smiles are my weakness (and i think yours is the prettiest)
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

General Audiences
Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Ride the Cyclone: A New Musical - Maxwell & Richmond
Ocean O'Connell Rosenberg/Penny Lamb
Ocean O'Connell Rosenberg, Penny Lamb
Additional Tags:
PerfectDollCember 2022, implied blackrose/perfectsugar woohoo!!, Autistic Ocean O'Connell Rosenberg, ocean so deep in closet shes exploring narnia, homegirl is REPRESSED, Religious Imagery & Symbolism, Religious Guilt, Useless Lesbians, its ocean, this is so ocean centric, Awkward Crush, Gay Panic, kind of a feelings realization??, but not really, no beta we die like the choir
Part 1 of perfectdollcember 2022
Published: 2022-12-03 Words: 2,049 Chapters: 1/1

smiles are my weakness (and i think yours is the prettiest)


"So, Ocean stayed confused about the magic of smiling. Whenever Noel or Constance or Ricky would point out someone’s pretty smile, straight, white teeth, dimples or smile lines, she would nod, pretending like she understood."


-- perfectdollcember 2022 - day #2 - " smile "


lololol uploading almost two days late + starting with the second day lmfao.

ocean is so down bad for penny here im sorry. shes also repressed as FUCK give her some time she will eventually figure it out

also implied blackrose but you can read it in a platonic way !!

unbetaed, if you find any mistakes feel free to comment them i can correct them !!

title from passing papers - egg

smiles are my weakness (and i think yours is the prettiest)

Ocean never thought she could become infatuated with anyone’s smile. Smiling was just a part of life that was natural. She would smile if the teachers praised her, if she would get a compliment, another A in a test or homework. Because that’s what was expected of her. That’s how other kids at school acted, and her teachers liked when she acted like them.

Constance was the first person to point out to Ocean that she had a pretty smile. It was lunch break in 4th grade, and Ocean was eating her organic granola bar with raisins, listening to Noel rant about a movie his mom was taking him to see next week, when Constance turned to her, her dark brown eyes focusing on Ocean’s face.

She was about to ask if she had something on her face when Constance blurted out.

“Your smile is pretty.”

Ocean’s eyebrows scrunched up in confusion. Pretty smile? What did it even mean? Sure, her hair was complimented a few times, being the only redhead in their town and the only natural one in all of Uranium had some side-effects. In second grade a boy whose name she didn’t even remember, told her her eyes are like a sea. She always treated it like a compliment. Was it not?


It was Constance’s turn to look confused.

“Your smile is pretty. Like, the way the corners of your mouth turn upwards is so sweet. And no one can see your gums. I hate my gums, they show up every time I smile. My dad calls me Gummy Bear because of that, I hate it. Your smile kinda looks like a model’s smile! Similar to Heidi Klum. If your lips were only bigger, it would look just like her.” Constance rambled, fiddling with her nails, painted hot orange and smiled at Ocean. She, in fact, had a gummy smile. But Ocean never noticed.

The ginger questioned further, “How can a smile be pretty?”

“Oh my god, Ocean, don’t ask stupid questions. Just accept that you don’t understand some things and move on.” Noel jumped into their conversation, looking irritated at Ocean from above his peanut butter sandwich.

“I am not asking stupid questions! I just don’t understand how a smile can be pretty.”

“All the girls in our grade say Justin Friesen’s smile is so pretty. Yours is too.” Constance shrugged, and turned back to her conversation with Noel. “Noel, do you think your mom would drive us all to see Ice Age? They’re doing reshows in the beginning of February, just before the Valentines…”

So, Ocean stayed confused about the magic of smiling. Whenever Noel or Constance or Ricky would point out someone’s pretty smile, straight, white teeth, dimples or smile lines, she would nod, pretending like she understood.

