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Authors: LaurenVDW

Tags: #celebrity, #high school, #obsession, #popular, #fame, #famous, #popularity, #clique

The Perfection Paradox (6 page)

BOOK: The Perfection Paradox
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There was an
awkward silence for several seconds as Emily’s friends raised their
eyebrows at her questioningly, unsure of whether she was joking or
not.


I’ve got to
run honeys, but let’s do lunch together?” Emily asked. Amanda
glanced at Sarah, dumb founded.


Yeah… yeah,
sure…” she replied slowly, trying to read Emily’s expression as she
pulled her pink glitter bedecked sunglasses out of her handbag and
headed down the hall away from them.

After sitting
through a double Literature lesson, she joined Sarah and Amanda in
the cafeteria. She carried her homemade salad through the bustling
rows of lunch tables and chairs, waving and smiling at surrounding
students like a presidential candidate on the election
trail.

She sat down
curtly and pulled the lid off her salad.


How come
you’re eating rabbit food Em?” Sarah asked jokingly.


Just trying
to be a little healthier. I want to get down to a size four at
least…” She answered matter of factly, pressing her lips
together.


Oh… okay”
Sarah mumbled back, lathering her double cheeseburger with ketchup.
Another awkward silence followed.

Sarah was
very tall and very skinny. She was surprisingly athletic given her
awkward frame. She competed on the volleyball team and football
team, providing a coveted link with the in crowd of Rosewell for
her two best friends. Her teammates all liked her; she was friendly
and athletic, but not
quite
right for their clique.

Not that that
bothered Sarah particularly, she liked them, but was refreshingly
unfazed by popularity, indifferent to their opinion of
her.

She played
the sports because she loved them, not because she wanted access to
Rosewell high school’s elite.

Amanda was a
lot more like Emily. Like Emily, she thrived on the gossip of
Rosewell. Like Emily she craved to peek over the wall that
separated her from them.

She was pale
and pear-shaped and as plain looking as a girl could be. She liked
to pretend her life was far too interesting to be involved with
idle gossip.

She was quiet
in public but boisterous and self-assured, almost insolent, around
her friends.

The immense
size of her cleavage had been the cause of much unwanted attention
in freshman year, which steadily chipped away at her
confidence. 

 “
How
were your classes?” Amanda inquired eventually.


They seem
pretty easy so far… Which is good news, I’m thinking of applying to
Harvard”

Amanda nearly
spat out her coke, gasping for breath “Harvard? Since
when?”

Her shock
didn’t register with Emily as she gazed out over the cafeteria
melodramatically.


I was just
thinking about where I wanted to go over summer, and it seemed like
the right choice,” she answered nebulously, shrugging her shoulders
and shooting them a faux-cute smile, “If Kennedy thinks she can get
in there I don’t see why I shouldn’t try.”

Sarah tilted
her head to one side and examined Emily’s enthusiastic
grin.


Emily…
Kennedy has a 4.0 GPA… She’ll probably get a full score on the
SATs… She won a national essay competition and is signed up to
every extracurricular Rosewell has to offer… Don’t you think you’re
maybe being a
bit
over ambitious?” Emily tutted resentfully and shot Sarah an
irritated glare before plastering another fake smile on her face,
“Let’s just say I’m quietly confident” she answered, a hint of
maleficence in her voice, “I mean Kennedy commits herself to so
much, she can’t be doing anything
thoroughly
, it’s all so
half-hearted
…”

Amanda gasped
quietly at Emily’s blasphemy.


How exactly
do you know that?” Sarah asked, a threatening edge to her voice.
Emily was one of her best friends, but Kennedy was her teammate and
captain.


You can just
tell…” Emily mused, still not picking up on her friends’
frostiness.

She returned
to scanning the cafeteria absent-mindedly before giving a squeal of
delight when she saw Hunter stride through the cafeteria doors with
Ryan and Taylor. She jumped to her feet, strutting in his
direction. She pretended to glance around the cafeteria and bumped
into him softly as she past him.


Sorry!” she
expressed falsely, “Oh,
Hunter
! I haven’t seen you all
summer! How are you?” She asked with exaggerated
enthusiasm.


Hey Em, I
had a pretty crazy summer, how about you?”


I had
such
a boring summer”
she answered, rolling her eyes dramatically “Basically stayed home
researching colleges to apply to this year.”


How’s your
mom?” Hunter asked.


She’s fine,
same old crazy mom” she said, sounding a bit crazy
herself.

Hunter
smiled, “good to hear… Well I’m heading for some lunch with the
guys, so I’ll see you around Em” he explained. Emily smiled back
and watched him join the lunch line with his friends. She returned
to her seat feeling dazed, it had been months since she’d seen him,
and she’d really missed having him around.

Hunter’s
family and her own had been close when her father was still around,
and when he left, Hunter had grown very protective of
her.

Since high
school had begun this protectiveness had dwindled somewhat as their
lives took different paths, but Emily had loved him since the day
she met him when she was seven years old.

Emily
remembered a time when Hunter hadn’t been ashamed to be seen
talking to her for longer than twenty seconds. She remembered
before high school, before Kennedy, before looks and popularity
mattered, when she and Hunter had just been a girl and a boy
growing up together. Water fights and ice cream in the summer time,
picking strawberries in faded dungarees in the fields around
Rosewell. Snowball fights and hot chocolate in the winter, pink
noses and Christmas carols. A childhood spent together. Before
Emily’s father had left.

Emily
remembered when Hayden had taken her, Hunter and Haley for a drive
in his beat up ford convertible. The summer air had been hot as it
blew on her face and tumbled her hair. They had winded up through
the hills outside of Rosewell, until Hunter’s brother pulled into a
clearing overlooking the town below. It was twilight and the night
sky was a splash of pink and blue. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky
and the sun was setting in the distance.

