passing papers is a decent way to flirt, right?
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

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Ride the Cyclone: A New Musical - Maxwell & Richmond
Ocean O'Connell Rosenberg/Penny Lamb
Ocean O'Connell Rosenberg, Penny Lamb
Additional Tags:
Love Letters, penny can write in cursive. i just think its neat, PerfectDollCember 2022, inherent homoromanticism of waiting for love letters from your secret admirer, Secret Crush, Lesbian Character, oceans exploration of narnia pt 2
Part 2 of perfectdollcember 2022
Published: 2022-12-04 Words: 1,542 Chapters: 1/1

passing papers is a decent way to flirt, right?


" It was like reading runes. But the paper felt as if it was calling her, pulling Ocean into its' magnetic field. She never felt something like that. "


-- perfectdollcemeber - day #3 - " letters "


late again but im vaguely catching up 🫡 i plan on posting prompt 5 tomorrow and prompt 4 sometime in future

i recommend reading perfectdollcember prompt 2 before this, but you can read it as standalone!!

ocean mom's name is a silly reference i made up on twitter at 2 am. don't come @ me.

title from (again) passing papers - egg

passing papers is a decent way to flirt, right?

It’s not like Ocean never received letters. She did. Her parents did too. Letters from her extended family, because neither of her parents had an email address, court letters after Elysium got busted and her parents were called to be witnesses, as they visited there quite a few times, advertisements and The Uranium Newspaper. Her parents burned them in the fireplace, after reading them, in order to warm the house. On a notable occasion, Ocean was reading, sitting in front of it, and the hem of her skirt caught on fire. She wasn’t allowed to be within 5 feet of the fireplace after this, but she had no intention to.

While other kids played GirlsGoGames and Xbox, Ocean’s mom taught her how to use a portable typewriter. It stood on the desk in their living room, looming over 5-year-old Ocean, with rusty buttons and mechanisms that clicked every time they were used. Christina, her mom, did a good job with it - a teacher for kids with special needs - she had the patience of a saint.

So, at 5 years old and seven months, Ocean typed on a typewriter like a 1950s secretary. And she liked it - the click-clacking of buttons, how they felt underneath her fingers, the way another and another line of paper popped out, letters appearing on it like a fairy dropped them. She liked seeing the words and sentences she imagined appearing in real life.

Later, she learned how to write with a pen and a pencil. She liked the curls and waves of the letters, little hearts she could write instead of dots and how she had the ability to choose how to write. One of her aunts attempted her cursive, and Ocean quickly became infatuated with the curves and swirls. But she never could master it, no matter how much she tried and how many hours she spent hunched over her desk, trying to make it eligible.

She eventually gave up. Don’t mark her on it, she was eight and bored of it.

But years later, long after she forgot about it, her inability to read or write in cursive came back to bite her in the ass. When the letters started piling in her locker, she didn’t know how to read.

The first one was on a freezing December day, just days before the Christmas break. She was taking off her oversized, black coat, covered with snowflakes and chatting with Constance, when she opened her locker and a piece of paper fell out.

“Ocean? Something fell out of your locker.” Ocean turned around and noticed Constance pointing at a small, blue post-note laying upside down on the cold floor. She crouched down and picked it up, flipping it to the other side. Her eyes widened at the neat cursive, across the page, written with professionalism and care. She attempted to decode at least one word, but was unsuccessful. They were too messy, but at the same time, extremely clean, alike to print.

It was like reading runes. But the paper felt as if it was calling her, pulling Ocean into its' magnetic field. She never felt something like that.

“Jesus Christ, did Mrs. Rempel wrote you that? It’s gibberish.” Constance said, suddenly looking over Ocean’s shoulder, breath in her ear. Mrs. Rempel was their Geography teacher, older than Cleopatra and the dinosaurs, and over half of the class didn’t have notes because her cursive handwriting was absolutely uneligible. Ocean had to borrow notes from Ricky, who was the only one able to read it.

“No. Forget about it. It’s nothing.” Ocean scoffed, but slid the note into her cardigan pocket. Constance shot her a knowing look over her shoulder, a playful light in her eyes, but turned back before Ocean could spat out a response.


Eight hours and thirty four minutes later, Ocean was sitting on her bed, laptop in front of her, thirteen tabs with her master’s degree-worthy research on cursive, cursive and even base 64 translator open. She had a notebook open, with multiple scratched out writings and ripped out pages. And finally, a page covered in only scratchy handwriting, without any annotations or ad-ons.

