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An It Girl Novel
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Okay, so Callie almost got Jenny kicked out of Waverly on her first night there, but there’s a bright side. Like Callie’s shaggy-haired boyfriend, Easy Walsh, who just can’t seem to focus on his girlfriend anymore. Now everyone is gossiping about boyfriend-stealing Jenny. They can’t help but whisper: Jenny’s it.
But who’s that flying in on her seaplane? After getting expelled last year, Tinsley’s back and she’s not about to let some big-chested, rosy-cheeked city-girl get all the attention. And she’s certainly not going to let Callie and Brett forget that she took the fall for them. Now it’s their turn.
Is Waverly big enough for Jenny, Callie, Brett, and Tinsley? They’re all beautiful, captivating, and a little bit crazy . . . but there can be only one It Girl.
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 Web site at www.HachetteBookGroupUSA.com
First eBook Edition: June 2006
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
EVERY GIRL DREAMS ABOUT IT.
SOME JUST HAVE IT.
HOW FAR WILL ONE GIRL GO TO BECOME …
the it girl
Be sure to read all three novels in the New York Times bestselling it girl series, created by Cecily von Ziegesar, author of the #1 bestselling GOSSIP GIRL.
And keep your eye out for Unforgettable, coming June 2007.
Be sure to read all the novels in the #1 New York Times bestselling GOSSIP GIRL series
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
And keep your eye out for Don't You Forget About Me, coming May 2007.
A WAVERLY OWL IS ALWAYS POLITE, EVEN TO TOTAL STRANGERS.
Tinsley Carmichael glanced back at the sparkling Hudson River. The roar of her family's orange seaplane lifting back into the azure sky announced her return to Waverly Academy, the exclusive upstate New York boarding school she'd been unceremoniously kicked out of last spring. The pop-pop of her pencil-thin heels on the steps of Dumbarton Hall reminded her of flashbulbs, and Tinsley felt her classmates' eyes on her, peering out of the dorm room windows above her head. She shook out her mane of long, purpley black hair and turned her head to give her fans her best side, anticipating their hungry questions: Ohmigod, where have you been? How come you're back? Weren't you kicked out? Were you in rehab? Is it true you threatened to burn down Stansfield? And finally: How come Callie and Brett didn't get into any trouble and you did?
Tinsley would simultaneously deny everything and fan the flames of speculation. She'd especially enjoy encouraging the theory that she'd selflessly taken the rap for Callie and Brett after all three of them were caught on E last spring, the spring of their sophomore year. Her two best friends would be more than a little shocked to see her. She hadn't spoken to either of them over the long summer, and she still had no clue why she was the only one actually expelled for the whole "incident," unless one of them had ratted on her. But now that the summer was over—a phenomenal summer at that—and she'd been readmitted, she was feeling generous and willing to forgive and forget, as long as Callie and Brett provided the requisite profuse apologies and a healthy dose of ass-kissing.
With its pristine, ivy-covered brick buildings and undulating green playing fields, Waverly Academy looked like the gingerbread-cookie version of Brown or Princeton. As Tinsley clicked her way down the hall to Dumbarton 303, she recognized the familiar smell of Callie's coconut-scented Bumble & Bumble detangler and Le Petit Prince baby perfume mixed with the stale stench of Parliament cigarettes. She smiled as she pictured what would happen next: she'd waltz into their triple dorm room and throw herself across her old bed just like she used to do after a long, boring lecture in Hunter Hall or Mr. Farnsworth's calc class. Callie's little pink mouth would drop open and she'd try to say something cool but choke on her words. Brett would be amazed and astonished and totally speechless. Then both girls would begin squealing like baby piglets, flinging their slender limbs around Tinsley's neck. Well, at least that's how she imagined it.
