I let myself in through her bedroom window. From the muffled grunt behind the computer chair, I guessed it was lunch time.
Rosa spun in her chair to see me and then swiveled back to her computer. “I can’t come over yet, I’m still trying to get my word count up.”
I rolled my eyes at the back of her chair and flopped onto her bed. “How much more ya got?”
A withering glare was sent over her shoulder. “I. Just. Started.” The words were forced through clenched teeth and a mouthful of baloney sandwich. “I hafta type at least two-thousand.”
“Do you always leave the window open?”
“Only when I know you’re going to show up on the front steps and annoy mom. She’s working. So am I.”
“It’s only fifty-thousand words.”
Rosa stiffened ever so gracefully. “Only?” She repeated in a controlled voice, a few decibels louder than before. “Of course. I forgot. Smart math wizards like you never have to slog through difficulties to meet their own personal goals.”
I winced at the ceiling. “Rosa, that’s so not true.”
She sniffed. “I don’t see you sitting in your little cave churning out words to the story that’s been singing its song in your head for the past two years!”
“Doing NaNoWriMo was just a dare, why’d ya hafta take it?” I rolled over, propping my head up on one hand. “I know you’re good at English and all, that’s why we have this trade thing but I think you’re taking this way too seriously.”
The typing stopped.
Rosa deliberately stuffed her mouth full before swiveling around to look at me. She chewed carefully and slowly before speaking, no doubt mentally counting to ten. “A whole lot of help you are. It means a lot to me. I should be able to do this-I’m the grammar queen! Little Miss storyteller. I didn’t take a dare, I just-come here!” She turned around, typing again.
I tumbled off the bed and scooted closer to the computer desk.
A new window popped up in drab white and gray. “Nice.” I said, sarcastic.
“This is my profile.” Rosa began, showing a lovely page with a little blue meter at the top. “This is my word count.” She jabbed the screen. “This is where I would be, if I wasn’t tutoring you all the time!”
I shrugged. “So?”
Rosa clicked a few tabs and a new screen appeared with several little blue meters and a tiny green dot. “These are my writing buddies-everyone’s ahead of me!”
“Different people do things at a different pace?” I added a smile, hoping she would take the hint and lighten up.
She let out a breath so hard her bangs blew wildly overhead. “You don’t get it!” She wailed. “I’m already last year’s news, thanks to Summer Crawford and now I can’t even write a story! See, this person here has a green dot.”
A little tingle went up my toes and I leaned in to look at the screen. “Really? Uh-huh. A green dot, that’s very interesting.”
Rosa pouted. “A green dot means they’re done!” She clicked on the dot. “What a show-off!”
The profile pulled up and I tried not to laugh.
Rosa looked at me suspiciously. “What’s so funny?”
The laughter began to spill out in short gasps.
“You did not!” Rosa began, shooting to her feet. Understanding dawned on our friendship of three years. “That is so not you!”
I could barely bob my head ‘yes’ as I rolled on her bedroom floor.
After a moment, she began to laugh too and several minutes later we both lay on the floor, breathless.
“Was it fun?” She wanted to know.
“Yeah, surprisingly. I got stuck a few times, but everything was all right.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
I tried to shrug. “You were working so hard on yours, I didn’t want it to be that we were competing or something.”
“Oh. Thanks, I guess. How’d you finish so fast?”
“Prayed about it-and got you to tutor me so my writing would make sense.” I wiggled my fingers. “A wrist-pad helps.”
“Oh. I didn’t do that. Pray, I mean. Did it help?” She pressed a dimple.
I perked a brow. “What do you think?”
Rosa grinned. “I think it did. I’m kinda stuck right now. Pray with me?”
“In a heartbeat.”
NaNoWriMo=National Novel Writing Month.
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