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chapter 1

The Crush CrisisBY GL Originals | PUBLISHED 9/13/2013 | UPDATED 9/13/2013 | ALL DONE!

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This story, written by Diana Koulechova, 11, won GL’s Short Story Contest! It was originally printed in GL’s book of short fiction. Enjoy reading it reprinted here…

 

Everyone on stage!” a voice rang out in Markham Middle School’s auditorium. Kids all around the room ran onto the stage. An old man with a white beard was looking at them. He was ready to speak. The old man eyed the students, and they eyed him.

“OK, um,” he started, but his words were lost in all the noise the students were making.

“Quiet!” he shouted, and a dead silence hit the room. He gave a speech about the drama class not being a class, him not being a teacher and the children not being students. “You are actors, and I am a director,” he said.

Diana wasn’t really listening. She was preoccupied. When theater practice ended, the children ran out of the auditorium like a herd of wild horses. “Bye, Jade!” Diana shouted to the girl with brown eyes and dark ponytailed hair.

“See ya!” Jade shouted back.

They got into their parents’ cars.

Diana’s mom asked, “So, which play are you doing? Richard Three again?”

“Yeah,” Diana said. Usually, she was more excited after practice. Not today.

“If you don’t want to talk about it, we don’t have to. Just tell me what’s wrong.”

“Just confused, I guess.”

“About what?”

“I want to be a seventh-grader. I don’t want to be younger than all my friends.”

Diana’s mom just shook her head, and they rode home in silence.

Jan. 1

Dear Diary,

Today, I found another reason for wanting to be a seventh-grader. It all started at recess when I was walking by the seventh-grade classrooms. I saw a guy. Not just any guy. He’s tall and gorgeous. So now, I officially have a crush. There wouldn’t be a problem with that except for the fact that the guy doesn’t know I exist. I looked him up in the yearbook. Now I know his name. It’s Chris Lemmend.

Next time Diana went to drama class, she brought along her yearbook. She knew she had to show someone. And that someone had to be Jade. No one else would understand.

“Jade, can we talk?” Diana asked Jade.

“Sure. What about?”

“Let’s go outside.” They went out and sat on a bench. Diana didn’t know how to begin.

“So, how are things going between you and...”

“Fine...except.”

“Except what?”

“I know that’s not what you want to talk about.”

“You’re right. I want to talk to you about,” Diana swallowed a lump in her throat, “my crush.”

“You have a crush?! Congratulations!”

“Congratulations? The guy doesn’t know I exist. What did you do when...”

“When I had my crush? Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“I was too embarrassed to do anything. Then one day, my friends asked me if I knew he liked me.”

“But none of my friends know Chris.”

“Hmmm. Maybe you should just wait.”

“OK. See ya.”

“See ya. Good luck, Diana.”

The next day, Diana saw him again. This time she managed to have a little conversation with his best friend Josh.

“Hey,” Diana said when she saw him.

“Are you a new kid?” Josh asked.

“No. I’ve gone to Markham since the beginning of last school year.”

“Really? Whose class are you in?”

“Mrs. Stein’s,” Diana answered.

“Mrs. Stein is a sixth-grade teacher.”

“I know, I’m a sixth-grader.”

“Oh, great. A puny little sixth-grader.”

“I’m a sixth-grader, but I’m not puny.”

“Yeah, right. Go play with your dolls.”

Diana was so sad. She couldn’t just shout insults back at him. After all, he was Chris’ best friend. But she couldn’t just take insults from him either. “I wonder what Jade would do,” Diana thought as she walked sadly toward Room 22.

Later, Diana realized the day had not been a total loss. She had talked with Chris’ best friend. Unfortunately, the impression she left was not very good.

“I wish I were a seventh-grader. Then Chris and I would be friends. But I don’t have a chance. He thinks I’m babyish.” Diana grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil. This is what she wrote:

1. Show him I’m not a baby.

“I’ll keep a list of ideas on how to become his friend. One of them is bound to work.” That night Diana lay in her bed peacefully. She wasn’t dreading the day ahead anymore.

“Take out English page 98,” Mrs. Stein said. The students did as they were told. “We’re going to the computer lab now. And then to the library.”

“But what about P.E.?” someone asked.

“No P.E. because of computer lab.”

