A/N: So I've been thinking about the idea for this more light-hearted story for a while now, and I started writing it on a whim. I can't promise regular updates since I'm putting more focus on 'Anything to Find Her' right now, but I will post more of this too, if anyone likes it.
This story will be focused on Bobby and Alex's childhood and will expand into their teen years. Only friendship for now, but romance in later chapters.
Chapter One – First Meeting (Bobby is six, Alex is four)
"Go and play outside!"
Bobby trailed after his older brother. His mother instructed them to go outside at some point every day. She wanted to be left alone, and he knew she would be displeased if they went back in before she called them.
With a sigh, Bobby shut the door behind him, resigned to another afternoon outside in the hot sun without the book he was reading. He was only six, but already books had caught hold of his imagination. His mother read to him sometimes, but he enjoyed the stories too much to only rely on being read to, so he had worked very hard to be able to read by himself.
Bobby wandered over to the old soccer ball in the backyard. "Want to play?" he asked Frank.
"Not with you, shorty," Frank shot back. Bobby frowned, but didn't reply. His brother had recently stopped wanting to play with him, and Bobby had to admit that his feelings were hurt. He and Frank used to play all sorts of games for hours in the backyard together, but now Frank had decided he was too old to play with his little brother.
Bobby kicked the soccer ball against the fence, deciding to play by himself, when he noticed Frank edging towards the gate. "What are you doing?" he asked.
"Nothing," Frank replied, but Bobby knew him too well to believe that.
"Mom says we're supposed to stay in the backyard," Bobby told his brother, abandoning the soccer ball.
"Mom's not going to call us in for a while," Frank countered, "she won't even know I'm gone." Bobby frowned; he didn't want to risk upsetting his mother. "Bobby," Frank said, "just wait here and don't tell Mom I've left. I'll bring you back a candy if you stay quiet."
"You can't get a candy," Bobby argued. "Mom hasn't given us any pocket money."
"Just because she didn't give you any, doesn't mean she didn't give me any," Frank returned nastily.
Bobby's shoulders drooped. He knew that Frank was his mother's favourite son, but it still hurt whenever it was pointed out.
Frank looked down at his feet; sorry that he had hurt his brother's feelings. He did care for Bobby. "I was just teasing," he said. "I saved the money she gave me last week."
"Oh," Bobby replied, much happier now.
"You're not going to tell on me, are you?" Frank asked. Bobby shook his head solemnly. He stood at the gate and watched his brother leave, wishing he was brave enough to follow. But he knew that while Frank would be forgiven for breaking the rules, he would be in big trouble, so he returned to the soccer ball and resumed kicking it against the fence.
Suddenly a voice called out, "Hey, cut it out!"
Bobby approached the wooden fence and attempted to peer through the wooden slats. However, even through the tiny cracks all he could see were the cedar trees that the neighbor had planted on the other side.
"Hello?" Bobby asked.
"I said, stop hitting the fence!" the voice responded. The voice belonged to a child. Bobby knew that the neighbors had a few children, but he had never met them. He and his family had only moved the month previously, so he hadn't even been to school yet to meet them there.
Bobby walked over to an old doghouse left by the previous owner which was sitting next to the fence. By stepping onto it and standing on his toes, he could peer over the fence into the next-door-neighbor's yard. A young girl was playing with a couple of race car toys by the fence. She looked up and saw him.
"Hi," the little girl said. "What's your name?"
The boy bit his lip, indecisive. Then, seeming to decide that this wasn't too obtrusive of a question, he replied, "I'm Bobby."
The girl left her race cars sitting on the grass and approached the fence. She was very small; Bobby suspected that if she was standing where he was she would have difficulty even grasping the top of the fence with her hands.
"What's your name?" Bobby asked.
"Guess," she replied, with a cheeky grin.
"Hey," Bobby said, frowning. "That's not fair, I told you mine!"
The girl smirked. "Too bad," she announced. "You're going to have to guess."
Bobby considered simply retreating into his own backyard (the girl was too small to peek into his yard) but he was facing hours of boredom anyway, so he decided to play along. "Fine," he huffed. He glanced around the garden for inspiration. "Is it Rose?" he asked.
"Ugh," the girl said, scrunching up her face in distaste. "Not even close!"
"Okay, so not a flower name," Bobby said. The girl shook her head vehemently.
She shook her head. Bobby continued to guess and was wrong every time. "I don't know," he said after about twenty guesses. "I give up."
"Fine, then you'll never know my name," she said smugly.
Bobby opened his mouth to retort when he heard, "Alex? Did you sneak outside again? Get back in here!"
The girl spun around to face the back door of her house angrily. "Mo-om!" she whined. "I was making him guess my name!"
"Making who guess your name?" Alex's mother asked. Alex looked back at the fence, but Bobby had disappeared. He didn't think that it would be considered polite to have been peering into his neighbor's backyard, and in any case, he didn't want any adults asking him awkward questions.
"There was a boy!" Alex exclaimed. "He was at the fence!"
"Was he?" Alex's mother asked, amused.
"No, really," Alex told her mother. "There was a boy looking over the fence – his name was Bobby!"
"Okay, honey," Alex's mother said. "Does Bobby want to come inside for lunch with you?" She glanced around the backyard, assuming that Alex had an imaginary friend.
"He must have had to go back into his house," Alex said. "I didn't make him up!"
"Okay, honey," her mother soothed. "It's time to go inside for lunch now."
Bobby, standing on the other side of the fence, listened to the back door of the house close. With a sigh, he resumed kicking the soccer ball against the fence, as there was no one to tell him off now.
A/N: Is anyone interested in more? Please let me know what you think!