She flipped her white plastic aviators up on her head and readjusted the bleached-leather hobo bag Chiedo had made for her while they were on safari outside of Cape Town. The memory of summer in South Africa made her chest ache—the parties at CapeRave with Chiedo and his friends, watching the sun rise over Table Mountain, and Where I've Been I Would Not Go Back, the heartfelt documentary about the people of South Africa that she and her father had made over the course of the summer. She touched her shark-tooth necklace (Chiedo again, sweet Chiedo), flipped her long, shiny dark hair behind her shoulders, and flung open the dorm room door. Ta da!
The silence she'd expected was of the stunned variety, not the where-the-fuck-is-everyone variety. But where the fuck was everyone? Tinsley surveyed the landscape: the view of the sparkling Hudson River through the wide casement windows, Brett's blue-and-white Nantucket beach etching sitting on her dresser, the litter of empty Diet Coke bottles on the floor next to Callie's bed, the ashtray full of Parliament butts on the windowsill. But no Callie and no Brett.
She wrinkled her nose, detecting a scent she didn't recognize—could it possibly be White Petals, a Chanel knockoff that stunk up Greenmarket Square in Cape Town? She sniffed, tracing the smell to a waterfall of unruly brown curls hanging off the side of her old bed. There was a girl in her bed. The girl shifted in her sleep. Tinsley kicked the antique-oak bed frame with her well-heeled foot. "Who are you?" she demanded.
"I'm Jenny." The girl sat up abruptly, her eyes darting wildly around the room as her ridiculously huge boobs bounced. "Who are you?"
Tinsley threw her bag down at the foot of the bed, her nose still wrinkled in distaste. Definitely White Petals. "Where are Callie and Brett?"
"They"—she started, rubbing her big brown eyes—"were here a minute ago. What time is it?"
"Time for you to get out of my bed," Tinsley announced coolly.
Jenny shook her head, trying to lift the sleepy haze from her brain. The stunning, tall girl standing in front of her was wearing a white-on-white leaf-print camisole and no bra. Jenny stared enviously at her browned shoulders and the outline of her round, perky breasts. What she wouldn't give to be able to wear a shirt like that. The girl had long black hair and impossibly blue—almost violet—eyes. … Wait a second, her bed?
"You're Tinsley!" she squealed a little too emphatically, bouncing up and down before remembering she was wearing the soft, super-thin white Constance T-shirt she liked to sleep in. She hoped her enormous breasts didn't look too ridiculous as they bobbed and settled back into place.
"I don't remember you." Tinsley folded her arms across her chest as if to imply that Jenny had better put her boobs away before she hurt someone with them.
"I'm new. I transferred from Constance Billard." Jenny pointed at the capital letters emblazoned across her T-shirt and then remembered her boobs again. "In New York City," she added hopefully, as if the fact that she was from the city would lend her an air of credibility or at the very least a remote hint of cool.
"I know where it is," Tinsley snapped as her white aviators slipped down off her forehead, landing perfectly on the bridge of her tanned, pert little nose.
Jenny could feel her glaring intensely from behind her sunglasses. She'd worried about meeting Tinsley since Dean Marymount announced her return to Waverly last night. But now that she was here, Tinsley was even more intimidating than Jenny had imagined. And she was supposed to live with this girl?
"You mind?" Tinsley asked, opening her cool, beat-up-looking leather bag and pulling out a clove cigarette.
Jenny shook her head and offered up the Powerpuff Girl Zippo she'd bought in Chinatown that she used for lighting the apple cinnamon candle she kept by her bed. "Wake and bake, right?"
"It's not pot." Tinsley pushed her sunglasses up again. "So what year are you anyway?"
"Sophomore." Tinsley blew a smoke ring like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland and Jenny remembered what Sam, the boy on the train when she first came up from New York, said about Tinsley going to parties at Bard and the rumors she'd heard about Easy and Tinsley hooking up behind Callie's back last year. Jenny imagined boys drooling over Tinsley's smooth tanned shoulders and her wild violet eyes and girls hating her for the same reasons. Jenny would have hated her too if she didn't feel simultaneously scared and infatuated by her.
"So you're the new roommate, huh?" Tinsley examined Jenny as if she were a vintage fifties housedress from Goodwill that could either be an incredible find or, on closer inspection, just pit-stained and worthless.
