A/N: I honestly had no idea if I should rate this fic K or T because of one of my last comments near the end of this one-shot. I thought back to all the cartoons they have out now and all the movies rated PG that have all those innuendos in them. But I decided to play it safe, and go with T, which is for anyone 13.

And for a little back story, I wrote this for an English class, but it was cute enough that I thought I might take a stab at posting it and seeing what you all thought of it. And if any of the words are underlined...er...just overlook that, please.

The Apple of Eden

I was thirteen the summer my grandparents moved away. I loved them so much, and I remember how triste I had been when they announced that they were going to move to the quiet country up north. My grandparents were kind and generous, and that generosity had extended to them letting me eat apples from their massive apple tree in the late summer.

A nice, handsome couple with two equally handsome children—one thirteen like myself, the other ten—moved into my grandparents' old residence. From day one, I became at odds with the elder son.

My mother had fussed for hours over baking a nice fruitcake for our new neighbors. My parents and I went over to the new family's house once the fruitcake was ready, and the neighbors introduced themselves as Zach and Barb. Their elder son's name was Samuel, and the younger one was Byron.

Byron was pleasant enough to me, though I could tell how anxious he was to get back to his videogames. Samuel glared acerbically at me the whole time and never uttered a single word to me, even when his parents insisted he was being rude. His parents tried to hide their embarrassment by telling my parents that Samuel was really a nice boy, and they seriously overcompensated Samuel's good qualities as they told my parents.

I never really did quite figure out what I did wrong, but, from that day on, Samuel and I had a mutual aversion for one another. One of his favorite, malign pastimes in the late summer and early fall was eating apples from "his" apple tree and making sure I saw it, because he knew what the apples meant to me.

Zach and Barb had given me permission to eat from the tree whenever I wanted, but, the one time I hopped our five-foot-high wooden fence into their yard, Samuel unleashed his large Saint Bernard on me.

I barely made it out of the yard alive, but my pride wouldn't allow me to tell anyone, accept for my best friend Meg, and she promised never to tell anyone.

Three years later, my opinion of Samuel had considerably declined into the unreachable depths of Hades. Of course, he was the devil's incarnation anyway, so I'm sure my opinion of him or my burning anger never particularly bothered him. And that just annoyed me even more.

Everyone at my school worshiped the ground Samuel walked on. He was suave and charming and held a confident aura around himself all the time. To me, he would always be an arrogant jerk. Unfortunately, I was the only one who didn't admire him greatly. Even Meg was cool with him because she was dating his best friend Jonny.

One Saturday afternoon, while Meg and I were sunbathing in my backyard under my own large cheery tree, Meg said to me, "So, Terra, have you gone into Sam's yard and eaten an apple yet?"

I looked at Meg weirdly.

Where had that come from?

"No. You know that I can't even go within a three feet radius of that yard without being eaten alive by Samuel's monster dog. That thing rips apart anything that goes into that yard, except for Samuel, of course, because everyone and his brother like Samuel."

"Well, his parents too," Meg added unhelpfully.

I rolled my eyes heavenward and looked back at Meg.

"Please, spare me. Samuel's parents are the nicest creatures on earth. People have a valid reason to like them. Samuel is…evil. He's pure evil. I bet he was adopted."

"I still think you're just overreacting. He's always been a gentleman to me."

"That's because you're dating Jonny, who happens to be his best friend. He's obligated to be nice to you."

Meg snorted with laughter.

"I'll bet Jonny says the same thing to Sam, and Sam says the same thing you do."

I sighed and said with an atrocious, southern accent, "Well, I still reckon that ya'll just be hoodwinked."

Meg only laughed some more.

"Hey," Jonny said as he sauntered into my backyard, "how're you ladies doing this fine afternoon?"

Meg instantly stood up to greet her boyfriend.

"Hi, sweety. I was just about to tell Ter our plan."

Jonny hugged her and then grinned mysteriously at me.

I looked at the pair suspiciously.

"What plan?"

Meg answered, "We wanted to bet you that you don't have what it takes to ask Samuel for permission to eat from his apple tree."

My jaw dropped with indignation.

"Hey! That's not fair! I did ask him once, and he sicked his dog on me!"

Jonny looked thoughtful.

"Sam told me that you just walked into his yard like you owned the place."

