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“Did you finish your homework?” My mother called from the kitchen. I sighed, glancing at my backpack. It was now full of Algebra, English, and Science homework. Sometimes all I want is for there to be no homework.
“Yes mom! Is dinner ready?” I was starving, homework does that to you, you know. I could hear her chopping vegetables from the other room.
Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. My name is Belle, like as in Blue Belles, the flowers. Mom loves them and so do I, and that’s where my name came from.
“Belle sweetie, can you go get Claire? She’s next door.” I got up from my bed, where I had been laying peacefully. Great, now I get to go drag my sister home. My sister Claire is 14, and so am I. We may be twins, but have always been opposites. I love books and art, whereas Claire loves boys and makeup. I wear my hair short, at my shoulders. Claire wears hers long, down to the top of her ribcage. Claire has a boyfriend, whom she was visiting with right now, and I do not (not that I’d want one).
“Fine!” I opened my door, closing it behind me silently. Mom has this thing about slamming doors, when you slam it she takes it off the hinges. I’m not kidding. It makes getting dressed very awkward.
I opened the door of our house, hopping down the steps in a rhythmic pattern. I glanced over at the house next door, taking a deep breath before heading over. I hate Claire’s boyfriend. He’s 16 and annoying, and he hates me back (not that I care). He’s also got this weird habit of keeping his room unnaturally clean. Now, I have an older brother, so I know what a boy’s room should look like. So I know that the last word you would use to describe it would be clean.
I knocked on the door quietly, wishing I was at home reading my new book. It’s a Nancy Drew book, and I love Nancy Drew. She’s so independent and bright, she gives girls and women a good name, unlike that “Clique” series. They make teenage girls look like makeup and hair obsessed, brain dead girly-girls.
“What?” Claire’s boyfriend, Matt answered the door. He was scowling and about to shut the door on me. What a sweet, kind neighbor he is, don’t you think so? I glared back, and then pushed the door open, ducking past him.
“Hi Mrs. Gregory!” I smiled, greeting Matt’s mother. She’s really nice, plus I can come over anytime if I’m nice to her. And that means I can be rude to Matt, giving him a taste of his own medicine.
“Claire, let’s go! Dinner’s ready and mom wants you home.” Claire emerged from Matt’s room, her hair messy, but still perfect as usual. Matt slung his long arm over her shoulders, pulling her close. It took everything I had not to gag.
“Can’t I stay a little longer, Belle?” I looked at her pointedly, and then motioned to the door.
Just then, Matt’s friend Greg came out of the room. He was sweaty and panting, for god-knows-what reason, but he still managed to look hot. Remember when I said I had no interest in guys? That was a sort-of lie. I’ve always liked Greg, even though he’s too old for me and there is a 0% chance that he would like me. Greg smiled toward me when he noticed my presence. I smiled back, and then went back to looking at my sister. No time for a really hot guy that smiled at me, sadly.
“Let’s go Claire.” She frowned at me, and then gave Matt a kiss before following out the door. Sometimes she just needs a push in the right direction…or a kick, preferably.
“Why do you treat me like a baby, Belle? I am grown up now!” I shook my head solemnly. She is not grown up. And neither am I, but at least I can act grown up when I need to.
“Claire, not right now, please. Let’s just go inside, and eat dinner.” She nodded, though I could tell she was still annoyed. I pushed open our front door, letting Claire in ahead of me.
“We’re back mom! What’s for dinner?!” I called out to her, and she bustled through the kitchen door, looking unnaturally happy. Something was up, I can just tell about some things.
“We are having fruit salad and chicken. Now go clean up, your dad will be home soon, and we have some news.” I allowed my mind to wander, exploring what their news could be.
Claire trudged up the stairs, closing her door behind her. I skipped up them, letting my mind keep wandering.
When I entered my room there were flowers on my desk. They were Blue Belles, my favorites (as I said earlier). There was a little card dangling from the bouquet. I lifted it off delicately, excited and giddy as to what it said.
I hope you like them, they’re my favorites too.
“Wow,” I breathed, letting this turn of events sink in. “Claire, come in here!” I yelled, breaking another one of mom’s rules.
“Yeah? Hey, what are those?” She walked in, toward the flowers. I handed her the card, and she read it quickly, then again.
