59 comments

Friendship Funny Happy

It was Valentine’s Day. 

There was a hallway full of roses, chocolate boxes, teddy bears, the occasional card, for those so inclined to handwrite sentiments, and then, of course, there was a trash can full of ramen. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to you, reader, because you don’t really think of ramen noodles having anything to do with Valentine’s Day aka Singles Awareness Day. 

It made sense to Perlita Martan, though, because they were her noodles and she’d thrown them in the trash after her best friend told her she was going with the cheerleaders to, “catch a smoothie” and skip the rest of the day. This was ridiculous to Perlita on several accounts. First of all, Valentine’s Day was such a joke. Second of all, her best friend had never shown an interest in cheerleaders before. Or smoothies. And third of all, why was she not invited to go with Leani? 

It was weird. Perlita didn’t respond as her friend walked down the hall to join her mini skirt parade. She dumped the rest of her snack in the trash can and headed to her locker, where she planned to mope until seventh period math class. Only someone else was also planning on moping until seventh period math, and that person was Perlita’s lockermate, Noa Blum. 

“You’re not with Leani.” It wasn’t a question. Noa was telling Perlita as if she didn’t know this already, as though it was a helpful PSA only she could have provided. “Why?” 

“But Noa, that’s not really-” 

Noa leaned across their lockers, jean jacket catching on the corner of her open door. Her dark eyes narrowed on Perlita’s lighter ones. “Not really what? My business? Everything’s my business.” She tapped the camera around her neck. “School paper and yearbook captain.” Noa sighed. “It’s definitely my business.” 

“With all due respect, don’t you have somewhere else to be? Like you said, it’s your duty as captain and captain to record the history of Valentine’s Day at Marlon Grunter High. I think there’s a trash can full of ramen noodles that would make an awesome expose on the sheer line between friendship and betrayal.” Perlita shut her locker and stepped backwards, almost tripping on her backpack. 

Noa caught her wrist and pulled her back upright, “Easy there, Tiger. What’s your next class?” 

Perlita’s braids swung as she found her balance. Noa let go of her hand. She picked up her backpack; there was no problem with getting to math class early and especially not if she could avoid Noa by doing it. Noa made Perlita nervous. Perlita made Noa laugh. They used to be friends, back before Leani moved to Marlonville and turned things upside-down. 

“You’re just not going to answer me?” Noa straightened her back. She was a good three inches taller than Perlita and today she had on her boots, which gave her about two extra inches added to that. “Surely you didn’t forget me entirely. Isn’t it sad when your friends leave you for someone else? Or, say, a group of someone else’s?” 

She was referring to the fact that freshman year of high school, Perlita stopped hanging out with Noa cold turkey. There were no more photo shoots in late night lit parking lots, no more lazy Saturdays watching Netflix until there was no more to watch, no more bowling, no more anything. Perlita left Noa and her jean jackets for Leani and her leather bracelet-ed wrists. Now Noa was talking to her about the things they left unsaid. “I’m going to math class. And Leani didn’t leave me, she’ll be back tomorrow. They went to go get smoothies.” 

“Uh huh, and you went to go get a fork from the cafeteria. I thought you’d be back too but, nope. Anyway, I have an offer for you.” Noa had pierced her left eyebrow since the last time Perlita had seen her. She also shot up on the social ladder, climbing each rung so subtly that when she was voted prom queen alongside LaTrey Easter, it was a shock to everybody, even those who voted for her. There was no doubt about it. Noa Blum was one cool person. Perlita wished it didn’t bug her so much. She also wished she didn’t want to hear what else Noa had to say. 

“Um, what? What kind of offer?” 

“Come take pictures with me. Let’s document this day together.” Perlita turned to leave, tightening the straps of her backpack. Noa grabbed her hand again. “Hey, wait. Look, we don’t have to be friends. You don’t even have to talk to me after this. I’ll ask to move lockers, even.” She let go of Perlita’s hand for the second time that afternoon. It would have been startling, but Perlita was used to it. Once upon a time, there was a constant homebound feeling with Noa around because she kept Perlita grounded. Her hands were good and kind; most of the time Perlita found she liked them better than her own. 

“I’d have to skip class.” 

“Nah, look, I’m the captain, remember? So what if, say, I need an assistant for the day?” 

“You never needed an assistant before.” 

“And you were never free before. Come on, Per, let’s be old friends for a while. You know you love the camera. And you hate Valentine’s Day. What fresher perspective can I find?” 