“Yes!” the kids shouted. None of them could stand the P.E. instructor. While walking to computer lab, Diana got another idea, inspired by her friend Madison, who was chatting about her older brother’s friends: “They used to think I was a goof and wouldn’t even talk to me. That is, until they saw me Rollerblade.”

“And that helped?” Diana asked.

“Sure.” Madison imitated her brother’s friends, “You know, Josh, she’s all right for a sixth-grader.” When she got to the library, Diana added to her list:

1. Show him I’m not a baby.

2. Impress him by doing something really cool.

“Diana, are you ready?”

“Ready for what, Mom?”

“Drama class.”

“Omigosh! I forgot all about it.”

Diana hurried, and in half an hour she was back at Markham Middle School.

Jade came running down the hallway.

“Hi! Any luck?” Jade asked quietly.

“No. None. But I did get an idea that just might help me solve my problem.”

“Really? What?”

Diana took her list from her pocket.

“Show him I’m not a baby. Impress him by doing something cool,” Jade read out loud. “What is this?”

“I figure if I write down a bunch of ideas, one of them is sure to work.”

Their friend Spencer walked up.

“Hey, you guys, what are you talking about?” Spencer asked. Jade gave Diana a “Can I tell him?” look. Diana shook her head no. Jade nodded.

“Nothing, really. Just talking about when I had my crush,” Jade told him.

“Really? I guess you’re over it now.”

“Actually, the guy likes me too.”

“You’re lucky. When I had my crush, I liked a girl in sixth grade, and I was in third. She didn’t know I existed.”

“What did you do?” Diana asked. The situation sounded mighty familiar to her.

“I met her and found out she wasn’t really very nice,” Spencer said.

Diana’s list looked like this that night:

1. Show him I’m not a baby.

2. Impress him by doing something really cool.

3. Meet him.

4. Become really good at lots of things so I can become really popular.

The list was getting longer, but Diana still had no solution to her problem. It now controlled her life. It was all she ever thought about.

The next day at school, Diana deliberately walked past the seventh-grade rooms, hoping to catch a glimpse of Chris Lemmend. As she looked around for him, she noticed a girl crying in the corner.

Diana walked up to her. She wasn’t very big. Blond curls covered the girl’s face, which was buried in her blue jumper. Diana didn’t know what to think.

“Are you OK?” she asked the girl.

The girl looked up. “Who are you?” she asked. Her face was quite pretty, even though it was all stained with tears. Her big blue eyes were red from all the crying.

“I’m Diana. What’s your name?”

“I’m Amy,” the girl answered.

“Why were you crying?” Diana asked.

“Well, this boy stole my new notebook. And he poured red juice on my new shirt. My mom’s going to kill me.”

Diana was appalled. “What boy?”

“His name is Chris. His last name begins with L or something like that. I think it’s Lemon.”

“Oh, my gosh!” Diana’s eyes were wide. Could he do that? Nah, Diana shook her head. Couldn’t be. Maybe she did something mean to Chris. After all, she didn’t know Amy. Diana decided to give her crush the benefit of the doubt until she was able to meet him face-to-face. But the next day, she found how very wrong she had been about this boy she adored.

She was walking along when she saw a first-grader crying just outside the girls’ bathroom. She walked up to her. If the little girl’s black hair hadn’t been pulled back in a braid Diana wouldn’t have seen how very red her eyes were from crying. She saw a rip in the red jumper the girl was wearing, and black stains on the sleeves of her white turtleneck.

“What’s the matter?” Diana asked the little girl. “What’s your name?”

“Sally,” the little girl answered. “And this seventh-grade boy Chris was teasing me for being a first-grader, and then he tripped me. When I fell, I ripped my jumper and stained my shirt.”

“Sheesh,” Diana said. “Are you OK?”

“Yeah, I’m going back to class.”

The little girl left, and Diana went inside the restroom to think. “To be mean to someone your own age is bad, but to bully someone five years younger is really awful,” she thought to herself. “I don’t even care to meet him now. He might trip me or pull my hair!”

Diana pulled out her notebook. She turned to the page that had her list and ripped it out of the notebook. She wadded up the paper and tossed it in the trashcan. The Chris crisis was history. …But, hey, who’s that cutie coming down the hall?

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