Paris // Faith Hill
SATURDAY,17 AUGUST Paris is all about...the Eiffel tower,if your haven't seen it with your own two eyes then you'll get the chance after your daily classes, everyone's going sight seeing.
The alarm clock started ringing madly, but I was already up and dressed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same for my roommate, Alayna.
“Shut up, you goddamn piece of sh*t!”, she said as she covered her ears with her pillow.
“You could just switch it off, you know”, I suggested, but I had already noticed that Alayna didn’t like the easy way round.
“Why am I even hereeeeee?!?”, she shouted, her voice sounding different covered by the pillow. I thought that maybe morning was her time of choice for complaining about her life. I didn’t know what her problem was, but I betted it was definitely hard to pronounce. But that didn’t quite bother me. Yet. She was fun to be around.
Nevetheless, I could already visualize the duck tape over her mouth. So much for roommate unity.
“You’re here because you need to /learn/”. I wasn’t really addressing to Alayna, but myself. I was here because I wasn’t daddy’s little girl anymore. I was here because I had to prove my worth. I was here because… Wait. Why was I still here? I needed to hurry if I wanted to make it in time for Latin class.
“Wake up, Al. We’re late”.
“Noooooo!”, came the protest.
“All right, I’m leaving without you, then”. I grabbed my purse and nonchalantly pretended to leave the dorm.
“Okay, okay! You’re quite the blackmailer, aren’t you, Ophelia?”
I blinked and shot Dalia a confused look. “Come again?”
“Urgh!”. An upset utterance fled Dalia’s mouth. “Why don’t you /ever/ understand what I’m trying to say!?”
I wasn’t exactly sure how I was supposed to understand Dalia’s mad-quick Spanish, but I let it go.
“/English/, this time, if you please”.
“Okay, for the /hundredth/ time…”, she started. “The chicas and I are planning to go sightseeing after school. Are you in or not?”
I cocked en eyebrow. “What chicas?”
Dalia sighed. “Oh, you know… Chicas. /Girls/”, she retorted as if I was the dumbest person on earth.
“Oui, I got that. I mean… Who exactly?”
“I think it’s gonna be Naomi, Jacki, Emily, and Ima. And you, hopefully.
“Oh, okay. I think I can make it”, I agreed.
“Gosh, finally! Rendezvous in front of the Octogone”, she said, her tone swarming with annoyance. “4 o’clock sharp. Don’t miss it”.
“So, /that’s/ the Eiffel Tower?”, Jacki said in disappointment as we arrived in front of Paris’s most acclaimed landmark. “It looks like a metal ice-cream cone turned upside down”.
And however much I loved the Eiffel Tower, I had to agree that it looked awfully unattractive, to say the least.
“It looks better from the inside, I swear”, Naomi reassured her. “The view is amazing”.
My eyes caught an enormous queue of people waiting to enter the building, but when Ima approached the guard and informed him about who she was, he was more than willing to let us in. The people in line groaned in annoyance.
We took the glass elevator and ascended to the second floor, where we found a large café overflowed with customers. Although there was seemingly no table unoccupied, Ima’s identity once again made our lives a lot easier.
Ima and I had so much in common, yet we were so different. We were both daughters of businessmen. Both of our names were well-known around the world and provided us with one-of-a-kind advantages. Nevertheless, I wasn’t proud for enjoying those advantages. More like ashamed. I could tell Ima loved being in the center of attention, she adored having free access just because her father was a billionaire. In a way, she reminded me of me – or rather, of what /could/ be me. And I couldn’t possibly blame her for that.
On the other extreme of our common situation stood Emily – the daughter of one of fashion’s most prominent role models. She had every intention to take advantage of her good name, but the attempt seemed to get her nowhere. I wished I could help her out somehow. She was a good girl at heart. If only her sarcasm didn’t get in the way.
The options the menu offered were bewildering, but I finally settled on a latte and a vanilla crème brûlée.
