Five minutes into the book, I still couldn’t concentrate. I knew it had nothing to do with Miss Austen’s writing ability and everything to do with a certain “urgent” phone call I needed to make. I pulled Taylor’s phone number from my pocket and stared at it.
“Ugh. Please go away, Taylor Anderson,” I said out loud. “I don’t know why you find it so hilarious to pick on me, but do me a huge favor and leave me alone. Seriously, you can have any girl you want. Why drive me nuts? It makes no sense.”
Great, Chloe. Just awesome. You’re having a conversation with a crumbled piece of paper, which won’t answer back no matter how long you stare at it. The only way to truly get answers is to call. So call already!
“Hi, is this Taylor?”
“This is Chloe Hart. My mom said you called?”
“Uh, sh–she did?”
“Yeah, she said you called just a few minutes ago and wanted me to call you back at this number.”
“Are you sure?”
“Are you saying you didn’t call me?”
“Um, no. Why would I call you?”
Ouch. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. “Taylor, if this is some sort of joke—”
“Just because I give you a hard time every now and then doesn’t mean I’m the type of guy who would joke like this.”
“You mean someone else called and left your . . . you’ve gotta be kidding me. I’ve been totally hoaxed! Who in their right mind would do this? Look, I’ve gotta go.” I heard him snicker. “Wait, are you laughing?” That little . . .
“No.” More snickers.
“Taylor . . .” I growled.
“Okay, yeah, I am. You have to admit this is pretty funny.”
Funny? “You would think so, since I am positive it’s your fault.”
“My fault? How can this be my fault?” More chuckles.
“You’re a smart guy, figure it out.”
“Wait, you’re serious, aren’t you? You truly believe somebody who wanted to play some sort of prank on you, would do so because of me?”
“Yes.” Duh. “Look, Taylor, this has been fun and all, but I need to go.”
“Wait. Before you go, will you at least explain yourself?”
I was beginning to lose my cool. “You know what? I can’t deal with this. You think everything is a game. Don’t worry. I won’t call you again.”
“You can’t hang up like that. Tell me what’s going on in that fiery little head of yours.”
“See what I mean? This is a joke to you, isn’t it?”
“Chloe Elizabeth Hart, if you hang up this phone without telling me what in the world you’re talking about—”
Elizabeth? “How did you know my middle name? No one knows my middle name.” This is such an invasion of privacy. There has to be a law against this!
“I have my sources, and if you don’t fess up I’ll be sure to call you that from now on.”
Blackmail? What, are we in junior high now? How in the world did this day go from bad to worse? This has got to end, and if the only way to make sure it happens is to sit on this phone a couple minutes longer, then—
“Fine! Don’t you see that every time you talk to me it causes people to think things they don’t need to be thinking? And I’m not talking about me, either—I’m talking about the whole student body, now gossiping about—about this, this . . . situation! When you draw attention to me, then everyone assumes I am free game to torment, which apparently has already begun, hence this phone call. You just came back today. Holy cow, Taylor, if this keeps up I can’t imagine what people will think to do to me next. Thanks to you and your mocking, I am fast becoming the biggest freak in this school!”
“Let me get this straight,” Taylor said. “You’re angry with me for flirting with you?”
“Bingo. He has a brain cell.”
“A brain cell? What is that supposed to mean?” Disbelief and resentment colored his voice. “You’ve got a lot of nerve, princess.”
“Don’t you dare call me prin—!”
“There are a whole lot of girls that would love to have the attention you got today.”
“Of all the egotistical things to—”
“But I chose to focus on you,” Taylor interrupted again. “Mainly because I thought you were more fun and lighthearted than you apparently are. In case you are not aware, I have a girlfriend.”
“So if this is some sort of twisted excuse to make me see you differently and fall in love with you, then the game is up.”
This is like talking to a rock. I can’t believe I’m allowing myself to be insulted by a stupid, stubborn rock! Calm down, Chloe. Keep your voice calm. Deep breath. There. “Taylor Anderson, I am only going to say this one time, so listen carefully. You can have Anne. She’s yours. As a matter of fact, you can have any girl in the whole flippin’ town, for all I care. Except me. So seriously, don’t even flatter yourself.”
“Chloe, wait!”I didn’t even bother to say goodbye before I hung up the phone.
~ from PRIDE AND POPULARITY by Jenni James
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Pride and Popularity by Jenni James
Amazon | Goodreads
Contemporary/Retelling, 240 pages
Published July 13th 2011 by Inkberry Press/Brigham Distributing
Two winners will receive a copy of Pride and Popularity by Jenni James US only Ends September 5th Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter
a Rafflecopter giveaway