Jeanette stared down at her reflection in the floor-length mirror in front of her. As clichéd as it sounded, she couldn't help but wonder what was wrong with her.
It wasn't that she considered herself ugly, per se; she just didn't think that she was particularly pretty, either. She really didn't have much of a fashion sense, and she was extremely clumsy when not onstage (and even then, she practiced twice as hard as her sisters did in order to get the moves polished to perfection). Not only that, but she had absolutely no idea how to use makeup—she just relied on the artists when they were going on tours.
Normally, this wouldn't have mattered a bit to her; she'd always been comfortable with who she was. But lately, she'd been very preoccupied with whom her sisters called "a certain glasses-wearing chipmunk" and whom she knew simply as Simon Seville. Suddenly, impressing him seemed to be a lot more important than it used to be—important enough that these days, she had been feeling an inexplicable need to start nitpicking at herself. It was shallow, and she knew that, but every time she tried telling herself that, it seemed to simply make her feel worse.
She looked over at her sister, who was relaxed on her bed and busily texting someone—probably Alvin, Jeanette thought. Lately, the two had been inseparable—and not the "best friends" kind; it was more the kind that let everyone know that it would only be a matter of time before they started dating. But how did she do it? Brittany made attracting boys and being popular look so easily attainable—she was a social butterfly, and while she wasn't the date-anything-with-an-X-and-Y-chromosome type, it was obvious how many boys liked her. She was also a natural at fashion and beauty—she could grab a simple shirt and jeans and make them look amazing with a little accessorizing, and she'd been applying makeup since around the age of six.
Jeanette sighed. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
She cleared her throat to get her sister's attention, and the redhead looked up from her phone. "What is it, Jeanette?"
Jeanette sighed, trying to find an easy way to phrase her question. "How…how do you get boys to like you?"
Brittany quirked an eyebrow. "Meaning…?"
"Well…you just make it look so…well, easy," Jeanette admitted. "You're really confident, and a lot of boys like you. How do you do that?"
"This is about Simon, isn't it?" Brittany asked shrewdly.
The question caught Jeanette off-guard, but she couldn't lie. "Well…yeah, it is," she admitted.
Brittany tapped out something on her phone and then placed it on her bedside table. "Alvin can wait," she decided out loud. "It's girl talk time. Spill."
Jeanette hesitated and then spoke. "I…well, I've been trying to impress him a lot lately," she began. "It's just that he really doesn't seem to notice me. I don't want to be too obvious, but I don't think he sees me as anything more than one of his best friends."
Brittany sighed. "Jeanette, your problem is shared by girls everywhere."
"You want a boy to notice you," she replied simply. "I could do a complete makeover for you, you know—teach you all about fashion, tell you how to apply makeup, give you all sorts of outfits to wear—but I won't."
"Why not?" Jeanette was confused. "Aren't you going to help me?"
"Oh, absolutely, I will," Brittany assured her, "and the best way I can help is to tell you to be yourself."
"And how is that supposed to help?"
"Because Simon already does notice you," Brittany replied. "Of course you won't have seen it, because he's really good at hiding it from you, but I see it plain and clear—he likes you as much as you like him, and that's quite a lot."
"What would make you say that?" Jeanette asked, slightly despondent. This sounded more like a Disney movie than actual advice.
Brittany rolled her eyes. "Because I've seen him. He stares at you all the time. He's always trying to help you do things everyone knows you can do yourself, and it's not because he thinks you can't. He talks about you—in the good way—half the time he opens his mouth anymore. Or at least, that's what Alvin says, and since he also mentioned that he'd sometimes rather hear boring science lectures, it's probably true, since Alvin thinks Simon's lectures are some of the dullest things on the planet—"
"Well, he's wrong," Jeanette said almost involuntarily.
Brittany smiled, looking satisfied. "Exactly. Look, Jeanette, you and Simon are both really shy about this whole business with your relationship—but it's there. I can see it, Ellie can see it, even Alvin and Theodore can see it. One of you needs to make the first move, and it's probably going to have to be you."
"And how can I possibly do that?" Jeanette asked.
"Think about it this way—you are Jeanette Miller, member of the Chipettes, a world famous singing group, and you've got fans everywhere. Talking to a boy should be a snap, right?"
Jeanette was still uncertain, but she gave Brittany the answer she wanted anyway. "I…guess so."
"Don't just guess so—know so! It's true—it's what I do." Brittany's eyes lit up. "Hey! That could be, like, a song or something! I mean, we could tweak it a bit, but—"
"Thanks, Brittany," Jeanette said, attempting to cut across her sister's excitement, but Brittany was not to be deterred.
"I'll go talk to Ellie and see what she thinks! Do you know where she is?"
Jeanette flopped down onto her bed. "In the kitchen making mini quiches," she replied flippantly.
"Thanks!" Brittany bolted down the stairs. "Ellie! I just got an idea!"
Jeanette sighed. Be herself? How was she supposed to do that? What was appealing about "herself"?
Oh, well, she decided. Brittany did know a lot about this; she supposed she could give it a try. And if that didn't work…well…she'd cross that bridge when she came to it.
