We were lying on the beach. Marie, who felt the cold less than I did, had gone for a swim after our picnic. She’d come back to lie next to me, without drying off, enjoying the hot sun on her wet... [+]
Cora shook her head. "This is a two-man operation and we're not going to get separated. Why would we need code names?"
"Woman. Two-woman. Night Owl and Silver Eagle." Shanna decided.
"And what is that supposed to mean? Are you calling me old? I only just turned twenty-one!" Cora said, looking up and down the women's dormitory hall. She saw no sign of it's residents.
"And I'm eighteen, so that makes you ancient. But no, I wasn't making an ageist joke, I was calling you Night Owl because if you hadn't been so tired, you wouldn't have grabbed the wrong notebook and we wouldn't be in this mess." Shanna charged down the hallway, the slapping of her flip flops echoing along the way.
Cora winced, but decided to run after her, clutching the red notebook to her chest. They stopped at room 303. The door was decorated with pumpkins, witches, and leaves. Two ghosts with googly eyes denoted that this was the dorm room of Crystal and Rosie.
"Oh, look!" Shanna pointed at Rosie's ghost. "She put that little rose doodle on this too! How sweet!"
Cora rolled her eyes, and tried the doorknob. As Shanna predicted, it wasn't locked. "The latches on these doors are garbage. If you don't yank really hard, odds are it didn't lock."
Cora swallowed hard as she took in the room. Crystal's side of the room was a bit messy, but the walls were covered with beautiful prints of the places she'd traveled to as a Hospitality and Tourism major. She had clearly packed for her latest trip at the last minute. Rosie's side was tidy. Save a few band posters, her space was mostly covered in stacks of books. Cora got distracted reading a few titles while Shanna got to the busy work of looking through Rosie's desk.
They didn't hear footsteps, or the door swing open. "What are you...doing?"
Cora yelped and Shanna slammed shut the drawer she was rummaging through. They both turned to see Rosie, mouths agape. Rosie was vacillating between confusion and anger. Cora looked to Shanna for help, but for once Shanna stayed quiet.
"I'm sorry! I grabbed the wrong journal when we were in Creative Writing, and I really wanted to get it back before you noticed, because there's a story in there that has a character's name that is really close to yours, and I didn't want you to take it the wrong way..." Cora had prepared this explanation in case the operation was a failure, but she never prepared to actually say it to Rosie. Rosie's dark hair had flecks of white splattered on it, and her shirt was soaked and grimy. "I thought your shift wasn't over for another thirty minutes." Cora said.
Rosie was taken aback. "New guy spilled a tray of lattes on me, so I was coming back to rinse off." Her expression relaxed. She looked tired.
"Forget it. I lied. Not about the notebook." Cora offered Rosie the notebook, her thumb brushing over the rose drawing one last time. "About the story. I have a crush on you, so I wrote a thing, and I didn't have a good name to swap it with, so I thought I'd just do it when I typed it up and edited. And now I've put you in a bad, cliche situation, so I'm just going to leave now."
Rosie took her notebook, and said, "Wait." She pulled her backpack out from under her bed and found a red notebook. "Ha. Didn't even realize the cover was blank." She offered the notebook back. Cora reached for it, but Rosie pulled it back. "One condition. This is all forgiven...if you let me read it when you're ready." Cora was filled with nervous delight. "Really?"
Rosie smiled. "Really. Over coffee. Let's read it."
Cora sighed in relief, and took her notebook. "Cool, cool, awesome, okay, I um - you're busy and need to get back to work. And I'm sorry, and thank you." Cora grabbed Shanna's hand, yanking her out of the room and in to the hallway. Cora grabbed the doorknob and yanked, until she heard it click.
Cora finally looked at Shanna. Her eyes were wide and full of joy. "Let it out!" Cora laughed. Shanna screamed. "That was amazing!" She hugged Cora, "I am so proud of you! Well not the breaking and entering part, but the second bit, that second bit was perfection!"