"No. No. Just...no!"
"Come on, Princess, don't be a sore loser!"
"Sore? Sore?! You'll be sore Odd Della-Roberra when I get through with you- Stop sniggering, Ulrich!"
Rubbing his forehead, Jeremie strode across the school grounds to where four other students stood in a ragged circle. They were louder than usual, he noticed, and raised his eyebrows. Aelita looked furious, while Odd and Ulrich looked torn between hilarity and fear. Yumi, smiling slightly, hung back, shaking her head.
"I'm afraid to ask," he announced, then took a step back when Aelita rounded on him.
"Finally! Jeremie! A sane person." She waved her hand back in the vague direction of Odd and Ulrich. "These two...idiots, are trying to get me to be the local osculator for some stupid fair on Friday."
"She lost a bet!" Odd grinned widely. "In Lyoko, you remember!" When Aelita glared at him, he winced, then grinned wider.
"Ah..." Nonplussed, Jeremie looked from one to the other. "What bet?"
"Either way, being in that fair was NOT part of it," Aelita muttered. Her cheeks were turning pinker and pinker with every breath she took.
"No, the winer chose the loser's punishment," Ulrich reminded her, but Aelita ignored him. Jeremie stared at her, started by how strong her reaction was.
"Aelita..." despite the broad warning signs of her anger, Jeremie stepped closer and put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Come on now, what could be so bad?" He glanced back at Odd and Ulrich, and frowned slightly. "What is it that you have to do?"
"It's the b-booth!" Ulrich answered, sniggering.
"The kissing booth!" Odd and Ulrich exclaimed in unison, then both dissolved into fits of laughter.
Jeremie stared at Aelita in shock, finally understand. "Well, that's stupid!" He shook his head. "Don't make her do that-"
"They can't make me do anything," Aelita retorted, give the two laugh boys a superior glance, even though her face still matched her hair in color.
"A bet's a bet, Aelita," Yumi said softly, shaking her head. She winked at Jeremie. "It might not be as bad as you think."
Aelita frowned at the dark-haired girl. "So much for female solidarity." Yumi smiled slightly.
"You'll see," she replied easily. "It'll be okay."
Jeremie raised an eyebrow. "What are you planning, Yumi?"
Yumi shook her head. "Me? Planning?" Her expression overly innocent, she shrugged. "Nothing of course, Jeremie, dear, what could you possibly be thinking?"
Despite her anger, Aelita smiled slightly. "Well...maybe I'll find a way to wiggle out of it-"
"N-not in your life, Princess," Odd told her, sniggering. He came over and clapped her on the shoulder. Ignoring the sparks of anger that flickered back into her eyes, he grinned at her. "Yumi's right," he added, apparently not aware of the conspirator glint in Yumi's eyes. "It'll be okay." He elbowed Jeremie and winked. "Maybe someone will get up their courage to take advantage of the situation." Jeremie turned red at the suggestion and glared at Odd. Aelita shook her head, apparently not getting the idea of who Odd had been referring too.
"As if anyone would come up to kiss me," she retorted, shaking her head and making a face. "Sissy should do it."
Ulrich pretended to retch. "She's been in that booth for the past three years," he informed her, shuddering. "It's good to have someone else in it, who isn't scary." When Aelita glared at him, he winced. "Okay, maybe someone who's only scary when they're angry." Aelita made a face at him and turned away.
"Coming, Einstein?" Odd grinned at Jeremie as if nothing had happened. "We got lunch." Jeremie shook his head.
"No. See you later." He turned back to see Aelita striding off in the opposite direction.
"Do it, please?"
"I don't see why I should. Give me a good reason, if you can think of one."
"Listen you...oh, alright. A week. Is that good enough? Of help with math and science."
"You think you're so smart, you geek. Guess."
"Look, if you do this, you'll have three forth's of the male student body lining up to kiss you. Isn't that enough?!"
"Hmph. Maybe. But why? I thought the stupid little twerp-"
"Ha. You watch. You'll see. I'll think about it, nerd."
Yumi scanned the crowds Friday morning, looking for a certain head of pink hair. Smiling, she slipped into the fray, hearing snatches of exciting conversion about the school fair that afternoon.
"Yeah, it's supposed to be someone else this year-"
"What about the car races, I thought-"
Aelita jumped, and turned. "Oh! It's you, Yumi." She smiled nervously, shifting from foot to foot. Yumi raised an eyebrow.
"Freaked out by something?"
The pinkette scowled. "Of course. That stupid bet..." she shook her head. "I can't believe I let Odd rope me into that. And now I gotta do this!" Glancing about, she opened the dark grey coat she was wearing over her clothes. Yumi got a glimpse of a frilly hot pink dress with hearts attached to the skirt and neckline before Aelita closed the coat again, blushing brighter than her hair. "I have to wear this stupid outfit and everything. I hope Jere- I mean, I hope no one sees me." She shook her head, chewing her lip. "I don't even know how to kiss! I'd rather fight for four hours straight in sector 5 that do this."
Yumi nodded, trying not to smile. This really was perfect. "Don't worry, Aelita." She nudged the younger girl gently. "It'll be fun. You just have to kiss them on the cheek, if you get that far." She winked. "Unless someone comes alone you'd actually like to kiss."
