A girl jumped and ran in circles, stopping every few seconds to dance a bit. Her lovely hair flew beautifully, the wind blowing it to one side of her face. Standing next to the kitchen sink, a boy watched intensely, his eyes moving swiftly with every movement that the girl made.
“What are you looking at?” the boy’s mother asked after she realised that her son had been staring outside for too long.
He was startled; and he quickly turned around and promptly dropped the blinds.
His mother chuckled, “You’re closing the blinds, you don’t want me to see outside?” she laughed gracefully.
The boy stood with his back to the window, and he spread his arms, his face showing without doubt that he did not want his mother to look outside.
“What were you looking at, Jeremy?” she asked again.
“Nothing!” he snapped and remained fixed to his spot.
When his mother walked over to the window, Jeremy moved shyly to the side, and used his hands to cover his eyes. Sharon looked outside to see little Kiara dancing beautifully, looking like a fairy with her hair flying in the air.
“I was not looking at anything!” Jeremy’s voice was shaky.
The mother simply smiled and ruffled her son’s hair. He ran off and went into his bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
“Jeremy is in love,” his older brother Jacob mentioned casually.
“Stop saying that. You’ll make him feel very uncomfortable. He’s just a child,” Sharon said with a smile.
“He’s a nine year old boy in love,” Jacob stated as a matter of fact.
In his bedroom, Jeremy slowly moved to the window and opened it. The view from the kitchen window was definitely better than the view from his bedroom window. But he did his best to watch her.
_What a beautiful girl,_ he thought to himself. And then suddenly, Kiara looked up, and her bright eyes met Jeremy’s.
“Come down, Jeremy! Come, let’s play!” she called out happily.
Jeremy smiled a bit and ran down the stairs. He passed through the kitchen, and when he ran out, Jacob winked at his mother. Jeremy knew that they were talking about him, but he ignored them and continued to run outside.
He walked into their neighbour’s yard, and Kiara quickly pulled him by the hand.
“Come into our house, come see, my mum baked a cake!” Kiara beamed with joy.
Jeremy ran in, and the two of them walked towards the dining table.
“Do you know that soon I will also be baking cakes? My mum said she’s going to teach me,” she smiled.
“My mum also loves baking,” Jeremy said.
He poked his finger into the cake and licked it. “It’s so nice and sweet,” he commented.
“What is nice and sweet?” Kiara asked while she opened some drawers.
“The cake,” Jeremy answered without much care.
“Jeremy! What did you do? You ate the cake?” Kiara let out a scream.
“Yes,” he widened his eyes. “Why not? I just took a bit of the cream, it’s so tasty!”
“My mother will be so angry! Jeremy, don’t you know that you should not take anything without asking?”
“Well, I know. It’s just that, I thought it was not a big deal.” He shrugged his shoulders.
“Come, let’s fix it,” Kiara lifted the tray in which the cake sat, and she placed it carefully on a bigger table. She looked at the dent for a while, before she looked up at Jeremy,
“I wish we had something to fill up this dent?”
“Is there no leftover cream?” he asked.
Kiara looked around and saw a bottle of whipped cream. She quickly grabbed it and filled up the hole. It looked ugly. She took a spoon and tried to level up the cream, but the more she tried, the uglier it became.
“We’ve ruined it!” Jeremy said, fear starting to creep over him.
“You have ruined it, I didn’t do this!” Kiara whispered.
She quickly lifted the tray and placed it back at its original place.
“What are you going to say to your mum?” Jeremy asked.
“I’ll just say I poked into it by mistake,” she smiled at him.
“B…but why do you have to blame yourself when it wasn’t you who did it?”
“I have to protect you, after all I’m older than you,” she smiled at him again.
She quickly grabbed his hand and pulled him outside. Since Kiara was running, Jeremy had no option but to run as well. They only stopped when they were outside in the lawn. Jeremy, breathing a bit heavily from the excitement and the running, pulled Kiara close to him and whispered in her ear,
“Kiara, I told you what my brother always says, didn’t I?”
Kiara frowned and pulled away from Jeremy. “Jeremy, are you talking about that love thing? Well, my mum said we’re both too young to talk about love…”
“You told her?” he asked in a suddenly hoarse voice.
