The first time I met her was at a thank you party someone in our town was holding at the town playing fields. My cousin introduced her as one of her best friends...to which she put her hands on her hips and glared "One of? See if I ever talk to you again!" By the end of the sentence I saw her lips twitching; she was trying not to laugh.
"Oh as if I would care – remember I'm only talking to you because your Mum pays me!" my cousin retorted.
"Um – my Mum isn't the one who admits to it." By then end of their exchange they were both laughing.

She turned to face me. "Sorry 'bout that; kind of a personal joke. Glad to finally meet you, Rach has told me a lot about you."

I smiled, "Hope nothing too bad. Um... all Rach said was that you were one of her best friends – what's your name?"

"Rach, how rude of you!" She poked her tongue at my cousin.

"Hey you were the one who interrupted me! Anyway," she stated then turned towards me. "Her name's Sarah-Jane"

At that her friend winced, "Call me Sarah, Sarah-Jane's too long for everyday use ... and it makes me think of my Great-Auntie's best friend ... who pinches my cheeks."

I laughed again. We talked for a little longer then Sarah got restless and started mucking around with a soccer ball so we ended up running around the oval kicking the ball around and trying to steal it from the others. I learnt she was in grade 9 – a year younger than me and my cousin. She was really talkative around Rach but quite reserved around me. She seemed to have a never ending supply of energy; she was really short as well – only just reaching my shoulder.

"Guppie, get your short ass over here –I need a drink and you need to stop being hyperactive." My cousin called to Sarah as she was doing a cartwheel.

"What did you just call her?" I asked my cousin.

Rach looked confused then smile, "Oh Guppie, yeah long story but the name stuck all her grade ten friends call her that."

"Is she popular?"

"Define popular; she is liked by everyone in my group of friends...they love her more than me I swear! But she only has a few friends in her grade – she was bullied in last year by a huge group of them. A lot of people don't like her but everyone that gets to know her ends up loving her – she's too cute not to." Rachel said. "Don't tell her I told you please because she got food poisoning and stuff because of the bullying. She doesn't need to be reminded. "

My fingernails had dug into my palms while Rach had been talking. "Did her boyfriend do anything?"

Rach laughed so hard that she almost bent in half. "Sarah's not really into guys..." Seeing the look on my face she explains. "Well she likes them but if you haven't noticed she's really shy around them; too shy to date."

"What are you talking about?" Sarah sat down with us.

"Nothing," Rach answered.

"You get bored about talking about nothing though!" she retorted.

"What?" She was just a little confusing at times – note sarcasm.

"The last time I told her I was talking about nothing she joined in..."

Sarah stuck her tongue at Rach, "There is no such thing as nothing – space is made up of dark matter not nothing! Can you think of a single thing that is nothing?"

"What Bethany's head is full of?"

Sarah sighed and patted Rachel's head patronisingly "No Rachel dear it's full of stupidness or plasticness."

Later we were mucking around with the soccer ball again only this time there was five of us; Rach's older sister and my older brother joined us.

Rach, her sister and I all gave up after a while; it was a Saturday and we were feeling lazy. Braden and Sarah kept playing though.

"Shit! Are you ok?" I heard my brother ask. I looked up to find Sarah sprawled on the grass.

Next thing I saw was Sarah running away from Braden with the ball, "Yep" she called over her shoulder with a grin.

She must have tripped over at least 5 times by the end of their one-on-one game and Braden had more bruises than he usually got from a football game. She may be small but damn she could be violent.

I didn't see her again until she came to my school to 'help school relations' with my cousin. I recognised her immediately and I went over to say hi to Rachel. My friend (Ben) came with me, when I asked who she was Ben almost said something – I had taken a picture of her playing soccer and had it hanging above my bed – but I elbowed him before he could say anything.

They sat with another one of my friends, Sam – I got a bit jealous when I saw her laughing and joking with him.

After diner I finally got the guts to ask her for her phone number, she looked really sorry I started to get worried, "I'm really sorry –I just got a new phone and I don't know what my new number is – I'll text you as soon as I get back, ok?"

I felt like dancing.

We talked more and more – almost every day but I started noticing that she keeps asking things about Sam. Finally I got sick of it and asked why she wanted to know so much about him and she said she was really sorry but she can't tell me. I stopped talking to her.

Three weeks later Sam comes up to me "Hey man...can I talk to you?"

"Sure"

"Um... I'm ... I'm going out with your cousin." He grinned. "I feel better now I've got that off my chest."

"You're... you're going out with my cousin? Rachel?"

"Yeah, are you ok? You've gone pale. I really like her; please say its ok."

"I thought you were going to say you were going out with Sarah. It's great – I hope you two work out."

"Sarah? No!" Sam laughed. "She knew her friend liked me and guessed that I liked her back so she set us up. She's pretty cool but I don't like her like that."

"Oh shit."

"What did you do? ...or say?"

"I thought she liked you. I stopped talking to her because she wouldn't tell me why she kept asking me things about you."

"Shit man, how are you going to make it up to her?"

"I don't think I can – I bet she won't talk to me now."

"I might be able to help you..."

"So tell me why I can't go yet? I know you couldn't get out of the boarding house without me but you don't need me around for your date."

"Because I need to talk to you."

Her head snapped up, "Too bad, I don't feel like talking or listening." She turned to Sam and grinned which slowly faded as she spoke. "Hey Sam! Wait... you brought him on purpose didn't you? After I got the two of you together you both try to hurt me." She shook her head and walked away.

"Wait, Sarah! I was jealous ok? I thought you liked Sam and was using me to get to him. That's why I stopped talking to you."

"I figured that out two weeks ago. If you had read my messages you would have known that."

I knew this was my last chance – I could either let her walk away or I could try to stop her. I chose the latter. I grabbed her, spun her around and kissed her. I saw her eyes widen in surprise then flutter close as my lips caressed hers. Later I stopped for a breath; resting my forehead against hers. "Please don't ever leave me."

And she didn't.