The kid in the photo: Tall for his age with a boyish face, pretty chubby, snot ebbing at his nostrils, dark chestnut hair is cut short with no real styling, big bright gray eyes, smiling giddily with crooked, un-brushed teeth, holding a rabbit, wearing one of those cute little boy tuxedos.

The kid standing next to the photo: Average height for his age with a soft complexion and features, he's thin, but evenly toned, his hair is medium length and tousled to the right, it seems to only get darker and richer with age, small eyes with large gray iris', smiling crookedly with his hands in his pockets, wearing a thick gray Ezekiel jackal jacket and bullhead skinny slouch jeans.

This kids name is Noah.

We became consciously aware of each other in pre-school, although our mothers were changing our diapers together practically since birth. I was four, he was five. He was that stupid kid who always got hurt and was kind of fat. I was the bean poll girl who everyone thought was a boy because I hated Barbie's and played with hot wheels instead.

Fast forward ten years. We're both going into high school, but he's a year late because his mother held him back so that we could be in the same graduating class. Noah drops weight like nobody's business the summer before freshmen year. We both enroll in a musical high school known as Archer Academy. It sounds fancy, it's really not. It's basically a public school that offers more musically themed classes and extra curricular activities. You don't even have to play an instrument to get in.

Of course, Noah does play an instrument. He plays the violin and dabbles at the guitar. He's better at the violin if you ask me. He also sings, but I only know that because I heard him in the shower once. He said he had the radio on when I asked him what was up with his wicked boy band voice, but he was totally lying.

So anyway, we're going into high school, we know no one but each other and pretty much don't socialize the first few weeks. But it doesn't take long. Noah's suddenly hot bod and pretty boy face get him noticed instantly by the heel wobblers. I should have known going to a music school would produce a hundred and one Jessica Simpson's for every Kate Nash.

By the end of freshmen year he has been proclaimed the hottest kid in school, and the most sought after. I barely escape into summer with my best friend still my best friend. I know it's a bit cliché, but I can feel him changing every second we're at that school. But he's following his passion and I don't want anything to get in the way of that. Not even me. I just want to make the best of the time I have left with him while he's still him.

Fast-forward to today. Summer is over, sophomore year right in front of us. Noah is at my house and we're playing Super Mario, battle mode on the SNES and I am kicking his ass.

"So like, what happened to you?" I start. "You got totally hot. What is that about?" I am sitting on the floor and he is above me on the couch.

"I don't know," he says. "I always thought I was totally hot."

"You were a sad, ugly child, Noah."

"Yeah well I didn't even know you were a girl until seventh grade when you finally got boobs." He retorts. "Imagine how I felt when I found out my best friend was a girl?" He throws the controller down on the couch. "Son of a bitch! I hate this game!"

"Cause you keep losing, you're such a baby." I crawl over to the SNES and re-set the game.

"Yeah, whatever, I bet you practice this dungeon like every day just so you can beat me."

"That is exactly what I do Noah. Every waking moment of my life that I am not with you, I am practicing this dungeon."

He lets loose a stream of indiscernible noises that emphasize his inability to lose with grace.

"Well if you're just going to throw a tantrum every time I beat you because you suck so hard at video games, let's do something else."

"You don't even know what a tantrum is" he says. "So what's playing at the old theatre?"

"That's now how you say it." I roll my eyes.

"That's how you spell it."

"Hold on, I'll go check." I say, disappearing down the hall and heading to my room to pull out my lap top. When I come back into the den, Noah is talking to someone on his cell phone.

"Um, actually I'm about to go to the movies with Emily," he says. Pause for the other line. "Not… really. I mean, sorry, but I am legitimately busy, so…" another pause. "Yeah, maybe," a shorter pause, and then. "Okay, bye."

"Who was that?" I ask, sitting down next to him and opening up my laptop.

"Ariel," he says quietly.

"How did that bitch get your phone number?" I go to my favorites and bring up the local theater's website.

"Um, I gave it to her?"

"Why would you do that?" Not going to get into Ariel except to say I don't like her. I should be jealous that she has Noah's phone number, but as long as he's blowing her off for me, I don't care a whole lot.

"I don't know, she asked, and she's hot? I mean, what do you want from me, Em? I'm a guy."

"Oh right, sorry. You just suck so hard at Super Mario. Sometimes I forget and think you're a girl." He doesn't say anything and I study the videos on the theaters list. "This… this is all shit!" I exclaim. "What the hell!"

"Let me see," he leans over me and sticks his head in my computer screen instead of waiting for me to hand it to him.

"Calm down," I say.

"What? You were the one putting exclamation points everywhere."

"I was not."

"Well you're right. That is total shit. Let's get ice cream."

"Are you paying? Because I'm totally broke," I say, closing my laptop.

"Get a job," he sighs.

"You get a job," I shoot back.

"I have a job," he says.

"Noah. Baby sitting your neighbor's twin terrors for five hours once is not a job."

"It basically is a job," he says.

"No. It's not. Shut up. Because you know what? You slept on the couch for four of those five hours while I had to herd the satan-beasts around and put them to bed and you didn't even give me half of your pay. You are such a little bitch I totally forgot about that! Oh my God, I'm mad at you now. You better buy me some fucking ice cream."