“I didn’t tell her! She saw all the notes that you wrote to me.” She whispered back.
“Kiara, you were supposed to hide them!”
“I did! But my mum found them, she always finds staff,” she shrugged before going on, “Jeremy please don’t talk about love. We’re too young, and besides, I am older than you. My mum said love is for mature adults.”
“What does it matter that you’re eleven years old? I didn’t say we’re in love. I simply said Jacob is the one who teases me. He says I love you.” he said shyly, his eyes evading hers.
She took his hand in hers and gave it a little squeeze. She was hoping that Jeremy was going to look up at her, but his eyes remained fixed on the ground.
“Do you?” she whispered.
“Do I what?” Jeremy finally lifted his eyes, but quickly looked down again.
“You just told me that Jacob thinks you are in love with me. So are you?”
“I…I don’t know if I’m old enough to be in love. My mum never told me anything about love. But…but I think once I am old enough, when I am Jacob’s age, I’m sure I will be in love with you.” he said in a very low voice. Kiara had to bend in to hear what Jeremy was saying.
“But I’ll still be older than you. When you turn fifteen, I will be seventeen.” Kiara explained.
“I know. What does it matter anyway, that you’re older than me?” the boy asked with a frown.
“Jeremy you don’t understand these things. My mum said in a relationship, the man has to be older than the woman. My dad is over forty, my mum hasn’t turned forty yet.” She said to him, studying his face for a reaction.
“Well, I can wait until I am in my forties and then I will be allowed to fall in love,” he said.
“Jeremy, you don’t need to wait until you’re in your forties. You can start dating once you’re sixteen, I guess.” She smiled brightly at him.
“So when that time comes, maybe I can come to you and ask you to be my girlfriend. What are you going to say?” his eyes were hopeful.
Kiara thought about it for almost half a minute and then said, “I’m sorry but I might say no. Because, I’m going to turn sixteen before you. So then, by the time you also turn sixteen, I’ll be with someone already. I’m sorry.” The sincerity of her apology could not be missed.
Jeremy looked very hurt. He looked at her fumbling her fingers, and he hated the fact that she was older than him.
“What if you don’t like the boy as much as you like me? Will you leave him for me? You can always leave him, you know,” he tried to convince her.
She tilted her head slightly to the left and said, “well I don’t know. I might leave the person, but I might not. It depends.”
“It depends on what?” he asked eagerly.
“Umm, it depends on who I like the most. If I like you more, I will leave him.” she tried to reassure him.
“Do you think you will like me more?” he asked.
“Umm, I guess so.”
He was not really happy with her answer, but he decided to let it go. He turned his head, just in time to see Jacob peeping from around the corner of their house, looking straight at them. Jacob did not try to hide, but instead he laughed out loud.
“He always follows me around and listens to us when we talk,” Jeremy complained. “I don’t like big brothers.”
“Do you think he heard us?” Kiara whispered.
“I don’t know.” Jeremy sounded really irritated.
“Let’s go and sit near our swimming pool. That way, he won’t see us, and he won’t hear what we will be talking about.”
With that, Kiara ran towards the swimming pool, and Jeremy looked at his brother, stuck out his tongue at him before following Kiara.
They sat on the chairs which were scattered next to the swimming pool.
“Now he can’t hear us!” she announced it with so much joy that it sounded like they had just won a trophy of some kind.
“What are we going to talk about?” Jeremy asked excitedly.
“We’re going to talk about dating, and then we will play ball. We need to decide on which one to do first.” she answered, equally excited.
“I only want us to talk about dating. We can play ball tomorrow.” He said.
“What do you want to talk about? You can ask me what I will do when I turn sixteen. Ask me now.” Kiara folded her dress under her legs, pulling it down to cover her knees.
“What are you going to do when you turn sixteen?” he asked, sitting up in his chair, very alert, listening attentively.
“I…I guess I won’t start dating right away. I will wait until someone I know also turns sixteen. Then I will ask him to be my first boyfriend. What do you think he will say?” she asked, fidgeting in her chair.