Why was this class so boring. Why did Mr. Black talk in monotone when he gave lectures. Why was it so warm in here. Why was it getting darker and heavier…
Jack snapped himself awake, to finding his cheek pressed against his desk. Okay, wake up Jack, he scolded himself. Mr. Black had already caught Jack falling asleep in class twice this week, and he knew that his snarky teacher wouldn’t hesitate to give Jack yet another detention slip. He blinked a couple times to try and keep his energy up. What was Black even talking about? Something about the properties of light and dark… God, it was so boring, Jack had no idea how the other students could do it.
He stole a quick glance around the room to see if he should be taking notes or anything. Most students had their eyes glued to their textbooks, eyes darting obediently back and forth across the pages. Dumbstruck and confused, Jack slowly opened the book on his desk and craned his neck to left to see what page everyone was on. He tried to read it, he really did, but every few seconds his eyes would flit to the upper right corner of the page. In light, tentative pencil, there were intricate little swirls and flowing, abstract shapes doodled in the empty spaces.
Jack smirked to himself. There was something really interesting about them. And maybe it was the dullness of the lecture, but Jack found these little drawings far more interesting than whatever was going on in class. For whatever reason, he picked up his pencil and wrote in his stick-like, scraggly handwriting “nice drawings”. It was probably stupid, seeing as they could’ve been there for years, and maybe the person who drew them was long gone by now, but what the hell.
What he hadn’t expected to come from that thoughtless little act was a reply.
The next day they had to fill out a worksheet from that same page in their textbooks. There Jack saw the artsy design again, and there was his messy handwriting crammed underneath it, but then there was something new under what he had written. In elegant yet somehow bubbly handwriting, someone had written “Thanks”. Along the side of the page the mystery artist had also added some looping vines with silvery lead leaves coming out of it. Jack found himself beaming at the textbook page. There was something exciting about knowing that the doodler was in another class here. They had read that sometime yesterday, or maybe even just a few hours ago, and written something back.
Unsure of what to say in response, Jack scanned the page. He tried to take in the information about the light spectrum, but once again, he found himself looking back to the miniature conversation in the upper right corner of the page. Instead of saying something in response, he ended up scribbling snide little comments to all the stupid “fun facnts”.
Fun Fact: Using the right materials, you can make your own color prism!
Jack crossed out the “m” in prism and replaced it with an “o” and an “n”, then beside it wrote, “just go to this class”. He then proceeded to include several light-related puns, including the phrase “colorific!”
Pretty soon it became like a game. Jack would write something in the textbook, and the next day in class the mystery doodle artist would reply back, most of the time with mindless drawings off to the side. Eventually that textbook became the only reason Jack would want to go to class. During a particularly boring week, Jack wrote “My name is Harry Potter” on one of the pages, and to his great amusement, the doodler replied in that same elegant bubbly handwriting, “Hello Harry Potter, my name is Tom Riddle.” And they continued to replicate the diary conversation all throughout the week. This escalated quickly to Jack scribbling rather ugly doodles of Harry Potter trying to do chemistry with magic and utterly failing. It turned out whoever the other textbook person was was pretty cool. If only he could figure out who this person was…
Jack was suddenly asking every other person who was taking chemistry about who was in there class, as though one of them would arbitrarily blurt out the name of the mystery doodler.
It wasn’t until the artist accidentally left one of her worksheets in the textbook that Jack finally figured it out.
Rapunzel was grateful for the bell to ring and dismiss their French class. She had barely understood anything that their teacher had been saying. Clearly she needed to review her past tense conjugations. She shoved her notebook into her floral backpack and mentally went through the all the homework she had to do tonight.
“You know it’s considered vandalism to deface school textbooks, right?”
Her green eyes snapped up to meet icy blue ones staring wryly at her. Jack Overland. He was in her French class, though he never really payed attention, always sat in the back doing anything but classwork. He seemed like a nice enough guy, and truth be told Rapunzel thought he was actually really funny, whenever he blurted out those little comebacks in class. But they had never spoken a word to each other until now. And Jack Overland had picked a very strange combination of first words to say to her.
“You’re a really good artist.” He told her with a more genuine smile. He pulled a paper out of his backpack and put it on her desk. Upon closer examination, Rapunzel recognized it as the Chemistry worksheet she had finished yesterday. “You left it in the textbook.” he explained.
It took Rapunzel a couple seconds to put the information together, then her eyes widened in embarrassment. “You’re the funny textbook guy?”
He nodded somewhat bashfully in a way that made Rapunzel’s stomach do an unexpected flip. “And you’re the mystery doodler.”
She felt her cheeks redden slightly but tried to hide it. “Wow. That’s…that’s not what I expected.”
“Same.” Jack replied. Rapunzel had always thought he was sort of cute, but she just figured their paths would never really cross that much. They were both so different. At least, she thought they were. But maybe she was wrong…
“Number four is wrong, by the way.” He told her with a little smirk. “It’s actually thirty-two megahertz.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “Well, look at the light spectrum master over here.”
He shrugged comedically. “What can I say, I try not to brag.”
“Oh, of course. Modesty is oh so important, after all.”
“Absolutely.” Rapunzel giggled in response. Was she actually flirting? That was definitely something she’s never done before. “Listen,” Jack continued. “Since you clearly need some tutoring in the light and dark science field, maybe we could get together sometime? I can behold all my glorious science knowledge to you.”
Rapunzel smirked back at him in this devilish way that was unfamiliar to him. “Maybe…but only if I can give you a drawing lesson in return. That Harry Potter sketch was pretty horrific.”
Jack put his hands up in mock surrender. “Hey, I did my best!”
They continued to talk via textbook vandalism for the rest of the year. Rapunzel opted to by it by the time June rolled around because there was so much written in it that it was probably unusable at this point. And besides, she secretly wanted to keep the hidden records of how Jack Overland became her boyfriend.