I'm still trying to decide on a title so for now I'll just call it "Valentine's Day"
Madison was selling.
Sitting on top of her desk, arms extended, showing the bracelets off of her wrist to everyone who wanted to buy. Sales were doing great. She already had sixteen orders and 19 other people had boughten some of the bracelets that she had put on her wrists.
“I want the pink and gold one,” Jenny said. “And the blue and black one.” She held out four quarters. Madison gave her the bracelets and took the change. She stuffed it in her pocket right as the bell rang. That was when Thomas entered the room, casually flipping his hair.
“Hi Thomas!” she said. “Do you want to buy a bracelet for fifty cents?”
Thomas looked at her wrists. “Who would want to buy that?” he said.
Madison was hurt. He had already hust her feelings this morning. She had hoped that he would have bought one. But not because she liked him...
No, wait....it was because she liked him.
She scowled at him, and then slid into her seat and started playing with the shoelaces on her Vans.
It was then that a teacher entered the room. He looked at Madison and said, “Miss Madison, may I buy one of those bracelets in Arkansas colors?”
Madison looked down at her wrists and slid one off. The teacher handed her two quarters, and she handed him the bracelet. “Thank you,” he said. “I understand that you’re selling these all day.”
“Then I’ll buy another one later,” he said.
Madison beamed and opened her computer. She looked at the screen and started chatting with Jenny online.
“Alright, class,” the teacher said. “Open your Mesopotamia notes to section three, we’re going to start with the monotheism of Israel...can anyone tell...”
His voice dragged on, and Madison continued to look at the screen.
But then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw Thomas looking at her. He was smiling.
Matt was hiding.
In the janitor’s closet, that is. He had run off after he saw Ada crying out of the corner of his eye as he had left homeroom that morning.
It must have been something about that card, he thought to himself. I wonder what it said...
And then he saw it through the crack in the door. There was a single, crumpled-up pink card in the middle of the hallway. He so desperately wanted to read it, but he didn’t want to get caught outside his classroom.
So carefully and quietly, he reached his arm out as far as possible and touched the corner. He tried to pull it to him, and it took several times before he grabbed it.
He crept his hand back into the closet and turned on the lights. Then he shut the door.
He opened the card. It read:
Back off Matt. He’s mine.
Matt couldn’t believe it. He had just realized two things. One: Ada may like him. Two: Jess was jealous. Matt couldn’t imagine Jess being this mean to anyone. Especially Ada. What was there to be mean about? She was so nice...
But so was Jess.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, though, he had this feeling that.....well....maybe Ada was better for him.
Wait! Hold up, Matt! You have a girlfriend, he thought. You can’t like Ada.
“I can’t like Matt,” came a voice. It came from the other side of the wall. “He has a girlfriend.” They were talking about him.
“You can still like someone with a boyfriend,” another voice said. Matt was sure this was Madison Black’s voice.
“I know,” the other voice said. “But I think it would be, you know, mean to Jess.”
“You hate Jess, though.”
Their conversation stopped because they heard a crash.
That crash happened to be Matt crashing into a bucket of water, face first. He had just realized that it was Ada talking, and had tripped.
“What was that?” Madison said.
“I don’t know,” Ada said. “C’mon. Let’s do our homework now.”
“Okay,” Madison said.
Matt sat up, face drenched, just in time to see the door open, and his angry social studies teacher staring down at him.
“Detention,” he said.
Jenny was mixing.
She sat in her seat in the science lab, safety goggles over her glasses. She was measuring how much of the solution was in a graduated cylinder.
Science had always fascinated her. What didn’t fascinate her was that James was in this class.
Sitting across from her.
Being her partner.
Well, he was occupied with talking to Thomas.
Jenny carefully studied the graduated cylinder for number eighteen. She wrote down the answer for cylinder eighteen: citric acid and water. That was the last problem.
“Done!” she said happily.
Thomas looked up. “Great,” he said. “Now let’s compare answers.”
“What took you so long?” James mumbled. Jenny scowled and ignored him.
“Okay, what did you guys get for one?” Thomas asked the two of them.
“Four and fifty six hundredths,” Jenny said. James mumbled the same thing.
“Same here. Okay...number two....” Thomas went on. The three got the same answers for the next twelve problems. And then they reached problem fourteen.
“5.98745 mL,” Jenny said.
“No,” James said, not mumbling this time. “It’s 5.88745.”
“No, I think my answer is right,” Jenny said, rising from her seat slowly.
“Um, I think I have the right answer.”
“Um, no, you don’t.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Yours isn’t correct!”
“Yours isn’t! You’re such a WART!”
“Yeah, a Wrong Answer Reaching Toad!”
“That’s so dumb, James!”
“Yeah, like YOU!”
Jenny raised her eyebrows and smirked. “Is that another acronym?”
“No,” James said. “But I can make in one! You Overrated Umbrella!”
“That’s even stupider!”
“Kind of like your face!” And then James threw his hands in the air, knocking over seventeen bottles of mixtures and solutions over. They all shattered, and the liquid squirted all over Jenny’s white polo.
