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Megan is thrilled to find a red carnation at her locker on Valentine's Day. But when it turns out to be from her best guy friend, Harry, things get messy--- fast! Megan could never like Harry that way. . . But her best friend, Phoebe, does! Megan's perfect Valentine's Day is turning into a perfect disaster!


1. Hearts and Flowers

''Pretend you`re me, looking at you,`` Phoebe said over the phone. It was first thing Monday morning and she`d called me for Spirit Week Outfit Check.``We really should get videophones if we want to do this right,`` I said.``Forget the videophones,`` Phoebe said. ``Now, look at yourself in the mirror. How many hearts do you see?``What was this--Sesame Street? I counted up the number of hearts on my clothes and jewelry. Two heart earrings, plus at least six hearts on my belt, plus dozens on my red-and-white top... can`t forget my socks... yikes. Too many to count.``Megan?`` Phoebe said. ``I don`t like that silence. If it takes you this long to count up your hearts, you`re wearing too many.````I though I was restraining myself,`` I said. But I knew she was right.Phoebe King, my best friend, is the practical type. She always goes for comfort over style. Normally, I`m the one prodding her-- ever so gently-- to kick it up a notch, fashionwise.But Valentine`s Day is my weakness. And this year was a double whammy: Valentine`s Day happened to fall on the first day of Spirit Week. The theme for the day was Red and White. We were actually required to wear valentines-inspired clothes. The invitation to turn myself into a walking valentines was more than I could resist.If there`s one holiday I`m prepared for, it`s Valentine`s Day. I love hearts and flowers, and my wardrobe shows it. I have a closet full of red and white, sprinkled with a liberal dash of pink and a touch of sky blue. I`ve got heart T-shirts, heart sweaters, heart dresses, a heart tote bag, and so much heart jewelry I could open my own store. I`d call it: I Heart Jewelry.``Megan,`` Phoebe said. ``Take off at least one heart garment now. remember what Harry told you last year? girls like hearts. Boys are scared of them.````Last year? Phoebe, I told you never to mention last year to me again.````Come on, Megan,`` Phoebe said. ``You`ve got to get over the Luke thing. You can`t spend the rest of your life refusing to speak about seventh grade.````I don`t see why not.``Seventh grade was torture. I had a major crush on this totally cute boy named Luke Hemmings. But he barely knew I existed. So last year on Valentine`s Day I decided to make sure he couldn`t ignore me any longer. I had a Brilliant Plan.I decided to send him a valentine. I made it myself-- a huge red lace heart covered with smaller hearts.It was as big as Luke`s head and much... heart-ier.At first I planned to send the valentine anonymously, but then i realized that might not help me win Luke over. If he didn`t know who I was, how would he realize his undiscovered crush on me? So I decided to sign the card. But I wanted it to be perfect, so I practiced my signature about a thousand times before i signed the card. I wrote Megan Megan Megan over and over again until my hand hurt. After practicing for hours I had a lovely,grown-up-looking signature, the kind my father uses when he signs a check. A big swooping A followed by a long squiggle. An illegible squiggle seemed much more sophisticated than clear-as-day grade-school block printing. And so I signed the beautiful Valentine. It lookedtres chic.The next day I went to school early and taped the valentine on Luke`s locker. Then I went around the corner and waited for him to find it. Phoebe found me hiding there.``What are you doing?`` she asked me.``Waiting to surprise Luke.`` I pointed to the huge valentine I`d stuck on his locker.``Awesome,``Phoebe said. ``I`ll keep you company. He`s going to love it.``The two of us crouched around the corner, watching. It seemed to take forever. We got cramps in our thighs and had to sit down.Luke came into school at last. He opened the valentine, read it, smiled, then look around. When he turned my way, I instinctively ducked.``What are you doing?`` Phoebe said. ``Get out there! Let him find you.````Okay. Okay! I know-- it`s silly,`` I said.I worked up the nerve to peek at Luke again, but it was already too late. He`d stopped Mabel Berg as she passed y on her way to her locker.``Hey, Mabel,``he said. ``Thanks for the valentine. It`s really nice of you.``She paused, glanced at the card, then beamed at him. ``You`re so welcome, Luke! I`m glad you like it!````I wasn`t sure who it was from at first,`` Luke said. ``All I could make out was this big M... but then I realized the card had to be from you. I mean, what other girl has a name that begins with M?``Megan, you idiot! I though. Megan!Mabel laughed. ``I have the worst signature! Totally unreadable. Like, learn to write, right? I`m so glad you figured it out! Happy Valentine`s Day!