Noah sighs and waves his hands around in the air like it's supposed to mean something. "Yeah okay whatever. I'll buy you some ice cream. Let's go already." He says and stands up.

"Alright, hold on let me leave a note for my mom incase she comes back while we're gone and thinks we eloped."

We walk to the ice cream parlor in mild silence. Once in awhile he would point something out, or I would make a comment but for the most part we are silent.

Noah and I live in a small town. Besides one pre, elementary, middle, and high school, there is the music high school, and that's it for about a hundred miles. No other forms of education exist in our town except the internet.

We have one dentist, one hospital, one mechanic, one movie theatre, maybe two grocery stores, you get the idea.

It didn't occur to either of us that the last weekend before school starts the parlor would be packed with hungry teens in desperate need of socialization. I cringe.

"Wow. You want to eat at the park?" Noah asks, casting me a knowing look.

"Yes. Please, yes."

"Cool, let me just take care of this, you wait here." He gives me what he thinks is his "cool smooth guy" smile, but really he just looks like a chach, and slips away in the crowd. About fifteen minutes later he muscles his way back outside with ice cream in hand. "Here you go," he says and hands me a small cone dripping with sweet frozen chocolate cream. "Man it was hell in there. Tons of kids from Archer's."

"Really?" I say, sticking my face into the ice cream, no holes barred.

"Yeah," He hands me a napkin. "All the orchestra guys were in there,"

"Are you sure you want to go to the park?" I say, but he's already starting across the street. I jog to catch up with him.

"What?" He says.

"Are you sure you want to go to the park? I mean we can hang with your violin buddies if you want, I don't mind." We arrive at the park. Oh, did I forget to mention it is across the street from the parlor? Yeah. It's pretty far. We barely get there with our legs in tact.

Noah sits down in one of the swings. "Eh, it's okay. I'll have all school year to hang with my violin buddies."

"You'll have all school year to hang with me, too." I point out.

A strange look settles on his face, but only for a moment, then it is gone. "Yeah," he says, but not in his previous joking tone.

"What? What is this 'yeah,'?" I say. "What does that even mean?"

"Well," he starts. "I mean, didn't you notice?" He looks up at me, he's barely touched his ice cream.

"Notice what?" I'm starting to get a little nervous.

"We hardly got to hang out at all, last year. I mean, we did, but not nearly as often as we used to. I was always at orchestra practice or you were always working on those AP projects. I just kind of figured… I don't know, we should spend the last weekend together."

"Yeah," I look down at my ice cream. Its melting fast so I take another big bite of it. "Well," I say, smiling at him. "I'm not complaining."

He looks at me with a crooked smile. "You've got shit all over your face."

"Shut up..." I wipe my mouth with the napkin and take another, less aggressive, bite of my ice cream. He finally starts eating his too.

We finish our respective ice creams in silence and sit for awhile. The sun is starting to set and we both know we'll have to head home soon.

"Hey," Noah says suddenly. "Bet you a dollar I can fit in the toddler swing."

"Um, no, I'm broke, remember? But try anyway."

He hops off his swing and pulls himself into the small toddler swing at the end of the set. He does actually mange to fit his huge man ass into the seat, but he's folded himself in half to do it and looks like a total tool.

"I think the real bet is whether or not you can get out of the toddler swing, Noah." I say.

He tries to pull himself out of the seat but he can't get a grip on the edge of the swing.

"Wow," I say. "This is sad. Do you need help?"

"No!" he huffs and continues trying to pull himself out of his toddler prison.

"I think we can officially put this on the top ten list of 'worst idea's you've ever had'." I say.

After a few minutes of watching him struggle, I've had enough. I walk over to him and grab his hand, helping him out of the toddler swing. He pops out like ketchup from one of those little packets at a food fight, and almost looses his balance as he staggers back on solid ground.

"Well, we should probably go home," I say. "Are you going to stay for dinner?"

He looks at the ground. "I can't, my dad wants me home tonight."


"But, tomorrow? We still have Saturday and Sunday before school starts up."

"Okay," I say. "It'll give me more time to practice that dungeon in Super Mario.

Noah and I part ways at my door step and agree to meet back up tomorrow morning so I can kick his ass at Super Mario again.

"Hey, sweetie," my mom says as I close and lock the front door behind me. "Noah's not staying for dinner?"

"No, his dad wants him home tonight."

"Oh," her face falls. We both know what that means, but neither of us says anything.

I surf the net for awhile while mom makes dinner. She's gotten into this whole cooking thing lately. We used to go out for dinner all the time but then Mom realized we have this thing called a stove with which you can cook your own food. On the bright side, she's got a little bit of natural talent for cooking, but most of her food is pretty bland because she still hasn't conquered spices.

Dad and I pretend like it's the best thing we've ever eaten though, and Mom believes us so everything is hunky-dory.

Speaking of my dad, he comes home just in time for dinner to be ready and we all sit down and eat. Dad tells us about this new client, who is being sued by some guy for receiving "poisoned" baked goods at a bake sale his client was having to raise money for a cure for breast cancer.

We all talk about how ridiculous this is and how impossible it is to prove and how Dad is totally going to win the case. Shortly after we leave for our respective rooms and, after surfing the net for a while longer, I eventually go to sleep around eleven.