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Authors: Diana Peterfreund

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Humorous, #Contemporary Women

Under the Rose

BOOK: Under the Rose
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Contents

Title Page

Dedication

I hereby confess

The Rose & Grave Club of D177

 

Stragglers

Party Lines

Skulls and Drones

Assignations

Apple of Discord

Significant Others

Connubial Bliss

Weird Sisters

Current Affairs

Disappeared

Friend-in-Law

Sacrosanct

Hypotheses

Commission and Omission

Pied à Terre

D-Bomb

Elysion

Benefits

Uncle Tony

Address and Redress

The Game

 

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Watch for: The Rites of Spring(Break)

Also by Diana Peterfreund

Copyright

 

For Jacki, who has always treated me like a daughter

 

I hereby confess:

I didn’t understand what it

meant to be a Digger.

 

When you picture the secret society of Rose & Grave, I know what you see. Commanding statesmen, wealthy entrepreneurs, sly spies. Shadowy, secretive, and always in control. Those who have sought to infiltrate our brotherhood have vanished without a trace. Those who have dared to reveal our clandestine ways have learned the true meaning of the term “cloak-and-dagger.” We have suffered much to cultivate our image, and we will stop at nothing to maintain it.

From the first years of our existence, our order has been protected by a massive network of the rich and powerful across the country and around the globe. Now, those who displease us are quick to discover how deeply our tentacles have stretched, and those upon whom we shower goodwill live as one of the elect. Indeed, our detractors say favorites of Rose & Grave have made a deal with the devil—and we don’t proclaim them wrong.

As far as the outside world is concerned, there is no history of Rose & Grave. We are eternal and unchanging, a centuries-long line of monolithic and omnipotent clubs. Each has sought to continue the work and uphold the traditions, the prejudices, and the champions of the one before. There has never been dissent. There has never been attrition. There has never been…a traitor.

No, really, there hasn’t. Honest. I swear.

Don’t believe me? Then step inside for a moment, and witness the truth. Grab a taste of absolute power. Steal a kiss from your wildest fantasies. Take a gander upon that which few eyes have seen.

But be careful. You’ve heard what we like to do to outsiders….

 

The Rose & Grave Club of D177

1)
Clarissa Cuthbert:
Angel

2)
Gregory Dorian:
Bond

3)
Odile Dumas:
Little Demon

4)
Benjamin Edwards:
Big Demon

5)
Howard First:
Number Two

6)
Amy Haskel:
Bugaboo

7)
Nikolos Dmitri Kandes IV:
Graverobber

8)
Kevin Lee:
Frodo

9)
Omar Mathabane:
Kismet

10)
George Harrison Prescott:
Puck

11)
Demetria Robinson:
Thorndike

12)
Jennifer Santos:
Lucky

13)
Harun Sarmast:
Tristram Shandy

14)
Joshua Silver:
Keyser Soze

15)
Mara Taserati:
Juno

 

I hereby confess:

We aren’t like other

college students.

 

1.

Stragglers

It was shopping period at Eli University, and lest you think this is one of those books about fashion, let me enlighten you. The students at Eli were not shopping for Prada, but for Proust; they weren’t hunting for good bargains, but rather, for gut classes; and they would happily surrender Fendi at forty percent off to secure a Fractals section that wasn’t all the way up on Science Hill.

As a senior, I found this shopping period especially poignant. It was my penultimate chance to discover the hidden gem seminar, the one I’d look back on in the cold, post-Eli future as being one of those bright college days the song
*1
speaks of. My last chance, in many cases, to take the famous lectures given by the college’s most notorious luminaries.

“What? You didn’t take Herbert Branch’s Shakespeare class?” future employers will say with incredulity. “Why, Amy Haskel, what were you
doing
there at Eli?”

And I will not be able to tell them, because I swore an oath never to reveal the truth: that while other Literature majors were shopping the Branch class, I was crouching in the shadows on a cold stone floor, garbed in a long black hooded robe and a skull-shaped mask, rehearsing an esoteric initiation ritual that required me to lie in wait for an innocent classmate to wander by so I could leap out, pelt his face with phosphorescent dust, and yell “Boo.”

As if I’d admit to something like that anyway.

“Hey, Lil’ Demon!” I called down the stairs. “I sort of wanted to shop a seminar this afternoon, so can we non-speaking parts adjourn for the day?”

Keyser Soze, a.k.a. Joshua Silver, popped up from behind a tower of human remains. “The Branch class? I wanted to take that, too.” Figures. Branch was a brand-name professor at Eli, and it would suit Josh’s political aspirations to add the scholar’s reputation to his C.V.

Lil’ Demon, currently levitating over a pool of blood, raised one perfectly plucked eyebrow and blew a strand of chestnut brown hair (she’d had it dyed over the summer) out of her eyes. “I should have gone union,” she said with a sniff. “You people just don’t understand show business.”

(By the way, that thing in
Us Weekly
about Lil’ Demon over the Fourth of July weekend is categorically untrue. Odile Dumas wasn’t “servicing” any ex–boy-band members in Tijuana; she was with me and the other Diggers at a patriarch’s pool party on Fire Island. And, say what you will about the starlet, she has better taste than to get down with a bunch of scrawny tenors. If that were her style, we had more than enough singing groups right here on campus.)

BOOK: Under the Rose
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