You Say Stubborn Like It's A Bad Thing


A note fell on top of my desk, preventing me from working on my term paper. I didn't mind, though, because it was a note from my best friend, Ashley.

Hey, Leah, do you want to go see "Marie Antoinette" with a bunch of us tonight?

Sure. But who do you mean by 'a bunch of us'?

The usual.

The quickness in which she responded indicated to me exactly who she was talking about. I grinned. It was the same group of us who always hung out. Her and I, obviously; Heather (and now her newly acquired boyfriend Louis, who was sort of weird, no offense); Simon, who, although I have been close to him since the beginning of high school was still a mystery to me; and his best friend, Jason, on who, although she would never admit it, I knew Ashley had a slightly major crush.

I looked forward to going out with them, to this part of the mall with a bunch of bookstores and restaurants and year-round Christmas lights, and even a little man-made waterway with a boat. It was the most amazing place in the world, especially when it was actually Christmastime.

Which, I almost exploded thinking about, it was. I'd just been talking to Ashley, actually, about how much I wanted to finally go ice skating this year, since usually everyone refused to go with me.

I loved when it was actually cold enough to wear sweaters and scarves and such, since down here in Texas it barely ever gets cold enough for icicles. Ever. Which is one reason why I loved Market Square: because it had an almost surreal feel to it, like for once in my miniscule high school life I was somewhere more interesting than suburbia.

Even though I sort of wasn't.


I spent about an hour getting ready. I was that excited. I mean, all we were doing was seeing a movie, right? But I had a really good feeling about it. Like something magical was going to happen.

As long as I don't say things like that out loud.

My clothes were perfect by the time I was finished. Decked out in a white knit sweater, dark wash jeans, comfy-warm shoes, a striped scarf and matching hat and gloves, I was so ready.

The only thing was, I was sort of worried that Heather's boyfriend, Louis, would take it to his head to start throwing popcorn at the screen or whatever, especially since Marie Antoinette looked like a totally excellent movie, and I would be wanting to pay attention. I mean, I was, after all, suspicious of his intentions, since apparently seeing it had been his idea in the first place.

Louis, let me tell you, was not the sort of guy who would want to go see a historical romance. Not that a whole lot of guys are. I had a feeling that he was either planning to do something really obnoxious during it, or look at it as an excuse to make out with Heather during the romantic scenes.

Ew, on so many levels.

But I tried to calm down, because Simon always says that I worry too much. He's one to talk, really, though, because him and his stupid in-his-face, just-rolled-out-of-bed hairstyle is way too calm. But whatever.

I took a deep breath and gave my hair one last poof as the doorbell was ringing, and ran to the door.

This was going to be the. Best. Night. Ever.


"What?!" I demanded, sputtering at everyone. "What do you mean, we're not going to see Marie Antoinette?"


"We bought the tickets for Marie, NOT Saw III."

"Yeah, well, didn't you realize that we weren't actually going to go see that stupid chick flick?" Louis snorted.

"Yeah," Heather said, in full support of him, clearly forgetting that a week ago she'd told me her favorite movie was Pride and Prejudice.

"You guys," I pleaded. "You cannot be serious. Saw III looks like the most idiotic movie since… well, Saw II."

"You're just scared," Louis taunted, causing my face to flush a deep shade of maroon. At least, it felt like it did. I wouldn't really know, though, considering I've never happened to be looking in a mirror when I've been blushing, but you get the point.

"I am NOT scared," I said, glaring. "Severed body parts are not, by any means, scary. It's just gross. Do you really enjoy that?"

"Uh, yeah," Louis shrugged, matter-of-factly. "Why not?"

"Because!" I cried exasperatedly. "It's desensitization! The next thing you know people will be turning into mindless drones who go to hangings for fun or whatever!"

Louis rolled his eyes. "Did you know that we were going to see Saw?"

I glared at Ashley. "No."

"Well!" she said defensively. "I put quotation marks around it! Like code or something. You know, in case a teacher found it."

"And you expected me to know this?" I demanded.

"Uh, yeah," Louis said. "Look, the movie doesn't start for forty five minutes, but we seriously need to get a move on if we want to make sure nobody checks our tickets."

He started to turn away slightly, putting his arm around Heather's waist to assure that she wouldn't have any second thoughts about it. In fact, all of them started to turn away.

"Jason," I pleaded. "You can't be serious."

