AN: Here's the deal: It's looking to be about ten chapters, ten super short chapters, about Artie and Tina and stuff. They should be posted biweekly, and the next chapter should be up Wednesday.
The note is written in blocky letters, sentences of ALL CAPS like she's always shouting, and Artie finds it strange, because Tina never yells, never even raises her voice (which Artie's mom says are not the same thing, but he really doesn't see the difference). He also finds it a little bit alarming, like he's constantly being shouted at, whenever she writes him notes, whether they be to remind him that they are going to hang out at his house with Mercedes and maybe Kurt after school (which Artie is still on the fence about—he likes Mercedes and Tina fine, but Kurt unsettles him), or to ask his opinion on Mr. Schuester's most recent choice for Regionals (he has loved, loves, and always will love the Beatles, even when Rachel tries to make "Let it Be" sound like something from Broadway).
Today he's staring down at the creased piece of paper that screams "ARE WE GOING TO EAT LUNCH TOGETHER TODAY?" and Artie tries not to wince, because, hell, he feels like he's being shouted and he just—doesn't like being yelled at.
Her writing is blocky, neat, and precise, and it's dark, like she pressed the pencil into the paper so hard, even if you scrubbed away the granite with an eraser, there would be little dents in the paper from her screaming words.
Tina's kind of like that, in a way, inasmuch as he's never heard her yell—usually when she's upset, she gets very quiet and kind of—pulls into herself. She goes to a place even Artie can't reach her, but she's got this personality that kind of leaves marks on your soul. Like lead, pressed to paper so hard the pencil breaks and you can erase all you want, but there's still a little dent there, a little Tina dent.
He scrawls a reply (yes, of course, when do we not eat lunch together?) and sends it back and watches as she composes a reply, the tip of her tongue sticking out as she presses her pencil into the paper to write back in ALL CAPS.
It's so unlike Tina—ALL CAPS feels more like Rachel—like someone confident and sure about what exactly they're writing, but Artie's seen Rachel's handwriting and it's all girly and loopy and stuff, something found on the back of a fifth-grade Valentine, "I love you," decorated with hearts and smiley faces—but that doesn't feel like Tina, either.
Her long dark hair—spotted with chunks of blue—falls over her shoulder as she finishes her reply and sends it back.
Artie's own handwriting is a scrawl—messy and untidy and kind of like word vomit, all over the paper, kind of like a mess of words, all tangled up together you have to pick apart one by one and maybe Artie's a little bit like that himself—just a mess of words and feelings you have to pick apart to get to really know him.
Tina really knows him—she took the time to pick everything apart and figure each little piece out, like he was a puzzle, or a challenge, and he marvels at how—how good she is at just—at just getting him.
They're going to lunch together after that class and Artie mentions something to Tina about her writing and how it doesn't fit her and Tina shrugs.
"When I w-was in third grade, a k-kid named Garrett m-made fun of m-me because he s-s-said my lowercase l-looked funny. I-I was terrified o-of being made fun of again, so I st-started writing in all uppercase a-and I guess i-it just k-kinda…st-stuck. L-like the st-stutter."
It's such a simple, Tina-like answer it catches Artie off-guard a bit before he remembers that she changed her speech patterns for years to push people away, and he feels a twinge of regret and anger and maybe sadness before he pushes it away and nods.
"Okay then," he says, and doesn't mind so much reading her notes anymore. It doesn't feel like he's being screamed at as much; it feels more like something he can relate to again.
What does your handwriting look like, and does it fit your personality?