Summary: "And if you'd let me, I'd give you Post It Notes as paper planes." It was funny how I never saw that declaration of love coming.
Post It Notes As Paper Planes
The day began differently than any other day.
I was sitting in Mrs. Blythe's Calculus class, doodling song lyrics on the back of my notebook with an extra fine, black Sharpie. I drew swirl designs all along the outside—coloring them in with my metallic blue Sharpie; I mouthed along to the somber, heartbreaking song on my MP3 player, careful that Blythe didn't notice.
I always wore hooded sweatshirts because I could hide my headphones. It was against school regulations, but Blythe was never one for enforcing the right rules. Once she got into a lecture about Calculus, almost nothing stopped her.
If anything, the day was a perfect repeat of yesterday and the day before that.
All of that changed the moment I felt something hit the back of my head. Soft and dull. I decided to ignore it—not because I was a coward—but because I just didn't care. Years ago I had grown out of high school, and I was barely tempted to start an argument or even talk to someone I'd only forget the second I graduated.
I ignored the voice and the poke in my back, but when something else hit the back of my head, I froze and turned. There, on the ground, was a solitary pink paper airplane—the tiniest I had ever seen. I reached for it, suddenly interested.
It was made out of a standard Post It Note. I stared at it, in wonderment and awe. How could something so small look so perfectly creased?
"Wow," I murmured, running my fingers along it. It was less than half the size of my palm. Writing was written on one side of the paper plane, but I couldn't read it. Instead, I gently put it in the top of my purse, and reminded myself to power a magnifying class in biology.
I ignored the frequent tapping on my back. The truth was—I didn't even know who sat behind me. It wasn't exactly that I didn't care. It was more that I never needed or wanted to know. So, I never bothered to look over my shoulder.
"Ms. Reynolds, could you please tell me why a paper plane is on your head."
I blushed as dozens of eyes stared at me. "Umm," I blurted, slipping my hand into my pocket. I hit pause on my MP3 player and flashed her the nicest smile I could. "I really couldn't tell you." And that was the truth. I looked down at my notebook, and finished the song lyric I left hanging. There was hardly any room left to write on, and I let out a small sigh.
I really, really, really didn't want to listen to her lecture. It was bad enough that Calculus made as much sense as an angry, world-spewing Don Vito. I was already on the verge of failing the class, and my parents were pressuring me into getting a tutor. The last thing I needed was Mrs. Blythe having a reason—any reason at all—to fail me.
I could imagine her cackling madly, like a wicked witch, with a green, sinister gaze flowing from her figure. And all I could think was, "Why me?"
After a shaky sigh, I shook the paper plane from my head. I didn't look to see where it fell. It wasn't important. What was important was that Mrs. Blythe was growing in anger. She must've reached her limits because the next thing I knew—she slammed her meter stick onto her desk.
Igulped, terrified, and slunk back further into my seat. She was notorious for having a mean streak, and it was to the point that the principal cowered in fear, and he never bothered setting her straight. So, no one dared to cross paths with her.
"Ms. Reynolds, since you're such an oblivious fool, I'm make things real obvious for you," she snarled, staring at me with narrowed eyes. Her eyes flashed to the person sitting behind me and I stiffened. The note thrower. It had to be.
"Mr. Everett," she snapped, "since Ms. Reynolds is too busy doodling to listen to my lecture, maybe you could tell her where that paper plane came from?"
At that point, everyone one of our classmates was staring at as, their bodies half out of their desks. I tensed, waiting on baited breath, and hoping that whomever Mr. Everett was—that he would calm Blythe down before WWIII erupted.
Unfortunately, for the both of us, he didn't bother to grace her with a response. Either that was a very bold, brave thing to do or it was stupid. As my eyes met those of the furious Mrs. Blythe, I knew that it was the latter.
"So," she began furiously, her voice quaking with anger, "you aren't going to tell me or Ms. Reynolds where that paper plane came from?" Met by silence, she clenched her fists together, and I thought she was going into attack mode. And I was the primary target.
But she didn't.
"Fine," she snapped. "Since you're both too busy being artistic to listen to earth-shattering Calculus lectures, you can spend a nice evening in detention after school."
I let out a sigh of relief. There were only a handful of times I had ever gotten detention and all accounts were because I had been late to close or forgot to complete a homework assignment. I wasn't a goodie-goodie or even a frigid bad ass.
My eyes wandered back down to my notebook, and I picked up my pen, not caring much that Mrs. Blythe was watching me like a hawk.
I let the pen fall to the ground and then I looked up.
"The notebook, now."
