Before you start the story, here's how to pronounce a few names.
Joeri: YOO-ri (or if you're lazy like me, Yuri/Yeri/all that homophonic jazz)
...So I like weird names. :)
Last edit (knock on wood) 5/17/09
Part One: At The Swing Sets
We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck … But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness. - Ellen Goodman
"I give her complexes!"
She hated him. She hated the way his black hair looked all shiny and soft and flipped whenever he turned to look at her. She hated how his glasses looked perfect on him when they would look ridiculous on anyone else. She hated how deep his dark green eyes were and the little specks of gold that were in them. She hated the way he winked at her and his stupid grin. She hated it when other girls would start giggling all over him, like he was some sort of celebrity to be giggled over and ogled at. And she especially hated it when the big idiot was nice to her!
"Hello, Caomhe. How are you today, Angel?"
"Oh, wipe that stupid smirk off your face, Holmes," snapped Caomhe, glaring at the boy who had taken the empty seat next to her. "And get away from me. I was in a good mood until you showed up." She frowned and turned away from him.
Keiran raised an eyebrow and shrugged. "Touché, my dear…" he said, leaning over towards her desk. "So, two days ago when I asked you out, you said that that day wasn't my day and yesterday wasn't looking good, either. What I wanna know is… how's today looking out for me?" He smiled impishly.
"Oh Lord…" groaned Caomhe, sliding down into her seat and staring up at the ceiling. "No, no, NO! Quit giving me complexes!" She swore one of these days he was going to drive her literally insane and then she'd have to be committed.
Keiran grinned and looked back at his best friend, Garrett. "Look, Garrett! I give her complexes!" he said, pointing at Caomhe excitedly.
Garrett, who was busy working on his latest "take-over-the-free-world" scheme, simply gave Keiran a thumb's up without looking away from his plan. "Good for you, Keiran," he said in a distracted voice.
Keiran looked back at Caomhe, leaning on one hand on his desk, and sighed loudly. "Wow," he breathed, staring blatantly at the auburn-haired girl who was about ready to either rip his head off and sell his carcass to cannibals or sacrifice him to the sun god.
Caomhe's eye twitched. "Holmes, quit staring at me."
Keiran sighed. "Sorry. Can't. Must be something wrong with my eyes. I just can't take them off of you." He beamed.
Caomhe rolled her eyes. "There's something else wrong with your head, too," she replied scathingly.
Keiran closed his eyes, slapping his hands over his heart, and cried, "Oh! Man down! Man down! Caomhe, that hurt!"
Caomhe rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Holmes," she muttered, silencing as the study hall teacher, Ms. DuPointe, started yelling at the class of seventh-graders to be quiet.
"I don't get why you had to be so harsh towards Keiran."
"Fiona, he was pulling out every cliché in the book. It had to be done."
Fiona, Caomhe's best friend, looked skeptical. "Sometimes I think you just like being mean to him," she commented. "Kee, you're my best friend, but he really likes you."
Caomhe gave Fiona an irritated glance. "Yeah. I know," she said in monotone. "And that's just what's so annoying about it." She groaned and pulled at the ends of her dark red hair and stamped her feet. "He's driving me up a wall, Fee!" Caomhe grabbed Fiona by her shoulders and they stopped. "Do you know what it's like to be stalked?" she whispered in a haunted voice.
Fiona shook her head slowly, getting the feeling that she should be either (a) running for help or (b) calling for therapy for her best friend.
Caomhe sighed and released her friend. "He's just so… so…"
"Cocky?" suggested Fiona, brushing a strand of short blonde hair back behind her ear.
Caomhe nodded pathetically. "He thinks that he's the center of the universe, and he's not!" she yelled, taking her anger out on a small rock that was in her way. The rock flew up in the air and hit a mailbox, making a loud "Cling!" sound, and leaving a small dent.
Fiona blinked. "Got anger?" she said with a smile.
Caomhe glowered down at the ground. "Sorry…" she muttered. "It's just that since… since…" She huffed. "Well, you know what happened." She scowled. "He thinks that he can just make me forget that."
Fiona rolled her hazel eyes dramatically. "Caomhe, we were in second grade. I can't believe you're still holding a grudge after five years." She considered her statement. "Actually, I can. But seriously, Keiran's let it go, why can't you?" She gave Caomhe a stern look.
Caomhe stopped and stared at Fiona like she was positively mad. "Are you serious? He turned his back on us for a complete jerk!"
"It doesn't matter," insisted Caomhe. "Once a traitor, always a traitor."
Keiran sighed discontentedly as he listened to Garrett, Joeri, and Charlie discussing Garrett's "take-over-the-free-world" scheme. He threw a bouncy ball up at the wall, catching it as it ricocheted back towards him, and sighed louder in hopes of getting attention.
