Dante's Girl (Page 26)

Dante’s Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1)(26)
Author: Courtney Cole

Heaven shrugs with a smile.  “You could practice walking in your heels,” she suggests with an ornery grin.

She looks around my room. It’s completely neat.  I have two lone shopping bags from yesterday sitting on the desk, and two pairs of sandals peeking out from beneath the bed.  Other than that, everything is immaculate and untouched.

“There’s nothing to clean in here, so you can’t clean your room,” she observes and then eyes my new shoes.  “You should just practice walking.”

With that bit of advice, she slips back out my door and I’m alone.  I look at the clock.  It’s only 3:00.  What in the world am I going to do for five hours?  

I decide that practicing the whole walking-without-breaking-my-leg-thing is actually a good idea, so I slip on the high-heeled-stilts-of-death and toddle round my room.

Okay.  That killed five minutes.

I sit on a chair and look peacefully out the window.  Another three minutes.

I situate myself on the floor and meditate.  Three more minutes go by before my thoughts are muddled by visions of Dante’s face and smile and toned arms and then by anxious thoughts about dinner tonight.

I sigh.  This isn’t going to work.

I climb carefully to my feet, still wearing my strappy silver stilts, and decide to go for a walk. Who cares if I look ridiculous wearing fancy shoes and running shorts?  Dante is tied up with his dad and won’t see me, anyway.

I try to walk quietly down the hall, but apparently, it’s impossible to walk quietly in heels on a marble floor.  It practically sounds like I am playing the drums.  I pick up my phone and try to call Mia, but it goes straight to voicemail. I find that I miss her already and ponder the sad fact that she doesn’t have a best friend.  Since I recently lost my own, I might as well apply for the job.

I text my mother, then get three rapid fire responses back from her.  She’s pissed that I haven’t called her today.  But I’m not in the mood to talk.  I’m too nervous about a State dinner tonight.  Or whatever a dinner is called when a Prime Minister is present.

I text Mia.

I even text my grandmother who hates to text on her big-buttoned-old-person’s-phone.

And that’s when I realize that I’ve hit rock bottom.

I’m pathetic.

What kind of person can’t entertain herself for a few hours?  Who cares if it is a foreign country and I don’t know the language?

I march back to my room as gracefully as I can in my stilts and change into tennis shoes.  I’m going to see the city if it kills me. And it might. Because I don’t know anyone.  And I don’t speak the language. But so what?

I stroll out of the Old Palace without anyone questioning me, not that they would because they aren’t my keepers, but I always expect someone to ask me what the heck I think I’m doing in such a fancy place.  But they don’t.  I look behind me. It doesn’t appear that I’m being followed by a security guard.  But that doesn’t surprise me. Dante promised that he wouldn’t do that again.

I’m alone.

Truly alone.

And suddenly, I feel very very lonely.

I find myself in a random shop that sells knick-knacks…blown glass figurines and whatnot.  I stroll through as though I am perfectly at home here because attitude is everything.  If I act confident, I will be confident, right?

And then I see a tiny green glass sea turtle.  And I know that Becca would love to have it in her collection.  She’s collected turtles since we were in kindergarten. At last count, she had 453 of them.  Her dad built her an entire wall of shelves in her room for them.

And this one would be perfect for her.  It’s nibbling on an olive branch.  How perfect is that?  I could buy it and send it to her as my own personal olive-branch-peace- offering. Unless she interprets it as the turtle EATING my peace offering, which wouldn’t be so cool.  But I could include a note.  And apologize once again and surely this time, when she sees the turtle’s cute little face, she will forgive me.


I pay for the tiny trinket with my mom’s credit card.  I mean, surely this classifies as an emergency too.  And it’s only a few Euros.  I’m not exactly sure how much that converts into for US dollars. But surely mom won‘t care.


And I’ve got to stop saying surely.

I stroll down quaint little cobblestone boardwalk again, and browse through the windows and look at all of the little carts.  The crazy old gypsy-looking woman isn’t here today, which is almost a relief.  I’m not sure that I’m brave enough to walk past her without Mia.

I buy a little bag of hot sugared almonds, again with my mom’s credit card.  And no, this isn’t an emergency, but surely she wouldn’t want me to go hungry.

Crap. I said surely again.  What is wrong with me?

I decide that I’d better leave my mom’s credit card back in my room until I go home, just so I’m not tempted to use it again.

Excellent idea.

I stroll down to the beach and stand at the edge of the water, munching on my nuts and watching the majestic sea roll in and slide back out.  It’s hypnotic and mesmerizing.  And beautiful.

It’s so serene here, so quiet.  And it makes me realize once again how alone I am.  I would love to take a picture and send it to Becca, but I can’t.  So instead, I take one and text it to my mom.

It’s beautiful, honey.  Are you wearing sunscreen?

She’s such a mom.

I tuck my phone back into my pocket and then perk up my ears when I hear someone talking.

I look around and don’t see anyone. But I’m nosy. And lonely.  So I turn around and walk a ways to see if I can see them.

I round the corner of an old, unused lifeguard shed and see Nate, arrogant-rude-as-hell Nate, talking into his cell phone.  He’s pale as ever and his nose is stuck in the air even though no one is around to be snobby for. I decide that it’s just his natural way of being.  And then I scoot forward a little bit just to hear what he’s saying.  I’m nosy.  And his face is wrinkled, like he’s pissed or upset.  And since I don’t like him, I’d like to know what has ticked him off.

Because I’m nosy.

He doesn’t see me, so I freeze at the edge of the building and listen. His voice is cold and I don’t like it any more than I like him.  And that’s not saying much.  The breeze shifts towards me and suddenly I can hear him better.