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Galentine's Day

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Ann was not happy. She lived in a 100 square foot dorm room, and it was barely big enough for all of her things and all of Leslie’s things, plus her and Leslie. There was no way a third person could fit in this room. Sure, there was an extra bed, but it was piled up with Leslie’s books and clothes, and there was no way she had any room in her closet to put it all away.

But she had to. Their new roommate was arriving in t-minus 2 hours and Leslie still hadn’t begun to help Ann set the room up for her

Oh, yeah, the bathroom. That wasn’t very clean either. Leslie liked to stand in front of the mirror and practice speeches a lot, so there were binders upon binders stacked on the left side of the sink. The right side was Ann’s side, and while it was much more organized, there was still no way someone else’s stuff would fit

“Leslie, can you at least get your things off the spare bed? Whoever this new girl is, she will need some place to sleep,” Ann said. “I want to at least get off on the right foot with her. So please?”

“Okay.” Leslie was sitting at her desk, cutting shapes out of folded pieces of paper. “But I have to finish making this banner for our new roommate! She has to feel welcome, Ann!”

“Okay, fine. I’ll start on the bed.” Most people would really hate a roommate like Leslie, but Ann loved her

“Thanks! How’s this?” Leslie held up the “banner” which was a chain of people holding hands.

“Looks good!” Ann exclaimed, throwing some of Leslie’s clothes into a closet.

********

Two hours later, their new roommate still hadn’t shown up. Leslie was now drawing faces onto the tiny construction paper people. At least the bed had been cleaned off. Ann was still cleaning up, though. She had volunteered to organize Leslie’s desk, which hadn’t been too difficult, since it was mostly books. So many books. Why did Leslie need this many books?

“No, dad, I’ve got it. Go home or something.” Ann heard outside her door. She perked up, and went to see if it was their new roommate. Judging by the giant suitcase, it was.

“Hi!” Ann said. “Are you our new roommate?”

“I guess.” The girl said, without making eye contact with Ann. She pushed past her, dragging a suitcase that could probably fit two of her inside of it

“Alright, April, your mom and I are leaving now. Have fun! Make lots of friends!” The man shouted

So, her name was April

Leslie immediately jumped up to greet her. “Hi, I’m Leslie!” She held out her hand, and April shook it gingerly

“Hi,” April replied

“And I’m Ann.” Ann held her hand out too, but April didn’t touch it.

“Hi,” April said again. She turned around and started unpacking. It seemed as if the suitcase only needed to be that large to accommodate all of the blankets she had brought. There were two in the suitcase, and another quilt on top of a tub her dad had brought in.

“Do you need some help unpacking?” Leslie asked April

“No, I’m okay.”

“Right, okay! Well, let’s let you get settled in. In a few hours we will take a tour of campus!” Leslie exclaimed. “Sound good, everyone?”

Ann mumbled, “Yeah.&rdquo

April just turned to her suitcase, and began to make up her bed.

********

April had been lying on her bed for the past hour. She didn’t even touch the rest of her suitcase. In fact, the only thing she did touch was her phone. She hadn’t put it down since she arrived

Leslie had climbed up onto her bed and started studying, but Ann couldn’t stand the silence.

“Leslie, do you want to go get dinner?” Ann asked.

“Well, we should really give April a tour of campus before it gets dark out.”

Ugh, Ann groaned internally.

“I already know my way around campus. My boyfriend goes here.”

“Oh!” Leslie perked up. “Well, in that case, let’s go eat dinner!”

Ann excitedly jumped off of her bed and slipped her shoes on

April stood up. “Can my boyfriend come?”

“Of course!” Leslie shouted.

********

It was a short walk to the campus cafeteria. Despite this, Leslie couldn’t help but attempt conversation with April.

“So, how did you and your boyfriend meet?” Leslie asked.

“I dunno.”

Leslie paused, searching her brain for another question

Ann jumped in, not having said anything the whole way. “Well, why did you decide to come live in the dorms?”

“My parents were bugging me.”

“Oh, yeah, I understand that, definitely,” Ann said

Leslie asked, “What’s your major?”

“I dunno yet. I kind of wanted it to be paranormal studies, but they don’t offer it here of course, so I am gonna do Government or something.&rdquo

“Wow, do they offer paranormal studies anywhere?” Ann asked.

“Only in cool places. And The Sims,” April said. “I mostly just wanted to convince people I was psychic and could blow things up with my mind.”

“Oh.” Ann forced a smile. There was a long awkward silence between the three of them as they approached the cafeteria. “Well, if you like government, you and Leslie will get along well.”

April was silent again. Leslie gave her a wide smile.

As soon as they walked into the cafeteria, April must’ve spotted her boyfriend because she ran off. Leslie made a beeline for the waffle maker. Ann ignored this, and got into the pizza line

********

Ann stood in the middle of their cafeteria holding a plate of pizza, and a salad. She looked around the room, but couldn’t find April or Leslie. She sat at a random table and started eating anyway

She hadn't been sitting for more than two second when she heard: “Ann! Where did April go? Why aren’t you sitting with her?”

