It was the first Friday of a new semester of college, and I was sitting outside my classroom, waiting for class to start and doodling in my sketchbook.

“Hey!” I looked up to see my friend, Sami, walking up to me with a grin on her face. I set down my drawing and got up to hug her. “Oh my gosh, how are you? I haven’t seen you in so long!” she said.

We talked for a minute and then in typical Sami fashion, she changed the subject abruptly. “So, let me see your sketch!”

I glanced at my sketchbook, self-conscious about my art, but then decided that I trusted my friend with it. “Okay,” I said, and handed her the book.

She looked confused for a moment as she took it from my hand. “I just want to see your- Wow, this is really good! Why haven’t I ever seen your drawings before?”

“I don’t really show them to people,” I said, shrugging. “They’re mostly just for me.”

“These are, like, really good,” Sami said as she flipped through my book before handing it back to me. “You should submit those to the art show! You could have a whole exhibit just for your drawings! And win some cash!”

I’d nearly forgotten about the art show. It was an annual thing at our school where students could submit their art to get voted on by art curators from the local museum and the winner would get their art displayed at the museum for a month. I had thought about entering before, but that self-conscious feeling always stopped me. I shook my head, and Sami frowned. I saw her start to ask why, but I cut her off. “I just... can’t. I don’t do that kind of thing,” I told her.

Sami sighed. “Well, okay. It’s your art. You should do something with it though, because it’s really good.”

“Thank you,” I said. I stuffed the book back into my bag and glanced at the time on my phone. “I’m going to go in so I can get a good seat.”

“Oh, you have this class too? Cool!” Sami started chattering excitedly about nothing as we headed into the classroom. I learned absolutely nothing that day in class because we sat together and she talked almost the entire time, but I didn’t mind. It was a long winter without seeing my friend. I went to the bathroom in the middle of class, and when I came back, Sami picked back up talking to me again, and I decided I was going to like this class.

At home that night, I reached into my backpack for my sketchbook and felt a stab of panic when it wasn’t there. It wasn’t like me to lose things, but I guess I must have left it in class earlier that day, which meant I’d have to wait until Monday to get it back. Hopefully no one messed with it. I tried to stay calm and not worry about the possibility of the school building burning down with my drawings in it. I reluctantly went to bed instead of drawing.

Saturday took forever because I didn’t feel like going to buy a new sketchbook. Sunday morning came and went, and when Sunday evening arrived, I got a phone call from an unknown number. They left a message, and I pressed play.

“Hi, Nicole, this is Michael calling from the Museum of Art History. I just wanted to congratulate you on winning our annual student art contest and invite you to our opening night for our student art exhibit this year. Please give me a call back for more details. I look forward to hearing from you!”

What? I didn’t even enter! How did I win? Immediately I called them back and was placed on hold for a few minutes, and then someone picked up. “Hi, Museum of Art History. This is Michael. How can I help you?”

“Hi, this is Nicole Weaver and you just called me to tell me I won your contest, but I didn’t even enter,” I told him.

“Well, Nicole, I have a sketchbook right here with your name across the front, and it has some really great drawings in it,” Michael said. “You said you didn’t enter?”

“No, I didn’t,” I insisted. “Do you know who did?”

“Um, she didn’t show me her ID. Her name was Samantha or something.”

I gritted my teeth. “Was it Sami?”

Michael paused for a moment. “Yeah, that sounds right. Anyway, I’ll see you at the opening night, right?”

I fumed. I couldn’t believe Sami did that, but this guy didn’t need my anger. All he did was congratulate me because my art was so great that it won a contest. I took a deep breath.“Yes. I can be there. When is it?”

Michael told me the details, and I typed them in my phone. I thanked him and was about to hang up, but he stopped me. “Almost forgot, you can bring a plus-one for the event. And there’ll be a ceremony for handing out the cash prize. See you then!” He hung up.

I slowly lowered my phone, still somewhat in shock over the news. And then I snatched my phone back up and angrily typed in Sami’s number. She picked up on the first ring. “Hey, girl.” I could hear the smile in her voice and it only made me angrier.

“What is wrong with you?” I yelled. “How dare you enter me in that contest! Those were my drawings. How did you even get my sketchbook?” The pieces clicked into place. “You took it when I went to the bathroom on Friday!”

“Guilty,” she said. I took a breath to let her have it again, but she spoke quickly. “But hey, you won, right? I don’t even know why you’re angry. You should be thanking me, because now you’re gonna get that cash prize!”

“Don’t even pretend that I’m the bad guy here,” I told her, “and you’re going with me to that opening night.” I heard her start to squeal with excitement, but I don’t know if she said anything after that because I hung up on her and threw my phone down, shaking my head. I couldn’t believe her.

A week later, Sami and I were all dressed up and heading over to the museum.

“I still can’t believe you made me come pick you up,” Sami said, smiling.

“It’s the least you could do after you stole my stuff. All I can say is there better be free food there” I said, crossing my arms. Sami glanced over at my pouting face and we both burst out laughing. She’s so hard to stay mad at.

We parked outside the museum and went in, finding seats in the gallery with everyone else. There was a surprising amount of people there to see art from a college student. The walls of the gallery were covered with huge white sheets.

A man in a suit went up to the podium on the stage at the front of the room and everyone got quiet. “Hi, everyone. I’m Michael, the director of the student art program. I’ll be presenting the prize tonight. I hope our winner is out there somewhere.” He shielded his eyes from the bright overhead lights with his hand to look out into the crowd. Sami took that moment to cheer loudly in the silent room and Michael grinned at her, causing me to shrink down into my seat in embarrassment.

Michael cleared his throat and read a short introduction about the program. “And finally, our winner, who gets a two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar gift card, is... Nicole Weaver!” The room erupted in cheers as I went up to the stage to claim my prize. When I got back to my seat, Sami high fived me.

“And now,” Michael said, “the art!” At that moment, the curtains fell dramatically to reveal the artwork on the walls behind them. I saw my sketchbook in a glass case underneath giant prints of my own drawings, hanging all over the walls of the room. I’d never been more proud of myself than in that moment.

The crowd milled around, mingling and looking at the art on the walls. All I could do was stare in awe at my own work. Sami was by my side, sharing my excitement.

“You know, you could’ve just shown me your schedule like I wanted and we wouldn’t be here right now,” Sami said.

I took a second to process what she just said. “My schedule?”

She grinned. “Yeah, I just wanted to see your schedule, but you misunderstood what I said and showed me your sketch instead. And now here we are, $250 richer.”

“Wait, we are $250 richer?” I asked.

“Yeah, I’m the whole reason we’re here. It’d be nice of you to share,” Sami said.

I laughed. “You’re ridiculous.” And then I hugged her. “Thank you for doing this, really.”

“I know, I’m pretty great.” She smiled like crazy, and then said, “Let’s get punch.”

So we went to get punch.