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Could She Be?

By: Lauren Taylor

Otto sped down the boardwalk, blazing by tourists in the blink of an eye. He was the master of roller blading. Well, skateboarding, snow boarding, surfing, and every other extreme sport too. "Catch me if you can," he laughed as he skated ahead of his friends.

"Knew they wouldn't keep up. Otto, you're the man!" he jested. As he was gloating, he was also not paying very much attention to what was ahead of him. Before he could stop, he ran into what he thought was a tourist. He tumbled over her and landed on his butt, shaking his head. "Watch it, shoobie!" he yelled. "Lame-o," he was going to say, but stopped. Why he stopped, he didn't know. The girl sat up and rubbed her knees. "Hey, I'm sorry. I thought you were a tourist. Let me help you up," Otto said as he pulled her to her feet.

"Ugh," she muttered, "what a crash!" She bent over to pick up her bracelet, but as she did, Otto was down to pick it up too. They bumped their heads together. "Ow! Man, are you trying to give me a concussion?" she asked with fury. He shook his head and handed her bracelet over with a smile. "I'm sorry! I'm just having an off day. I'm Otto Rocket. And you are?" he asked curiously. "Savannah Morgan, but you can just call me Sunny. How old are you? I'm 12." "I'm 12 too, but I'll be 13 in a few weeks," he answered. "Oh cool.

Now, about the tourist thing. I'm not a tourist, neither a local. I'm here for the summer to stay with my aunt. Why, do I really look that beachy?" she asked with concern as she combed her medium length dirty-blonde hair back with her fingers. "Yeah," Otto said, "so where are you from, then?"

She walked over and sat on a bench. "You guessed it, east coast. I'm from the palm tree-covered Myrtle Beach, South Carolina." Otto sat down beside her and nodded. "I kinda guessed from your accent," he stated. They were silent for a minute. Otto then realized he had left his friends, and they probably passed him without notice through the crowds of people.

"Hey, I think I'd better go. My friends are probably waiting for me at the Shack," he said. She looked at him, bewildered. "The shack? You live in a shack?" she asked, confused. He cracked up, "No, the Shore Shack. My dad's fast food joint. Wanna hang? I can introduce you to my friends." "Sure, I'm hungry anyway," she accepted. They got up and headed to the Shack.

"So, Sunny, you're from the east coast? Cool," Reggie said. Sunny nodded, "Yeah, this place is a lot different. I mean, we don't have mountains at the beach. And our mountains are a lot smaller. It's really pretty here, but it's pretty back home, too." Sunny chomped into her burger hungrily.

"Man, this is pretty good. Better than Mickey D's," she alleged. Ray smiled and thanked her. Sunny, Otto, Reggie, Twister, and Sam all talked for a while, Sunny explaining the east coast, and asking questions about the west. She looked at her watch and said, "Hey, I'd better get home. It's almost six, and my aunt will be worried." Otto got up. "I can walk you home," he offered, "just to, you know, be on the safe side." Reggie shook her head and smiled. Yeah, on the safe side alright, she thought to herself. "Sure, I guess, since you did knock me down today," Sunny giggled.

Otto stood up and walked over to her. She held out her arm, and he took it. "Come on, stud muffin. It's time for me to go home," she joked. They laughed and walked until they were out of sight. Reggie shook her head and smiled again. How sweet, she thought, my brother is finally thinking about someone besides himself.

Otto followed her lead, talking and chatting about anything and everything along the way. The strange thing was that she was leading him towards his house. They got upon the hill where his, Twister's, and Sam's house sat, at the end of the street where it curved to make a circle. "Hey, there's my house over there," Otto said as he pointed to his home.

"Really? I'm gonna be right beside you all summer! Awesome!" she exclaimed. Otto thought for a minute. Oh no. The thought terrified him, made him sick to his stomach. Sunny was Mister and Misses Stimpleton's niece? He was almost certain. She did say her aunt, right?

There has to be a mistake. There was no way this beautiful, country-beach girl was related to the Stimpletons. These thoughts and many others sped like bullets through Otto's mind.
Sunny led Otto up to the Stimpleton's front yard. She turned around and looked at him.

"Thanks for walking me. That was really sweet, Otto. I'm glad we met, even though it was slightly painful," she laughed, and so did he. "Yeah, a beautiful accident," he said.