He shrugged, looking slightly red. "I'm sorry, L. Anything is better than Marie Antoinette."

And then, of course, I knew Ashley was going to go. She gave me this innocent pleading look, but I ignored her. My face got hot and I could feel wetness at the backs of my eyes. I couldn't believe I had so little influence. Louis was taking over my friends.

"Simon?" I squeaked, giving it one last shot.

He shrugged and started walking away, and I was sure I was going to have to run into the theatre so everyone would just assume I was crying at the overdramatic commercials.

But then he stopped in his tracks and turned back to me. Ah, level headed Simon. I knew he wouldn't be so stupid. I knew I could count on him. I knew—

"Your movie gets out, like, an hour before ours—"

My movie? MY movie?

"Actually," Louis said, smirking. "I thought we could make it a double feature and see The Grudge II afterwards."

Okay, even by Louis's standards, The Grudge was dumb. He did that on purpose! That was it. I was going to have to pound him.

Simon furrowed his eyebrows and gave me a look that I could not for the life of me read, and went, "Well, in that case, you'll be getting out three-ish hours before us. What are you planning on doing until then?"

I shrugged. "I'll probably just sit in…I mean…" I changed my mind, trying not to smirk. "I'll probably just walk around. Hang out with some people from school," I added, pointing towards this huge group, every one of which was decked out head to foot in red.

Of course I was really planning on sitting inside the mall bookstore, but I was going to make them feel as guilty as possible for abandoning me.


"Uh, I don't think that would be such a good idea," Simon said, shifting around. That was the first time in a long time I could remember him looking worried about anything.

Serves him right.

"Whatever," I said. "I have to go. 'My' movie is about to start."

Louis just shrugged. "It's about time," he mumbled, and dragged Heather off. Jason shrugged and followed, and Ashley, naturally, followed suit, glancing over her shoulder and mouthing 'Sorry'.

I pretended not to notice and spun around, heading for the right theatre. The one my ticket was for.

I was not going to cry. I was not going to cry. I was about ten steps from the theatre, and I was NOT going to cry. Oh, who was I kidding? Of course I was going to—

"Lychee?" a voice behind me said gently.

I whipped around instinctively. Well, it was official. I was not going to start crying. I was too confused, and borderline mad. Why? I knew who it was. The only person in the world who called me by my last name, because he thought it was funny that my surname was 'Lick-ee,' as he liked to spell it.


"What do you want?" I said in my rudest tone of voice.

"I'm coming with you," he said, like it was no big deal.

"What do you mean, you're coming with me?"

"Exactly what I said," he shrugged. "Now come on, the movie's about to start."

"Whoa there, cowboy," I said, highly suspicious, but also sort of hopeful. Maybe he had told Louis off or something. "What's going on here?"



"I, uh, told everyone that I didn't think it would be safe for you to be going around at the mall by yourself at night."

"I can handle myself, Simon," I huffed. What did he think I was? Weak? Just because I wouldn't see a stinking movie?

"Oh, no, I know," he said, which sort of confused me, until he continued. "I mean, I still feel better if you're not by yourself, but seriously, Saw looks like a really, really dumb movie."

He had to be kidding.

I wasn't going to pound Louis. I was going to pound HIM.

Well, maybe Louis too, but you get the picture.

"You arrogant little faker," I said, letting out a quick sort of crazed laugh. "Why didn't you just tell them that you think it's dumb? And what do you care if I'm by myself or not?"

He blushed, clearly embarrassed by the fact that I'd caught him in his cool act. "I just," he said, sighing, "think that the path of least resistance is best when dealing with Louis. People in general, really I mean, would it kill you to see what he wants to see?"

"Yes," I said stubbornly. "It would. It would kill what I stand for."

He rolled his eyes. "Let's just go see the movie."

"Grammar," I said, raising my eyebrows.

"Excuse me?"

"You said 'let's', which is a contraction meaning 'let us'."


"There is no us," I said, storming off into the theatre. Who did he think he was, anyway? I looked like this huge idiot while he pretended he was coming to my rescue or something.

I plopped down in the front row so I could make certain as few people sat around me as possible. I was really not in a people mood.

But then Simon plopped down next to me.

"Go away," I hissed.

"It's a free country."

