• I don't know, it's just...I don't know. It's weird, 'cause he's always just been my funny, friendly, outgoing best friend Connor. Now I've been wanting to mess up his shaggy dirty blonde hair, hug him randomly, and stare into his emerald eyes...then again, I already do all those things. When we were like 5 we would pretend to be a dog and its owner, and whenever he was the dog I would "pet" him by messing up his hair, and he would do the same. And it;s just kinda became a habit between us, I guess. And I always hug him randomly 'cause he's my best friend. Friends always hug. And I stare at his eyes pretty much whenever we have one of our very often staring contests.
    BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT!!! The point is, I wanna do all those things as his girlfriend. Not friend-girl, girlfriend.
    The only person who knows about my secret crush is Natasha. When I told her I like Connor, she was a little weirded out at first. But then she said, "I can see why. You two have known each other for like...ever. You should ask him out." I remember staring at her like she was the world's biggest idiot. I had replied, "Uh, hello? he's my best friend, Tash. We joke with each other all the time. We even call each other 'babe' and 'hot stuff' for fun. You've seen that." Natasha replied, "So?" I sighed and told her, "If I asked him out, what if he thought I was joking with him? Then I'd have to tell him I'm serious, and he'd probably get weirded out." Natasha was silent for a second, then said, "Yeah...I guess you have a point." And that concludes it. End of story. Connor and I will never get together. Unfortunately.
    While I was walking through the mal with our ice cream, the smell of hot dogs floating in the air, I spotted Natasha walking out of Express with two full bags. I rolled my eyes. Of course.
    As I walked over to her I handed her the vanilla bean. "Here's your usual. So, whadya get?"
    She rummaged through one of the bags, trying not to spill the ice cream. "Look...what...I...found!" she exclaimed as she triumphantly pulled out a light green slik blouse with ruffled sleeves and a sash around the waistline.
    "Cute!" I said approvingly. I looked at the price tag. "Fifty bucks? Dude, how can you afford two bags of Express?"
    She took a bite out of her cone and said, "Baby-sitting money. I haven't splurged in a long time, so I'm happy now."
    I laughed. Natasha's the same height as me with raven black hair and electric blue eyes. She's gone to the hair salon dozens of times to get brunette streaks, but chickened out last minute 'cause she'd be afraid of how it would turn out.
    Suddenly Rihanna's "Rehab" started coming from Natasha's Gucci purse. She got out her Blackberry and answered it.
    "Hello?...hey mom...at the mall with Lexi and Connor...already? I thought they were coming at six. It's only 1:32...okay...bye." She hung up. I have to go. My aunts, uncles, and cousins from L.A. are arriving earlier than we expected, so I gotta help clean up. Tell Connor I say bye."
    "Will do. Bye, Tash." I said, giving her a hug.
    "Laterz, Lex. Thanks again for the ice cream!" she said as she waved and went down the escalator. I waved back and walked toward the food court where Connor was probably pigging out on fries.
    I shimmied through a whole mob of people while maintaning not to spill the ice cream while I ate it, and saw something that caught my eye in the jewelry store next to Auntie Anne's.
    I strolled over and looked through the window at all the sparkly jewelry. Where is it...where is it...there it is. A silver chained necklace with a tiny aquamarine heart pendant. It had cuahgt my eye about a month ago, and luckily no one had bought it yet. I have almost enough money, and I'm determined to buy it.
    I felt a sudden tap on my shoulder and whipped my head around to find Connor smiling at me with those slightly crooked teeth that made such a perfect smile.
    "Heyyy. Got your Rocky Road for ya." I said as I handed him the already melting ice cream.
    "Thanks, Babe." he said as he took a bite.
    "You're welcome, Hot Stuff." I said, taking a bite of my sorbet. Very hot stuff.
    I gazed at him. His shaggy dirty blonde hair was halfway past his ears, and stops just above his eyes. His emerald green eyes. They always light up when he smiles. I sighed. That beautiful smile...
    He turned to look at me. I quickly looked away. Ohmigoshdidheseemestaring?!
    He put his arm around me as we walked toward the mall exit. "Where's Tash?" he asked me.
    Thank goodness, I don't think he noticed. "Her family from L.A. is arriving early, so she left." I said as I wrapped my arm around his waist and looked at him. He's about 3 inches taller than me, 5'5". It's funny, when we were younger I was always taller than him.
    "Ah." he replied as we reached the parking lot. "So, how'd your persuasive talk go?" he asked. In Lit. class we had to "convince" our classmates to donate to this charity based on this story we read.
    "Mine went pretty well except for, you know, the fact that I stuttered throughout the whole thing and even lost one of my note cards so I blanked out in the middle of it.
    "Yikes." he said as he climbed onto his bike and motioned for me to sit in front of him.
    "Chhyeeah." I said as I took his empty cone and threw it away with mine. The took my seat in front of him.
    "Well, mine was way worse." he said as he pedaled away.
    "Really? What happened?" I asked as I put my hands next to his on the handlebars. They're barely brushing, but I could still feel the warmth and softness of his hands.
    "Well, my speech went pretty well at first...I didn't stutter." he said smirking at me.
    "Whatever, Connor! I was nervous okay?" I said as we laughed. "Anyways, go on."
    "'Kay. At the end, I accidentally said that the people don't care about the charity and that they just want the money."
    I gasped and looked at him. "No way." He nodded. "Connor! Why'd you do that?"
    "I don't know! Maybe 'cause I was nervous?" he said, giving me aplayful look. I rolled my eyes and smiled as we breezed through the sidewalks as people walked past us. "But yeah...not my best speech." he said with a pained look.
    I giggled. "Not my best either."
    We continued riding past neighborhoods in the sunlight while talking until we reached my house. As he pulled the brakes on the bike he said, "Hey, are you doing anything tonight?"
    I thought about my schedule. "Nope. Nothing planned. Why?"
    "Well, I want to show you something I found in the park, but it's better when it's later in the day."
    "Okay. What is it?" I asked.
    "It's a surprise." he said, flashing me a smile.
    "Of course," I said, returning the smile.
    "Six o'clock okay? It;s actually at seven that it starts to look really nice, but I thought it's be cool to get there early to hang out for a while." he said, obvously excited about this thing he wants to show me. But that's just Connor, always excited.
    "Fine by me." I said. "Sounds fun!"
    "Cool. I'll pick you up on my bike."
    "'Kay 'kay. See you then!" I said, getting off the bike.
    "Later!" he replied with a wave. I walked to my doorstep and waved back. The I watched him as he rode off, and when he was out of sight, I sighed happily and went inside.

    Natasha Springfield

    Connor Atkins