Lovino Vargas was squirming in his seat.
"Jesus Christ, Grandpa, can't you drive any faster?!"
"Lovino, I'm already going 20 miles over the speed limit. Calm down."
"Ve~, fratello, I'm sure _______ isn't going anywhere. She's probably just as excited to see you!"
Lovino was growing even more impatient by the second. After being gone for two months in Italy, he wanted to see his best friend, _______! But, still a good forty minutes from his home, all he could do was wait. He could still remember when he first met _______, back in his freshman year of high school.
FLASHBACK!! WOO~ WOO~WOO~!!!
Lovino was storming through the halls of his high school, moving fast to get away from the constant torture he was put through from the jerks around him. He moved to (country other than Italy) only three months ago, and ever since he got here he has been the victim to constant insults and abuse. His brother of course didn't have to put up with that; just him!
"Hey Vargas! Think fast!" someone yelled as an eraser hit his head.
Lovino broke into a run, and he didn't stop until he was sure he was safe out of sight. He leaned against the lockers to catch his breath, doing his best to keep back tears. Just then he felt a hand rest on his shoulder. He threw the hand off and prepared for a fight, only to see that the hand belonged to a girl.
She had (hair length), messy, unkempt (hair color) hair that was poorly put into two pig tails on either side of her head, large, wide rimmed glasses over her (eye color) eyes, bulky, dorky braces on her teeth, and very bad acne that made her (skin tone) skin look almost completely red and bumpy. She was wearing a (favorite color) and (2nd favorite color) plaid dress that came down to her knees and high top sneakers and long socks that she had pulled up to her knees. In short; she was the text book example of a pathetic nerd. She had her hands on her knees and was panting heavily, out of breath.
"What do you want?" Lovino spat at her. She didn't say anything, still way to out of breath to speak.
"SPIT IT OUT, RAGAZZA!" He yelled. She quickly stood up with a scared look in her eyes. She quickly rummaged through her knapsack and pulled out a text book. HIS text book.
Lovino pulled off his back pack and realized that the zipper must have come unzipped while he was running, letting his text book and God knows what else fly out. She had chased after him for who knows how long; just to return his text book.
Lovino turned a bit red, embarrassed at how he acted when the girl was just trying to be kind to him. He took the book from her and replaced it in his bag. The girl began to fish through her bag again and pulled out a bunch of papers and notebooks, all of them with his name on them. Lovino wordlessly took those as well and put them away. He wanted to say something to her, but what? He had more to thank her for than just a book and a few papers. She was the first person he met here that showed him any sort of kindness.
"Um…T-thank-"he began to say, but then he realized that she had run off. He didn't even see her go.
Lunch break. Also Lovino's break from the assholes who constantly make his life a hell. He was walking towards his usual lunch spot, a spot that was well hidden by large oak trees where Lovino truly felt safe, he saw a group of three boys ahead of him crowding against the wall. He recognized them as the same group who would always try to pick a fight with him and send him to the infirmary. Only today they had a different victim to torture.
'Better him than me' Lovino thought. He began to walk past the group when he saw who they were beating; the girl from before! She had her eyes to the floor and looked close to tears and those bastards just kept going at it, shouting insults at her and calling her names and laughing at her. Lovino felt something boiling inside him, a violent mixture of hatred and fury.
"Stop it." He said suddenly.
The group turned to face him. "What was that?" one of them said.
"You heard me, you bastards! Stop it and let her go! Now!"
"Ha! And if we don't? What are you gonna do, Vargas?" the one in the middle said. He then slapped the girl with the back of his hand. Hard. The girl let out a whispered cry of pain as she fell to the floor. "What are you gonna do about THAT? Well Vargas?"
His answer was a sharp blow to the jaw courtesy of Lovino. The one boy fell to the floor. Then, before they knew what hit them, Lovino socked one of the boys in the gut, the other in the nose. The three were now on the ground squirming in pain. Lovino ran over to the girl, helped her up, and then led her to his secret spot.
Once there, Lovino sat her down against a tree and he sat beside her. She refused to look him in the eye, or to even look up from the ground at all. She had bruises and red marks from where those jerks had hit her. Lovino mentally swore he'd make them regret every moment of pain they gave her. He saw some silent tears fall from, her eyes. She kept opening her mouth slightly and then closing it again, like she was trying to say something but couldn't.
"T-t-thank y-you." She finally said, barely above a whisper.
