Chapter One:

Some Days You Gotta Dance

'So, got any plans tonight roomie?'

Wendy looked up from her textbook and glanced briefly at the thin blonde girl standing beside her desk before returning her eyes to the page she had been reading. 'Schoolwork,' she mumbled.

Julie rolled her eyes. 'Of course. Somehow I just knew you were going to say that.'

'Then why did you bother asking?' Wendy asked, her eyes never leaving the page.

'Because I think it's time you took a break from schoolwork for a bit. Honestly, girl, I don't know how you do it. College is about more than just studying; it's also a social experience. You don't know what you're missing by hanging out here in the dorm all day and night.'

'First of all, maintaining my grades happens to be a priority for me; you know that Jules. Second of all, what exactly am I missing out on? Wild keg parties and wet t-shirt contests? Binge drinking and hangovers? Not exactly my cup of tea, thank you very much. Besides,' she added, 'I get out now and then.'

Julie lifted a perfectly arched eyebrow at her friend, 'I wouldn't exactly call study trips to the library 'getting out', Wen.'

'That's not fair!'

'But you can't deny it, can you?' Julie said with a triumphant smile.

Wendy paused. 'Alright, I'll admit it's true. But I really can't go out tonight; I have two papers due next week.'

'And I'm sure you're close to finishing them already,' Julie persisted.

'Ok, I am but there are still notes I need to go over for the test in Erikson's psych class…'

'Which isn't until Wednesday. Today is Friday. You still have plenty of time to prepare.'

Wendy let out a sigh and shut her textbook. 'Fine. Have it your way; I'm free. Just where is it you want to drag me to tonight?'

'There's this party at Hunter Greenly's tonight. It's supposed to be the party of the year; everyone's going.'

'Hunter Greenly? Isn't he some jock or something?'

'Not some jock; he's the starting quarterback on the varsity football team. This is his last year here; after school he's being drafted into the NFL. How is it you don't know these things?'

'Oh, I don't know, maybe because I have more important things to focus on; things like studying and someday even graduating,' Wendy replied sarcastically. She looked at Julie. Wendy had to admit, she was sometimes a bit envious of her roommate. Julie had everything going for her, good looks and a bubbly personality. She was average height with shoulder length blonde hair and large brown eyes with skin the color of peaches and cream. Guys were always trying to date her, although Julie seemed a bit oblivious to their true intentions and wound up with an over abundance of male 'friends' instead, much to Wendy's amusement.

Wendy didn't consider herself bad-looking; in fact she thought she was far from being ugly or even plain. However, she was a little on the tall side and willowy thin. She didn't have much in the chest area to speak of, which seemed to be a turn off for most guys, but it didn't really bother her too much. She kept her chestnut brown hair short in the back and longer in the front; she hated feeling hair lying on the back of her neck. Her bangs were fully grown out and the longest pieces of her hair fell about four inches below her chin. It was a messy kind of haphazard cut but it was comfortable and she liked it. Her skin was as pale as Julie's but lightly freckled; a few danced across the bridge of her nose all year long but in summer more appeared.

'I don't have anything to wear,' Wendy said suddenly.

'Don't be silly,' Julie said. 'I saw that little black dress in the back of the closet.'

'Yeah…I guess…' she said unsurely. Her best friend from back home had made her buy that dress when they were out shopping at the mall one day before she left for college. Michelle said every girl had to have a little black dress and had convinced Wendy to get it. The thing had cost a week's earnings from the little diner she worked at and she hadn't even thought about wearing it since then. 'Sure, why not?'

Julie grinned at her friend. 'That's the spirit.'

Finding decent parking was almost impossible; Julie had been forced to park two streets over from the party site. As the girls approached the place Wendy felt herself become less annoyed at having been talked into attending the party. The music was blaring so loudly it could be heard from the end of the block. As they drew closer to the place she could see clearly that the party was in full swing as it had overflowed onto the front lawn of the huge house, despite the cool weather. Julie and Wendy entered the crowded house, nearly having to push people aside just to get in the front door. Julie quickly navigated them through to kitchen where they each grabbed a beer before heading back into the immense living room. They took up residence in a corner and leaned against the wall enjoying their drinks.

'Holy crap, he's here!' Julie suddenly squealed in Wendy's ear causing the taller girl to wince.

'Who's here?' Wendy asked, craning her head to see, equal parts amused, annoyed and curious.

'Robbie Taylor. He's rich and hot and one of the most eligible bachelors at our college.'

'If he's so hot and so rich then why doesn't he have a girlfriend?'

'It's not like he's always been single. He went through a bad break-up last semester. They'd been going out for two years and then it ended suddenly.'

Wendy spotted the boy. He was very handsome, with medium blonde hair and lightly tanned skin, not to mention a bone structure to die for. He was wearing a green polo with the collar turned up and you could clearly see his finely muscled body beneath the tight fitting fabric. Wendy thought he could have been a male model with those looks. 'Oh,' Wendy said, casting an amused smile at her friend.

'What do you mean, 'oh'?' Julie asked.

Wendy laughed. 'He's kind of hot, I guess. If you like pretty boys,' she added, amused at her friend's reaction.

