I guess that the real reason everyone paid attention to Ann was that after school, on her first day, a footbal player went up to her and asked her out. Now, this is probably the most ridiculous couple you've ever seen. She's the tiniest girl ever, and she still manages to look twenty-year-old. Oh, she wears no make-up, and she dresses in blue-jeans and a baggy t-shirt most of the time, but she just seems old. This football player swaggered up to a twelve-year old, and said, arrogant as you please, "You're going out with me tonight."
Ann looked him up and down, and then she asked, "How old are you?"
He was thrown for a minute. "Uh, seventeen."
She smirked and stood up, grabbing her backpack. "Sorry, but I'm turning thirteen on September 21st."
He just gaped at her as she walked away. And bumped right into me. I looked down. And down. And down. Ann grinned up at me sheepishly and apologized, "Sorry, Dustin. I was gazing at the stars."
I already knew Ann, because we were both too smart for our own good. I first met Ann when she skipped a grade up and got inot my grade five years ago. We were going into fifth grade and what the teacher did was make us work together because we were nearly the same age. Since then, Ann and I had been getting grades that were dead even. Straight A's for both of us. And, ironically, the way teachers paired us together made us rivals and enemies. We were the best and the most brilliant of the country, but we couldn't stand each other. I think Ann was always better than me, but she held something back so that if I ever drew ahead, she could catch up easily. Anyway, I just stood there staring down at her stupidly. She had changed.
Ann sighed. "Dustin, would you please tell me why you look like a wooden dummy?" She practically draped herself over me and whispered in a breathy voice, "Oh, did I really say that? I shouldn't have," she added, slipping away.
That pulled me out of my trance. I leaned close to her and breathed softly, "Oh, yes, dear, yes, you did."
She pulled away and fled, waving as she went. I smiled. So the old game still bothered her. Good. It bothered me too.
My older brother pulled up in his car. Without even a hello, he asked, "So who was the babe?"
I glanced at him distractedly. "Hmm? Oh, that was Ann."
Nick laughed. "Man, she must be something to catch your attention like that. She was flirting with you, dude."
I nodded as I climbed into the car. "Yeah. It's a little game we've been playing since early last year. It drives Mom nuts."
Nick smiled. "It must drive the girls crazy too."
I smiled, watching as Ann got into her Mom's car. "Not really. It drives the guys crazy. Annie is pretty enough that ninety-nine percent of the males in school are after her. I'm the one percent who isn't."
Nick slipped the car out onto the highway. "So, this is all a game?" he asked in disbelief.
He looked at me and shook his head, sighing. "Never mind, baby brother."