Daisy

Why wasn't the bell ringing yet? I needed to get out of this place now. My craving for the chocolate chip cupcake at Susan's Café was growing by the second, not to mention Eric (the amazingly cute waiter)'s shift was going to finish in just 20 minutes and it would take me 10 just to walk there.

"Already dreaming about the yummies in the Café?" Bree smirked at me.

"I wish you'd stop referring to them as "yummies" Bree, you do realize that one's called Chocolate Chip Cookie and that the other's called Eric don't you? Anyways, why isn't the damn school bell ringing already?"

"It just did."

I banged my hands on the table and shot up of my chair straightaway. "YES! FREEDOM!"

"And just what do you think you're doing, Miss Hartley?"

I looked up from my desk and found my history teacher staring at me. All around me, my classmates were snickering behind their hands. I glanced quickly at the clock – 3:10, ten more minutes till class ended. I shot a glare at Bree who was smirking at me, this was the second time this week she had tricked me. Bree's goal as ever was to earn me a detention as I praised myself on my ever clean record often. As far as I knew, I was one of the only five students in my year that had never gotten a detention in the history of school, a position I intended to keep.

I opened my mouth ready to make an excuse when all of a sudden "Detention Miss Hartley. This afternoon at 3:30, report to my office immediately."

What? I gaped at my teacher. "B-B-But it wasn'…"

"No excuses. This is the second time you have disrupted my class this week."

Oh yes. Did I mention? The first time Bree had tricked me had been yesterday afternoon…in the same class. I couldn't believe it. An eleven year record broken just because my so called best friend thought it would be funny to deliberately trick me. I swiveled my glare back to Bree, if only looks really could kill. Not that she'd care of course, as far as she was concerned, this was mission perfectly executed and successfully accomplished. Damn her.

Ten minutes later, I was officially lost. Where the hell is the detention room? I had circled the school five times already and still hadn't found the room where detention was held. At this rate, I was going to get another detention for being late to detention. I quickly texted Bree (who had had more than her fair share of detentions).

"I'm lost. And since you're the one who put me in this situation to begin with – you better tell me where it is. And I am so kicking your ass when I next see you"

"I can't believe it. You're telling me that after three years in this school, you STILL don't know where the detention center is? Well then, it's time to learn isn't it Kitty Kat"

"Ugh... You're obviously going to be no help at all. And my name is NOT Kitty Kat. How many times do I have to tell you? Thanks to you, even people who don't know me think my name is ridiculous…If anyone calls me that ONE more time…"

"Oh look here, what's this? Are you lost, VP?"

I screamed at the voice over my shoulder and whipped around. I quickly took in the shocking black hair and electric blue eyes that had been peering over my shoulder and groaned internally. Oh dear lord… could my day get any worse? Of all people to find me lost in the middle of school, it just HAD to be Darren Mckinley didn't it. Darren Mckinley who pushed me into a pool where I almost drowned when I was 5. Who threatened to throw my teddy bear into the campfire when I was 7. Who publicly calls me 'Virgin Princess' and has about as many notches on his bedpost as I have freckles on my face – in other words, resident playboy of the school. Who I had also had a gigantic crush on for 4 years. But there was no way I was ever going to tell him, or anyone else who wasn't Bree. Knowing him, he'd probably just laugh at me and ask me if I wanted to hook up with him so that the V from VP could be erased.

"Piss off Mckinley," I muttered darkly as I tried to brush past him. The operative word being tried.

He threw his famous smirk at me and then placed himself squarely in front of me, stopping me mid-walk. I cursed inwardly- the last thing I needed was to see his well-built body in close proximity. "What's this? No angry retort? Not even a smart comeback? Damn, you're out of form today Princess."

"I'm only going to say this once. Get out of my way, Mckinley. I'm not in the mood to fight with you today and I'm needed somewhere else. As much as you'd wish it, you really aren't that high in my list of priorities. And shut it with the princess."

Right at that moment, I received a second text from Bree. I flipped it open expecting her daily text that consists of her latest boy attraction. Instead it read "Still lost Kitty Kat? Better find your way to the detention room fast…I'll be waiting at the Café with your choco-chip cookie and that fine specimen of male you're attracted to."

"I don't believe this. The VP's gotten a detention? AND is actually capable of having positive feelings towards a member of the opposite sex? Fucking hell – discovery of the century." Crap. He was going to lord this over me for oh let's see…pretty much the century.

"Yes I do. Not that it's any of your business. And yes, I am fully capable of having positive feelings towards members of the opposite sex that aren't you. Generally those who are attractive on the outside and the inside, traits that have obviously skipped a generation in your blood."

