Whoever thought it was a brilliant idea to take eight year olds to the ice rink was an idiot. Plain and simple. He or she had to be an idiot! At least, in the opinion of a particular eight year old clutching to the wall for dear life.
"Come on, Andy, quit being such a 'fraidy cat." A chorus of sneers followed the taunt as his friends skated by. Apparently, the only one incapable of keeping his or her bottom off the ice was him. He sighed, taking a deep breath. He'd show those guys who was a 'fraidy cat.
One hesitant step forward and that was all it took for his world to tilt. He yelped, flailing his arms out in hopes of regaining his balance. A pair of small hands grasped his tightly, pulling him back to the wall. "You okay?" Natalia asked, looking at him with wide eyes full of concern. She was a girl from the other class.
His cheeks burned. From the side, the sneers of his friends turned to full blown laughter. Falling on his butt would not have been as embarrassing as being saved by a girl. Scowling, Andrew roughly yanked his hand away. "Fine," he snapped, glaring at her. "I had it, you stupid girl." With that, he skated away.
…Or attempted to. One step forward and he was flat on his butt.
They were late. Again. The contents of his school box rattled violently as he tossed his backpack on the bench. Everyone else was already picked up by their parents ages ago. With a scowl, he crossed his arms over his chest impatiently.
"Andy? What are you still doing here?" Natalia was walking towards him, eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
He shrugged. "What are you doing here?"
She grinned, pulling the hem of her shirt down to reveal the print. "Volleyball practice just ended. We're kicking butt this year." Pride radiated off her words. Sure, they were still in elementary school, but the tournaments were still very competitive.
He eyed her warily, finally taking note of her appearance. Sweat soaked shirt, haphazardly tied hair, and red knees all attested to the amount of effort she put in during practice. "Why do you try so hard?" He questioned, grimacing in distaste as the girl wiped sweat off her forehead with her arm.
"Because." She paused, biting her lip in thought. Why did she try so hard? After giving it some serious thought, she shrugged. "I just do."
Andrew frowned. That wasn't what he was expecting. "You can't answer with that, you stupid girl," he grumbled, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
Natalia shrugged carelessly as she looked up at the sky. It was getting late. "So, you want to walk home together?"
His lips brushed against hers briefly before he stepped back.
"What was that for?!" she demanded, placing a hand over her mouth.
"I like you, you stupid girl."
"…oh." She stared at him for a moment. Was he serious? He couldn't be. A chuckle passed through her lips and she was laughing before she realized it. "You almost had me there. Good joke, Andy, good joke."
The orange ball lay forgotten on the empty court as they plopped down on the grass. Andy slipped her fingers between his, holding tightly. It was now or never. "We're moving," he said quietly.
"Come again?" She breathed, unsure if she heard him right.
He squeezed her hand. "My dad got transferred to another state."
"Best friends forever, right?" She asked, holding her pinky out to him.
No, he wanted to say, more than that. "Do you even have to ask, you stupid girl?" He raised an eyebrow at her and she stared at him, wiggling her pinky. With a smile, he hooked his pinky with hers. "Forever."
"Were you ever going to tell me?" She asked quietly, leaning against the wall. He was silent. That only meant one thing. "I see."
"Natalia," he sighed and she could practically see him running his hand through his hair. "It was just a kiss. It didn't mean anything."
She scoffed. "Right, 'cause kisses are like jokes to you." She didn't wait for a reply before ending the call.
There was no getting through to her now. "You stupid girl," he grumbled to no one in particular.
Prom was over. Other than the curled hair and make-up and extravagant dress, it had been just like any other evening. The food was horrible, the lines were long, and the music was mediocre at best. Hours later, she slipped away from the room she was sharing with her friends for some fresh air. The lot of them were having fun, but she needed a breather. Natalia was never really one for partying.
"You're late. The magic wore off at midnight," she pointed out, turning towards the person approaching her. "And you're not even dressed right." Jeans, t-shirt, and a hoodie were not acceptable attire for proms.
Andy grinned, offering her a small shrug. "In my defense, everyone came in cars. I flew." His hand found hers, pulling her towards him. A smile crept to his lips and he tugged on one of the curls framing her face. "And you still look beautiful, smudged make up and all."
