A/N: This is an entry for the Ridiculously Happy OneShots contest - please see the FP profile of annoyance for further details. (There will be a poll on her profile later on to settle the winner!)
Here are some of the rules:
- Has to be a One Shot.
- Has to be more than 2500 words.
- The main pairing must be het (boy/girl).
- The story must be Ridiculously Happy (all entries will be entered into annoyance's C2). That means no Angst, Hurt/Comfort. Romance, Humor and General are the preferred genres.
- All ratings are accepted, but keep lemons to a minimum.
- The story must be in the category Fiction -- Romance.
- The story can be in POV of either the boy or the girl.
- The story must use irony. (For example, the one thing the boy hates about the girl could be what finally causes him to realize his feelings for her.)
- The girl must be significantly shorter than the guy, and he should make at least 3 comments about this. (Ideally around 1 foot of difference in height.)
The opposition looked strong, but so were we. I looked up and down my row of fellow allies and nodded with a smug smile gracing my face. Yes, we were definitely strong.
From out of the corner of my eye I noticed the leader of my enemy smirk. It was evident he thought victory was near, but I would prove him wrong. Our side was greater, and this was the survival of the fit-
"Red Rover, Red Rover, we call Anita over!"
Damn it – that was me! I shot a glare at the opposing group's captain, released the hands of the people on either side of me, and took off at a deadly sprint towards the other line.
"Lower your arms people!" I heard their captain shout. "We don't want Anita to run right under them!"
I growled at the blatant teasing of my height and increased my speed, my head lowered like a charging bull.
My feet managed to find the one pebble present on our obsessively cared-for soccer field, I took an unintentional nosedive, and I ended up missing their arms anyway.
Oh, and I heard a nice big crack – right before I passed out in pain.
The doctor seemed to find my predicament hilarious.
"You were playing what?" he asked me for the third time.
I stared at his pocket, wondering if he hand any lollipops for me. "Red Rover," I muttered. "Our gym teacher was away and the supply obviously never taught physical education before."
He chuckled and walked over to his desk to scribble something in my file. "Well, now you know why the game's banned in some schools. Lollipop?"
I brightened up. "Yes please!"
"Only if you come over here at get it," he said stoically.
My face fell as I looked down at the lumpy cast on my left ankle. "You're mean," I sulked. "No wonder you're related to Thierry."
"Harsh words, my dear." But he grinned and walked back over. In his hands was a giant strawberry lollipop and I eagerly took it.
"How long do I have to lug this thing around?" I asked, unwrapping the candy.
The doctor shrugged. "About six weeks, maybe up to eight – depending on how much you exert yourself. Take care of your body-"
"-and your body will take care of you," Thierry finished, sticking his head into the room. "Ready to go home Anita?"
I shot him an evil look. "It's your fault I almost died!"
"You didn't almost die," he retorted. "And how is it my fault?"
"You made me run!"
Thierry smirked. "You make it seem like I put that pebble in the middle of your path so that your clumsy feet would find it and your unbalanced senses would allow you to face-plant in the middle of the game." He rolled his eyes to the ceiling when mine widened. "No, you idiot, I was being sarcastic!"
"Hmph," I muttered, letting his father lower me to the floor. The cast was definitely helping, and I didn't feel too much pain after practically inhaling medication earlier. "Are my parents here Dr. Michaels?"
"I'm not sure…Thierry?"
I knew as soon as Thierry smirked again that I was not going to like what was going to come out of his mouth.
"Actually, Mrs. Richard called a few minutes ago to say they were experiencing some car problems and would be late."
I breathed a sigh of relief because the news wasn't as bad as I had expected.
"So, naturally, I offered to just drop Anita off at home instead of making her wait so long…and here I am!"
I wished I could take that sigh back. Damn it.
"It's fine – I'll just wait for them here," I offered quickly.
Dr. Michaels shook his head, knowing why I was backing out. Hell, everybody probably knew of the hate-hate relationship between me and Thierry.
"You should be somewhere comfortable, relaxing," Dr. Michaels said. "Thierry won't bite you on the drive home. Right?"