Dalia started speaking mad-quick Spanish again, and all girls except for me and Jacki seemed to understand the context. Jacki also figured out I didn’t comprehend a word of whatever Dalia was saying, so she engaged me in conversation. I wasn’t sure of what her attitude would be towards me. I mean, she saw me making out with Bianca’s boyfriend just yesterday. I noticed all girls tried to avoid the episode after gossip.net’s announcement. If it weren’t for the task, I don’t think I’d ever have the audacity to do such a thing. But I liked it. And I didn’t like the fact that I liked it.
But when the discussion leaned towards boys, the mention of the incident was inevitable.
“Look, I… I don’t know why I did it. Was it too slutty?”, I asked tentatively.
I was relieved when a small giggle escaped her mouth. “I hate to admit, but yes. It was a bit too slutty”.
I smiled nervously.
“Just for your information… I didn’t tell anyone. I have no idea how the gossip was spread”.
“I know”, I said, but I didn’t really mean it. I mean, who else could have told? She was the only one who knew except for me and… Miguel. Next time I saw him, I swore to myself I was going to kill him. “Anyway, how’s /your/ love life going?”
“Oh, you know…”. I could tell she was deciding whether she could tell me or not. Well, apparently I had established myself as a homewrecker. And my first week hadn’t even passed yet.
“You can tell me”, I tried to convince her. “I’m not as bed-hopping as I seem”.
“Well, there’s this guy… His name is Sage, and…”
My heart sunk at the sound of the name, and I felt a huge burden laid upon my shoulders. So, it was /Jacki/ who had been dating Sage. That meant he was off-limits for me. I remembered what Naomi had told be yesterday, after High Tea. If I were to fit in the upper circle of the Academie, I had to stop having feelings for other girls’ boyfriends. This couldn’t go on.
“Ophelia, are you listening?”, Jacki shook me out of my train of thoughts.
“Oh, yeah. Of course”.
“Well, look who’s here!”, I heard Ima announce, her tone implying contempt rather than actual joy. I guessed she wasn’t too glad to see, well, whoever she saw. I followed her eyes, only to watch Lysandra, Peyton, and Freia enter the café. I really liked Peyton, and I guess I was still neutral on Lysandra, but Freia’s presence made my fingers shake. I quickly took a sip of my latte, hoping that nobody noticed.
I pretended to check my Blackberry, then declared: “I need to go. It’s an emergency”, and stomped out of the café, leaving the others surprised by my sudden departure. I guess I had made a habit out of running away from places.
I decided that a brief tour around the Tower’s marvels would let me put my thoughts into order. And as I thought that too many of my acquaintances were here at the same time for it to be a coincidence, I spotted Gia and Ree staring at an oil painting, which dated back to the eighteen hundreds. The moment I saw them, my initial idea was to run away; they had already seen me, though, and it would be rude not to greet them.
I approached them reluctantly, shoving a bunch people along the way. “Attention!”, they shouted, by I paid no particular attention whatsoever.
“Well, hello Ophelia”, Mary said in her usual peaceful tone. “Great timing!”
“I couldn’t agree more”, I replied and shot her a weak smile.
“We were just looking around the Tower”, Giada informed me. “You cannot even /imagine/ the size of Eiffel’s architectural genius!”
“You could join us, if you want”, Mary proposed, and as I had nothing better to do except for hiding in the ladies’ room, I accepted.
The atmosphere at the restroom was suffocating. A queue of around thirty women had been formed, and I was last in line. For a moment there, I wished I could take advantage of my name just like Ima would. So much for taking a leak.
I felt the air moving behind of me. I turned around, only to face Freia. The last person I wanted to see right now.
“Nice perfume, Ophelia. Did you marinate in it?”, she asked sarcastically, folding her arms in front of her chest.
“Look, Freia. I know we started off wrong and everything, but…”
She stopped me, lifting her hand in front of my face as if she was saying: ‘Talk to the hand’. “Ophelia, I really have neither the energy, nor the intention to have this kind of conversation right now”.
“Me neither. Can we just forget about what happened between us?”
“I’ll consider it”.
“How should I feel about that?”
“Happy, I guess. Normally, I’d just arrange a meeting between my foot and your arse”.
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