She stuck her tongue out at him. A short silence passed between them and she licked her lips. Even though they always joked about him flying down for her prom, she never really thought he would take it seriously. "You didn't have to come, you know," she said hesitantly.
He tilted her chin up to have her look at him. "You think I came here for you?" He asked, grin wide enough to rival the Cheshire Cat. "You stupid girl, I'm obviously here for a short break before finals week."
"You fly out in the morning, right? One night isn't exactly a short break."
Hiking her oversized backpack higher on her shoulder, she made her way to her first class of the day. Natalia was not looking forward to a new semester, especially this one. Eighteen credits in one semester, at least six of them for sciences? She was beginning to think everyone was right about calling her suicidal.
Monday morning and her first class was at 9am—History. It was 8:45 but she didn't mind being early. That just meant she would get her pick of the seats. Taking a seat towards the back, she dropped the backpack on the ground.
"What do you have in there? A set of encyclopedias?"
Her eyes snapped to the door. "Andy? What are you doing here? You said your classes start today." She questioned, eyebrows furrowing in confusion.
His grin widened as he sauntered over to the seat next to her. "They do."
"So, why are you here?" He was never the most punctual guy, but even he wouldn't skip classes on the first day.
"Because I transferred here, you stupid girl."
She was seeing red. Who was he to say something like that to one of her friends? Sure, he could be an insufferable jerk at times, but this was the first time he lashed out like that.
"What is wrong with you?" She demanded, stomping into his room and slamming the door shut behind her.
He glanced up at her from the issue of X-Men he was reading. "Well, hello to you too, Talia," he drawled, tugging off his ear phones. "I've been having a lovely day. How is yours?"
She forced a smile to her lips. "Well, it was going great until I found out my best friend went and beat the shit out one of my friends for no reason." He raised an eyebrow at her but didn't say a thing. If he was trying to get a rise out of her, he certainly wasn't going to be disappointed. "What is wrong with you!?"
"You tell me, Talia." He retorted, putting his comic book down. "He was practically begging for a beating, but it was just one punch. Don't tell me you came rushing here to yell at me before getting the story from people that were actually around." She was frowning and he sighed, standing from the couch to approach her. "Fine, lay it on me." He dropped his hands to his side, preparing himself for her wrath.
She scowled, crossing her arms over her chest. "Stop making me out to be the bad guy."
He barely kept his jaw from dropping at that statement. "I'm making you out to be the bad guy? Did you just miss how you came barging into my room and how you started yelling before listening to my side?" Andy shook his head in amazement.
"Fine, Andrew, what's your side then?"
Shit. He mentally cursed. This was not part of the plan. She was supposed to just yell and rant until she couldn't anymore then he was supposed to ask if she wanted ice cream. That was how this worked. She wasn't supposed to ask for his side.
"Well?" Impatience sharpened her tone.
He shrugged. Her eyes narrowed and he took a step back. The anger was returning and this time, it would be back with a vengeance. "He was bragging about how he was going to ask you out and you were definitely going to say yes because of how wonderful your night had been," he admitted, fully prepared for her tirade.
It never came.
"You're starting to act like a jealous boyfriend," she grumbled under her breath. He didn't say anything and her eyes snapped to his. Was that it? He was looking straight at her and not denying it. Her jaw dropped. "You're jealous? But why?" She asked, eyes wide with surprise. Any anger she may have felt earlier was gone. He gave her the look and she scowled, "I swear I'm going to hurt you if you call me a stu—"
His lips on hers cut off the rest of her sentence. Her eyes widened in surprise as the situation clicked in her mind. He was kissing her. Andy was kissing her. After a few moments of her remaining frozen, he pulled away to look at her. "Because I like—no, I love you, you stupid girl."
He cringed at that. "I am having horrific flashbacks here. If you start laughing—" She was laughing. Again. He scowled and took a step back. This was his confession when they were twelve all over again. "Shit, I knew I shouldn't have said anything."
"You stupid boy," she managed to say between laughs. His scowl deepened. She was not laughing this much the last time. Her hand grabbed his and pulled him towards her again. "I like—no, love you too."