It didn't make me feel any better when even he didn't sound sure of it.
And it definitely did not help when Thierry shrugged instead of agreeing.
"Did Talia come with you?" I asked Thierry, hoping against hope that his twin sister, my best friend, would be around to act as a buffer between us.
He grinned and pushed his blonde hair away from his eyes. "Nope. She asked if I wanted her to come along, but I said all you needed was rest."
I heard his father cover up something that sounded remarkably like a snort.
Sighing, I reached for my brand-new crutches. "Thanks Dr. Michaels. I guess I'll see you in two weeks?"
"Yeah. Take care of your leg, Anita. And make sure you get a lot of calcium into your body!"
I nodded and followed Thierry out of the building. He held open every door along the way, and was actually acting nice!
"Are you being paid to help me?" I asked suspiciously. There was no way my arch-enemy was going to help me for the sake of being human.
He opened the passenger side door of his car and took my crutches from me while I climbed in. After putting them in the trunk of the car, he climbed into the driver's seat.
"Yes, Anita," he finally said. "I'm getting paid out of the fund your friends started at school to save your ankle. They've collect 17 cents and a piece of string so far."
I arched an eyebrow at him. "That must be more money than you'd ever seen in your life," I said snidely, ignoring the fact that I was sitting in his brand new Lexus.
Thierry didn't answer, but reached into the backseat and pulled something out of a bag. "Here," he said, turning to me. "Drink this." It was a straw and carton of milk. I stared at it blankly before realizing I was thirsty.
"Thanks for the calcium," I said, wincing once the lame words were out.
"Maybe it'll help you grow a few inches while it heals your bone." He started the car and pulled out of the lot.
I slurped at the drink and glared at him over the straw.
"How do you feel?" he asked after a few minutes.
"Resentful at that stupid pebble."
Thierry smiled and I blinked when I realized it was a nice smile – not the smirk he usually had on when I was around. "Can I sign your cast?"
He shot me a surprised look before turning back to the road. "Why not?"
"Because…we don't like each other?"
"I was under the impression that we were repressing sexual tension."
I began choking and had to pinch my nose to prevent milk from shooting out. He didn't say a word until I stopped coughing. "Are you insane? That's not a funny thing to say!" I ground out before coughing again.
"Are you okay?" he said, ignoring my rebuke.
I noticed we had pulled into my driveway. "Yeah," I said, clearing my throat. "Thanks for the ride."
Thierry nodded and got out. I had the car door open and was setting my legs onto the driveway when he came around with my crutches.
I was finding it a bit difficult to pull myself to my feet, and gasped when he set the crutches against the car and pulled me up himself.
It brought us body-to-body…except my face was in his chest because I was just so damn short!
Thierry slowly backed away and looked down at me with a raised eyebrow. "You're red."
"Exertion," I responded quickly. "Thanks for the ride and the pick-up. Um…I meant picking me up. Lifting me? Raising-"
"Helping you to your feet?" he provided.
I nodded in relief. "Yeah, that's it. Thanks for that."
His eyes glinted with mirth. "So…how about you let me sign your cast as a 'thank you' present?"
"Anita! Cali, your sister's home – get the soup started!" A turn of my head showed that my mother was hurrying out of the house.
I turned back to Thierry. "How about…no?"
"Not even as a 'thank you'?"
"Anita, darling, how is your leg?" my mother gushed, still a few feet away.
"I'm fine, mom!" I looked back up at Thierry and answered his question next. "Because I would never let you brand me – not even on a temporary cast."
He opened his mouth to respond but was cut off by my mother throwing herself at me.
"That stupid car your father imported is just worthless, darling! It's a good thing Thierry here is such a sweetheart and offered to pick you up. You don't understand how glad I am that you're both finally dating!"
"We're not dating," I muttered, avoiding Thierry's eyes. I knew from past experience that he told people – knowing full well it would get back to me – that we were dating; it was no skin off his back, apparently, and only served to irritate me.
"Oh, that's too bad," my mother murmured. "Maybe soon?"
I grabbed my crutches, ignoring her question, and shot a pointed look towards the house. "My leg hurts," I complained, although the medication was yet to wear off. I just needed to get rid of Thierry.
