Violet sat down at the kitchen table and opened her laptop. She typed in, “part one” in a Word document and then stared at the blinking cursor. She glanced at the digital clock in the bottom right corner of her computer screen before looking back at the project she was just about to work on. Ben was supposed to arrive at her house any minute now. He was actually supposed to be there about a half hour ago. She hoped he remembered they were supposed to work on the project together today.
They had to write a three-act play for their English class. Their teacher wanted the plays to be in various voices but she also wanted the kids to work together and co-author a piece together so that they could incorporate their own ideas and own voices and yet try to compromise and make it seem like the play was written by one person.
None of it made any sense to Violet and she knew well enough that Ben didn’t care too much for the project – or the class in general – so she knew this was going to be pulling teeth.
They were only allowed to work in groups of two because their teacher wanted them to write the first act of the play together – their shared voices – and then one needed to write the second act of the play. Once that was done, the other partner needed to write the third act, the ending, of the play. They had three weeks to do this which meant they had a week to do each part. Violet knew Ben was going to do his last minute, so she had decided to work on the first act of the play together right after school (the project was just assigned today) and then she would write the second act as quickly as possible. That would give Ben about two weeks or so to get the third act written. It would be out of Violet’s hands and she wouldn’t have to wait for him to do his part in case she needed to write the ending.
Violet didn’t even want to work with Ben in the first place. Their English teacher was nice this time around and actually let them pick their partners for the project. Unfortunately for Violet, she only had two other friends in her English class and they had decided to work together leaving Violet to fend for herself and pick a different partner. Ben was in the same boat. He had four good friends in the class but they had paired off with one another. Ben sat behind Violet in class and their teacher noticed neither of them were sitting with a partner, she assumed the two of them had partnered up.
She looked up from her computer hearing Ben’s piercing voice come from the other room. She hoped this wasn’t going to take them long. “I’m in the kitchen.” She realized Ben had never been over her house before but she hoped he’d be able to find his way around. The house wasn’t that big.
Ben entered the kitchen. He didn’t have anything with him. He sat down at the kitchen table and smirked at her. “Hi.”
“So, what are we doing?” he asked.
“Did you bring anything?” she replied.
“Well, you said you were going to use your laptop and do the typing. All I need to do is help you come up with ideas. So, here I am.” Ben responded with a snort. “You’re lucky I came at all.”
“I wouldn’t have minded doing this whole project myself.” Violet snapped.
Ben sighed. “I know you think I’m annoying, but I also know that grades are important to you. I’ll be nice and do my best to help out. Just don’t yell at me before we’ve even started.”
“You’re 40 minutes late.” Violet said narrowing her eyes.
Ben nodded. “Yes. Yes, I am. I apologize.”
Violet sighed. “Alright, let’s write the first act of the play together. I figured I could do act two and you could do the ending? I can do mine fast and then you can have a lot of time to come up with an ending.”
Ben scoffed. “You don’t think I can hit the deadline?”
Violet hesitated. No, she didn’t think he could, but she didn’t want to tell him that. She didn’t care too much for Ben, but she didn’t want to be rude to him. “I personally think the ending is hardest to come up with. Especially since you won’t know my thoughts for the second act. I just thought it might be easier for you to have a little extra time. Sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“Nah, it’s fine.” Ben said shifting his weight in his seat. “You’re probably right anyway. I’m late with my homework a lot because I want to do a good job. I just get stuck. Then I put it off and it’s late. Then it doesn’t matter if I do a good job or not. It’s late, so the teacher takes points off or gives me a zero anyway.”
“Really?” Violet asked. “I always thought you just didn’t care and that you hated school.”
He chuckled. “Well, I do hate school. But I still want to get into a good college and stuff. I don’t know how well I’ll do in college, but…”
“But you’ll try.” Violet finished with a smile.
“Yeah,” Ben shrugged.
“Do you have any ideas for what our play could be about?” Violet asked slightly changing the subject.
Ben shook his head. “I haven’t the foggiest… is there a special topic we’re supposed to write about?”
“No, it can be about anything we want.” Violet said.
“Then I got nothing.”
“Well, I have the perfect idea.” She grinned and began to write.
“What is it?” Ben stood up and looked over her shoulder. Violet continued to type away and Ben grunted.
“You’re seriously writing a play about high school students… that’s so cliché.”
“I don’t care, it’s going to be great.” Violet chuckled. “And we’re going to give you a happy ending.”