Chapter 6: The Past

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and a light breeze had swayed around the playground. Two boys had played Pirates and Cowboys, a game that had been made up by the boys. It was similar to Cowboys and Indians, but with pirates instead. Leo Hart had always been the courageous cowboy and Thomas Wilker had played as the playful pirate.

The two boys were best friends since they were in elementary school. They would constantly make up games that fit the pair nicely. Any and all of the courageous characters in a particular game had gone to Leo while the more playful and fun ones went to Thomas.

Leo had chased Thomas around the park with a stick that he had imagined as a whip as he swung it around in the air. Thomas had turned the corner quickly behind the monkey bars, swerving between them. A shrill high-pitched laugh coming from the bottom of his stomach as he avoided being ‘caught’ by the cowboy. They were minding their own business while they played together.

Everything seemed so perfect. Just the way it was supposed to be. That was until Thomas had climbed up the jungle gym and was so caught up with getting away from his feet that he had raced to the edge without thinking. He would have fallen off the edge if it weren’t for Leo catching him by his arm at the last moment. 

“Are you alright?” Leo asked, his heart beating out of his chest from the adrenaline from his friend almost falling from the jungle gym. He had pulled his back against the metal bars next to the top of the slide and yanked Thomas to his side. He panted softly from having to race to catch the smaller male before something bad would have happened.

Thomas nodded his head and stammered slightly. “Y-Yeah…I’m fine.” He looked to be a bit shaken up and rattled, it seemed to look like his brain was still processing what could have happened. “Tha-Thanks.” He replied, shaking the scare out of his head.

Leo had sighed, placing a hand on his chest. He turned his head and looked over to the parking lot. His eyes had caught sight of a raven haired girl about his age. The female had come closer until she reached the jungle gym and stood just one level below them, a little off to the side. Hands clapped and a small chuckle had come from the raven haired female.

“Great catch. I saw the whole thing. My name is Lynn. What are your guys’ name?” Lynn called up with a smile. She had decided to climb up the steps and up to the metal ladder up to the two boys. She had moved to her side, swinging her left leg off the side of the platform.

He had looked over at the female and he was astounded that she had seen what he had done. That he had caught Thomas like he had without a sign of fear in his eyes. He didn’t have any hesitation. He was amazed at the determined look in Lynn’s blue eyes. She seemed so strong and determined. “Uh…I’m Leo and this is…-“

“Thomas.” Thomas had interjected, introducing himself as he had taken a look over at the newest addition to their little group on the jungle gym. The boy had gathered some courage after coming over the scare of his almost fall. Though just enough to introduce himself from what Leo could remember.

Leo had extended a hand, taking his grip off of Thomas, to Lynn and shook her hand. “Pleased to meet you.” He said, smiling as the two had shaken hands.

That. Was the start of something new.

Leo’s breath was shaky as he rubbed his puffy eyes and he had wiped the tears that had fallen down his face. He found it very amazing how much admiration he had towards Lynn and her own courage the first time he had met her with Thomas around. His own courage had emerged seconds before the two had met. The origin of his courage… it was an empowering thing for him. Because it started it all, the unstoppable group of Lynn Carmichael, Rachel Riken, Richard Maynard, and Leo Hart.

“Leo, Thomas, meet Richard and Rachel.” The raven haired girl introduced with a smile as she had gestured over to her friends who were to the right of her. “Richard and Rachel, meet Thomas and Leo.” She had pointed out which one was which out of the pair.

Rachel flashed a smile. She was wearing a pink long sleeved shirt with a dash of purple and a pair of jeans with plain white sneakers. She had worn a matching light jacket. She had her blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail so that her chocolate brown eyes could be showcased. “I’ve been hearing a lot about you two from Lynn. As you know or may know, knowing Lynn. She has told you guys that I’m the fashion police. I take looks very seriously. Or at least outfits for sure. A great outfit can compliment anyone. Rachel, if you couldn’t tell by Lynn pointing us out as she introduced us.”

Richard couldn’t help it, but chuckle a bit at Rachel’s introduction. He, however, went to the logical answer as he always seemed to. He was a factual person from what Leo had remembered…and still was…when he had first met the blond haired brown eyed male. “Richard Maynard. I’m the bookworm of this little group.” He said, gently running his fingers through his hair to straighten it out just a touch before he knew that Rachel would fix it as it was a little messy from the light breeze coming through.

“Leo Hart and this is my friend Thomas Wilker.” Leo introduced with a bright smile as he had wrapped his arm around his friend, pulling him closer reassuringly. He knew that he would be a little shy around new people as he seemed to somewhat be when they had met Lynn for the first time. “How about we play something together? Simon says? Cops and robbers? Cowboys and pirates?” He suggested openly, glancing down to see if Thomas was up for it.

Thomas had nodded his head and smiled. “Yeah…let’s play something.” He said shyly, somewhat coming out of the grasp of Leo.

“I say we should do cowboys and pirates! That sounds like the most fun.” Lynn answered confidently as she had placed her hands on her hips, looking to the others to see if they had agreed to her decision which they had. 

The familiar raven haired girl had been wearing a blue sweatshirt, it was a bit big to be hers and he thought that it belonged to one of her parents, along with a pair of jeans and converse. It was her signature look. Leo found himself staring a little bit and his eyes had glowed with admiration for the girl who took charge and asserted herself. It was amazing since he was used to making the decisions on what to play with Thomas and he usually just agreed to whatever.

The group had found themselves playing the game after Leo had explained to them the rules of how to play it. They were simple rules and ones that were obviously made by middle school children, which they were.

But little did Leo know how little he would notice Thomas after his new fascination with Lynn Carmichael. That he would fail to notice him fading out of the picture and of their little group.

Leo found himself looking at Lynn more and more as they had grown up, now in high school. Now that they had shared classes together. Now that they had done group projects together. But this time…it was more than just admiration he had felt. It was something completely different as to what he had felt before. He found himself protective over her especially in the group of four.

Leo sat just a row behind Lynn and a few seats to the left of her. He could see her perfectly. He watched her intently study. Her blue eyes staring at the white board as she jotted down notes of what was due for the rest of the week. They would sometimes dart from the board to her notebook and when she was finished writing, she would twirl the pencil in her fingers. Something she had apparently learned from Richard. She was practicing it and she wasn’t the best at it, but she was getting better while he had watched her from his seat.

He tapped his fingers against his notebook to dull the sound out just enough to not be annoying to the other students in the class. His gaze had turned over to Lynn as the class had started and the teacher made their announcements for the class material for the day then the announcement for the next group project and the due date for it.

He wished that he would be paired up with her so he could work with her. So he could see her more one on one. He practically saw her everyday anyways with the entire group, but he found himself relishing the time he could spend with her one on one in class without Richard or Rachel being there.

When his name was called, he looked up at the teacher and waited to hear who he was being partnered up with. He felt something in his stomach flip when he had heard the words. “Leo Hart, you’ll be paired up with Lynn Carmichael.” He tried to hide the excitement he had, but he really was excited to be paired up with his friend. All four of them were inseparable, but he didn’t want to hurt what they had.

The teacher went on to call the rest of the students and when that was finished, Leo had gathered his things and went over to Lynn’s desk. They raddled off ideas and when they had picked one, they had told the teacher what it was to get it approved. Of course, it got approved and they had begun to work on the project together.

Leo caught himself looking at Lynn when she wasn’t looking and writing their notes down on her notebook. He had smiled softly, even smirking a small bit as he had wrote down a few notes himself.

Everything then was…quaint back then… and he was absolutely oblivious as to what it was he had felt during that time. Unaware of how to express it or make something of it.

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