"ARG!" I said, getting a lot of shushes, even though the commercials were still playing. That, as Simon would have said if I weren't insanely mad at him, was my own fault, for being a 'fiery redhead.' "What are you, ten?"

His own dark messy hair fell in his face as he leaned back, resting his head on the seat. His flashy grey eyes, which normally had a glow of unmistakable confidence, just looked arrogant to me then.

So I ignored him as much as it's possible to ignore a friend who is over six feet tall and keeps looking over at you to see if you are still glaring.

I tried to pay as much attention as possible to the commercials. Except, they were all for these stupid action thriller movies. Not the cool ones like The Day After Tomorrow, either. The kind about white trash thugs who deal drugs with their thong and cleavage girlfriends.

Louis would have been happy.

It took forever for the movie to start playing, but then it finally did. Except it had all of this creepy music in the background. And it was set in modern times.

And it definitely was NOT Marie Antoinette.

There was an eruption of anger from the group of moms who were chaperoning a huge party of twelve-year-old girls. Along with a lot of, "Cool mom! Can we stay?"s.

Well, I certainly wasn't. If I had wanted to see Saw-stinking­-III I would have gone with Louis. It's not like the even mess up what movie they're showing a lot. Barely ever, actually.

But they did, just in time for me.

I leapt up and stormed out, trying to exude angry vibes, just for the sake of it. I completely forgot about how Simon had been sitting next to me until I realized that I left my purse, too.

Which, obviously, was a much greater problem.

Fine, I thought. I'll just go back and grab it really quick, and then—


I ran into someone. "Sorry," I mumbled, looking at the ground, trying to find my purse. Except it wasn't anywhere in sight. I figured I would just have to go a little bit farther to see it…

But then the guy I ran into grabbed my arm. My initial instinct was to yank my arm away, grab my purse and run. But this guy was strong. Surprisingly gentle for the way I couldn't move, but still.

So I did the only thing I could think to do in my situation. I kicked him as hard as I could in the shin.

But then, as I looked up to see him stumble back against the railing, I saw that it was Simon.


I felt bad, obviously, but not bad enough to say I was sorry.

"What was that for?" he wanted to know.

"Well!" I blurted, trying to think of an excuse. "I didn't realize it was you! You grabbed my arm! I thought you were trying to steal my purse or something."

"Actually, you left your purse at your seat," he said, handing it to me. Oh. Oops. "And you were ignoring me when I tried to get your attention." Double oh.

"Oh. Well…"

"Thanks?" he smirked.

"No," I said stubbornly, crossing my arms and walking out. Whatever. I was going to go to the bookstore and read and pretend like that's what I'd been planning on doing the whole time.

"Could you chill for just a minute, Lychee?" Simon called from behind me. It didn't normally bug me, him calling me by my last name, but it did just then. So I ignored him.

"Don't you at least," he wanted to know, "want a rain check?"

"Excuse me?" I said, caught off guard, because this sounded like some kind of cheesy pick up line. Not something I would expect from Simon, of all people.

"You know… when your movie doesn't work out, and they give you a free ticket?"

"Oh." Of course. "Right. Whatever. Yeah, sure."

"Um, okay," he said, raising an eyebrow at me. I headed towards costumer information, looking over my shoulder at Simon, who was following closely, grinning for some reason. He grins a lot, actually, without telling anyone why. He is such a turd.

We both stood there in silence, which was weird, because usually Simon never shuts up unless he's trying to be cool, which is true of anytime anyone besides Jason or I is around.

Until he went, "Why is lightning hot?"

"Excuse me?" I said, raising an eyebrow. "Lightning?"

"Yes," he grinned. "Why is it hot?"

"Um. I don't know. Why?"

"Because it flashes."

I rolled my eyes and tried not to laugh, but the corners of my mouth twitched into a smile. Why does it have to be so impossible to stay mad at your friends?

When we got to the cash register, Simon asked for the rain checks. Except the lady behind the counter gave him a weird look. "Are you sure you're talking about the same movie as those little girls?" she said, raising her eyebrows and putting a hand on her hip.

"Uh, yeah," he said, turning slightly red. I guess it was kind of weird seeing this over six-foot tall, broad shouldered, leather jacket clad guy asking for a refund for Marie Antoinette.

"He's with me," I said, so she would think he wasn't lying.

"Oh," she said, looking all-knowing, winking at Simon. "Well, sometime you might try taking her to one of those scary-faint-into-someone's-arms movies. Like, might I suggest Saw—"

Oh for the love of Brad Pitt.


