Precious Rose

Prologue

It was autumn and I was in charge of raking the fallen leaves. Great. And yet my dear brother got to go on a date with his girlfriend, a.k.a. my best friend while I'm stuck here doing chores.

It's not that I hate doing chores or I evade them as much as possible but I was feeling kind of restless today. Just my luck.

And really, my brother just had to rub it in my face that he's going out with my best friend while I'm doing chores. As if the thought of my brother and my best friend going out didn't already make me barf and vomit every meal I had in my entire life.

Summer would be over in two weeks and while I'm excited at being a senior, I also dreaded going back to school. I mean, who didn't?

The leaves – red, yellow and orange – were all piled up in a mound and that's when the unexpected and the unwanted happened.

I heard someone say, "Hey," and I jumped, tripped, and fell into the mountain of leaves. Why, oh, why did I have to be so clumsy?

I glared at the stupid person who just stood there, grinning, amused apparently. "Austin, you bastard!"

"I love you too, Carly," Austin smiled at me. Oh, how I hated that smile of his. It's too charming for my own good.

"Shut up," I made a face as I stood up, brushing off the leaves on my clothes. "Did you know how much time I spent raking the damn leaves? Eighty-three minutes! That's right, one hour and twenty-three minutes! And I have to start all over again!"

"Ow," Austin winced. "For someone so petite, man, you're loud. And anyway, it's not like I won't help you."

I pouted. "Serioulsy, Austin, why do you keep on doing that?"

"Doing what?" he asked innocently and I raised an eyebrow. "Oh, that. I don't know, it's fun, very amusing."

He leaned towards me, stopping only inches away from my face. I could feel his breath against my mouth. I swallowed a gulp. Damn it, we've been together for like six months already and I still couldn't react properly to a good kiss-in-the-making.

I closed my eyes, preparing myself but I didn't feel his soft lips against my own. I opened my eyes to see him laughing. My face burned up. "Austin!"

"Ha!" He guffawed. "Your face! Your face! It was priceless!"

I pouted, "Whatever Austin, get out of here."

"I thought I said that I'll help?" he said, his voice taunting me.

I turned away from him, "You don't have to. I'd rather not face you right now."

"Aw, Baby, don't be like that," he cooed but I only looked at him in disgust. I turned my head from him again when he suddenly pulled me close then kissed me. I blinked.

He frowned when he released me, "When I kiss you, yo're supposed to kiss me back."

"I wasn't feeling like it," I shrugged.

"I'm sorry, okay?" he pleaded, using the puppy dog eyes trick on me.

I sighed, "Fine."

Am I forgiven now?" he batted his eyelashes. You'd think that'd be gay but it only made him even more charming. Damn him.

"Stupid." I rolled my eyes and handed him a rake. "Now, go and finish what you have started."

"Yes, ma'am," he saluted me mockingly while I got another rake. And we worked in silence after that, content with only our presence around each other.