Summary: "You really like this girl?" "Since I was ten." Ten-year-old Seth decides what he wants out of life: Summer Roberts.
Seth, squinting in the September sunlight, scanned the playground. It was lunch recess, and he had a bag of M&Ms in his pocket and a Spiderman action figure clutched in his fist that he wanted to play with. Only, he was having difficulty locating a place to do so.
The playground was set up in three basic sections: there was the jungle gym and the monkey bars and all the equipment over to the far left, just past the water fountains, where he was standing. Past that, there was a large section of cement where the older kids played basketball and dodgeball and the second and third grade girls played hopscotch. Where the cement ended, there was a small stretch of grass dotted with a couple of spindly trees held up with sticks and green tape with complementary stone benches. The benches were where the girls in his class usually sat after they finished their lunch, chattering and giggling and sometimes painting each other's nails when they could sneak the bottles past the lunchtime yard duty, Mrs. Carroll, who was convinced that they were using the nail polish as narcotics. Seth was too young to have a clear understanding of what 'narcotics' were, and when he had asked his father, Dad had dropped the coffee mug he was holding right on the tile.
So he gathered that they were something bad.
The benches were where Seth would like to play, but Holly, Marissa, Summer, and Jennifer were always sitting at the best one: the one furthest away from Luke and his kickball friends. There was another bench, but that was where Lisa Kindrey always sat and meditated. Seth had tried to sit with Lisa once, but she had glared at him and snapped that he was disturbing her inner peace.
He was kinda scared of Lisa.
But Lisa was sick this week, so her bench should've been open, which was what Seth was checking for now.
However, when his eyes slid over to it, there was someone there.
Seth's heart dropped in disappointment, but then he brightened at the thought that this person (whoever they were) could possibly become his friend! This person was probably nicer than Lisa, because almost everyone was nicer than Lisa (except for Luke, but Seth was quite sure that Luke had a first-class ticket to hell—he had heard his mother use that phrase before, and it always made him giggle) and they probably wouldn't mind him sitting with them at all! Maybe they liked comic books and Mario just like he did! Maybe they had a Superman action figure with them and a bag of Skittles or a Snickers bar or something!
He made up his mind that today he was going to make his first friend.
Seth bit his lip and grinned in excitement. He sucked in a breath, lifted his chin, and strode purposefully across the 'blacktop', as the cement basketball courts were called, to meet his new best friend.
As he neared the bench, though, he discovered that it was only Summer Roberts.
Summer was kinda mean, too, but not really in the same way that Lisa Kindrey was. Summer was just impatient, and she didn't like it when you borrowed her glue stick without asking her first. That wasn't Seth's fault, though. He sat next to Marissa in class, and when they were gluing the names of the state capitols on their maps, Seth realized he was out of glue, but Marissa had some. So he asked Marissa if he could borrow her glue, and she distractedly said yes. But then Summer had stormed over, demanded to know why he took her glue, yanked it forcefully out of his hand, and then stormed off before he could explain.
But Summer had a lot of friends.
What was she doing sitting by herself on the bench with her knees drawn up to her chest like that?
Seth glanced down at Spiderman in his fist. Maybe Summer liked Spiderman. Maybe Spiderman would cheer her up.
He cautiously approached the bench. "H-hi, Summer," he stammered, his voice coming out very quietly.
"Go away," Summer mumbled.
Seth was disheartened, but he was determined to make Summer Roberts his friend. He did not know why. Well, he kind of did: he was really, really desperate. And sort of lonely. Seth, bracing himself for Summer's screams and possible punches, seated himself on the very edge of the opposite side of the bench. "How come you're not sitting with—with Holly and Jennifer and Marissa?" he asked, his voice still very soft.
Summer lifted her head, and her eyes were red. "Seth, what do you want?"
Seth looked down at his sneakers. They were new, his mom had taken him to South Coast Plaza this weekend and bought them for him. They were bright blue and had yellow piping on the sides and cool yellow laces. He had wanted the Spiderman sneakers, but Mom said he was ten years old, and ten years old was getting a little bit too old for Spiderman sneakers. He settled for these. "I wanted a place to play," he replied. "See, I've got—I've got Spiderman." He unfurled his fist and showed him to Summer. "He's neat because—because if you push this button"—he turned Spiderman over and let Summer see the little blue button on his back—"string comes out of his wrists. See, because Spiderman shoots webs out of his wrists so he can get stuff and swing from buildings and—"
"I've seen the cartoon," Summer replied irritably.
That made Seth even more excited. "You have?" he exclaimed. "It's really cool, huh?"
Summer raised her eyebrows. "No," she responded flatly. "Jennifer's brother is, like, a total freak. He makes us watch it with him."
Seth's expression falters. "Oh," he said lamely. "You like Jennifer's brother, though?"
"No," Summer said in the same dull tone. "He's, like, four. He wets his pants and smells weird."
Seth realized that this was probably a well-aimed insult at him, and he ducked his head again, embarrassed. He should've known not to talk about Spiderman so much. Summer was a girl, she probably couldn't care less about Spiderman. She probably wanted to talk about, like, My Little Pony or Barbie or something.
Only, Seth didn't know anything about Barbies.
And he didn't see the point of My Little Ponies.
But then he remembered the candy.
