What happens when your pen pal is your Best friend’s annoying twin?
The Pen Pal Project
CHAPTER
1
Introductions
I tapped my pencil on the desk, bored out of my mind in fifth period math class. I glanced over to my best friend since kindergarten, Marge. She had her head on the desk and was using her arms and long, blonde, curly hair as a pillow as she stared out the window. Then I peeked at Jackson, her twin brother that sat diagonal from me.
They looked similar, but were complete opposites. Margaret (I call her Marge) is nice and confident and my best friend in the whole world. She also wears cute clothes, and has beautiful blue eyes.
Then there’s her brother. He’s annoying, too confident for his own good, snarky, sarcastic, wears expensive-looking clothes, has surfer blonde hair, thinks he’s the coolest person ever, and is my complete worst enemy.
I didn’t realize I was staring until he caught my gaze and smirked. I rolled my eyes and turned my attention back to Mr. Alexander, who was looking at me expectantly. “Um, what was the question?” I said, my cheeks warming when there were a few chuckles (including Jack).
“No question. Just waiting for everyone to come back to Earth.” He replied, turning away and writing a math equation on the white board. I sighed. Mr. Alexander always has a way of embarrassing only me. But all heads that were on me are now on the board, not wanting what happened to me to happen to them.
The bell finally rang, and I was the first to leave. “Hey Spacey, catch you later,” Jack teased, shooting me a smirk as he walked away with his laughing entourage. I sighed again as Marge came out of the class.
“B-plus!” She shouted with a little happy dance and a corrected test in hand. “A-minus.” I countered with a successful grin. She scowled. We always compare grades since we’re super competitive, something we’ve been doing since third grade.
“Your brother’s a jerk, so that brings your grade down in our game.” I told her jokingly. “What? No!” She whined, then gave him a playful glare. “I guess I’ll have to talk to him later.” She said fiercely, pretending to crack her knuckles. I laughed really loud, then turned away when it made Jack look my way with another smirk.
Then we went to our locker. Yes, our locker. We can choose to share lockers or have our own, and luckily we were partnered to share one. Marge stuck a magnetic mirror onto the inside of the locker door, and applied some lip gloss. I grabbed my books and the bell rang.
“I heard Mrs. L has something new up her sleeve.” Marge said. “Really?” I replied. She taught my favorite class, sixth period Language Arts. We had her last year too, since she teaches eighth and ninth grade, and sometimes tenth. Marge nodded.
We entered the classroom and took our usual seats, me in the middle of the class and Marge magnetized to the window seat. “Okay everyone, may I have your attention?” She cleared her throat, running her fingers through her medium-length hair and surveying the room with her blue/purple eyes. “So, welcome back everyone! Hope you had an awesome summer.” She smiled at us.
“Now I’m pretty sure we all know each other, but let’s go around the class and introduce ourselves for the newer students.” I surveyed the room and didn’t see anyone new. “We’ll start with me. I’m Mrs. Lasagna, I’ve been teaching high school for about seven years, and I have two kids that are in college now.” She said.
Everyone said a few things about them, and then it was my turn. “I’m Elizabeth Smith, but I go by Lizzie. My dad owns the fire station down the road, and I’m an only child.” I may have been imagining it, but it sounded like a few kids snickered when I said my dad owns the fire station.
It wasn’t until the very last person when I realized there was a new kid. Mrs. Lasagna asked him to stand up, and my breath caught a little. He had black clean-cut hair, popping green eyes, and a gorgeous face as well as a confident yet non-arrogant attitude.
“Hi, I guess I’m the only new kid. My name’s Alex, and I just moved here from New York.” He said casually. Wow, that’s a big change from towering New York to the ocean in San Diego. He sat down and Mrs. Lasagna began talking again.
“So, now that we all know each other, it’s assignment time. And yes, I’m aware it’s only the first day. But this activity is fun, and all you need to know is how to write an appropriate letter.” She said with a mischievous grin. She caught my gaze and winked at my arched eyebrow.