"His parents said I could! And I did not act like I owned the place. My grandparents, who I love very, very much, lived there all my life. Excuse me if I was familiar with going over into that yard whenever I felt like it!"

Jonny rubbed his jaw thoughtfully.

"We're older now, though. I don't see why it's such a problem for you to ask him for an apple from his tree."

"That's not his tree," I said quietly, "and it never will be."

I stared plaintively at the large tree protruding well above the wooden fence separating our yards. I had always loved that tree and eating apples from it. It always brought back joyful memories whenever I looked at it, though the memories were slowly turning sour because of Samuel. I would have given almost anything to eat just one more apple from that tree.

"I think he'd let you," Meg said. "I don't think he hates you as much as you think."

My dubious expression was enough of an answer for her.

"I'm serious!"

I rolled over to let my backside tan and ignored her.

"I bet you don't have the guts to go over there at night to grab an apple," Jonny said suddenly.

I looked at Jonny and blinked. I had thought about that before, but our yards at night were seriously spooky. I stood up.

"You don't think I could?"

The challenge in Jonny's eyes was conspicuous enough.

"No, I don't think you can. If you could, you would have done it already."

Ah yes, good-old Jonny-boy, the epitome of baiting others.

I rose to his challenge. At night, that monster dog was let inside. Besides, what could possibly be so scary about a dark yard at night?

"OK, fine. Next Saturday, I'll have a big, shiny apple sitting on my kitchen counter."

"OK. I'll believe it when I see it."

I nodded. This was going to be a cinch.


Jonny smirked.

"But, if you loose the bet, then you have to ask Samuel out on a date."

My eyes bugged and then narrowed into furious slits.

All right, I thought. Now it's really on.

"Deal," I said, after a stubborn moment of silence.

Meg looked back and forth between us and said, "Why do I have a bad feeling about this?"

Friday rolled around quickly, and I still didn't have an apple to show for my week of hard work.

On Sunday, I had been too busy doing the homework I had conveniently overlooked doing the rest of the weekend.

On Monday, my parents had stayed up late and asked me what I was doing when I walked out the back door. I covered for myself by saying that I had left something out there earlier and would be right back in.

On Tuesday, I got into his yard, but he came out back for some reason that I didn't bother to stick around to see. I barely made it over the fence without notice, and I'm still convinced that he heard me, though he probably dismissed it as some night critter.

On Wednesday, I had a face-off with the biggest raccoon I had ever seen in mylife. It could have easily taken on Samuel's Saint Bernard. The stupid thing hissed and growled at me, and then it chased me! I ran like seven demons were on my tail disguised as a vicious raccoon. I bet Samuel had connections with it.

On Thursday, I feel asleep doing my history homework.

By Friday, I was nearly in tears. I still hadn't gotten an apple, and Jonny kept on asking me about the bet. I avoided the subject and tried to pass myself off as nonchalant about the whole ordeal.

Friday night was the last night I'd be able to hold up my end of the bet. No way was I about to back out of it and not accomplish my goal. I wanted an apple from that apple tree, and I was going to get it, even if it killed me!

So, Friday afternoon quickly dissipated into dusk, and Meg stayed over at my house to spend the night, and, apparently, Jonny was over at Samuel's house for the night as well.

Meg, by the way, was the only one who I had confided my apple dilemma to.

"You know," she began worriedly, "tonight's the last night you'll be able to pull this off. Tomorrow morning, Jonny's going to come over here, and you'll lose the bet and have to ask Samuel out if you don't have an apple to show for it."

I shuttered. Being around Samuel longer then necessary for any situation was the last thing I wanted, but if I couldn't pull this off, then my pride demanded that I follow through with my end of the bet.

"I know," I told Meg without looking at her.

"Are you sure you can do this? I mean, we could always just go buy some apples and then pass one of them off as the real deal."

"No," I said firmly. "I'm going to climb that tree and pick an apple from it, you hear? It'll be a big, red, shinny apple, all rosy and pretty and ready to eat."

"Whatever you say," Meg sighed.

It was around midnight when I crept quietly though my house, down the stairs to the kitchen, and then finally out the door into the cool night. Meg and my parents were heavy sleepers, so I didn't worry about them hearing me.

I walked stealthily across my lawn, climbed onto our picnic table, and then hopped over my fence into Samuel's yard.

