When 9th-grader Regina George slipped figure-skating and broke her arm, the whole world knew. When 9th-grader Janis Ian broke her leg and arrived at school in a cast, no one noticed.
When 10th-grader Regina George broke up with her boyfriend, it was the talk of the town. When 10th-grader Janis Ian couldn't get a date with a guy at all, the only acknowledgment was quiet whispering in the halls.
When 11th-grader Regina George was hit by a bus and sent to the hospital, the gossip was deafening. When 11th-grader Janis Ian checked the visiting hours, there was hushed chatter about what it could mean.
When Regina received flowers and a note of apology in messy handwriting, onlookers watched cautiously. When Janis was seen reading a reply on some of Regina's personal stationery, the whole school seemed to be clamoring for a look.
When Regina was let out of the hospital in a brace, conversation would stop wherever she went. When Janis was seen speaking with her, everyone had to know what they'd talked about.
When 12th-grader Regina George and 12th-grader Janis Ian walked down the hall together, talking animatedly, everyone made way for them and spread word of the new phenomenon.
Only a few noticed that they were holding hands.