Being the most shunned child in the classroom it was natural for him to stay out of people's way. Especially the 'popular' kids way – the cruel beings who were located at the very top of the school's food chain – the 'popular' clique. Their group would pick on other people for amusement, and most of the time their target was Emerson.

Emerson Hicks was a scrawny fourteen year old in a year nine class and had an unusual fascination for maths and science - not to mention he loved reading and was one of the smartest in the year despite his obvious faults in physical education. Emerson's hand eye coordination was absolutely horrible when it game to sports, but with video games and typing on the computer he was excellent. His teachers had debated moving him up a grade but when the idea was suggested to the boy himself, he decided against it – he thought moving up a grade when he was already one of the youngest in the grade would give his classmates even more of a reason to taunt him.

If this was the case, why would Emerson a prime target for verbal abuse?
He believed that those students who gave him very little grief (much to their dissatisfaction), had a grudge with him because he was too smart for his own good – so much in fact, that the other kids were jealous.

Like many stuck-up brats who indulged ever-so-frequently in drugs, alcohol and took part in other illegal acts, they tend to get out of hand when the so-called green-eyed monster took a hold of them.

Because of this, Emerson was alone – not that he didn't mind – the other students must of been staying away from him because they were afraid to be picked on as well, that or the other children had been told of his 'nerdy' or 'geeky' personality and stayed away because they decided that Emerson wasn't the sort of person they wanted to 'hang out' with.

One day, a new girl arrived to school and Emerson decided he would be nice to her and make her feel welcome especially since nobody seemed to be particularly interested in her.

She had wavy light chocolate coloured hair which fell past her shoulders the perk with this however was that she had dyed her hair a variety of colours which made her stick out like a sore thumb- orange, yellow, green, blue and purple- she looked like a human rainbow. Of course, her choice of clothing was a little strange as well – a purple blouse with yellow tie, and jeans with chains pinned up. She also wore a pair of multicoloured converse shoes inches of fabric covered with a variety of interesting-looking badges.

When Emerson uttered a polite hello she turned around an angry look on her face and spat: 'Don't talk to me, you dork!'. Emerson was bewildered and clawed at his hair, attempting to cover part of his face - What a rude girl!

Whilst his mouth was gaping open at the girl's rotten personality she hissed at him again: 'What are you waiting for? Get away!' She pushed Emerson in the shoulder and tried to shoo him away like a filthy rat which had crawled into the pantry one evening.

'What's your name?' Emerson forced some kindness into his voice- possibly she would talk to him if he was nicer?

'Go away!' the girl cried and –with amazing force – pushed Emerson off the chair next to her and onto the ground. This caused the class to laugh and jeer at Emerson who was glaring at the girl – how unfair!

'Ooh! Emerson likes the new girl!' cackled a deep voice emanating from Sophie Wyler – a very unpleasant character indeed. 'Finally developing some hormones for girls rather than school have you?'

Emerson scowled and trudged over to his seat which was- of course- separated from the rest of the class in the dimmest corner of the sordid room.

'I always thought he'd like guys first actually, but girls! That's actually completely normal.' Said a boy's voice, throwing a piece of paper with the word 'faggot' written on a piece of scrunched-up paper to his head.

Emerson scoffed, though he knew he would laugh about it later- they both had obviously run out of ideas for successful jokes or abuse however they guffawed loudly at their brilliance. He found it amazing that they knew more about homosexuals than they did maths, science and English combined – although they were reasonably good at physical education. These morons mucked around a lot in P.E but they mucked around well if that was humanly possible.

Emerson Hicks turned his head to the mysterious-yet-impolite girl he had greeted and he noticed that her head was slightly turned and he saw- to his amazement- that her visible eye (a lovely hazel) – was teary – teary! Was she feeling regretful that she had pushed Emerson to the ground?

But as soon as she had turned her head it was back to facing the front as the English professor entered the classroom.

'We have a new student entering our classroom today – her name is Rosalie Fowles- and she's come all the way from Australia.' Drawing out the 'Australia' to show how amazing it was for an Australian to be in the classroom. Emerson peered cautiously at the trouble-makers of the class- he knew that they'd take any opportunity to make fun of Rosalie's Australian accent – if she had one that is- Emerson hadn't really noticed it.

At lunchtime Emerson made his way to the library when out of the corner of his eye he saw Rosalie approaching a bunch of girls – the type of girls who caked make up on their faces and were such suckers to the teachers, out of their vision and they were absolute bitches to everyone around them – to be truthful. When Rosalie spoke you could tell she was struggling to hide her Australian accent.
'Hey guys, how's it going?' she said cheerfully.