"My poor dear!" my mother said sympathetically. "Can you help her inside Thierry?"
Thierry grinned at me, probably having guessed my intentions. "Of course, Mrs. Richard. Why don't you take Anita's crutches and I'll help her along?"
My oblivious mother did as he asked and turned towards the house. "I'm just going to make sure your sister isn't setting the house on fire, the poor dear," she said. "The two of you can just lumber along into the living room at your own pace."
Still, she waited until Thierry slid an arm around my back and we took our first few steps towards the house. Once she saw that we had a system in place to get me inside, she nodded and headed inside.
"You can let go now," I muttered once she was out of sight.
"And have you face-plant and break that adorable milk-spouting nose?"
Knowing full well that I would probably do exactly what he said if he let go, I let his arm stay around me and took another step.
It definitely hurt my pride to admit to myself that he was definitely strong. He was easily bearing the brunt of my weight on his one arm, plus I could feel his muscles where our bodies were touching.
I had to fight back the urge to scream at the thoughts running through my mind, and instead focused my attentions on moving my feet.
"This is taking forever," Thierry commented a minute later. "Why don't I just carry you inside?"
"Try. It. And. Die."
Luckily that day was a Friday, so I had two days to get used to my disability, and I was back in school on Monday.
I felt like a piece of meat in a pool of piranhas.
Seriously, everybody in the hallway looked down at my clean white cast, grinned at me…and then brought out the pens, markers, and highlighters.
"Not until I'm in class with my butt on a chair," I cried out, letting Natalia defend me against the onslaught of zombies.
"Morning Anita," I heard the moment I slid – okay, fell – into my seat. "Can I sign your cast?"
I shot a look over my shoulder at the guy sitting in the seat one over and behind mine. "No, Thierry, you may not. Hell, we've been over this!" That was all he nagged me about on Friday at my house – even with my family present. In fact, my sister Cali had refused to sign my cast because she's a Thierry fan and felt I was treating him like crap.
"Yo Anita, can I sign this thing?"
I didn't even bother turning around to see who had spoken. "Sure George, just don't take up too much room!" I grinned when Thierry glared at the privilege being granted to someone other than himself.
"You're being spiteful," he commented.
I snorted. "You're the one who cut off my hair!" Yes, that's what began our feud.
"We were eight, and you had gum in it!"
"Nee-nee, can I sign your boo-boo?"
Once again, I didn't have to turn around. It was impossible to get Laurel mixed with anybody else. "Sure Laurel," I responded absently. "And just because we were young doesn't mean you weren't mean!" I told Thierry.
Natalia dropped down in the seat beside me. "There's a line-up forming to sign your cast," she commented.
I looked back and realized that, sure enough, there was. "I guess nobody broke anything around here in a long time," I said dryly. "Lucky them that the pebble found me."
Our homeroom teacher came in just then, but he dismissed us to do whatever we wanted; homeroom was only ten minutes long, so we rarely had time to do anything productive anyway.
Thierry passed Natalia a paper. "Give this to Anita."
She looked down at it and frowned. "What's this?"
"Just give it to her."
"Why are you passing notes when you could easily just speak to me?" I asked him, rolling my eyes.
"It's not a note," Natalia said, passing it to me.
It was a paper with Thierry's letter written on it in multiple forms of handwriting. "What's this?"
"Choose which way you want me to write it on your cast!" Thierry said cheerfully.
I reached into my bag and pulled out a bottle of white-out. After shaking it, I unscrewed the top and ran the sponge over the entire paper. "Here," I said, handed it gingerly to Natalia, who passed it back to Thierry. "This is want I want."
"You know," he said, "white-out isn't good for your cast. It has some weird toxic fumes and might impair your healing."
Natalia reached over and poked him in the forehead. "I think she's saying that she doesn't want you to write anything, not that she actually wants you to use white-out!"
"I wasn't commenting on that," Thierry responded with a smirk. "Oh hey, it looks like everyone's done writing on your cast," he said, his smirk growing wider. "Why don't you see what they wrote?"