Ocean smiled when she hung out with Constance. A lot. Constance was always sweet, the sweetest, most caring, thinking about her friends and funny. Every single joke Constance cracked made Ocean laugh uncontrollably, and when her best friend would smile at her, face red from laughter and eyes sparkling, smiling brightly, a grin would sprout on Ocean’s face. Even thinking of Constance, the way she hugged Ocean with care, how she grinned while talking about her favorite things in the world (dancing, Kate Bush, border collies) would make the corners of her mouth curl up subconsciously.

Ocean liked when people close to her smiled. When Constance smiled, when Ricky smiled, when her parents smiled. In secret, she liked Noel’s smile.

She never thought much of it. For her, smiling was just kind of there. Like other things she didn’t understand, she threw it into the category “People Do This” and went with this.

But Penny was different.

From the moment she walked into the choir room, Ocean felt different. It was like when Mischa joined, kind of afraid, but not in a gut-wrenching way.

Penny was fascinating. In a looking at an endangered species, reading a fantastic book for the first time and shaking while turning pages, the day before a big competition way. Ocean looked over to the strange new girl every so often in their shared Calculus, Music and Physics classes, and at choir.

It was the first time Ocean could feel what the others felt while looking at pretty people. Penny’s face features played together beautifully - heart-shaped lips, brown eyes Ocean found incredibly urgent to look at after she finished her tests and quizzes, with long, dark eyelashes and neat, thick eyebrows, pale cheeks that were dusted with all shades of red and pink after the girl was outside. Her face was framed with messy dark blonde hair.

To Ocean’s surprise, Penny allowed her to touch it. During a moment of not thinking, Ocean reached out and touched her hair, and for five seconds it was bliss. Her hair was so soft under her fingertips, she never wanted it to end. But then realization dawned on Ocean, and she jumped away, like Penny’s hair burned her.

She braced for Penny to push her away, be mad, yell at her.

But Penny did nothing. In fact, she turned over to her and said simply “I don’t mind.”

It never happened again, though. Ocean controlled herself.

Sometimes, after she looked at her for too long, Ocean felt as if she was a bit jealous of Penny’s beauty. Because, how could a person be so blessed with such good looks? How did all of the parts work so well? How?

Ocean thought Penny was pretty for so long. But all these feelings were nothing compared to how goddamn beautiful she was while smiling.


Penny smiled for the first time at the choir practice. It was a big grin. As if she kept inside herself for many years, and now it was exploding. Mischa told some stupid joke, Constance started laughing and Penny, reluctantly and slowly, smiled too.

First thought that popped into Ocean’s mind was that she wanted to see the beautiful smile all the time.

Her smile was so bright it lit up the room. Call Ocean a cliche, but it literally did. Penny emanated soft light, Ocean was almost sure the others couldn't see it. Maybe Ocean was some kind of a psychic? The Amazing Ocean, greatest psychic in the town.

Suddenly, with Penny's head turning vaguely towards her, all of Ocean's insides turned inside out, almost making her slump forward, and then clenched painfully in her belly. Like riding a rollercoaster, high up in the air, just above the dropping point, waiting for the drop. A sudden turn in her belly almost made her wince - it felt like a stomach bug, guts squeezing as if they were growing bigger, not fitting in her stomach anymore, vomit trying to force its way to her throat, which was closing and opening with every jagged breath Ocean took.

If she vomited on Penny, Ocean would kill herself right there and then. They definitely had some rope backstage, because of the curtains and other technical stuff. She knew how to tie a rope, her dad taught her a long time ago, and she surely would find a fitting place somewhere in the choir room, and if not, in the woods surrounding the school.

Her stomach was trying to kill her. Her own body betrayed her.