Emerson realised that she was being so harsh to him this morning was that she wanted to get on the good side of the rest of the class – she must of realised how unpopular he was.

'Why's your name Rosalie?' a wicked girl asked bluntly. From being half behind a pillar, Emerson saw Rosalie look surprised.

'...Because my parents named me that. Why?' Emerson could hear that Rosalie obviously thought these girls were kind of thick – he had to agree with her yet he braced himself for a harsh reply.

'It doesn't suit you – girls with a name like yours – based off a flower- are supposed to be pretty. Were your parents blind when they gave you that name or something because it certainly seems like it.'

As expected, the answer was indeed so horrible that Rosalie punched the girl square in the face – Emerson let out a cheer – he had always wanted to give one of those girls a good kick, a punch in the face is just as good, only if he did kick them he'd get called a 'girl basher' and get sent to the principal for unnecessary violence.

He noticed that while the words didn't affect him, the humiliation of being laughed at did, especially that they called him things he wasn't- he didn't like people thinking he was somebody else.

Although in Rosalie's case... she seemed to be affected by both the words and the humiliation.

'Hey Rosalie,' one of the other girls snapped whilst her other friend tended to the brute moaning and clutching her bleeding nos. Rosalie spun around and looked angrily at the girl. 'Your boyfriend's over there.'

Rosalie's eyes met Emersons' and suddenly he feared for his life – she looked like an angry bull ready to charge him down. Rosalie turned back to the girl who was smirking at her.

'Thank you so much for pointing that out to me.' Rosalie said in mock sweetness letting her full Australian accent through, 'you BITCH!'

She pushed the other girl to the ground and kicked her violently- meanwhile the other girl was letting her full vocabulary of swear words loose at every kick. When Rosalie left the girls were left to drag themselves to first-aid.

Emerson backed away behind the wall and saw Rosalie charging at him – he was terrified – yes, of a girl – but she was no ordinary girl – needless to say he didn't let his fear show.

'Thank you.' Emerson spluttered, 'I've wanted to do that for ages – you were amazing.'

He looked up from the ground to see Rosalie crying. Emerson felt helpless but then was startled to see Rosalie punch the wall.

'Don't do that-'Emerson fumbled on his words, 'and you shouldn't listen to them, they're stupid – they think it's funny.'

I don't think I helped her, Emerson thought, feeling stupid.

'Uh-' she sniffed, 'Thanks and sorry about before- I just-' she broke down into even more sobs, 'I just wanted to be popular!'

Emerson told her that he thought being popular wasn't her thing and how awful the 'popular' kids really were sometimes. This seemed to make her feel better. Rosalie then explained that at her old school in Australia she didn't have any friends and she kept to herself a lot. She wanted to become popular in order to gain some attention and have some friends for once. Emerson thought that maybe everybody was scared of her – so they didn't go near her- but he didn't voice this opinion.

'Nobody liked me.' She mumbled, and then she remembered what Sophie Wyler said in the classroom. 'You don't like me do you?'

'In what way?' Emerson raised an eyebrow.

'In a like-like way.' Rosalie looked uneasy.

There was very little pause.

'Not a chance, don't worry.' Emerson chortled.

Rosalie then asked if he was gay and Emerson smacked his forehead and told her that he said not to listen to anybody else but herself – in other words he meant 'no'.

Rosalie suddenly looked worried.

'What's your name?' she asked looking rather embarrassed.

'It's Emerson,' the boy said boldly, 'Emerson Hicks.'

**

The next day Emerson arrived at school feeling refreshed and was glad to see that Rosalie moved a desk to sit next to him- he was glad that Rosalie liked him- she was the only person at school (aside from the teachers) who did.

'Emerson and Rosalie sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.' Chanted the diabolic girls mockingly, one of them- both Emerson and Rosalie noted with glee- with a sort of bandage on her nose – it was evidently broken and she looked very grumpy.

'Ooh! They do like each other!' cried the girl with the broken nose misinterpreting- on purpose no doubt- the grins on their faces.

'I've got a better one!' one of the larger boys sniggered, 'Emerson and Rosalie sitting in a tree...'

The teacher entered the room to Henry Smarmy's ignorance.

'F-U-C-K-I-N-G!'

There was a silence – it was desperate for some sort of noise to be wrought.

'Mr Smarmy!' the teacher bellowed, 'Principals office, now! Come with me – Mrs Morgyn won't be very happy with you, young man.'

Emerson and Rosalie burst into a fit of silent laughter when Henry Smarmy left the classroom – they were ever-so-glad he had been caught. As Rosalie had been taught by Emerson she ignored them and instead found a great amusement at their petty bullying.