A little wary that he had bribed someone into drawing or writing something graphic on my cast, I turned back and peered down at it.
He hadn't bribed someone into anything – he had bribed each and every person.
Every inch of my cast was covered with the same word over and over again: Thierry.
There were no other names anywhere.
"You've been branded, my dear."
I jolted at the sound of his voice so close to my ear. Thierry was leaning over me from behind, his chin grazing my right shoulder.
"Should I take away your white-out?"
"Did you finally say yes to him?"
"That's so sweet, you guys are finally together!"
"I, like, totally, like, hate you!"
Natalia and I stared at the retreating back of Melanie Danes after she 'like like liked' me to death and ran away in tears.
"What's with her?" I whispered, a little scared by her outburst. The rest I could handle, because they were merely misguided souls, but the redhead with the orange tan was just creepy.
"She wanted to have Thierry's babies," Natalia whispered back.
"But then I suspected she had rabies."
We jolted and smacked our heads into each other. "THIERRY!"
"What?" he asked innocently. "I was just trying to rhyme. And Talia, doesn't your neck hurt from leaning down so far to talk to Anita?"
I glared at him. "Thanks to you I'm getting swept away in tears."
He raised an eyebrow in question.
"Your girlfriends are all crying on my shoes." I looked down. "Okay, I only have on one shoe – but it's new!"
Thierry threw an arm around his sister. "They can't all have me, you know. I've been saving myself for you to finally notice me." He grinned at me. "I'm so glad you admitted your true feelings and wear my name so proudly."
"I want to burn it," I hissed.
"The fires that burn…that will symbolize your eternal lust for my body."
Natalia looked torn between gagging and laughing. "Thierry, stop aggravating her!"
"She bears my name," Thierry said seriously. "She has been branded, and is therefore mine to aggravate."
"For the next six weeks," I muttered. "Oh God, how am I going to last that long?" I cried, my eyes pleading with Natalia.
"Whatever," Thierry said, sounding disgruntled. "At least you'll get rid of it in six weeks. I don't have that kind of choice."
He glared at me. "Forget it, Anita. Go back to living under your rock."
Thierry stalked away, and I turned to Natalia in confusion. "Is he pissed at me? I've never actually seen him pissed at me." Sure, we were 'enemies', but it was nothing serious.
Natalia sighed and pointed towards the cafeteria. "Let's go have lunch."
"So?" I asked after I arranged my crutches and began walking. "Why do I get a feel you know something I don't know?"
"You dumb child," Natalia said. "Haven't I told you countless times that my lovely older-by-7-minutes brother is head over heels in love with you?"
"And I laughed at you," I reminded her, chuckling again. "You're so funny like that."
She rolled her eyes. "I wasn't joking. I think everybody in the school who knows you and Thierry knows that he'd like nothing better than to be with you."
I made a tsk-tsk sound. "Is this some sort of late April Fool's trick?"
"No." Natalia bit off the word, and I suddenly realized she believed in what she was saying.
"You're serious?" I asked incredulously.
She stopped and looked me in the eyes. "Yes Anita. I truly believe that Thierry is in love with you."
"You wanna hear something funny I heard last week?"
Thierry looked up from his textbook. "Not particularly." He was sitting in the library, researching for our individual assignment in history.
"Oh…well…I'll tell you anyway," I decided. "Talia got it into her head that you're secretly in love with me." He was silent. "Isn't that funny?" I probed.
"Haha, yes," he responded blankly. "Is that all?"
I sat down across from him. "What climbed in your eyes and cut the power?"
That made him furrow his forehead. "What?"
"The metaphorical light in your eyes isn't there anymore…what's wrong?"
"Nothing. Can you please let me get back to work?"
I watched him for a moment. "It's true, isn't it?"
"What is?" he asked, immediately on the defensive.
"What Talia said…you like me."
Thierry dropped his pencil onto the textbook and leaned back in his chair. "Running away with the assumptions, aren't you?"
I sighed and stood up. It had taken me the better part of a week to get used to the idea that Thierry might have actual feelings for me, and then the rest of that week to get used to the idea that I returned the favour…but apparently Natalia was wrong. I was wrong. "Sorry about that," I murmured sullenly, grabbing hold of my crutches.