Beautiful, he thought. He never knew he possessed these feelings inside of him. Something weird was going on, something unexplainable. It was freaky, but awesome. Almost like a sugar rush, but better, and his legs felt like Jell-o. He had no idea what to say, yet he had a strange urge to put his arms around her and hug her. After all, she was the only girl his age who was at least an inch shorter than him! He stepped closer to her.

He wanted to say something, but his mind was blank. He took off his shades and put them in his pocket, not taking one eye off of her. She stepped closer, neither taking her eyes off him. They moved closer, about to kiss, when Mr. Stimpleton opened the door with a bang. "Sunny, you're home! Come on, Violet's got dinner on the table!" he informed her.

Otto put his shades back on and stepped away. He tilted his head and smiled. "See you tomorrow, Sunny," he said, and sprinted over to his house. Sunny stood in her aunt's driveway, motionless. "Yeah, tomorrow," she whispered.

Otto yawned as he stretched and literally dragged himself out of bed. He rubbed his eyes and headed down stairs.

He grabbed a box of Lucky Charms and began to pour some in a bowl. "Morning, Otto. Rough night? You look tired," Ray concerned. Otto nodded, still feeling too sleepy to speak. Reggie sauntered in, smiling as she did. "So, have any unusual dreams last night,

Rocket Boy?" she asked. He suddenly remembered Sunny. "Nope," he stated plainly as he poured milk into his Lucky Charms. He reluctantly took a bite of his cereal. Maybe last night had been a dream and Sunny didn't exist. Maybe all of yesterday was a dream, and Sunny wasn't really related to the Stimpletons.

Otto abided by this, and continued eating his cereal as he slowly walked into the living room. He plopped down on the couch and turned on the TV. "Otto, I'm gonna be in the shower, and your sister is working on her Zine. Will you answer the phone if it rings?" Ray asked as he handed Otto the cordless phone. "'Kay," he said. Like I have a choice, he thought sarcastically.

Otto got up and walked to the kitchen to put his empty bowl in the sink. The doorbell rang. Still half asleep, Otto walked to the door and opened it. Sunny stood at his door step. He suddenly got very awake, as if someone had splashed him with cold water. She looked down and then up at his face and giggled.

"So Otto, what do you prefer, boxers or briefs?" she snickered. Otto looked confused, then looked down to notice he still had on his boxers that he fell asleep in last night. "Oh my God! I'll be right back!" He ran up to his room, slipped on his shorts, and ran back down stairs.

When he approached the door, he blushed. "Jeez, I feel stupid," he muttered. Sunny giggled and comforted him, "It's okay. We all do dumb things. I've done worse." Otto showed Sunny inside and they sat on the couch. "Nice place. Very vintage," she complimented. "Thanks," Otto said. "So, you want something to drink or anything?" he asked.

She shook her head. "No thanks. But I do want to ask you something. Back at home, I used to surf. My skills are kind of rusty now, but I was wondering if you would help me out a little with my surfing. Would you?" Otto couldn't have been happier. "Yeah sure, just give me some time to take a shower and stuff. If I don't call you, can you call me in about an hour?" he asked.

She agreed, and he gave her his number. She left and he closed the door behind her. When he made sure she was out of hearing distance, he jumped up and down, screaming, "Yes!" He turned around to find his dad looking at him and laughing. "Heh," Otto chuckled and ran upstairs.

He got ready and stood in front the mirror. It was the first time in his life he ever cared about how he looked. He looked in the mirror with deep concern, pin pointing every little thing that was indifferent. "Since when did you care how you look?" Reggie asked as she leaned against the wall. "Man, Reg, you scared me!" he exclaimed. "You didn't answer me." Otto looked at his feet. "Since, since," he was out of words. Reggie nodded. "I thought so," she said mysteriously and walked out of his room.

"So, you surfed on the east coast?" Otto asked Sunny. She looked out at the Pacific. "Yeah, some. I wasn't very good at it. So when are we gonna head out and catch some waves?" she asked. Otto looked at her seriously, "Not yet. First, I gotta teach you balance. We can do that on land." He formed a wave out of sand and ocean water. He placed her board neatly upon it.

"Okay, stand on it," he told her. She looked frustrated. "I thought I was surfing on the water, not on the shore," she stated. "Just stand on it, and I'll show you what I mean." She did as she was told, standing upon the board. Otto shook his head, "No, no, no, you're foot placement is all wrong. Plant your feet more like this." He shifted his feet in the sand. She did the same on her board. "Yeah, good, like that," he encouraged her.