Everything she got, after hours and hours of research and trying to learn cursive in a speed course she made herself, was “You remind me of sunshine. First rays of sun in the morning, watching it as I ride the bus and only being able to see you. (Then, there was a sentence Ocean spent thirty-six minutes on and still couldn’t read it) I want to taste you, because you taste like the sun and eternal happiness.”

Good enough.

It was kind of a love letter. Not a true one, because there wasn’t a love declaration in it, but the implication was clear. “I want to taste you, because you taste like the sun and eternal happiness.” Gosh.

The corners of her mouth curled up, and her mind wandered over to the direction she wouldn’t admit.


The letters continued. Sometimes once a week, sometimes every morning she would find it in her locker. She was surprised the first few times, but with time, Ocean admitted only to herself, deeply in her mind, that she was disappointed when the piece of paper wouldn’t be present in her locker at 7:30 AM sharp. She started opening her locker more carefully, to not let the paper fly out, if it was there, and get dirty.

(And if she kept all the letters in a little pink box, deep in her closet, behind the pants shelf, she wouldn’t admit it. She wouldn’t admit it either if she went over them sometimes, especially after bad days.)

In February, on Valentine's Day, her mysterious lover left a whole poem for her. Of course, in elegant cursive, which Ocean had more fun decoding than she admitted to. They left a little heart in the bottom left corner and Ocean had to fight herself to not cut it and glue it to her wall so she could constantly look at it.

After Penny smiled for the first time, Ocean practically ran to her house, powered by adrenaline and pure embarrassment and went over half of the letters to calm herself down. It helped somewhat, but she was still mostly freaking out over this whole situation.
Did it mean she had a crush on Penny? No, not possible. No way. Ocean was 100% straight, a true ally to the community (look, almost all of the choir wasn't straight in some way, it's like she was a magnet to gays), she had crushes on male celebrities like Brad Pitt or that blonde dude from The O.C. It's just that Penny was especially pretty, and she hit all the boxes of Ocean's previously nonexistent type - soft blonde hair, deep, brown eyes, dark eyelashes around them, soft hands, tall…

Yes. Penny was just Ocean's type. Only and only. Nothing more.



Day after the Smile Disaster, Ocean walked into the school hunching over herself. She opened the locker and, surprisingly, there was no trace of a letter.

She felt her stomach fall. For a moment, disappointment and sadness filled her, before she decided that a stupid letter can't keep her down, especially in the morning. She pretended to herself that the missing letter wasn't on her mind the whole day.

Classes were better. She laughed the situation off with Ricky, Mischa and Constance in Canadian Literature, bullied each other with Noel in Drama, and in her last, seventh period, Physics was finally faced with Penny.

Penny seemed to not care. Like, genuinely. She greeted Ocean as usual, and sat down next to her, pulling out her notebook and textbook, flashing her little smile at Ocean, and Ocean thought she was going to pass out right there right then, crack her skull open on the ancient chairs or desk and die. She could see the headlines: "Ocean O'Connell Rosenberg, most successful girl in town, highest GPA in Uranium City, dies because a pretty girl smiled at her."

No words were said. Penny turned back to the teacher, leaving Ocean alone with her "internal demons of mental turmoil", as Noel called them. This was one of the few lessons during her whole education Ocean didn't pay full mind to. She already understood the subject anyway.

Penny was gone as soon as the bell rang. Disappeared like a ghost. Ocean didn’t pay much mind to that, collecting her own things into her bag, saying goodbye to her teacher, and speeding down to her locker. She striked up a friendly small-talk with Mischa about homework or anything, fumbling with her keys (Constance was determined to make them “pretty”, which meant adding multiple colorful charms) and finally putting them into the lock. She opened it with muscle memory, still talking with Mischa, and when her eyes finally went back to the locker, she noticed.

A simple piece of paper, with elegant cursive, laying on the top of her right shoe.

Ocean froze. Then, promptly, launched herself at it, picking up the paper with shaky hands and knots in her stomach. She vaguely registered Mischa asking her what is it, what’s wrong, but she was too focused on the letter.

"Meet me at the field?"


End Notes

bonus little easter egg: my first idea for this chapter was an 1950s, "forbidden love"-esque au

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