'He's not a pretty boy,' Julie huffed. 'And maybe I do have a bit of a crush on him and came to this party solely on the chance that he'd put in an appearance. That doesn't mean I'm some kind of freak.'

'No, but it does make you a bit of a stalker,' Wendy replied smartly.

'Whatever. It's not like I have a chance with him anyway.'

Wendy glanced over at their little group. 'Why, I thought you said he was single? Is that girl making the moves on him or something?' she asked, referring to the waiflike brunette standing beside him.

'No. That's his cousin, Kayla. She's equally hot and rich but surprisingly down to earth. I had Bio with her last year and she was in my lab group. She's actually a pretty nice girl. Anyway, that's how I first met Robbie. He met up with her after class one day and she introduced us.'

'Jules, I'm confused. If he doesn't have a girlfriend, why wouldn't you stand a chance with him?'

'I told you, he's filthy stinking rich. Guys like Robbie Taylor don't date girls like us, Wen. They date girls like Veronica Andrews or Rebecca Stevenson, girls that are from the same social class.'

'That's ridiculous,' Wendy sputtered. 'What is this, the nineteenth century or something?'

'No, but it is New England. And New England society means old money; old as the nineteenth century.'

Suddenly Julie gasped. 'Oh no. Please tell me they're not coming over here.'

Wendy looked up to see that Robbie had disengaged from the group and was indeed headed in their direction. As he waded through the crowd it became evident to Wendy that he was indeed very popular; most of the students he passed exchanged enthusiastic greetings with him. Wendy's attention shifted slightly as she noticed someone following behind Robbie. He was slightly taller than Robbie, with dark hair and a serious expression. As friendly as Robbie appeared his friend seemed uncomfortable in the crowd and people automatically backed away as he approached.

Finally, the two arrived at the spot where Julie and Wendy were standing.

'Hey,' Robbie greeted Julia.

Julie smiled shyly. 'Hi.'

'Julie, right? You had a class with Kayla, didn't you?'

The blonde haired girl nodded. Wendy fought the urge to nudge her friend in the side. It wasn't like Julie to act so shy.

Wendy turned her attention to Robbie's friend who had yet to speak. He was standing stiffly, glancing about the room with a bored expression.

'Who's your friend?' Robbie asked, shifting Wendy's attention back to him.

'Wendy Robertson,' Wendy replied for her dazed friend. 'I'm Jules' roommate.'

'That's cool,' Robbie said. 'Oh, this is my friend Nathaniel Barstow, or Nate as we like to refer to him.'

Nathaniel's eyes flickered to the girls and he gave them a brief nod of acknowledgement before looking back to the crowd.

'So, you want to dance or something?' Robbie asked Julie. The blonde haired girl blushed a bright shade of crimson and nodded. Robbie laughed and took her hand, leading her off into the crowd. Julie turned around briefly and yelled, 'I'll catch up with you later, Wen!' and gave her friend an excited little wave.

'…what classes are you taking?' Wendy asked, trying to make conversation with Nathaniel who had remained behind when their friends disappeared together. He looked down at her briefly and then, much to Wendy's shock and without saying a word to her, he turned around and walked back to where he'd been standing on the other side of the room.

Nathaniel glared at kids blocking his path willing them to move out of his way as he walked back over to where his friends had been gathered. When he approached he was a bit dismayed to find that almost everyone except for Rob's cousin Kayla seemed to have wandered off somewhere. Rebecca Stevenson, a tall leggy blonde, had joined Kayla and was seemingly engaged in conversation with her but she had given him a sultry smile when she saw him coming back toward them. As he leaned back against the wall he noticed her whisper something in Kayla's ear before turning in his direction.

He glanced back over at the girl he'd left on the other side of the room. He was aware of how rude his actions had been; his parents raised him to have impeccable manners after all. But the surge of attraction he'd felt when she'd looked up at him with those startling clear green eyes was best laid to rest, and the quicker the better. Unlike his friends, he wasn't one to indulge in relationships that had no hope for a future. He didn't think he could risk falling for someone only to have to give them up later when faced with the disapproval of his parents.

Still, he couldn't seem to keep his eyes from wandering over to where she stood, now all alone and looking rather put out, her face slightly flushed, he guessed from embarrassment or anger. He imagined her eyes flashing with that barely suppressed emotion and felt the corners of his mouth tilt up a bit as he watched her stalk furiously through the crowd toward where her friend and Rob were dancing together.

He was startled out of his reverie when Rebecca approached him, silkily sliding her arm around one of his own and sidling up next to him, pressing her soft body against his side. 'Hey Nate. What are you doing here? Thought you didn't like slumming with the rest of us?' She asked with a giggle.

He stepped back and disentangled his arm from hers. 'Rob wanted me to come and he talked me into joining him. I'm still trying to figure out why I agreed. At least it looks like Rob's enjoying himself.'

They both looked over to where Rob was dancing with Julie; the two were laughing and it looked like they were having a good time. The other girl, Wendy, said something to her friend before walking off again. Nathaniel resisted the urge to track her movements through the crowd and quickly lost sight of her.

