”Next week is going to be awesome. I can wait, you know whats next week

right? ” Dakota chimes on in excitement to her blond haired friend who was

walking a few steps behind her. They were on their way to school and she

kept on blabbering about next week, smiling and making drawings in the air

while talking but it seemed her friend was lost in his own thoughts.

Dakota stops midway and so does her talking, she spins around and snaps her

fingers in front of his face pulling him out of his thoughts. She places her

hands on her hips and gives him a questioning look, ”What is wrong with you

today? Youve been spacing out on me this whole time ”

He looks at her for a while then looks away.

”Stephen!! ” she snaps at him quite irritated by his lack of response.

”What? ” he says softly.

”What is the matter? Is something wrong? ”

He looks away scratching the back of his head lightly, ”Its nothing, its just

that I couldn sleep properly ” he says which was an obvious lie. What he

wanted to say was Im a hunter but he knew he could not tell her that. Aside

from the secret that he had this big crush on her, he being a hunter was a

secret he kept from her. Dakota eyed him suspiciously before she calmed

down and replied with oh I see. Stephen sighs out in relief and smiles

inwardly; the best thing he liked about her was she wasn too inquisitive.

”Its a text from Blair ” she suddenly says fiddling with her phone.

”Blair, isn she in Japan? ”

”Yeah! She says shell be back by next week ” she chimes in, excitement quite

visible in her voice. She quickly shoves her phone into her backpack.

”Shoot!! We
e getting late for school you idiot! ” she gasped out suddenly

grabbing his hand and dashing forward pulling him along. At her sudden

contact Stephens eyes widen as a tint of red appeared on his cheeks.

He allowed himself to be pulled along, her long black hair danced about in the

wind before him and her slender fingers grasped his wrists as they ran, he

smiled as his eyes softened while looking at her back.

They finally make it into the school building in time and find themselves

bending while resting on their knees panting and trying to catch their breath.

”Yo! You guys! ” both looked up to see a spectacled black haired boy of their age

standing before them with hands in his pocket.

”Hey Raizo! ” Stephen greets him casually.

”Morning, dude! ” Dakota waves at him.

”Raizo, how many times do I need to remind you to wear your uniform

properly? Tuck in your shirt and straighten your tie right now! ” their

conversation was interrupted by a brown haired girl who wore glasses as

well, her eyes fixed on the unkempt boy before her.

”My! My! Look whos back! Or should I say the class president is back! ” Raizo

teases her.

”Blair!!!! You
e back! ” Dakota glomps her dearest best friend, ”Weren you

going to be back next week? ”

”Surprise surprise! ” she replies giggling returning the hug.

”We all missed you ” Stephen adds in. Blair looks at him and finds her cheeks

heating up, she tucks her hair behind her ear ”Me too…I missed you all ”

”I missed you most Pres gimme a hug too! ”

”Hug yourself Raizo! You
e a perv! ” Dakota spoofs him off pulling away Blair

into the classroom.

”That mouth of hers…tch!! ”

”You really act like a pervert sometimes ” Stephen pulls his legs.

”By the way…..are you and Dakota going out like dating? ”

Stephen is surprised by his sudden question, ”Whats up with you…asking so

suddenly… ” he stammers.

”Aw come on!! Just spill it out man! ”

”Nah its not like that…its all one-sided ” he replies looking at Dakota chirping

on with Blair.

”Don you wanna tell her? ”

”She doesn see me in that light…Im just a childhood friend for her ”, he looks away dejected at the fact.

”I see…sorry man I asked something un-cool ” he didn mean to make him feel


”Its cool bro…who will I tell these things to if not you… ”, he casually bumps him on the chest.

”Yeah man weve been friends even before we could walk…god we were acting kind of weird just now ” he laughs it off. Stephen laughs too walking into the class, it was true they practically grew up together since their families did business with each other. Raizo belonged to the family of a former yakuza clan who dealt in legal arms. Albeit being playful and goofy, Stephen knew better

that Raizo was reliable and not someone to be taken lightly. Both make their way to their seats, Raizo takes up his usual position sleeping on his desk. Stephen steals a glance at Dakota then looks out the window.


”Hey this loser is an orphan ” a fat boy remarks which was followed by a wave of laughter from his fellow classmates.

”The teachers coming!! ” the students scramble to their respective desks.

”Good morning students, there is someone Id like you all to meet! ”, she motions to someone to enter.

A young 11 year old raven haired girl entered the classroom she looked up at the teacher then at the students before her.

”Introduce yourself to the class ” the teacher encourages her.

”Hello everyone my name is Dakota Winters, pleased to meet you all ”

”Hello Dakota! ” the class replies in unison. She smiles at everyone then her eyes land on Stephen who responds with a weak smile.

The next day at recess little Stephen takes his usual spot alone in the corner

below a tree. ”Can I sit next to you? ” He looks up to see the new girl holding onto her


”Yes you can ” he scoots over rather surprised that someone wanted to sit

with him.

”What is your name? ”

”Stephen…Stephen Archer…thats my name ” They were talking when the fat

boy from before interrupts them.

”Hey newbie! Don talk to this loser he is bad luck that is why his parents

died ” the children behind laugh.

”How dare you say that? ” she stands up quite upset ”Apologize to him right

now!! ”

”I won what are you going to do? ” saying this he pushes her.

”You just pushed me, right?! Take this!! ” saying this she punches him on the face. The boy holds onto his nose writhing in pain, while the other kids run away.

”Just you wait Im going to complain to the teacher ” saying this he runs away as well. She turns to Stephen and points a finger at him, ”You dummy! When someone is being mean you should stand your ground and fight for yourself! ”

”I don want to trouble my grandpa…he will get angry if I add to his problems ”,he looks down.

”Okay I decided! ” she holds onto her hips.

”Decided? ”

”Lets be friends Ill protect you! ”

”Really? ” he looks up at her sadly.

”Once I say something I never go back on my word ” She nods her head in agreement to her own words.

”Yes lets be friends ” he smiles.

”I feel like a knight saving his princess ” she teases him as they both break into a hearty laughter.

Stephen agreed inwardly that her friendship was more important than her love, if she couldn respond to his feelings it was fine. Being her friend and staying by her side was more than enough, but the feelings he had could never be stopped.

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