He stared at me without replying as I gave my indignant reply. For a brief moment, his eyes seemed to flash with jealousy and then hurt before his face returned to an emotionless mask. Seconds passed and still no reaction… I was beginning to wonder if he'd gone deaf in the last ten seconds and didn't hear my insult; "unresponsive" and "Mckinley" just didn't go together, along with many other words like "nice" and "potentially attractive".

Then he seemed to snap together and with a cold calculated tone hurled back "And I suppose you would have a very good idea of who's attractive on the outside and inside now? Because last time I checked, your judgment definitely fell short when it came to Aaron Samson. Who's the one who got played like a fool then, Princess?"

I visibly flinched as instant pain overwhelmed me and my eyes smarted with tears. I was up for a good fight anytime, especially with Mckinley who as much as I hate to admit it, did make for good entertainment and a good verbal sparring partner most of the time. But I had my personal landmines and he had just stepped on one.

I spun around, unable to bring myself to look into his mocking eyes. "I have to go," I whispered.

"Kat, wait" He caught me in a firm grip by the arm. His hand was large and warm and he gripped me firmly but not so that it hurt. It felt secure…safe. His touch burned my skin and I jerked my arm away from his.

Momentarily I stared at his expression, and saw something almost resembling regret but right now, no amount of apologizing on his part would correct this situation. My emotional hurt overrode any feelings that I had for him. He'd used the only thing that had hurt me the most and thrown it at me knowingly. I only briefly registered that he had used my actual name, not VP, not Kitty Kat, just Kat.

"Don't touch me," I spat at him with the most venomous voice I could muster.

He flinched and stepped back. And then I ran. There was no way he was getting the joy of seeing me cry, not that this would be the first time, but he'd seen me in my most vulnerable once. Never again. Especially not after what he'd just done.

I was going home. Even if I went to detention now, I would be so late I'd only get more for the rest of the week, and I was in no mood to deal with any teachers. What I wanted most now was to be home and alone.

I sat up on the roof of the house. This was my sanctuary, where I went to think, process things, and sort out my feelings. I had my crying and screaming fits here most often, where the world faded into nothing and it was just me and the stars. Here, I could be me. Not just the smartass at school who was thought to be a perfectionist, but the closet romanticist, the idealist, the dreamer. It was also here that I had my most frequent daydreams, usually I hate to say, consisting of Darren Mckinley.

I thought back to the first time I'd realized I liked him. Before then, he had always just been Mckinley who annoyed me endlessly, the boy who I'd grown up knowing (he lived in the same neighbourhood) and had teased me all the way through my life. Then after a while, he became Mckinley the player, the arrogant boy who prided himself in the fact that he could get any girl and that he was universally acknowledged by every girl in our school as "the hottest guy in the year" and some going as far as to label him as "sex on legs".

I was just the small chick who was always fighting with him. The childhood friend that can get away with insulting him only because I'd seen him pee in his pants when he was four. But it was only last year when I'd seen him differently.

One year ago

"She's a little girl. Nothing more. There's no possible way she could ever turn me on. She's going to be fun whilst she lasts though, might take her virginity yet. Imagine that. Breaking the ice princess- I'd get all the cred I need to last me the next three years."

The five boys laughed out loud at the comment. "Well mate, you're getting her good. She's lapping it all up."

"Of course she is. I'm her first. That's why I picked her wasn't it? Someone innocent, naïve. She still hasn't noticed that half the school already knows that this is all play."

I stood at the door of the locker room tears pouring down my face. If it had been anyone else I would have felt overwhelming anger and rage but this was Aaron. The boy I'd opened my heart to, who'd seen me in my most happy and sad. I crumpled to the ground and sobbed, trying to muffle my cries. Memories flashed by in my mind. Fake memories. One sided emotions. And even amidst the heart- wrenching pain, I managed a small laugh. I'd been played like a fool.

"I have a boyfriend, it's Aaron. He likes me!" I had announced with pride to Mckinley and Bree two days after we'd gotten together.

Consciously in the back of my mind, my thoughts were "Finally, my first boyfriend. I'd caught up with Mckinley. I'd gotten a boyfriend, had my first kiss, held hands in public with someone." But I knew it was more than that, I liked Aaron. Possibly loved him. He was good looking, tall and strong. And he treated me as more than just a fragile small girl, despite me only barely reaching up to his shoulders. He gave me protection and security but at the same time, he challenged me.

