Nathan Fox couldn't remember when he and Natalie Madison first became friends. It wasn't when he moved next door to her at the age of four. When he first saw the brown hair, grey eyed wild child. Who ran up to him and tackled him before handing over a red Popsicle.
"Friends?" she asked. A bruise on her cheek and a scrape on her chin. Nate looked at the red Popsicle which was starting to melt, spilling red liquid everywhere. He simply pushed her off of him, grabbed the Popsicle and ran inside his new home. He watched her from the living room window. He saw her get up, brush herself off and run to a man who handed her another Popsicle. He watched the man smile down at her while she shrugged and went back to dancing on her lawn. As if the whole thing never happened and she didn't have a care in the world. He sat there at that window and watched her dance. He is amazed by the brown hair, grey eyed wild child, in a loose white dress and a crown of daisies on her head.
He also knew they weren't friends when he pushed her into the mud when they were at the park a few months later. When he saw her playing with a little boy with blond curly hair and green eyes. Jealousy got the best of him and the last thing he remembered was her in the mud, crying. He felt sad for her. He wanted to tell her that he wanted her to play with him, not with the other boy. But he never got a chance because the parents showed up and Natalie had to explain to them that she tripped. It was the first time she had lied and covered for him, at it wasn't the last.
He did know that they became friends shortly after kindergarten. When she stalked right up to Joshua Something and punched him in the face because Josh had taken Nate's ding dong. He remember watching her push pass the other kids and right up to Joshua's face and then POW! Right in the face. They been friends ever since. Close friends. The kind of friends that did everything together. They camped at each other's houses, took swimming lessons together. If Nat got hurt then so did Nate. That was another thing too; they were so close that everyone said their names as if it were one: NateNat.
He also remembers why they didn't speak anymore. How, in ninth grade, he blew right passed Natalie and into a shiny red convertible that belonged to Holly Johnson. Without a warning he just stopped talking to her. But he figured she didn't care. She didn't yell for him, didn't call him and asked what was wrong. She just let him go and he watched as she let him.
But now it was senior year. He was captain of the football team and class president and yada yada ya. The golden boy dating the head cheerleader. And he hated every minute of it. Hated the attention, but loved football. Hated school but wanted to make sure the school was doing all it could to provide good crap for the students. He went through the motions of the everyday life of a high school student.
So when fifth period English started, he pulled out his notebook and pen, listening to the teacher explaining the class syllabus and ignoring the commotion that just started at the front of the class.
"I'm so fuggin sorry, um," that's when Nate looked up and saw her. The brown hair grey eyed wild child. He watched and she looked for her class schedule and when she found it, he watched as she struggles with something. He always knew when Natalie was struggling. Her forehead would pucker, her eyes would squint and she started chewing on her bottom lip. "Mr. Gross?" she asked, and was oblivious when the class burst into hysterics.
"It's Mr. Grosse," the teacher said. "Pronounced Grow-Say."
"Oh, right. So where do I sit?" she asks, once again oblivious to the fact that Mr. Grosse was frustrated. How she didn't realize Nate didn't know. Mr. Grosse's face bright red, from embarrassment or anger Nate couldn't tell.
"Take a seat next to Mr. Fox," he paused as he looked at her schedule. "Ms. Madison." He huffed.
"Please," Nat said. "Call me Natalie." Then she walked right passed him and plopped herself into the seat next to me. "Jeez man, is school going to get any easier?" She asks, looking Nate straight in the face. And Nate remembers that face, remembers her eyes that are so gray they almost look metallic. "I mean, six periods for four years for like one hundred and something school days." She doesn't realize that Nate is staring at her, doesn't realize that he's shocked. That after three years of not speaking this is the first thing she says to him. Not in anger and not sarcastically but seriously. She is seriously wondering why they have to go to school like this. But then Natalie shrugs and says, "Well, at least its second semester. Only four more months." She pulls her notebook out of her backpack that was gray at one time but is now covered in doodles and writing. Some are reminders and others are notes to other people. "Go out with me, Nat."-Jeff. "As if she'd go for you." –Rose. Who these people were he didn't know, but he was curious and before he knew it, the bell rang. Signaling the end of class and the beginning of lunch.
They both left the classroom at the same time. Nate watched as a boy with curly blond hair and green eyes ran up to Natalie and pulled her hoodie so far over her head that she almost trips.
"I can see you're fucking shoes Jeffrey," she says, but not in anger. She's amused and now she laughing and chasing Jeffrey to their table. The table that Nate knew was hers and that some part of him wanted to be a part of.
"Hey babe," says a voice in Nathans ears. A voice that's been getting on his nerves lately. "What you looking at?" Holly Johnson steps in front of Nathan and smiles at him before kissing him.
"No one, I mean, nothing," he says when she pulls back. He smiles at her and takes her hand before walking across the cafeteria to his table. Passing Natalie's table.
"Hey freaks." Holly sneers.
"Careful Hell," Natalie says, purposely. "Before I have Rose get me a pair of your underwear and we hang them up the schools flag pole."
"You bitch!" Holly sneers.
"Careful Holly," says another girl that Nathan recognizes and Rocio, Holly's cousin. "She knows the janitor." They laugh as Holly gives them the finger and storms off in search of her best friend Jamie.
"I'm sorry." Nathan says, trying to apologize.
"No dude," says the guy named Jeffrey. "We're sorry." Nathan looks confused.
"Sorry that you have to kiss her!" says Alex, one of the members of the varsity football team.
"Ohhh!" They all start cheering and laughing and barking- literally, Alex starts to bark.
"And I'm sorry for their behavior." Says Natalie. "They forgot to take their medication."
"I'll show you…" starts Jeff before lifting Natalie over his shoulder and running off. The rest of her friends grabbing their bags and trailing right behind. No doubt they'll skip sixth period, Nathan thinks. They always skip sixth. And Nathan is left standing there chuckling at their behavior wondering if that's what real friends are like.
"Nathan!" Nathan winces and he hears Holly yelling for him like he's some kind of dog. Nathan turns. "Are you done?" She says with attitude. And Nathan walks up to Holly, kisses her cheek to calm her down and sits at the table that's his. The table where the jocks sit with the cheerleaders, but he's ignoring the talk and discussion. His mind is on the brown hair, grey eyed wild child.