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Authors: Lindsey Leavitt

The Pages Between Us

BOOK: The Pages Between Us
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Dedication

To Ashley, #2, Ali, Heather, Libby, Rachel (x2), & Shannan

for helping me turn the page and start this new chapter.

—Lindsey

To BFFs everywhere.

Best friends make us happy, healthy, and stronger.

I'm grateful for mine.

—Robin

Contents
Prologue

French Class Notes:

French words

Other French words

Frenchy stuff

Is this working?

I'm hungry. Really wanting French fries now.

There's no need to read any further. This is just a regular French notebook.

Move along.

Seriously. Anything beyond this page is just super boring and in a totally different language. If you speak French, then this is written in some other language that you don't know.

Clipping toenails is more fun than this dumb book.

Yawn.

Really, you're just embarrassing yourself now.

Close the notebook.

Move along.

There you go.

Whew. I think it's safe now.

Turn the page ONLY if your name is Banana Noodle or Orange Snickerdoodle . . .

Chapter 1
Dearest Banana Noodle,

Of course, that's not your real name, just like my real name isn't Orange Snickerdoodle. But there's a reason why I'm calling you that. A very good reason.

Secret identities. I'm thinking we should have them in case anyone ever discovers this notebook. Do you like how I added all that French stuff to cover our bases? Now we just need trench coats and magnifying glasses. No, wait, that's spies, right? Or detectives maybe.

Anyway, Banana Noodle. You are holding this notebook because I had the best idea. The best. I think best ideas are like gifts, and recognizing them is like saying thank you to the Idea Fairy. That's a thing, right?

Last night, I escaped to Target with Mom because my dad wanted me on Twin Patrol. Talin was at piano and Luke had volleyball, and since I have no special skills, I was in charge of bathing the twins for the third night in a row. And usually I
don't mind, but Flynn didn't get to the potty in time and . . . I won't share the details. So I told Dad I needed to have girl talk with Mom. The “talk” basically involved me saying, “Hey, can I buy deodorant?” and her answering, “Sure.” That's it.

Thank you, sweat, for the bonding opportunity.

Because it's October and fall is already in full swing, all of the school supplies were seventy-five percent off. My mom will buy anything at Target for seventy-five percent off—school supplies, odd-sized shoes, potato chips in weird flavors. Have I ever shown you the cupboard in our house full of random stuff that she somehow puts together into those thoughtful gift baskets? I promise, someone somewhere will get a glue stick and pickle-flavored potato chips from her and be super excited about it.

But back to us. You know it was fate when I spotted the only notebook left without a stupid teen celebrity on the cover. The blue sparkles called to me and said, “
Piper
. . .
I mean, Orange Snickerdoodle, I belong to you. I am the most fabulous way for you to communicate with your best friend now that you
'
re in middle school and share only ONE SINGLE CLASS. One single class after two years of sharing homeroom teachers, pencils,
everything
. Hours and hours of quality friendship time cut down to fifty-two little minutes.
But! In these pages, you can describe all the details of your separate worlds
—
Banana, in your super-smart-kids classes, and Orange, in your super-regular-kids classes. I am your connection, your lifeline. Come to me, Orange Snickerdoodle. Buy me. You hear only the sound of my voice and you must obey
. . .

Well, I grabbed the notebook, THIS notebook, before it hypnotized me completely. And then I turned on my manners. Which, you know, wasn't easy.

“Mother.” Here I batted my eyes. “May I ask if you would mind purchasing me this lovely notebook?”

Mom didn't even look up. She was shoving glue sticks in our cart like they were gold nuggets in the California gold rush. “I can get you notebooks from Doodle Bugs.”

“Even with your employee discount, the stationery store won't be as cheap as this.”

She paused, coming up with another argument. “I just bought you notebooks for school last month.”

“Right. This wouldn't be for school. This would be . . . a positivity notebook. So I can . . . be more positive?”

Mom finally stopped her “Eureka! Glue!” moment. “How do you plan to do that?”

“I'm not sure. That's why I need this notebook. So I can explore my positive side. I think I'll start with listing all the
things that make my mom the coolest mom in the world. And if not the world, then in this aisle at Target.”

Mom cracked a grin. “Drop it in the basket.”

Which is my favorite answer.

Olivia, I mean, Banana . . . I mean . . . okay. Let's ditch the code names. Olivia—this is what we've been looking for. We suffer from the Wrath of Principal Dawn if we text in school. And how can we ever forget the Mammoth Note Scandal of Fourth Grade when Mrs. Shipley read our note
out loud
debating which underwear brand had the best elasticity? Although I'm sure everyone secretly agreed that Hanes is the way to go, it still wasn't fun being called the Undies Sisters for two whole months afterward.

But now? Our problem is solved! We can say this is a
school
notebook and pass it back and forth and no one will know! We are SO clever. The only thing keeping us away from being CIA operatives is the glitter on this cover. Although I bet CIA operatives would add glitter too, just to throw people off.

Okay, so that's all I really have.
Ta-da!
A notebook. Now we need to figure out what we're going to write.

I know the first thing you'll want to discuss is our future because we are BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. You know, going
to the same college, getting jobs in the same town, buying houses on the same street, riding same-brand bikes with our same-age kids.

Let's hammer out some details on the double wedding first. Last time we talked about it, you said you wanted an empire waist dress, whatever that means. And my mom, of course, will design the invitations. We can have pansies or poppies or whatever flower you like. Those details aren't important to me.

What I'd rather discuss is the romance between our caterer and the best man. The problem is, the wedding planner was in love with him before she joined the Peace Corps. She's back now and will stop at nothing to get her man. Even if it means POISONING the caterer!

Sorry. It's possible I've watched one too many episodes of
Love and Deception
, the greatest soap opera in the history of storytelling. And by “one too many” I mean every single episode. Remind me to tell you what Randall Menard did in the last episode. Hint: it involves pure evil. And a wig.

I'm open to talking about other stuff. Although, if I can just get a vote in, let's keep the Jackson Whittaker notes down to three a day. Just to mix it up a teeny bit.

Try, Olivia—just try.

Your favorite person,

Orange Snickerdoodle

(aka Piper. Unless you are a notebook thief, in which case, GIVE IT BACK AND NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN.
Merci.
)

P.S.—Remember in fifth grade when we had to keep actual grateful journals and write five things we were grateful for in them each day? And you always wrote Jackson, Jackson, Jackson, Jackson, and “rhymes with Tackson”?

Well, whatever. I'm starting again. Today my grateful entry is:

Target sales, best ideas, deodorant, glitter, and snickerdoodles. (Why did I have to do food names? I'm so hungry now.)

BOOK: The Pages Between Us
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