Simon covered my mouth with one hand and shoved the tickets in his back pocket, smiling politely at the cashier and leading me out of the store. Which I did not appreciate.

And the cashier lady thinking we were on a date?

Okay, ew.

I grumbled at Simon for not letting me finish what I was saying and started heading to the bookstore. My night had pretty much gone down the drain entirely, but I bet I could finish a book in the time it took the rest of them to get done.

"Simon," I said, because he was following me anyway. "Can I have my ticket?"


"…No, seriously. Give me my ticket." I stopped right outside of the store, glancing in at the warm, friendly big couches, the smell of coffee and books…

Okay, so I'm a nerd. So shoot me.

"Are you seriously going to go in there and read for the rest of the time?" he said, making it sound like reading was equivalent to kicking puppies.

"Yes," I glared. "I was seriously going to go read."

He shook his head. "Nope," he said, plucking out my rain check and waving it in front of my face. "You're not. Not if you ever want to see this ticket again."

"Simon," I said, trying to grab it from him without making it look like I was actually trying. Or having to jump to reach it. "Seriously. I am NOT having a good night. I do NOT need this too."

He grinned. "You know what you do need?"

"My ticket?"

"No, you need to get out and do something, instead of moping in the bookstore."

"I was not going to mo—"

"Excuse me," he said, waving my ticket and walking towards the mall entrance slowly. "I meant to say, 'wallow in self pity'."

So of course I had to follow him, just long enough to get my ticket. And I guess because I was sort of curious about what would happen. "Where," I asked, "do you plan on going?"

He just grinned. "You'll see."


We ended up running all over the mall, eating junk food and playing with toys at the toy store and trying out all of the gadgets at the electronic store. The best part was the really fancy stores where t-shirts cost about four hundred dollars a piece, since the security people kept glaring at us.

"Don't I look simply ravishing?" he said, wrapping a six hundred dollar scarf around his neck. One I could get at Target for four bucks.

I would have answered, except I had fallen against the wall, gasping for breath, because I was laughing so hard.

The French lady who managed the store came over and glared at us. "Can I help you weeth zumtheeng?" she wanted to know.

Simon put on a totally straight face and blinked at her. "Yeez, Madame," he said, doing a really terrible French accent. "Do yoo haff any peens to accessorize with thees?"

I just slunk down to the floor, developing a cramp in my side. On one hand, I felt like one of those obnoxious teenagers who sits in elevators and yells things at people who get on, but on the other hand, I was couldn't remember laughing so hard. Louis didn't know what he was missing out on.

That was about the time we got kicked out of that store, since we weren't planning on buying anything. The French lady got all huffy and watched us until we were out of sight, which was pretty much out of the mall.

We stepped outside into the cold, crispy air and I shivered, but it felt good. Winter was without a doubt my favorite time of the year. I looked up at the Christmas lights strung across the buildings and trees, illuminating the courtyard that had a tunnel under it where the boat went under it, and walked over to the ledge over the water.

I rested my elbows on said ledge and put my chin in my hands and sighed. "Wouldn't it be great to live in a place like this? It's so beautiful."

"Yeah," he nodded, following suit and leaning onto the ledge. "But… don't you think you would just get used to it after a while? And then it wouldn't be special."

"Well, maybe," I said, thinking about this. What a party pooper. "But maybe not. I mean, I guess people tend to take things for granted, but you shouldn't avoid something you love because you're afraid you're going to lose it by having it all the time. Or whatever."

He looked at me, turning his head to the side with this weird look in his eye. It was weird seeing him look like he was in such deep thought, since my usual impression of him was that everything came easily to him, even thinking.

But I guess that's just want he wants people to think.

But then he smirked and went, "Oh, that's really wise Lychee. Did you get that off a bumper sticker?"

Which, obviously, totally killed our deep intelligent conversation moment.

I mock glared at him and gave him a little punch in the arm. I suddenly wondered why I'd been so upset earlier, because I'd forgotten. But then I remembered.

I frowned, furrowing my eyebrows. "How much longer until Louis and company get out of the movie?"

He checked his watch, making him officially the only person I knew under the age of forty who checked their watch instead of their cell phone. He says he can't stand cell phones, so he keeps his off all the time. He says they "interrupt things."

