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3.2 Day One: Parker/Lizzie

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PARKER

I sat in the back of my Biology class, jotting down the answers to the worksheet, but I just doodled rough sketches of cells dressing up for the MET GALA. Mrs. Muller sat at her desk and graded the remaining tests from our last test. I could handle a little more anticipation. Meanwhile, a video played over the prompter covering cell division narrated by a man evolved from sloths. A flurry of giggles bloomed from the front corner.

"Girls," Mrs. Muller warned them, "those packets are due by the end of class today."

"Mrs. Muller, I swear we're multi-tasking." Norah smiled, and I rolled my eyes. It wasn't charming if you had to try so hard. That was her problem. She thought she was funny. She thought she was better than everyone just because she was so naturally gifted. Sure, she was prettier than me and had better grades and more friends but I... I was taller.

At the beginning of the year, when I first came to Bethel High School (Home to the Fighting Artichokes, I kid you not), I immediately joined the drama club. It didn't scratch the surface of what I had at my performing arts school in New York, but it kept me from starving. We had a huge party, the first club meeting, and Norah volunteered to take the trash out. Well, my big dumb gay heart jumped at the opportunity to help.

She smiled with her mouth full of perfect white teeth, and I gained ten years back onto my life. Norah Brady had warm dark skin and big russet eyes. I liked her style too, with her black curls wild and free, and she wore a lot of vintage 80s inspired clothes.

We both had grabbed a couple of trash bags and headed out the door when a group of her track team friends stole her attention. "You don't mind finishing this? Do you?" she asked and left me with all the clean up before I could argue. It was then I realized she just volunteered for the brownie points. Not because she actually planned on helping.

I only allowed people to fool me once.

Norah waved, forcing me to realize I was staring. Frowning, I dropped my eyes back to my work and pretended to write something down. Now, we were forced to hang out almost every day because she played Cinderella in the production. With a sigh, I grabbed my phone.

Second time's the charm, right?

I sent Lizzie a random text.

#

LIZZIE

My phone buzzed in my pocket, making my bones jump and hit the ceiling of my body.

"Chill," Camille whispered, hiding her snickering behind her hand. She wore all black like usual, black ankle boots, ripped up black jeans splattered with bleach and a long black shirt that was basically a dress, reaching her knees. Her straight across bangs were ruffled and messy from resting her head in her hand.

We sat in our British Literature class, listening to the audiobook for Pride and Prejudice. I scribbled down notes and theories as I listened along, even if I've already read the book and made three different playlists for it (my favorite being a Lizzie Bennett Playlist titled Mrs. Bennett's Least Favorite Daughter. Its album cover is a vintage drawing of Lizzie Bennett with photoshopped sunglasses and explosions in the background).

A knot formed in my chest and tightened as the seconds went by. Totally defeated, I slipped my phone from my pocket and glanced at the screen. Parker's text sat at the top, beckoning me. Parker needed a text from me.

Eyeing my teacher Mr. Nelson, I brought my phone's screen light down to a minimum. I opened Parker's text. She sent me a secret desk picture of herself, giving herself at least four chins, a derp face and crossed eyes. I snorted, quickly hiding it with a cough.

Camille smiled at the book on her desk.

My phone buzzed again.


PARKER: [plEASE tell me your class has spots open I'm quitting mine 😭 Should we switch? Would anyone notice??] 


I curled my lips to keep down my smile. Thinking over my response, I debated holding off. Maybe I'll text Parker back in my next class, but... she said just to text her. This wasn't a big deal, I had to tell myself. Maybe that was my new mantra. It wasn't a big deal. It was just a text.

Flipping on my camera, I did my best to outdo her four chins with five and flared my nose to create peak horribleness. I twisted my face back and forth and back and forth and up and down and threw out my tongue too for some flavor. Camille slipped her middle finger into the screen, and we both sputtered into a flurry of giggles.

"Lizzie. Camille," Mr. Nelson said, an edge to his voice and he stopped the audiobook suddenly; it was jarring to be slapped with silence. "I know you're not laughing at something Mr. Collins is saying." In my panic, I tried dropping my phone into my bag, but it missed the lip and clattered to the floor. Mr. Nelson just sighed. "Bring it to me. You can have it back at the end of the day."

My heart sank. Everyone else either laughed or made a face that looked as uncomfortable as I felt. Me? Give up my phone? That has never happened to me in my entire life. I couldn't believe it. I didn't get in trouble. I didn't get singled out. No way. My heart inflated to max capacity and threatened to pop and shatter my insides. This must be what a heart attack felt like.

"This century, please," Mr. Nelson egged me on.

"S-sorry!" I squeaked, heat rising from the pit of my stomach to the tips of my ears. I fumbled around to pick up my phone and quickly stood on my weak jellified legs. My shoulders raised on their own as I transformed into a turtle to hide my shame. Mr. Nelson took my phone and dropped it in his bottom desk drawer with the rest of his treasures. The loss of my phone wasn't bad. Camille's secret giggling didn't hurt, but the look in Mr. Nelson's eyes stung me.

I was never going to listen to Ashley Marie Parker again. 

#

Author's Note

Continuing with Day One! Do you think they're even going to survive the first day? Or are they already breaking up? Can you imagine a movie? Credits just start rolling, haha. What would you rather see Netflix series or a Netflix movie? (I'm biased, I love all of Netflix's YA book adaptions). 

Music is such a big part of this book, so if you were curious what I listened to while writing the girls' POVs, I'll leave an external link ;) 

Twitter: @AuburnMorrow

Instagram: @auburnmorrowbooks

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