Anger surged through me, but I didn't say anything. I just got to my feet, ready to turn in my prized notebook. Under normal circumstances, I'd never give it up, but I knew that Blythe's buttons had been pushed way too far.
I was halfway out of my seat when the boy who sat behind me grabbed my arm. Instead of turning around, I froze in place, unable to say anything. I didn't need to see the post it loving paper plane maker. After all, it was his stupid fault that we were in this predicament to begin with.
"Damn it," she snapped. "I'm through talking to you – you idiotic girl. Just get out. Principal Lane can deal with you."
"Okay," I whispered, yanking my elbow out of Everett's grip. I scrambled to get my notebook and pens into my messenger bag, and I was a nervous wreck as everyone stared at me like I was a guard dog that didn't bite.
Maybe I should've.
- - -
Principal Lane was a small man. He was like a meeker version of Phil Of The Future's Vice Principal Hackett. He had the same bald head and wide eyes. But Principal Lane was a nice, reasonable guy. And my run ins with him had been few and far between.
I toyed with the strap of my messenger bag; I wasn't terrified of Principal Lane. It was the confrontation and speeches that I could've done without. I already felt bad enough,
"Mrs. Blythe says you were very disruptive today."
"Sir," I began respectfully, "no offense, but Mrs. Blythe was doing the disrupting. I was just sitting in my seat and doodling—minding my business like every other day."
"Is that so?"
I swallowed. "It is."
"Fine. You can spend the last half of the period in the biology room. Mr. Martin needs help preparing for a dissection for his next class. This is his free period, and I expect you to show up. Heaven forbid I send you back to Blythe and she blows a gasket."
I nodded. "Yes sir."
I was halfway out the door when he stopped me.
"Stay out of trouble."
I had every intention of following his advice. No matter what.
- - -
As the clock hit three, I slowly walked down to the detention room, annoyed and tired. At four, I had art lessons downtown. It was a lot of money for my parents to pay, and they were already struggling to make ends meet. If I lost these lessons for one no-show, I couldn't imagine how irresponsible and self-centered they'd think I was.
The truth was—my parents and I had an okay relationship. I didn't hate them. They didn't hate me.
They were the very trusting kind, doing away with my curfew when I turned seventeen. And I had never given them a reason to take it back, but I didn't even want to think what would happen when I returned how—four hours late—explaining that I had gotten detention.
"Damn," I murmured, rounding the corner.
A bunch of kids were standing at room 217, talking in hushed voices. They were the regular detention kids; I knew that for sure. Every day the same group entered at three and left at seven. Annoyed, I walked around them, and froze when I got to the door.
"What's going on?"
A tall girl with stringy black hair turned and stared at me. "Angela Reynolds, Mrs. Blythe's third period Calculus class." I was about to ask her how she knew who I was, but I closed my mouth and stared at the floor. "Ethan is such a douche bag. He's always getting nice girls in trouble by his unique flirtation tactics."
I blinked. "Ethan?"
Stringy haired girl laughed. "Yes, Angela. Ethan Everett, the obnoxious boy who sits behind you."
"Uh," I murmured, "how could he be obnoxious? He didn't say a word to me. Ever."
"He's the reason you're here, right?" I nodded. "That's what I thought."
Embarrassed, I turned about twenty different shades of pink and red. "What's your name?"
"Red. They call me Red."
Red grinned, her eyes lighting up instantly. And I knew it wasn't because of me being polite. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stick up, and when everyone stopped talking, I knew someone was coming. My first instinct was that it was our detention teacher but as Red laughed loud and obnoxiously—I knew it wasn't a teacher.
"Ethan!" she shouted, waving him down. "This is the poor girl you got on Blythe's bad side. Apologize."
I jumped back, staring at Red in surprise. She was the kind of outgoing that made even a social butterfly speechless. It was funny that, up until today, I didn't even know she existed.
I stared at her, surprised. I refused to look behind me. I really didn't want to know what Ethan Everett looked like.
"It's not necessary," I blurted. "This isn't my first detention, Red," I told her softly. "I was quite capable of diffusing Blythe. I just didn't."
"Don't defend E, Ang. It's his stupid Post It Note obsession's fault."
"She's right. I'm sorry," a milky, smooth voice cut in. "I wasn't expecting Blythe to notice."
Like earlier that day—I didn't respond. I wasn't going to tell him that he was forgiven because I had nothing to forgive him for. He wasn't supposed to apologize over something that spiraled out of his hands. Ethan was just being a boy.
"Go Ang!" Red pumped her fist into the air. "Don't forgive that brother of mine."
I looked up—entirely surprised. Brother? Red didn't look like the sort of girl that had a brother—let alone a twin brother.