"About two hours," he said.

I groaned. "Two?"

He cringed, waiting for my response. "If not a little longer."

I sighed and looked around, contemplating what to do. And then I saw the bookstore.

"Well, two hours is probably just enough time for me to finish reading—"

"No!" he said, abruptly, looking excited. I could practically see a light bulb pop up above his head. "I have a better idea."

Oh, yeah. Like going to get ice cream. Big whoop. What else did we ever do? I seriously did not know where he put all the food he eats, unless it just magically turns into muscle. Which I doubt.

"I don't know…" I said. "I mean, we've already done a lot. And there are always other nights."

"But," he said, his face going completely serious, looking straight into my eyes. "There's only one tonight."

And for some inexplicable reason, my stomach lurched into my lungs and my heart jumped into my throat. I'd never realized how nice his eyes were, or how he sort of smelled good.

But I shook my head and pushed into the back of my mind (bad, bad thoughts), and squeaked out, smirking (I think), "Oh, that's really wise, Bowman¸ did you get that off a bumper sticker?"

"Maybe," he grinned. "Now come on."

"Where're we going?" I wanted to know. Just in case he was seriously considering ice cream.

"It's a surprise," he said, looking excited, making me think maybe it was more than ice cream. But then again, that's how he always looks when he's about to eat.

I groaned. "You know I'm not a surprise person—" But clearly he wasn't listening, because he put one big warm hand over my eyes and started walking.

"How am I supposed to see?" I demanded, afraid I was going to run into a little old lady or fall down stairs or something.

"Don't worry," was all he said, putting his free hand on the small of my back.

Which, much to my surprise, shot tinglies up and down my spine. Clearly I was going insane with grief from being abandoned. That was it.


We were walking for about ten minutes before he stopped (mainly because I kept tripping over my own feet since I felt so weird not being able to see anything). I felt Simon step away. "Okay," he said, trying to sound cool and calm but not really managing to. "Open your eyes."

So I did. And my jaw dropped.

We were standing in front of the ice skating rink.

It was so beautiful. There were lights strung around everywhere and there was music playing in the background that wasn't too loud, but you could still hear it over all of the laughing at talking. It was perfect.

I looked at Simon, closing my mouth, and saw that he was crossing his arms and smirking at me. "I told you," he said, "that this would be better than reading."

I didn't really know what to say. Okay, that's a lie. I should have said something like, 'wow, thanks, you were right.'

But of course I can never be wrong.

"How did you know?" I squeaked, which was actually a really dumb thing to say, because he would have absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Except he did.

He shrugged. "I don't know. I heard you mention it to Ashley one time."

And he actually remembered that? Or was even paying attention in the first place?

"So," he said, heading towards the skate rental stand. "Let's go."

I grinned and nodded and followed, and we rented skates. It took me a while to put them on, but when I finally did, and tried to stand up, I suddenly remembered that I had never gone ice-skating before. Which is why I wanted to so badly in the first place.

"Uhm," I said, my legs wobbling beneath me as I grabbed the rain for support. "I've sort of never skated before."

"Oh, it's really easy, don't worry," he assured me, hopping onto the ice and skating a few paces backwards with ease. Buttface.

It was so convincing, though, that I was sure I could do it. I mean, I'd roller skated before. Sort of.

Except I fell flat on my back as soon as I stepped on the ice. "I thought you said it's easy!" I roared, trying to hide the fact that I was bright red. Sometimes I hated being a redhead.

But he just got all smirky, and held his hand out to help me up. I tried to get up by myself, to prove that I was completely capable of, well, everything, but it didn't work out so well, and I ended up having to grab his hand anyway. I felt all warm and tingly, despite the fact that my entire backside was sort of wet.

I didn't trust myself to talk, or move, for that matter, so I just stood there. Which, let me tell you, took about all of my strength.

"Come on," he said, in this weird soothing voice like nurses do when they're about to give someone a shot. "I've got you."

He took both of my hands and started skating backwards slowly, and you know what? I was actually getting the hang of it. I was actually skating. Especially when Simon took away one of his hands and started skating by my side. I was totally doing it! Sort of.

It suddenly occurred to me that to a stranger, it would look like we were holding hands. I didn't even care, though, because I was so happy that it was Christmas and I was ice-skating.

And for the hour or so we were skating and talking about nothing, I actually forgot that we were still in the middle of stinking suburbia.