Perlita blinked at the sound of her nickname. Leani always called her Lita, never Per, and it was strange hearing a sound you’d let slip so far back in your memory. “I’ll do it.” 

“Wait, really?”

“I mean, unless you were kidding. I don’t have anything better to do. I’m ahead on three assignments in math, so I technically am free, like you said.” Perlita stuck her hand in her jacket pocket. Her fingers twitched. Noa grinned like the child of the Cheshire Cat. She had a smiley piercing. Perlita wondered if it hurt as much as the internet said it would. 

“That’s awesome. Leave your books and bag here, though, we may be running.” Noa’s teeth were straight now, years of braces had done their work and the shambled mix of white and metal gray was gone. Well, the white was still there. Noa always whitened her teeth to shining perfection. “Let’s hit the road, Jack.” 

Perlita nodded, “Cue the montage.” 

They headed out to the parking lot, but then Perlita had a question and they stopped in front of the exiting doors. “If everyone’s in class, where are our pictures coming from?” 

“Oh, dear, sweet, naive in the ways of photography and journalism Perlita. Don’t you worry about that. Here,” Noa fixed Perlita’s glasses from falling down her nose, “I’ll show you what I mean.” She pushed open the door and Perlita followed her out of the building. The way they were walking, she thought they might be going to the football field, but then they turned the other way, towards the elementary school. 

“Why are we going to the elementary school?” 

Noa sighed again. “Do I need to take you to the hospital and get you checked for short term memory loss? Seriously.” Her face settled grimly as she faced Perlita. Maybe she was serious. Perlita laughed, but she was nervous. She couldn’t think of a reason the high school- well, not even just that, they were both seniors this year- yearbook captain would be interested in anything to do with the elementary. Noa didn’t like kids, or at least Perlita remembered her not liking kids. 

“They still get to have parties.” Noa turned and started walking backwards, facing Perlita as they strolled down the catwalk connecting buildings. It was a small campus, to say the least. “And I obviously can’t put pictures of one of our parties in the yearbook, so why not theirs? They get cake and everyone, I mean the whole class, gets a Valentine’s card from every single person they know.” Noa shook her head, musing. “People want to blame Disney for disillusioning us when it comes to love, but I know the truth, Perls. It was there.” She pointed at the door of their old kindergarten building. “So, shall we revisit the origin of our lives as we now know them?”

Perlita didn’t see why not. At the very least, she would cake. 

Twenty minutes later, both girls had a stomach ache, a camera full of pictures, and glitter in their eyebrows. They waved goodbye to Mrs. Fuller, who had been one of their kindergarten teachers but was still going strong, and by the time they got to the catwalk again, the pressure was too much. Perlita started to laugh and it made her fizzy from the bottom of her feet to the top of her head. This was fun, she was thinking. I crashed a kiddie party with my ex-best friend and I ate too much cake and I think the camera lenses are smeared with permanent sticky fruit snacks but it was fun, dang it. Noa started laughing too, and soon both of them were leaning into the catwalk railing with all the strength they had left. 

“Do you think we even got pictures you can use?” 

“Yeah!” Noa took the camera off its cord and handed it to Perlita. “You can look at them while we walk. I know you’re good at multitasking.” Perlita waited for the next thing she said to be something about how great she was at multitasking until it came to friends, but Noa ended it there. It was a compliment, plain and simple. Perlita took the camera. 

“So, where are we going now?” 

Noa pulled the sleeves of her jacket and swung it off before tying it around her waist; the buttons pinned to it jingling like silver bells. “I have heard, from a little bird named Phillip Amilo, that the choir room may have an intriguing event occurring in approximately three minutes.” 

“The choir room is all the way across campus.” Perlita’s stomach was still reeling from laughing and all the cake. Under that, she was an uneasy feeling about whatever Noa was planning next. It took at least-even if you ran like crazy-five minutes to get to the choir room. 

“Only if you’re trying to get there on foot. Which we are not.” At Perlita’s alarmed reaction, Noa put both hands on her shorter friend’s shoulders and grinned. “Perlita Consuelo Martan.” Her hands were always warm, even in November. “Don’t you trust me?” 

Before Perlita could answer, a golf cart pulled under the catwalk. The driver yelled up at the girls, “You guys coming or what?” It was Phil. Phillip Amilo. Driving a golf cart. Asking them to jump off the catwalk. 

Perlita blanched, white as her namesake. “Surely not, Noa…”

“Surely so.” She extended a hand. “It’s a ten foot drop. We’ll be fine!” 

“What about your camera?” Perlita asked. Noa grabbed it and tossed it at Phil, who, being the football team’s star quarterback, caught it and tucked it in the seat next to him. 

