Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I'm just borrowing things for a while and I promise I'll put everything back exactly how I found it when I've finished. Well, almost exactly how I found it. ;)
Peter Boyd was a strange boy. At twelve years old, he was already quite tall and stocky, with long dark hair that fell across his face and eyes that almost seemed black. He didn't attract many friends; his permanent scowl discouraged most people from approaching him.
In fact, there was only Grace who liked him.
Or at least she had.
Grace Foley was a lanky girl, with long blonde locks, bright blue eyes, and some cute freckles in all the right places on her face. And she was Peter's best friend.
Or at least she used to be.
Peter wasn't quite sure what had happened between them. His parents told him it was just 'one of those things', that people did tend to drift apart when they grew up. Peter didn't want to believe it; he thought that he and Grace would be friends forever.
But going to school had changed all of that. He was lucky enough, so he thought, to end up attending the same secondary school as Grace, and he had naively thought that they could spend time together while there.
Grace, it seemed, had other ideas. She had changed, become more of a snob, and she now thought she was better than everyone else, including and especially Peter.
But he knew something more serious was going on. William and Mary never came round to visit his parents any more and whenever Peter asked about it, Joseph would tell his son that it didn't matter and then change the subject.
The other children made fun of Peter because of his dark features and brooding expression, but he ignored them all, opting for sinking further into anger than face the bullies.
Peter hated being alone. He just wanted things to go back to the way they were when he was ten; it seemed such a long time ago now. He wanted friends, people who would accept him as he was. And he wanted Grace.
But for every problem that arose, Peter always had a plan. It took him a while, sometimes, to formulate one, but he always got there in the end.
Usually, his plans were complex and subtle, but this time he decided to be different. This time, he would be bold and brash, something fairly out of character for him.
Peter was always the first to leave school at the end of the day. He did want to be caught by the bullies and rather than fight, he just avoided confrontation. He walked quickly, reaching the corner he wanted within a few minutes. All that was left then was to wait.
Normally quite tolerant, Peter found himself acting impatiently that day as he watched for Grace approaching. If she didn't want to be friends with him any more, that was fine, but he wanted her to tell him.
Peter heard Grace before he saw her; there was no mistaking her laugh and his heart ached a little at the sound. He had lost his best friend; was it his fault? He was about to find out.
Grace stopped, seeing him before she heard him speak. "What do you want?" she asked, sneering a little.
But Peter could see now that she was only acting, trying to impress the group of giggling girls that accompanied her. "I need to talk to you," he replied, ignoring the sniggers.
"Well I don't want to talk to you," Grace replied haughtily.
Peter wasn't having any of it. "I don't care. We are going to talk, alone. Now."
Grace faltered as she decided how to take control of the situation. "Fine. You can have five minutes. That's being generous." She turned to her friends. "I'll see you tomorrow."
As soon as they were alone, Peter asked, "Have I upset you or offended you in some way?"
"You don't talk to me any more. You don't like me," Peter stated, and before Grace could reply, he continued. "It's alright, I understand. Your friends are probably more fun than me, and…cooler. I just wish you could tell me you don't want to be friends any more."
Something started to build rapidly in Peter, and to his astonishment, he felt tears pricking his eyes. He turned away quickly, refusing to cry in front of anybody, especially Grace.
"Forget it," he muttered and stormed off.
For her part, Grace had been finding it very difficult to ignore Peter and to treat him as she had been doing. He was many things, but to her, he was a friend and she liked him. She didn't care how he looked or how he appeared to be; she knew he was a kind boy, with his heart in the right place.
Watching him walk away from her hurt Grace more than she would have expected, and she ran after him, never wanting to see his back retreating in such a way ever again.
"Peter, wait!" she called.
Peter stopped but didn't turn around. "What?"
"My parents don't want me to see you. I think they've had a falling out with your parents over something, and they told me to stay away from you," Grace explained, her eyes downcast. "I didn't want to. I…I like you, Peter. I want to be your friend."
Slowly, he turned. His plan of being straightforward had, surprisingly, worked. He decided he might have be to more assertive more often. "What about your new friends?" Peter asked. "They don't like me."
"I don't care. I like you," Grace repeated, reaching out and taking his hand before smiling slyly. "Besides, I'm sure you could think of a plan to win them round if you wanted to."
Peter looked at her in surprise. "A plan?"
Grace nodded. "You always have a plan. Now, will you walk me home please?"
"What about your parents?" Peter asked.
"Friendship's more important."