Over the course of the next few days, Jeanette acted like nothing had happened—she continued to remind herself of what Brittany had said about Simon liking her, even though it looked like she would have to take her sister at her word on that one. The bespectacled chipmunk himself seemed to be completely normal, too, until one Friday afternoon walking home from school.
Jeanette had stayed late after school in the library to work on her half of a project she had been assigned to do with Tony, a nice but slightly forgetful guy. She had been waiting in the library for him, but decided that he must have forgotten and worked for about an hour on the writing sections of the project. She was almost done when the librarian told her that she had to leave because the library was closing, and she took her books and her research and headed for home.
As she was heading out the door, she found herself right next to Simon himself, who looked startled for a moment at her arrival and then pleased to see her. "Hi, Jeanette!" he greeted cheerfully. "How are you?"
"Fine," she replied. "You?"
"Pretty good; I stayed after school to discuss the Pre-AP Calculus homework I have due tomorrow."
"Did you not know how to do it?" Jeanette asked, confused. She'd sort of figured that Simon knew just about everything there was to know about everything.
"I knew how to do it; we were merely discussing the different properties and values," Simon explained.
"Oh," Jeanette replied. She smiled, perhaps involuntarily. Simon would discuss something like that; that was one of those things she liked about him. He always went the extra mile for things that were important, like schoolwork. At least he would have something to do for himself if the Chipmunks or Chipettes went out of business. "So how'd that go?"
"Very well, actually." Simon adjusted his glasses. "What were you doing, staying late after school?"
"Oh, I was working on a project for AP US History," she answered. "I'm doing the writing part."
"You're working with Tony, right?"
Jeanette shrugged. "Yeah, but he didn't show up, so I did it on my own."
"How'd that go?"
"Quite well, actually; I got most of it done."
The two walked in silence for a moment before Simon broke it. "Uh, Jeanette…"
"Yes?" She turned to look into his blue-grey eyes, which turned out to be a mistake, as—in a show of her classic poise and grace—she tripped on a shoelace and pitched forward. "Whoa!"
And in a show of his classic arrogance and selfishness, Simon immediately lunged forward, wrapping his arms around her waist. She looked up at him in surprise—and admittedly, she was rather delighted at the concern in his eyes—and he smiled. "You haven't changed much, have you?"
"I-I guess not," she mumbled, looking to the ground and feeling heat rush to her face. There went impressing him with her natural ability not to embarrass herself.
"You haven't needed to," he murmured. "Maybe that's why I like you so much."
Jeanette felt her mouth form an "o" of realization as Simon's face turned redder, perhaps, than hers had. "You…you do?"
Simon chuckled nervously—that facet about him had not changed, she supposed. "Um…well, ah…" He tugged on his collar. "What I mean to say is, ah…"
In spite of everything, in spite of the fact that she wasn't sure that she should have, and in spite of the fact that she felt her face turning as red as one of Alvin's sweatshirts, she laughed. "Simon, it's okay! If that's what you mean, then…I like you, too."
He looked taken aback, yet pleased. "Like…more than friends, right?"
She blushed, but the smile did not leave her face. "More than friends," she confirmed.
Simon was quiet for a moment, and then spoke again. "J-Jeanette…I-I don't know what to say, except…w-w…will you…be my girlfriend?"
It was such a clichéd question, and yet she loved the fact that the words were coming from him to her. "Absolutely," she replied, beaming, linking her fingers through his.
They walked in silence again before Simon broke it again. "You know, Alvin told me to get a move on and tell you," he remarked.
"Really?" Jeanette's eyes widened in surprise. "Brittany told me the same thing."
Simon laughed. "Maybe they're smarter than we thought."
Jeanette leaned a little closer to him. "I'm glad for once that I took her advice," she murmured, almost to herself.
"What advice?" Simon looked genuinely curious.
Jeanette swallowed, embarrassed. She didn't know if she should tell him what she had asked her sister, but the deed was done. "Um…well…she said that she could give me a…a makeover…you know, with all the right makeup and clothes and stuff, but then she said I should just be myself instead." Simon was quiet for a moment, and Jeanette added quickly, "I know it sounds ridiculous and shallow and all that, but I just thought—"
"Jeanette, it's okay." Simon cut her off with a smile. "Actually, I was just thinking that I was right—our siblings are smarter than we give them credit for." He gave her hand a gentle squeeze. "She was right. You don't need a makeover to be special, Jeanette—to me, you already are."
Don't know what it is, but I adore Simon and Jeanette. Maybe I just prefer the shy, adorkable, nerdy pairing over the sweet and kind one or the belligerent sexual tension one, I don't know. I just love these two to bits. I feel like they can really give a lot to each other. Jeanette is more than just a female Simon; she's got her own personality and quirks that happen to balance Simon's out. I think she'd be less afraid to stand up to him than to, say, Brittany or Alvin. And I think their personalities truly attract each other. That's part of the reason why I dislike Brimon and Alvinette; I think Simon would be very turned off by Brittany's domineering personality, whereas Jeanette would get tired very quickly of Alvin's egotism. (Don't even get me started on Alvinor, haha.)
(And yeah, I know the Chipmunks fandom is not the most respectable one for an up and coming author. But I got a plot bunny and it wouldn't leave me alone. Could be worse; I could be writing for Twilight.)