"Know something?"


He sat beside her. "I think you should stop thinking about it. Whatever it is."

"Hah. Right." She snorted and looked at him warily. "What do you know?"

"Well..." He drawled. Poking her right cheek with an index finger, he smiled at her flirtatiously. "For one, I don't see your cute dimples anymore." She slapped his shoulder. "Shut up."

"Ow...you shouldn't have done that. You hit so hard, for a girl." He muttered, rubbing his arm. Then he grinned at her. "Not bad, though..."

"Want me to do it again? There's still your nose---"

"Not my nose, princess...see how unattractive I'll be when you've finished with it."

"Good." She stood up and brushed the dust off her jeans. "I'm going---" She let out a yelp as his hand suddenly grabbed her wrist and pulled her down. "What was that for!?!"

"Sit down." His voice was now laced with impatient anger as he let go of his hold. "We need to talk."

She winced as she looked at how red her wrist was from his ill treatment. "You didn't have to do that..." She pulled her knees around her and rested her chin on top. "Besides, we don't have anything to talk about."

"Oh yes we do, princess."

"Would you stop calling me that---"

"Why not? Ever since we're kids, you've been always the brat, and we lowly citizens have to cater to your every need." He stood up and made a mock bow. "So, Your Royal Highness, would you like to have something to eat? An ice cream cone, perhaps? Or---"

"Just stop it. You look like an idiot."


A bird chirped in the distance, but the two were oblivious. After some time, he sighed. "Now I know you've changed."


"You were never this silent before." He frowned at her. "Usually, I have to reprimand you for being so noisy."

"Well, we have our moments---"

"Nah." He shook his head. "This...this is different. It's like I lost you...somewhere. So where should I begin finding you?"

She laughed forcefully to ignore the tears that were filling up her eyes. "Now you're being such a weirdo---"

"And if you're going to cry, do it. Don't pretend you're strong."

"'Pretend I'm strong'? Who's pretending?" She sobbed. A hand was placed hesitantly on her shoulder, and she shook it off. "Don't pity me. I know I'm so stupid."

"I guess. A guy rejecting you is really no big deal, and you're crying over it---"

"How can you be so callous?" She snapped. "You don't know anything! You don't know how much it hurts---"

"Of course I do. Besides, you're making a mistake. Getting your heart broken and getting your ego stepped on are two different things."

"Excuse me?"

"Look." He sighed impatiently. "In ten years, would you think this would matter a great deal? China's population is a billion, and probably the combined states of Europe would be more. We are going to study international relations, princess."

"What's your point? I hate it when you're talking in riddles." She mumbled.

"Simple. It means you'll meet your so-called 'Prince Charmant' someday. Kidding aside, though, what I mean is that his rejection of you is not at all important. Sure, your pride and vanity has been hurt. But your heart? I doubt it."

"And why's that?" She was still puzzled at his words.

He answered by tossing a handkerchief to her. "Wipe your face first, princess." He watched her as she hastily brushed away a few tears and smiled. "You know, you're still so cute when you cry."

"Shut up." She blushed. They looked at each other and laughed.

"Anyway, as I was saying, if he did 'broke your heart', then we would have been in a different place right now. I should have been talking to you with a megaphone as you do your Hamlet-like soliloquy on the school roof."

She giggled. "You do know me that well."

"Sure I do." He grinned at her. Then his face became serious as he looked at her intently. "But then, killing yourself is not the answer either. We all get rejections at some point of our lives, whether it's romantic, financial, academic or whatever. And it's okay if we do express our emotions to make us feel better and think rationally again. However, we shouldn't miss the one important point here."

"That...that we should stand up again, no matter how many times we fail?" She smiled at him. "Because quitters are losers and losers never win." They both chanted in unison.

"Right." He affectionately ruffled her hair. Then he gasped out in surprise as she flung her arms around him and embraced him. "Thanks. You're such a wonderful friend." She mumbled against his chest.

"You're welcome." He held her tighter.

She then pulled herself out of his hold and stood up, a bright smile shining on her face. "I know I'm still upset, but we can still hang out somewhere right?"

He also stood up and nodded, beaming back at her. "Yup."

Grabbing his hand, they walked across the garden and on the pavement. "I can never thank you enough for always being there. You always manage to catch me every time I fall. And.and."

"For also being your voice of reason? You know your sisters and brothers would kill me for not taking care of you."

"But still...I don't know what I could have done without you."

"Probably slashed your wrists or jumped off a building. But I know you wouldn't do it."

"Why, because you have so much trust in me?"

"That's another. But the main reason is that I know you're smart not to do that." He held her hand tighter. "And you know you have me. You'll always have me! A million handsome guys can reject you, and you know you can press a number in your phone's speed dial and I'll come armed with chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, macaroni salad, popcorn, hotdog sandwiches and your favorite books. That or I'll let you watch my entire anime collection and let you read my manga."

"Then you can take me shopping, right?" She looked at him with a glazed expression on her face, and he exhaled nervously. "There's a lot of new stuff at the mall and we can go---"

"Uh, well, that remains to be seen." He raised a brow at her arrogantly. "You still haven't paid me for the last few things you bought."

"But you said you'll make me feel better!"

"I sure did, but I don't recall a time or place when I said I'll take you shopping."

"No way! You said you'd take me shopping! You even promised me!"

"I didn't!"

"You did!"

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

The grass rustled gently as the two, brushing by it lightly, laughed and ran along the road.