Authors: Sabrina James
Jennifer couldn't believe how smug Claudia was being. What made her think she was going to win? There were lots of other couples at North Ridge High. Maybe one of them would be voted Most Romantic. There was no guarantee that Claudia and Chase were going to win. If they made the final cut, they were going to be stiff competition. But that didn't mean they were the most romantic. And it didn't mean they deserved to win!
Listening to Claudia go on and on, Jennifer wanted nothing more than to knock her down a few pegs. She couldn't stand listening to her anymore! Claudia was
sure that she and Chase were going to win.
Before Jennifer could stop herself, the words came tumbling out of her mouth.
“I wouldn't be too sure about winning,” she said.
Also by Sabrina James
|To:||The Students of North Ridge High|
|From:||Principal Seymour Hicks|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 6|
Attention all couples! Do you think you and your sweetheart are the most romantic couple at North Ridge High? If you do, we want to know!
Tell us in an essay of five hundred words or less submitted no later than this Friday. Over the weekend, the essays will be read by myself and three other members of the faculty. On Monday, we'll reveal which five couples will be chosen to compete as Most Romantic. Those couples will have until Valentine's Day to show their classmates why they should be voted Most Romantic.
The winning couple will be announced at next Thursday's Valentine's Day dance and will receive an evening for two in New York City, complete with a chauffeur-driven limousine, dinner, and tickets to a Broadway show. Runners-up will receive a five-pound box of chocolate.
Happy Valentine's Day!
“I hate Valentine's Day!” seventeen-year-old Jennifer Harris exclaimed.
Jennifer's best friend, Violet Wagner, stared at her over the black rims of her cat-eye-shaped glasses. “I thought you only hated Christmas. Now you've added Valentine's Day to the list.”
“Have you seen this?” Jennifer waved at Violet the memo she had found inside her locker that morning. “Have you?”
“Uh, no,” Violet said, taking off her pink parka and unwrapping the long pink scarf wrapped around her neck. “I just got here and I'm
cold outside. I feel like a Popsicle! They say we might get a snowstorm this weekend.” Violet's blue eyes glittered with excitement. “Wouldn't it be cool if it lasted until Monday and we got a snow day?”
Jennifer ignored Violet's wish, shoving the memo in her face. “Read it! Read it!” she insisted as Violet took the memo in her gloved hands. “Principal Hicks strikes again! First there was that Secret Santa memo in December and now this! Does he live to make me miserable?”
Violet skimmed the memo and then handed it back to Jennifer. “I don't understand what all the drama is about.”
“Once again, we're made to feel inferior because we don't have boyfriends!”
Violet opened up her locker to hang her parka and collect her books for her morning classes. As she did, her own copy of the memo floated to the floor. “I don't think Principal Hicks is conspiring against students who don't have boyfriends or girlfriends.”
“Well, it feels that way,” Jennifer grumbled.
“You're just mad because you didn't have someone secretly crushing on you the way some of the other girls did during the Secret Santa exchange,” Violet said.
“And now those girls have boyfriends for Valentine's Day,” Jennifer said. “My Secret Santa was a freshman who gave me a six-pack of Wint O Green LifeSavers!”
“Hey, he wanted you to have minty-fresh breath. You should be flattered! Obviously, he was hoping for a kiss! It's not too late. I bet he'd let you give him one for Valentine's Day.”
Jennifer scowled. “He didn't get one then and he's not getting one now. And don't mention that day to me!”
Jennifer had always hated Valentine's Day. The reason was that she'd never had a boyfriend on that day. Sure, she'd gone on a number of dates since junior high, but she had never had a long-term boyfriend the way some of the other girls in her class had. Every Valentine's Day she would get to see those girls get boxes of candy and bouquets of flowers and hear about their Valentine's Day dates. When was she going to have her first real Valentine's Day?
“You know I'm happy to be your date for Valentine's Day,” Violet said as she picked up the memo and stuck it into her oversized shoulder bag. She closed her locker and started walking down the hall with Jennifer. “We can rent some chick flicks and pretend we're the ones falling in love.”