The lesson on balance continued. "You need to shift your weight more," he informed. She was getting more frustrated by the minute. She moved more to the right. "No, too far," he said for the millionth time. He walked over to her, placing his hands on her waist and adjusting her to the right standing position on her board.

"Now bend your knees a little. Good," he said. "Haven't we been balancing enough for today?" she asked angrily. He smiled and nodded. "Yeah, I guess. I think you've got it down, now, anyway. Do you remember how to paddle out?" he asked. She looked at him and said with sarcasm, "No, man, I don't. I've only lived on the beach all my life." They both paddled out and waited for a wave.

"Okay, this next one, you can get it, I know you can," Otto encouraged her. He couldn't believe how quickly the day had gone by. Sunny sat in position on her board and waited for the wave to being curling. She began to swim, focusing on the wave. She caught the wave and stood up.

"Yeah! I'm surfing again!" she screamed happily. At the end of the curl, she jumped off into the water and came back up to sit on her board. "Awesome! You did really good," Otto prided her. She wiped her hair back from her face. "Thanks, and thanks again, for refreshing my surf memory," she said gratefully. "But you didn't even get to surf," she pitied him. He shook his head, "Nah, I'm glad I helped you. I can surf any time."

They paddled back to shore and put there boards in the sand. "Hey, looks like were just in time to see the sunset. I've never seen the sun set over the ocean, since I live on the east coast. I've only seen it rise. It's really pretty either way, I guess," she said with admiration.

"I've lived here all my life and I've never really noticed how pretty it was. I never took the time," Otto told her truthfully. Sunny looked at him and asked, "Why?" Otto looked at his feet. "I dunno, stupidity." He glanced from the corner of his eye to see if she was looking at him. She wasn't, she was staring into the sunset.

He quickly moved closer to her. "I've never seen anything so beautiful," Sunny said, mesmerized. "I have," Otto said quietly. "I can't imagine," Sunny exclaimed. Otto looked at her. "You," he complimented sweetly. Sunny was stunned. She blushed, and was speechless. They inched closer together.

There was the sugar rush, all over again. Otto then knew, this wasn't any sugar rush, and this just wasn't any girl. This was a lot of feelings for a twelve-year-old to be experiencing. They finally kissed, and the world seemed to stop for those few seconds.

Otto then wondered if you could find your soul mate at twelve years of age. He had doubted at finding anyone before, but now it was the opposite. He put his arm around Sunny and she leaned her head on his shoulder. Little did she or he know they would be going far into the future as a couple, maybe more.

Sunny's Diary

April 20

Today I found out crashing into someone isn't as bad as it may seem. I made a lot of new friends by just that. It was only my first day here, and I was just casually walking down the boardwalk and what do you know, a local makes a total massacre of the both of us. Of course, he thinks I'm a "shoobie," which here means, "tourist." But then he finds out I'm just staying with my aunt, right? My aunt, how ironic, of course, is his next door neighbor.

Anyway, when I first saw him, I already knew there was something about him. When I was sitting there, on the ground, looking up at him, the sun made a strange, yet peculiar, glow around him. Maybe intuition was telling me something? Or maybe it was just that the sun made him glow, even though he was already drop-dead gorgeous.

He helped me up and apologized, handing me my bracelet as well, which had fallen off during the collision. Here is how everything happened from my point of view:

"I'm Otto Rocket, and you are?" he asked me with a smile abroad his face.

I told him my name, and how old I was, of course. And what do you know, he was my age, but about to be 13. He had mistaken me for a tourist at first, then thought I was a local. Naturally, being from the beach and all, I had the unrefined look of a beach girl, no doubt. So I explained my situation.

"So, where are you from then?" He looked at me with confusion and a crooked smile. I couldn't get over how cute he was. You would think if you heard someone say a red head was cute, you would be like, "Eww!" But this guy was totally different; it was more like,

"Wow."

"East coast. I'm from the palm tree-covered Myrtle Beach, South Carolina," I explained to him, trying to give him a cute smile here or there, you know, flirt a little bit.

"I kinda guess from your accent," he stated. Yep, I was falling deeper into "like" with this one. But he didn't have me fully, yet. His looked had me already, but now I had to see what his personality was like, then I would know for sure.

After we sat there a few minutes, in complete silence, he asked me if I'd like to join him at "the shack." At first, I thought, "The shack? What the heck is 'the shack?'" Then he explained, cracking up as he did so.