'Serves him right.' Emerson almost yelled. He didn't realise he had spoken so loudly until silence reached his ears, people muttering over the fact that Emerson had actually said something – he usually never spoke in class unless a teacher asked him for the answer to a question.

'Emerson Hicks, finally got some backbone, I see.' sneered Sophie Wyler, 'You have no idea how lucky you are to have Rosie-Posie on your side.'

'I think it's more skill than luck, actually.' Emerson said bravely. 'May I ask – Do you actually know the meaning of the word 'luck'?'

Rosalie was enjoying Emerson's effect on the 'toughie' Sophie Wyler – she was obviously lost for words.

'You're dead meat, Hicks.' Sophie said dangerously.

Maybe she wasn't.

'Meet me after school at four, we'll settle this.'

There was a collective 'Ooooh' throughout the class.

Emerson felt uneasy. Rosalie patted him on the back and whispered 'Don't worry – I'll help you out.' winking at him. This made Emerson feel a lot more confident.

The teacher returned and announced that Henry Smarmy was having a nice long lecture by the principle. Emerson thought it was awfully unfortunate that he wouldn't understand very much of it but was happy to see him gone.

**

At lunch time, Rosalie found Emerson reading in an obscure area of the library.
'This place is huge!' she breathed, 'It looks like one of the public libraries back in Australia.'

She stared whimsfully at the looming bookshelves and sat down next to Emerson – he shoved the book he was currently reading under the bean-filled sack he was sitting on- Rosalie however pulled it out and smiled at the cover.
It was a book about Australia.

'Just for some in-depth reading.' He said hastily, 'I already knew lots about Australia – it's a nice place – not that I've ever been there but it looks like a great place to live.'

Despite what he said he picked up a different book he had picked out – one about year 10 physics.

'What- um- what are you interested in?' Emerson asked feeling his cheeks go pink – he didn't realise until then how incompetent he was at socialising – at the very least with girls.

'I am interested in...' Rosalie looked thoughtful, 'I don't know myself actually, I like a lot of things.'

Emerson was lost, 'That's not very helpful...' he said slowly.

'Okay, I like butterflies – I'm really not the type to like girly stuff like that but they look so carefree. Sometimes I wish I could forget things.'

'What sort of things?' Rosalie was asked, she noticed how vague she had been with her interests.

'Forget things like – my parents breaking up...' she said sadly. 'That was awful. Well, I wouldn't mind forgetting every bad thing that's happened to me- like with my other school.'

Emerson didn't know what to say, he wanted to say sorry but didn't think Rosalie wanted to hear it – girls could be confusing sometimes...

'I like good things that happen to me and other people.' She continued, 'Does that count as an interest?'

Emerson wasn't sure if it did count or not so he remained silent.

'But if you forgot every bad thing- you wouldn't be the same person.' he said startling Rosalie. Rosalie said she wasn't sure what she wanted and that she'd decide if it was better to forget the bad stuff and be happy or be unhappy with the memories. Emerson thought life with the bad memories would be better but you wouldn't necessarily be unhappy- it all depended on what you did with the memories.

'That's really meaningful.' Rosalie said slowly, 'You're really wonderful, do you know that?'

Emerson blushed, 'Thank you.' He said hurriedly. They spent several minutes in silence while Rosalie went to pick out a book to read - Emerson continued reading the book about year 10 physics.

'Tell me a secret.' Rosalie said, grinning and giving Emerson a slight nudge.
'I don't have any secrets.' Emerson said bluntly – ruining the fun.

'Aw, are you serious? Everybody has secrets.' She laughed, when Emerson didn't answer she continued, 'Okay, don't worry about it.'

She looked anxiously at Emerson's face making him feel insecure.

'What?' he demanded.

'Aren't you going to ask me for a secret?'

Emerson paused.

'No.'

This caused Rosalie to create a ruckus and she started blabbing about how friends keep secrets and other strange things Emerson had only heard about from television soaps. To make her shut up he asked her to tell him a secret – hoping he wouldn't regret it.

'I've always wanted to be kissed at least once before I died.'

Emerson laughed – he obviously found this hilarious – Rosalie however was serious and she was looking shamefully at the ground – this wasn't the reaction she'd be hoping for- whatever that was.

'I think that secret is silly – of course you're going to get kissed one day!' he said looking bewilderedly at Rosalie who smiled at him, giggling at his stumbling on the word 'kissing'.

'Promise?' she asked. Emerson was amazed – she was dead serious. What a strange girl!