“If you haven’t guessed, we’re going to do a random pen pal! So you’ll make your letters anonymous and I will hand them to your pal. One letter a week, or more if you’d like. Just write your name on a sticky note and I’ll take the note off before handing it to them. I’m only giving half of you a piece of paper and the other half will reply to the first letter once they get it.” She said as she passed out a piece of paper.
I dug in my bag for a pencil, then realized I had forgotten it in the last class. Then, being the “Mr. Perfect” he is, Jack pulled out a pencil and handed it to me with a wink. I glared but grudgingly took the pencil, then began writing the letter to Mr. or Ms. Mysterious since I was part of the half that got paper.
Dear (unknown),
Hi. I guess I can’t really give away my name, but you’re probably in my grade. So, um, have you seen any good movies lately? Sorry, I literally have no idea how to do this. Today’s the first day of school, I’m in ninth grade, and I consider myself boring. Hoping to get a reply soon,
-Anonymous
Then I scribbled my name on a sticky note, posted it to the letter, and handed it in as the bell rang.
“Ugh, that pen pal thing was so hard! It’s nearly impossible to not give anything away, you know?” Marge sighed as we walked home. She lives a block from the fire station, so we always walk to and from school together.
“I know, right? I wonder who we’re writing to.” I said. She nodded with wide eyes. “Hey, Ms. Forgetful.” A guy’s voice said from behind me. “Hey Mr. Perfect.” I replied with an eye roll. “Aw, you think I’m perfect?” He said, looking touched and putting a hand over his heart obnoxiously.
“No, you think you’re perfect.” I countered. He sighed and dropped his hand. “Whatever, my sister’s annoying friend.” He glanced at me, and with his tone I couldn’t help cracking up. “It only encourages him, Liz.” Marge said. “Believe me, I know.” I replied, wiping tears from my eyes since I was laughing so hard.
Jack fell in step next to me, and Marge on the other side. “So what do you girls think about the pen pal thing?” He asked, seeming surprisingly interested. No, I don’t like Jack. But he does know me pretty well since I’ve been hanging around since grade school. “I think it’s lame.” Marge said bluntly. I chuckled.
“I dunno, it seems mysterious and fun.” I shrugged. “Yeah, the mysterious part is cool. But I practically have no eraser left because I accidentally gave too much away so many times.” Marge rolled her eyes. “I hope I’m writing to that cute new guy, Alex.” I said, a small/dreamy smile on my lips. Jack rolled his eyes, and I raised an eyebrow. Why does he care?
I just studied him for a second longer before shrugging and moving on. Eventually I texted my dad and he said it was fine if I went over to the Thompson house (That’s Marge and Jack’s last name).
Jack shoved the key into the door, turned it, and opened it like those butlers do. I laughed and we went inside, plopping our bags on the big table and grabbing a snack. Their parents are workaholics, and are always away on business.
We grabbed some crackers and sat at the table, pulling out textbooks and worksheets. I bit the end of my pencil, like I usually do when I’m fully concentrated. “Hey, take it easy. I’d like that pencil back.” Jack said jokingly.
I then started biting the entire pencil, and handed it back to him. “Here you go!” I exclaimed. “Never mind, keep it. It’ll remind you of me.” He replied with a grin on his face. It caught me off guard for a second, me not being used to him actually being sincere. But I settled on an eye roll and sat back down, looking to Marge, who had a sly grin on her face.
“What?” I said, raising an eyebrow at her. “Nothing, nothing.” She said, holding her hands in surrender but her grin not leaving. “If I didn’t know better I’d say you two make a cute couple, that’s all.” She said quietly. I blushed and Jack glanced at me, which made me blush more. “Can we just get back to homework? Please?” I said, slightly irritated.
They nodded and it was quiet for the rest of the time, with little comments like, “What did you get for number seven?” It was around five when I started heading home. “Bye Marge! Bye her annoying brother.” I said, waving to both. Jack walked me to the door.
“Sorry if earlier made you uncomfortable. I have that effect on the ladies.” He said with a smile and wink as he opened the door and leaned against it. “You wish.” I said with a teasing eye roll. “Well, see you tomorrow.” I said with a wave and stepped outside. “Bye my sister’s annoying friend.” He replied, smiling and closing the door. I sighed and shook my head.
Boys are so weird.
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