Everyday after the final bell rings, I go to the library. On the far left side, in the third row on the fourth shelf there's a school bus for a book end. Beneath that bus is a note with small, slanted handwriting that I've come to know well.
Hot Gimmick: Boy Meets Girl, if you are ok with subtitles. It's...a lot. You'll understand what I mean. You aren't prepared, I promise.
Each note, no matter how simple or detailed, brings about a smile. Lately, they've been making my heart race. Lately, I've been wanting more.
I give a quick response in my own chicken scratch;
I promise there will be an essay on it for you here tomorrow lol I can't wait! Or maybe I'm dreading it? A bit of both tbh
But I don't return my answer immediately. Black spots litter the end of the paper from the constant tapping of my pen.
Should I ask? I want to, like really, really want to. These notes have been a silly little secret between us for two months. Now, I don't want them to be secrets. I pace the hall, adjusting the strap of my bag. The nerves weigh me down, chewing at the sliver of confidence I've built over the last week. A simple question is never only that and I'm learning that the hard way. I hop in place, once, twice, a third time and—
Or no essay and we could watch it together instead?
I slip the note back before I can change my mind and walk away. Come tomorrow, I'll know if my mysterious pen pal is as curious about me as I am about them. My heart skips recalling how this all started over a reading assignment. I was traversing the library for a novel that wouldn't bore me to death when I found a piece of paper next to the bus book end. There was no name, only notes and eraser marks along with a "Watch List" on the back bottom right hand corner.
I left the paper where I found it but that evening, when my thoughts bombarded me with memories I wished to forget, I suddenly remembered the two movies listed. I chanced searching for them; Birdemic and Fateful Findings. I consumed both back to back and returned to the library the following day. The paper remained. Although I had no idea if the owner would ever find it, I wrote a note for them that simply read;
Those movies were fucking awful...
I loved them! Got anymore suggestions?
Two days later, I found a response on a folded piece of paper that barely stuck out from beneath the school bus.
The entirety of the Sharknado series should keep you busy for a while. If you want a cult classic though, watch The Room.
Since then, K and I have talked every school day for two months through nothing more than notes in the library. I check multiple times a day, and always at the end of school. Sometimes K has already answered and that warms me. Sometimes they haven't and I'm disappointed, feeling a little childish too. Oddly enough, finding K's response has become the highlight of my days.
Tomorrow may be the end of that though. I don't want it to be. Maybe asking to meet was too much? I should have asked for their number first. We could start chatting online, if that would be more comfortable for them.
I stop at the bottom of the stairs. Students are piling out of the front entrance, passing by without a care. Every stranger that walks by has me asking myself, is that K? What about her? What about him? What about them? Who are you, K?
Are you the girl with pigtails and nails so long that my dad likes to call them Nose Pickers? Or maybe the class clown laughing with friends and tripping over his own feet? Perhaps the theater kid that's reciting their lines or the cheer captain grabbing the pom-pom's from her car? Over a thousand students at Grandville High and somewhere, in this mass of hormones and existential dread, is a student with a love for movies and a secret pen pal.
I desperately wish to find the answer to the mystery that is K because I've really liked talking with them. After my complete fiasco of a break up over the summer, I am in dire need of some form of avoidance. K has given me that and more. They're witty and cool and nice and...someone I simply want to meet. I'd like to call us friends. I'd like to think we would be good friends if we met, maybe more than that if I were so lucky. And after my last piss poor of an excuse for a relationship, it's a miracle I'm looking for more than friends at all.
Thinking this way only brings on further anxiety. That's it, I'm going back and asking to exchange numbers instead! Asking to meet was too much too fast.
I turn around with every intention to change my request. Too bad I ran smack dab into Kace Wellings, varsity jock and bully extraordinaire. The typical tan, blonde haired, blue-eyed Prince Charming with all the natural advantages the world can handle and that's Kace in a nutshell. Although the sour look on his face reminds me of the expression my baby cousin makes when he's in dire need of a shit.
"You going to apologize or what?" Kace asks. The bridge of his nose wrinkles.
I assume I would have already been shoved to my ass if not for his girlfriend, Merida from Brave—I mean—Lavender. Seriously, she has the fabulous red hair and big blue eyes, an actual real life version of Merida. Now Lavender's no angel but she isn't keen on Kace getting physically violent, which is a blessing in disguise for the entire population of Grandville.
Point proven by her pressing a manicured hand to Kace's chest. "Let's go, babe. It was clearly an accident."
"Sorry, Kace," I say anyways in hopes to spare my life should a time come when Meri—Lavender isn't around. Better to be safe than sorry is a motto I live by when pertaining to jocks that could kill me if they wished.
Kace grunts in response then they're gone. They have the whole, we have our arms around each other's waist and hands stuck in the other's pocket as an excuse to touch their ass, thing going on. Damn, I hate seeing couples all touchy-feely in public. We singles don't appreciate the flaunting of your possibly very happy relationship. Especially not me. I haven't completely gotten over the dreaded ex so I admit, I'm a tad crabby around couples. On the bright side, at least now I can go ba—
"That was a close call. Kace looked ready to pound you, in the not fun unsexual way."
I face one of my best friends, Max, who appeared out of nowhere. I'm not sure where Sophie is—probably on her way out too—but Max is heading down the steps with a backpack so light that I haven't a clue why he bothers. Max is what I like to call a comfortable vampire, pale as a corpse, incapable of wearing color but always looking comfy as hell in baggy sweaters or sweats. He's the epitome of comfort and lackadaisical life style and the reason so called adults call teenagers lazy. It's a skill, he always says, although I don't see how that could possibly be a skill but I've never put up an argument.
I smirk when saying, "I'm not sure any type of pounding with Kace is fun. I bet he lasts thirty seconds, tops."
"You ready to prove that bet?"
"No way in hell."
Max chuckles. He swings his car keys around his index finger. "Come on, let's go. Sophie's right behind," he says, unaware of my inner turmoil. "I want to stop at the comic—"
Max's words are lost to me. My eyes are fixated on the school doors, peering past rows of students to the library entrance. I can run in real quick, tell Max I forgot something and will be right back. It will only take a second to scribble out my response and give a new one.
I tear my eyes away from the school doors. "H-Huh?"
"You coming or what?"
"Wait a sec, I forgot something!" I'm already moving up the stairs with my back to Max, otherwise he'd tell by my very warm cheeks that I'm probably lying. "Be right back!"
Max gives a quick ok, allowing me to rush to the library without worrying about him prying. Why I'm hiding K, I'm not entirely sure. Maybe because they've never made any move to reveal their identity, but neither have I. Maybe it's because I like that these notes are only between us, and even if we meet, how we met can be a funny story to us. Or maybe because I worry my friends will find it weird, how I'm falling for a complete stranger I've never technically met. There's a lot of reasons that could be the truth but I've never taken the time to consider it, only accepted that I don't wish to tell my friends just yet.
When I reach the library, it's empty save for the librarian, Mr. Mikalik. He's ancient, no one knows his age only that we're all waiting for him to simply fade into dust or return to whatever planet he came from. He's a character, that's for sure. And he's getting ready to lock up so I manage to evade him by ducking behind the bookshelves then crawling army style.
I safely make it to the third row where I lift the school bus and find—
Sorry. I like how things are now. Hope you enjoy the movie.
Disappointment has never tasted so bitter.
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