Our conversation ended as our detention teacher stomped down the hallway. "Detention is cancelled!" he shrieked. "My car is missing."
- - -
"Ethan had something to do with Mr. Green's car," Red piped up.
A week after Ethan had nearly gotten me detention—and Red was still following me around. I didn't know why she was so adamant to talk about her brother when I didn't want to hear anything about it. Plus, it was hardly ten minutes into Calculus, and I had already gotten on Mrs. Blythe's bad side. I didn't want to test her anymore than I already did.
"He told me that he had to get someone out of detention, you know," she continued, barely pausing to breath. "And I didn't really think of anything until you."
"Shut up, Red," Ethan hissed, throwing a pencil at her head. I ignored both of them, and put my ear buds into my ears. My hand slipped into the pouch of my sweatshirt, and I hit play. Within moments I was at the one place that made third period worth it.
I was mouthing the words to The Spill Canvas's 'Black Dresses' when I felt a presence beside me; I yanked the ear buds out of my ear so quickly that my ears burned red. Nervously, I jumped to my feet, nearly plowing the person over. And when I looked up, there was Mrs. Blythe—leaving the room.
I swallowed thickly and looked at the wall. Third period had ended five minutes ago. Five minutes? I froze—unsure as to how I hadn't heard the bell. I loved The Spill Canvas, but my mp3 player was soft.
"Shit," I cursed, shoving pencils, binders, and paper clips into my messenger bag. It was like I couldn't move fast enough. I probably couldn't, but I had to. I couldn't stomach another detention—let alone having to make up the one that had been cancelled.
"Paper plane thrower," I murmured, trying to walk around him. But the great Ethan Everett wouldn't move. He was like the Berlin Wall, keeping me from getting where I needed to. Eventually, the Berlin Wall was brought down because it needed to be, but I couldn't imagine Ethan crumbling into a pile of rubble and dust.
Ethan laughed, traces of amusement slipping through it. "Oh Angela. You've already got a nickname for me, huh?"
I blushed. See, that was why I didn't give Ethan the time of day. He was quite cute, the dorky sort, and I couldn't muster the courage to look away.
"Will you ignore me forever?" he whispered, his voice suddenly sounding hurt.
"No. You just confuse me."
His tone was lighter, more airy when he spoke again. "Do you still have that first paper plane I threw at you?"
I nodded, shuffling through my purse. "Yeah, I think." When I finally found it, I tried to return it to him, but he wouldn't take it.
"I don't want it Ang," he told me quietly. "Read the fine print on the right wing."
His voice sent a shiver through my spine, but I turned over the plane, and found the right wing. There was writing, such tiny writing, that I had to squint and hold it to my face to read it.
"You make my heart skip a beat every time you quietly sing along to your music," I repeated, stumbling over the words.
"Now the left."
"And when your music can't save you, I want to be the one to save you…" I trailed off, reaching a set of ellipses.
"If you'll let me," he finished, his cheeks tinged a bright pink. "If you'll let me give you my everything."
"Because if you wanted the moon, I'd find a way to give it to you."
By then, I was so far past flattered that I didn't know what to think. All I knew was that the pounding in my chest was real—it was so real I was terrified. I didn't know Ethan Everett, not really, so how could he enchant me?
"And if you'd let me, I'd give you Post It Notes as paper planes, and fill them with every beautiful word I can think of for you." He swallowed and turned his gaze towards the floor. "I know it's silly, but I think there was always something special about you, something that drew me to you."
"I think I'm finally beginning to understand what you mean."
I let the paper plane fall to the ground. I wasn't sure what I could give, but at least I'd try. When he didn't see it coming, I crashed into him, pulling him into a tight hug and reeking in the benefits of comfort through a hug. It had seemed like so long ago that a hug had been comforting, and I didn't want to let go.
"How long have you liked me?" I asked quietly, my voice muffled from his t-shirt. He smelled faintly of Axe, and I grinned. Most High School boys sprayed half the bottle onto them at one time, but not Ethan. He smelled just enough like Axe that I was sucked in and mesmerized.
"Long enough," he grunted, his lips brushing against my flushed cheek.
My heart was beating a mile a minute as I looked up and met his eyes. And then, throwing all caution to wind, I said the first thing I felt was right instead of settling for the safe words. I knew I wouldn't regret it.
"I guess I've got some catching up to do, huh?"
Author's Note: Okay, so this really rough around the edges. I admit that. But I did what I could with the time I have. I have plans to go through this and add another couple hundred of words or so, and I want to rework the transitions. BUT with what I've managed to do, I still think I've conveyed the same message, so hopefully the sparse-ness of this won't deter you...because we really do need more fluff in the world. Reality bites. It really bites hard.