Charlie heard it and laughed. "Uh-oh, it's the Caomhe sigh, guys," he said with a grin. It should be noted that his voice was unusually high-pitched for a boy of his age.
"Oh boy. Another pick-up line gone down the drain? I can only hope it wasn't the 'If you were a booger, I'd pick you first' line," laughed Garrett, turning away from his plan for one of the few times in his life and facing Keiran.
Keiran snorted at the memory of using the worst pick-up line ever. "Very funny," he shot back with a smile as he looked over at the other guys.
Charlie raised an eyebrow. "Well… you have been flirting at her for the past… year… has it been a year?" he asked Garrett and Joeri.
Joeri nodded. "Yeah, give or take a couple weeks." He shrugged.
"Actually, it's been fourteen months, one day, and…" Keiran checked his watch. "Three hours."
Garrett, Joeri, and Charlie stared at Keiran in concern for a moment, and then Garrett commented, "…That's a little weird, Keiran."
Keiran glared at the others. "Shut up," he muttered, throwing the bouncy ball at the wall again. He looked over towards Garrett, Joeri, and Charlie again and then he smiled; they appeared to be puzzling over something. "You forgot Japan again, didn't you?" he said with a grin.
Garrett looked up at Keiran, glaring daggers at him, while Joeri and Charlie exchanged a what-can-you-do look. "No," said Garrett a tad bitingly. "I didn't forget any countries this time…"
Unfortunately, Joeri noticed something that Garrett didn't. "Um, where's Alaska on here, Gary?"
Garrett's eye twitched. "Doggone it…" he muttered under his breath, grabbing his pencil and sketching in Alaska on his map. Then he stared at the new plot, grabbed a nearby pillow, and screamed into it.
Charlie looked towards Keiran. "Well… congratulations. You've finally driven Garrett crazy."
Keiran shrugged. "It wasn't a far drive." It really wasn't; the usually rational redheaded boy always became a little tense when it came to taking over the world.
"Fixed it!" Garrett gave the others an "OK" sign. "It's good now- it's foolproof- it's-"
"Why's Greenland in the Pacific Ocean?" asked Joeri, looking at Garrett's revised map.
There was a long, awkward silence.
"…I am going to murder you, Joeri," said Garrett in dead monotone, a dark shadow passing over his cold grey eyes. "And then I am going to feed your body to vultures."
Joeri nodded. "Fair enough."
"Joeri, I have a secret for you!"
"Yeah, what is it?"
"TAG! You're it, Joeri! NO TAG BACKS!"
Joeri and Celia were meant to be and everybody on all sides of the playground knew it except, apparently, them. With Joeri's perfect blend of seriousness and complete nerve, Celia's talent from switching between a good girl and a little firecracker, along with their shared fondness of classic cartoons and TV shows, theirs was a match made in Heaven.
Plus they had an uncanny talent at starting playground-wide games of tag.
Joeri was quick (he put the "speed" in "speedy") and with that being on his side (plus nobody except Celia knowing the game had started), he ran up behind one of his best friends, who was caught completely unawares-
"Hey Charlie, guess what?"
Joeri smacked Charlie across the arm and as he started to run away, he yelled, "YOU'RE IT!"
Charlie blinked, and then he smiled as he saw Garrett and Fiona passing by on their way to the tire swings. "Hey guys, what's up?" he asked.
"Not much…" replied Fiona.
"Oh… hey, Garrett?" said Charlie innocently.
Charlie grinned and hit Garrett in the chest. "TAG! YOU'RE IT!" As he ran away, Garrett looked over at Fiona and smiled darkly.
But before he could tag her, she ran. She ran like Death itself was at her heels. And this made Garrett sigh, because Fiona was a darn speedy little girl (which was probably part of the reason she so strongly resembled a human twig).
Within minutes, everybody on the playground was running like it was the end of the world and Joeri and Celia were observing the pandemonium from the tower that overlooked the whole playground.
"Yep… chaos… screaming… our work here is done," laughed Joeri, his white blonde hair flipping as he turned to look at Celia.
Celia nodded, her own dark black curls bouncing up and down. "Yes. We did good." She paused and started to smile. "Oh, and Joeri?" She moved a bit closer to him, her bright blue eyes locking with his shining black ones.
"Yeah…?" asked Joeri warily.
Celia smiled and poked Joeri in the arm. "Tag. You're it!" She laughed as she ran towards the stairway, leaving a bewildered Joeri up alone in the tower.
And then he smiled as he started running down the stairs after Celia.
"Keiran!" proclaimed Joeri as he approached Keiran, who was sitting in the back of the castle of tires.
"Hey Joeri," said Keiran. "Looking for a place to hide, too?"
