The shrill ding! of the bell pierced the air. I stepped up to the microphone and lowered it – despite being fourteen, I was still shorter than most of the other competitors. "If Miss Schwartzandgrubienerre spells this word correctly, she will become our next spelling bee champion."
The pressure was on. This was my last chance – ever – to win the spelling bee...to get the opportunity to compete in Washington, D.C. I have to win this spelling bee. I have to spell this word right, no matter what it is. I have to make my dads proud.
"Miss Schwartzandgrubienerre, your word is 'vug.'"
You've got to be kidding me, I think, having a flashback to my first attempt at the 25th Annual Spelling Bee. Now I really can't spell this word wrong. Making it all the way to the final round only to lose because of the same word you lost on six years ago? I'd never live that down! Okay, Logainne... breathe in, breathe out. Don't over-complicate this, I tell myself as I shakily scrawl the word in blue ink across my forearm. "Vug. V-U-G. Vug," I spell, wishing I were as confident as I sound.
"We have a winner!"
I could hardly comprehend what was going on until I found myself being embraced by my fathers as I was handed the trophy. "Thank you," I barely squeaked out.
The audience applauded loudly. Suddenly, over the clapping, I hear somebody cheer out, "Way to go, Schwartzy!" I look out into the audience and see a familiar boy with messy red hair, freckles, and a cape grinning ear to ear.
"Leaf!" I exclaimed, handing the trophy to Carl Dad before running to go greet Leaf. Though we had kept in touch through letters and e-mails for the past few years, this would be the first time we've seen each other since we were preteens.
We met in the aisle, and he scooped me up into a giant hug, spinning me around. "Oh, Schwartzy, I've missed you so much!" he half-shouted as he set me back down on the ground.
"I missed you too, Leaf," I said softly, gazing up into his hazel eyes. At least, I tried to look him in the eyes – it was rather difficult, though, as he was fidgeting too much. "So, how's school been going for you?" I asked, remembering that he mentioned his transfer to public school for junior and senior year in our most recent correspondence.
"Well, it sure is different from homeschooling. They don't even have a Frisbee team! And the classes are pretty hard," he answered.
"Well, if you want any homework help or tutoring, I'm your gal," I responded with a smile.
"And if you need help studying for Nationals, just ask."
"Thanks." Maybe Leaf wasn't the brightest person I knew, but he had nearly flawless spelling. "So, do you think we could do a study date this Saturday afternoon?"