I always loved this yard because it was so full of vegetation and the indescribable beauty of nature. Especially on nights when the moon was full or mostly full, the garden possessed the kind of ethereal appeal that resembled something out of a storybook. It was no wonder that I often referred to the garden as "Eden." And now, I was Eve, ready to pick some forbidden fruit.

I made my way through Eden as noiselessly as possible. I knew where every plant and stepping-stone was because Zach and Barb hadn't bothered to do anything but barely maintain the yard. I kept a close eye out for any rabid raccoons, and, thankfully, I didn't come across any.

I came to the base of the tree and carefully stepped over and around various roots that were protruding above the ground in random places. I found a branch hanging low to the ground and then began my woody ascent.

When I climbed up high enough, I pulled a small light out of my jean pocket. I was about to turn it on when I looked over at Samuel's house and right into his bedroom window. He had suddenly turned his light on. I couldn't help but stare at Samuel. There he was, in the middle of his room, apparently searching for something, and he had no shirt on, which gave me a perfect view of his bare chest.

Now, I said I didn't like Samuel, and that was true, but any girl would admire a body as nice as his, even if he was an evil buffoon.

I was sorely disappointed when he found a hoody and put it on, but when I realized what I was doing, I immediately looked away, ashamed.

I felt like a peeping Tom for gosh sakes! Only guys were supposed to be peeping Toms!

Samuel turned his light off and walked out of his room. It didn't even occur to me to think about why I hadn't seen Jonny, because, as soon as I turned my head away, I spotted a ripe, succulent-looking apple hanging from its delicate stem in the moonlight.

I put away my light and maneuvered my way through the branches until I was within reaching distance of the apple. I reached over for it when two things happened simultaneously.

Just as I closed my hand around the apple, I spotted the raccoon that had chased me out of Samuel's yard on Wednesday perched on a branch, barely two feet away. It lunged for me and screeched like an owl.

At the same time, Samuel had come to the base of the tree, spotted me, and said, "Terra! What the heck are you doing in my tree?!"

Needless to say, I screamed and fell out of the tree.

Luckily, Samuel caught me with a heavy grunt, but the force of my fall caused both of us to fall to the ground. I didn't realize that I was on top of him.

We lied there, dazed for a few minutes, until I looked at my hand and groaned.

"I didn't get the apple…."

"No," Samuel agreed, "but the killer raccoon seems to be enjoying it."

I twisted around and looked up into the tree, and, sure enough, I could see the silhouette of a raccoon eating some thing suspiciously shaped like an apple.

I sighed despondently. I had lost the bet.

I looked down at Samuel, who was literally only a few inches away from me, because I was still on top of him. I didn't feel like moving.

"Well, I might as well come out and say it," I started brazenly. "I made a bet with Meg and Jonny that I could pick an apple from that God-forsaken apple tree by Saturday, but I've lost. So, now, I'm going to ask you a question. Want to go out with me?"

Samuel looked at me and grinned. He didn't even hesitate.


I blinked.


He shrugged.

"Why not?"

I stared at him hard.

"Because we hate each other?"

"You annoy me a lot, but I don't really hate you."

He looked away from me.

"Besides, they made the same bet with me, only I had to pick some cherries from your cheery tree."


He laughed.




A thought occurred to me.

"So that's why you came out of your house on Tuesday!"

He looked at me, surprised.

"That was you? I thought it was that crazy raccoon or something."

Ha, so I had been right.

I decided to change the subject.

"So, this evening should be our date?"




Later on, I mildly wondered just how in the heck I landed myself on a date with Samuel, of all people. We were supposed to be mortal enemies.

Well, you know what they say. Mortal enemies do have the hottest—

The doorbell rang.

I opened the front door to let Samuel into my house. He grinned at me handsomely, and then he did the sweetest thing ever. He handed me a big, red, shiny apple from his apple tree.

I looked at his clothes and noticed that they were slightly dirty and there was a piece of bark on his hair. I realized that he must have just picked the apple for me.

I couldn't believe it. He actually risked getting rabies for me?

That thought alone made me giggle euphorically as I took the apple and our hands brushed.

Ooh, such warm hands.

Samuel's grin widened. Arrogant jerk.

Anyway, before I start insulting my lovable hubby even more, I think I'll head back to the apple.


It was the best present I ever received, and it was the best apple of Eden I'd ever eaten.