Chapter One: The Little Girl Who Shouldn't Have.
The sun has left and forgotten me.
Natalie propped her chin on top of her knuckle and sighed dreamily.
"Ah, he's so beautiful," she murmured quietly to herself, a faint pink crossing her cheeks. "No, no. Mustn't." Natalie cast her eyes back down to her text book and tried to concentrate on the numbers that laid jumbled on her paper. But it was so tempting. Casually, her eyeball began to drift over back to the slightly opened window.
Why couldn't she have had the same free period as him? Alec jumped into the air and grabbed the basketball agilely.
"Nat, you're drooling," someone teased. Jennifer giggled subtly and leaned forward to try to catch a glimpse.
"Stop! You're going to make Ms. Camille look over!" Natalie hastily shoved at Jennifer, nearly falling out of her seat. Her elbow knocked into the seat that sat next to them. Little dust particles erupted from their jackets as it fell to the ground.
"Ah, my jacket!" Jennifer exclaimed, disappointed as she bent over to pick up the crumpled heap of clothing.
"Jennifer?" Ms. Camille stared at Jennifer through her wire glasses. "What's the matter?"
A hush fell over the class as every head turned in their direction. Natalie became bright red as she lowered her head.
"Nothing, Ms. C, just gravity working it's magic!" Jen said casually and sat down. Natalie flushed and then took a peek at Jennifer who seemed nonchalant once again. With a flick of her head, she gracefully tossed her sleek, long hair behind her back.
Natalie touched her limp and wavy hair that bloomed around her head, feeling slightly self conscious. Jennifer looked up and smiled sweetly at the glowering teacher, as if challenging her. Ms. Camille turned back to the chalkboard with a slight sniffle and continued to jot down the equation.
"Careful, Jen, what if she calls home?" Natalie whispered, reproaching. Jen looked up with her big eyes, a smile curling on her pink lips.
"What are we? Elementary kids?" Jen scoffed as she twirled the pencil between her fingers. "High school seniors, girl! Get it together!"
Natalie chewed on her lips nervously as she finished copying down the equation quickly so she could take another peek at the beautiful Alec. He had just finished dunking the ball cleanly into the hoop and were now exchanging high fives. Natalie restrained her saliva glands from releasing any liquid.
A distant ringing brought the spaced out girl back to reality.
"Nat! Nat! Natalie, anyone home?" She blinked rapidly and turned to face her suddenly standing friend. Jen sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "The bell rang, ready to leave, yet? Or do you want a few more minutes?"
"Stop it!" Natalie blushed as she stuffed her books into her bag. "I wasn't looking at anything." Jen snorted and walked out of the classroom, leaving the girl alone to glance back at the basketball court that was no empty.
Where'd he go? She threw the backpack across her back and jogged out of the room, looking desperately for Jen. Damn.
"Ah!" Someone bumped into her side and caused her books to tumble from her loose grip. "Shit!" Natalie cursed as she bent down to retrieve the books.
"Sorry." A low husky voice apologized. Natalie's eyes widened as she stared at the ground. The voice so smooth and silky, yet so rugged and handsome.
Oh heavenly, gorgeous pasturelands, did I die and leave thy Earth? Natalie shot up and mechanically turned around, a smile pinned to her lips.
"I-I-I-It's okay," she sputtered, unattractively, her eyes wide. Meticulously, she chewed on her lips. "It was m-my fault."
A smile curled onto his pleasant lips and his eyes seemed to be calculating. "Are you sure? I was the one who bumped into you."
"Yes, I'm v-very, very," her voice wavered as she swallowed loudly which caused his smile to turn into a crooked smirk. "Sorry."
"Yeah," he said, his eyebrow quirking as he eased around the stiff girl. "I'm going to be late for my next class, so bye." Natalie's hand whipped up in more of a salute than a wave. She watched his retreating back with a sigh.
"Fuck me," Natalie cursed herself as she crouched next to her books, head lowered in shame. "Smile like a freaking dork, why don't you?" Her lungs burned and begged for a breath of air, it was then she realized that she had been holding her breath. Another angry cry escaped her lips as she sat onto the floor disgruntled. How pitiful of her. She glanced up, gazing ruefully at his figure that disappeared down the stairs.
Natalie stood in front of the pool, her hair tied in a high ponytail behind her. The smell of chlorine filled the air, essentially calming her nerves and making her smile. Only in this environment can Natalie feel completely at ease. She inhaled deeply, filling her lungs with the damp, moist air and exhaled, relieved. Taking in one more breath, she dove into the pool, neatly slicing the clear blue surface of the water. Her hair splayed out around her face as she twirled her way back to the surface. She was never one to wear those water caps, she believed that if you don't devote every fiber of your body to something, you're not actually doing it.
The girl broke the surface, taking in another breath, feeling her heart pound against her ribcage that filled her face with a beaming smile.
"So, you swim." A voice suddenly interrupted her moment of bliss. Glancing behind her, her jaw dropped open and her feet slipped from under her, causing her to be briefly below the surface.
Once she regained her footing again, she hurried to the other side of the pool, shuddering. "Alec!" She shrieked, her shrill voice echoing off of the concrete walls. He closed his lightning blue eyes at her scream.
His lips pulled back into a charming smile as he crouched by the pool side, gazing at her. "And you are…"
A grin popped onto her face as she swam towards him, gleefully. He just asked for her name! Her name! She reached up and gripped her moist hands to his. "My name is Natalie Wong! Nice to meet you!"
"Alec Whitman," Alec smiled, causing the girl to hold her breath in angst. He was so good-looking from afar, up close he was mouthwatering.
