“Do you remember when Mr. Feldspar had that affair with Ms. Worthington?” Emmaline asked her twin sister Geraldine. Of course their names rhymed, because they were twins, and of course their clothes matched, because they were twins, and of course they kept on repeating that they were such connected twins, because, well, they were twins. They had learned to tone it down because large corporations don’t exactly appreciate their employees coming in as carbon-copies of each other—they prefer to mold them into carbon-copies themselves—but once upon a time in high school Emmaline and Geraldine would frequently pass for each other. They did the whole switching-classes routine but soon found it to be thoroughly boring, because what is the fun in seeing the same teacher twice in a row? The more teachers you see, the more gossip you get, and if there was one thing Emmaline and Geraldine were, it was nosy.
They did all the typical nosy-high-schooler things, like run the yearbook and the newspaper and organize all the parties and fundraisers to see who went to what and why and how much, but then they escalated it. You can only gather so much from the legal and polite means of investigation. It was only a semester into their first year at high-school when Emmaline and Geraldine were already staying late and sneaking outside the staff room or principal’s office. Once would expect that from all this acquired gossip Emmaline and Geraldine were naturally popular but they didn’t see the point: they had each other for friends and teachers’ drama was always more interesting than the students’. Who really cares who Billy’s dating if Madame Clemence is actually a fraud and not at all French?
Oliver did not at all understand the point of going to a high-school reunion. He was the vice principal: he saw all his relevant staff yearly. Why ought he care about a class of hundreds of students who had barely done anything good with their life? Oliver could look at a teenager and tell you their rough career path with only a 10% margin of error. He did not need to then analyze his accuracy a decade later. Shocker of all shockers, the kids who did drugs then were still doing drugs, the kids who obsessed over their grades had escalated it to obsessing over their salary, and there was always one kid who had remarkably become a CEO despite never working an actual day in their life.
“You’re so bitter,” Jenny, Oliver’s wife, remarked, sorting through their closet for an appropriate tie. “Sometimes it’s fun to see kids grow up!”
“Yes,” Oliver corrected, “when you’re a preschool teacher and the kids have growing to do. How much more growing is there once the kids can already drive and vote?”
Jenny sighed and chose a forest-green tie. “Maybe not physically, but I can tell you that emotionally you’ll be wowed.”
“The only ‘improvement’ going on is that the kids know how to word an insult so that it doesn’t sound like an insult,” Oliver snorted. “But it’s still an insult! So they haven’t learned anything at all!”
“You’re just nervous.” People had been telling Oliver that for all of his life, but when Jenny said it it didn’t sound dismissive; it sounded comforting. “There’s no way you could be so jaded after just a decade in the profession.” She wrapped the tie around Oliver’s neck and though he tried to resist, she held up one hand. Jenny liked tying Oliver’s tie and no matter how many times he insisted he was self-sufficient, she claimed it made them feel intimate. “Nope, I think you’re just afraid to see your first class.”
“They’re not my first class!” Oliver scoffed, not comprehending what Jenny meant.
“They are,” Jenny repeated. “You started at the school a decade ago. This is your first graduating class and the first time you’ll be seeing students you can recognize!”
Oh, that’s why Oliver didn’t recall any connections to all the previous reunions. How had he been so stupid?
“Wait.” Oliver grasped Jenny’s hands, forcing her to stop. “You don’t mean that class?”
“I’m pretty sure I do.” Jenny’s hands wriggled but Oliver held firmly. “I’m referring to the one with the kids who taught the entire band section the Russian anthem and paraded around the halls playing it on broken recorders.” Jenny giggled. According to Oliver that was one spirited class. “And that one kid hacked into the computer software and redirected the school’s website to Poptropica and it took Tech a week to fix it. And that other kid convinced all the substitutes to not show up to school so they had a day of free periods. And that one kid rode a unicycle while gluing snack crackers to the stairwell banister…” By this point Jenny couldn’t continue. She was too busy laughing. How those kids had managed to wreck such innocent havoc on a building was beyond her, but they were probably all bettered for it.
“No.” Oliver turned pale. “It can’t be that grade! You know how hard it was to deal with them? You know how little they respected my authority?” Oliver ran his hands frantically through his balding hair. “I had to fire the entire staff and rehire because that very grade convinced the faculty that I was a scam artist looking to embezzle funds to found my own circus!”
Jenny was doubled over. “Exactly! That grade was a hoot!” She wiped her eyes. “I have half a mind to go with you!”
Oliver finished the tie himself. He couldn’t trust Jenny’s trembling hands. Then he strode down to their kitchen in search of some alcohol or aspirin or something to combat the impending doom.
