Authors: Julia DeVillers
Payton would tell me to chill out. I took a deep breath. I had more important things to do than chat right now, anyway. Like organize. I had my schedule now. Yay! I opened my backpack and took out my organizer and binder. I neatly placed my schedule on the desk beside them.
Science was first! I woo-hooed silently. That would start the day off with a bang. I placed my green folder (Science was always green) into the first slot of my case. I closed my eyes and pictured the science room. I was sure science in middle school would be in a real lab. Test tubes, measuring scales, safety goggles. So fun.
“Excuse me?” The boy turned from my left. Was he talking to me? I opened my eyes. He was! Oh, jeez. Did he think I was sleeping? That was embarrassing.
“You dropped your schedule,” he said, handing me my paper.
Oh, I must have knocked it off my desk.
“Don't want to lose your schedule,” he said. “That would be a nightmare; you'd have no clue where you were supposed to be.”
“Oh, I'd know. I have it memorized,” I blurted out.
“Already?” he said. “So then, what do you have fourth period? No peeking.”
“English/Language Arts,” I said, confidently. “Burkle, 266.”
As in Mrs. Burkle from the hallway outside the janitor's closet. Well, being in her class would give me a second chance to show how wrong her first impression of me was. I looked at the boy on my left.
“Next question?” I said.
“Seventh period,” he challenged me.
“Spanish Two, Kane,” I said.
“Man, you're good,” he said. “How about third period?”
“Lunch,” I said. “Cafeteria, of course.”
“I have third-period lunch, too,” he said. “What a joke.”
I looked at the boy. I suddenly realized that he had nice green eyes. And that he was a boy.
When I got around boys, it was usually like my mouth had a mute button. I opened my mouth to say something else. I looked at his green eyes andÂ .Â .Â . nothing came out. I felt my face turn as red as my folder. Red = Social Studies. I turned back to my binder and popped the red folder into slot two.
The boy started talking to someone on his other side.
Well, three sentences spoken out loud to a boy. That was practically my record!
Yellow folder, ELAÂ .Â .Â . PE? Don't even think about that one.Â .Â .Â . Moving on to study hallÂ .Â .Â . always good for doing extra-credit assignments. Then it hit me. What the green-eyed boy had said. Third-period lunch?
Third period was at 9:23. I had to eat lunch at 9:23 in the morning? Lunch?
The warning bell rang once. Oh no, only three minutes before homeroom ended. Lunch at 9:23 in the morning was almost as bad as Choir 2. I didn't sign up for Choir 1 or 2. This mathlete doesn't sing. I'd have to get Choir changed.
Next, Spanish. White. Blanco. La folder into el file. Finally, Math.
math math math math math math math math math math math math
I tenderly tucked my turquoise-blue folder into the last opening. Why turquoise? Because this summer at camp Payton had informed me that “To form separate identities, we needed to be seen as separate people.”
“Payton,” I'd said. “We're identical. Not Siamese. What are you talking about?”
“Signature colors,” Payton said. “Mine is hot pink. What's yours?”
I knew Payton wouldn't drop the subject until I chose a stupid color. She got really stubborn about her crazy ideas. “Gray,” I told her.
“You can't have gray!” she squealed. “It's so blah! So nothing!”
“It's the shade of my mechanical pencil,” I said, holding up the pencil I was writing with.
“Just pick something else.” She sighed.
“Fine,” I said. I looked out the window of the cabin, where I'd spent most of the summer. It was a nice day. “Blue.”
“Baby blue? Greenish-blue? Aquamarine?” she said. “Turquoise?”
“Sure, turquoise,” I said. “Whatever. Now don't you have to go make Queen Ashlynn's bed or polish her toenails?”
Thinking about that reminded me of a secret I was hiding. Hiding inside my sneakers, to be accurate. Yesterday, I hadÂ .Â .Â . painted my toenails. I'd borrowed Payton's polish. My toes were now glittery turquoise. I know, I know. It seemed so shallow, so superficial. I couldn't believe I'd done it either. But for some reason my sparkly blue toesâin my, ahem, signature colorâmade me happy.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
Homeroom was over. As I stuffed my organizer into my backpack, I noticed a small piece of bright pink paper in the bag.
You're a STAR!
Payton's handwriting. Too funny. When we were little, Payton had thought the song “Twinkle, twinkle” was about us. You know, “TWIN-kle, TWIN-kle, little stars.” We sang, “TWIN-kle, TWIN-kle, little us,” until we drove our parents crazy.
We have a video of us when we were little singing it. Payton was in a tutu, dancing and doing all the twinkly hand movements we'd learned in pre-K. Then there was me, singing off-key. At the end of the video, Payton says, “By Payton and Emma!” While she's curtsying, I give her a look as I announce: “No, it's by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”
Payton probably guessed I'd be stressed today, so she'd sent me some TWIN-kles on a stickum note.
I silently thanked my sister for the happy boost and the important reminder that I was a star. Then I raced out the doorway in a hurry to get to Room 113. A place where I would shine. Science class.
ON THE WAY TO FIRST PERIOD
There it was. My own little slice of middle school.
I started walking up to it, but some skater guy got there first. And went up to my locker andâ? Oh, wait. I double-checked the number in the envelope.
