When the GA students escape to Vermont for the annual ski trip, will controversy stay in D.C.? Or will life on the slopes snowball out of control?
The frosty chill that’s settled over Georgetown Academy isn’t just from the winter weather—growing up in the D.C. fishbowl isn’t for everyone, but a break from the Beltway might just restore some sanity.
Ellie Walker’s suffered through a lifetime of scandal in a few short weeks, and now must watch her true love fall for someone else. But will a dose of fresh New England air—and an irresistible newcomer who plays by his own rules—provide the change of pace she so desperately needs?
Riding high after her smashing D.C. debut, Taryn Reyes hatches a plan to cement her relationship with Gabe. But she may get more than she bargained for when she enlists Brooks’ help.
Evan Harnett would do anything to protect her friends. But one moment of weakness, and now she’s on the outs with both Hunter and Ellie. Hot on the trail of a new story, she’s heartbroken to find it leads straight back to Ellie. Can she save her friend and their friendship?
Brinley Madison’s Clinton-esque downfall was bad enough, but between family obligations, protecting her friends, and managing local gossip, will she be able to regain her social standing without losing her peace of mind?
Privileged kids in a posh hotel with nothing to do but scheme and ski—and they thought D.C. was a pressure cooker? One thing’s for sure: what happens in Vermont definitely won’t stay in Vermont.
“How was your day, honey?” After a week of giving Ellie the cold shoulder when the Gabe photo came out, her mother had finally called a truce.
“The usual. How about you?”
“Busy. The president officially announced Gail Morris as the Supreme Court nominee today,” Marilyn answered, a note of pride in her voice.
“Yeah, I heard that. Congrats,” Ellie said. As a member of the high-powered Senate Judiciary Committee, Ellie’s mother had been pushing for Gail as the nominee. She’d been a fan since Gail’s time on the First Circuit Court of Appeals when she upheld Marilyn’s Maternity Leave Access Act five years ago.
“Do you have plans tonight?” her mother asked.
“Nope.” With no Hunter, Gabe, Evan or Brinley, Ellie’s schedule was unfortunately wide open.
“Perfect. We’re having a congratulatory dinner with Gail at Proof. I’ll meet you there at 7:30.”
It wasn’t exactly an exciting invitation, but at least it got her out of the house. After a school day filled with seeing her exes, she could use a distraction.
Ellie arrived a few minutes early to the restaurant in the heart of the Penn Quarter district. Proof was a D.C. staple with exposed brick walls and European light fixtures, simultaneously giving it a feel of rustic old-world charm and modern panache. And instead of playing endless CNN coverage, the television screens in the bar displayed the presidential portraits from the National Gallery across the street.
As the smell of red wine and filet mignon wafted past her, Ellie ordered a club soda and took a seat on one of the high-backed leather chairs at the crowded bar. She looked up at the pensive face of Thomas Jefferson on the screen. Now that’s a guy who had some scandalous affairs.
She twirled her chestnut hair around her finger as she watched the door for her mother, the strain of yet another horrible day at school seeping into every muscle in her body until even hereyeballs ached.
“Whatever it is can’t be that bad, can it?” A male voice came from the chair next to her. She turned to see it belonged to an incredibly good-looking guy around her age. He had dark, tanned skin and the kind of unconventional facial features that came together perfectly, but made it difficult to pinpoint what exactly made him so attractive. He was wearing faded jeans, a light grey T-shirt and a charcoal hoodie covering his muscular-looking arms. A few dark brown strands of hair peeked out from underneath his striped beanie, but didn’t hide his eyes, which were the same shade of green as Ellie’s.
“I’m just not having the best week. Weeks actually,” she answered.
She figured that was the end of the exchange, but he continued, “Then look on the bright side. It can only get better, right?” She didn’t want to tell him she was having a hard time lately seeing the bright side to anything, but he was giving her an easy, contagious smile that was difficult not to return. “I’m Weston.”
A portrait of Abraham Lincoln flashed on the screen and he nodded toward it. “So, Ellie, on a scale from one to that guy’s problems, what are we dealing with here?”
She genuinely laughed, the sound almost foreign since it had been so long. “I guess when you compare it to the Civil War, it’s not so bad.”
He winked. “Always helps to put it in perspective. So you go to G.A.?”
“What gave it away?”
“I may have seen a photograph a few weeks ago…”
She reddened. He knew her from the infamous photograph of her and Gabe. Great.
“Is that what’s got you down?”
She arched an eyebrow. “Do you blame me?”
“I was actually impressed by that whole thing,” he said with a shrug.
She instinctively felt defensive. Was he being sarcastic? “I don’t think that’s the word anyone would use to describe it.”
“That’s because they’re all too narrow-minded. The second I saw it, I thought, now there’s the one girl in D.C. who has the balls not to care what everyone else thinks.”
The tension in her body released on its own as she considered his shift in perspective. “I guess that’s one way of looking at it.” It was actually much better than the alternative. She’d been wavering between guilt and shame for the past three weeks. She was about to tell him as much, but something stopped her. She liked that this guy was impressed by her. If anything, at least he was providing the distraction she desperately needed. She smoothed down her white cotton mini-dress and suddenly felt relieved she hadn’t phoned it in with her outfit. Brinley was her default stylist and had convinced her a few weeks ago to buy it, instructing her to pair the dress with sheer black tights and four inch black lace-up booties. She would have to remember to thank her tomorrow.
“So where do you go to school?” she asked him.
“I’m a senior at Landon.” The all-boys school in Bethesda. Ellie had a few friends there, but she definitely would have remembered if she had ever met Weston.
She was about to play the name game to see if they had any friends in common when she saw her mother and Gail Morris breeze through the doorway, approaching her. Marilyn Walker donned her favorite wool flared Stella McCartney pants, a light yellow blouse tucked into them and a chunky turquoise necklace visible underneath her collar. If they had a vote for best-dressed senator on the Hill, her mother would win in a landslide. Gail Morris was a bit dowdier in her tapered-leg black pantsuit, her shoulder-length wavy brown hair not as sleek and perfectly blown-out as Marilyn’s. Ellie had briefly met Gail once before and found her warm and engaging, especially compared to some of her mother’s other colleagues, who had a hard time making conversation if it wasn’t about an upcoming bill or how their party was getting screwed by the other party.
“Looks like you two already met,” Gail said, looking between Ellie and Weston.
“Guess I failed to mention my last name is Morris,” Weston grinned. Then he leaned into Ellie and whispered, “I guess the rest of our date is going to be chaperoned.”
Ellie tried to play down her smile.
Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz met the first day of freshman year at the University of Southern California and instantly bonded over their obsessions with Brenda Walsh, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Babysitters Club books they read growing up. After spending a full year mourning the end of college, they began writing television and feature scripts together. They have set up pilots at ABC, NBC, Fox and CW, and sold films to The Weinstein Company, Happy Madison, Paramount, New Regency, MGM and Alloy Entertainment. They love writing female-centric stories, especially for teen and tween audiences, mainly because they still think they are the 18-year-old girls they were when they first met at USC.