God, this is the singularly most annoying, self-absorbed girl I’ve ever met, thought Brielle to herself as she smiled through gritted teeth at Olive, despite the fact that she kind of wanted to push her into the fountain if she said the phrase “laugh out loud” one more time. She didn’t say “L.O.L.”. She didn’t say “lol”. She said the full phrase “laugh out loud” … out loud.
“And then she said that my purse looked cheap, like it was from Goodwill, like I would ever be caught dead shopping from Goodwill, laugh out loud!” Brielle was about to interrupt her purse story by bathing unfortunate Olive in a fountain that probably hadn’t been properly cleaned in several years, when she continued with, “I mean, first of all, I’ve heard that they don’t even wash their clothes, and even though it was a purse, I still would never shop from there, that’s so unsafe and I would never want my followers to think I was promoting those sort of unsafe practices, laugh out loud! And the worst part is that they pretend like they advocate for the employment of disabled people, but that’s actually just a sham to hide behind because you don’t legally have to pay disabled people minimum wage, so their workers end up with unlivable wages and they end up padding their pockets.”
Brielle was at a loss for words. She had never expected this rich girl that she was just trying to ask to help her with their chemistry project because it was due in a week and they hadn’t even spoken before today to discuss a time to meet up, to launch, unprompted, into a story about how a girl in one of her other classes had been trying to make her look poor, even though she had thousands of followers on Instagram, which apparently was proof enough that someone was rich, although Brielle didn’t see what the number of followers had to do with your monetary status. But then, just as Brielle was about to lose her mind, Olive suddenly became a warm, endearing person who cared about people’s rights. Which Brielle would never have expected. Now if only she could get a word in to talk about their chemistry project.
God, this girl has never had an original thought in her life, she has the blankest expression I’ve ever seen on anyone’s face, Olive thought. She had been pretending she knew who this girl was for five minutes now; she looked vaguely familiar, but Olive couldn’t place where she knew her from for the life of her. Maybe a distant cousin she recognized from a family reunion; the blonde hair was the exact same shade as Olive’s. Olive could only stretch out a story about a girl calling her cheap for so long, but she didn’t know what else to do to avoid revealing that she had no idea who this girl was. It was the girl’s fault if anything, she was the one who had walked up to Olive, smiling a friendly smile that clearly meant that Olive was supposed to know her, and complimented her purse. She had thought that telling a story about her purse would give her time to remember who this girl was, but instead she was here, prattling on about Goodwill’s immorality. She tried not to do this sort of thing, because it always resulted in the person she was talking to taking a step back, slamming a polite smile on their face, and making it clear that they thought she was just a dumb blonde who shouldn’t have any thoughts about anything, least of all things like the economy.
Oddly enough though, the opposite seemed to be happening. This girl, who had had a blank smile on her face, nodding along to whatever Olive said, seemed to perk up a bit at Olive’s talk about Goodwill’s loopholes through the legal system. Olive paused, trying to figure out if she should go back to talking about her purse, maybe where she got it, or continue about corrupt shopping corporations, when the girl jumped in.
“That’s an amazing thought process, maybe we could find some way to include it in our project!” the girl said in a rush, as though worried she wouldn’t get another chance at it.
Now Olive had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Was it possible that she really should have known this girl, and she was the one without a thought rattling around in her skull, talking about purses when this girl only complimented it to open the conversation? Oh no, of course, chemistry. She had almost completely forgotten about the project, she had lost her planner a week before, and she could hardly remember anything if it wasn’t written down in her planner. She could now remember their professor pairing them together for the project, and remembered looking at the girl with the same look the girl was giving her now, that disappointed look of You’ll never be able to live up to my expectations, you don’t care about anything of substance. She had just spent the past five minutes talking about a purse and now she was going to have to convince this girl that she knew what she was talking about for their project.
“The chemistry project, of course, I can’t believe I almost forgot!” Olive said, trying to convey as much sincerity and shock into her voice as possible, as though this wasn’t the third important thing she had forgotten about just this month. The girl must have seen right through her, because she just rolled her eyes and walked away, automatically expecting Olive to keep up.
“Listen, I was thinking I could do the experiment portion and I could tell you what I did, and you could write it out in whatever fancy handwriting you have with that fancy manicure.” Oh no, this girl was mad at her for forgetting. Now, between that and the purse rant, she would never take Olive seriously enough to listen to her ideas.
She decided the best tactic would be to be aggressive right back. “Alternatively, you could listen to the ideas I have about this project and we could actually work together to get a good grade instead of you pushing me off to do the useless tasks.” As the girl spun around, brown eyes blazing, Olive deduced that aggressiveness was perhaps not the best idea.
“Listen to your ideas? What are your ideas, learn what the chemical components to making a rich person’s purse are? No, you clearly don’t have anything worth contributing, so just forget about this project like you already did and go buy more purses to bring down Goodwill. It’s obviously your main talent.”
At that, it was Olive’s turn to be mad. “Actually, I was thinking we could extract bismuth from Pepto-Bismol, which, in case you were wondering how much I paid attention in that class is the eighty-third element on the periodic table, and is a metal. Or maybe we could turn flames into a rainbow, which requires multiple chemicals and would need to be tested before presenting it to our professor. Don’t put me in the backseat, because I am not putting my grade in the hands of some airheaded girl who’s so unnoticeable that I didn’t even know I was paired with her!”
The girl opened and closed her mouth a few times, then turned and began rummaging around in her bag for something. “Fine. But you better not get me removed from the Dean’s List.”
Olive grinned. This was one of few people who had changed their first impressions of her to acknowledge that she wasn’t as vapid and foolish as she thought. “As long as you don’t get me removed from the Dean’s List.”
The girl looked up in surprise as she moved to write on a sticky note she had pulled out of her bag.
“And… this might be a bad time to ask this, but, uhh… what’s your name?” Olive grinned sheepishly at the incredulous look on the girl’s face as she snapped her head up to stare at Olive. She said nothing, just rolled her eyes and shook her head as she moved back to the sticky note. A moment later, she capped her pen, and, without a word, turned and stormed off.
Olive grabbed the sticky note off the table to read it.
Meet me here to brainstorm, 2:00. DO NOT be late. I’ll get a Pepto-Bismol on the way if you bring a couple candles. I want to toss around ideas about both.
Olive smirked at the fact that either the girl thought her ideas were better than what she had had, or had the same ideas as Olive. Likely the latter, since they both seemed to be very intelligent. And there, at the bottom of the sticky note, was one more word, smudged from being written in a rush, so that Olive had to squint to read it.
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