'Promise.' He affirmed. Rosalie let out a little cheer along the lines of 'Goodie!'.
Emerson shook his head at her and resumed reading, Rosalie staring at him to his unawareness – What a strange boy! she thought.

**

They met up after school at the front of the school, that way, if the fight got too bad, one of the teachers would certainly notice- that or one of the parents would. Emerson usually walked home so his parents wouldn't be a problem. Rosalie caught up with him, avoiding the large crowd.

'This place is gigantic!' Rosalie said in awe, 'As to how many kids can fit in here I have no idea.'

Emerson shrugged, noticing the contrast in Rosalie's accent to everybody else's, there was the odd English voice, but almost all of them were American- this being America. Emerson flinched as Sophie Wyler appeared in the doorway, looking extremely frightening – for him anyway – Rosalie was unscathed.

Sophie made her way over to Emerson and shoved him backwards a bit but this small inch of contact resulted in Rosalie flinging her fist into the side of Sophie's head.

'Stop it Rosalie!' Emerson cried as Sophie flew to the ground. 'She didn't do anything!'

'She wants to hurt you- I have to stop her!' Rosalie yelled, delivering powerful kicks to Sophie's stomach. Emerson ran at Rosalie and pulled her off of Sophie.

'Don't hurt her- please.' Emerson pleaded. Rosalie was confused.

'You were saying how great it was that I hurt those other girls yesterday.' Rosalie said, feeling hurt and ignoring the nefarious looks she was getting from Sophie.
Emerson helped Sophie up which resulted in being punching his face, Rosalie stepped back, unsure of what to do. 'What do I do?' she asked in a quiet voice – afraid for her new friend.

'Stay out of this, that's what.' Emerson gritted his teeth together as he was kicked in the groin. Sophie was clearly extremely angry at him but he wasn't sure what he did- just because he humiliated her in front of the class... she'd been doing that to him her entire life!

'I'm sorry, Sophie.' Rosalie mumbled, 'I'm sorry I hit you, and your friends.'
She watched the two fighting on the pavement, rolling onto the grass. Sophie didn't say anything to Rosalie, she only grunted- surely she must be able to accept her apology?

Rosalie was caught up in her own thoughts and suddenly looked up to see that the two fighting teenagers had moved onto the road, she saw that a car was coming.
'Guys! Get off of the road!' she called, Rosalie was relieved to see that, seconds later, they were off the road, only now Sophie had Emerson pinned against a wall – she backed away. Rosalie stepped forward, trying to get into earshot of what they were saying.

'I say that this is a draw.' Sophie mumbled, looking solemn. Emerson wiped his mouth (his lip was bleeding), and spoke up.

'Y'know, what you say at school doesn't bother me- you should learn to ignore what people tell you.' Emerson told her cautiously cautiously, unsure whether Sophie was going to punch him again or not.

'And I can't believe I'm telling you this- of all people.' He laughed, Sophie smiled- a very awkward smile however- Emerson couldn't believe it. Rosalie heard all this and smiled too but there was thing she didn't hear.

It was as if everything happened in slow motion – Sophie had turned around and looked alarmingly at Rosalie whilst Emerson started to yell. Rosalie didn't realise what was going on until it was too late.

Thud.

Rosalie had walked onto the road and didn't see the truck which was driving past – which was a pretty amazing feat- she must of been paying so much attention to the fight that she didn't notice.

Emerson yelled out Rosalie's name as she was hit, and he watched feeling pain all over his body as if he was the one who had been hit – the thought of his friend being in such a dangerous situation was overwhelming. Even Sophie was in shock.
The truck stopped and a startled truck driver hopped out and jogged over to Rosalie's body lying on the ground.

'Oh shit.' He said earnestly, 'I am so sorry-'

There was a silence, where Emerson edged towards Rosalie's body which had become crooked in certain places, blood oozing out of an open wound in her head. Her eyes were shut and she wasn't moving- Was she dead?

'I'm going to call 911.' The man said quickly and dashed away to fetch his phone out of his vehicle.

Around them, it was almost deserted – yet there were so many people a few minutes ago.

Emerson felt for a pulse and was relieved to feel it beating against his two fingers- but would she survive to the hospital? Emerson felt his eyes sting and hot, salty tears dripped down his face. He hadn't cried for such a long time it was somewhat therapeutic.

He could hardly hear Sophie breathing – she must be so shocked, that or she had ran away, he didn't want to draw his eyes away from her in fear that if he did, she would die. His mouth gaped open and he remembered what Rosalie said.

'I've always wanted to be kissed at least once before I died.'

