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3.1 Day One: Lizzie

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LIZZIE

For the first time in my life, I downloaded two social media apps and planned on keeping them. I typically avoided them. I didn't get why people liked them and I knew I'd never post anything. My Instagram and Twitter had a great destiny to be empty forever... but I couldn't spy on Emily's pages without the apps. It was so annoying opening my chrome app and then continuously declining to download the app.

I caved.

Now, I had the username: Lizziesworkinprogress.

Funny at the time.

Mortifying now that people could look at it and follow me. Camille and half the family jumped on my pages quick, sending lots of messages and questions about my life. It was also horrifying to know my own brother took half-naked gym selfies. I debated deleting it. I spent the morning trying to stay away, trying not to stalk Emily. The Lifetime Network produced movies about weirdos like me. As the stalker, I was not the hero in this story.

I just had to know everything about her.

I just had to know why it ended between Emily and Parker.

In the parking lot at school, I checked my appearance. This was a girl who didn't look even a little bit interesting. This looked like the kind of person that accidentally photo-bombed a picture while they were just innocently trying to escape the frame. With a sigh, I slammed my forehead on my steering wheel.

A knock on the window saved me from myself.

Andrea waved, a look of mild worry behind her glasses. Her braids were down today, and her leggings of choice were black, but she wore a rainbow blocked scarf and a jean jacket. Her clarinet was strapped to her back. She opened the door for me. "Need help?" she asked.

"I couldn't afford you," I grumbled and slipped out of the car. We headed towards the school, squirming through the sea of cars and people. "I think I'm getting worse."

"I think you're spending too much time with Parker. You're so dramatic," she teased and my whole face flushed. The heat rose to the top of my ears and my chest squeezed a Venti triple shot of fear. Right. October first. That was today. Parker had sent me a text, but I was too anxious to read it and I didn't want to sweat through my deodorant so early in the day.

"Whoa, don't flip." Andrea blinked. She touched my arm, a comforting gesture. "I know you can't stand Parker. I'm only kidding."

"I've made a mistake," I said as we entered the building.

"When do you start making sense?"

"I'm dating Parker."

"What?!" Andrea jumped back, her eyes popping out of her head. We stopped traffic. The people behind us nearly crashed but managed to stumble past. They snapped at us to watch out and they cursed our dumb legs. Andrea didn't care about snapping back. The spotlight blinded me. "Start over. Start way over. Is Parker threatening you? How- When-" Her brow narrowed the way one would when solving a difficult math equation.

"It's recent. Really recent," I explained. "We um..." I couldn't tell her about the bet. Thinking it over, it sounded so dumb and so weird. She wouldn't take it seriously. I said instead, "We kind of... bonded, I guess."

"Since when?"

"Since Olivia's party."

Andrea glowered. "You mean the party where Parker pulled you into the pool?"

After a lull, I said slowly, "Yes..."

She seemed unconvinced, but before she could start interrogating me for details, I heard Parker's voice bounce down the hallway.

"Lizzie!" She called my name.

I could see just a splash of her copper-red hair amongst the drab crowd. Suddenly, I didn't know how to hold myself with her attention aimed at me, too busy rolling my shoulders back and fidgeting with which side to lay my braid. I was so aware of even how I tipped my chin up to avoid neck rolls. I should've skipped school with a phantom stomach bug.

Andrea rolled her eyes. Raising her hand, she could hardly even look at me anymore. "I'm not ready to see this. I need to ready my heart. I'll meet you in Biology." She walked away, but she did stop to grab one more look at me and shake her head in confusion as if I decided to quit school and join the circus.

"Hey, you!" Parker came at me hot, guns already loaded and at the ready to shoot a hole through my confidence. I was taken aback, searching my brain for the cause of the fire. She asked, "Why haven't you texted me back?"

"Huh?" I blinked, letting my brain buffer. "Oh..." I said, realizing what she meant. This wasn't a weird or new way to start a conversation with me. I reached into my backpack and pulled out my phone. On the screen there were three unanswered texts from Parker. The tips of my ears burned. "Uh," I mumbled, "sorry."

Parker huffed and crossed her arms. "Did you even realize I texted you?"

"Yeah, I did-"

"That sucks. I was really hoping you just didn't notice, but you were purposefully ignoring me." Parker dropped her eyes at the ground and kicked it. She sounded wounded. "Great, that really sucks."

"Parker," I spoke up, "do you want to know how I text?"

"No," she grumbled. "Not if it's gonna hurt my feelings, like oh!" She popped her palm against her forehead and used a much deeper voice than necessary to mimic my voice. She made me sound like Scooby-Doo. "A text from Parker. She's annoying, I'm gonna ignore her."

"That's not how I text!" I snapped. "I look at it..." I explained, looking at my phone and setting it down like I actually do. "I don't want to reply too fast and look desperate. I don't want to be the annoying one. So, I think about my answer for a while, something worth texting and then, I text something. Though, to be honest, sometimes I think of a reply, but I forget to actually send the text back. It's not on purpose."

"Well, how do you think I feel?" She stretched out her arms. "I know you've read the message. I thought I already screwed up."

The subtext twisted my chest as I remembered Emily dumped Parker, which was her last relationship. If we were keeping score, Parker was the one starting way more fights than me. All the tension in Parker's shoulders deflated. She sighed. "Just text me back please?"

"Okay, okay," I said, whinier than I wanted it to sound. I didn't want to be so defensive, but I couldn't easily unzip the layer on my own. Still, I said, "I'm sorry."

We stood in the humming hallway in silence.

"Okay, I'm going to class," Parker said and lifted her hand. I stared at her open palm with a quirked brow. It hung in the air like an unsolvable riddle. I needed a hint.

I pointed to her hand. "What's this?"

"Well," Parker shrugged, her hand still up, "usually, when I'm dating someone we hug or kiss or something, but we're really not there yet-"

"Even when you're fighting?"

"Yeah. I want them to know I still like them, even if we disagree sometimes..." She searched for the words. "It's comforting."

Her eyes were pinned into mine and in that small moment with that one honey glazed look and that little genuine smile on her lips, I was tricked into understanding why so many people dated Ashley Marie Parker. I slapped her hand.

"Hot," I muttered with a crucial eye roll to distract from my blush.

Parker snorted, but it was enough. She eyed me as she turned with a smirk on her pink lips and I couldn't unglue my converse from that spot.

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AUTHOR'S NOTE

Looks like Day One is gonna be a long day. Lol. Now that they're started, do you think you'd ever agree to do something like this? Also, please rank Lizzie's username and offer suggestions for a new one. Don't forget to comment and let me know what you think! 

Twitter: @AuburnMorrow

Instagram: @auburnmorrowbooks


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