50s retro–style office.
"Shh!" McKenna hissed, wrapping her thin fingers around Avery's wrist and yanking her down the hall. She opened an unmarked door, pulled Avery in, and shut it behind her.
The room was a windowless space with shelves and shelves of beauty products. The ground was covered with containers of even more products. Three girls were sitting at one long desk, their shoulders hunched over laptops, and a phone kept ringing in the corner.
"Um, I think I'm supposed to talk to Ticky to see what she wants me to do. But thanks for your help," Avery said politely, moving again to the door.
McKenna shot Avery a death stare. "Listen, I'm in charge of all the interns, and I think it's best if you stay in the closet for a few days, until you learn more about the culture of Metropolitan. Gemma?" A brown-haired girl sitting at one of the computers turned around and raised her eyebrow.
"Come here, Intern," Gemma called impatiently, as she stood and walked toward a huge chest of plastic-laminate drawers. She pushed her black Prada frames further up on her ski-jump nose and looked Avery up and down.
Intern? She didn't even get called by name?
"So, I guess what I'll have you do is organize these drawers." Gemma turned to face Avery. She had a zit threatening to pop from her angular chin, and her complexion was splotchy, but she wore a Dries Van Noten gray sweaterdress over black leggings with zippers up the calves that accentuated her height. She looked cool, and she knew it.
Avery tried to smile through her disappointment. She quickly opened the drawer and began pulling out lipsticks, scattering them on a white counter that lined one wall. Okay, so this wasn't investigative reporting. Or photo-shoot styling. But it also wasn't hanging out with odd-smelling old ladies, which was all she'd done after school for the past few weeks.
- On Sale
- May 12, 2009
- Page Count
- 256 pages