"I don't like kissing boys," she had murmured that to me underneath a bright sky, and we'd been staring up at the clouds for what seemed like hours.

I'd said nothing beforehand, she just liked to release to me in our sleepy little moments after school when all was quiet, and so I sighed and said, "What would you be doing instead, kissing girls?" which she didn't seem to mind, much to my chagrin. I sat up and looked at her, and she gave me a cheeky grin. I was half-convinced she was fooling, but I wasn't sure.

She sat up too, and her grin turned into a genuine smile. I liked to think she reserved those just for me, but just the thought of that made me internally scowl. This dorky little third grader had gotten under my skin. At school, I wouldn't be caught dead with the likes of her—the other fifth graders would laugh and say something about it. It was the rule of cool; you don't get caught socializing with the young; especially those two years your inferior. It was dumb.

But out here, when it was just us, I liked to remember how, despite our age differences, we grew up together, best friends, and how she was changing in odd ways that I didn't even know of yet. I hadn't even thought about girls yet, let alone kissing them, but she'd thought it all through. Why, I wondered. I was keen to figure it out.

Her smile remained. "I don't think I like anyone."

I was surprised, and let her see so. "Not even me?" I asked naively, and she wrinkled her nose, her ice eyes screwing shut as she pouted.

"Only as I always did," she replied, leaning back again and looking up at the sky. Her blonde pigtails glistened in the sunlight; she looked like an out-of-place flower, deserving of a much more beautiful place to live, but content to simply be here, in my humble garden.

I like that word. Humble. I'd only learned it just recently, and I can't deny it is my favourite. I wanted to be 'humble'. Maybe only to serve Belle.

Oh, yeah, her name is Belle. Mine's Marcus, if you want to know.

I leaned back as well, looking up at a cloud. It was shaped like an elephant, but aren't most clouds? "What do you mean, then, by not liking anyone? The way I don't like anyone?" I knew from the way Mom spoke about love that she didn't want me liking anyone that way just yet, and I wanted to please her. So, naturally, I avoided that kind of thing like the plague. I noticed Belle sometimes fantasizing about it, but she never followed through. She loved herself more than anybody else, to be honest.

"Not exactly," she said, squirming a little. Her perpetually grass-stained overalls rode up a little and her bare shin was exposed. She wore shoes only when she had to. "I don't want to, even though I do. You get it?"

I nodded, looking back up at the sky. "Yeah. It's like an impulse, where you just have to do it, but sometimes you don't want to."

She turned on her side to look at me. "Mark, what's an impulse?"

I glanced at her from the corner of my eye. "It's when you do something right before you think about it. Like when you run away from a monster."

She nodded slowly, absorbing it, and her blue eyes met mine. I was kind of jealous of her light skin and her light hair and light eyes, while I was mostly just dark hair and awkward olive green eyes and my skin was a bit freckly. Her freckles lined the bridge of her nose perfectly, while mine went willy-nilly all over my face.

She released a big smile and scooted closer, no doubt staining her clothes more with grass, but she didn't care. Nature was laundry's biggest enemy, and she loved nature more. She hugged me quietly, one arm slung around my tummy and the other resting under her head to keep the grass from tickling her nose. The gesture was comfortable. "You're the only one who gets me, Mark."

I laughed. "What are you, eight? We're not even high-schoolers yet and you feel left out?"

She nodded vigorously. "Nobody sits with me at lunch and everyone laughs at my stories in class. I hate them all." Her vehemence changed quickly to remorse. Her expression showed this. After a moment, she said, "I just want to have friends like you do, Mark. What do you do that gets you good friends?"

I sat up a little, taking her with me. She took the liberty of leaning on my shoulder, which I didn't mind. "Well," I began, looking at the tree. "I listen to people. You're bad at that." She pouted, but her eyes were trained on me. "I play games. You just sit there and write. And I talk to people. You just sit there… And write!" I laughed a bit, and she giggled a bit too, but I could tell she was drinking it in. "Just be more open and friendly. Don't be afraid to walk up to kids and tell them your name and ask them about theirs. You might make good friends that way."

Her smile remained, and she hugged me in thanks. I hugged her back with one arm, still staring at the landscape around us. I was happy like this, even though I hated to admit it; because it wasn't cool to be with Belle, even if she was my first and greatest friend.

"I hope this all works," she mumbled, and I peeked under my arm to see her there, eyes blinking owlishly as her gaze flowed out over the area.

I laughed, looking out as well. "Me too, Belle."

A/N: Hey. After writing a snippet for 'Kara Cass' and typing up my pre-written story 'Locked in Limbo' I decided to type up something a bit more blatantly positive. This is just a bunch of little tidbits, not necessarily connected, but featuring the same characters. Expect this to be updated as much as 'Kara Cass' is. Stay young, my friends!