A.N.: Okay, the italic words at the very beginning of the chapter are memories from when Kat met Charlie.This is just a warning so you don't get confused. I'm going to throw in glimpses of there history throughout. Kat is technically a year older than Charlie and started highschool when she was 14 (fits the timeline that Charlie graduated when he was 13). This is about four years before that.
Kat stared unhappily out the jeep's window. The suburb was like any other she had lived in for the past six years. Sighing dejectedly, she let her head fall with a thud against the window.
Looking over her shoulder with a worried expression Kat's mom said, "You okay back there, sweetie."
"Yeah, mom," Kat replied. Her head stung for a brief second but there was no lasting damage.
Finally the van pulled into the driveway of a two story house. Immediately Kat's parents jumped out to inspect their new home while Kat whistfully crawled from the back and just stared at the size. For a second, she felt a brief glimmer of hope. The house was bigger than the others. Kat knew enough from listening to her parents "secret" discussions to know the house was pretty expensive. That meant they wouldn't have to move so quickly. Maybe this time she'd have a chance to find a real friend.
Suddenly Kat heard a noise. Curious, she looked around the van into the yard next door in time to see to boys shooting hoops. The larger boy was about fourteen with straight, dark brown hair. The smaller one was about Kat's age. He was way shorter then Kat and had dark curly hair.
Kat continued to watch for a few minutes. Despite wanting to go over and say hi, she felt embarrased going in front of the older boy. Thankfully, however, a group of larger boys soon appeared. They talked with the bigger boy for a few minutes and soon he handed the basketball to the little one. Ruffling the kid's hair he followed the boys past Kat's new home. Kat froze, unsure of what to do. She watched silently as they passed. For a second she thought they hadn't noticed her. But then, the older boy who had been playing basketball looked over and gave her a strange look. Then, turning around he continued walking down the block.
Kat watched him go. Turning around she watched the little boy as he began shooting baskets again. She couldn't help but notice that he paused after each shot and stared strangely at the basket. On his tenth shot, the ball hit the rim and zinged past his hand bouncing into her yard. Without hesitation Kat picked it up.
"Hey," the little boy called running over to her. His voice wasn't angry but he eyed Kat suspiciously.
"Here's your ball," Kat said, handing the piece of rubber to him. The boy was at least a head shorter then she was, but then again she had just had a growth spurt.
"Thanks," the boy said, grabbing the ball, "What's your name?"
"Kat, what's yours?"
"I'm Charlie," the boy said, smiling, "Did you just move here?"
" Do you want to play some basketball?"
"Sure," Kat said. She followed Charlie over to the net.
For a while they shot and caught each other's rebounds. Kat began to notice Charlie muttering numbers under his breath as he shot. Finally she asked, "Why do you do that?"
"Do what?" Charlie said, shooting again.
"Mutter numbers under your breath."
"I'm trying to make an equation."
"Oh," Kat said, "Why?"
" Because I want to help my brother improve his shot," Charlie sayed.
"Oh," Kat replied. At the time she didn't understand what Charlie meant but it sounded important, and as far as she was concerned doing something important was better then nothing.
"Can I help?" she asked.
Charlie stopped and looked at her seriously. Finally he answered simply, "Sure."
Don was annoyed. He had told Charlie he had needed his help. It wasn't as if Charlie hadn't been warned ahead of time.
"Don, Charlie's here," Colby said sticking his head into Don's cubicle.
"Finally," Don muttered, bolting up.
Walking to the entrance he saw Charlie accompanied by Larry and an attractive young woman, that was not Amita.
"Hey, Charlie, thanks for getting here so fast," Don said, when he finally got to the group, "Hey, Larry."
"Hello, Don," Larry said.
"It's no problem, Don," Charlie said, " Though a little warning would have been nice.Larry and I were in a deep conundrum over the mathematical principles of his theory and..."
" Listen, I'm sorry," Don remarked, "But I told you I might need you at a moment's notcie."
"Yes, but you fail to realize that I also have a job outside consulting," Charlie replied, annoyed, "I can't just dop grading and lectures at a moments notice for you."
"Why can't you have a student do that stuff? I thought all the professors did," he looked over at Kat, as if to indicate his point.
Immediately Charlie snickered. Kat also grinned slyly.
"Okay," Don replied, getting that he was at the bottom end of a joke and not liking it.
"Don," Charlie said, quickly composing himself, "Don't you recognize Kat."
"Kat?" Don replied, "Kat...Kat..."
"She used to live in our neighborhood," Charlie said, his tone going to downright disbelief, "She used to be our nextdoor neighbor."
Instantly realization sunk in for Don. He stared at the young woman before him with unbelieving eyes.
"Kat!" he exclaimed in complete shock, "Is that really you?"
"Last time I checked," Kat replied with a deadpan expression, "It's great to see you, Don."
"Wow," Don muttered, "I...we haven't seen you in ages. What happened to that ten year old who used to join in tagging behind me?"
"She grew up and went to college," she replied.
"I'd say so," Don answered truthfully. The last time Don had seen Kat, she was a tall, gangly fourteen year old with a smart mouth and defensive nature towards Charlie. As an eighteen year old, Kat was to young and to nerdy to even read on Don's radar, even if she was his little brother's best friend. Now, though, the years had shaped her and the tough attitude seemed to have melted into a welcoming persona.
"Uh, Don," Charlie said, interrupting Don's thoughts," You said you had data you wanted me to see."
"Oh, right, come on, Charlie," Don said, "You coming, Larry, Kat."
"Wouldn't miss if for the world," Kat replied, taking a place next to Charlie.
"As interesting as an indepth investigation of the evil that permeates man's soul sounds," Larry said, "Do you know where Megan is? I was going to return her book."
"Yeah, she's over there," Don said, indicating to his right. He and Charlie share a brief look.
"Thank you," Larry replied and headed of in the direction Don pointed.
" Come on guys," Don said, shaking his head, and heading to an empty glass room.
Leaning over to Charlie, Kat asked, "What was that all about?"
"What, Larry?" Charlie said, looking over his shoulder, "Well, Don and I think..."