"Yeah. Callie and Brett are awesome," she replied with a borderline squeak, hoping to let her new roommate know they were part of the same fold now. After all, she'd made friends easily with Callie and Brett. Well, sort of easily. Callie had kind of bribed her into letting the Disciplinary Committee believe Easy Walsh was caught in their room on the second night of school visiting her rather than Callie, his girlfriend. In the end Easy took all the blame, and part of Jenny thought maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with her.
She shot her feet out from under her scratchy baby-blue wool blanket and shuffled over to her antique oak bureau. She grabbed a bottle of Pantene de-frizzing serum and squirted a dollop into her palm. It made a little farting sound and Jenny muffled a squeal of discomfort. Then she turned to the mirror as she smoothed out her long brown tendrils, grateful that at least she didn't have any embarrassing morning whiteheads around her nostril creases.
"So—" She turned around, freshly de-frizzed.
But all she saw was the door closing. It slammed angrily, and Jenny couldn't help but jump back a step. Hello, that was not a real fart!
Outside the casement windows the first leaves were beginning to turn orange and red and the Hudson River rolled along, smooth and sparkling under the morning sun. A feeling of dread settled in Jenny's stomach. Was it just a bad first impression, or was the famous Tinsley Carmichael kind of … well … a bitch?
SageFrancis: She's baaaaaaack …
CelineColista: What r u talking about?
SageFrancis: TC! She's returned from exile in Africa or wherever the hell she was. I heard her father had to promise Waverly a new performing arts center to get back in.
CelineColista: No waaaaaaaay … Do you think they'll kick J out of 303?
SageFrancis: I heard they're ALL staying. Do you think she'll clash with T?
CelineColista: Who knows, but if they do, I want popcorn and a front-row seat!
A WAVERLY OWL KNOWS THAT FORGIVING IS NOT THE SAME AS FORGETTING.
Callie Vernon dragged the narrow heels of her new black-and-white Louboutin mules through the dewy grass toward Chapel, the fuzz of sleep still thick in her brain. It had been three days since the Black Saturday party, but she still couldn't shake the image of Jenny and Easy staring into each other's eyes by the reflecting pool at Heath's Woodstock estate. Was that even true? Heath had sent everyone a gossipy email after the party suggesting it, but she still didn't know for sure. Either way, the fact that Callie had set it up—she'd actually asked Easy and Jenny to flirt in order to make it look more realistic that Easy had been visiting Jenny and not her when he was caught in their room by their freaky dorm mistress Angelica Pardee—threatened to reduce her to a MAC-mascara-streaked mess. And if that wasn't enough, had she really gotten so drunk that she made out with Heath Ferro—gross!—and begged her old boyfriend Brandon to hook up with her? And had he really turned her down?
"That you, C.V.?"
Callie felt wobbly already, but when she spotted Tinsley in the chapel doorway, she was sure she'd lost her mind. She stopped and tilted her head to the side, expecting the violet-eyed heavenly apparition to float back into the atmosphere. Her old roommate's appearance at the top of the stone steps was as much a dream as Dean Marymount and Mrs. Pardee measuring room 303 for a fourth bed last night, their voices the unintelligible murmur of angels. Their announcement that Tinsley had been suspended and not expelled for their raucous night out on the playing field last spring was too fantastic to be true—yet here she was.
Callie wanted to run and jump into her arms. She wanted to explain to Tinsley about Easy and Jenny and the Disciplinary Committee and the distance between her and Brett and how Brett was secretly doing it with Mr. Dalton, the new theoretically doable history teacher, who was actually kind of gross to imagine Brett doing it with. Things had been so weird with Brett that she'd actually found out about Mr. Dalton by answering Brett's cell and talking to her sister. She'd pretended not to know until Brett told her about the affair last night, but she'd actually been the one to slip the secret and get the whole school talking about it. Oops. Now Tinsley, the only person Callie had ever met who could vanquish even the most serious problems with little more than a smoldering wink, was back. But a hazy corona settled around Callie's head, and all she could do was stare.