"No, the Shore Shack. My dad's fast food joint." His sinuous green eyes were begging me to come with him, even though I was taught not to mess with strangers, but hey, he seemed like a nice guy. I agreed and followed him.

As I chomped down on a burger, I chatted nonchalantly with his sister and friends. His sister's name was Reggie, and his two friends were Twister and Sam. They all seemed really cool, and a lot like my friends back at Myrtle Beach. Then, as soon as the fun began, it was time for me to go home.

As I stood to leave, Otto insisted he walk me home. I let him, obviously, and we both walked back to my house, talking nonsense, and about anything and everything. Finally, we reached my house, and that's when I found out we were going to be neighbors this summer.

"Hey, there's my house over there," Otto said as he pointed to his home.

"Really? I'm gonna be right beside you all summer! Awesome!" I was happy at that moment, and he seemed happy too, but he began to act strange as well.

I thanked him for walking me home, and told him I was glad I met him. Then he said something about a beautiful accident. We stood there a few moments, in complete silence.

He then took his shades off, where I could see his beautiful green eyes completely. I then wondered why he wore his shades all the time, hiding those gorgeous eyes. We moved closer together, and I thought for a minute there he was going to kiss me. But as soon as he almost did, my uncle swung open the door, to welcome me home and tell me supper was ready. I sighed and smiled sweetly at Otto.

"See you tomorrow, Sunny." And that was all he said as he put on his shades, smiled, and ran to his house, all in one motion.

"Yeah, tomorrow," was all I could mutter. That was it. Oh, was I head over heels, hook line and sinker for this one. I had had boyfriends in the past, but not serious ones. I never kissed any of them, and I don't even know why I had considered them even boyfriends. This is the closest I've gotten.

I sat at the supper table, staring into space, poking my meat loaf with a fork. I sighed and thought about my day.

"Something wrong, dear?" my aunt, Violet, asked me. She was such a nice lady, but she was kinda scattered. Maybe that's whom I got it from.

"Huh? No, no. I'm okay." She had caught me off guard, so I decided to make myself seem normal. "Could you pass the Otto?"

My aunt and uncle looked at me like I was insane. I then realized what I had said had made me look abnormal, and changed my sentence. "Salt! Ha ha, salt! Could you, uh, pass the salt, please?" I could feel my face turning red.

Violet reached for the salt, paused for a moment to look at me, then handed it to me.

"Yes, yes of course. The salt." She went back to eating her meat loaf.

I shook a little salt onto my food, ate a couple bites, then excused my self from the table and went to my (temporary) room.

Later on, I heard Violet and Merv talking in the living room. I cracked open my door and listened. Here's what I heard:

Violet: Aww, I think Savannah's been smitten by the young Rocket boy. How sweet!

Merv: Sweet? Sweet?! You think that little hooligan is SWEET?! He's a menace!

Violet: Oh, Merv, he's not a menace. He's a nice young boy. Can't you see they like each other? Savannah's been smitten! I think it's cute.

Merv: It's not cute when I almost caught her KISSING the boy on MY LAWN!!!

Violet: Ah, you'll get over it. Don't you remember when we met? Oh it was the summer of 1958. What a summer!

And that's all I felt like listening to. It was so funny I think I'm going to laugh myself to sleep. I can barely write!

But anyway, all I have been thinking about since then, has been Otto. I think I'll close tonight's entry with this: I am definitely not in like; I'm in love.

April 21

Better than yesterday? Oh yeah. Today was ten times better than yesterday. Here, I'll tell you all about it:

I woke up this morning in pretty good mood. I decided to hurry up and get ready, and go visit Otto. Hopefully he was up by now.

I got ready, making sure I looked perfect. I walked over to his house. The sun felt good, and the day was matching my mood. I rang the doorbell and waited. I heard a TV in the distance playing a Mello Yello (smooth, very smooth) commercial, and then footsteps approaching.

Otto opened the door, eyes kinda droopy. He had evidently just woken up. I then noticed all he was wearing was a pair of blue boxers, and I began to giggle uncontrollably. I made a joke out of it; I couldn't resist. His eyes got wide, and he told me he would be right back, and ran up the stairs.

He came back down with a pair of old jean shorts on. When he approaced the door, he blushed. "Jeez, I feel stupid." He looked at me, then down to his feet.