"Mm, not really," replied Joeri nonchalantly, walking towards him casually in an attempt to lure Keiran into a false sense of security. "You know who's it?"
"No… that's why I'm hiding!" said Keiran, half-laughing.
A devilish grin crossed over Joeri's face. "I don't think that's gonna help you much."
Keiran started to come out from his hiding place, looking at Joeri quizzically. "Why?"
Joeri slapped Keiran on the back. "Tag, you're it!"
Keiran gasped in shock, and then he smirked as he saw the auburn-haired girl whom he loved so much doing army crawls across the playground. He chuckled and jumped out of his hiding place, over the sandbox, onto the glider-thing- "Wheeeeeeeee!"- past the monkey bars and landing right in front of- "Caomhe! Imagine meeting you here!" He would have tipped his hat right about now, but alas, he did not have a hat to tip.
Caomhe froze and frowned as she asked, "…You're it, aren't you?"
Keiran grinned devilishly but before he could tag Caomhe, she had shot up and away from him. He frowned. "Oh no you don't!"
"Joeri, why'd you tag Keiran? The only person he ever goes after is Caomhe," said Garrett as he, Joeri, Fiona, Charlie, and Celia watched Keiran chase Caomhe all around the playground.
"Yeah, Joeri, you're the fastest runner on the playground. You could've tagged me," said Fiona, watching Keiran hide behind a barrier of tires where Caomhe was currently running behind. "Oooh, she better watch out."
"Well, for one, it's always funny watching him go after her like flies to a light, and for two, we get to catch our breath," reasoned Joeri.
"…This is true," agreed Celia. They watched Caomhe army crawl around the tire barrier, except Keiran saw this coming, so when Caomhe reached the end, Keiran leaped on top of Caomhe, giving her a great big bear hug.
"…Keiran's gonna die…" commented Charlie.
"TAG! YOU'RE IT, CAOMHE!" laughed Keiran, holding the struggling Caomhe in his arms as tight as he could, mostly because he was afraid she was going to hurt him (and partly because she was, in his opinion, very huggable).
"HOLMES! I'M GONNA KILL YOU!" shrieked Caomhe, fighting to get away from Keiran. In case you haven't noticed, she had some major issues with Keiran touching her.
"Ah, ah, ah! No tag backs!" chuckled Keiran, slowly letting go of the freaked-out girl, who looked like she was about to rip his head off.
She broke away from Keiran and growled, "Tag back this." And with these sweet sentiments, she kicked him in the… well, I'm sure you can imagine how angry she was at him.
Caomhe had a twisted smile on her face as she snarled, "Like I said before… quit… giving me… complexes!" There's that clichéd redhead temper.
Slowly forcing himself to stand back up, Keiran smiled and said in a raspy voice (Caomhe kicks hard), "Just as soon as you stop doing the same thing to me, Angel."
Caomhe stepped away from Keiran, a wrathful look on her face. "I hate you."
Keiran nodded and said, "Yeah… I know… I know…" He paused, contemplating his next words, "…but there's a fine line between hate and…"
"Oh I just dare you to finish that sentence, Holmes."
Once upon a time, there was a girl and there was a boy and there was the swing set where they had met and where they played and where they loved each other and where they hated each other.
The little girl had red hair in pigtails and sparkling brown eyes with flecks of gold. Her two front teeth were missing. She was trying to swing but she couldn't get herself up in the air no matter how hard she tried.
The little boy had messy black hair and mischievous green eyes with the same golden specks as the little girl. He sat down in the swing next to her and said, "D'you need some help?"
She sighed. "No. I don't. I can do it mythelf."
The little boy shrugged and said in a singsong voice, "OK!" He kicked off the ground and swung into the air.
The little girl watched him and then looked at the ground. She tried to kick off like he did, but her feet couldn't quite reach the ground.
The little boy noticed this and skidded to the ground. "Need a push?"
The little girl sighed in frustration. "No!" she protested stubbornly.
The little boy smiled. "OK…" he repeated in the same singsong voice. He waited.
There was a pause, and then the little girl said, "OK. I need help."
The little boy laughed in triumph and stood up from the swing. "'Bout time," he said, giving the little girl a couple pushes into the air. He walked back around to his swing started swinging again. He looked at the little girl and said, "I'm Keiran."
The little girl smiled. "My name'th Caomhe."
Changes for old readers:
1) Technical things
2) Joeri and Celia
3) Stuff with Leah
4) Stuff with Fiona
5) Plot changes, mostly towards the end. Some are minor, a few are pretty major.
6) Scene changes
And hey, thank you guys SO MUCH for still reading MORE THAN A YEAR LATER! You get an all-you-can-eat buffet for like, the whole story just for that. Plus the other snacks. ;D
Overdone plotline with the whole love/hate thing? Yeah, probably. :)
And I will give you cookies. :)