Reality crashed down onto me as the door of the locker room opened. Aaron stepped out of the door and recoiled at the sight of me. Somewhere deep inside of me I registered the traces of regret and shame in his eyes but it disappeared quickly, leaving a cold blank stare.

And then he sneered at me crudely "Fuck, guess that's game over."

Blind rage pulled my body up from the ground and with a resounding crack, I slapped his cheek hard, his head snapping to the side. "You are without a doubt, the sickest bastard I have ever had the misfortune to meet."

I walked away slowly, body numb with shock and disbelief. I felt blank and cold. Just ahead of the corridor I saw students start to file in through the gym doors towards the locker doors. I was determined to walk away, head held high. And then…

"Virgin Princess, don't think you can just walk away with your pride intact. Don't you want everyone to know? How I played you like a fool and how you fell for it, hook, line and sinker. Don't worry though, to your credit, you were an excellent conquest. I don't think I've ever taken most of a girl's firsts. That is apart from your virginity, because of course you're way too tight for that aren't you."

And then I ran.

I ran all the way home, crossing red lights without looking, running on the highway. He'd used me. I closed my eyes shut and ran blind. Played me. Tears streamed down my face. Humiliated me. I stumbled and fell on to the ground. And now, everyone knew.

I collapsed against the wall outside my house and sat there, unwilling to go in and face the onslaught of questions my parents would bombard me with. And then I felt someone lift me up and carry me inside. I took in a deep breath. A woodsy earthy smell cloaked my senses as my brain immediately registered the presence of him. Darren Mckinley.

He took me up to the roof. He knew that was my spot. He'd seen me there often enough. And then he did nothing but hold me. As I clutched his grey shirt and soaked it with my tears, he rocked me in his arms, running his fingers through my hair, combing it out from its matted ponytail. I cried myself to exhaustion, and then to sleep. The last thing I heard was a whisper in the dark, "I'm sorry".

The next day I skipped school. And the next. And the next. When I got back to school after four days of absence I was greeted with the latest news. Mckinley had been suspended for a week. And Aaron Samson had somehow landed himself a broken nose and jaw.

I pulled myself back into reality and drew out my diary. Turning to that day one year ago, my eyes registered the only thing that I had put onto the page. A pressed daisy. The only sign I had that somewhere in his heart, maybe Darren Mckinley cared for me too. I had woken up in my bed the morning after that day with a daisy on my dresser. Next to it, a note with a single line in his handwriting. "I will always take care of you". Of course, he'd shrugged it off casually later on claiming that it had been written in the spur of the moment and strictly platonic. And in my insecure state, I'd been too afraid to approach him, to pry for the truth, fearing that what I would receive in return would be another cold rejection. But that day, I saw more to Darren Mckinley than ever before. Somehow, over the course of 24 hours, he'd grown up from a boy to a man I didn't realize existed.

Turning my thoughts back, I climbed back down from the roof and stepped back into my room. One year later, and I was still hurt by cutting remarks related to Aaron? How pathetic. I flipped open my phone ready to call Bree, only to find I'd already received 15 missed calls from her. I smiled. Typical Bree, always the first to know whenever something goes wrong.

I called her back immediately, knowing she would want to know what happened and wanting to share. "Hey Bree," I said gently.

"Kat," her voice suffused with relief "Thank god you've picked up, are you okay?"

"How did you know?"

"Mckinley called. He sounded really torn up, like he actually felt bad for once. Kat…I know you guys aren't on the best terms most of the time…well ever really. But don't you think you should give him a chance to explain? He probably said it instinctively, you know how you two are always hashing it out with each other…"

"He used Aaron against me Bree. He knew it would hurt me, more than any other insult he could have made. He of all people understood how inwardly torn up I was… I'm past angry, but not enough to forgive him. Please just understand and be on my side for now," I pleaded.

"I understand Kat and I'm sorry about what he said. You know you'll always have people who treasure you okay? Why don't you grab some sleep…I'll see you tomorrow. Love you."

I lay down on my bed and closed my eyes. But I couldn't fall asleep. Image after image ran through my brain. Mckinley lifting me up in his arm. Aaron tilting my head up to give me a kiss. Aaron's face screwed up in anger, yelling at me manically. Mckinley looking into my eyes, telling me everything would be okay.

All of a sudden I heard a tap on my window. I stood up and drew back the curtains slowly and stuck there was an envelope. Curious, I opened it up. A daisy floated out from within the envelope, a note tied to its stem "Please come up to the roof". I stared, unable to comprehend what this could mean. The inner battle in my brain raged on, torn between going up and seeing for myself what was going on or resolving my determination and ignoring the obvious sign from Mckinley.