"No problem, ragazza." He said with a small, sincere smile "Thanks for returning my book and stuff earlier."
"I-i-it was n-n-nothing."
The two sat in silence for a minute. Then Lovino began picking through his bag lunch. He noticed that the girl didn't seem to have anything to eat. "Do you have a lunch?" he asked.
She shook her head "T-those b-boys…t-they stepped on it."
He knew what that was like; it was the reason he went and found this hidden spot in the first place. He pulled out his sandwich and tore it in half as best he could.
"Here", he said, offering her a half "I-I hope salami's okay with you."
She gave a small smile "T-thanks."
"My name's Lovino, by the way. Lovino Vargas."
"I'm _______, _______ _______."
END OF FLASHBACK!
Lovino looked out the car window. The surroundings were growing more and more familiar, but from what he saw he was still a good 20 miles from home and from _______.
"Lovino, would you sit still? You're shaking the whole car!" his grandfather scolded.
"Just keep driving."
Lovino's mind wandered back to _______, back to just before the summer started.
In the nearly two years that they'd known each other, Lovino and _______ were inseparable. Lovino's mood would always brighten around _______, and Lovino watched _______ open her shell and change from a timid, quiet, and scared little girl into a wild, crazy, happy-go-lucky spirit who would run around without a care in the world, even though her looks didn't change much at all. They got through tests, bullies, drama, tragedy, and struggles together, _______ always right by Lovino's side. Lovino felt like _______ was the only person in the world to really see him. And that's how he fell in love with her.
He of course didn't tell her how he felt; he was scared of how she'd react. He was happy to be friends with her, no matter how much he craved more. He did take comfort in the fact that no one else would take _______ away from him; she wasn't exactly every man's dream girl, at least appearance wise. But Lovino didn't love her looks; he loved her kind spirit, her cheery disposition, her sugary voice, her gentle touch, her genuine smile, and her contagious laugh. He'd never forgive anyone who took her away from him. He wanted to keep her for himself. Which was why he was so devastated to learn about his summer plans…
"YOU'RE WHAT?!" _______ shrieked.
"It's not my idea, ragazza!" Lovino explained "Grandpa Roma suddenly decided that we should go back to Italy for our summer vacation! I argued with him, but he refuses to let me stay here."
"This suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks!" _______ said, leaning her head against the lockers. "All the plans we made! The beach, the carnival, Disney, the movies, video games, sleepovers, all of it; gone!"
"Relax, ragazza, we'll only be gone two months. We can still spend all of August together."
"Yeah, I guess. But the carnival is only around in July."
"Next year, _______, I promise."
"Pinky swear?" she cocked an eye brow and lifted her pinky up.
"Pinky swear." Lovino chuckled, wrapping his finger around hers.
"So when do you leave?"
"Right after school. Grandpa Roma's coming to pick me up and we're going straight to the airport."
"AAWWWW MAN! You mean we don't even have time to destroy you at Mario Kart?!"
"Hey, I won last time!"
"Oh, yeah, sorry. Let me just tally the scores; Lovino: 1. _______: 83."
_______ gave him a big smile, filled with metal braces. She laughed her healthy laugh that Lovino loved so much, and she let he glasses slip down her nose a bit.Just then the bell rang. The last bell of the school year, signaling summer vacation. The bell that separated two best friends. _______ walked with Lovino to the pick-up lane, where Lovino's grandfather was waiting with a car loaded up with several suitcases.
"I can't believe we won't see or hear from each other for two whole months." _______ sighed
"Well, if you would get a God damned cell phone we wouldn't have this problem!" Lovino teased.
"Don't patronize me! I'm working on it!"
They stared at the ground a bit, trying to figure out the best way to say good-bye.
"Hug?" _______ asked, opening her arms.
Lovino pulled her close and the two hugged for several minutes. Lovino loved the fact that he was just tall enough to rest his head on top of hers, he loved how her hair smelled like a mixture of lavender and roses from her family's garden, and how she seemed to fit perfectly in his arms. He found more to love about her every day. He could have stood there for an eternity, holding _______ in his arms for as long as he may live. But then…
"Lovino!" Grandpa Roma called from the car "Come on! We're going to miss our flight!"
"Good!" Lovino called back.
________ giggled "You'd better go. I'll see you in August."
Lovino sluggishly made his way to the car where his grandfather and brother were waiting. He climbed in and watched _______ wave to him as they drove away.