Noam contemplated the benefits of showing up to a high-school reunion in costume. He could come as a clown, but that was tacky. He’d rather his reputation speak for himself. Everybody in the Sherwood Class of 2009 knew about Noam Freeman, the resident trickster and sole source of the grade’s entertainment. He was the one who encouraged unicycles and snack crackers and hacking and the Russian anthem because goodness, school was boring enough and one might as well spice it up. Plus he knew Emmaline and Geraldine Fairfax and they knew everything about every teacher and messing with teachers was so much more fun. Especially the teachers who thought they had composure. Like Mr. Feldspar, everybody’s favorite cheater.
Noam’s cellphone rang—the banana-phone song, of course, to match with his banana case—and he picked it up.
“Where are you?” Geraldine demanded. Though she sounded exactly like Emmaline, she was the younger sibling, which meant she tried to compensate by being loud and early, whilst Emmaline was fine with waiting and staring in her curious, calculating way. “We agreed to meet at the school-“
“I’m coming! I’m just…picking out my outfit.” Noam realized how vain he sounded.
Geraldine snorted. “Nobody cares what you’re wearing. Just push but don’t break the dress code.” Noam was a master and pushing but not breaking things. “And wear a tie. Mr. Feldspar’s going to be wearing one and we need material to make fun of.” Geraldine hung up.
Noam decided on a potato tie. If nothing else, he could gift Mr. Feldspar the tie and call him one in the process.
Lots of people called Ida a hippie. Obviously they didn’t really understand the true definition of a hippie, because Ida wore long dresses and listened to instrumental music not out of counter-culture protest but because that’s what her grandmother did. Her grandmother raised her, and as grandmothers did her grandmother died of old age, and Ida, though accepting of the unfortunate reality, wanted a way to honor her memory. Ida’s grandmother wore long dresses and listened to instrumental music like her grandmother, so Ida’s great-great-grandmother, so Ida would as well.
Likely the most hippie thing about Ida was that she had been an art teacher. She was technically an English teacher but firmly believed that writing and art were one and the same, and tried to encourage her students to believe similarly. She liked taking them to the town’s abandoned warehouse to read The Outsiders, and forced them to act out the entirety of The Crucible, and encouraged them to wear color-filtering glasses throughout The Giver. You know, making the texts relatable to the students! Why ought they care about the perspectives of a bunch of old people when they had their own little lives to worry about? Ida tried to give them a reason why.
She woke up super excited on one faithful July morning. Normally she was rather depressed for all of the summer because it reminded her of past students she would never have again after leaving teaching but today was sunny. She was going to see her first and favorite class, the Sherwood Class of 2009, her babies all grown up. She herself was fresh out of college, not much older than them, but now she was aged and wizened—it’s amazing what a decade can do—and eager to see how her students had changed as well.
She rolled out of bed and was immediately greeted by the smell of fresh, flakey rolls from the bakery downstairs. The baker, Josephine, was kind, and though there was only one apartment above the bakery Josephine let her rent a room that was slightly separate from the rest of the house for very cheap.
Ida pulled on a long, periwinkle-colored dress, and braided her hair, prepared for the exciting day ahead. Was she thrilled to be seeing some of the pompous and arrogant staff? No, not exactly. But was she thrilled to see her old friends? Most definitely!
Emmaline, Geraldine, and Noam all stood expectantly outside the school. Brick and boxy, like every high-school ever.
“What’s our plan again?” Noam asked. He wasn’t really good at the planning stage. He was more of a spur-of-the-moment-excitement type of guy.
“We’re just introducing Mr. Feldspar and Ms. Worthington and seeing the madness.” Geraldine explained.
“Which implies that they both show up to the same door at the same time, which is unlikely.” Emmaline was really the brains of the operation. “So you, Noam, are going to find Mr. Feldspar and Geraldine and I are going to find Ms. Worthington and we’re all going to meet back here.” Emmaline cleared her throat. “Ms. Worthington quit right after her affair so there’s probably a lot of unresolved fun we can delve into.”
Noam nodded as the first car trickled into the lot. Impeccably white and responsible. Definitely Mr. Feldspar’s car. He started off, pausing once to turn around and salute to the twins, and intercepted Mr. Feldspar and his…wife?
That was not the plan. When had Mr. Feldspar gotten married? Who would even want to marry him? There was a reason why the affair hadn’t worked out.
“Hello!” the wife chirped breezily, oblivious to Noam’s confused glance and Mr. Feldspar’s horrified one. “I’m Jenny! I told Oliver I just had to meet his wonderful students! You’re…?”
“Noam.” Noam’s brain was on autopilot. “Noam Freeman.”
Jenny, apparently, clapped her hands. “You’re the one with the unicycle!”
“And the recorders.” Noam’s voice automatically, albeit robotically, filled in the blanks. “And the snack crackers. And the hacking.”