"Want some M&Ms?" Seth asked, drawing the carefully Ziplocked baggie out of his pocket. Summer watched him out of the corner of her eyes, something that looked like interest flashing across her face. "They're peanut butter."
"Peanut butter M&Ms?" Summer said curiously.
"Yeah, they're better than the regular kind," Seth told her. Maybe they would bond over peanut butter M&Ms and have, like, M&M parties at his house where they put M&Ms in different stuff, like popcorn and milk and mashed potatoes and stuff. Girls and boys can be best friends. You saw it in movies and TV all the time.
"I've never heard of peanut butter M&Ms," Summer admitted, watching as he clumsily pulled apart the blue and the pink parts of the bag.
"They're good," Seth assured her. "Do you like peanut butter?"
Summer allowed a small smile. "Doesn't everyone like peanut butter?"
"I don't know," Seth replied. This was so cool! Summer was talking to him, not screaming at him and snatching things out of his hands. She was taking a little handful of the M&Ms Rosa had snuck into his lunchbox.
They were going to be best friends. He was sure of it. He was already planning their future together. She would be able to come into his house without knocking, she would call his parents Sandy and Kirsten and they would have a nickname for her and they would ask how her parents were and how school was going. He would know the names and professions of her family members, he would know her shoe and her dress sizes and they would tell each other all their secrets and have sleepovers even though he was a boy and she was a girl and that sorta thing was usually not allowed, but they were best friends, everyone knew that. Maybe they would include Marissa in their friendship every once in a while, considering she lived next door to Seth and everything, but mostly, it would just be Summer and Seth. No, not even 'Summer and Seth'. They would not even be two separate entities anymore, they would be one. They'd be…Summereth. Sethamer. That sort of thing.
"How come you're not with Holly and everyone?" Seth asked her again. If they were going to be best friends and share secrets and stuff, she would have to tell him everything. And in return, he would tell her everything. But he probably would've done that anyway, because Seth loved to talk and would talk to anyone who would listen.
"I broke a bottle of Holly's nail polish," Summer responded, sighing heavily as if this were the most horrible thing in the world. "I dropped it in the middle of the cafeteria and it broke. It was really pretty; it was purple and gold and shiny. And Holly got really mad because it was her mom's and she wasn't supposed to have it anyway, and she's going to get in a lot of trouble." She took another M&M. "But I didn't mean to drop it! My hands were wet from Coop's soda! And Holly gave it to me and it slipped and it just broke. It was an accident, but she got mad and her and Marissa and Jennifer went to the bathroom and when they came back they wouldn't talk to me!"
Seth decided that girls were stupid, especially Holly and Jennifer and Marissa. But he couldn't just say that, not to his new best friend.
"Are you mad?" Seth questioned tentatively.
She glanced up at him from the M&Ms. "Yes!" she exclaimed vehemently. "It was an accident!"
He nodded solemnly and took an M&M for himself.
Summer continued, "And now they're over there"—she nodded to the other bench, where Holly, Marissa, and Jennifer were indeed sitting and watching Summer and Seth closely. They were giggling—"and they're probably making fun of me." She frowned. She looked sad.
Seth glanced over at the bench where Holly and Marissa and Jennifer were sitting. Only, they weren't sitting there anymore. They were making their way over to Summer and Seth, and they were smirking. Seth instinctively hid Spiderman in his fist again, although the top of Spiderman's head and part of his legs were still visible.
"Summer, is Seth your new boyfriend?" Jennifer cooed obnoxiously as they reached Seth and Summer's hearing range. Summer stiffened at the sound of Jennifer's voice.
"Yeah, you guys should get married," Holly added, and she and Jennifer giggled. Marissa looked down at her pink Jelly sandals and let her hair fall down to cover her face.
"He's not my boyfriend," Summer insisted hotly.
Seth was blushing furiously. He could tell he was blushing because his face was all warm. He reached for the bag of M&Ms and started to struggle to get the bag closed because there were still some left and he could eat them in class if he was careful and didn't let Mrs. Cater see.
"I think he's your boyfriend," Jennifer practically sang. And then came the song: in perfect unison, Holly and Jennifer began to sing, "Seth and Summer, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"
"He's not my boyfriend!" Summer said, louder this time. "I don't even like him, okay?!" She stood up abruptly, surprising the other four kids, and stalked away. Marissa, after a moment's hesitation, ran after her. Sighing in exasperation, Jennifer and Holly ran to catch up.
Seth was left alone on his bench.
He was a little shell-shocked.
Summer Roberts, his girlfriend?
She was pretty, he shyly admitted to himself. She had pretty hair and wore nice clothes. She talked a lot, like him. She liked peanut butter M&Ms. And…that was about all he knew about her.
But he could figure out more.
So Seth decided, smiling embarrassedly, that he had a crush on Summer Roberts.
They could be boyfriend-and-girlfriend. They could hold hands around the playground like Luke and Marissa did, though Seth wasn't sure he'd want to kiss Summer in the back of a bus while everyone watched and screeched and sang that horrible song.
Then maybe one day they could get married and be like his mom and dad. They could live in a house like his mom and dad and Summer would go off to work and so would Seth but they would come home and they would have each other.
They would eat peanut butter M&Ms for dinner every night until they get tired of it. Then they'd have McDonald's.
Seth decided that he'd like that. He would like it a lot.
A/N: Short, simple, and to the point.
Writing kids is hard. :)