END OF FLASHBACK! AGAIN!
Finally the car pulled in to their driveway. Lovino pushed his door open even before the car stopped moving. He stepped onto the pavement and slammed the car door behind him before going around and yanking the trunk open. Before he could grab his bags-
"LOVINO~!" Someone screamed. Suddenly Lovino was grabbed and pulled into a death grip hug. He struggled for a bit but he finally got the pair of arms off him. He turned to his ambusher and saw a girl he'd never seen before.
"Who the hell are you, ragazza?" he asked.
"Aw, you already forgot me?" she said with a fake pout on her face. "Don't worry; I thought you might not recognize me, so I brought this along." She pulled out a little picture from her pocket and held it next to her face, doing her best to imitate the pose from the picture.
"HOLY SHIT!" Lovino shouted. The girl was _______! But how? The girl in the picture was definitely _______, he knew that for a fact. But this girl…she shared some similarities, but she looked almost nothing like the girl he loved! _______'s squirrely, tangled, unkempt mop of (length), (hair color) hair was now straight, sleek, shimmering, and tied into a perfect pony tail on the back of her head. She no longer had glasses and her eyes shimmered much better without them. Her braces had been replaced with clean, straight, perfectly perfect teeth, white as freshly fallen snow and gleamed like diamonds in the sun. Her acne was gone and replaced with beautiful, smooth, and soft (skin tone) skin without a single flaw to be seen. She was the very picture of beauty! "_-_-_-_______?!?! That's you?!"
"The one and only!" she sang.
"What the hell happened to you?!"
"What, you don't like the way I look?"
"NO! No! I-I mean, you look…wow. I-I mean you're—you look so different!"
"I know right? Sometimes I can't even believe this is me!"
"What happened, ragazza?!"
"Well, to keep it brief, about a week after you left, I got my braces off. Then not long after that, I finally found a way to tame my hair and get it straight and presentable. Around the end of June, the doctor prescribed some kind of new acne product that cleared up my face in about a week. And then, around mid-July, I broke my glasses and my parents let me switch to contacts! And Ta-Da! It's me! OH! That reminds me!" she reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out a brand new iPhone with a (favorite color) case. "I finally got a cell phone! Give me your number quick, before I forget!"
She shoved her phone into Lovino's hands and he clumsily punched in his number, stealing glances at _______ every chance he got.
"Lovino!" His grandfather called. "Get your stuff already!"
"Yeah, get your stuff and unpack so we can hang out, we only have two and a half weeks left before we're Juniors!" _______ exclaimed.
"R-right" Lovino replied.
TIMESKIP TO SCHOOL!
First day of Junior year. Lovino dreaded this day more than he ever could. It's not the fact that he had to go to school (even though he despised it with every fiber of his being). No, this went deeper than that. Over the summer, _______ had dragged him to the mall, the beach, the movies, and just about anywhere she could think of. And everywhere they went, Lovino saw guys staring at her, taking in her every feature. He didn't like it. At all. _______ was his, dammit! Well, not OFFICIALLY, but he loved her first. But it wasn't a problem at the mall or at the beach or at the movies or any of those places because he was with her. None of the guys would come near her as long as he was around. But at school, they'd have no choice but to separate, at least for part of the day.
"Lovino!" _______ said loudly.
"Huh, what?" Lovino stuttered, snapping out of his daze.
"I said let me see your schedule!" Lovino blushed as he handed it over. She looked his over and held hers next to it as a comparison.
"Cool!" she finally said "Looks like we have first, third, fifth and sixth period together! And we have the same lunch break and homeroom, too!" She handed him back his schedule. "Come on! Let's find lockers next to each other!"
The two wandered around the school looking for lockers. As they walked, Lovino saw how the guys stopped and stared. Fury began to grow in the pit of his stomach. It was one thing to have guys staring at the girl he loved, but these guys now were all the boys that had spent the better part of their lives making _______'s life a hell! If _______ ended up with one of them, he'd sooner kill himself than live with that! _______ of course, being her usual, oblivious, carefree self, didn't even notice how they looked at her. She probably assumed that the looks she got were the same looks of disgust she had gotten for years. Finally, the two found the perfect lockers; they sat at the halfway point between their first and third periods.
