Anna is 15 years old when she first meets Adam. They have classes together and she thinks she might have a small crush on him. Scratch that, very big crush.
Adam is 15, too, except three months younger. He really likes her.
It's one of those things where everyone else can see they both like each other a lot, but neither of them notice.
Anna's at a party. One of Caitlyn's huge parties. She's not an extremely social person, but Caitlyn's one of her best friends, and it's not like she has anything better to do.
Adam's at the same party. He's not a social person, either, but he's kind of hoping Anna will be there. Not that he's actually thinking that anything will happen, at most, she'll say "Hi", and he'll say "Hey," back, and then she'll go off and hang out with her other friends.
But something does happen. Anna's standing on the back porch, the only place to get a little peace and quiet. Ironically, Adam's there, too, and it is a complete accident. He'd given up on finding her at all, and Anna hadn't any hope that he'd come to the party at all.
She waves him over to where she's standing. She's looking at the sunset. Caitlyn's house isn't exactly lakeside, but there's a decent view of the lake, and the sun is setting. It's quite possibly the most beautiful sunset she's ever seen.
"It's like... wisps of clouds and purple and gold sky. The sun is melting into the lake." It is Adam speaking, and Anna glances at him, surprised. She hadn't had him pegged as the sensitive caring type.
He wasn't. He looked away, embarrassed.
"That's very poetic of you," she teased. He scowled good-naturedly. They watch the sun set together.
A very unofficial date, but it's got Anna breaking out in goofy grins for the rest of the weekend. She wonders if Adam feels the same.
Adam does. He wants to just ask the girl out already, but he's never had a girlfriend before, and, as far as he knows, she hasn't had a boyfriend yet, either. Was there a reason for that? He didn't know anything, except that he was way too shy for asking her out.
The next time they meet outside of school, it's also an accident. Anna likes to believe it's fate's way of telling them to get together already. She's walking around downtown, intending to find a gift for her mom's birthday. He's walking around, trying to entertain his little brother.
There's a fire-eater performing on the corner. Anna's not really into street performers. Well, that's not entirely true. She thinks they're kind of cool, she just thinks it's kind of weird to admit. Anna's just weird like that. She walks by when she catches sight of a familiar face and walks over.
"Hey, Adam." He's mildly spooked, but breaks into a grin when he recognizes her.
"Babysitting. This should keep him quiet for a little bit." The fire-eater was evidently a knife juggler, too. They watched for a little bit. He set down the knives and started lighting up some torches. They both watched, mesmerized.
"I like fire... Does that make me sound like a pyro?"
"Yes," he deadpans. She snorts, and he smiles.
In their world, watching a guy eat flames is a perfectly romantic second date-that's-not-really-a-date-technically.
It's kind of hard to classify their third date. It could be called their third date, but it could also be called their first.
Adam finally asks her. He's nervous, so nervous that she'll turn him down.
Neither of them having dated before, and both of them being not the most socially sophisticated people on the planet, they go to some Mexican food place and eat tacos.
The dinner itself is awkward, but after that night, neither of them really remembers it, anyway. Because afterwards, Anna pulls him outside and they sit in the grass. They look at the stars.
"See, those look kind of like... Um... A connect-the-dots page," she says,pointing to a congregation of stars.
"Wow, I see exactly what you mean," he says sarcastically. But then, honestly, "I don't see anything except the stars."
"Yeah, me either. They're pretty enough without me trying to pretend that that clump right there are two elephants eating a coconut."
"I don't think elephants eat coconuts."
Adam will always remember the stars and the cool grass, and the scent of tacos in the air.
Not the most romantic date, by most standards.
But for them... It's heaven.
They're officially going out now, and Adam can't see how life could get much better. Except, he keeps having to cancel their dates to babysit his younger siblings. Anna's lucky she's an only child. The doorbell rings then, and he goes to get it.
"Anna!" He's surprised by her arrival. "I'm babysitting today, remember?"
"So are you kicking me out?"
"Unless you want to help me?"
"Yup," she says, and he realizes that she hadn't forgotten at all. She had come to help him out of a very boring Sunday morning.
He invites her inside.
"So what's happening?"
"I'm watching TV, they're doing arts and crafts."
"Wow, you're an exciting person."
"What were you doing before you came over?" He asks. She looks away and changes the subject. Hey, her favorite show had been on.
"Hey, people. What're ya makin'?" Adam's youngest sister, Isabel, hides under the table. Jessica proudly holds up a mess of popsicle sticks and glue. David's share of popsicle sticks have marker scribbles all over them. Anna looks at Adam pointedly. "Ever made a house out of popsicle sticks before?"
They give her blank stares. Anna sighs and sits down. She has a house to build.
Adam is watching in amusement. Anna's "house" isn't any better than Jessica's project. He pulls up a chair and starts a house of his own.
"My house is going to be better than yours," Adam says.
"No way. I have mad artistic skills," Anna replies.
They try, they really do.
When they're finally finished, (and Isabel has fallen asleep, still under the table) Jessica and David are laughing at both of them.
"Not funny, dude," Adam tells David. He just laughs more. Anna joins him. "Hey, you shouldn't be talking."
"Mine looks amazing." Adam looks at her. "Okay, well... It looks better than yours." Adam keeps looking at her. "Okay! I admit! There's a reason I'm never going to be an artist!" she exclaims. "Or an architect," she adds as an afterthought.
Adam knows it completely and utterly wrong, but he's going to remind her of this forever.
He has to have something to hold over her, and it's certainly not smarts or video game skills.
He wonders how good of a cook she is.
Anna is 17 years old when she knows she wants to be with Adam forever.
But Adam has known since the moment he met her.