Jules wasn't sure why he had bothered coming to Rosemariné's birthday party, really. Most of the other guests were vapid, Rosemariné would probably want to use him as the pinata, and most importantly, he had no idea what sort of present to get him. He had come to the party empty-handed - anything Rosmariné would like was something that he couldn't afford - and awkwardly asked him what he wanted. Rosemariné looked at the pile of presents behind him, at the grand spread of desserts and the spotted pony, then at Jules again, and then back at Jules, confused. "Right," Jules continued, "I suppose you don't need anything at all from me."

"Wait!" Rosemariné called as Jules turned to walk away, "there is something..."

Jules was confused by the way he trailed off, sounding almost shy. "Yes?"

"I'd like you to..." he looked at the ground and took a deep breath, "I'd like a kiss from you."

Jules almost gasped; why on earth would he want something like that? And did that mean he'd have to touch Rosmariné? With his ilips/i? What if he got some horrible disease that made people mean? ...Right, the shock of that request made him temporarily idiotic, it seemed. Jules nodded, unsure of why his heart was beating so quickly, and allowed himself to be roughly dragged behind a tree.

Rosemariné looked scared to death and overjoyed as he moved his face closer and closer to Jules'; the noises of the party seemed to disappear as Jules' heart beat faster from some odd combination of fear and anticipation. He didn't move an inch, simply allowing Rosemariné to do what he wanted, since he truly had no idea how to kiss someone. (Later, he would realize that Rosemariné knew just as much as he did, possibly less.) Their lips brushed for no longer than than a second, but Jules felt it more than anything he had ever felt before. It was more than just touching: it made him feel lightheaded, and he wondered if he should kiss back.

When Jules tried to pull away, he found Rosemariné clinging tightly to his shirt. His face was so red that it stretched to his ears, and he looked satisfied, almost victorious. "I like you a lot," he whispered.

"Me, too," Jules answered by reflex. He wasn't sure if it was a lie. He never was sure when it came to Rosemariné.

Jules wondered if he had said the right thing when a smile lit up Rosemariné's face. "Really?" he asked, seeming to be honestly excited, "I'm so glad~"

Jules just mumbled a response of some sort and looked at the ground, wishing that he wasn't forced to think about things like whether it was still right to hate Rosemariné. (Of course it was, right? he hadn't hit any of his playmates in about a year, now, but perhaps he was just waiting for the right moment to strike.)

"No, we can inot/i go back to the party now," Rosemariné scoffed in response, having apparently chosen his own interpretation of Jules' mutters. His meek attitude had disappeared now that his actions had been approved of, and he was back to his usual bossy self. "I have to ask you something."

Oh, dear. "Yes?"

"May I court you?"

Jules stepped away in horror at the suggestion. Was that a smirk on Rosemariné's face? Surely he couldn't really mean such a thing! "T-that's not allowed!" he shouted.

Rosemariné pouted. "Why not? I like you and you like me, so we should be in love!"

"It doesn't work like that! We can't get married!"

"Why not? We're of the same class."

"Don't be naive." For someone who got such high grades in school, Rosemariné could really be foolish. Jules searched for a response that would convey his surprise and disgust without offending his friend too much. "It's not that easy!" was what he settled upon.

At that, Rosemariné stepped forward, planting himself squarely in front of Jules so they were almost as close to each other as they had been just a few minutes earlier. Jules winced as Rosemariné pulled back his hand, ready to slap him, but the impact never came. Instead, he opened his eyes to find Rosemariné had crossed his arms and was glaring at Jules, his lower lip sticking out. "Fine, then. I'll imake/i you want to marry me."

There was no good answer to that, Jules realized, so he stood, confused, in silence. Rosemariné smirked at his confusion, then turned to walk away. After a few long seconds, he looked back at Jules. "Well, come on, we're going back now. I'm going to spoil you," he said, "I can certainly afford it."

Jules pondered that idea, then took Rosemariné's hand. "Just try," he said, dismissively, "I won't fall for you, ever."

"We'll see about that," Rosemariné answered, half-leading, half-dragging Jules away, "you haven't even tasted the cake yet!"

...

"It's been five years since then," Jules said, taking a sip of some rare vintage of wine.

"Since when?"

Jules chuckled. "Your thirteenth birthday. Don't you remember? You were very enthusiastic then."

Rosemariné blushed at the memory. "I can't believe you still remember that. I was a different person then." He looked into his own glass nostalgically,

"I thought you were very sweet," Jules lied. Looking back, it iwas/i rather sweet, but he certainly hadn't thought that then.

"I was very silly, you mean. I can't believe that I thought that was proper."

Jules paused to finish his glass. "I didn't want to admit it, but... it was a nice day, I think."

"I suppose," Rosemariné answered dismissively.

"You never made me fall for you, though! What a pity."

Rosemariné glared at Jules, then poured him another glass. "It doesn't matter."

"Do you want a kiss?"

"iNo/i!"

"All right." Jules was silent after that, wishing - no, he corrected himself, wondering - what might have been different if he had accepted Rosemariné's proposal. Perhaps... no, he cut himself off. It would never work. Ever. Even if he sometimes did miss the warmth of Rosemariné's arms around his neck.