She felt her breath quicken, similar to after a quick jog in PE. Her lungs compromised to the size of a TV remote battery, and now she couldn't take a deep breath while Penny was still grinning like an Angel stepping down on Earth. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Her heart rate picked up too, in one beat becoming a potential heart attack with how forcefully it was beating, pumping hot blood everywhere, but especially her face, which was getting warmer. Her heartbeat was in her ears, every single pump like a gunshot. The worst part Ocean was aware of this, of her face becoming the same color as her hair

Penny's smile. That damned smile. She smiled like everything was beautiful, nothing hurt. A huge grin splitting her face in two, almost from ear to ear. Her lips, usually painted with an almost invisible lip gloss, stretched and doubled in size. Her teeth showed up in all their glory, top two teeth separated by a sweet little gap. Cheeks came dusted in the most vibrant, beautiful shade, and shot up to her eyes, making them crinkle and shine and close when she looked down.

She had dimples. Oh my God. Ocean always wanted dimples, and Penny had them. Two deep, visible dimples, on each side of her doll-like face, with smile lines around them, sprouting from her chin all up to her perfect button nose. None of these were mistakes of her creator, by any means, no, they were carefully crafted, with dedication and a clear plan.

Everything about Penny's smile was perfect.

Ocean couldn't bear it.

Penny's smile faltered, but a shadow of it still lingered on her face. A little smirk, left corner of her beautiful, heart-shaped lips, still curled up, keeping the dimple in place. Almost taunting Ocean, telling her "look at what you can't have".

"Ocean, are you alright?" Constance's voice ripped Ocean from her downward spiral. Constance's voice was usually smooth and nice, but now it was loud and scratchy in all the wrong places.

She took a deep breath in, trying to regain her composure and almost failing as her eyes fell again on Penny's beautiful smirk. "I'm perfectly fine, thank you for your concern Constance." She looked around the room. "Unfortunately, for undisclosed reasons I must leave early. Have a good practice."

And with that, she nearly ran out of the room, backpack slung over one shoulder, almost tripping over her untied shoelaces and slamming the door being her.

It was Mischa who first bursted out laughing. His laughter roared in the empty room, bouncing off the walls and shaking. He was joined by Constance and Noel quickly, Ricky soundlessly chuckling with head thrown back, and even Jane smiled at them, with a hint of confusion in her smile.

Noel patted Mischa's shoulder, signaling to him that they should stop laughing. "She's so oblivious." He said and tumbled back into laughing right after.

"Undisclosed reasons? Please!" Ricky's device spoke up, Ricky himself still shaking with laughter.

"Guys- Guys!- How much do you give them?" Constance looked over at every choir member.

"Three weeks. Ocean won't hold up much longer and Penny isn't that stupid." Ricky's AAC talked again, and Mischa nodded in agreement.

"No long. Ocean is too kissy-kissy to not do it."

Noel snorted and leaned ever-so-slightly towards Mischa's shoulder. "Two months. Ten bucks and a blueberry slushie at 7/11."

Mischa smiled softly at the other boy, with a tinge of something in his eyes that Ricky caught up on immediately. He didn't type anything, though.

A quiet voice came from the stage, around which they were sitting in a circle. "Tomorrow."

A strong sensation of electric shock overcame the St. Cassian's Chamber Choir in that exact moment, on a mundane March Monday afternoon. They all turned to the voice's owner, Penny, who was innocently swinging her legs, sitting at the stage. But there was nothing innocent in her look, eyes swirling across the shocked faces of her friends.

"I know. Knew before you all, actually. She's not slick, but neither are you." She shrugged, unbothered.

“Then why you never- You didn’t-” Mischa tried to speak, but the words caught up in his throat, and eventually he gave up, exasperatedly waving his arms around.

Noel’s face was still in a profound shock, jaw hanging open. Ricky quickly typed, fingers sliding across the keyboard: “Why didn’t you tell Ocean?”

Penny shrugged. “I wanted to make sure the feelings are requited.”

Constance put her face in her hands. “Jesus Christ, Penny. You better have a whole ass country band and a dove with a golden ring and a diamond to force Ocean out of her closet.”

Penny jumped from her seat, feet elegantly landing on the floor and without a word started walking towards the doors. But just before opening it, she turned around and said in a quiet, mystic voice: “After school. Be ready.”


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