I’m having a writing retreat day! Tell your friends! Tell your foes! Tell everyone~
This prompt (two prompts, combined) – from @email@example.com
It was the sort of thing that people – teachers, specifically, Mrs. Gruble, very specifically – thought was clever.
Ani and Charlie had never gotten along, not since – well, if Ani was going to put a date on it, or a First Event, it was the second time they met, which would have been the third preschool Ani had gone to, the good one, the one that was fun, the one where Ani fit in.
Until Charlie showed up.
And that – that had been their entire school life. Not just school. Scouts. Church. 4-H. You name it – it wasn’t that big a town – and Ani and Charlie were both in it. And they were at loggerheads.
But of course, since teachers like Mrs. Gruble only saw a tiny fraction of it, they tended to think that they knew what was going on, and they tended to think that it was nothing important, nothing rational, nothing but a little spat or something.
Which is how Ani and Charlie had ended up working on a project together, which was how they’d both ended up with detention, which was how they had ended up in the theatre’s prop room, moving things around, sorting out ancient backgrounds, and cleaning everything. Twice. Thrice, possibly.
Which was okay – the theatre prop room was pretty big – until they both sighted a really nice tiara in the middle of the room, right on the line that they’d agreed on, mostly silently, was their borderline.
They both grabbed for it at the same moment. Which led to them hissing at each other.
But it also led to them smiling at each other
Really, actually smiling at each other.
Something they hadn’t done since, well, maybe that first time they’d met in preschool.
The tiara fell apart in their hands – no, it fell into two tiara. Struck with an urge, Ani put on the half that remained in her hand. As if struck with the same urge, Charlie did the same with her half.
And they giggled.
“You have to see this thing I found over here. It’s a backdrop, but the back of it, it’s this whole conversation between two people – I think they’re Taylor George’s parents. Or, I mean, they are now, they weren’t then. It’s amazing.” Charlie grinned at Ani as if she was telling her a great secret.
ANd, for some reason, Ani smiled back. “Sure! But you have to see the costumes I found. There’s not supposed to be costumes back here at all, but oh. my. god, you would not believe them. ANd you can see where it was taken in – wait till you see. Pretty sure the name on it is Harry Ciaro’s older brother.”
They spent the rest of their detention sharing their finds and giggling over them – the dress Franco Ciaro seemed to have worn (they vowed to find a yearbook from the right year to see if there was evidence of this) – the bed that had to have been the weirdest prop – and had been put away broken down the middle in a way that had to have been amazing on stage – the candlesticks with the cheesy amazing fake blood that looked like they’d been in the middle of a paintball game.
They giggled about things in their own lives, too. The riding lessons they were both taking at different places (Girl Scouts), the problems with the interim pastor who just didn’t seem to work with the church culture, the summer job they’d both ended up taking the year before and the ridiculous people they’d both had to deal with, the adventures both of them had gone through in being not as affluent as the next girl (Taylor George. Or Harry Ciaro) but wanting to look – well, maybe not fashionable, but nice.
And wanting not to be teased about what they wore.
Which led to an awkward moment as Charlie tilted her head and made an apologetic noise that wasn’t actually an apology but might end up being accepted as one, since Ani was feeling generous, or at least forgiving.
(Charlie had been very harsh on one of Ani’s favorite outfits just a week ago, which was not in any way the first time she’d done something like that. Of course, Ani had been rather harsh on Charlie’s math test grade in return, which had ended with – well, in the end, they had another detention next week.)
Ani had just shrugged, because what could you say, and they’d talked about the way they would look through the clearance racks and hope that there was something that was somehow not out the way it had been in when Taylor George, et al, had worn it.
Eventually, the detention ended. Mrs. Gruble made her way into the chair-sorting area where they were talking, no longer giggling, about parents.
“Detention’s over, girls. I see you managed to get something done, and you managed to actually speak civilly to each other, too. Did you manage to have a conversation? Or was it just gossip?”
“Well, when you’re stuck in a dusty dump, you have to do something, and I suppose talking to Charlie isn’t that bad,” Ani quipped. “After everything, I suppose.”
“Well, you’d better hurry so you catch the late bus. Go on, go on – oh, girls? Crowns off, those are props. Tch, I remember that show. It was-“
Ani and Charlie shared an eyeroll behind Mrs. Gruble’s back, but the crowns went off and onto the nearby table. They followed the ancient teacher out of the theatre room, down the hall, still listening.
They where halfway to the bus pick-up when Mrs. Gruble said something about essays, you would not believe the essays this girl wrote. Ani remembered, clear as anything, the way she always remembered those things (up until today) when Charlie had pulled her completed essay, hand written and her only copy, and dropped it in the toilet. That hadn’t been Mrs. Gruble, that had been Mr. Birfa, and he had not believed a word out of Ani’s mouth. It’d been exacerbated by Charlie lying, of course, and she’d been given one hour to rewrite the whole thing. She’d gotten a C on it, which had brought down her whole grade…
She glared over at Charlie, who was glaring back at her. Why was she glAning?
“Meretricious,” the girl snarled.
Oh. Well… okay, she’d done that. She had. She had straight-faced told Charlie that the word ment “full of merit, good, commendable” and the other girl had used it on an essay, three times, and…
In her defense, she’d done it right after Charlie had told three new students they shouldn’t ever talk to her, Ani, because she had bugs in her hair all the time.
“Bugs,” she hissed back.
“… Shit,” Charlie mouthed. Mrs. Gruble was still going on about something – neither of them were paying any attention at all.
Ani blinked. Shit?
“…That was bad,” Charlie whispered.
“So was the thing with the math test,” Ani offered very quietly. She didn’t like Charlie. She hadn’t liked Charlie since preschool.
(why had she told all of the other kids that Ani smelled? It had made them all laugh at her. And Ani had been smelly-Ani for years after that.)
“The essay thing was horrid,” Charlie admitted.
“I shouldn’t have, mm. I shouldn’t have retaliated the way I did, though.”
“Mm, maybe not. Maybe.” Charlie shrugged.
They were at the bus pick up.
“Now, girls. Try not to get any more detention. But if you do, I’m sure the prop room could use some more sorting, mmm?”
The look Charlie gave Ani told her they were going to do their best to get detention every day of the year.
Tell your friends! And tell them to tell me you sent them.
This one has a lot of bits and pieces from my childhood in it. Even meretricious. Though not in that context. I never did any of the things either of those girls did, granted, nor did anyone ever dump my essay in the toilet.