"Hello?" Tinsley demanded loudly, interrupting her daze.
Her voice sent Callie galloping up the chapel steps. She wrapped her arms around her old best friend, whose thin body fell limp under the pressure, and felt their classmates staring.
"I've missed you so much," Callie blurted uncoolly, but she honestly couldn't help it. After everything that had happened—the E fiasco last spring, Easy coming to visit her in Barcelona over the summer and telling him she loved him, the fact that he hadn't said it back and now might be into her midget-slut roommate—it was hard to stand in front of Tinsley and maintain composure. Everything about her was so effortless and cool. And no matter how confident Callie was normally, she felt like her roommate's ugly, lame-ass step-cousin when they stood side by side. While she was freckled all over, Tinsley's skin was buttery smooth and naturally tanned; while Callie's strawberry blond hair was flyawayed and unmanageable, Tinsley's jet black hair fell down her back like a heavy sheath. While Callie cared about the gauge of her cashmere sweaters and owning whatever bag Sienna Miller was carrying in that month's British Vogue, Tinsley looked incredible in whatever she picked up off the floor. And now, here she was. A million questions ran through Callie's mind: Where the hell have you been? Why haven't you called me? Is that really a giant shark tooth on your neck? Finally she whispered a simple: "What happened?"
Tinsley glared at a knot of blond-bobbed sophomores straining their ears to hear from the stone walkway. She took Callie by the arm and walked around to the east side of the chapel.
"Please tell me. What the fuck happened?" Callie couldn't help asking again.
Tinsley leaned her weight against the stone building. "You tell me."
"I don't know." Callie's hands flapped stupidly.
"You didn't set me up?" Tinsley demanded.
Callie shook her head emphatically.
For a split second, Callie considered blaming Brett for everything. That'd serve her right for keeping her teacher lover a secret. But things were getting better between them. Sort of. "It wasn't us."
"Swear." She stupidly raised her right hand with its chipped South of the Highway pink polished nails. She'd made a mess of them while playing a totally-out-of-character midnight game of Frisbee with some of the dorkier Dumbarton girls last night, hoping to get her mind off Jenny and Easy.
Tinsley looked at her doubtfully, and Callie's lip started to quiver. She wanted everything to be like it was before, when she and Brett and Tinsley were the kind of threesome who finished each other's thoughts and laughed before anyone ever said anything. The kind who trusted each other no matter what. That seemed so long ago now.
"When Marymount asked me about the E, I assumed we were going to share the blame equally," Tinsley finally offered, squinting at her friend. Callie looked like she'd aged five years since the spring. "So I confessed."
Callie gasped, raising her hand to her mouth. "But I denied everything. … I thought we all would."
Tinsley noticed her roommate's chewed fingernails and chipped light-pink polish and felt sorry for her even though the situation should have been reversed. "Marymount kicked me out on the spot. Finito."
"Then why did they let you back in?" Callie asked as the last stragglers headed into Chapel for morning meeting, their I-just-rolled-out-of-bed ponytails bobbing as they hurried up the steps.
"They found out I spent break making a documentary with my dad in South Africa and changed my expulsion to a suspension." Tinsley ran her fingers through her glossy dark mane. She wanted to spill all the details about her mind-blowing summer, but not just yet. Callie needed to feel how angry she'd been about being the only one expelled. How unfair it was that they hadn't confessed too and how much it hurt that neither of them had even tried to get in touch with her over the summer. Then, once Callie felt totally incapacitated by guilt, she'd say she was sorry, really sorry, and she'd offer to do anything to make it up to her. Anything.
A strange, high-pitched whinnying sound broke the silence. "Nei-ei-ei-ei-gh."
They both turned their heads to see Heath Ferro whinnying like a horse, BlackBerry in hand. He dragged his foot through the dirt like a disgruntled mule as his thumbs worked the tiny buttons. Callie dug her fingertips into her palms, wincing at the idea that Heath's idiotic party had brought Easy and Jenny closer.
