. ” 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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