Deep Greens and Blues

Sabrina came over instead and made me dress up. I had planned on wearing jeans and a shirt but she put her foot down. I fought it with everything I could but a diva on a rampage is scary.

"Hallie, I heard he was going to take you some place nice. You can't wear that!" She surprised me by dragging me to her house, having deemed my closet 'casual wear only'. "Pick an outfit." She declared generously, it's well known that I'm the only one allowed to borrow from her. There was a lot more pink in her closet but I didn't really see anything I liked until the jean skirt. I paused on it just a milli second longer than the rest but she saw.

"Hallie, this would look great on you! You can wear my black boots and some shirt." Sab squealed like a five year old at Christmas.

"Don't get used to this Sab. It's not gonna happen often." She ignored me.

"You need to have some green in your jewelry to bring out your eyes." I rolled them. My eyes. They're so weird, most of the iris is daddy's blue but ringing the outer edge is a line of green. "Here." The necklace she handed me was beautiful, black silver connected with blue and green clusters of tiny flowers. "You can have it, doesn't look good on me." Sabrina made me look through the closet again. She eventually settled on a black, asymmetrical waterfall shirt. At least that's how she described it. She relented and let me do my own makeup. Then she stepped back and smiled.

"You look great Hallie; I wish you would do this more. I called him while you were changing. He'll pick you up here." I shrugged and clomped downstairs. Sabrina's parents were on a business trip and generally let Sab stay home alone or over at my house. The doorbell rang and I waited for her to get it but she was upstairs and couldn't hear it. I groaned and stood.

"Damn you look sexy!" Lucas said as I opened the door. Sabrina appeared, alerted by her boyfriend SONAR.

"Now you hear them." But she was ignoring me and kissing Lucas who had pushed past his friend. His friend. Jude looked me over and nodded.

"You clean up well." He smirked.

"Do you even know how to clean up?" It was possibly the stupidest thing ever said, considering his light brown hair was dark from a shower and he smelled like soft cotton. I couldn't help but notice how his shirt was open a few buttons at the top or how well his jeans fit his butt (hey, how come he gets to wear jeans? Oh, right, jean skirt. Gotcha.), I mean, he turned to look at the car, I didn't walk around him; I'm not that hormone driven. If I've given you the wrong idea, let me make this clear, Jude Carter is hott. He's also a star baseball player and a pretty good student. You can take him home to mom and dad and party with him the next night. But that doesn't matter. He stole my friends.

"Luke, do we have to do this?" He asked my best friend, tiredly.

"Yeah, I mean, we could just stay here and you guys could tell out brothers we went out." Sab smiled at me evilly.

"And who do you think introduced your brothers?" Jude spun to face Luke.

"You,"

"Have her home by 1.30!" Lucas interrupted.

"You kids have fun!" Sab added and slammed the door shut. We could hear them giggling behind the door. Jude slammed a hand on the door.

"Fine!" He grabbed my shoulders and kissed me but the actual kiss wasn't rough. I faintly heard Sab gasp and Lucas laugh before I reciprocated the gesture.

Jude pulled back. "Okay, Lucas. Your little virgin kisser has had her nice little first kiss. Now open the door so I can kick your ass." I set my glare on his closest body part; his upper arm.

"I am not a virgin kisser."

"Well obviously not anymore." He replied sarcastically.

"You know what I mean."

"Yeah, I think I do. The way you kiss, you're more like a kiss whore."

"Oh god." (that was Sabrina)

"I am not a whore." (that was me)

"Wham." (that was my fist rocketing into his stomach.) Lucas came out of the door and glared at me and Jude, well, more like at me and the back of Jude's head cuz he was bent over.

"You two, date, now! This is the kind of shit you have to get over." I stalked to Jude's truck and he followed at a slower pace. Both of us know there's no talking to Luke when he's mad.

The car ride was interesting in the beginning. I stared out the window until I realized I still didn't know where we were going. I was starting to regret punching Jude because he hadn't started any of our friendly banter.

"I'm sorry."

"Huh?" Wow, real intelligent from yet another Honor Roll student. If this is the competition in my class, I really should be higher.

"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to hit you so hard."(Truth)

"You didn't hit me hard."(Lie)

"You aren't around any of your big, strong friends. I know I hit you hard."(Truth)

"You didn't, I swear."(Lie)

"Well, I could always hit you again to find out." (Truth) He paled a little.

"That won't be necessary."(We'll see) It was quiet until I once again broke the silence.

"Where are we going?" This time he genuinely smiled as he answered.

"Secret." Okay, now I was scared.

"You could just take me out somewhere in town," in public!

"No, I want to take you here." Ooookay. Does this not sound funny to anyone else? The guy hates me; he doesn't want to take me anywhere.

"What's the name?" Please God let it be a name I recognize.

"There isn't a name." He pulled over on the side of the road. "Look, I know I'm acting weird but please bear with me." He got out of the car. Okay, am I the ONLY person who hears the homicide alarm going off? He opened my door. "It's not a far walk; Luke said you would like it." Yeah, I'd bet he'd like me ALIVE more!