"What's up, good-looking?" Tinsley beckoned teasingly. "Miss me?"
Heath looked up from under his shaggy blondish brown hair and froze. "Wow. You back?" He grinned devilishly, his gold-flecked green eyes sparkling, and pocketed his BlackBerry.
Callie rolled her eyes. Heath, like every other boy at Waverly and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, had always had a massive crush on Tinsley, and Callie knew it.
"Yeah, I'm back," Tinsley continued. "For now."
Heath clutched his pocket as his BlackBerry started to vibrate.
"Who's that?" Callie asked.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Heath replied, pulling out his BlackBerry as a devious smile spread across his face. He shuffled toward the chapel steps, again punching at the tiny keypad. Organ music drifted through the chapel windows and floated out over the soccer field. The quiet muffle of forced singing soon filled the tension-heavy air.
"I just wish …" Callie's voice trailed off as she spotted Easy Walsh loping up the walkway, his eyes fixed on a pair of fat owls flying overhead. Callie noticed the splotch of yellow paint on the cuff of his faded Levi's and knew he'd probably been up since dawn, painting in his secret spot in the woods. He'd never told Callie exactly where it was, but she liked to think it was a sunny field of wildflowers in the middle of the forest, where he imagined her lying naked in the grass with dandelions braided into her long, strawberry blond hair, innocent yet totally ravishable. Now she was afraid that Jenny's face was superimposed where hers had been.
"Hey," Tinsley called out, startling Easy. He pretended to do a double take when he saw her—a goofy, exaggerated act Callie had seen him perform time and again, though she never tired of it.
"T-dog," Easy drawled in his irresistible Kentucky accent. He gave them both quick we're-all-good-friends kisses on their cheeks. What the hell? She was not Easy's friend. "Where have you been?"
The sunlight darted through the trees overhead, casting shadows on the grass. Callie noticed a new flirtatious lilt in Tinsley's voice as she spoke. Maybe Easy and Tinsley had hooked up at last spring, when Ben, the snoopy groundskeeper, spotted the two of them alone out on the halfway line of the soccer field after nightly check-in. Tinsley had nonchalantly denied it when Callie questioned her but in her typical, evasive, could-mean-anything way. And Callie was sure something had happened between the two of them two years ago during freshman year, when Tinsley threw a spring break party at her parents' house in Alaska. But since that predated Callie's relationship with Easy, she couldn't really hold it against either of them. Though it wasn't like she could forget, either.
"Well, it's good to have you back." Easy smiled, his eyelids drooping sexily. Callie felt her insides twist at the sight of his long, dark eyelashes and gorgeous, callused hands. She remembered their roughness caressing her face. "This place has been dying for a dose of you."
"It's good to see you too, Ease." Tinsley drew her tanned foot in a wide, slow-motion arc across the wet grass. Callie narrowed her green-flecked eyes and started up the chapel's stone steps. "Really good," she heard Tinsley say behind her.
"Mr. Walsh." A deep baritone voice sounded from the chapel doorway. In front of Callie stood Mr. Dalton, freshly shaven, his sandy-colored hair still damp and messy from the shower. Callie noticed Easy's body stiffen. Mr. Dalton was the Disciplinary Committee's faculty adviser, and he'd nailed Easy with probation for being in their room that night.
"Mr. Dalton," he replied mechanically, marching up the steps past her and then the history teacher.
"Good morning, ladies." Mr. Dalton nodded at them once as Easy shuffled inside. He smoothed out his maroon-and-navy-striped tie, and Callie noticed a silver link bracelet on his wrist. Ew, wasn't that a little girlie? Then he tilted his head toward Tinsley and offered her his hand. "I'm Eric Dalton. I don't believe we've met."
"Tinsley Carmichael." She stepped onto the bottom stair and gave him her hand in response. "A pleasure."
"Yes." Mr. Dalton nodded enthusiastically. "It is."
