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The Secret Author Series, Book 1
The Yellow Note book cover

The Yellow Note

M.J. Padgett

It all began in the middle of freshman year, three days before my fifteenth birthday. To say I was taken by surprise would be an understatement. I thought the whole thing was one big joke. It crossed my mind more than once an upper-level student was playing a little game of haze the freshman.

You see, Conor Hudson was no one special. Most of the girls who attended Westmore Academy, a prestigious school for the intellectually gifted nestled in the historic district of Savannah, Georgia, were rich and gorgeous. I attended Westmore on a full scholarship my grandmother fought long and hard for. I wasn’t an ugly girl, but at the time, I felt ordinary. I had ordinary brown hair that hung down to the middle of my back. Ordinary brown eyes that had a dull sheen. An ordinary body of normal weight for an average height. Ordinary, ordinary, ordinary.

I opened my locker dead-set on throwing my history book into the cold metal enclosure just for spite when a slip of paper fell, swirled in a circle as it floated to the ground, and landed at my feet. I assumed it was a page from my notebook that had somehow wiggled its way out of my binder, but I quickly realized the paper was yellow, not white. I snatched the note and almost tossed it into the trash can, when something told me to make sure it wasn’t important. 

The writing was chicken scratch scribbled across the page, hardly legible, yet I was intrigued by its hard edge and the way the rounded letters were sharpened and triangular rather than curved. The red ink bled slightly, adding to the sloppiness of it all, but none of that really mattered, I suppose. The words threw me most of all:

There is beauty in your simplicity, and that beauty is not lost on me.


There is beauty in your simplicity, and that beauty is not lost on me.


I don’t know how long I stood there, staring at the slip of paper, before I could make my legs function again. Truthfully, I was waiting for the punchline. I waited for one of the upper-level students to walk around the corner and saunter down the hall laughing at me as I stood there, hands trembling and clammy, forehead prickled with sweat, mouth agape, desperately trying to figure out what was going on.

When I could move again, I slowly walked to the library with the note clutched in my fist. And that, my friends, was how I was first introduced to the mysterious person who secretly flirted with me for the next several years via slips of yellow paper with red chicken scratch.

After a long internal debate, I decided to keep the incident with the note to myself, more out of embarrassment than anything else.

As usual, Shay and Noah were deep in their work when I arrived at the library. They barely batted an eye when I dropped my bag at the table and went in search of something to read. I normally finished my homework by the end of the school day. I didn’t have friends at Westmore, so I spent my lunch break with my nose to the grindstone, which, in hindsight, might have been why I had no friends at school.

Once I was several aisles away from my friends, somewhere hidden among volumes of rarely touched reference books, I opened the crinkled note and read the line again.


There is beauty in your simplicity, and that beauty is not lost on me.


After much pondering, I came to the only logical conclusion possible. The note was intended for another. It must have been for some fair-haired, sparkle-eyed maiden far more deserving of such words, not the ordinary Conor. I crinkled it up again and stuffed it into the pocket of my skirt, not giving it a second thought until three days later.

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