I reassured him that it was okay, and that I had done some even stupider things before. He seemed to abide by that, and let me in.

His house was something like you would see in an old, sixties surf movie. He had some junkie furniture in his living room, a zillion surf posters (evidently of his dad when he was a teenager), and a TV that looked older than me. It was so junkie, but cool and vintage in every possible way.

Then, thinking of surfing, I wondered if he knew how. Duh! His dad was a surfer, so he would surely be good at it. I then had a brilliant plan.

"Can I ask you something? Back at home, I used to surf. My skills are kind of rusty now, but I was wondering if you would help me out a little. Would you?" I gave him my cutest, most innocent smile. He couldn't resist.

"Yeah, sure, just give me some time to take a shower and stuff. If I don't call you, can you call me in about an hour?" He ran to get a pen, and came back. He took my hand and flipped it over to write his number on it. He handed me the pen and I wrote my number on his palm. We said goodbye and I left.

As soon as I was sure he wasn't in hearing distance, I jumped up and screamed at the top of my lungs. "Oh my God!" I ran to my aunt's house as fast as I could, just in case.

We walked to the beach together, both with surfboards under our arms. When we got there, we stuck our boards upright in the sand.

"So, you surfed on the East Coast?" He shaded his eyes from the sun and looked out upon the mass field of waves.

"Yeah, some. I wasn't very good at it. So when are we gonna head out and catch some waves?" I was eager for him to help me with my technique. He gave me a serious glance.

"Not yet. First, I gotta teach you balance. We can do that on land." He formed a makeshift wave out of sand and ocean water, then, he put my board upon it. "Okay, stand on it."

"Um, aren't we supposed to surf on the water?" I understood what he was getting at, but I didn't want to spend all day on the beach.

"Just stand on it, and I'll show you what I mean."

I did what he told me. He studied me for a minute, pausing at my feet. "No, no, no, you're foot placement is all wrong. Plant your feet more like this." He shifted his feet in the sand.

I mimicked how he was standing. This was more complicated than it looked.

"Yeah, good, like that." He smiled, and it was all the encouragement I needed.

He continued teaching me more about my balance. "You need to shift your weight more," he informed me. I was getting kinda mad. I moved more to the right. "No, too far." He placed his hands on my waist and adjusted me to the right standing position. An uncontrollable shiver went through me. He looked up at me and smiled, as if he had noticed. "Now bend you knees a little. Good."

"Haven't we been balancing enough for today?" I looked at him, trying not to sound too mad.

"Yeah, I guess. I think you've got it down, now, anyway. Do you remember how to paddle out?"

"No, man, I don't. I've only lived on the beach all my life." We laughed, grabbed our boards, and headed to the water.

I swore he told me to wait a million times, then finally he told me, "Okay, this next one, you can get it, I know you can." I sat, in position, on my board, and waited for it. I began to paddle, then I caught it. I couldn't believe I was actually surfing again, after all those years.

I jumped off my board at the end of the wave and came back up. I swam over to Otto. "Awesome! You did really good."

I wiped the seawater out of my face and brushed back my hair. "Thanks, and thanks again, for refreshing my surf memory. But you didn't even get to surf."

"Nah, I'm glad I'm glad I helped you. I can surf any time."

We paddled back to shore, and put our boards in the sand. I noticed the sun was setting, and I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. I explained to Otto how I had never seen the sun set of the ocean before, since I lived on the East Coast, and that I had only seen it rise.

"I've lived here all my life and I've never noticed how pretty it was. I never took the time."

He frowned and brushed back his hair.

I asked him why, and all he said was, "I dunno, stupidity."

"I've never seen anything so beautiful," I commented. I noticed he had moved closer to me, and he was looking at me.

"I have," he said seriously.

I asked him what, of course. Some thing that surprised me so much came from him. "You." I was stunned. I knew I was beginning to blush, because my face felt kind of hot. No one had ever said anything like that to me before. That was when I knew we were going to kiss; there was no way my uncle could mess this one up.

We got closer, faces inches, maybe centimeters, apart. I tilted my head a little, trying to be natural, since I had never kissed anyone before. Our lips finally met, and everything seemed to go silent for that one short moment. A million feelings and emotions struck me at once. We stopped kissing, and he put his arm around me. I leaned against him. I forgot all about Myrtle Beach, my parents, and any other worries for that one moment; for that one moment I had someone who I loved, and who loved me.