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Gossip Girl #9: Only in You DreamsA Gossip Girl Novel
By Cecily von Ziegesar
Little Brown For Young ReadersCopyright © 2006 17th Street Productions, an Alloy, Inc. company
All right reserved.
Chapter Onethe honeymooners
"Good morning, madam!" trilled a female voice in a super-perky British accent.
Blair Waldorf sighed and turned over onto her side. She'd been in London three days but still wasn't over her jet lag. She didn't mind, though: it was a small price to pay to see her movie-star-handsome, real-life-English-blueblood boyfriend, Lord Marcus.
Wendy, one of the three maids whose round-the-clock services came with Blair's penthouse suite at Claridge's, clacked across the blond parquet floors and deposited a heavy mahogany tray onto the king-size bed, which was so big Blair had divided it up into four sections: one for sleeping, one for eating, one for watching TV, and one for sex. So far, that section had remained unused. Wendy drew the thick maroon velvet curtains on the massive wall of windows, flooding the enormous room with light. It reflected off the opulent goldfiligree ceiling and bounced off the gilded mirrors that lined the attached dressing room.
"Ouch!" Blair cried, pulling one of the six sumptuous goosedown pillows over her head to shield her eyes from the sun.
"Breakfast as requested, Miss Waldorf,"announced Wendy, lifting the silver cover off the tray to reveal a barfy-looking mush of watery scrambled eggs, massive greasy sausages, and a pool of stewed tomatoes.
Classic English cuisine. Yum. Blair smoothed her tousled chestnut hair and straightened the straps of the soft pink Hanro cami she'd worn to bed. The food looked disgusting but smelled delicious. Oh well, she deserved a little treat, didn't she? She'd worked up an appetite the day before, walking around West London sightseeing.
If you call Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Whistles sights.
"And your paper," added Wendy setting the International Herald Tribune on the tray with a flourish. Blair had requested the daily paper when she checked in-a Yale woman had to keep up on world events, after all. So what if she hadn't exactly gotten around to the reading part?
"Will that be all?" Wendy asked primly.
Blair nodded and the maid disappeared into the sitting room. Blair speared one of the huge sausages with her fork and picked up the paper, skimming the front page. But the tiny typeface and matter-of-fact photographs were so boring she couldn't concentrate. The only paper she ever read was the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times, if only to scan the charity event pictures for familiar faces. Why would a worldly woman like herself need to read world news, anyway? She was world news.
Blair had always been impulsive, but her presence in London had actually been Marcus's idea. His graduation present to her-other than the ridiculously extravagant Bvlgari earrings-had been a plane ticket to London. Blair had envisioned rainy weeks locked in his enormous stone castle having chain-sex-the equivalent of chain-smoking-stopping only to gnaw on a cold leg of mutton or whatever medieval snack was stored in the castle's primitive but well-stocked kitchen. But Marcus had been so busy working for his dad all he ever had time for was lunch and a brief snog.
Dropping the unopened paper onto the floor, she scanned her bedside table for British Vogue-she'd stocked up on all the English magazines so she'd know what to buy and where to buy it-when her new razor-thin Vertu phone chimed prettily. There was only one person who had her new London telephone number.
"Hello?" she answered as sexily as she could with a mouth full of scrambled egg.
"Darling," Lord Marcus Beaton-Rhodes greeted her in his charming British accent. "I'm coming round. Just wanted to make sure you were up, love."
"I'm up, I'm up!" Blair was unable to control her excitement. She'd spent the last two nights alone, and her horniness was bubbling over into near-frenzy. How they'd made it this far without actually doing it, she wasn't sure. Was this their chance for a morning interlude sans knickers?
"Right," he continued in his charmingly straightforward way. "I'll be by shortly. And I've got a surprise."
A surprise! thought Blair giddily as she shut her phone. That was just the kind of wake-up call she needed to get her out of bed. She scurried to the bathroom, discarding clothes as she went. Could it be roses and caviar? Chilled champagne and oysters? It was kind of early in the morning for that, but judging from the last present he'd given her-the Bvlgari pearl earrings, with their dangling gold Bs-it was bound to be good. Some equally exquisite symbol of his undying love? Everyone back in New York was so insanely jealous of her perfect English boyfriend that they'd spread rumors Marcus was already engaged. There was only one way to put that rumor to rest forever: return to New York wearing his ring. Preferably a flawless, four-carat, emerald-cut diamond, although an old family heirloom would do.
How humble of her.
Lord Marcus had initially invited her to spend the summer at his father's Knightsbridge mansion, but when he'd picked her up from Heathrow in his chauffeur-driven cream-colored Bentley he'd taken her straight to Claridge's. "We simply haven't got the room, sweetheart," Marcus whispered directly into her ear, his hot breath sending shivers down her spine as the desk attendant handed her the room key. "Plus, when I come over, we'll have complete privacy."
Well, that's hard to argue with. Blair wasn't sure what Marcus's dad did for a living, but it had something do with bonds, and whatever it was sounded very boring. Marcus was interning at his dad's office for the summer, and late nights and early mornings meant he had hardly any energy for ... sex. Blair had only done it a few times with Nate Archibald, and she was beyond eager to try it with someone older and more experienced, like Marcus-not that sex with Nate had been so bad.
