Savannah had been crazy about Go Bergdorf since she was a little kid. Her parents had dragged her to some stupid party at the Hughes' that night. She just wanted to stay home and play dress-up. Mr. and Mrs. Bergdorf had arrived late. They were coming from their son's birthday party. No one had showed up. Savannah knew him as the kid who sat in class doodling all day. He ate lunch alone. He had no friends. He was weird. And yet, she had been intrigued by him. Her stupid brother, Ty would never play with her. She knew what it was like to be lonely. She had wondered if maybe Go would be her friend. They could be best friends. Savannah envisioned slumber parties, with spotlight tag and pillow fights. Someone to whisper secrets to and push on the swings...
Then Mrs. Clark had gone ruined everything by making that stupid play date. And Mrs. Bergdorf had asked Macey Hughes if she might like to come over some time. Savannah hated the Clark and Hughes children. She felt her chance at having one true friend slipping away from her. Go's popular parents could find kids for him to hang out with. But who would hang out with her?
That was then. Now they were in high school and both of them had yet to find their niche. Go spent his free period in the art room, painting. He didn't have any friends. And truthfully, neither did she. She had always been odd, a little "off". The high school caste system had lumped them into the same status quo. Savannah had hoped that Go would gravitate toward her, united in their social nonconformity. But he was content to keep to his art while she looked on with admiration and longing. She was the Lucy to his Schroeder. They sat next to each other in home room and he had started talking to her, but she wanted more.
He was standing at his locker that morning, like always. Brooding, sulking and downright sexy. Savannah wanted to kiss that pout right off his lips. Instead she very casually said, "hey Go."
"Hi Savannah." He had freckles on his snub nose, big green eyes and messy blond hair. He looked the picture of a tortured artist.
"That painting you've been working on is great!" She tried not to sound too enthusiastic but couldn't help herself. There was something about this boy and it drove her wild. "That girl looks like she could just step right off the canvas!"
He actually smiled. "Oh, you saw that? Thanks. It'll be awhile before it's actually done."
"Would you want to maybe check out the museum after school today?" she asked, shyly. "They've added some new pieces."
"Sure, just find me after school and we'll figure something out."
Savannah giggled. "Okay. I'll talk to you later."
* * * * * * *
Isabelle Rhodes was nothing like her mother. Veronica had been drilling the same tired speech into her brain since she had been a toddler. Don't go out of the house without a shower or makeup. Never wear sweatpants in public. Have the right kind of friends (rich). Marry the right kind of guy (rich). Unfortunately, unlike Veronica, Isabelle wasn't a bitch.
Sure, she hung out with Carrie Jones at school, which made her popular by association. Carrie was blond, beautiful and a chip right off the gold digger block (Elise). But she was also vapid, shallow and cruel.
The Pomeroys and Horowitzes were all at Smugglesworth Prep, but Isabelle, her sister and brothers were condemned to public education. The Joneses were very "new money" ie. no class. Carrie's older brother Siddhartha had his sights set on Isabelle since they were nine years old. Unfortunately for him, she had never returned the interest.
But you can't blame a guy for trying.
Well, Isabelle could.
She tried to renounce the way she had been raised and the family name. It had resulted in many groundings. Veronica tried to forbid her from going to her debutante ball, then realizing Isabelle didn't care anyway, forced her to go. Vincent Pomeroy had been her escort. Her own sister, Maureen had deemed her hopeless and mocked her for her ideals. And her father? Derek Rhodes was a lap dog. He was a purebred who was kept at the highest level of maintenance but had never been anything more to Veronica than a lackey.
Isabelle had vowed that when she turned eighteen in four years, she would move out and buy herself a small home in the woods, live the way she wanted and love the only boy she had ever desired. But first things first. In order to receive her trust, she had to complete a couple of tasks for dear old mom.
Veronica had agreed that it wasn't going to be easy but Isabelle was the only one who could do it.
And so, dragging her feet as usual, Isabelle left to perform the last duty she would ever do for the Rhodes family name.
* * * * * * *
"So, I have to run home and get cleaned up but do you want to meet in the park in an hour?" asked Savannah.
"Sure," Go said.
Her eyes lit up. "Great! Well, see you there."
As she walked away, his phone rang. It was an unknown number.
"Hello?" he answered.
"Hi Go. It's Isabelle Rhodes. Could you meet me at Han's Tavern in an hour?"
"H-h-h-how did you get my number?" he stammered.
Isabelle sighed. "It doesn't matter. Just meet me? Please?"
* * * * * * *
"So, what can I do for you?" he asked politely. Isabelle was daintily sipping a Vanilla Chai Latte, acting as if they hung out every day but he was too rattled for caffeine at the moment.
"The girl in your painting. I know who she is."
"What girl?" he tried to sound nonchalant.
"Cut the crap, Bergdorf. I can get you the girl if you do something for me." Isabelle stared at him over her latte.
Go's mouth went dry. "Ok, well, what is it?"
Isabelle's pretty face reddened. "I need you to hang out with me a couple of times."
He breathed a sigh of relief. "That's it? Sure, no problem. I...I can hang out with you."
She stood up and he followed, confused. "But what about the girl?"
Isabelle smiled. "You just leave that one to me."
* * * * * * *
While Go's dream was finally becoming a reality, Savannah's was fading faster than daylight.
Why hadn't he showed up? A part of her hated him for getting her hopes up, for making her heart beat fast, for consuming her every thought. The bigger part loved him in spite of his flaws and mistakes, and maybe even a little more for them. Go Bergdorf would be hers yet.