The whole class gasped. Jenny’s mouth was open in astonishment as she stared down at her ruined shirt.
“Oh my God,” James said. “I am so sorry!”
Thomas looked at Jenny, and then at James. “That totally ruined your chances, man,” he said.
Jenny was furious. She looked at James with a scowl, and the bell rang.
“Jenny dear,” the teacher said. “Go to the front desk. They’ll have another shirt for you.” The teacher looked at James. “James, go with her so that you can get another shoe.”
James and Jenny walked out of the room, avoiding eye contact with each other.
“I am so sorry, Jenny,” James said.
“Guess what?” Jenny said, her voice full of fury. But then she realized how mean she was being. “Just forget it, okay?” Her tone lightened. “Pretend like it didn’t happen.”
“I’ll still make it up to you, though,” he said. “Look, I know we’re partners tonight. How about I buy you a smoothie of your choice when the thing is over?”
Jenny looked at him, and for a second she thought she saw the old James, the one that she had met on the first day of school a while ago, before they had become enemies....
“Okay,” she said. On the outside, she had a smile. But on the inside, she was confused.
Had James just asked her out?
Thomas was laughing.
About the James and Jenny situation, even a period later. His Bible teacher got on him about breaking out in a fit of laughter randomly in the middle of class.
When the bell rang for lunch, Thomas was the first out of the classroom and weaved his way through other people to get to his locker. He was stopped by Matt about halfway there.
“Did you hear?” he said.
“Yeah,” Thomas said. “Real mess they got into, right? And to think, he liked her...”
Matt shook his head. “No, not that,” he said. “Although, that was kind of funny...”
“You were saying...” Thomas said.
“Oh, right! The Greek Festival is tonight! I’m thinking of going to their restaurant...”
“I thought the Greek festival was in October...” Thomas said.
“They’re having a second one. There’s going to be souvlaki, gyro, tsitsiki sauce...”
“Where are you learning these words?”
“Madison. She loves Greek stuff.”
“What’s tsitsiki sauce?”
“Cucumber sauce,” Matt explained.
“But I really think you should go,” Matt said. “I know for a fact that Jack’s going, and...”
“I’ve got it!” Thomas suddenly blurted out. “I’ll ask Madison to go with me!”
“Um,” Matt said, looking like he didn’t know what to say. “Good luck with that.”
“Thanks!” Thomas said, and ran to his locker. He stuffed his computer case in it and ran down the hallway and through the doors.
He was so excited. Now he had an excuse to ask her out....now that he knew that she liked Greek stuff....
And it would be a DATE!
He was so excited that he tripped over one of the short brick walls and landed face-first in the grass. He was feeling dazed.
He didn’t even notice that Madison walked by and smiled at him.
James was eating.
Well, eating and writing at the same time. He was in the cafeteria, finishing up a Language Arts assignment that he had forgotten to do last night because he was on Buzz until 11 AM.
Suddenly, someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around.
It was Ada.
“Hey,” she said.
“What do you want?” James said. “He personally thought that Ada was kind of annoying.
“I’m giving out valentines,” she said, and the took a blue one out of her pocket. “for other people. They give them to me and I give them to the person that they’re for.
“Do you know who this one’s from?” James asked, twirling the blue valentine in his fingers.
Ada shook her head. “No idea,” she said.
“Oh,” James said. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” she said, and then skipped off down the table aisle.
James looked at the card, and then opened it. Inside, there was a drawing of bottles of chemicals, and words in messy handwriting:
APOLOGY ACCEPTED. SEE YOU TONIGHT. JENNY
James almost choked on his pizza. Jenny had accepted his 10,000 apologies!
And he stared at the words. What did they mean?
Was there a possibility that Jenny liked him back?
Ada was skipping.
Around the playground, delivering valentines. She had just finished delivering a group from Abbie, the most popular girl at school, to a couple of boys playing ultimate frisbee. They had been extremely happy.
And so was Ada. She was spreading happiness around the school. She had almost forgotten about Matt...
And then he walked up to her. “Hey, Ada!” he said, and waved.
Ada shyly waved back. “Hi,” she said.
He smiled. “Can you deliver this valentine for me?” He handed her a beautifully created card with gorgeous hand-drawn flowers on every inch. In the middle was “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
“Make sure you deliver it last,” he said. “I don’t want it to get in the way of your other deliveries.”
“Okay,” she said. “I will.”
“And don’t look at the name yet.”
He smiled. “Good. See you around,” he said. And then he took off toward the pavilion, where she could see Thomas and James.
He’s so cute, Ada thought.
Then she continued with her deliveries. She had about twenty more before she delivered Matt’s. She wanted to hurry so that she could look at who Matt’s pretty valentine was for.
Luckily, Madison had taught her to run very fast, and she was able to deliver all of the valentines except for Matt’s before the bell rang.
And as she walked back to the junior high building, she looked on the inside of Matt’s valentine to see who it was for. On the inside were a few words.
U R Beautiful.