At least, until this obnoxious fat little ten year old came zooming in front of me, and even though I heard Simon say stop, I had absolutely no idea how to. So he had to yank me backwards and the only thing I could do to keep from falling over was to knock him over, to equalize the force or whatever.

I would have said I was sorry but I was laughing too hard. I clutched my ribs, trying to stay standing. You should have seen the look oh his face when he fell. It was one of those you-would-have-had-to-have-been-there situations, which, actually, are the funniest kind.

I put out my hand to help him up, but the second he grabbed it, I slipped and fell. On top of him.

"Omigosh!" I said, making sure I hadn't accidentally elbowed him in the face or whatever. But instead of cringing, he was grinning.

I sighed, feeling like a huge klutz for falling in the middle of the ice rink, surrounded by all of these five year olds who were practically Olympic gold medalists. And the next thing I knew, Simon's face was about an inch away from mine. I didn't realize I'd fallen so close and hadn't moved. And suddenly I thought, holy crap, is he going to kiss me?

Clearly my brain was still haywire from the smell of all the fancy French perfume.

I tried to stand up really fast, wobbling around like a maniac. "Sorry," I mumbled, stumble-skating slowly, trying to get back into the smooth stride I'd been in before I'd fallen over.

Simon hopped (fartknocker) up and skated beside me. "We still have a little more than half an hour," he grinned. "Let's take a walk."

I nodded, thankful to be able to walk normally again, even though skating was totally fun. We turned in our skates and went back to the fake street of Market Square. Some of the shops were starting to close down. One of those horse drawn carriages they only have during Christmas rolled by, jingling.

"You know?" I said. "I'm sort of glad stupid Louis wanted to see that stupid movie."

"Oh really?" Simon grinned.

"Yeah. Because if he hadn't, I never would have gotten to go skating."

"Oh, is that all?" he smirked, stopping and looking at me.

"Well, and I smell fancy."

He looked down, trying not to smile. This old guy who I'm guessing owned the antiques shop we were standing in front of had been sweeping, and he winked at us and went, "Look up, sonny. I don't break my back getting on a ladder to hang that up every year for nothing."

Simon looked up, and turned bright red for some reason. I raised my eyebrows and looked up and saw something hanging there. Oh, what was it called? …Holly?

"Uhm," he said, smiling awkwardly. "We're standing under mistletoe."

"Actually," I said, "that's holly." At least, I thought it was. Holly was the not pretty one? And Mistletoe was the pretty one with red berries? I always got them confused…

"No it's not," he assured me. "It's mistletoe."

Oh. Okay, so maybe it was. But I can't be wrong, remember?

"No," I said. "It's holly."

"No, it's mistletoe."


"For crying out loud, Lychee, it's mistletoe!"

"Okay, fine. Prove it." Okay. That was a really stupid thing to say. What, was he going to whip out a wildlife book or something?

But what he did was even better. The last thing I remember was him stepping closer to me, and then his lips pressed up against mine.

I felt little tinglies of warmth shoot all over me, and it felt like I was standing in Bermuda in the summertime. It felt like when you stand up really fast, and you see little firework splotches everywhere.

And all I could think was how nice I felt, until he pulled away, probably because the old guy was still standing there. His eyes weren't really focused on anything and his hair and jacket were sort of… disheveled.

"Um…" he said, faintly, looking really confused. But then again, so was I. What had just happened?

Simon kissed me.

Simon Bowman. Obnoxiously calm and levelheaded Simon. Just kissed me. On the lips. And I… didn't punch him? And I quite possibly… liked it? Was I dreaming?

"That's more like it," the old guy said, tapping Simon with his broom and heading back inside, winking.

"Uh…" Simon mumbled. I could tell he was bright red. "I…uh… Um. Sorry."

Okay, so that was not what I was expecting. "Sorry?" I demanded. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"No! Wait! I didn't mean… I mean… I… uh. I just didn't want to freak you out."

"Oh. Well. You did."

"What?" he said, raising his eyebrows, looking really worried.

"In a nice way, though," I blurted, not really sure what I was talking about.

"A nice way?"

"Yes," I said indignantly. It wasn't like he was stringing words together any better.