As they began to load up their lockers, Lovino saw a group of boys behind them. They were talking in hushed voices and kept looking over at _______. Lovino shuddered in disgust when he saw who they were: the Bad Touch Trio; Gilbert, Antonio, and Francis. The same boys who, according to _______, had tripped her and cause her to sprain her ankle in the sixth grade and who had constantly shoved her against the lockers for years after. Lovino moved himself as close as he could to _______ without crowding her at the same time. _______ didn't seem to notice the boys behind her, nor the way Lovino moved himself to stand just a few inches away from her.
Lovino suddenly got a call from his brother.
"Ve~ fratello? You have the keys for the car, right?"
"Well, I forgot my school books in the trunk…"
"GOD DAMMIT FELICIANO! It's the first day of school, can't you just wait until tomorrow?!"
"Please, fratello? It will only take a second!"
'Yeah, and that's all the time the Bad Touch Trio needs.' He thought.
"Fine. But you'd better be quick about it!" he hung up "Hey, ragazza, Feliciano left his books in the car. I need to go unlock it for him."
"Alright. I'll wait here 'til you get back, then we can walk to homeroom together." She said, smiling.
Lovino exchanged the smile and nodded. He sent a quick glare to the Bad Touch Trio before he left, moving as quickly as possible.
'What's with Lovino?' you thought as he walked away. 'Ever since he got back he's been sending death glares to every guy we pass. Did something happen in Italy?' You shrugged it off and decided to ask him about it later. As you were organizing your locker (something Lovino never made an attempt to do), it was suddenly slammed shut and a rose was shoved in your face.
"Bonjour, mademoiselle." Said a strong French accent into your ear. You tried to back away only to bump into someone behind you.
"Hey frau. How vould you like to spend a little time vith ze awzome Gilbert?"
You pushed off him only to have another set of hands grab your waist.
"Hola chica. Are you new here?"
It suddenly dawned on you.
"You have no idea who I am, do you?" you asked.
"Non, but we'd certainly like to know." Francis purred, placing the rose in your hand.
"Yeah, tell us your name, frau."
"Okay" you said "Does the name _______ _______ mean anything to you?" The three were suddenly silent, a rather nice change from their obnoxious selves.
"_-_-_______?!" Antonio said, stunned "Y-you're really _______?!"
"Yeah" you snarled at them "And on that note-" You forced each of them against the lockers as hard as you could and gave each a sharp kick to the shin. "That's for the sixth grade, assholes!" You then proceeded to grind the rose in your hand into a fine powder which you blew in Francis's face. You flipped them off and gave a little wave before you left to find Lovino, leaving the trio stunned.
You speed walked to the student parking. Fortunately you knew where Lovino parked since you carpooled with him every morning. As you walked, a hand dropped on your shoulder. You stopped and turned to see Alfred Jones; captain of the football team who had shoved you inside a locker on one occasion and dumped a full can of red paint on you during art in the eighth grade. Not to mention that he made you do all his math homework during the ninth grade.
"H-hey." He said with a small blush. "I saw you walking around and wondered if…you know…you might need someone to help you find you classes and stuff."
"Yeah, thanks Alfred, but I know my way around." You snapped at him.
"Y-you know my name?" he said dumbfounded "You aren't new here?"
"No, I'm not. And because it's so obviously hard for a moron like you to tell, the name's _______ _______." You said, crossing you arms impatiently.
"No way!" He said, eyes wide "What happened to you dude?! You look, like, hot!"
"Yeah, and with that said, relay a message for me; just because my appearance changed, doesn't mean my memory changed with it." You began to move closer to him, forcing him to back away in fear. "And so help me, if you bother me or any of my friends, you will regret it. And this isn't a warning or a threat; it's a fact! Got that?!" he nodded quickly, shaking like a leaf. "Now get out of my sight!" And with that, he ran faster than you'd ever seen him run of a football field.
So you'd become that bitch; the one who was so short tempered with everyone. Big deal! You weren't taking their shit anymore. You always thought they bullied you because of how you acted or your personality, but no. It was purely based on looks! You wouldn't stand for anything they did anymore! They can do their own damn homework, they can buy their lunch with their own money, and if they have a problem with that, they can go fuck off and die!
You were about to go and find Lovino, but then someone spun you around forcefully. Lovino.
"WHAT THE HELL, _______?!" He bellowed in your face. "I LEAVE FOR FIVE MINUTES AND YOU GO AND FLIRT WITH EVERY GUY IN SCHOOL?!"
"Lovino, what are you talking about?!" you shouted back.