'He can play around with girls like that all he wants; they're just for fun. When it comes time to be serious he'll change his mind to our way of thinking.' Rebecca said confidently. 'He'll come to see reason sooner or later.'

Nathaniel shot her a look. 'Because everyone you date is from our little circle,' he said sarcastically.

She gave him a smile. 'Like I said, they're just for fun. Now, you and I, that would be fun too; fun that our parents would approve of.'

'Can the act, Becca. I told you before I'm not interested. I'm not changing my mind.'

The girl seemed a bit put out at that statement. 'Whatever you say, Nate. I'm not going away though, just so you know.'

'I didn't think you would. Persistence is just one of your many fine qualities,' he said, the tone of his voice belying the compliment.

Rebecca stared blankly, blinking once. Nathaniel thought she was probably trying to figure out the insult. She must have given up because her eyes drifted back to Robbie and Julie. They had stopped dancing and were now talking. Nathaniel was slightly alarmed by the way his friend was looking at the girl, as if he'd never seen anything quite the thing. It was one thing for one of them to date a girl like that, but something else entirely to fall in love with one. He didn't want Robbie to get hurt by getting in too deep with the girl.

Rebecca must have noticed Robbie's reaction too because her eyes suddenly narrowed. 'Just who is that girl with Robbie?'

Wendy fought the urge to growl as she pushed her way through the crowd to where Julie had run off with Robbie Taylor. When she got there she abandoned her original intention of dragging Julie out of there to go home; it looked like her friend was having such a good time with Robbie that she didn't want to make her leave despite the bad mood she was now in.

'Hey, Wen. What's up?' Julie asked when she saw her friend approach.

Wendy quickly replaced her scowl with a smile. 'Nothing. Just going to head to the ladies room. Didn't want you to wonder where I ran off to or anything.'

'Ok. I'll see you around later,' Julie said. 'Meet me by the door at midnight.'

Wendy grinned. 'No problem, Cinderella. Make sure she doesn't misplace a shoe,' she said to Robbie, causing Julie to laugh.

Wendy turned and battled her way through the crowd yet again. Crowds were one of the reasons she didn't like going out so much to these types of parties. It was one thing hanging out with a few friends, but something about being surrounded by tons of strangers having a good time made her feel all alone in the world. She downed the rest of her beer leaving the empty bottle on an end table already packed with empty bottles and cans and made her way to the stairs to find the bathroom. She noticed Nathaniel and a tall blonde girl standing against the wall below the stairs and nearly groaned at the thought of running into him again. She managed to keep enough people between them so that he didn't notice her as she made her way to the staircase. Out of sight, she walked up the stairs but stopped halfway when she suddenly heard Julie's name mentioned below.

'Julie who?' the blonde girl asked, seemingly indignant. 'I wonder where he meets these people.'

'Where do you think? This school is full of plebs, isn't it?' Nathaniel answered in a bored voice.

Wendy wanted to laugh at his comment. Who did he think he was calling them plebeians? She continued on her way thinking that one day it would be good if someone brought Mr. High and Mighty down a peg or two.

They didn't make it back to the dorm until nearly one in the morning. Wendy was exhausted but had to admit she'd had a good time, despite the incidents with Robbie's friend Nathaniel. She shook her head thinking about it again as she got into her pj's. 'Robbie's friend is kind of a jerk. I can't believe he'd even hang out with a guy like that.'

'Why, what happened?'

'After you left he just walked off rudely after I asked him a question, without so much as a 'nice to meet you' or even acknowledging that I'd said anything to him.'

'Well, maybe he's just a bit antisocial,' Julie suggested.

Wendy gave her friend a look of disbelief. 'Later on, I heard him refer to us as plebs,' she said disgustedly. 'It's funny when you think about it. I didn't even know snobby people like that existed nowadays. Anyway, I'm not worried about it. It's not like I'll be running into him any time in the near future.'

'Well, that might turn out to be sooner than you think,' Julie said.

'What do you mean?'

She did her best to look innocent but Wendy wasn't buying it.

'Julie. What have you done?' she asked slowly, dreading her friend's answer.

'Nothing, really. It's not a big deal.' Then she let out a smile so bright it could light an entire house for a week. 'Robbie asked me to go on a date with him.'

'What happened to the whole 'he's out of my league' thing?'

'I know, it's crazy, isn't it? I mean, I totally thought he wouldn't want to, but he asked me out. I thought I would die from giddiness. Can you die from being too happy?' she wondered.

'Julie. Focus.'

'Yeah, so anyway, he wants to go on a double date. And he wants me to bring you along. You know, to hang out with that friend of his.'

Wendy groaned and banged her head against the closet door. 'Please, tell me this isn't happening.' She looked up suddenly. 'Just tell him I can't go. Tell him I'm busy studying. It's the truth anyway.'

'He'll be disappointed. Please.' Julie looked at her, batting her eyelashes. Her big brown eyes looked just like a sad little puppy dog.

Wendy sighed in defeat. 'Ok. But, I'm not promising to have a good time. And don't you ever pull those eyes on me again. It's not fighting fair.'

Julie just smiled and winked at her roommate before turning off the light.