Wrong locker. I walked a little farther down the hall and found the right one. I checked my combination on my shoe and opened it on the first try. Yes!
I looked at my locker. Sure it was gray and boring and someone had written
on it. But it had potential. I leaned down and opened my tote bag and got right
to work. I only had five minutes, but I was going to make the most of it.
I started making a collage out of the cut-up fashion bags, sticking them on with sticky tack. I put up the magnets and the pictures and hung up the beady curtain. And last but not leastâthe mirror. Ta-da! I stood back to admire my work. I thought it looked pretty cute.
I looked in the mirror and checked my lip gloss. I definitely needed more lip gloss. I also seriously needed to brush my hair. Waitâwhy were there two of me in the mirror? I whipped my head around.
And Emma was standing behind me.
“You freaked me out!” I said, turning around. “I thought my mirror was reflecting double!”
“What the heck do you have in there?” Emma said. “I thought there was a light show going on in school.”
“You did? Cool!” I said. “They're my special effects. Like them?”
I blinked the mirror lights on. Off. On.
“Stop! You're blinding me!” Emma said.
“Check out the rest of it!” I said. I opened it wide so she could see the beauty within. I looked at Emma's reaction. She looked a little stunned. Well, I couldn't blame her; my decorating job was pretty amazing, if I did say
so myself. I couldn't believe I'd pulled it off so quickly either. She might even be a little jealous. Well, I'd do my best to decorate her locker later in the week.
“Well, this is great about your locker,” Emma said.
“I'm glad you're so impressed with my style!” I said.
“Actually, I meant it's great because my locker is right next to yours,” Emma said. “I'm number 33639! Right here!” Emma tapped the next locker over. “I was feeling like I'd never see you in school,” she continued.
“Well, now we can catch up at our lockers!” I said happily. “What's new?
“Mainly, it was strange to be in homeroom without you. So thanks for the note with the star on it. It cheered me up, andâ”
“Hey, are you two twins?” someone interrupted her. It was a girl who had a locker on the other side of Emma.
Emma looked annoyed at being interrupted.
“Emma, smile,” I hissed.
I didn't want Emma to turn anyone off with that grouchy look. Especially since this girl might have friend potential, which would be convenient, since her locker was near us!
“Yeah, we're twins! Identical!” I said, smiling.
“Stand next to each other,” she commanded.
It wasn't the first time this had happened. Emma and I stood next to each other.
“You're taller,” the girl said to me. “And your eyes are a little bigger.”
Yup, that was true.
“And your hair is a little darker,” she pointed to Emma. “And your eyebrows aren't as bushy.”
Hey! Wait a minute.
“Other than that, seriously identical,” the girl said to herself, and walked away.
It was a weird twin thing, people wanting to compare the two of us. I mean, I obviously know I'm taller than Emma. And her hair
a little darker now, since she'd stayed in the cabin at camp all summer, out of the sun. But I'd never really thought about our eyebrows. Until now.
“My eyebrows are bushy?” I complained to Emma.
“Technically she didn't say bushy,” Emma reassured me. “Just bushi
“Ergh, now I wish I had tweezers,” I said, worriedly looking in my locker mirror. I blinked the lights on for a better look.
“I might have some tweezers in my science kit,”
Emma said, starting to unzip her backpack to check. Then she zipped it up again and gasped. “Oh, no! Science! I have to go! I need to get a good seat in Science!”
She was probably right. I should get to study hall to get a seat in the back. I quickly swiped on some lip gloss.
“Wait, I'll walk with you,” I said. I started shoving books from my bag into my locker. I hadn't gotten to actually put any of my stuff away; I'd just been decorating.
“Payton, I really have to go,” Emma said.
“Okay, okay, I'm almost ready,” I said.
“Wow, twins,” a girl said, a few lockers away.
“Big deal,” a boy answered. “I know lots of twins.”
“Yeah, but those two girls right there are seriously identical. I mean, Jake and Sam are identical, but Jake shaved his head for swim team, so at least you can tell them apart.”
They shut their lockers and left.
I slammed my locker shut and looked at Emma.
“Want to shave your head?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied with a serious look. “Yes, I do.”
We both busted out laughing. Then we started walking down the hall. Well, I walked. Emma ran. I hurried to keep up with her.
“So how was your homeroom?” I asked, a little out of breath from walking so fast. “Mine was pretty good. I met this girl. Well, kind of I did.” I thought of how Sydney had at least turned around and smiled at me. “She looked really cool.”
We walked down the hall together.
“Hey, there are those twins,” we heard a girl say behind us. “One of them was in my homeroom.”
“I think one of them was in my science fair once,” her friend said. “I wonder if it's the same one.”
“They're twins,” said the first girl. “It doesn't matter. They're like the same person anyway.”
Hello? We can hear you.
And we are definitely two Differentâwith a capital
âpeople, thank you very much.
The warning bell went off!
Two different people heading to two different classrooms!
“Here's my study hall,” I said to Emma. “SoÂ .Â .Â . bye!”
I waved to Emma and went in to look for a promising seat. I found one almost all the way in the back off to the right and made myself comfortable.