Noa started climbing over the railing. She dropped, landed on her feet, and then looked up at Perlita to see if she was joining her. “It’s okay if you want to go back to class!” 

“Can’t I just run around to the stairs?” 

Noa and Phil exchanged a look. Noa said, “No, the time is really ticking. Hope or not, buddy.” Perlita was not built like Noa was, not all agile limbs and svelte bones, but she’d make it. Right? 

She was over the railing and on the concrete before she could prove herself wrong. 

“Ha, you did it!” Noa was effervescent and bouncing in her seat as they rocketed across the campus, Phil pressing the gas pedal as hard as he could. You would think it would have been faster just to walk, but this wasn’t an ordinary golf cart. It had been, ahem, modified. In addition to being the star quarterback, Phil was also the robotics champion. He’d been winning tournaments consistently since third grade, and his latest project was this golf cart they were in now, speeding towards the choir building like a youth group on potluck Sunday. “I’m glad you decided to join us.” 

Phil nodded, smiling at Perlita and Noa. He’d heard from Noa how they used to be best friends, and it warmed his heart to see them together again. He wasn’t sure what he would do without his own best friend, or, for that matter, any of his friends. They were awesome. A team in more ways than one. 

“Here we are!” They pulled into the choir building’s parking lot. “Go, go!” Phil waved the girls away, “I’ll be there in a second.” Perlita and Noa rushed into the classroom, not the auditorium, just in time to see what Phil had sent them in for. It was an event, but more than that, it was a moment. 

There were flowers falling from the ceiling. Literal petals of every shape and size drifted like rainbow snow, covering the choir classroom is a sweeping gesture. The students all looked like they’d just found the closet to Narnia, or even better, had come out of the closet in Coraline. Either way, Noa captured it all. She snapped photos of the flowers, the petals, still falling free. She got a few of people holding them, or handing them to people around them, and there was a particularly precious one of a little ninth grader with flower petals balanced on her nose. 

Perlita couldn’t help but kneel to get a closer look, “Whose idea was this?” She gathered long stemmed roses, pink tulips, purple orchids, carnations, and white daisies into the fabric of her folding skirt. “They’re so pretty!” 

Noa didn’t answer. She didn’t tell Perlita that all around the school, the same thing was happening. Flowers were raining, and people loved it. That was what she had wanted all day, after all. Noa had an exterior of not giving two shucks and a duck about anything or anyone, but that was far from true. It’d been her idea, about the flowers, and she had to make sure Perlita was with her when she saw it. She missed her friend. Perlita missed her too. 

“Was it your idea?” Perlita stood up, the flowers and pieces of them still in her hair and sticking on her clothes. She’d kept a few, put them in her pockets, because who knew if she’d need them later? After all, despite being Valentine’s Day and Single’s Awareness Day, it was also a day to celebrate friendships, new, old, and in between. “Noa.” Perlita pushed the camera away from her friend’s face. “Was it?” 

“Yes. You caught me.” 

Perlita gave her a yellow rose, stem cut short, and shook her head. “It took me too long. I’m sorry. I wish there was a better excuse for wasting the high school we should have had together.” 

“There’s still three semesters left. And I have a feeling I may be needing an assistant for the rest of the year.” Noa took the flower and tucked it in her braid. “What do you say, Martan? Help me out?” 

“As long as we can do a special editorial on the sheer line between friendship and betrayal.” Perlita hugged her, close enough that she could smell the soft sandalwood cologne Noa always wore and behind that, the flower addition in her hair. “I think we should start with the trash can full of ramen and-”

Noa moved her camera behind her and pulled Perlita closer, feeling home after three years alone in a crowd. 

“And I think we should end it here.” 




December 13, 2020 00:12

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59 comments

Rhondalise Mitza
00:14 Dec 13, 2020

Sweet? Boring? Too long? Too short? I personally liked this story a lot and will be working on making a longer version, but your feedback is ALWAYS appreciated. Remember to tell me about your stories when you have new ones so I can keep track. :)

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Amany Sayed
20:14 Dec 13, 2020

Hey Rhonda! How are you? Drive that new car yet? This was sweet for sure, but I did feel it was a bit rushed towards the end, so a longer version would be nice. I could leave it here, but I notice you've been leaving some long paragraphs for new writers and such, so you definitely deserve some actual feedback. Firstly, the dialogue felt a bit static at some parts. I can't pinpoint anything (I might just be crazy), but you maybe want to pay extra attention to dialogue next time, or when you make the longer version. Like I said before, it fel...