“Uh, well, I just got my food, and the last time I saw her, her and her boyfriend were in line for pasta.” She said..

“Alright, well hopefully she will come to sit with us instead!&rdquo

Just as Ann was taking a bite of her cheese pizza, April and her boyfriend came over, holding hands.

“Hey, why didn’t you want to sit with us?”

“Oh, I— I wasn’t sure where you guys were sitting,” Ann said.

“We did want to!” Leslie exclaimed. “Where did you want to sit?”

“We’re over there.” She pointed at a booth in the corner. “If you want to come.”

“Let’s go, Ann!” Leslie said. They followed April to the booth in the corner, where two other people were already sitting. “So, April, who is this?”

“This is Derek. My boyfriend.”

Derek waved. “Hi.”

“Hi!” Leslie’s face lit up. “I’m Leslie!”

“Nice to meet you,” Derek said.

When they arrived at the table, Leslie and Ann were introduced to someone named Ben, and someone else named Stacy.

“It’s so nice to meet you guys!” Leslie exclaimed, bouncing in her seat

“You too,” Ben and Stacy said simultaneously.

“Have you guys tried these waffles? Ugh they’re so amazing! I’m gonna go get another. Be right back!”

********

“Alright, Leslie,” Ann said when the two of them got back to the room. “This weekend, you’re my date for Valentine’s day. I’ve spent every year being alone and this year I am determined to have fun and not wallow in my feelings with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s.”

“Yes, Ann, I am your date.” Leslie reassured her. “But this doesn’t mean we can’t eat Ben and Jerry’s, right? Because that sounds really good.”

Ann laughed. “Sure, as long as I don’t end up sobbing all night and going to the store to buy two more tubs of Chunky Monkey.”

Just then, April burst in, slamming the door behind her. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. Ann glanced at Leslie, who’s face was now doused with worry. April flopped down onto her bed, and pulled one of her navy blue blankets to her chest.

Leslie looked at Ann, open mouthed. Ann, wide eyed, mouthed “what happened?”

Leslie mouthed back, “I don’t know.” She motioned for Ann to come to the bathroom with her. Ann followed.

“Do you think she’s okay?” Ann asked.

“I don’t know. She looked really upset. But she was happy fifteen minutes ago!” Leslie said.

“Maybe something happened between her and that Derek kid.”

“Do you think they broke up?”

“Maybe.”

“I wonder why, though.”

“You have me stumped there. Maybe you should try to talk to her?”

“She doesn’t seem like the talkative kind.” Leslie peeked out the door. April was still curled up on her bed. “Maybe she’ll open up after I give her something.”

“Like?”

“All I really own are books. And pencils. And sticky notes. Do you think she’d like some sticky notes? You can never have enough sticky notes!”

“Just try to talk to her. That might work, too.”

“You’re right, Ann.” Leslie said. “Okay, here I go.”

Leslie walked over to April’s bed, and tapped her shoulder. “April?”

“What?” She said with her face buried in her blankets still.

“Is something wrong? Can we help you at all?”

“No.”

“April, did that Derek boy hurt you?” Leslie guessed, almost whispering his name in a threatening tone.

“No.” April paused. “Yes.” She sat up. “He wants to date me and this other guy at the same time, and I guess he expects us all to like make out together all the time or something.”

“Oh, April. Boys are jerks. You’ll find someone else. Just give it time.”

“No I won’t. I’m going to be alone forever.”

“April. You are so awesome, and so beautiful. You’ll make it! Ann and I are always gonna be here to help.”

“Ugh, stop.” She hid her face again, but Leslie saw her smile.

“Anytime, roomie!” Leslie exclaimed, reclaiming her spot on the top bunk of the bed

April sat up again. “I guess I’m gonna go talk to him or whatever. Bye.”

As soon as the door was shut, Leslie leaned down, peeking her head a few inches past the bottom of the bed, so that Ann could see her eyes.

“Ann, April is really upset.”

“Yeah, I could tell.”

“We need to help her, Ann!&rdquo

“I don’t think April really likes me.” Ann said.

“Nonsense!” Leslie climbed down from the bunk and plopped herself on Ann’s bed. Ann was greeted with a cloud of air that smelled like cotton candy and syrup. It was oddly nice smelling.

“Yeah, well, today at lunch she—“

“Wait! I have an idea!”

“O—okay.”

"Let me put this together in my head. Hang on, Ann!&rdquo

Ann stared at Leslie over the rims of her glasses until she was done thinking.

“Okay, how about we do like a girl version of Valentine’s Day? We could exchange gifts, eat tons of candy, and watch cheesy romantic comedies!” Leslie was bouncing now. “It’ll be so fun!”

“Yeah, that sounds cool, I guess.” Ann smiled.

Leslie broke out into a huge smile. “Alright, if April comes back while we’re planning we will come up with a secret code or something.&rdquo

Ann blinked at her.

“Or a secret language!”

“I--”

“No, we don’t have time for that.” Leslie admitted. “We will just pretend we’re studying.”

“Okay, then.”