Aelita blushed again. "There's only one..." she cut off, and shook her head. "I mean, there's no one." She made a face when the bell rang for class. "Crud. Now I'm late. I'll see you later, Yumi."
Yumi nodded, and watched her run off. Glancing about, she looked around, spotted a certain head of blond hair. Smiling, she headed for Jeremie, who was hurrying in the opposite direction.
The young genius stopped dead in his tracks, looking as if he had just come out of a daydream. "Oh, hey Yumi. Aren't you late for-"
Yumi shook her head. "Not important." She put a confidential hand on his shoulder. "Look, Jeremie, if you don't mind, I'd like you to do me a favor at the fair later." Whispering, she lead him a way from the crowd.
This might be the worst, most embarrassing day in her whole life. No. Her whole existence.
Pacing nervously, Aelita shivered and glared at her watch. It was five minutes until the fair started, and here she was, stuck in this tiny booth in the school cafeteria, waiting for the fair to start. Out side of the flimsy wooden walls, she could hear other people getting ready. Yumi was doing some fishing booth, something about luck, she remembered. Odd and Ulrich- she growled slightly under her breath at the thought of the two who had gotten her in this mess in the first place- had mentioned something about a race car game.
She shook her head, trying to banish the one glimmer of hope she had. Of course he'd never come to this. It wasn't his thing, she knew. He didn't like silly festivals. He'd taken her to a few in the town, but...She sighed, shaking her head. It was pointless. He'd never come to this.
Even if he was the only she'd be willing to kiss.
Just then, the noise outside the booths got louder. Bracing herself, Aelita waited for the door to open, and the first hormonal idiot to walk through.
Instead, someone knocked. Blinking in surprise, Aelita took a step back, away from the door.
Feeling silly, she tried to stop shaking only to stop cold when the door slid open.
JEremie's eyes went wide when he saw her, and his cheeks flamed red. "A-Aelita?! I thought...Yumi said...."
"Yumi? Jeremie, this is the..." Aelita swallowed hard, feeling her face turn hotter and hotter by the second. He had come, even if he was confused. Maybe he had been looking for something else? "T-the kissing booth."
Jeremie nodded, his wide blue eyes darting from her face, over her outfit and back again. It was then she remembered the wild, somewhat suggestive out fit she had been made to wear.
She gasped and took a step back, wishing heartily that she could melt into the floor.
"Stupid," she finished for him, shaking her head. Oh, to be close to the supercomputer, to return to the past. No wait...he'd still remember. What if...
Jeremie cocked his head to one side, smiling slightly despite his vivid red face. "No...I was think along the lines of c-charming. But you don't need it."
Aelita stared at him. "Pardon?"
"N-never mind." Then his eyes widened. "Crud, I forgot. Sissy!"
Aelita's eyebrows went up. "Sissy?"
"I..." he glanced behind him, as someone suddenly banged on the door.
"Hey, geek, you in there?! There's a line out there, let me in! Get your little-"
"What's she doing?" Aelita stared at Jeremie.
He grinned at her. "Coming to take your spot. Come on!" He grabbed her hand and started pulling her towards the small thin back flap that served as a back door to the booth.
He stopped, staring. She had to do this. She had to. "You did this...for me?"
Jeremie's fading blush came back in full force. "Well, yeah...Yumi helped. Although..." he shrugged. "I didn't know you were in this booth. The sign wasn't up. She said she left something in there, she wanted me to get it. But..." he finally met her eyes, and Aelita felt her heart flip flop.
"You found me instead," she finished, her voice barely above a whisper.
Jeremie nodded, smiling. "I found you instead." Glancing down, he looked at their hands, still clasped. "Um...Aelita..."
Aelita smiled, her heart pounding. "Well, thank you, Jeremie-" She stopped, looking at him closely. "What's wrong?" His face had gone pale, but his eyes were brighter than before.
"Um...if you were the osculator, just for a minute, you'd still do your part of the bet, right?"
Aelita blinked at him. "Well, I guess, but who-" Anything else she was going to say was cut off when Jeremie suddenly leaned forward and kissed her gently on the mouth.
Her heart stopped and her brain froze on a single thought of shocked joy.
A hour or a millisecond later, the two pulled back. Jeremie's face had turned red again, and Aelita was sure her cheeks were about to burn off. She didn't care.
"OY! GET OUT OF THERE!!!"
Both of them jumped at the sound of shouting on the outside of the booth. Aelita grinned at Jeremie, her heart still pounding, and hand in hand, they raced out of the booth.
Despite the angry sounded claim, Odd grinned from ear to ear as he looked from Aelita to Jeremie and back again.
"You bribed Sissy all along?" Jeremie shrugged, and smiled over at Aelita, who was leaning against the wall, still quite pink.
"It was for a good cause. Yumi did the rest," he added grinning.
"But you didn't do the bet!" Odd retorted, shaking his head at Aelita.
Aelita smiled slowly, and looked over at Jeremie. "Yes, I did." Odd raised his eyebrows, looked at the pair of them, then burst out laughing.