The three and a half years age difference didn't matter to me. All I knew was that I had to have her. Some people might have called it a crush, but I truly believe that it was love. No one could have possibly changed my mind, right? I always told myself that even though I went on dates with girls my own age, none of them were ever a substitute for her. Maddie. She was the only one that was really special to me.

My eyes darted around the lobby. Moseby was checking in a guy at his desk, and Mom and Cody were upstairs in our suite. This was one of the few chances I had to impress her without anyone stopping me. I strutted over to the candy counter, fingering the loose change in my pockets. Maddie had her back turned to the counter, and it looked like she was organizing some packs of gum. She always took my breath away, even though I saw her every day. I laid a few silver coins on the counter. "One pack of popping candy, sweet thang."

She whipped around, her blonde strands of hair falling onto her shoulders. Her expression turned glum when she saw me there, instead of, perhaps, one of her newer boyfriends. Maddie pulled a small, purple pack of candy off the wall and handed it to me, collecting the dimes I had put on the counter. As she handed me the package, her eyes wandered up to my face. "Hey Zack. Um, I have some news for you that you're not going to like very much--" I cut her off instantly.

"What?"

Maddie sighed contently, and propped her elbow up on the counter, resting her head on her hand. "Well, London and I went to a concert last night to watch Jesse McCartney perform, and you know how she goes crazy over him."

I nodded, tearing the candy open and pouring it into my mouth.

"So she jumped on the stage and tried to hug him in the middle of his song, and within a few seconds, we get kicked out of the place," she continued, a dreamy look coming over her face. I did not like where this was going, and it seemed like the popping candy in my mouth was on the verge of exploding, rather than popping. "After the concert was over, London and I snuck back in and went backstage to see him, and London has to go and pounce on him like a wild cat!" She scoffed. "Of course we got in trouble again, but just before we left, Jesse came up to me and said, 'I'll miss you,' and kissed me on the lips. It scared the living daylight out of me, but it was also kind of nice."

My heart sank. The point of me going over to the counter was to impress Maddie, not to listen to how she got kissed by a celebrity. "Oh. That's good, I guess."

As if on cue, the elevator's doors opened, revealing a frustrated London, carrying a fluffy Chihuahua. Anger was printed clearly on her face, and she stomped up to the candy counter, pounding her fist on it. "How dare you kiss my husband!" she snapped.

Maddie's eyebrows raised up. "Your husband?"

"Yes, my husband! Well, my future husband. Why did you lip-lock with him? Even Ivana is fuming!" London set Ivana on the counter, and sure enough, she growled at Maddie, waving her paw at her.

"I didn't kiss him, he kissed me! And Jesse is not your future husband!" Maddie yelled back, and crossed her arms across her chest.

"Maybe I should go..." I said, backing away from the vendor. If there was a cat-fight starting, I sure didn't want to be caught in the middle again.

"No, you're staying right here," Maddie retorted, dragging me back. "No one's leaving until this fight's resolved."

London laughed. "Here's the solution: Jesse is mine!" Before Maddie could say another word, she pranced away, with Ivana following closely behind.

"Well, that's the end of that, I guess," Maddie yawned, scrunching up her nose in the process. "It's not like Jesse would have ever dated me or anything."

That's when it struck me. Maddie wasn't going to be single forever. Other guys besides me found her attractive, and if I didn't make my move soon, someone else would win her heart over. An idea flashed clearly in my mind, and I grabbed a flower from one of the vases in the lobby. I ran back to Maddie, tucking my present under my shirt. "Maddie, can you come with me to the suite? I have this cool...thing to show you..."

A slight smile came over her face. "Anything to get away from this desk of doom. I'll just take my break now," she exclaimed, putting her "Closed" sign on the tabletop. I offered her my hand, and playing along, she took it. We ran to the elevator, and waited for a few minutes before the doors opened. I gracefully signaled for her to press the number 23, and she tapped it. I clutched her hand, my plot forming in my mind.

Soon, we arrived at our floor, and I leaded the way to my family's suite. Mom opened the door, greeting us both with a grin and yellow gloves on her hands. "Hello Maddie! I'm sorry, I don't need you to baby-sit--" I glared at her, "--I mean teenager-sit, the boys right now, but did you want to come inside for a bit?"

Maddie nodded, and we entered. Cody was sitting on the couch reading a book, and Mom appeared to head into the bathroom. "Could you go into the bedroom for a minute?" I asked Cody.

He glanced up from his thick novel. "Nice to see you too," he spat back, lugging it into our room.

When he closed the door, I stared up at Maddie. "So, I guess it's just you and me, huh?" I put my hand up my shirt, taking out the flower I had been hiding. "A rose for my lady?" I questioned, holding out the rose.

She smiled sadly at me, shaking her head. "Zack, we've gone over this before. You're just not my age. We can't be together."

I had been planning for a response like this. "Age is just a number, sweet thang. It doesn't make up for who we are." I put my hand on her waist delicately, my other hand still holding out the light pink rose. "It is only our emotions that have complete control over what we feel, and who we love. My emotions have always gone wild over you."

I knew where to take it from here. I rest my head on her chest, listening for her heartbeat. It was increasing rapidly. "Is this a bit much for you, Maddie?"

Her cheeks flushed a deep red. "Not at all! It's just that...this is all new to me. I don't understand."

"Neither do I. But all I know is that it works." Without a sound, I wrapped my arms around her neck in an embrace, and she returned it. Our hearts were pressed close together, since she was kneeling down to reach my height. Her nails dug into my back, but I didn't mind at all. I gazed into her eyes, and said, "I am not just a child, Maddie."

"I know you aren't, not at heart," she whispered, "but I still don't think this can work."

I gently placed the rose into her mouth, and her teeth clenched it. My lips pursed together, and without thinking, they met her left cheek, and I quickly pulled away. I suddenly realized what I done, and soon, my lips were touching her cheek again. I heard the door crack open, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Cody watching us. His jaw had dropped at first, but he soon flashed me a thumbs up sign.

"Trust me on this one Maddie, please." I tossed my hair in front of my face, and I noticed her eyes were filled with admiration for me. I chuckled, and tilted her chin back. "It can."

-------

Disclaimer: I do not own TSL or its characters.

R&R please! This is just a little thing off the top of my mind, so I'm sorry if it sounds rushed at times or if the lack of descriptive words is annoying. Thanks, and good night people :)