Lovino was tapping his foot impatiently while his brother was rummaging through the trunk looking for his books.
"Hurry up, fratello!" he said, temper growing short "I left _______ alone with the Bad Touch Trio!"
"Ve~, I'm trying Lovino, but I can't seem to find my Chemistry book!"
Lovino rolled his eyes. Just then, Mathias Kholer and some other guy Lovino didn't recognize walked behind him and were talking loudly.
"Hey, Gilbert texted me. He says _______ got, like, incredibly hot over the summer!"
"Really? Isn't she that girl with the braces and the acne and the big glasses and stuff?"
"Not any more. Apparently over the summer she got a whole new look! She looks nothing like she did before. Gilbert said he didn't even recognize her!"
"Dude, if she's really all that, I'll race you to her!"
"Yeah, well don't be too forward with it. Gilbert says she's being feisty. Playing hard-to-get, you know?"
"Sounds like my type of girl!"
Lovino felt something snap inside him. A lump formed in his throat. He was ready to explode with rage. He spent two years as her best friend in the whole world, and the second he leaves her alone she's flirting with every guy she passes! Completely forgetting about Feliciano, he stormed off to find _______ to give her a piece of his mind.
He found her talking to Alfred Jones, of all people. The same asshole who had shoved her inside a locker and he had to get her out! Had she really forgotten that so easily?! Alfred walked away, his face noticeably red. Lovino stormed over to her, grabbed her shoulder from behind and spun her around to face him.
"WHAT THE HELL, _______?!" He shouted in her face. "I LEAVE FOR FIVE MINUTES AND YOU GO AND FLIRT WITH EVERY GUY IN SCHOOL?!"
"Lovino, what are you talking about?!" she shouted back.
"I'm talking about you going around and flirting with the same assholes who put you through hell all your life! What, a little makeover really made you forget what they did to you?!"
"Lovino, what's your problem?!"
"My problem?!" He shouted from the top of his lungs, tears beginning to stream from his eyes "My problem is that immediately go with the first guy that flirts with you! My problem is that you're letting a simple change in your looks change who you are! My problem is that I was expecting to come home to the same person I left behind! My problem is that I had to put up with every guy in town staring at you while you were totally air headed about it!" By this point his words were choked out between his tears. He finally decided to say it. He probably lost you as a friend already, what else did he have to lose?
"My problem is that I loved you BEFORE you were beautiful!"
He fell to his knees. _______ just stared at him wide-eyed. "W-what?"
"I love you, bella." He croaked between sobs, his face as red as one of his beloved tomatoes "I've loved you long before you looked the way you do now, long before I went to Italy. I fell in love with you, the real you. The girl with the messy hair and glasses and braces and acne, that's who I fell in love with. I love your laugh, I love your smile, I love your crazy personality, I love your annoyingly cheerful disposition, I love your smile, I love the way your hair smells like the roses and lilacs in your garden, I love everything about you, down to the smallest detail!"
His breaths were short and forced out, tears streaming down his eyes, his head turned to the ground, unable to find the strength to look at the girl he loved so much. He waited for her to laugh at him or to walk away and never talk to him again or for any one of the worst case scenarios he created in his mind to come true.
Instead, he felt a cool, gentle hand touch his blazingly hot cheek. Another hand made its way to the other cheek. His face was lifted until his amber eyes met _______ 's (eye color) ones. Her eyes fluttered shut and she leaned in to press her lips against his in a gentle, sweet kiss. She tasted like honey and coffee, a taste Lovino fell in love with instantly. She pulled away only to be pulled back in when Lovino wrapped his arms around her back pulled her as close as he could and gave her a deeper, more passionate kiss which she returned. She weaved her arms around his neck, deepening the kiss further.
Unfortunately, as all good things must end, the bell rang, signaling the start of homeroom. Lovino and _______ reluctantly broke the kiss and walked hand in hand to their homeroom.
"Hey" Lovino began "You…you weren't really flirting with anyone at all, were you bella?"
"No, of course not." She replied "Where'd you get that idea anyway?"
"A couple of assholes were talking about you, saying how you were flirting with Gilbert and playing hard to get and stuff. I shouldn't have ever listened to them."
"It's okay. The trio did try to flirt with me, but I didn't return any feelings. I actually left them with bruised backs and limps."
"That's my girl." Lovino buried his face into her hair. "I love you."
_______ leaned her head into his chest."I love you too."