"It's a pleasure to meet you!" She sounded out of breath as she proceeded to shake his hand vigorously. Everything else came out like word vomit. "I hope we can become really great friends, you know?! I'd love to become your good friend--"
"Hey, wait, stop yanking so hard!" Alec protested as Natalie continued her ferocious handshake. "You're going to make me--" His eyes widened in shock as he tipped forward, finally managing to rip his hand from her grasp.
She was suddenly dragged underwater along with him. He was flailing, causing a flurry of bubbles that blinded her water-accustomed eyes from seeing what the trouble was. They were in seven feet water and she was pretty sure he only stood at a six foot height.
"You've got to stop st--" She was dragged under again by his struggle against the water. Natalie managed to break the surface for a brief second to scream, "STOP STRUGGLING!"
But he refused to stop. Could it be? Could it be?
He couldn't swim. Realization donned upon her as she blinked against the chlorine and reached her arms around his beautifully sculpted waist. It felt as though he weighed a ton, but she popped him to the surface and kicked furiously towards the shallower end.
"Alec! Hey! Are you okay?" She panted as she dragged him towards the ladder. Either he was traumatized or he half-drowned. "Alec!" Natalie lugged him onto the wet concrete that surrounded the pool side, leaning over his limp body. "Don't die on me!" Her dripping hair let droplets of water fall onto his handsome face that caused him to wrinkle his nose. Gently, she slapped the side of his cheek. "Wake up. Do you need a nurse?"
He coughed and water dribbled from his slightly parted lips. Oh, those pretty lips. She watched with relief as he took a deep breath of air.
"Thank god, you're alri---"
"It's all your fault!" He glared at her, water still clinging to his lips. Her heart sank as she stared at him bewildered.
"I'm sorry…I didn't mean to…" Natalie eased away from him as he pulled himself up into sitting position. He propped up so he could continue to glower at her. She began to feel uneasy.
"Fuck, I just lost fifty dollars," he grumbled to himself and got onto his feet. His shoes made wet sloshing noises.
"W-what?" Natalie's eyes widened as she stared up at him.
"Sure, I can handle older women, rich women, and every cheerleader on the fucking squad, but a swimmer, Asian who can't even talk without sounding retarded?" Alec ranted, his voice filling with a malice she never heard before. He turned his head to glare stoically at her again. "I don't do swimmers."
It sounded like a double meaning. Natalie's face heated up as she jumped onto her feet, puffing out her chest in anger.
"What are you talking about?!" Natalie hissed at him, unable to control her sudden fury. She was so angry she felt like she was going to pop. Why she ought to…ought to. A frustrated growl escaped her slightly parted lips.
"What I'm saying is you liking me is pretty creepy," Alec smirked this time, his blue eyes lighting up with mockery. "It makes you look…." He seemed to think about the word. "Cheap."
"Cheap?" Natalie sputtered, her face deepening a few shades of red. She narrowed her eyes at him and felt her lips curl over her teeth. "I'll have you know I am not cheap."
"Following a guy around all the time and just staring at the from afar," Alec droned, not seeming to take notice of her wrath. "If it's not cheap, then it's pathetic."
The word felt like a thunderclap that left lightning and electricity charged in the air. Natalie let out a slow breath, trying to calm the inner demon inside her. "Listen Alec," she began slickly. "Why would I like you? You're not my type." Okay, fine, maybe that was a lie, but his personality was disgusting. "Arrogant, cocky, overly-buff, and a baby face." Natalie went on and shook her head slowly in a disapproving way. "I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong message. I'd never like someone like you."
That sounded like a challenge--a challenge I've already lost. He doesn't have to know.
Alec let out a loud amused laugh. It reminded her of choir people. She wondered if he ever was in the a choir anytime in his life.
"Alright, I respect your opinion," Alec grinned at her, his lips creasing neatly over his perfect teeth. Then he inched closer to her; that caught her off guard. She shuffled back, clumsily, trying to rip her eyes away from his face. A couple of blond strands brushed against his cheeks. Natalie stood stiffly as he gently cupped his hand under her chin.
"But, I can change it."
Natalie frowned at the air as she laid on her bed. What was all that? She replayed the scene over and over again in her head. How did it turn out like this? Natalie groaned and rolled onto her side, unhappy. How can someone with such a cute face be so evil? What's worse is that she vowed to him that she would never like him. What if he really did find out?
The girl groaned again, this time louder and she heaved her pillow onto the hardwood floor. This was stupid. Insanely madness!! With a grunt, she propped herself up and reached for the phone. What would Jen say?
Jen would say to kill him. Natalie sighed and put the phone down, hesitating. She chewed on her lips, thinking hard about the situation. What if he found out?! The question was like lightning through her head, sending a warm, tingly feeling down her spine.
"No!" She whipped her head towards the ceiling, groping at the air. "This is horrible! My dignity?" Natalie stared at one hand and then whipped her head to face her other hand. "Or my heart? Dignity? Heart? Dignity? Heart?" Her head began to hurt after awhile and she slumped forward again in defeat.
"Dignity." The girl vowed, sullenly, feeling her heart thud in protest. She sniffled, "I can't go down that easily."
If it's so easy to fall in love, then it must be just as easy to fall out of love. It's like standing back up! You fall, you stand, you're good! Natalie slapped her fist against her palm. She is going to un-fall for him!!!
His face flickered through her brain again and her resolve faltered.
"This is going to take a lot of work!" She muttered and rolled up her sleeve to emphasize.