“Uh-uh. No way,” Jennifer said with determination. “We're not going to be couch potatoes this year. We're going to the Valentine's Day dance.”
A look of panic washed over Violet's face. “Alone?”
“Why not? A lot of guys do it. It's the perfect place to meet someone.”
Violet made a face and shook her head, her shoulder-length brown curls bobbing. “No, it isn't.”
“Because it's like getting stuck with the leftovers.”
“Newsflash, Violet. We're going to be leftovers, too.”
“Well, what if we don't meet someone? Then we're
alone. How humiliating is that! And to make it worse, we're going to be surrounded by all those couples who get to
the fact that they have someone while the rest of us are all alone!” Violet's voice started to rise. “Do you want to listen to their baby talk? Do you
want to watch them slow-dancing and kissing and then slipping away holding hands? Why do they get their own special day and we don't? Why? Tell me why!”
“Ah-ha!” Jennifer triumphantly exclaimed. “So you
feel the same way as me!”
“Okay, okay!” Violet grumbled. “I hate Valentine's Day, too. I hate seeing all those cute stuffed animals in the store windows, knowing that I'm not going to get one. I hate going into card stores and seeing all those pink and red envelopes, knowing I'm not going to find one in my mailbox. I hate going into stores, smelling all that delicious chocolate and knowing I'm going to buy a box of it when it's marked fifty percent off the next day instead of having a guy give it to me. And I especially hate that I'm not going to have my own special someone to cuddle up with on February fourteenth. Who's going to walk me to my front door after our Valentine's Day date and kiss me like I've never been kissed before because he has feelings for me and only me.” Violet wrinkled her noses at Jennifer. “How do you
get me to confess my deep dark secrets?”
“Easy,” Jennifer said, tossing her arm around Violet's shoulders and giving her a hug. “Best friends know each other inside and out.”
Jennifer and Violet had been best friends since third grade. They had bonded when they both hadn't been invited to Claudia Monroe's ninth birthday party. Claudia was the richest girl in their class and made sure everyone knew it. Whatever she wanted, her parents bought for her, so she was always the first to have the latest “hot” item. She had an inground swimming pool
her house and was always having pool parties, even in the winter. During the summer and on school breaks, she and her family traveled the world and sometimes Claudia would get to bring along a friend or two. All expenses paid, of course. Everyone wanted to be her friend.
But Jennifer didn't.
Jennifer didn't like Claudia because she was a fake. She was trying to buy friendship with all her money, Jennifer thought, and she didn't like the fact that Claudia thought she was better than everyone else. The fact that she was rich made her think she could do and say whatever she wanted.
She was a spoiled brat.
Jennifer suspected that Claudia knew she didn't like her. Jennifer didn't advertise her feelings â she wasn't stupid! â but she never hung out with Claudia and her friends at lunch or after school. Unlike other girls in her class, she never sucked up to Claudia, asking her if she wanted to do homework together or if she wanted to hang out.
But Violet had wanted to be friends with Claudia.
That year, Violet was the new girl in their class. She and her family had moved to North Ridge over the summer. She was quiet and studious and loved to read â she always had her nose buried in a book. From the way Violet's eyes would always follow Claudia's every move, Jennifer could see Violet wanted to be friends with Claudia, but Claudia didn't want to be friends with Violet. Often, Jennifer would hear Claudia call Violet a nerd behind her back. And she would do it in a voice loud enough for Violet to hear. But Violet never said anything. Maybe she was hoping if she didn't, she would pass some sort of test with Claudia and become her friend. But Claudia still ignored Violet and snubbed her every chance she got.
The way Claudia treated Violet made Jennifer mad. So what if Violet liked to read and she was the smartest girl in their class? That didn't mean she deserved to be laughed at. Jennifer knew there was a reason behind Claudia's actions. Until Violet arrived, Claudia had been the smartest girl in their class.