They sat
there for what felt like hours, old familiar songs blasting from
the taped up cassette player next to the steering wheel. The songs
reminded Emily of her father, of sitting in the back of his car on
her way to school.

As the sky
darkened and night fell, clouds tumbled across the heavens.
Seemingly out of nowhere, dark clouds blocked out the fading hues
of sunset. They ravaged what was left of the clear night sky.
Somewhere in the distance thunder growled. As if someone had
flicked a switch, the heavens opened and rain poured down,
pattering softly on the tarnished leather seats of Hayden’s beloved
car.

He swore
loudly as he sprung out of the car and struggled to pull the roof
back over the seats. After thirty seconds or so of puffing and
panting he gave up and climbed back into the driver’s
seat.


It’s
jammed!” he shouted over the growing cacophony of rain and wind. He
reversed quickly and accelerated down the road they’d come from,
squinting through the rain. Lightening flashed across the sky,
highlighting the ugly claws of the surrounding trees. She’d never
felt as small as that moment, when lightening filled the heavens
and there was nothing to protect her, like there was nothing on
earth but that lightening and the wet rickety car.

Emily buried
her head in her arms, jumping every time thunder sounded through
the sky. The leather seat was already filled with water and all
their clothes were soaked through.

A
particularly dazzling fork of lightening struck a nearby tree and
its branches erupted. Emily yelped, terrified. Suddenly she felt a
hand on hers.

She lowered
her elbows slightly and peeked over her crossed arms.

Hunter was
sat next to her, the side of his body pressed up against her own,
though she could barely feel it in the numbing rain. Hunter was
leaning against her, sheltering her from the worst of the
storm.

He clasped
her hand in his, and his arm was around her neck, pulling her
towards him, shielding her as best he could. He rocked her back and
forth as the thunder and lightening raged around them and she
shivered violently.

She’d been
scared, she’d been absolutely terrified, but Hunter had made it
better, he’d made it bearable, he’d made her feel like everything
was going to be okay.

She couldn’t
ever let him go after that, she needed him.

 

8.

Matt sat
patiently on the wooden bench at the exit to the student parking
lot. He had just left his twelve-year-old Volkswagen Golf in the
furthest possible empty spot to avoid any trouble with Hunter and
his friends.

He was
fumbling with the toggle of his navy blue duffel coat when
Kennedy’s champagne coloured convertible pulled into the empty spot
closest to the school.

He pulled his
battered Nokia out of his trouser pocket and stared at the screen
intensely, pressing random keys to make it look like he was texting
or at least busy using his phone. He glanced up and saw Kennedy
swing her bag over her shoulder and approach the school
doors.

He pretended
to keep texting, but kept watching her with his head bent down. She
looked as breath-taking as usual, though Matt hadn’t seen her all
summer and had forgotten just how fantastic she was.

Seeing her
standing before him was odd, like seeing a movie star in person.
For years their reality had been confined to photographs, so when
you saw them walking and talking it was unnerving to realize they
were actually just a person, as if you’d almost started to doubt
whether they truly existed at all.

Her white
dress clung to her figure in just the right places and her hair
bounced with each step she took. Brooke Kent strolled beside her,
texting on her phone as Kennedy pulled her class schedule out of
her bag.

Matt, who’s
glance had, as usual, evolved into a full on stare, snapped out of
it and pulled his grey backpack up onto his shoulder before
stumbling after her.

He followed
her quietly, drinking in the sight of her. How the sun that burst
through the open windows made her golden hair shine wildly and her
long tanned legs glow.

The two girls
joined the line outside the secretary’s office, waiting patiently
to collect their new locks and combinations for that year. Matt
caught just a glimpse of her face and his stomach
flipped.

He realized
he was lingering and stumbled clumsily down the hallway towards his
own locker, for which he’d already received the lock and
combination, his heart beating quickly in his chest.

Matt had been
in love with Kennedy Blakewood from the first moment he’d laid eyes
on her, this time last year. He’d moved across the country, and
Kennedy’s mother, who was PTO president, had held a luncheon for
new students and their parents.  

Matt had
arrived at the Blakewoods’ stately home with a bowl of homemade
potato salad in his hands.

That was when
he saw her, gracefully flowing down the steps of the grand
staircase, dressed in a white linen summer dress and brown leather
flip flops. It seemed like the world was moving in slow
motion.

She was
perfect, flawless.


This is my
daughter, Kennedy. Matt will be joining your grade this
year.”

That smile,
that achingly gorgeous smile. Matt never wanted to look away, never
wanted to blink. He just wanted to stay in this one moment forever
with this beautiful girl, where she was smiling at him, him and no
one else. Right at that moment, she was his.


Nice to meet
you Matt” her voice was like honey, “I’ll see you around
school”.

She turned to
her mother “There’s a pool party at Brooke’s, I’ll have my phone on
me okay?” Her mother nodded, “When school starts up again you won’t
be able to hang out with your friends everyday, you know that don’t
you Kennedy?” Kennedy nodded and looked down at her feet
uncomfortably.


I’ll see you
later then” Mrs Blakewood said, starting towards the patio at the
back of the house where the luncheon was being held, indicating
that Matt and his parents should follow.

Matt took a
few steps then glanced back at Kennedy, who was heading down the
front door steps. He sighed. What had she thought of him? Had she
felt it too? Matt knew he wasn’t a hunk, he wasn’t a jock, he
didn’t look like a male underwear model, but there had been
something
there, he was
sure of it. Maybe that’s just what every guy felt when he set eyes
on Kennedy Blakewood. All Matt knew was that from that second
onwards, he was hopelessly in love with her.

BOOK: The Perfection Paradox
3.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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