“And the Russian anthem,” all three finished at the same time. Noam and Mr. Feldspar’s eyes never left each other, both asking unanswered questions. There was a lot going on. Noam wished he had brought Emmaline with him. She would know how to not make this awkward.
Noam was rarely at a loss for words, but he justified it. Mr. Feldspar—Oliver, apparently—was the most awkward, nervous, twitchy, itching-for-authority man to ever walk in Sherwood High School, and the fact that he was actually married—Noam glanced down to confirm that yes, there was a glinting wedding ring—was completely mind-blowing. Not to mention the fact that he wouldn’t have any eyes for Ms. Worthington now that Jenny was in the picture. Noam felt like a rebellious step-child: he had to get rid of Jenny.
Geraldine’s phone beeped. One look down and it was Noam.
“I’m telling you, he might be entertaining but wow, is he incompetent unless we’re holding his hand,” Emmaline quipped, confidently leading the way to Ms. Worthington’s sunflower-colored mini-car. Of course she had parked as far away from the school as she could because she liked to frolic as much as the space allowed her to. Emmaline and Geraldine, however, were not ones for frolicking.
Geraldine held up a finger to shush Emmaline. She cradled the cellphone between her ear and neck. “What happened now?” Emmaline ran off ahead to intercept Ms. Worthington and was already chatting amiably. Geraldine stopped walking. They might as well meet her in the middle; there was no point in her hurrying.
“Code red!” Noam hollered so loudly the phone itself shook. “We’ve got a code red. Code red! Everybody into lockdown!”
“What are you talking about?” Geraldine hissed, smiling apologetically at Ms. Worthington. She waved back sweetly whilst Geraldine pointed at her phone in explanation. “What does that even mean?” Geraldine sighed, now hurrying to keep up with Emmaline and Ms. Worthington’s extremely-fast, energetic stride. “You know what, we’re nearly at the building. Talk to you there.”
Noam began saying something in protest but Geraldine clicked off the phone. From between Emmaline and Ms. Worthington’s preppy heads she could see Noam and Mr. Feldspar walking together. Everything was running beautifully-
Wait. Geraldine blinked her eyes, then shook her head. Were there two Noams? Noam had a twin? And didn’t tell them? Now a few feet closer Geraldine squinted. Nope, those weren’t two Noams. Nor were they two Mr. Feldspars. Oh, no, Mr. Feldspar had brought a wife. Geraldine scrunched her eyebrows and peered worriedly at Noam who shrugged. They couldn’t really do anything about it now.
Geraldine tapped Emmaline on the back, who glared and mouthed “What?” Geraldine nodded her head in Mr. Feldspar and the wife’s direction and Emmaline’s eyes widened. Then, surprisingly, she smiled.
“Oh, I’m so glad to see that you’re happy!” clueless Ms. Worthington cooed.
“Thanks.” Emmaline had escalated to a beam. “I just prepared a…little surprise, and I’m so happy to see that more people than previously accounted for are getting involved.” The two of them giggled while Geraldine, still behind them, rubbed her forehead. Why were they even doing this? Geraldine couldn’t stand seeing people fight. She had taught herself to deal with others’ unhappiness, to push through the suffocating feeling of being a middle-man to a sinking ship, all in the name of interesting gossip. Geraldine physically moved the corners of her mouth with her fingers as they rounded the corner of the school. She had to look happy. This was going to be all worth it. Emmaline had a plan to make everything more interesting and by the end of it all, Geraldine herself would be privy to hot new information regarding Sherwood’s favorite staff affair.
Emmaline pulled Ms. Worthington ahead to the approaching trio. “Hi!” she gasped. “Hello Mr. Feldspar, and…?”
“Jenny.” Mr. Feldspar’s wife Jenny shook Emmaline’s hand and waved sweetly at Geraldine and Ms. Worthington. “Hello Emmaline! It’s a pleasure to meet you. Noam’s said so much about you.” She turned to Geraldine. “And I’m so eager to meet your entire wonderful grade.”
Noam laughed weakly. He looked like he was about to throw up. Geraldine figured she herself looked just as green.
“Aw, you’re Mr. Feldspar’s new wife!” Emmaline clapped slowly. “How…cute. You should meet his other wife.” Emmaline pulled Ms. Worthington in front of her.
“Other…wife…?” Jenny had no eyes for either of them anymore. Only her husband, who Geraldine suspected would be in some serious trouble.
“No!” Mr. Feldspar and Ms. Worthington shouted at the same time, which only made it look more suspicious. “We’re not married.” Mr. Feldspar’s hand flew to his tie and he began rubbing it periodically, as he often did when nervous, while Ms. Worthington blabbered on. “It was all Mr. Feldspar’s fault.”
