"This is so stupid," Michael whispered to himself as he walked aimlessly around the drugstore, trying to avoid a certain aisle. But there was only so long you could look at the women's cosmetics without getting weird glances from the other patrons, so he reluctantly made his way across the squeaky clean red and white tile.
"Which ones do you like, Michael?" His mother asked him gently as he glanced around distastefully at the different colored valentines on the shelves. He glared at Dora the Explorer and grimaced at the Looney Tunes. He spotted a box boasting Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker and immediately grabbed it before anyone else could. Wordlessly, he thrust it into his mother's hands.
Lilly, his younger sister by three years, grimaced at him. "Those are gross, Michael."
"Not as gross as your face," he said with an outstretched tongue.
"Kids, that's not nice," their mother said absently as she crossed something off on her extensive list. "Which ones do you want, Lilly?"
Michael turned away, desperately wishing he was anywhere else. Even at the young age of ten, he knew Valentine's Day was nothing more than a corporate gimmick, just a gigantic satire on materialistic relationships in the form of a national holiday. And what was with this ridiculous tradition for children to hand out these stupid, folded little pieces of paper to their classmates, along with packets of industrialized sugar? He didn't like half the kids in his class and he had to ask them to be his Valentine? That didn't make any sense to him, at all.
"Hi, Michael," he heard a soft voice from behind him. He knew that voice and felt his heartbeat quicken uncomfortably. He turned around and found little Mia Thermopolis shaking the February snow from her hair.
"Hi, Mia," he said. He turned around to see if Lilly was there, but she and his mother already moved onto another aisle. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm picking up valentines," she replied as she walked past him. He caught a whiff of her strawberry scented locks and his knees went weak. "Where's Lilly?"
"She's somewhere with my mom," he said unconcernedly.
"Are you picking up valentines, too?" She asked as her gray eyes scanned over the different pictures on the bright red boxes.
"Yeah. I think it's kind of stupid, though," he said gruffly, trying to act like a tough guy. He wanted Mia to think he was cool.
She bit her lip. "I dunno, I think it's kinda sweet," she said as she pulled her mittens off to grasp a Disney Princess box of valentines. "Don't you like anyone, Michael?"
His stomach clenched as he watched the little girl with curly pigtails and wide silver eyes. She was always Lilly's best friend, but he'd loved her ever since he knew her. He loved the way her eyes shone when she laughed, he loved how she chewed her nails when she was nervous, heck, he even loved the way her nostrils flared when she lied. She was adorable, in every way, and he desperately wished he could tell her. "Yeah," he said slowly. "But I don't think it's very romantic this way," he said as he eyed the boxes of valentines in disgust. "Why, do you like anyone?"
The blush that crept up her neck and across her cheekbones did not go unnoticed by him. "Maybe," she said carefully.
"Who?" He asked, feeling his stomach drop. He should have known.
She shook her head. "I'm not gonna tell."
"Are you gonna tell him tomorrow?"
The corners of her mouth slowly crept upwards. "I might."
At that moment, her father came up to her and placed his huge hand on her delicate shoulder. "You ready sweetie?"
She looked up and nodded, holding her selection up to him. "I'll see you later, Michael," she said over her shoulder as she slipped her tiny hand into her father's.
"Bye," he replied, feeling his heart sink.
"Okay, class you're free to go," Michael's fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Hill, announced as the bell shrilled.
Michael grabbed his ridiculously simple "mailbox" and stuffed it unceremoniously in his backpack. When he walked out onto the Manhattan street, he pulled it out and began tossing out the ones he didn't care about, but keeping the candy. Sucking on a lollipop, he pulled the last one out of the bottom of the bag. Belle in her yellow ball gown was shining her pretty brown eyes, asking, "Will you be my valentine?" Underneath the fading ruffles of her dress, were the words, written very neatly, "Love, Mia."
He smiled and took the Crunch bar taped to the side of Belle's face. On the wrapper, it said, "Meet me on the playground."
Without hesitation, he turned around and walked to the playground at the school. He found Mia sitting on one of the swings, her glittery paper bag overflowing with valentines in her lap. In both her hands, she was holding two candied apples. When he approached her, she handed him one and said with a wide smile, teeth smeared in chocolate, "Happy Valentine's Day."
He grinned back. "Thanks."
They both sat, contentedly nibbling on their candied apples in silence. Mia was letting her arm hang casually at her side and on an impulse, Michael reached out and took her hand in his.
Mia looked at him in surprise, but grinned as a pink tinge spread across her cheeks. She leaned over and pecked him on the cheek and Michael's stomach lurched in excitement. Maybe Valentine's Day wasn't so bad after all.
A/N- Yes! This thing finally uploaded, I'm so happy! This is just a little one-shot, just because I thought Michael and Mia would be cute together. I'm not planning on writing any more for this, so don't bother asking. But reviews are greatly appreciated!