Emerson had felt so unsure, but he had promised, he knew he had promised, he remembered it vividly in his mind. He knew that he loved Rosalie, romantically or not, he had no idea. But-

He never thought he would be the one to do such a thing.

Emerson Hicks kissed Rosalie Fowle on those cold lips of hers – they held such little life! And he could taste the blood too – it was awfully bitter.

He thought he heard the truck driver exclaim that CPR wouldn't help in this situation but he didn't care. His best friend, his only friend was dying right before him and he couldn't do anything to stop it. He didn't care that they had only known each other a few days- that was all he needed. He tore at his shirt and tied the fabric around her head so that it would absorb the blood, it didn't seem to work very well.

He howled like a toddler who had gotten lost in the supermarket- only it was a lot more serious than getting lost in the supermarket. He watched glumly and silently as the ambulance arrived and wheeled her into one of the vans. Emerson ran forward and begged to let them bring him along giving a long speech about how he could call his parents there and let them know he was okay- when he was told he looked like a bit of a mess himself he crossed his arms grumpily and jumped into the van determined to stay with Rosalie.

He had to wait many hours for any information at the hospital; they wouldn't allow him near Rosalie at that point and instead waited impatiently outside. He rang his parents who were as they say 'worried sick' about him and tried to comfort him when they told him that they would find another friend, he told them he was okay but that was a downright lie. His parents wanted him to come home for the night but he was stubborn to stay- so his parents told him they'd pick him up tomorrow and he could skip school tomorrow. He didn't want to hear what the teachers had to say about her anyway- they never knew her like he did.

In the early hours of the morning, a few doctors woke Emerson and told him that she had woken up and that she was okay. They were about to say more when Emerson clambered inside to see the beautiful girl – Rosalie Fowle – lying in her bed, looking at him with a faint smile on her face, her parents next to her left the room – he was alone with Rosalie.

'Are you alright?' Emerson asked urgently. Rosalie looked slightly dishevelled.
'My head hurts a bit, but I'll be alright- Would you believe somebody tried stopping the blood by tying some flimsy fabric around my head!' Rosalie said, wide eyed. Emerson looked at her miserably.

'That was me.' Emerson said blankly. Rosalie giggled.

'That was a bit silly of you- why would you do that? It didn't even work!'

'I did it because,' he paused, 'I did it because I love you!' Emerson yelled at her, feeling a weight leave his chest. Rosalie looked very uneasy.

'I'm sorry but I don't even know who you are.' She said slowly, utterly confused. 'How can you love me if we've never met before? It's absurd!'

Emerson blinked, feeling an awful pain deep inside, he ran outside the room and slammed the door, yelling in the doctors' faces.

'Why didn't you tell me she lost her memory!?' he cried out in anguish. 'Why didn't you!?'

The tallest of both the doctors stepped forward, 'We tried to tell you she has suffered a slight amnesia but-'

'SLIGHT amnesia!?' Emerson screeched. 'She doesn't remember anything about me for Christ's sake!'

With that said he ran out of the hospital, wiping his eyes on the sleeve of his jumper.

**

He didn't speak to his parents at all that day, he was feeling extremely depressed. He couldn't imagine how he could bear to go to school again without having to suffer memories of her – of Rosalie. The only thing he asked his parents was if he could change school – they said no of course.

The next day he arrived at school and separated Rosalie's desk from his, ignoring the snide comments from his classmates. 'Did you and Rosie-Posie break up?'
The teacher walked into the room and told the class that Rosalie would be back to Australia – her family feel that she'll feel a lot safer there. This was all very quickly stated and almost everybody forgot about it- everybody except Sophie and Emerson.

Emerson picked up his bag and walked straight out of the class, to the oval where he lay down on the grass and let the wind blow through his hair. He remembered what he said to Rosalie and the discussion they had together- is it better to forget the bad things and live happily? He was unsure about this all now he was beginning to wish he had never met her even though she was the best thing that had happened to him – perhaps he, Emerson was the best thing that ever happened to her? She wanted to forget the bad- yet... she only forgot Emerson.
It was only a week later that Emerson did realise that he was glad he met Rosalie; glad he didn't forget like she did. Rosalie would never see him again and she wouldn't care so why should he?

But he did care about her, and thoughts of her made him smile. He realised how little he had smiled until she came into his life. Now he was a lot happier- very much so.

'Well, it was nice to meet you, Rosalie.' Emerson admitted, suffering from severe nostalgia. 'It's nice to know that you'll never love me the way I loved you. And you know what?'

He chuckled to himself at this last statement.

'You probably forgot that I kissed you as well.'