Callie still couldn't believe Brett was doing it with a teacher. Ew! She waited for him to disappear back inside Chapel before turning back to Tinsley.
"Who was that?" Tinsley asked excitedly, her violet eyes looking even bigger and darker than usual. She pulled her hair over her shoulder and started absentmindedly braiding it.
"Ask Brett," Callie scoffed.
"Where is Brett? I need to talk to her too."
Callie shrugged. Let them work their own shit out. This was her turn. She grabbed her friend's bronzed hand, readying herself to apologize before they went inside. It wasn't something Callie was particularly good at, but she wanted to make everything right.
"I just wish we could've planned our stories out before, you know?" she began awkwardly, hugging Tinsley again. "I feel horrible that you got all the blame." She felt a hot tear forming in the corner of her eye and was thankful for the waterproof mascara she'd decided on earlier, anticipating what would happen if she spotted Easy and Jenny together. She buried her face in Tinsley's neck.
"Apology accepted," Tinsley replied evenly, pulling back. "That just leaves one thing."
"What?" Callie blinked away the tear.
"Who's that bitch in my bed?"
"Oh, that's Jenny," Callie replied.
"You're going to help me move her stuff, right?"
Callie smiled. "Totally."
RyanReynolds: You at Chapel yet? I'm trying to get close to that Jenny girl. She just snuck in the back door and damn, her skirt is SHORT!
HeathFerro: Guess who I just saw?
RyanReynolds: Jenny? Save me a seat, bro.
HeathFerro: Nope even better. Tinsley fucking SMOKING HOT Carmichael. And I have to tell you, it's a sweeeeeeeeeeeet sight.
RyanReynolds: Are you fucking with me? I thought that was just a rumor she was coming back.
HeathFerro: Looks like the real thing to me …
RyanReynolds: Send me a pic with your camera phone STAT.
HeathFerro: Sorry chump. Don't have one. And I wouldn't share if I did. She and Callie look like they're busy kissing and making up. …
RyanReynolds: You definitely need to get a camera.
A WAVERLY OWL NEVER LOSES HER COOL EVEN WHEN SHE'S REALLY PISSED.
Brett Messerschmidt stood outside the door to room 303, her pointy ivory-colored ankle boots squeezing her toes. She could hear Tinsley's hoarse, sexy voice on the other side of the door, bitching to Callie about how Brett was taking up too much closet space. Brett reread the note her new roommate, Jenny, had written on the door's whiteboard, her whole body trembling with anticipation at the thought of seeing Tinsley again.
Happy Tuesday! Dinner tonight after practice?—J
Jenny was just so … sincere, like she cared way more about being happy than cool and like she wasn't interested in who your parents were or if they, say, lived in New Jersey or East Hampton. She was basically as different from Tinsley as anyone could possibly be. Brett couldn't stop worrying that it was probably only a matter of time before Tinsley informed everyone on campus about Brett's family. Brett had told everyone her mom and dad had an organic farm in the Hamptons, but the truth was her dad did boob jobs and tummy tucks for a living while her mom reupholstered their Rumson, New Jersey, living room furniture in clashing animal prints.
Even though it hadn't been Callie or Brett's fault that Tinsley had been kicked out—neither of them had ratted her out, even though they'd both spent the summer assuming the other had—Brett knew she'd blame them. She rolled her head around on her neck like a boxer getting ready for a fight and pushed open the heavy oak door.
Tinsley stood in the middle of the room, tall and model thin, wearing a turquoise-and-green Ginger and Java strapless silk blouson minidress beneath her maroon Waverly jacket. Brett didn't believe in superstitious insanity like auras, but it sure felt like Tinsley was radiating something.
"Well, well," Tinsley said coolly. "Nice to see you, B."
Brett smoothed her Seven jeans skirt, unsure if she should go over and give Tinsley a hug. She had never dealt well with people being mad at her—especially people who might very well spill your deepest, darkest secret just for shits and giggles. "You look fabulous as usual, T."
- On Sale
- Aug 1, 2008
- Page Count
- 288 pages