Loretta sat on her loft bed, scribbling lists of alliterations for her name in her journal.
Before her mind could catch her hand, she’d written the childhood nightmare in her diary, her safe house. She scribbled over the final alliteration. Her nose wrinkled in frustration as her hand continued to drag the fine, felt-tip pen against the pale pages. Ink bled through the pages’ wounds, through the unscathed paper, spreading like blood. She stopped once she noticed the soggy, gaping hole.
“Aw, shit,” she hissed under her breath, and hurled the wounded journal across the room and next to her forgotten sewing kit.
Lovely Loretta walked to Nutley High School the following morning with her childhood best friend, Sadie. She adored Sadie, not only because she was a loyal friend, but because she was beautiful and oh, so modest. She would let Lucky Loretta play with her waist-length brown hair at sleepovers and never let the rumors about Loony Loretta poke a hole in their friendship.
“So I have something to tell you, Lor,” Sadie said, books clamped against her small chest, blue eyes peeking from under perfectly positioned bangs.
Loretta remained silent, only nodding, paying attention to the swooshing of her jeans–wondering if it was coming from her thunder thighs or the flare at the feet of her bellbottoms.
“I have a crush,” Sadie blurted, blushing deeply. This caught Loretta’s attention.
“On…?” Loretta looked sideways at her friend, eyes narrowed.
“Oh my God, no way!” Loretta began to hop excitedly beside Sadie. “I totally ship you two! He needs to break up with stupid Rita. She’s way too mushy with him. She’s so suffocating him. Oh my God.”
“Loretta! Calm yourself, it’s not like we’re getting married–it’s just a crush. Chill.” Sadie immediately regretted telling her.
“Sadie and Maxwell sitting in a tree…” Loretta began to sing, but Sadie clapped a hand over her mouth, shooting a deadly look at her. Loretta got the hint.
At lunch, under Loretta’s demands, the two relocated to a table closer to Max’s usual choice. Sadie whined and stomped her feet, but reluctantly complied. She blushed before Max even entered the cafeteria.
“I shouldn’t have told you. You’re making it such a huge deal,” Sadie said, holding her head, covering her eyes and burning cheeks.
“Oh, shush. You two belong together. I’ve known it for years now.”
“We’ve only known he’s existed for a year.”
A pause. “’Kay.”
The rest of lunch was spent in silence as the two picked at their cold hamburgers and lukewarm sodas. Sadie mostly watched Max and Rita bicker over little things, then peck each other’s lips and lean against each other like penguins. Loretta was too busy trying to find a way to get the two together to notice her friend’s heart shattering.
That night, Loretta remained awake surfing Google on her iPad. Valentine’s Day was just around the corner and she was determined to play matchmaker. While sifting through cheesy Valentines, she discovered a gruesome statement: two anatomically correct human hearts sewn together look like a Valentine heart. The proverbial light lit over her head and the iPad screen went black. She reclined in her bed and slowly fell asleep, smiling contentedly.
On Valentine’s Day, Lovely Loretta sat in her room, sewing for hours. She skipped class to be sure that her special Valentine would be finished for Sadie by the end of the day.
“See? You are meant for each other.” She smiled as she knotted the thread and glanced over at Sadie’s pale blue face. “Now you can be together forever.” Loony Loretta leaned over and pulled the kitchen knife from the gaping hole in the middle of Max’s chest. His blood ran, spreading through her rug.