1999

"Mommy, can we go to the park?" five-year-old Melanie Puckett pleaded as they walked past the sign proclaiming "SEATTLE PARK." Her twin sister Sam rolled her eyes.

"Fine," Pam agreed. "Go." Melanie ran off, Sam grudgingly following behind.

She didn't want to go to the park today. Actually, she never wanted to. Melanie always wanted to go, and Sam was sick of it. It was boring. It was an amazement to her how so many kids her age could go on something like the slide over and over again and never get bored. She just didn't understand it.

"Come on, Sammy!" Melanie yelled, waiting at the gate entrance.

Sam's little fingers curled into fists. "Don't call me Sammy!" she screamed back. She caught up, eventually, to Melanie.

She went, as usual, to sit on the swings and wait until Melanie was finally done here. The boy on the swing next to her turned. "Hi, I'm Freddie!" he said cheerily. "What's your name?"

She glared at him. "Sam," she said. "I want to hurt you."

The boy's eyes widened. "Why?"

" 'Cause I'm in a bad mood an' you're too happy."

"What's wrong?" the boy called Freddie asked. She studied him. Did she feel like talking to him or punching him? In the end she decided to talk.

"My sister always wants to come to the park," she complained, pointing at Melanie, who was hanging by her feet on the monkey bars.

"You guys look alike!" Freddie observed incredulously.

"That's 'cause we're twins, dummy."

"Oh," he said. "What's wrong with her always wanting to come?"

"I don't like it here."

"Why not?"

"Why do you keep asking me?"
He shrugged. "Dunno. So why not?"

"It's boring. There's nothing to do here."

He sat silent for a moment. "It's a lot more fun with a friend," he told her.

Sam snorted. "Yeah, like I have any friends."

"Sure you do," Freddie said. "I can be your friend."

She stared at him for a minute. "Really?" she asked, amazed. No one had ever offered to be her friend before. The kids at school were all afraid of her because she was rude, mean and hurt them if they got her mad. This kid Gibby especially was terrified of her, and would run away whenever he saw her. Only her teacher, her mom, Melanie, and the principal ever talked to her.

Freddie nodded. "Sure!" Sam's face broke into a wide grin.

The two kids talked for a while longer, and for the first time ever Sam had fun at the park. They had competitions and bet rocks who could swing higher or jump father off the swing.

"Sam!" Pam called from across the park. "Time to go!" Sam's face fell. She ran over to her mother and begged to stay. "No, we have to leave," Pam insisted. Sam fished in her mom's purse for a piece of paper. She fumbled with it for a minute, ripping and folding it, until it became a very odd-looking but obvious flower. She raced back to the swings and handed the paper flower to her new friend. "This is for you," she said shyly.

Freddie took it, smiling. "Thanks, Sam." He reached out and gave her a hug. Surprised, she awkwardly put her arms around him too. "Bye," he said.

"Bye," Sam echoed sadly.

"Is that your new boyfriend?" Melanie teased as they left.

Sam punched her.


2011

"Sam, what are you doing? Sam!"

"Shut up!" she snapped.

Sam had gotten mad at Freddie, again. So she slung him over her shoulder and carried him into his apartment. She dumped him on his bed and spun around to leave him there with the door blocked from outside—and his mom couldn't open it for him, she was at the "Safe Children" conference in Fresno. Then she saw a shape on his bookshelf out of the corner of her eye and stopped short.

It was a very poorly made paper flower, looking like it was several years old. It was yellowed and stained with who knows what. "What is this?" Sam demanded, scooping it up and clutching the flower's paper stem between her fingers.

"It's a paper flower," Freddie said carefully, not wanting to get her upset. "This girl at a park gave it to me one day when I was five."

"Well, when I was five I gave a paper flower to some dorky kid at a park," Sam said angrily.

Suddenly they looked at each other, horrified. "It was you?" they yelled at the same time. Sam slapped him.

Freddie gently took the flower from her hand and stared at it. "I—I can't believe it was you."

"I can't believe you kept it," Sam said. "All these years, and you kept it." It was as if she thought that if she said it enough times, she would believe it. So far, it wasn't working very well.

She sat on the edge of Freddie's bed. "I forgot about it too," she confessed, staring at the ground. "I don't think I ever realized it was you—I just remembered that I gave some kid at the park a flower and that Melanie teased me about it."

"Maybe that's why you torture me so much. Maybe…maybe a small part of your subconscious…remembered it was me, and it was all your way of getting back at me for never talking to you after that."

"You're probably right," she admitted. "I mean, you were the first person to ever talk to me besides teachers and my family. Until Carly, I had no friends." She just sat there and looked at him for a moment. Then she leaned forward, grabbed his shoulders, and kissed him.

Freddie was shocked at first, and Oh my God Sam's kissing me ran through his mind several times. Then she pulled away and looked nervous.

"Oh my God," she said simply, monotonously. "Sorry," she then said in the same tone.

"Wow," Freddie managed in a similar tone.

"I guess a part of me's always been looking for the paper flower boy," she said softly. "But you probably hate me now. I mean—more than you usually do." She turned away to leave.

"No I don't," he insisted, putting a hand on her shoulder to keep her from leaving. "Actually, I never really have." And then he surprised her by pulling her close to him and kissing her back.


I think I got the idea from this from some prompt I read online, but I'm not sure. If it sounds like one of your prompts/challenges or one you've read, let me know please and I'll give you/them credit.

I actually wrote this the Friday before iOMG aired, but I wrote it on my laptop at school and printed it, I just typed it up on my computer last week, and I just forgot to publish it till now. It's kind of weird, I know. But I was pretty tired on Friday, and I was writing it during…Social Studies, I think. Or science. It's gone through a lot of changes from the original till now, but still.