"What suddenly shut off your light?" he asked, getting to his feet.
I smiled softly at his version of what I had said. "It's nothing…I just feel like I got my hopes up for nothing." And then I internally cursed myself for the words.
"Hopes?" he said, immediately tuning into the word. "What do you mean by that?"
"It's nothing," I repeated, shaking my head quickly. "I should get going."
"Anita, wait." Thierry was suddenly at my side. "I want you to tell me what you meant by those words."
I stared at the ground. "Maybe I let myself believe what Natalia told me. Maybe I got used to the idea. Maybe I started thinking it was a good thing." I squeezed my eyes shut to calm myself.
"What are you saying?" he whispered, grabbing my upper arms. "Anita?"
"I'm not in love with you," I said in a rush, and felt his fingers loosen their hold. "But I could be," I finished with a sigh.
Thierry released his hold on me and took a step back. "Did you just confess your undying love for me?" he asked, a teasing lilt to his voice.
At that moment I wished I could walk away without the hindrance of my crutches. "I did not say I was in love with you," I snapped.
"But you could be?" he probed.
"No, I probably can't…you're too obnoxious and…and…and an ass!"
He grinned. "That's a 'yes'?"
I glared at him. "Well seeing how you branded me and all!" The glare was then turned towards my left ankle and its cast.
"You think that's a branding?" he asked her with a laugh. "Wait till you see what I have!"
He was wearing a t-shirt with three tiny buttons at the neck. With a quick look around, he unbuttoned those and shoved his collar down to reveal a tattoo above his heart.
"What is that?" I asked, intrigued.
Thierry rubbed at it and then released his hold on the collar so it settled back when it was supposed to. "It's a Chinese word," he explained. "It says 'grace'."
I felt my heart clench. "Who's that?"
He looked at me like I was crazy. "That's the meaning of your name, silly!" He laughed. "Too bad your parents didn't realize you'd be anything but graceful!"
I ignored the insult and gaped at him. "You tattooed that because of me?"
"And because I was drunk and thought it was a clever idea…but yeah, it's dedicated to you," he said almost shyly.
Thierry scratched his arm awkwardly. "Well I've liked you since the eight grade-"
"Yeah, it's pathetic," he admitted. "And I got this tattoo last year…but I was too scared to ask you out."
"You're scared of me?" I crowed. "That's great – wait till I tell Talia!"
I tugged out my cell phone, only to have him close a hand over my wrist. "Can we settle this discussion before you tell the world?" he requested.
"What's to discuss?" I retorted. "You have my name permanently etched onto your skin, and I have this cast with your name all over it. It must be meant to be…well, ignoring the fact that both things were your doing."
He opened his mouth to speak but I cut him off.
"You know what's even funnier?" I asked rhetorically. "The fact that I was trying so hard not to let you 'brand' me, while the whole time you were walking around with my name stamped on your chest." I giggled. "You're such a loser."
Thierry's eyes narrowed. "Excuse me?"
"My loser?" I said hopefully.
He snorted. "Much better – especially since that gives me my answer."
"Answer to what?"
"Whether I can do this-"
And then my crutches went flying while he proceeded to kiss my senses into overload.
I guess this kiss thing was just a whole new level of branding.
A/N: There's a poll on my profile regarding my fiancé writing further notes to all of you...and he has been gloating because so far not one person has said 'no'! (But I have to admit I'm delighted you're all finding him funny!) Unfortunately, it's 3:50am right now and I don't want to call and wake him up just to force him to write a note - so I'll probably get him to do one for the next thing I post.
Oh, and I opened a LiveJournal account out of sheer procrastination, and I'm planning to update it with reviews of (published) books that I read. There's not much up on there right now, but I'm hoping to keep going with the reviews and add other things like what's going on with my life, maybe notes from Kalen, character photos for my stories, etc. Feel free to make suggestions!
Thank you to all my readers/reviewers - even if you don't increase my review counter, I can see the increase in readers on the stats page. And thank you to annoyance for inviting me to take part in this contest.