Leslie pulled out a stack of construction paper from her desk drawers. “Okay, start cutting these into heart shapes. We need like, 100. Or 150! What do you think?”

“How many people are you inviting to this?” Ann gaped at the stack of pink and red papers

“Everyone who’s anyone!” Leslie pulled out another stack of white papers, and began sketching on them. “Okay, I’m gonna start designing the flyers. Then we’ll decorate the cards together!”

“Alright.” Ann began folding and cutting the paper.

“When do you think we should have it?” Leslie wondered. “I think it should be before Valentine’s Day, so that we get everyone in a good mood in case they don’t have anyone to share it with.”

“Well, Valentine’s day is Friday. So, we have four days to make it happen.” Ann said.

“So... Thursday?”

“Thursday sounds good.”

“Yay! It’s a date! I’m so excited!” Leslie squealed.

********

“You have to get April to come, Ann.” Leslie told her when they were walking to class the next morning. “If this is all gonna go down Thursday, we only have three days to get her to come. And you have the most classes with her. So it’s up to you.”

“Okay, I’l ask her in anatomy lab I guess. She usually is in a better mood by then.&rdquo

“Alright, Ann! See you tonight!”

********

During anatomy lab, Ann noticed that April was sitting next to Derek. She took a seat next to her

“Hi, April.”

“Hey.” April looked away, and said something to Derek

Ann looked around the room, wondering when to ask her if she’d be coming to their pre-Valentine’s Day get together. “Hey, April.”

“What?” April said coldly.

“Uhm, Leslie and I were wondering if you maybe wanted to come to our Valentine’s day thing Thursday?”

“I don’t know, Ann.” She looked away again

Ann was regretting her seating choice by now, but luckily their professor walked in to save her from more awkward. He announced that they were going to be dissecting something today.

That something turned out to be sheep’s eyeballs.

“This is so cool.” April gently poked an eyeball with the end of her scalpel.

“It actually really is,” Ann said. “I want to be a surgeon someday.”

“Cool.” April half smiled.

“This is really gross,” Derek said. “I don’t want to do this.”

“You signed up for this class, Derek. Why didn’t you just take psychology with Ben?”

“I should’ve!” He sat down at a table beside them and didn’t say anything else.

“So, Ann. Have you ever dissected anything?”

“Well, I took a different anatomy course last semester. We dissected these tiny shark things.”

“Ew. That is so cool.”

“It was sad, but really awesome.” Ann laughed

April smiled

“So, are you sure you don’t want to come to Leslie’s thing Thursday? I mean, I helped her do some things but ultimately, it’s hers. And she’d love it if you came.”

“Okay.”

“Really?”

“Sure.&rdquo

“Cool!” Ann smiled to herself

********

Ann didn’t know it was going to go as far as it did. Leslie was in her bunk all night, planning games and activities for them to do. They had set the date for Thursday, gotten permission from the housing staff to hold the event, and bought 5 bags of heart shaped suckers.

They spent all day taping suckers to the heart-shaped cards and writing little notes on each one, and when the night arrived, Ann stood at the door of their dorm’s lobby, and gave one to each girl that walked in.

Leslie walked around and greeted each one of them. Leslie was looking around for April, who hadn’t even shown up yet.

“This is going wonderfully! This is how I want every social meeting to go once I’m president!” Leslie exclaimed. “I’m so pumped!”

“Where’s April?”

“She’ll be here soon. Give me a lollipop!” She snatched one out of the box, and ran away to talk to more people

********

Only about 20 girls had shown up. Ann recognized them, but Leslie actually knew them all. April came 30 minutes into their game of Truth or Dare. Leslie hopped up and gave her a huge hug, to which she responded with a look of terror

“Hi, April!” Ann called once Leslie had released her from the hug, but April didn’t answer. She simply took a seat on the edge of the circle, and put a lollipop into her mouth. She sat in this position, without saying a word, until everyone else was gone.

“April,” Leslie came up to her after the last girl had left. “I wanted to thank you for coming.”

“No prob.”

“And I wanted to give you this.” She handed her a huge bag stuffed with tissue paper. April gingerly removed the paper, and pulled out a giant heap of fabric. When she spread it out, April saw that it was a giant quilt with an “A” on it.

“Gee, thanks.” April said.

“I knew you’d love it!” Leslie was beaming. She threw the blanket back in the bag and gave April a huge hug. “I’m so glad you’re our new roommate!”

April didn’t say anything, just stood there with the same look of terror on her face as the first time, and every time, Leslie hugged her

“I’m happy you’re our new roommate too, April.” Ann said, moving to hug April.

“Back off, Ann. You didn’t get me a Valentine’s Day present like Leslie did!”

“Oh, sorry.” She stepped backwards.

“It wasn’t technically a Valentine’s Day present, April.” Leslie started. “It was a—&ldquo

“Galentine’s Day present?” Ann suggested.

“Ann! That was brilliant! You are such a smart and amazing baby llama.” Leslie gave Ann’s hand a little squeeze and then announced (to no one in particular): “This day, February 13th, shall forever be deemed Galentine’s day. Where you and all of the coolest girls you know get together for awesome girl fun.”