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Rhondalise Mitza
20:40 Dec 13, 2020

Hi! Thank you so much for reading and thank you even more for the honest feedback, I appreciate it so much! I’m definitely working on a longer edition. And yesss I do love the names in this story! <3

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16:44 Dec 14, 2020

This was interesting. I like the characterizations of Noa and Perlita, and the little eccentric details take the cake. Literally, I have never read an author who captures intentional irrelevance as well as you—and that’s a compliment. It makes your writing more interesting to read and digest, and gives us unique insight into your characters. Here’s the critique I had... (I know you’re reading this rolling your eyes and thinking “What’s Leo going to say now?”) First, there are a lot of holes in the plot and backstory—mostly the backs...

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Rhondalise Mitza
17:12 Dec 14, 2020

Okay, first off thank you for reading! Second of all thanks for noting and appreciating the intentional irrelevance. This of and for the critiques: correct, correct, correct to everything you AND Amany said and thank you so much! This is what I wanted when I posted it because like Many, I could not tell what was wrong with this story. So now I know, will begin editing and hopefully by the end of the week we'll see a better result. :) How are your writing projects going, Leo?

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17:35 Dec 14, 2020

Yes, be sure to let me know when you’ve edited this! I’ll come back and read it again. 😉 My writing projects are going pretty well—I don’t think I’m doing a story this week, for lack of time. Have to spend my free minutes on my book! Lots of magical beasts... dragons, Manticores, it’s a journey, y’know? How’s stuff on your ends? 😋

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Rhondalise Mitza
17:41 Dec 14, 2020

Yeah, I've just been working on this story and some other of my own projects. May catch up on voicemails later today and go on a walk though. I mean, I'm also sad about Reedsy because people are gradually leaving, but that's a different thing.

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17:53 Dec 14, 2020

Yeah, it’s sad when things get so bad that people start leaving, but on the other hand, I would tell people to toughen up some. What’s the worst they can do? Downvote you and spam a million comments? It doesn’t affect your writing, and it doesn’t affect the input you receive from other genuine writers. Of course, the Tom thing was a whole different deal.

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Rhondalise Mitza
17:56 Dec 14, 2020

Yeah, that's why a lot of people are leaving and no, I wouldn't suggest you telling people to toughen up because while you CAN be tougher, there's a lot of tie-in messages with that statement that round back to the idea that Reedsy is becoming a toxic environment. But honestly I don't like that statement in general because it feeds into a lot of people (guys, usually) having this idea that when their feelings are hurt, that it's not a valid experience, you know?

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Amaya .
18:57 Dec 14, 2020

Rhonda....I had an idea. in ur bio you said "if you ever come back, just know I'll be waiting and working as much as I can to make this a space you feel safer in" what if we actually actively try to well....do it. somehow. let me know if you're on board because it would mean the world if we could make reedsy how it was only a few months ago. also read my bio

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Rhondalise Mitza
19:08 Dec 14, 2020

Hi, Amaya! Yes, I read your bio and I'd love to help. The main thing I need to say, though, is that Reedsy is an 18+ contest and there are a lot of people on here under that age limit. For a reason, they set that age because they knew that with a younger crowd, people would be a.) more susceptible to drama and b.) more conversationalist than wanting to be professional writers for the time being. So yes, I think we should work to change it but we also need to recognize that this isn't really our space as younger writers to begin with. If anyo...

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Amaya .
19:11 Dec 14, 2020

i actually haven't even thought about that. I guess being under 18, i didn't even think about the fact that this wasn't made for us. classic. i need to be more....aware, I guess. Something I'm going to start working on. yeah, a lot of stuff on reedsy is more conversationalist than professional, stuff that all of us kinda take part in. and i agree with the last sentence too. i don't even know what could be done, though. it would break my heart to leave this place, but im also not really helping with the WRITING environment. edit: ...

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Rhondalise Mitza
19:13 Dec 14, 2020

I think if we did really stick to writing on Reedsy and took the conversations elsewhere it would cut down a lot on unneeded drama and trolling, not to mention gossip and all that. We have an Instagram group and we could do something like that for casual chatting. I don't know.

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Amaya .
19:16 Dec 14, 2020

i agree, actually...and it would stop people from "wasting time," which i do a lot, on here and actually write instead, because this would be a writing website instead of a social media. but how do we do that? people love random chatting on here, and it's not really our right to decide what other people get to use this platform. we don't have much power, either. We could try to email Jenn, bring this to her attention? maybe we should do that. these are the times i wish i had instagram....but i don't think it would be worth it to downloa...

