Andrew pulled out a pack of Marlboros and offered Germaine a joint. She made a face and raised an eyebrow at him in obvious displeasure. Andrew shrugged, and pulled out one for himself, lighting it. They were sitting on the beach, him wearing an old shirt a pair of khaki shorts and Germaine in a loose t-shirt and a pair of denim shorts.

"So, how's life?" he asked. The two of them were best friends until they turned sixteen and they gradually grew apart. At twenty, they were very different people from what they last perceived each other to be. Andrew wasn't a basketball player anymore—he did free running. He was leaner, handsome even, and his eyes shone intelligently, observant and missing absolutely nothing. Germaine was no longer a gymnast—she was an aspiring musician. She even brought her guitar to this stargazing outing. She no longer resembled a stick-like prisoner of war, she was slim and tan, and had lost her sickly pallor.

"Life's been pretty good to me. School's rather hectic, with my finals up ahead, but I'm coping well. My parent's have turned into dictators overnight though." She smirked, suddenly remembering how Andrew and her used to annoy the teacher in primary school as she gave them their weekly dictation quizzes.

"Ah, the wonders of being a parent—the ability to change their attitudes rapidly and to, uh, assert themselves. My dad re-married."

Germaine's eyebrows shot up.

"When? And who?"

"You remember that lady, Miss Lock, don't you?" he said. "I'm still not used to calling her 'mom'. The wedding was last December. I had to wear a tux!" Andrew wrinkled his nose and shook his head. Germaine laughed. Looks like that hasn't changed, she thought.

"Of course I remember her." How could she not? Miss Lock was the prettiest woman she had ever seen, or so she thought at twelve years old. She was so smart, and funny… Germaine found that she actually missed Miss Lock.

Andrew blew a puff of smoke into the air. Germaine watched it intently as it floated prettily, a spiraling upward dance, teased by the wind, as it finally dissipated into nothingness. Vanished. POOF.

Andrew watched Germaine as she looked into the sky, her dark eyes filled with bottomless fascination and curiosity. Eyes that he could get lost in every time they made eye contact, once upon a time. Long mahogany locks framed her elfin face in a messy, moonshine-kissed halo, accentuating her sharp features—that ski-slope nose, those small lips, her jaw line. She was still small sized, but she looked more lady than girl. She was beautiful. She always was, he realized.

"What?" she asked when she caught him staring.

"Nothing." He looked down at his sneakers for a while, embarrassed.