Her rosemary La Mer bath tonic and minty Marvis toothpaste masking the stink of scrambled egg and tomato, she hurried back to the bedroom and hopped into bed, wearing only a light sheen of lavender-scented bath water, Chanel No. 5 perfume, and the Bvlgari earrings she hadn't taken off once since her graduation party at the Yale Club a little over two weeks ago.
After ditching Vanessa Abrams's small apartment in dingy and weird Williamsburg, with no intention of moving back to the crazy world she used to call home, Blair had decided to live at the Yale club. She and Lord Marcus had met in the elevator, and his hot accent and neatly ironed jeans had gotten to her right away. Fate had it that their rooms were side by side, and she could imagine the feel of his sexy English breath on her neck even before they'd kissed-which had happened that very night. After pouring her heart out to him over six or seven cosmos, Blair was so sure she'd found the love of her life, she practically threw herself at him. She was too tipsy- and he was too much of a gentleman-to do more than kiss. But all that was about to change.
Blair draped the sheets over her body and lit a cigarette, striking a pose that said, I'm on my honeymoon and worn out from doing it, but what the hell, let's do it again. She grabbed the newspaper off of the floor and propped up the front page so it looked like she was reading it. There. Perfect. An intellectual sexpot. A worldly woman who read all about international crises-and preferred to discuss said crises in bed. If only she had a pair of vintage fifties reading glasses to perch on the tip of her nose.
All the better to see you naked with!
As if on cue, Lord Marcus flung the bedroom door open and Blair turned her head slowly, as if she could barely stand to break away from the current poultry deficit in Asia. He was wearing a perfectly tailored charcoal summer suit with an olive James Perse T-shirt underneath that made his striking green eyes look serious and deep and oh-so-promising.
"What's this, then?" he asked, furrowing his golden-brown eyebrows. "Remember I said I had a surprise?"
"I've got a surprise for you too," Blair cooed sexily. "Come look under the sheets."
"Right," he continued a little impatiently. "Well, put on your clothes, love."
"I don't want to," Blair complained, pouting.
He hurried across the room and kissed her quickly on the nose. "Later," he promised. "Now throw on some clothes and meet me downstairs in the lobby." Then he turned and left the room, leaving her perfumed, well-moisturized, and depilated body naked and alone.
This better be a good surprise.
Blair emerged from the wood-paneled elevator in a hastily chosen ensemble: a chocolate brown Tory Burch tunic (thank you, Harrods), a favorite pair of old True Religion jeans, and clunky gold Marc by Marc Jacobs clogs. She looked like a jetsetter on holiday. Just right for a weekend jaunt to Tunis in Lord Marcus's private jet. Could that be the surprise?
The grand, chandelier-lit marble hotel lobby was abuzz with activity, but Blair noticed a hush fall over the crowd as she crossed the tiled floor, her clogs clopping noisily, to the overstuffed black velvet chaise where Marcus sat waiting for her. He was so goddamn handsome Blair couldn't help admiring him, like he was a painting or some rare piece of sculpture, and it was hard to resist plunging her fingers into the thick waves of his golden-brown hair. She was so busy mentally rhapsodizing over her gorgeous English lover that she barely noticed he was holding hands with someone who was definitely not her.
Ding, ding. Hello?
Forgetting the romantic jaunt to Africa, Blair's eyes narrowed at the horsy blonde holding her boyfriend's hand. What the fuck?
"Blair, at last," Lord Marcus greeted her smoothly, standing but not letting go of his companion's hand. "This, my dear, is my darling cousin Camilla, the one I told you about. My soul mate. She's in town for a couple of weeks. We were practically twins growing up! Isn't that the most marvelous surprise?"
"Marvelous," echoed Blair, throwing herself onto a nearby armchair. She didn't remember hearing anything about any cousin Camilla.
But then, listening had never been her strong suit.
"I'm so delighted to meet you," said Camilla, staring down her long, prominent nose-the kind of schnozz even the best plastic surgeon couldn't fix. Her pale English complexion was layered with comical amounts of beige powder and primaryred blush. Her legs were clownishly long and skinny, like she'd been stretched on one of those old-fashioned lengthening machines Blair had tried to find on eBay.
"Mimi just turned up yesterday morning, unannounced," Lord Marcus explained. "Imagine, like a lost waif, with bags in hand." He chuckled.
"Yes, well, thankfully I can count on my dear Mar-mar to open up his home to me," Camilla gushed, casually running her free hand through her long, flaxen hair. Hair that could easily be cut off in the middle of the night.
"You're staying at his place?" demanded Blair rudely, already hating the crooked-toothed Camilla and her ugly yellow Indian silk sundress, which probably cost thousands but looked like a tablecloth. "But I thought there wasn't room."
"There's always room for family," Lord Marcus answered, squeezing Camilla's talon-like hand before turning back to Blair. "Not to worry, sweetheart. We'll all have a grand time together."
Sure they will.
Excerpted from Gossip Girl #9: Only in You Dreams by Cecily von Ziegesar Copyright © 2006 by 17th Street Productions, an Alloy, Inc. company . Excerpted by permission.
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