``It was unbelievable. Phoebe pushed me into the hall. ``Get out there!`` she said. ``Don`t let Mabel take credit for your valentine!``I stumbled into the hall and cleared my throat loudly. Luke and Mabel glanced over at me.``Hi!`` Mabel said. ``Need a cough drop or something?````No, thanks,`` I said. ``I--the valentine--``Mabel reached into her bag and tossed me a cough drop. ``Here you go.``She turned back to Luke, who was totally ignoring me.``So, Mabel, do you want to do something this weekend?``Luke said. ``My older brother`s having a party, and he said I could invite a few friends...``The two of them walked away, chattering about how much fun they were going to have at Luke`s brother`s party. They ended up going out for the rest of the year. Luke never did learn my name. So much for my Brilliant Plan. ``next time you give someone a valentine, practice signing your name clearly,`` Phoebe advised.``You know, just in case you want the person to know who the card is from.````Thanks, I`ll remember that,`` I said.``Giant hearts are boy repellents,`` Harry said when I told him the whole story.``Boy repellents?`` I said. ``Luke sure liked it.````He didn`t really like the heart,`` Harry said. ``He liked Mabel.``Harry and I have been friends since first grade. That`s the only reason he gets away with speaking to me frankly.`` Well, if boys don`t like hearts, what do they like?`` I asked.``Comic books,`` Harry said. ``Sci-fi. Pro wrestling. Sports...````That`s not what boys like,`` I said. ``That`s what you like.``Harry shrugged. ``Same thing.````Maybe I should start wearing a pro-wrestling outfit to school,`` I said. ``I should be Megan the Cannibal. `She eats boys for breakfast.`How would that go over?``Harry brightened. ``With a face mask?````Whatever it takes,`` I said.``Most guys would love that.`` Harry really seemed excited by this idea. Typical.``I`m sure they would,`` I said. ``But it`s not happening.``The rest of seventh grade was torture. Every time I saw Luke, there was Mabel. It was constant reminder of what a chicken I was. And also of the dangers of bad handwriting.Luckily, Luke`s family moved away last summer, and he and Mabel broke up. Eighth grade was a chance for a fresh start.I was determined to have a better Valentine`s Day this year. I guess that`s why I went overboard with the hearts. Too much enthusiasm.``I`m taking off my socks,`` I said into the phone.``That only lowers the heart count by eight.````Megan...``Phoebe`s voice rose, a warning. ``Lose the heart-riddled shirt and put on a plain one. Plain white.````Okay.`` I knew she was right. ``What about you? What are you wearing?````You`ll see,`` Phoebe said.``No fair.````It`s not really describable over the phone.````Not describable?`` What could it possibly be?To wear something indescribable wasn`t like Phoebe. She`s not type to go overboard like me. ``Now I`m really curious.````So are you walking to school with Harry?`` Phoebe asked.``That`s a weird question,`` I said. ``Of course I`m walking to school with Harry. Like always.`` Harry and I have either walked or been driven to school together every day since the first grade, unless one of us was sick-- and Phoebe knew it. She was clearly trying to steer the conversation away from her mystery outfit. But I didn`t mind-- I love surprises.``Good,`` Phoebe said. ``I`ll meet you guys on the school steps. And I better not see more than ten hearts on your body. Ten, Megan.````Okay, okay,`` I said, tugging off my heart headband. I settled on a red skirt, a white top, a cute sweater with a big heart on the back, my red heart earrings and matching bracelet, and a red barrette to brighten up my hair, which is brown and boring and can use any help it can get. The Winchester Middle School mascot is a pirate, Winchester Pete, so the overall Spirit Week theme is always pirated related. But this year, for me, the theme was Valentine`s Day. Happy Valentine`s Day, not Sad Valentine`s Day. I was going to make up for seventh grade if it killed me.Finally, confident that my heart count was low enough to keep me from being a walking boy-repellent, I grabbed my backpack and started for the door to meet Harry.``Wear your coat!`` Mom called from the kitchen.``But Mom, it`s Red and White Day!`` I don`t have a red or white coat. ``And it`s not that cold out.````I don`t care if it`s Go to School Naked Day, your`e not leaving this house without a coat.````But my coat is blue,`` I said. ``It will ruin my look.``She marched out of the kitchen and pulled my coat off the hook by the door. ``It`s February, fro heaven`s sake.`` I put my coat on, and she kissed me good-bye. ``Happy Valentine`s Day, honey. We`ll have a surprise for you when you get home. Dad`s making a red velvet cake for dessert tonight.````Mom, if you tell me what the surprise is, it`s not a surprise.