It was 2 and a half years ago when Noelle's world crumbled. She hadn't been doing her best in school. She was hanging onto those last few shards of her academic success. She had to graduate middle school. She still has to graduate high school, even if she's only a freshman. She has to be concerned. She has to study, she can't rely only on her smarts anymore.
"Your daughter is dyslexic. It is characterized by a difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but it does not affect general intelligence. Your daughter is still definitely brilliant."
Her parents looked at her like it was her fault. It probably was her fault, for slacking. She didn't study enough, that's why this was happening to her. The first person she told was Diya. Diya would help. Diya knew her stuff.
Diya did not know her stuff.
"I have dyslexia."
"My parents are mad at me for it."
"Oh. Doesn't Hayden have that?" Diya spoke, meekly.
"Um, I think."
"So, can you read?"
"Okay. How was your summer?"
Diya brushed the dyslexia thing off for the most part. Noelle wasn't unhappy with that. She didn't really want to talk about it.
The next year, 8th grade, was one of the hardest of her life. When they read her second favorite Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar, she couldn't follow along. The words were so minuscule that she couldn't follow along. If this was so hard, then she should dread high school. But she didn't prepare for high school. It was one of her biggest mistakes.
Noelle was the kind of student who would call out "You forgot to collect the homework!" at a teacher. She was still friends with Diya, and Min-seo, who had moved back a few months prior and flirted with Diya until they started dating. Min actually got them banned from the place they went on at their first date. Noelle wasn't sure how they broke the table, because she'd texted Min a Diya Cheat Sheet so she didn't, y'know, fuck things up.
She did, though, so now they can't have a nostalgic 1st date recreated moment. Apart from her parents, everything was going well with Noelle.
Her parents were mad enough about the dyslexia thing, but as her grade level went up her marks went down. 100s in 6th grade, 95s in 7th, 90s in 8th, and now she was barely scoring 85, much less 90 or 100.
"Noelle Zhejiang! Why are you not studying?"
"I'm talking to Akarsha, Mama."
"You are so spoiled! Always on the computers. Focus on your school!"
Noelle shut her computer off and opened up her book. As soon as her mom left, she opened the laptop again.
Noelle: Sorry. Mom came in and caught me on the laptop
albret einstong: nbd thot. what were u saying b4 u left me all alone
Noelle: I'm dyslexic.
albret einstong: worm?
Noelle: Do you even know what dyslexia is?
albret einstong: ya. hayden has it u should talk 2 him abt it
albret einstong: im glad u told me tho
Noelle: Thanks. Do you have any way to contact Hayden?
albret einsrong: ill share his contact bih
Noelle: Thank you so much, Akarsha!!
albret einstong: ew dont ever get excited again
albret einstong shared hayden my mofo
Noelle: Hey Hayden! It's Noelle from school. Akarsha told me you're also dyslexic, and I just messaged you because dyslexia buddies. Sorry if you're uncomfortable talking about it, I'm just super excited about having someone else who gets it.
hayden my mofo: o hey noelle! ye i'm dyslexic and god bless some1 else has it. do u wanna eat lunch w me tmrw and complain
Noelle: Yes! One sec, let me change your contact name, it's still the one Akarsha sent me originally. Any preference?
hayden my mofo: lol it's probably hayden my mofo, u should change it to hayden my dyslexia friend
Noelle: Changed it.
Hayden (My Dyslexia Friend): yeet
Hayden (My Dyslexia Friend): also can you. maybe do me a favor
Noelle: I'd be happy to.
Hayden (My Dyslexia Friend): you know mins brother jun
Hayden (My Dyslexia Friend): could you maybe possibly be my wingman for him
Noelle: Definitely! I am the worst possible choice, but I am so here for this.
Hayden (My Dyslexia Friend): thank u noelle you're americas sweetheart
Noelle: You're welcome. Here's the plan.
Noelle: Is your brother interested in men? Asking for a friend.
Min: yeha why tho
Min: are yuo asking him out lol
Noelle: No. Is he single?
Min: omfg btich
Noelle: Please, just tell me.
Min: yeha he is. whatbdo you wann know now his crush or somthgin
Noelle: Actually, after thinking about it, that would be great, if you could tell me.
Min: llol hes gaaaaaaaaayaaaaaaaayy for hayden
Noelle: You're joking.
Min: nah bitfh he sits around the house and sulks
Noelle: Hayden likes him too. He actually appointed me as his wingman.
Min: omg we need to make themmmb get their shit asses 2gether
Noelle: Let's do it.
Noelle: Min told me he likes you. Go get your man.
The Next Day
Noelle took the credit for when Hayden and Jun walked in holding hands that day. She ended up sitting with them both.
"Noelle, we need to get you a boyfriend," Hayden said.
"Hmm, I think I'd much prefer a girlfriend."
"We can do that too. Anyone in mind?"
Noelle had to think for a second. But she got her answer.
Akarsha. The one in mind was her. It was always Akarsha. Which sucked because Akarsha always flirted with everyone.
"Akarsha. Akarsha Dayal."
"Oh, I totally got you. All we have to do is coerce her into hanging out with you, and then you'll be girlfriends."
Noelle didn't believe them. Then Akarsha invited her over a few hours later.
albret einstong: do u wanna hang out
Noelle: Sure. Any particular reason why?
albret einstong: bc i wanna fuck u
albret einstong: im bored?
Noelle: Be there in five.
Noelle is there in three. She knows Hayden did something. Akarsha has Mr. Brightside on so loud that Noelle thinks everyone can hear it.
"Why did you really invite me over?"
"IDK. I wanted to? Why are you skeptical of me?"
Noelle blushes. "Sorry. It's just, normally I invite you over when your parents are asses, or vice versa."
"Noelle, I fuckin' like you, idiot."
"You what? "
"I like you! I have a crush on you! And then Hayden told me you'd date me too."
"He told you?"
"Please stop saying acronyms. Yes, I like you. What now?"
"Wanna go out?"