Chapter Four.

All was quiet and peaceful on the lawn. It was only the end of the first day of school and already life was proving to be exhausting. A whole year of Rebecca and Emma in history class…Kate definitely wasn't looking forward to that. She wasn't really much of an academic in general, either, so school itself wasn't seeming all-too-appealing. She was beginning to wonder what exactly was going to be so good about this year.

Maybe nothing.

Kate sighed. If only life could be as peaceful and devoid of emotion as the night sky. The crickets chirped without jealousy, the moon shone without anger, the wind breezed without frustration. They all just…were. They didn't have motivations, they didn't have things that held them back; they all simply had the job of being, where emotions didn't exist and couldn't get in the way of existing.

The Tennessee air had been hot and thick during the day, but the sun's rest created a peaceful sanctuary for Kate. The wind provided a bit of a cool interruption to the summer's heat; the moon and stars provided a light that wasn't as harsh as the blazing sun's. Kate closed her eyes, preparing to take a nap.

Pacifying. Quiet.

"Hey."

One eye cracked open, the second not really wanting to come back to reality again. Oh.

"Hey, Leo." The eye closed again. A welcome visitor.

He layed next to her on the beach towel. "Not too comfortable."

"It's a towel on grass."

"Appropriate, then."

Silence.

The quiet was comfortable and calm. It was a familiar situation, one they had known their whole lives. When they were younger, they set up a paper telescope in Leo's treehouse. They spent their summers trying to teach PB&J how to use the telescope, but the cat ended up just trying to eat it.

When they grew up, they spent their summers lying on their backs and looking at the constellations, seeing if they could count the stars. They always failed, leaving out on or two there, recounting another group, but it was fun anyway. A productive way to spend a summer night, two friends marvelling at the natural wonders in the sky.

More productive than trying to teach a cat how to use a paper telescope, anyhow.

"Enjoying sophomore year?"

Kate shrugged. "Not really."

"Oh? What's wrong?"

"Nothing, really. Just some dumb girls."

Leo sighed. "Kate, come on—"

"I know, I know, I shouldn't let them get to me. But they're just so—so—"

"…So…?"

She threw up her arms, not able to come up with anything. "Ugh, I don't know. They just make me angry."

Leo propped himself up on his arms. "Why?"

"They just get away with being pretty and stupid and—"

"And…?"

Kate groaned, frustrated, and propped herself on her arms, as well. "Why do you have to make so much sense, Leo?!"

"Sorry?"

A groan, and then a laugh. Kate bet that the moon never groaned and laughed at the same time. Never had confusion on deciding which emotions to choose. Because it couldn't feel anything, so there was no harm done.

Leo laughed, too. "C'mon, Kate. You're just as pretty as they are, and you're much less stupid."

Kate mock-swatted him. "Thanks."

He grinned genuinely. "Anytime."

They laid back down, and the comfortable silence resumed.

"Orion's bright tonight," Leo offered.

Kate sighed, letting his words sink in. "Yeah," she said at last. "So it is."

They would always be inseparable, just like these familiar moments. They would last forever.

***

He was late.

Kate sat in her living room, holding a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire up to her face, though she wasn't exactly reading. Her eyes were trained on the clock: seven-oh-three. She looked back at the book, the words on the page filled with incomprehensible letters, as opposed to the numbers on the clock. She looked back at the clock, then flipped a page. Seven-oh-four.

Ding.

For a moment, Kate simply sat there, unsure whether it was real or simply her wishful brain confabulating.

Ding.

And then she hesitated no more, tossing Harry Potter haphazardly aside and not caring whether the artful pages crushed against each other. It was also not of any importance whether she or the objects around her remained unblemished, and consequently Kate banged her shin into the corner of the coffee table and promptly bruised.

"OW," she said loudly, pausing only for a brief moment to rub the spot she'd hit, clambering to the door.

Leo arched an eyebrow when she opened it. "What happened to you?"

Kate growled at him, reaching down to rub her shin again. "Hit my leg on the coffee table."

Leo snickered. "That excited to see me, huh."

Kate punched him, trying to hide her blush. "Shut up."

"Ow!"

"Yeah, well, that's what you get for laughing at me."

But that didn't prevent him from still laughing as they got into his car.

The high school stadium was filled with students for the first game of the year. Kate and Leo were among them, though neither of them tended to frequent the games. The atmosphere consisted of two thousand adolescent voices; Kate caught glimpses of the conversations as the pair walked by:

"…hair was completely gone—"

"…she actually did it, I wasn't expecting her to…"

"…see that bulletin today? Couldn't believe—"

"Ohmygod hey!"

"Hey, Laurie, have you seen my backpack? I swear it was—"

"TYLER! OVER HERE!"

"Kinda loud, isn't it?"

The last voice, while quieter than all the rest, was directly in her ear, and Kate jumped a bit, despite the fact that she recognized it as harmless.

"Oi," she said as he backed away, but he just laughed goodnaturedly.

"Sorry 'bout that," he said in a normal voice.

His sheepish grin was too much for her to handle, so she gave in and reciprocated it. "Just scared me, is all. It's so loud here."

"That's what I was saying," he said; they were now shouting over the crowd as the noise around them grew denser. "Come on, let's go to the front."

Their seats were waiting for them, and Kate and Leo happily sat, both excited about the coming game. The pep band was on the bleachers opposite the crowd, playing "Come on Eileen," which Kate recognized immediately and began to sing.

"…oh, I swear what they mean, at this moment, take off EVERY-thiiiing…"

Leo laughed, sitting next to her. Kate had always been one to sing whenever she could, though she wasn't particularly brilliant at it. He didn't do anything to stop it, despite its lack of beauty; after all, Kate had always had a talent for the trumpet, though she didn't play much of it any longer. Come to think of it, he didn't really know why she'd stopped.

"…you in that dress, oh, Eileen tell me—"

"Hey, Kate?"

Leo had interrupted Kate's singing. Kate growled internally, then externally as she glared at him.

"What is so important that you have to interrupt 'Come On Eileen?'"

"You have gum. In your hair."

"…Oh. Gross."

He snipped it out with the scissors on his pocket-knife, as it was only on one of the ends of her hair and it didn't do too much damage to her haircut for him to do so. He couldn't help but notise that her hair smelled like strawberries.

And the sudden loud cheering around them cued that the game had started.