“Was it?” Mr. Feldspar did not respond. Instead, he stared straight up, his mouth moving slightly. If anything else, it looked like he was counting clouds. But when Geraldine looked up anything visible was blocked by the extraordinarily bright sun. She looked back down and dark circles swam in front of her.
Emmaline patted Jenny’s shoulder with faux-sympathy. “It’s alright. We’ve all got a lot of catching up to do.” She clasped her hands together with a freaky amount of glee. “Happy reunion everybody! I’m so excited for all of us to share everything going on in our lives.” Her smile turned devious. Geraldine could just imagine that sentence’s finish. Even if you didn’t want to tell, Emmaline would find a way to get the information out of you. She was too clever. And then she would try to mess up your life, because what is learning without hands-on supplement.
A happy reunion it sure was.
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Emmaline and Geraldine was, - were, two people makes plural. Once would expect that - One would expect reminded her of passed students - should it be past students? or are these the dead ones? or is she using passed as opposed to failed? might want to clarify... that Jennyw as in the picture.- typo the w is with was not jenny I'm impressed by your ability to keep so many characters distinct. Evil twins, Prankster, Teacher, Principal and his Wife, but they remain different enough to keep them apart. And you made it plausible to i...
Thank you so much! I really appreciate all of your feedback. I will get right on the grammatical errors and you're absolutely right (why did I forget that the comedy tag is a thing?) and thank you so much :)
I think I have read a story like this before and your story turned out weird at the end where you write that Emmeline would find a way to get information out of you. ...she is too clever. You should have used the word 'too cunning'. Tricksters are not clever people. They are cunning. "I was once traveling in a metro train and a group were talking loudly . I felt they were trying to draw my attention towards their conversation which was like dishing out trash and expecting me to lap it up. I had read a book in class 12 which said be suspiciou...
Okay. Thank you! I really appreciate your feedback. I wrote that Emmaline was clever because the other characters still think she's a morally good person (which we all know is not the case). Don't worry, I'll be sure to clarify her personality. And I'll certainly try to make it more original: there's a sequel coming so hopefully that should prevent this from being too repetitive and dull. By the way, which book did you read in class 12? I may have read a similar one.
I have no doubt you did
I can see you're thinking of turning this into a series and would like to develop a sequel as well. I'd like to read a prequel as well, because then we can read more of class 2009, be more invested in them and of course the affair. I found this to be an incredibly fun and an engaging read. There a lot of positives such as how well each character was written and how you developed their own personalities naturally. For me though, the main positive was how after reading a characters pov I'm left wanting more. For example the first time re...
Thank you so much for your support and reading! A prequel is definitely an interesting idea. I'm thinking about tying it into the sequel--like a few flash-back segments--but having a prequel as a stand-alone is definitely a great idea as well. Thank you for your amazing suggestions and I'm so happy you enjoyed it! :)
Hi Danny! Once again, thank you so much for reading! I just wanted to let you know that I have (finally) come out with a sequel part (and there is a prequel in it; thank you for the suggestion)!
Hi Meggy, I liked your story. I know a twin who claims to be nosey because he's a twin, so this was definitely relatable to me! Lol The characters were really well crafted, and even the distinction between the twins (there's always an evil one). The way the different narrative POVs come together at the reunion reminded me of Stephen King's 'Needful Things', which is a tough ask to pull of with so few words, but you managed to bring them all together well. I especially liked the below line, it was a nice characterisation of how funny Je...
Thank you so much! Your feedback is always helpful and I appreciate you reading my stories! I will definitely check out some of yours. Happy writing!
You're welcome Meggy, and I appreciate it :)
Hey, this was a really engaging read! Your character relationships were well established within the story, too. In the sentence : Mr. Feldspar—Oliver, Oliver—was the most awkward, nervous, twitchy, itching-for-authority man to every walk in Sherwood High School, and the fact that he was actually married—Noam glanced down to confirm that yes, there was a glinting wedding ring—was completely mind-blowing. Did you mean "to ever walk" instead of "to every walk"? It could be a typo. For your author's note, YES. I would love to follow th...
Thank you so much! I'm happy you'd like to see a sequel, because I'd like to write one :). Also, yes, that was a typo, thank you for catching it!
Hi Joy! Once again, thank you so much for reading! I just wanted to let you know that I have (finally) come out with a sequel part!
Great! I'll read it!
Great job with this! Loved the characters, they were each so unique and wonderful! I fell in love with them and I would definitely want to read more of their adventures. Your style and pacing were consistent and it made for a very smooth and enjoyable read. Well done, keep writing!
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your reading :)
Hi Calloween! Once again, thank you so much for reading! I just wanted to let you know that I have (finally) come out with a sequel part!
Cool, thanks for letting me know! I'll check it out when I get the chance!