Loriot: I'm not entirely sure if I'm happy with this, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. I tried to capture a teen!Jimmy as best I could -- gave him an almost refined voice, since he likes to use those newfangled big words at the age of ten. heheh . . . poor attempt at humor on my part. Hopefully the story will be better than that. Please review if you enjoyed it!

Assumptions

As all of my meditative summer days begin, the morning dawned gray and slightly humid. By the afternoon, the clouds had cleared some, allowing to sun to shine through in blotchy patches. I had spent most of the morning simply being lazy indoors with my parents and dog, eating a late breakfast (including my mom's freshly baked apple pie) and watching my dad's favorite television show with him. Later in the afternoon, I headed out to my lab to work on some of my new inventions, including one that that had been commissioned by a local business to find an inexpensive fuel source for their machinery.

As I made my way to the old club house, I briefly paused to glance at Cindy's home across the street, flushed pink, unique to the other homes in the neighborhood in whites, yellows, blues, and greens. I smiled slightly, noting as Cindy's figure passed by her bedroom window.

The inside of the lab is the same as it was seven years ago – rather dark and gray, but quiet, my place of solitude.

Sometimes.

Provided that neither Carl nor Sheen were over.

Experiments and inventions in their various stages littered the entire lab, flashing, beeping, or making noise as appropriate for their specific function or use. I went to check my email before beginning work on the fuel. I had two emails from Carl – one sent from the hotel he was at, attending the Llama Lovers national convention in San Antonio. The other was a llama and alpaca themed e-card. Sheen had sent me at least a dozen emails relating to the up and coming Ultra Lord movie that he was obsessing over. I shook my head, wondering how an obsession like that could last through our high school years. There were a few e-mails regarding the progress of the fuel, and one from a coordinator at the school, who attached a list of students who had requested to be under my tutelage for the inter-student tutoring program.

When I had replied to all the urgent ones, deleting the unimportant ones, I went to the fume hood which was housing my "works in progress," if you will. There were three glass containers – the one on the far right was a deep purple, nearly black in color; the second was a deep murky gray, but the third was a vibrant shade of emerald green with streams of billowing black "silk" weaving throughout. The green reminded me distinctly of my girlfriend's eyes, though the color lacked the same intensity.

People assume – well, people assume a lot of things, but – they assume that the aspect I find most attracting – alluring – about Cindy is her eyes. Her lovely eyes which burned with a fiery intensity that I did not know that green could possess. Her eyes are lovely, but they are not what I find the most attractive about her. For your edification, there are a few features tied for first in this supposed "contest" between her many attractive qualities.

Peering into the glass of the vibrant green and black fuel, I inserted a long, thin syringe to extract a small amount to test in the combustion chamber.

Firstly, I find her temper very striking. Though we've been fighting with each other for years, it never ceases to amaze and leave me breathless. She is the most passionate person that I have ever met. Her cheeks flush, her eyes spark, and her expression becomes as cute as an annoyed five year old's features would portray. She can never find out, but, half the reason I fight with her is because her temper which I find – I wish there was a more polite way of saying this – rather erotic.

I also love her lips. Her mouth in general really. The shape, the feel, the taste. One would think since she is so loud that her mouth would be proportionally sized to such a voice. Not a chance. Cindy's mouth is tiny (when she's not using it, obviously), with perfectly curved, light pink lips, naturally turned upwards in a slight smile. When she's trying to be cute, she tucks her mouth into an irresistible pout. They're soft, with a bit of the pale shine of peach lip gloss. The sensation of our first kiss is still engrained in my mind.

I paused and set the glass vial down, leaning back in the barely cushioned seat. Closing my eyes, I brought the memory of that autumn day to mind.

We were sixteen at the time, in the throes of one of our biggest fights to date. As we were yelling at each other, all I could think of was how I was sick of fighting; I stopped and watched. Face flushed, her mouth was moving at a very rapid pace, people walking by were pausing to look at us. I heard what she was yelling (something about me not listening to her), but I was mainly focused on how gorgeous she really was. For the first time in my life, I did not listen to my brain. I walked over to her, grabbed her, and kissed her. She was shell-shocked at first, she jerked back. I simply followed, pressing closer as she began to kiss me back. It was sensational.

Still leaning back in my seat, I rubbed my eyes tiredly. Time to get back to work.

Due to our normal behavior, people tend to assume the worst when it comes to our physical relationship. They perceive us as licentious, when that is not the case. We're no worse than any average high school couple, "better behaved" even than the majority at our school. Cindy, despite what people think, has a strong moral basis for this particular area, and so, though we have done . . . stuff, we have never done "it." If that's what she wants, that is what I respect.