Aw hell, I'm always up for an adventure. I slid out of the car and followed Jude into the forest. Everything was fine until I tripped over a root. Damn hooker boots. Luke calls 'em prostiboots. Anyway, I trip over the boots and have to reach out to Jude. I catch his hand and stumble instead of face planting. Finally we got there. Where was there, you ask? It's the most beautiful overlook in Arizona. The stone face is rough and flat and still holds warmth from the day. Blankets have been spread out and a basket of food has been left. Together we say the same word. "Candles." I'm excited, Jude is confused. I sit quickly, tucking my legs beneath me due to my skirt and light one.

"I love candles." I murmur, watching the flame.

"Maybe a little too much." Jude says as he takes it away from me. But the comment wasn't meant as an insult. "They musta had Joe bring all this stuff up here."

"Joe? Your older brother?" I asked, curious as to just who was involved in this scheme.

"Oldest. I have two older and one younger."

"No sisters?"

"No sisters. Mom always wanted a girl too."

"She can have my younger sister." Jacquie is horrendous. I literally think she's adopted.

"Here." Jude handed me an envelope with my name on it and opened his own. I almost laughed when I say who it was from. The brothers, Sabrina and Luke had written us separate notes saying how they wanted the war to end. Luke had written most of mine and I suspect her wrote most of Jude's seeing as he knew both of us the best. They didn't want us to date, just get along, so he, Sabrina and the gang could stop having a time share issue. Sab's note was that we did look cute together and Luke thought we could become absolute Kingpins of pranks if we stopped fighting the allies and started fighting the enemies. I slowly burned my letter on a candle.

"Well, they obviously want us to be friends if they went through all this." I played with the letter and flame, ignoring his restatement of the obvious. "Comic c'mon, listen. We have to figure out what our main problem is."

"I know what the problem is." And I did. I was surprised Luke hadn't written it himself, or Sab, to back up her pairing.

"Mind enlightening me?"

"We could always play 20 questions." I suggested brightly.

"God Hallie, what is wrong with you?"

"I'm being nice." A smile for good measure. "And perky," I added as an afterthought.

"Well stop it, it's scary." I sighed and relaxed.

"Thank God. Listen, the problem is obvious. Think about it, we're too much alike." I let him think while the candle devoured my envelope.

"I disagree…"

"Where do we get into fights?" I asked, cutting him off.

"Everywhere."

"Exactly. Why are we always at the same places? We like the same things." He still looked skeptical. So I listed them. "Baseball, reading, Harper's, cars, camping, hiking, tossing water balloons off overpasses, traffic tag, shopper freeze tag, Sam Goodies, the Handle Bar, speeding, hunting, fire, drums, canoeing, bass, super soakers, rafting, four wheeling, loud music, cannon balls, tree climbing, oldies, elementary school, punching bags, running, re arranging signs, street sign colleting, That 70's Show, hoodies, Diesel jeans, cats, horses, the color blue, flying, Chucks. Need I continue?" He looked at me and out down on the town.

"You forgot one." He said as our eyes connected. "Elevators." Amazingly a smile crept across his face, I checked and I was smiling back. I leaned back on the blanket, Arizona night chill hadn't set in yet and after a few seconds' hesitation, Jude leaned back too.

"In theory, we should get along well. We already have stuff in common; the only thing left is to get to know each other." Jude nodded, subconsciously agreeing with me. That was a start. "Let's start with family. I know you have two older brothers and a younger one. You know that I have a younger sister and the older brother who set me up."

"Let's go from there. How about your 20 questions idea?" I saw him smirk out of the corner of my eye.

"You can start." I offered.

"Age of siblings?"

"Jacquie is in eighth grade, Brendan is 24."

"Parents?"

"Dead. They died in a car wreck when I was 7." I wondered why he asked that, everyone knew about my parents. Even new kids were told so they wouldn't make an asinine comment.

"Extended family?"

"One aunt on mom's side. Dislikes kids but she had to stay with us until Brendan could legally take care of us."

"House?"

"Two stories, it was paid off years ago. It was built by a great something or 'nother. We have a plaque that says it's a historical landmark cause it's so old."

"Pets?"

"Too expensive. I love cats though." He was quiet for a moment.

"How'd you get a cell phone?" I knew it; I knew he'd ask outright.

"The Summers pay for my monthly bill, Spams pay for overages." I don't like being a charity case, in fact I hate it.

"School supplies?"

"Whoever I'm shopping with." I whispered. He was straying into touchy areas but I didn't want to look weak. I would answer anything he asked.

"So that's why Sab…" he said with understanding. I stood, not wanting to really discuss family things anymore. Jude sat up and propped his elbows on his knees and rested his chin in his hands. I heard him moving around while I walked to the edge of the rock face. It was a beautiful view; the lights in the valley were sparkling. "So maybe we are different." Silence set in again. "Maybe we should go back." I said nothing, you can't argue with a mute.