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Pen Your Pride

When Miss Sweet Meets Mr. Sour

Start from the beginning

Danny had issues.

And thanks to his popularity and the fact that he was one magnificent slice of sexy, Danny got away with being a jerk all the way to his senior year of high school…

But, I digress again; we’re still at December 5th in the eighth grade, when Danny ruined my birthday and possibly scarred me for life...

I had made it halfway through the day without any commentaries on my sweater from my fellow eighth grade classmates.

I was feeling pretty good, maybe this sweater didn’t look as bad as I thought…

To direct the attention away from my sweater, I even had a “Birthday Girl” sticker at the center of my chest, but perhaps it did the opposite of what I had hoped for because I was surely getting stared at every which way I went.

In a mere three hours, I would be home free and be able to kick back and relax, while watching cartoons on the couch. Just three hours.

I walked into my English class with my gaze locked on the ground.

My plan was that if I avoided eye contact, I could avoid socialization, and thus avoid criticism on my sweater… 

Little did I know the teacher, Mrs. Doughtry, planned a group assignment and had arranged the desks together so that six kids sat at each group. This allowed everyone to sit with their friends, but to my fourteen-year-old dismay, none of my close friends were in this class with me and there appeared to be no available seats. 

This was every kid’s nightmare. Being the last one picked for kickball and the last one to find a seat at a table.

Heart in my throat, I offered a smile towards my teacher, who returned the smile and motioned to an available seat. 

Just three more hours and I could take the stupid sweater off… 

Fourteen year old me settled on sitting at the last available seat in class. It right next to—yep, you guessed it. 

Danny Johnson.

The last available seat was at a table of all boys and they were talking loudly about video games and a football game.  I was the oddball at the table and I doubted any of them knew my name because a), I was a dork, and b), I was also very quiet, at least. 

The moment after the teacher discussed the assignment and handed out papers, Danny discreetly leaned over to unzip his backpack, sliding a yellow container of Sour Patch Kids out. 

 “You’re Olivia, right?” One of the boys at the table, blonde one, Quinn, who I had in one of my other classes, suddenly broke away from a conversation with his friend and was looking right at me. 

 “Um, y-yes,” I stuttered out quickly. Despite speech therapy sessions, fourteen year old me still had trouble slowing down her words, and stuttered sometimes because of this. 

 “Y-y-y-y-y-y-yes,” Danny Johnson mocked in a high-pitched voice, earning giggles from his audience at the table. Even the blonde boy, who I had first thought was very nice, laughed loudly at the joke. 

I held down the flood of emotion building up in my chest. It was my birthday. I was supposed to have a good day. “Wow, aren’t you a comedian? We should work on the assignment now, before one of us gets suspended from school again,” I said, slower this time, making sure I did not stutter. 

I now felt the weighted gaze of the beautiful boy next me, whom I had crushed on since pre-k. He wore the jersey of his favorite hockey team and his brown hair was slightly in his eyes. 

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