I get congratulated at school, though, by random guys – jocks, jerks, and nerds alike. She's regarded at school as uptight and bossy, but attractive, even moderately popular. The fact that I, the biggest nerd in school, was dating her was grounds to be admired, congratulated for getting her in bed. Many people believe that I am dating her simply for the fact that I would "not get anything" otherwise, a statement for which there is no factual basis whatsoever (for the former reason, not the latter). Cindy, I know, tries to ignore these rumors, putting a brave front up at school, but I know they hurt her and defended her, preferring her peace of mind than my "macho" status.

However this type of thing hit home the hardest for the both of us. My mom went around clucking her tongue whenever Cindy was over to show her disapproval, at least until I set her straight. She'd apologized since then, and now mom and Cindy are on friendly terms. Unfortunately, Cindy's parents are much worse. She came over one day in tears after a fight with her mother.

"She'd rather believe the rumor mill than her own daughter," she whispered, clinging to me as her tears soaked my shirt. "She called me an ungrateful slut."

Words could rarely bring her down; she laughs at being called a bitch, but "slut" and "whore" cut her to the core. I hate to see it happening, but nothing I say or do seems to stop the rumors.



That's high school for you.

I shifted my attention to the vial to the left of the green and black one, extracting a small bit to test in the combustion chamber.

Yet, despite all that, the assumption which bothers me the most is that people tend to believe that we have an unstable relationship, a relationship based on nothing but physical attraction. That it's a relationship that has no hope of lasting beyond high school.

I wish they wouldn't take things on face value like that.

Our relationship is . . . initially based on friendship. We were enemies at first, without a doubt, in our elementary school days when it was only natural to rival the opposite gender, though even that rivalry ran deeper than what normally happened in elementary school. We were each other's intellectual challenge. As we grew older we became friends, finally acknowledging that we both had something to contribute. We still fought and bickered, obviously, but we were finally able to come to terms with the underlying feelings we had for each other. There were people who questioned why I wanted to date my friend.

I simply asked, "Would you rather date a stranger or someone who you know?"

We have a trust in each other that we wouldn't have otherwise as friends. We care genuinely about each other, knowing both our strengths and our weaknesses, and caring about each other more because of it. That isn't something you can get from dating a 'stranger.'

We both had walls we constructed over the years to uphold some sort of façade, if only to protect ourselves from the judgmental eyes of our peers, and sometimes from our friends and family. Like how Cindy always acts tough at school and in her own home, only because she doesn't want anyone to know on the inside she's hurt from others' actions – whether it's the name calling at school, or her mother's 'stage parent' style of treating her daughter. And me? Well, I'm not always as fearless as I present myself to be during many of the missions we have gone on.

We both know this about each other, yet we still care an incredible amount about each other. Quite honestly, I don't know what I would do without her. She's the one who I go to when I've either discovered something new, or have come to a road block in any of my experiments. She lets me gloat (making sure I keep my ego in check, of course) or vent my frustration as it is appropriate. She helps me with some of our English assignments (since it is a subject that I do not excel as greatly in), and she's humbled herself in the same fashion, asking for help on some of our science homework in the past. We both know that there will be no mocking if we ask (at least not in a negative way), and we both know that the other is more than willing to help.

I'd say that our relationship goes beyond the adolescent norm, that we have an actual foundation that is not based on purely hormonal reasons.

Cleaning up what was left of the chemical mess; I washed up and headed up and out of the lab. I was greeted with a nearly blinding flash. The sun was shining brightly and the air was warm and a bit sticky.



I hated that people would so quickly apply stereotypes to our relationship. I hated they assumed that it would only go so far. I hated how we were put in the spotlight whenever we were out together simply because we are a novelty to everyone in town. Why is it any of their business?

"Hey, Jimmy!" I looked up; Cindy was walking quickly across my front lawn towards me, her long blond hair swinging freely down her back, her smile was dazzling. "Where'd you disappear to? I haven't seen you in days!" She looped her arms around my neck, her torso snugly against mine.

"Been working on experiments, you know, the usual."

"Take a break why don't you, Neutron. I miss my boyfriend." I grinned, securing my arms around her waist. "Quite playing mad scientist for awhile, huh?"

"Why? Can you think of something better to do, Vortex?" I teased, slightly amused how our last names, in the past used as an insult, had become our pet names for each other.

"Hmm, well, there's always this –" She kissed me softly. "Really, I have missed you."

"I missed you, too, Cindy," I murmured before leaning back in for another kiss.

I guess, in the end, why the hell do I even care what they think?