Now stop smoothing out invisible wrinkles. Any hotties I should know about? He dyed his hair black and got a lip ring. Not to mention freaking Cherrie showed up. You suck. Come home. Bridge P. Wish me luck. Having shapely buttocks. Nice one, Bridge. My best friend is a word fiend. One of her most prized possessions is her OED, which she bought for practically nothing at a yard sale two years ago.
The Oxford English Dictionary is a twenty-volume set that not only provides definitions of words but their histories as well. Bridge is always throwing big words into conversations, because she loves to watch people squirm and bluff their way around them. I learned a long time ago not to pretend to know what she was talking about.
So Bridgette collects words and, apparently, my life. I mean, we kissed. His real name is Christopher, but he hates being called Chris, so he goes by Toph instead. He has shocking green eyes and wicked sideburns. He had Blue Raspberry Mouth for the rest of his shift. Not many people can pull off blue teeth. But believe me, Toph can. I refresh my inbox—just in case—but nothing new appears. For some reason, I wanted her to write first. And hungry. My mini-fridge is empty. I had dinner in the cafeteria but avoided the main food line again, stuffing myself with more bread, which only lasts so long.
Maybe St. Clair will order breakfast for me again in the morning. Despite myself, I describe St. Clair, and mention how in physics he leaned over Meredith to borrow a pen from me, right when Professeur Wakefield was assigning lab partners. So the teacher thought he was sitting next to me, and now St. Which was the best thing that happened all day. I also tell Bridge about the mysterious Life class, La Vie, because she and I spent the entire summer speculating.
What a pity. I spent the period reading the first novel assigned for English. And, wow. Because Like Water for Chocolate has sex in it. LOTS of sex. The sexiest we ever got was The Scarlet Letter. I must tell Bridge about this book.
I am, but I have serious doubts as to my classmates. The guy across the hall already has a pyramid of beer bottles stacked outside his door because, in Paris, sixteen-year-olds are allowed to drink wine and beer. You have to be eighteen to get hard liquor. She looked pretty surprised when they mentioned it at the Life Skills Seminars, and I got a long lecture on responsibility that night at dinner.
His name is Nate, and his apartment is on the first floor. SOAP must pay him a lot to live with us. Which sounds strange but is actually attractive. My parents loved him. He also has a bowl of condoms next to his door. I wonder if my parents saw that. The freshmen and sophomores are in another dormitory. They have to share rooms, and their floors are divided by sex, and they have tons of supervision.
They also have enforced curfews. I drag myself down the hall to use the bathroom. Clair at breakfast. She smirks at my faded jeans and my vintage Orange Crush T-shirt. I trace the floral pattern on the wallpaper with my fingers. Crystal light fixtures give the dormitory halls a golden glow, but fluorescent bulbs hum inside our bedrooms. The floors are glossy hardwood but lined with industrial-grade rugs. Fresh flowers and Tiffany lamps grace the lobby, but the chairs are ratty love seats, and the tables are carved with initials and rude words.
Number twenty-five. He was expelled from school last year; one of the teachers found coke in his backpack. She wants to know why they picked someone like me to take his place. As if that explains my complete and utter hick-ness. Screw her. Clair seemed pretty friendly at breakfast. Or not? Her emphasizing thing is really getting on my nerves. My nerves. Amanda gives a fake, bored yawn.
My friend bleached it. I drop my hand. You kinda look like a skunk. Use a little more next time. Her nails are electric blue, the same shade as her frames.
She turns to me. See you at breakfast. Or maybe she just hates Amanda more. She waves a hand and moves into the stairwell as Nate comes out of it. He approaches us in his quiet, friendly manner.
Did you have a nice first day, Anna? Thanks, Nate. What an asshole. The girl must be a junior. Amanda sashays onto the tile, her fuzzy purple slippers slapping against her heels. She yanks the door shut.
Skunk Girl? Every morning she hosts the discussion of Like Water for Chocolate as if we were a book club and not some boring, required class. So English is excellent. On the other hand, my French teacher is clearly illiterate. How else to explain the fact that despite the name of our textbook—Level One French—Professeur Gillet insists on speaking in French only?
She also calls on me a dozen times a day. I never know the answer. Dave calls her Madame Guillotine. This is also excellent. Dave has shaggy hair and pouty lips, and the peculiar combination of tan skin and freckles. Several girls have a crush on him. So I sit between Dave and Josh. Josh is quiet and reserved in class, but outside of it, his sense of humor is similar to St. Meredith says they idolize each other, Josh because of St.
Clair because Josh is an astounding artist. I rarely see Josh without his brush pen or sketchbook. His work is incredible—thick bold strokes and teeny exquisite details—and his fingers are always stained with ink. But the most notable aspect of my new education is the one that takes place outside of class.
The one never mentioned in the glossy brochures. And that is this: attending boarding school is like living inside a high school. My classmates are hitting the bars, and I have peace for the first time. Except for the opera. The Opera Diva sings most evenings at the restaurant across the street. Wes is amazing, a true auteur involved in every aspect of production, with a trademark style recognizable in any frame—wistful and quirky, deadpan and dark.
Rushmore is one of my favorites. So Bridge hates band and hates the instructor and hates Kevin, who is a twerp with a disproportionately large ego. And then when he approaches you after some big show, expecting special treatment and a backstage pass? I scramble to get dressed before the cafeteria closes. Clair are seated at their usual table. The pressure is on. Monsieur Boutin is working the counter again. I grab a tray and take a deep breath. I point to the vat of orangey-red soup. Butternut squash, I think.
The smell is extraordinary, like sage and autumn. When does fall come to Paris? I mean, oui. You know, you may speek Ingleesh to me. I understand eet vairy well. He hands me a bowl of soup and a small plate of chicken salad, and my stomach rumbles at the sight of hot food. I smile and shake my head no. I can do this. Clair hollers from the other side of the cafeteria. Clair responds by grinning and giving me the British version, the V-sign with his first two fingers. Monsieur Boutin tuts behind me with good nature.
I pay for my meal and take the seat next to St. I forgot how to flip off the English. Always happy to educate. When I asked him about it, he said Napoleon was his hero. He was an arse. But he was a short arse, like meself. Thanks for pointing that out now.
Josh puts his hands behind his head and tilts back his chair. His shirtsleeves roll up to expose a skull- and-crossbones tattoo on his upper right arm. The black ink is dark against his pale skin. Clair scratches his head and looks away. Last year they were worse. Been together long, then? Probably not, but I ask anyway. Clair thinks for a moment. I suck in my breath. Clair is a different kind of attractive, a different species altogether. Then it slips out because she has one. I spurt orangey-red soup across the table.
He hands me a napkin to wipe my chin. Cough cough. Now I shall have to save it for special occasions. It was. I try to take the napkins to clean it myself, but he waves my hand away.
Happy belated birthday. Yesterday was my eighteenth birthday. Bridge even bought cotton candy for his ear hair. I mean, Ellie took you out? Or even a belated happy Friday. With my friend. Clair asks. To get to other parts of campus. Clair raises his eyebrows. His fingers are slender, like the rest of his body, and he has a black ink splotch on one index finger.
Try Again. Report Close Quick Download Go to remote file. Anna can't wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?
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