She gasped. It was not because of those words, but because at the top of the page, clear as day, were the best words that Ada had ever seen, and she jumped for joy.
Madison was walking.
“Hey, are you going to the Greek festival tonight?” came a voice behind her.
She turned around. It was Matt.
“I don’t know,” she said. “Maybe.”
“Do you think it sounds interesting, though?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said. “But I don’t have enough money to buy a ticket.”
“Yeah. The food is my favorite part.”
“By the way, thanks for teaching me those Greek food words.”
“You’re welcome. Why did you want to know them, anyway?”
“Greece unit in Social Studies.”
Madison raised her eyebrows. “That’s not until the next six weeks,” she said. She knew he was lying. “And we’re studying ancient Greece.”
Matt ran off without saying a word.
“Boys,” Madison muttered. Then she followed Matt. She knew he was up to something now.
Thank goodness this period was a free period. She could not miss a class.
She followed him around the corner and out across the quad (a large area of bricks in between the junior high and high school buildings), until he walked up to a bush. Madison hid behind a nearby tree, watching.
And out from the bush came Thomas.
She listened to their conversation.
“She says she wants to go,” Matt said. “but she doesn’t have enough for a ticket.”
“They’re seven bucks,” Thomas said. “What girl doesn’t have seven bucks?”
“She doesn’t,” Matt said. “So you’d have to buy her ticket. It’d be a nice thing.”
“Do you honestly think that I have an extra seven dollars on me?”
“Then how in the world would I buy her ticket?”
“I’ll loan you some...as long as you pay it back.”
She saw Matt slip Thomas some cash.
“Now go ask her out.”
Madison gasped and ran off from behind the tree, hoping that neither of them saw her.
She was smiling and laughing now. The guy that she liked liked her back! She jumped up and down and then pulled out her iPhone and texted Jenny.
Thomas is gonna ask me out!!!
Jenny’s response: Really?
How do u no
overheard him tlkng
kool but u said u didnt like NE1
i may have lied. g2g
But I have to pretend like I didn’t overhear him when he asks me, Madison thought to herself.
So instead of dancing to her locker, which she would normally do in a situation like this, she walked sophisticatedly.
But inside her head, there was a celebration.
Matt was planning.
He knew that Jess was mean, but he had still promised to take her on a date tonight. Maybe he would break up with her there. Although...it would be kind of mean to break up with someone on Valentine’s Day.
Nah, Ada was worth it.
He smiled as he thought of Ada opening the card and seeing the message that he had written....she was rather pretty.....
Matt, get ahold of yourself! You’re planning a date with another girl! Stop liking Ada! he thought to himself.
Here was his plan so far (he had written down):
Step One: Show up at her door with flowers (lilies)
Step Two: Take her to her favorite restaurant (Mellow Mushroom)
Step Three: Take her to the fireworks display at Medlock Park.
Step Four: First Kiss (hopefully)
He was still a little nervous about step four, though, because he knew that it would make him give up completely on liking Ada.
Was it worth it?
No, it would hurt Ada too much. He knew that she liked him now, and if he were to stop liking her (she knew that he sort of liked her via the card), she would burst into tears and ruin her happy streak.
That would be awful. Because a day without Ada is like a day without happiness.
And as soon as he thought that, he knew that Ada was who he really liked.
Jenny was tying.
Her shoelaces, actually. They had come undone.
She was on her way to Media Literacy, her second to last class of the day, with Ada. She and Ada were somewhat friends, they always talked, but they weren’t best friends like Jenny and Madison.
“So James kind of asked you out?” Ada said.
“Yeah, I guess,” Jenny replied. “He offered to buy me something after church at McDonald’s.”
“But wasn’t that just to make up for spilling those chemicals on you?” Ada asked. She giggled.
Jenny giggled. “I guess,” she said.
“Wait,” Ada said, and stopped where she was. “You sounded dissapointed when I said it wasn’t a date. Hold on.”
Jenny swallowed hard. Did Ada figure out her secret.
“Oh my Gosh,” Ada said, and a smile came across her face. “You like him!”
Crud, Jenny said inside her head.
“So what if I do?” Jenny said, speeding up her pace a little. They were going to be late now.
“Nothing,” Ada said. “I just think it’s surprising.”
“Well you like someone,” Jenny said.
Ada’s smile faded. “How do you know that?” she asked.
“I observe people carefully,” Jenny said, which was true. She had followed Ada’s dreamy gaze towards Matt earlier that morning.
“Oh,” Ada said.
Jenny felt bad. She had taken the brightness out of Ada. She put a reassuring hand on Ada’s shoulder. “Don’t worry,” Jenny said. “Your secret’s safe with me.”
Ada smiled. “Thanks, Jenny. I knew I could rely on you.”
Thomas was eager.
Now was his chance to ask out Madison. He spotted her in the hallway.
“Wait!” Thomas called, running down the hallway. “Madison!”
Madison turned around, almost smacking her bag into the wall. “Yes?”
“Can—um—I buy a bracelet?” Thomas said nervously, twisting his shirt collar.