Natalie stared at the note that began to crumple in her hands, growing blurry before her eyes, to where the words wavered and blurred in her vision. In her fury, her hands shook, automatically tearing the paper in half. She couldn't deal with this.

She had loved Ethan since the 4th grade. Even though she was only 11, her sister had only experienced this heartbreak at 16. She would have done anything for him. And he didn't have the courage to tell her he didn't want her to her face. And even worse, he'd chosen her best friend, Lily, over her. It was true Lily was prettier than her in several ways; Natalie had rough brown hair and worn gray-blue eyes and was quite chubby, in her eyes, while Lily had soft, almost fake-looking bright red hair with beautifully unique stormy-gray eyes, and was lanky, especially compared with Natalie.

Natalie sniffed, and tore the small paper into pieces so small they were smaller than the nail on her pinkie finger. She watched with a dull ignorance as they fluttered lifelessly to the ground, registering in the back of her mind that they reminded her of snow. She knew it was probably stupid of her to be getting so worked up about something like this; it wouldn't have worked out anyway, they were only in 6th grade. But the shock of it all, especially the fact that she had loved someone for 2 years that wasn't worth it, pounded her heart to a pulp, making her brain go numb. She couldn't even swallow. Just sit there, in the little garden behind the school where the roses grew; her school was from kinder-8th grade. When she was little she'd come back here after school, imagining herself as one of the roses. Beautiful, soft, delicate. Now she decided she was a thorn, prickly, imperfect, driving those she loved away. And not just a thorn, no; a broken thorn, that someone had pricked their finger on by accident, then broke and threw away. She huddled deeper within herself.

She hardly noticed when a boy, around 16 years or so, came up and thumped her in the head. She didn't jump, just looked up slowly at him with dull eyes. His teeth were yellow, his skin rough. He wore tattered jeans and a brown T-shirt, and a faded jean jacket. His hair was close-cropped and dirty brown, and he had dull brown eyes. He chewed on cigarette, spitting it out at the base of a rosebush after a bit. He sneered at her when she didn't react; she just sighed. He was probably one of Kyle's friends. He closed a hand and held it up. "Got the stuff?" he asked in a voice that usually scared the crap out of her, but now it just sounded fake, overdone.

Kyle often sent her out on "missions" that were top-secret. She was supposed to keep special "stuff" hidden from the public. The stuff was supposed to be dangerous, and Kyle and his friends were keeping it safe. But if Kyle got caught with it, since he was already suspected to be part of the group, he could be killed by the people trying to use it to take over the world. So, all she had to do was keep some handy, and if Kyle's friends came around, she'd give them the stuff and they'd give her money in payment for keeping it safe. She usually didn't care for the payment; saving the world was enough, and she felt excited to be apart of it. But today, she could care less. She pulled the tightly-wrapped bundle of brown smelling-powder from her pocket and handed it over. She turned away from the money, though, and shrugging, the boy put it back in his pocket. "Kyle's not gonna be happy you didn't bring the money," he slurred. She shrugged. She usually gave Kyle half 'cause he asked, and he let her keep half for carrying it around. She used to just buy bubble gum and stuff, but recently she'd bought other things. He simply shrugged again, seemingly happy to be able to keep his money. She turned, not saying a word. After a moment, he walked away.