“Omigod! This is so cool!” I raised my eyebrows at her, and then snatched the card back. I didn’t find this â€˜cool’; I found it intrusive and random. Who in their right mind would admire me? And how the heck did they get in my freaking room?!
“I don’t get it…” My voice was faint, and then it trailed off. Claire just stared at me like I was some kind of creature. Sort-of the way I look at her when she talks about Matt; no, not talks, gushes is much more appropriate.
“What do you mean â€˜you don’t get it’? Someone really likes you Belle, and I think it’s sweet.” I shrugged, still taking it all in.
“Guess what’s tomorrow?” Claire’s voice snapped me back to reality. I thought for a moment before answering.
“February 14th, why?” Claire gave me the same look as earlier, only this time I felt like I was forgetting something.
“Valentines day, silly! Oh, how romantic.” I don’t find it romantic! I find it creepy, stalker-like, and…well, it is sort of sweet. But that is beside the point. I saw my brother Drake, heading down the stairs, carrying our eight year old brother, Ben, on his back.
“C’mon, let’s go eat dinner.” Claire and I ran down the stairs, more than ready for food. We all sat in our usual places, all eager to start dishing up.
“Okay, before we eat, your father and I have some great news.” We all groaned, even dad. Did she not understand that teenagers need to eat?
“I’m expecting, again.” We all glanced at our youngest sibling, Chloe. She’s two, and has no idea what we were discussing, but what mom just said is what she said when she was pregnant with Chloe. There are eight kids in our family, Drake being the oldest at 17. Following him is Jolene, at 15, then Claire and I. After the four of us, are Kyle (12), Ella (10), Ben (8), and finally, Chloe (2). We have this big house, and the only ones that have to share a room, are Ben and Kyle. Although, Claire and I sleep in the same bed when we have company.
A chorus of â€˜cool’ and â€˜whatever’s’ followed the news. It was a cycle, for us. My mind couldn’t concentrate on my mom and dad’s news, because I was still stuck on the flowers.
“Did any of you send me flowers as a joke?” Everyone stopped talking and looked at me, even Chloe.
“What?” Everyone spoke in almost-unison. I looked at everyone, exploring their expressions, checking for lies. None were found.
“Never mind.” My voice, which was laced with awkwardness, was an octave higher than usual. Everyone shrugged and went back to talking and eating.
Before I knew it, it was Valentine’s day…my least favorite holiday. It’s so fake and cheesy and Hallmark-induced. But, as usual everyone was all lovey-dovey at school. Matt gave Claire flowers; they were purple orchids, her favorites. Maybe Matt isn’t such an awful guy after all; maybe I just baby Claire too much. Nope, I still can’t bring myself to like Matt. Maybe when he respects me back, I’ll consider it.
I turned the dial on my locker absentmindedly, only paying attention when it seemed stuck. I stared at it curiously, yanking hard on it.
Blue Belles came spilling out, and I practically jumped back at the sight of all of them. There was another card, stuffed into my locker with the flowers. It said:
Happy Valentines Day, turn around.
I did as the card said, turning around slowly, pondering which chess club nerd it would turn out to be. It’s probably one with coke bottle glasses and a soup-bowl haircut kind of nerds. It was nothing like that…it was Greg!
“Happy valentines day, Belle.” It was all clear to me now. Just last week, Greg had asked me what my favorite flowers were. Maybe I just never insinuated that he liked me, even though he smiled every time I saw him.
“You did this?” Surprise surrounded my voice, and I looked to my right at Matt and Claire. She was grinning, even Matt smiled a little. I punched Claire in the arm.
“You knew about this, didn’t you?” She nodded, giggling quite loudly.
“Mom did too. She made you come over while Greg snuck over to our house. He put the flowers down, and then snuck back over. I played my part well, didn’t I?” I smiled, and then turned back to Greg.
“Wow, it takes a lot to trick me, too.” He smiled back at me, and I flung myself into his arms, giving him a huge hug.
“Be my valentine?” He whispered in my ear slowly and softly. I pulled back a bit, so that I could see his face. His forest green eyes were shining, and I melted in them. I managed a quick nod, and then pulled his lips to mine. Hey, can you blame me? And if I ever regret this, I’ll remember the Blue Belles, and take it all back.