That's sad.

Really sad.

"Collin, it is not the end of the world."

I think he's crying.

"But – but, you, I can't believe you did that."

I rolled my eyes. "All I did was beat your high score."

"By twenty thousand points."

"Look 'ere," I began, "in the gaming world, twenty thousand points is practically equivalent to one."

"Fantastic. First, my enemy arrives on my doorstep because I have to baby-sit her-"

"Even though she can take care of herself perfectly."

"-then I discover that she beat me in my favourite video game, racked up a higher score than I did-"

I shrugged. "It's actually not that hard."

He frowned. "Girls," he muttered.

"Look here, Collin, it's not my fault that you suck, in every other aspect but – uhh, what are you good at? It seems to have slipped my mind."

"Ha, ha, Atalanta."

"That rhymes."

He sighed and rolled his eyes. That rhymes, too!

"You're good at being dense," said he. "I've beaten you in lots of things-"

"Except your video game."

"-like sports-"

"You're the one whose gender is on their side. Did you know that an elderly man could beat a twenty year old woman in an arm wrestling competition, unless, of course, that elderly man is dying or that twenty year old lady is a professional wrestler."

"-chess, remember when you tried to play checkers with the pieces?"

"It was a travel pack, I think, it was meant to play checkers too." I furrowed my brows. "I think."

"I also outpace you by a country mile in academics."

"A terrible hyperbole. You beat me by two marks."

"In the video game world it's forty thousand points."

I groaned. "Here we go."

"Your looks definitely cannot match mine. I mean, look at me, perfect golden tresses – that is what the girls say, right? – dazzling blue green eyes, chiselled features, perfect lips, a gorgeous body-"

"And your humility?"

"Of course, I'm very humble. It's part of my persona."

"Of course." I rolled my eyes. "It is so obviously your most prominent character trait."

He grinned. "Glad you think so."

"I'm so surprised that some girls in school don't fall at your feet. You're obviously a striking personality that no one could ignore. No one cares if you don't care a dime about a girl's feelings. No one could possibly notice if you kiss a girl one minute and ditch her the next."

"Hey, I do not do that."

"Oh, really? Name one girl you've actually loved."

"Kerry Jameson."

"She cheated on you."

"Oh, you noticed. Brilliant, my enemy is not as blind as I think."

"I'm not impaired in any way."

"Then, tell me how she doesn't notice little details. Such slight details other girls might have noticed, but she doesn't."

I narrowed my eyes. "Are you calling me dense?"

"Duh. Do I need to draw you a picture?" He held up his hand. "Don't answer that." He grabbed a sketchpad that lay on the glass coffee table.

"This," he said, "is you."

I tilted my head. "My butt is not that big."

"It's a stick figure."

"My butt's still not that big."

"Whatever." He jabbed his pen towards the other figure. "This is me."

"You're not that muscular."

"It's a stick figure. Just shut up, okay?"

Sticking out my tongue, I folded my arms and waited.

"Now, I, have been living in lover's hell since Kerry left me." His eye seemed to twitch.


"That was a year ago," I muttered, matter-of-factly.

"And it still hurts."

He jabbed his pen at the figure with the big butt (I can see it, okay?). "This is you, you've been in my life since we were two."

"Was I as annoying to you as you were to me?"

He snorted. "Yes. Anyway, have you noticed that you and Kerry have a lot in common."

"No," I retorted. "She is a sharp tongued, insensitive-"

"That describes you perfectly. Gosh, I can't even draw a picture for you! Look, I would make a shrine for you if you would get a MySpace account and post a lot of pictures. If I could sculpt, I would make statues of you. If I could draw something other than stick figures I would draw you. If I could-"

"Shut up." I said. "You're not making sense. You're the one who has been destroying my self-esteem. You're the one who has been making me cry. You're the one who keeps putting me down, over and over and over again."

He just stared.

"You're the one who laughed at me. You're the one who embarrassed me. You're the one-"

"Shut up."

"Are you echoing me now? Is this some horrible trick?"

He enveloped me in his arms. "Are you kidding me? Would you even look at me twice if I didn't do it? How do you remember me? I've tried being nice, believe me, I have. You're the only one that doesn't really care."

"That's it, then? I'm just a challenge. There are stories like this, you know. Stories that don't make sense. They flood cyberspace and make girls like me seem like easy prey."

"You? Easy prey? Look here Atalanta, you don't exactly make it easy. The girls in the stories actually feel chemistry. Your chemistry involves your plotting how to kill me."

I smirked. "Shouldn't that prove we aren't meant to be?"

"No, that just shows you're obtuse."

"So, it's my fault?"

He groaned. "That's not what I meant. Don't you see what I mean when I say you're hard headed? Just answer me one question, have you felt anything, and I mean anything, for me?"

"What do you expect me to say? That you drive me crazy, that the sight of you excites my every cell, that I crave you?" I laughed, a laugh I hoped, was filled with mirth.

He cast his eyes on the floor. "Maybe."

That was when I noticed he was still holding me and that my arms were hooked around his neck. His scent filled my nose and I almost gasped. Maybe what I was saying was a confession of my subconscious.


How do I feel? Feeling his warm, comfortable body against mine. It's just a hug, I reminded myself. Just a hug.

Is this what chemistry feels like?

"There's only one way to solve this," I murmured into his ear. "Look at me."

His eyes are gorgeous, aren't they?

I tilted my head and parted my lips. How exactly does this work? I pressed his velvet lips against mine and tried to feel what chemistry meant. The electricity seemed to tickle down my spine as I closed my eyes and tried to do what I saw in the movies.

It felt so good.

"Feel anything?" he whispered, as I pulled apart.

"Just shut up and kiss me, again."

"We'll have lots of 'splainin to do." I could see his smile though.

"Since when did you care?" I queried.


"So, just shut up."

"That's rude. Of course, it's just like my lady love to be rude."

"I suppose it would be rude to kiss you, again too," I laughed.

"Oh, just shut up."


Maybe you've noticed that I like one-shots. If you have...that's 'cause I do.


Merry Christmas!