As summer turned to fall and school started back, Danny and Tess' relationship was harder to keep together. The two young teens had hung out a lot during the summer, but were never officially "boyfriend and girlfriend", though they both liked each other and had a hunch the other felt the same way. Unfortunately, they started back at school before their relationship could grow anymore. They walked through the park together, sipping smoothies and quietly reflecting on nature.

"I just love fall. It's like spring, but kind of the last hope before it turns cold." Tess bubbled.

"Yeah," Danny mumbled simply. He fidgeted with his straw, looking at her, and then quickly looking away.

"What's wrong?" she asked with a friendly smile, seeming genuinely concerned.

/She's so sweet,./ Danny thought. /I just love the way her eyes sparkle in the sun./

"I'm fine." he said aloud. "It's just… it's so beautiful out here. And you're so beautiful out here."

"What?" Tess laughed. /He's so cute when he babbles./ she thought. She smiled at him. Danny just looked up kind of awkwardly and smiled back. Then he looked at the ground shyly. Tess looked away too, biting her lip. /Am I doing something wrong?/ she worried, worse-case-scenarios running through her mind. She wondered if maybe he didn't like her any more, maybe he had found another girl. /No, that can't be it! He just said he thought I looked beautiful!/

They sat quietly as Tess worried and Danny seemed intrigued by his shoelaces. Finally, he broke the silence.

"I strongly like you." Danny said quickly, his face turning red.

"What?" Tess asked again, giggling. /He's so silly sometimes! What's that supposed to mean?/

"I strongly like you." Danny repeated with more confidence and a little smile. "My mom always told me not to say 'hate', because it's such a strong word, so I say 'strongly dislike'. Well, the guys always say, don't use 'love' so quickly, because it's such a strong word, so I say, 'strongly like'."

Tess took this in for a minute, and then she smiled brightly. "Well, I strongly like you too." she laughed and she pecked him on the cheek. He took her hand and they walked through the park, held together by the force of strongly liking.

This is my first fiction press story! Yay to that.

It's a short story, but I'm might write a longer story for before and after this event. (:

What do you think?

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