`` That`s why I love surprises-- real surprises-- they`ve been so rare in my life. Mom ruins them every time. I can`t remember a single birthday or Christmas where I didn`t know exactly what I was getting ahead of time. Somehow, Mom never got the part of a ``surprise`` where you don`t give it away. Basically, she has a big mouth.``Oops. Sorry, honey. Have a good day! And remember-- surprise cake tonight!``When I got outside, Harry was just crossing his lawn to meet me. He was wearing a white T-shirt with red sweats and red sneakers. His down jacket was dark orange. Close enough.``Happy Valentine`s Day,`` I said.``Happy Valentine`s Day,`` he said, punching me on the arm. `` Let me guess-- your`e wearing about fifty hearts under there.`` I flapped open my coat to show him he was wrong. ``I am not,`` I said. ``I kept the heart count to under a dozen.````Good job,`` Harry said. ``Thanks to Phoebe, right?````Hey , give me a little credit,`` I said. ``Besides, you`re dressed up, too.````I`m only doing it for Spirit Week,`` Harry said. ``Otherwise you wouldn`t catch me dead in this much red.````Even if it was an all-red pro-wrestling outfit? For, say, Harry the Sinister?````Ha, ha, ha. Seriously, I want our class to win this year. I don`t want to get toasted like last year.````Seventh grade never wins Spirit Week,`` I said.``They`re the youngest. They`re new to middle school. They can barely grasp the concept.````Maybe so,`` Harry said. ``But eight grade can win. And we`re going to show the nine-graders who`s boss.``The rulers for Spirit Week are pretty simple. Each class gets points for participation and enthusiasm, costume quality, and creative Pirate Festival booths. We also play games at the Pirate Festival on Thursday and earn points for our grade each time we win. You lose points if members of your class don`t dress up for the theme days or compete in the games. The winning grade gets to have a pizza party instead of classes the following Monday afternoon, which makes the whole thing totally worth it. Spirit Week is the funnest week of the school year by far.``Pizza party here we come,`` I said. ``Hey, we get our carnations today. Did you buy any white ones?``The week before, the cheerleaders had held a carnation sale to raise money for their new uniforms. The flowers cost a dollar a piece and the cheerleaders deliver them on Valentine`s Day by taping them to your locker with a tag on each carnation telling you who it`s from. The carnations have a color code: white for teachers, pink for friends, and red for crushes. I ordered white ones for all my teachers, and pink ones for Phoebe and Harry. I didn`t buy any red flowers, but that didn`t mean I wasn`t hoping to get one myself.Not that I liked anyone special. Hardly. But I thought it would be so cool if somebody liked me. Spirit Week ends with a big eighth-grade skatingparty on Friday-- it`s the social highlight of the year. Everybody knows what those skating partiesare like: holding hands through woolen mittens, sharing mugs of hot chocolate, slipping and sliding on the ice and ``accidentally`` bumping into your crush... I really wanted a boy to ask me to the skating party. As a date. It would be my first.``I bought a white carnation for Mr. White. He`s the only cool teacher,`` Harry said. ``You?````I got them for all my teachers. Why ask for trouble?``Harry laughed. ``You`re such a kiss-up. Smart move, though.````What about red carnations?`` I asked.``What about them?`` Harry said.``Did you order any?``Harry kept his eyes on the sidewalk. He wouldn`t look at me. He had a tiny, tight smile on his face and his cheeks got all pink.``You did!`` I said. ``Who is it?````I`m not saying anything.````Come on, you can tell me. Did you really send someone a red carnation?````Wouldn`t you like to know?`` he said.``Who? Who?`` I asked.``Did you see the game last night? I think Duke`s going to make the play-offs.````Don`t change the subject!`` I said. ``But Maryland`s going to crush them. Tell me who you got a red carnation for!``Had Harry really bought a red carnation for a girl? That meant he liked someone-- a lot. But who? I`d never though of Harry liking somebody that way. We`d been friends for so long, I didn`t think of him as a boy that someone could, you know, like or go out with. He was always just Harry to me.As we walked up the street toward school, I tried to look him with fresh eyes, tried to imagine him as crush material. Sure, I liked him. But could I ever like him? Can I imagine having a crush on Harry?He`s tall for eight grade-- and he`s got brown curly hair that gets in his eyes sometime. His eye crinkle in a nice way when he smiles. Hmm, I though. I guess he is kind of cute. I hoped the girl he`d ordered a red carnation for would think so, too... whoever she was.``Harry Styles sent someone a red carnation,`` I chanted, hoping to tease the answer out of him. It didn`t work. He smiled but his lips were sealed.``I`ll find out soon enough,`` I said, but the suspense was killing me.Hayy guys or gals this is my first time writing a long story, hope ya like it.

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