One and Done - S. Briones Lim


I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized I was in love with her.

It may have been the first time I saw her sitting on the quad with her best friend. They were eating some weird straw-shaped candy and laughing as the dye stained their teeth blue. I remember watching her and thinking to myself that even as a weird looking smurf she was pretty cute.

But nah, it couldn’t have been then…

Oh! It was probably this one time in grade school. Like always, I was sitting alone at recess, watching all the other kids go amuck on the jungle gym. Well, everybody except her, that is. She sat quietly on the ground drawing some weird looking shapes with sidewalk chalk. Bright blue, neon pink, an ugly shade of yellow—she certainly caught my eye. However, come to think of it, I wasn’t really into girls back then. You know, cooties and all that bullshit, so it couldn’t have been at that age.


Actually if I really had to hone in on one time, I’d probably pick freshman year biology when I was assigned to her lab group. Whereas all the other students were either too scared or disgusted to even look in my direction, she stared straight at me in an unnerving sort of way. It was as if she were looking inside of me, peering into my soul. I remembered being rendered frozen on the spot. I wasn’t easily shaken, but the fact that this quirky girl could affect me so much took me by surprise. I don’t even remember saying anything to her, but to this day I could repeat every syllable of what she said to me:

Hi, welcome to the group.

Simple words and nothing profound, but to me it was as if the universe had opened itself up. It was like those big brown eyes held my future, both taunting and beckoning to me. I was no longer white noise among my classmates, I was special. In that moment, I knew I’d do anything to make sure she never stopped looking at me.

But was it then that I fell flat out, balls-to-the-walls in love with her? I really can’t say.

I guess some things are better left unknown.

Chapter 1

“I’m through with this, Jesse! We’re gonna get hurt doing something so stupid!” Rocky hissed. Her eyes narrowed into menacing slits, and though she was trying desperately to appear scary, I couldn’t help but laugh at her. It was like watching a little puppy rise on its hind legs—fluffy, cute, and completely out of its element.

“Hey, I didn’t invite you, did I? Why are you even here if you don’t want to do it?” I raised my head and looked up at the rusted fire escape, which hung a few feet above us. A cool breeze blew by, causing the ladder to sway slightly. It creaked ominously, and for a moment I began to wonder if her words of warning held some weight. However, being a stupid teenager I ignored any cautionary sign no matter how brightly it flashed in front of my face. Hell, it wouldn’t be the first time I dove head first into something stupid, and it definitely wouldn’t be the last. Scratching my head, my gaze dropped back to her face, which had suddenly turned pale white. Feeling guilty, I reached out and patted her arm. “If you’re really scared, you don’t have to follow me. I won’t think any less of you.”

I had meant them as words of reassurance, but judging by the scowl that worked its way across her features, she somehow misinterpreted my intentions. With a roll of her eyes, she took a few steps back before bursting into a sprint. Launching herself from the ground, she attempted to grab onto the bottom rung of the ladder only to miss it by mere inches, her fingertips barely scraping the cracked paint.

“You have got to be kidding me!” she groaned, kicking at a nearby dumpster. Her white tennis shoes became dingy with flakes of what was probably old food and dirt, further angering her. “Arghh!”

“What the fuck?” I burst out laughing and shook my head at the ridiculousness. “Hey, Shorty, is that what they mean by little dog syndrome? You’re like a little Chihuahua attacking a Rottweiler!”

“Fuck off, Jesse,” she snapped.

I continued to grin, not letting up. “For real though, how did you even expect to reach this thing without me?” To make my point, I stood on my tip-toes and reached the ladder effortlessly, pulling