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Rhondalise Mitza
19:25 Dec 14, 2020

I do have pinterest, yes.

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Rhonnie...check Vayd’s page 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 I’m going to hold off my reaction until you’ve seen *it* but just know I’ve literally typed the 😭 emoji hundreds of times already in thr last half hour 😭😭😭

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Rhondalise Mitza
14:54 Dec 14, 2020

Yeah, no I saw it. Hence my bio.

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😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

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Rhondalise Mitza
15:16 Dec 14, 2020

Tis a sad day on Reedsy, maiden Aerin.

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*sadly nods*

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03:34 Dec 13, 2020

Oh wow I loved this story! To answer your questions: 1. I thought it was very sweet—I loved the names and aesthetics you gave your characters, highlighting Noa’s denim jacket (which I love) and Leani’s leather bracelets! 2. I think there were some parts in the story where it dragged just a little bit, but for the most part it kept my attention. I liked how your characters were the same age group as me, which helped me relate more to the characters (especially since I’m part of newspaper club too haha) 3. I think it was the perfect length,...

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Rhondalise Mitza
04:14 Dec 13, 2020

Thank you so much! 1.) I liked the names a lot too, I've been wanting to use them for a while and I found this to be a good fit. Leani is a named based off my sister (Leilani's) name. Noa fit the title and is just a name I love. And Perlita was too cute to pass up! 2.) Yay, glad the pace was (mostly) good. And that the characters were relatable is awesome! 3.) I loved the ending too, I reworked and reworded it for about five minutes so I'm appreciative of notes on it. :) I'd love to read that, will be over shortly!

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18:54 Dec 13, 2020

How amazing! It really makes me feel good, and I've been in situations like this. (minus the trash can full of ramen) The names are amazing, and the references to books/movies near the end, about the Narnia wardrobe, or coming out of the closet in Coraline really brought me into the story. The flowers at the end were well-described, and I could imagine them perfectly. I love the character's outfits. And Perlita... I need a Perlita.

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Rhondalise Mitza
20:18 Dec 13, 2020

Yay! I’m so glad you read/enjoyed it! I may do a continuing story in a while.

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20:20 Dec 13, 2020

I can't wait! You're #1 for a reason. Say, have you read any of my continuing story, which I think I'll call Bridgebrook? That's everything labeled "a poetry-verse story", and it's kind of a small-town mystery adventure thriller romance comedy. I had a hard time picking the genres. I'd love some advice on them from the highest Reeder on the leaderboard.

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Rhondalise Mitza
20:42 Dec 13, 2020

😂I’m not number one but thank you! And I’d love to read your stories. I’m in the car right now but when I get home I’ll check them out. 💖

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21:22 Dec 13, 2020

Ok! I forgot to say that you should be #1, or at least 2, since you're as good as Zilla Babbit.

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Sjan Evardsson
22:57 Dec 23, 2020

The characterizations were believable as a pair of high school seniors. Perlita probably consciously decided to spend the afternoon with Noa because "why not?", while her subconscious motivation, (affection and attention after being hurt by Leani), is fairly clear to the reader. There's not a lot of "big" drama or intense action, just a sweet, slice-of-life story about friends reconnecting. No major issues, but I found a couple typos: "At the very least, she would cake." - perhaps missing the word "have"? “No, the time is really ticking. H...

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Jr Mercier
11:37 Dec 23, 2020

I really loved this. A little rushed at the end but the scene of them in the classroom with the flower petals was gorgeous. I'd actually love to know more about Per and Noa and everything that happened between them. Really good. ⚡🥳

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B. W.
01:11 Dec 19, 2020

I got a new story out a little bit ago ^^ could you possibly check out "Loxie's arrival" and leave some feedback?

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B. W.
01:44 Dec 17, 2020

How are ya today?

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B. W.
23:51 Dec 15, 2020

so how are ya?

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A.R. Eakle
17:48 Dec 14, 2020

Hi, Rhondalise! Zilla wanted me to reach out to see if you wanted one of your stories reviewed on my blog. Send me a message on Instagram @EakleReviews and let me know which story you want reviewed! There's a link to my blog on my page, and Zilla also has one up on her page. :)

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Rhondalise Mitza
17:59 Dec 14, 2020

That would be awesome! Just wrote you on Instagram.

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B. W.
20:48 Dec 13, 2020

I'm not gonna say a lot for this, its just really great like all of your other stories and stuff ^^ it gets a 10/10 :)

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