He grinned, and I felt my heart lurch even before he started leaning in again. "I always thought you didn't like me, Leah," he whispered into my ear, shooting tingles all the way to my brain. "You don't ever flirt with guys the way Heather and Ashley do. You always seemed too mature…"

Me? Mature? Ha, ha! I knew that wasn't the reason I never flirted. I always just assumed it was because I would feel stupid… but then… I could remember avoiding other guys to be around Simon. But I always just assumed that was because we were friends. But then again… I always found myself laughing when I was with him, and never running out of things to say. His perpetual laid-back…ness did seem to level out with my mood swings…

And just then he called me Leah. Which shouldn't be a big deal, because it's, you know, my name, but I couldn't remember him ever calling me Leah before. It sounded so good with his deep voice.

"Oh," I said, mentally slapping myself for not being capable of saying anything more intelligent. "I just act like that around everyone."

He brushed a lock of hair that had fallen in my face behind my ear, and kept his hand there. He leaned in again, and my heart jumped into the atmosphere, and then my cell phone started ringing.

And it scared me so bad I thought I was going to pee, and I accidentally hit my face into Simon's. Both of our hands flew to our noses and I apologized as I checked my phone, just in case it was one of my parents. Simon grumbled something about cell phones and how they distracted people, and I couldn't help but grin at how cute it was when he grumbled.

Did I seriously just think that?

But it wasn't my parents. It was Ashley.

I blinked, showing the caller ID to Simon. "That's weird," he said, checking his watch and raising an eyebrow. "The movie isn't supposed to get out for another ten minutes."

"Hello?" I said hesitantly, wondering if she'd lost her phone again and someone was prank calling on it.

"Leah?" Ashley said, her voice quivering. "We've got big trouble."


Simon and I rushed to the theatre to pick up Ashley, Jason, Heather, and Louis from where the police were keeping them. And we were cracking up the whole time.

See, apparently Heather started choking on a gummy bear at one point during the first ten minutes of Saw, because it scared her so bad, and they had to take her out of the theatre. And that's when they realized that none of them were seventeen yet. And since none of them wanted to call their parents, and the police didn't really want any trouble, since it wasn't really a big deal, so they ended up just having to stay in the theatre in one of the offices, watched by the police, until someone "trustworthy" would come get them.

"Omigosh," Ashley said, running up and hugging me when we got there. "I am so, so sorry."

"That's okay," I assured her, patting her back, because I was so happy I wasn't even mad at her anymore.

"Me too, L," Jason said, and I knew he was telling the truth. Jason always told the truth, even if it wasn't very nice. I smiled and told him it was okay too.

"I'm sorry too," Ashley said, glaring at Louis. "And you?"

"What?" he demanded. "It's not MY fault we got kicked out."

"Oh really?" she said, with this look in her eyes that said, and WHY are you my boyfriend, again? I'm guessing that he wouldn't be for much longer, at that rate. "And who was it that suggested we go in the first place?"

He just rolled his eyes, signaling that he had nothing to say, because he was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Na, na, na nee nanner! I win!

What was it Simon was saying about me being mature?

But I guess I was, in a way, since I didn't say any of that out loud.

As we were walking to Ashley's car, Simon put his arm around my waist. I felt involuntarily warm and fuzzy again, which on one hand was weird, but then, I totally didn't mind.

"So," Ashley said, "what on earth did you two do for the whole time we were stuck in there? We kept trying to get your phones, but Simon's was off, and you never answered—" Her eyes widened. "Oh. OH," she said, looking down.

Jason, hearing her reaction, raised his eyebrows and then looked over. "Dude," he said, probably to Simon, since I am definitely not a dude. "It's about time."

It's about time? I melted into my shoes.

As the rest of them got into the car, now laughing loudly and teasing us (I figured they wouldn't let it go for, like, ever), except for Louis, who was grumbling, Simon grabbed my hand and pulled me up against him. He ran his finger through my hair and kissed my forehead.

"I told you it was mistletoe," he whispered.

"I know," I grinned. "You were right."


My first one-shot/short story EVER.

Yeah. Quite possibly for a reason. So PLEASE tell me what you think. I need constructive criticism, people! And I REALLY need it. Like I said, first oneshot ever. I hope it's not too long. o.O

It was sort of a brain fart story. So now that I'm all farted, I'll get back to CNSTOC. :) As long as you review.

Anyhoodles, if I get inspired, I might write another. If you tell me how to improve this. Which I would appreciate. A lot.