You spotted the school bus arriving outside your window just as you were finishing the last bite of toast. Still half asleep, you quickly grabbed your backpack and dashed out the door. Monday mornings were always the worst.
Clambering onto the noisy school bus, a familiar voice penetrated the fog in your brain.
“Over here! I saved you a seat!”
It was your best friend, Niffty, of course. She always saved the seat next to her for you. You dropped into the seat with an exhausted sigh, burying your face into your hands.
“I hate Mondays,” you mumbled.
Your one-eyed friend started to giggle, but abruptly stopped when another student got on the bus. You didn’t even have to look to know who it was; Niffty’s fluttery breathing was enough to tell you it was Alastor.
Alastor was the most popular boy at Hazbin High School. Tall and handsome with gorgeous scarlet hair, it was no surprise that most of the girls had a crush on him... and some of the boys, too.
Admittedly, you had a small crush on him yourself, but with so many rivals for his affection, you knew you didn’t stand a chance. Besides, your best friend Niffty adored him more than anything in the world, and you would never break her heart like that.
“Bows before bros, right Niffty?” you would often say to her while linking arms.
She grinned. “Chicks before dicks!”
“NIFFTY!” you shrieked, blushing crimson as the two of you erupted in a fit of girly giggles.
You entered the classroom together that morning, as you always did. Your desks were right next to each other; the two of you had adjacent desks at school for as long as you’d known each other.
Angel Dust and Cherri Bomb were already sitting at the back of the class tossing paper planes across the room. They spluttered with laughter when one landed in Husk’s fur. He didn’t seem as amused and crumpled the paper plane into a tiny ball before returning to his book.
You said good morning to Charlie and Vaggie as you passed by their desks. The two of them were always talking and hanging out, and it was obvious to everyone that they were crushing on each other, although despite repeated encouragement from classmates, they hadn’t confessed their feelings yet.
The rest of your classmates had yet to arrive, but as you and Niffty sat down at your desks, a familiar redhead entered the room. Niffty’s eye lit up as Alastor sauntered across the room and took his seat at the desk next to yours.
He turned to you. “Good morning!” he said cheerfully.
“Morning, Al,” you responded with a smile.
One by one, the rest of your classmates arrived, some making a beeline for their desks just as the bell rang. The chatter in the room fell silent as the teacher entered.
“Good morning, class!”
“Good morning, Mr Pentious,” the class said in chorus.
“As you are already aware,” Mr Pentious began, “the school’s annual Valentine Dance will be held this Friday.”
You glanced at Niffty, who was already gazing at Alastor with a pinkness in her cheeks.
“Don’t forget, tomorrow is your last chance to post your love letters in the school’s Love Letterbox. On Wednesday morning, all of your letters shall be delivered. So get writing if you want it to reach your recipient in time for the dance!”
After the brief announcement regarding the letterbox, a rather mundane math class followed. You could already tell what kind of math Niffty was doing in her head just by looking at her.
‘NIFFTY + ALASTOR = TRUE LOVE!’
“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!” she squealed when class was over. “I totally forgot about the letterbox! I have to write a letter for...” She quickly looked around to make sure nobody was listening before whispering excitedly, “...you-know-who!”
You rolled your eyes and smiled at your friend. “I had a feeling you’d say that. To be honest, I’m not sure if I want to write a letter... I mean, there’s nobody I’m really interested in.”
That was a small lie. You would love to ask Alastor to the Valentine Dance, but you knew how devastated Niffty would be if he said yes, and your best friend was more important to you than a little crush.
“Maybe somebody will write a love letter for you!” Niffty giggled.
After school was finished for the day, you went over to Niffty’s house to help her write her love letter. You had known Niffty for so long that her house was like a second home to you. Her bedroom was always sparkling clean, which never failed to impress you, as your own bedroom had seen better days. The two of you sprawled out on beanbag chairs and munched on chocolate chip cookies, brainstorming romantic things to add to Niffty’s love letter.
“I think we’ve got something good here!” Niffty finally announced.
“Read it!” you begged.
She cleared her throat and read aloud.
“Roses are red, like your beautiful hair.
Your radiant eyes are beyond compare.
I’ve adored you for the longest time.
My beloved Alastor, won’t you be mine?
Your secret admirer.”
You squealed with delight. “That’s so cute! There’s no way he can turn you down when he reads that.”
Niffty grinned. “I really hope so!”
You suddenly realised something. “But how will he know it’s from you? You only signed it as ‘your secret admirer’.”
“He’s very smart.” Niffty gushed, stuffing the letter into an envelope. “I’m sure he’ll figure it out.”
“Even if he doesn’t, you could always ask him to the dance face-to-face?”
Niffty blushed and hid her face behind her letter. “I couldn’t do that!”
“Of course you could!” You gave your best friend a reassuring squeeze on the arm. “I know you can do it. And I’ll be rooting for you all the way.”
You meant it. You really did.