Convincing myself that I had to go up if only to get him back down and over a five mile radius away from me, I climbed the stairs up. I gasped and covered my mouth with my hands. Covering the roof was a carpet of daisies, and because of the breeze, some were constantly floating as though in an invisible vortex around the house. It was without a doubt, the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. The white petals swirled slowly around me almost like a mini snowstorm.

I looked up and there was Mckinley, wearing black. If I hadn't known he would be there, he could have melted into the night sky and I would never have known.

Slowly regaining my ability to speak I asked him, "What are you doing here?"

He stepped closer until he was right in front of me, so close I could smell him…the same smell from a year ago. Comfortable and clean. He slowly reached out a hand and cupped my cheek. I flinched involuntarily, still afraid that he was here to hurt me. His eyes closed briefly in pain, and his fist clenched.

"I'm sorry, this was obviously a bad idea. I'll go."

He turned around, ready to jump off the roof. I reached out and grabbed his wrist. Somehow I needed to at least hear what he had to say. Plus he owed me a proper apology. I smiled at him, a small smile. "Don't you dare run off before you apologize properly."

He opened his mouth, and then closed it. I waited patiently, and then the words came.

"I'm sorry. I really am. I know how much it hurt you. God damn it,Kat. I'd do anything to take the words back. I wanted to run after you so badly, to tell you I didn't mean it, to say that I was sorry I had made you cry. Please forgive me. Just say that it's okay and I'll never say anything mean to you again. I won't even talk to you if it makes you happy. I just…I'm sorry…that I don't have a better apology but I had nothing planned. I just need to know that everything's okay, that you're okay..that …we're okay."

I glanced into his awkwardly outstretched arms, his gesture silently offering up a more sincere apology than his words could express. I stepped into his embrace and hugged him gently. He hesitated for a moment before I felt his strong arms wrap themselves around me.

Silence enveloped us and the three words that I had been wanting to say to him for so many years now were halfway up my throat when...

"I love you," he whispered. My head snapped up, staring up at him in disbelief.

"I've been in love with you since fifth grade when you dumped sand all over me in the sand pit."

I smothered my giggles in his shirt.

"God, every day I wish I could go back and erase all the things that bastard said to you. I wanted to tell you for so long but you were so hurt. So determined that all of us were out to get you, to hurt you. The only way I could get you to talk to me was when we were arguing. And even then, you were always so defensive, so on guard. So I tried to talk myself out of it. That you were too cold, too distant. I needed to convince myself that all we were going to be were enemies on good terms."

He paused and looked down at me.

"And then, slowly we were back to normal. We never talked about that night. You never questioned my motives or my intentions. So I passed the note off as nothing. Pretending to be nonchalant, pretending not to care that I hadn't all but nearly confessed I loved you. Which I do. And I want you to know now. I love you, Kat."

His eyes shone brightly in the dark, staring at me intensely as though willing me to respond or say a word. But I was so overrun with emotions I couldn't even begin to phrase my emotions into words. I could see his nerves gradually building up due to my lack of response and I knew that if I let this chance go, there would be no second one.

I paused for a fraction longer. And then I whispered "Wait here" and ran back to my room as fast as I could. Finding what I was looking for, I climbed back up to the roof and ran over to where he was. I reached for his hand and opened up his palm. Closing my eyes and taking a deep breath, I handed him my diary, turning to that page from one year ago. I looked up at him, and slowly uncovered my hands.

His eyes widened briefly and darkened before looking up at me, silently searching my face for his answer. Putting him out of his misery and finally snapping back into my normal state of mind, I took the plunge for it.

"Come on Mckinley, don't chicken out now."

He smirked.

And before I could say anything else, he crushed his lips down on mine in a firm kiss, swallowing my words. The warmth of his lips moved against mine gently, both of us treasuring this moment we'd been waiting for for years. And as we finally came from for air all I could feel was the loud thumping of our heartbeats as we stared at each other, our breaths mingling in the night air.

I smiled up at him slowly bringing him in for another kiss as my diary lay on the ground, still turned open to the page with the pressed daisy, with the note still attached onto the stem.

"I will always take care of you," in faded writing on the note.

"And I will always love you" written underneath, bold and clear in my own handwriting for the world to see.

whoot (: honestly this is the first time I've ever properly persevered and actually finished something despite how short this actually is.
my first attempt evidently and definitely not the best writing I've ever written but hopefully I'll get better as time goes on.

Reviews or any comments would be hugely appreciated but otherwise hope you enjoyed reading it ! Aya