1. On the bed between the two girls were some letters, which were laid facedown so that they couldn’t see return addresses. Blair got seven letters and five letters were Serena’s. “Okay. Ready?” Serena asked.
Blair closed her eyes and took the first letter. “Okay. Let’s do it.”
Rriipp! Rriipp! Rriipp!
2. Blair looked at Serena. “How’d you do?” she asked.
Serena could tell from the scary look on Blair’s face that the news was not good. She didn’t know what to say. “Urn, I got a place ... um ... everywhere?”
Blair stared at the acceptance letters in Serena’s hands. On top was a cream -colored letter with the blue Yale University letterhead. “Wait, you applied to Yale?” isked Blair.
“Yes,” Serena nodded.1 “At the last minute I just decided, why not, you know?”
“And you got a place?”
Serena nodded again. “Sorry.”
3. The way Blair was looking at her was making Serena nervous. What did Serena have that she didn’t? She was in the top of her class at school and took every AP* course they offered. She was the best at the SAT. She did charity work. She was the leader of the French club. She was an excellent tennis player. Her entire high-school career — practically her whole life — she’d been working toward entering Yale. Her father had gone there. His father had gone there. Her great-uncle had donated two buildings and a playing field. Serena took no APs at all, and did only a few extracurricular activities. Serena’s dad had gone to Princeton and Brown, two of Yale’s biggest competitors.2 Still, Yale had accepted Serena and put Blair on their wait list!
4. “I probably won’t even go,” Serena made an attempt to make things less important. “I have to ... you know ... visit all the schools before I decide,” she gath-tred her blond hair on top of her head. “Maybe I won’t even go to college right iway. I could stay in the city and try to do some acting or something.”
5. So Serena got into Yale, but she didn’t even really want to go there. Serena collected her letters and held them behind her back.
“What about the other schools? You must have —”
“I got wait listed at Yale. The only place that accepted me is Georgetown. Stupid Georgetown. But it was my safety.”
Serena stared at her for a moment her eyes wide with surprise. “That’s not so bad,” Serena said. “I’m sure Yale is hard to enter. And if you didn’t enter, at least you have backup.”
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