DISCLAIMER: The only thing that doesn't belong to me are the characters. But the plot definitely belongs to me, cause it happened to me in real life!
Other Notes: It's AU, and will mostly be told in Ash's POV.
Chapter 1: First Meeting
It was 12:00 PM, dismissal time at North High. Friday, and every student is looking forward to the Acquaintance Party held that night. That's why school was dismissed early.
Oh, wait, let me correct myself. Almost everyone is looking forward to the party. All except...
"Ash! Hey, Ash!" Among the many students milling through the gate to their freedom, a dark-haired, 14-year old boy turned around at the mention of his name.
Running up to him is an older student, notable for his tan complexion and squinty eyes. This is high school junior Brock Harrison, friend of North High's self-proclaimed loner, sophomore Ash Ketchum. Brock stopped in front of Ash, trying to catch his breath.
"Man, Ash, you sure walk in a hurry," the taller of the two boys said as they continued walking. Before his friend could answer, Brock added, "So, you ready for the gig tonight?"
"Nope," Ash said without any hesitation. "That's not my kind of thing Brock, you know that."
Brock sighed. He knew this was the sort of answer his friend would give. "Look, Ash, it's the gig of the summer! Everyone would be there. Who knows, maybe you'll finally find a certain someone-"
"Like you did?" This remark stopped the young man's speech short. "No thanks. I'd rather keep to myself."
Brock sighed again. "Look, you really should stop this lone wolf persona. It's not good for your social health. Ash, the Acquaintance Party is a must for you, and-"
"Okay, okay, I'll go to this stupid party, if it shuts you up," Ash said, finally defeated. Brock cast a broad grin.They stopped walking, right in front of the parking lot. A passenger jeep stopped in front of them, and students filed in. Brock was the last to get in, and the jeep driver announced that the transport is full.
"Go ahead," Ash told the driver. "I'll wait for the next one."
Only when the jeep made its way out of the parking lot, did Ash notice someone else there. The young man turned around to see a brown-haired 13-year old girl, standing a few feet to his left.
The girl didn't seem to notice him, so Ash didn't bother. She kept looking at her watch, and, sometimes, right and left of the roadway, like she's waiting for something.
After a minute, the next jeep arrived, pulling to a stop right in front of the two. Luckily for Ash it's a family friend. "Good afternoon, Mr. Briney, Peeko."
The old but energetic jeepney driver and his white parrot greeted Ash as well. "Well, hello there, Ash. Looks like I was right on time."
Ash grinned broadly as he stepped into the back of the jeep. But, even though most students have already left, Briney didn't start his jeep. He turned to the girl. "Hey, miss, are you waiting for someone?"
"Oh, sorry," the girl replied. "You see, I was waiting for my mother, but-" At that moment, her cellphone rang, and she answered it. "Oh, Mom! Where are you? I've been- What? Oh, okay, I'll be fine." The girl sighed as she finished her call. "Um, Mister, do you mind if I-"
"No problem at all, miss," Briney said, without even making her finish. "It's a slow day anyway. Hop in back with Ash over there."
The girl went to the back of the jeep. Since there's only the two of them, there's considerable seating space between Ash and the girl.
"You two comfy back there?" the driver asked, as he started his engine. "Then, let's go!" Briney's jeep gave a lurch as it came to life, and the motion made Ash literally jump a few inches off his seat. "Sorry about that," Briney said to his surprised passengers.
"Don't think about it," Ash only replied, with a sweatdrop. The girl gave a small giggle, and Ash found himself turning red in embarassment.
The jeep made its way through the highway, at a leisurely speed. But, not long after leaving the school parking lot, Briney saw a cluster of students at the side of the road, doing the latest fad of hitchhiking.
Briney stopped in front of the students. Looking from the back, Ash recognized them as his fellow sophomores, Gary Oak, Richie Harrison and Misty Waterflower. The former recognized them anywhere, because they're the "troublemakers of this batch." But, Ash dod find out that they wouldn't even hurt a fly.
The jeepney driver Briney, being acquainted with the school since it was built, was also a good friend of the three. "Well, hello there, kids," he greeted them.
"Hey there, Mr. Briney," Gary, the leader of the three, replied. "Mind if we-"
"You kidding? this is a jeepney! Of course you can ride," the driver joked.
Grinning, the three sophomores, led by Gary, jumped into the back with Ash and the girl. Richie recognized the former, while Misty seems to know the latter as a friend.
"Well, well, if it isn't Ash!" Richie declared. At the same time, Misty said-
"Hello, May. Strange to find you riding this jeep-" This caused a loud AHEM from the front. Grinning sheepishly Misty added, "Oh, come on, Mr. Briney, you know what I mean. May is always picked up by her mother, and she's rarely seen riding a jeep. That's what I meant."
"Apology accepted," the driver heartily said, starting the jeep's engines to life.
While the jeep rolled down the road, talk arose of the party tonight. Ash, of course, kept to himself during the whole conversation.
"I swear, if I have to stand for my brother's womanizing again, I-"
"Don't worry about it," Misty replied, making a motion like flexing a muscle. "I now have him wrapped around my little finger. If he tries one of his moves on another girl, I'll pull on his ear so hard that he'll be spending a month bent halfway."
Richie grinned, while Gary only rolled his eyes. The latter turned to May. "So, what's the princess's plans for tonight, by the way? You are nominated for Ms. Freshman, of course, so-"
"I backed down from the competition," May said. This earned her a stare from passengers and driver. To supplement this, "I don't want the spotlight on me all the time. I just want a quiet life, that's all. And being Ms. Freshman wouldn't be such a good start."
"That certainly sounds a lot like Ash over there," Misty joked. This was answered with a loud "Humph" from our hero.
Gary's grin went even wider. "By the way, have you two introduced yourselves? May, this is Ash Ketchum, Mr. Lone Wolf. Ash, this is May Maple, daughter of Maple Industries' Board Chair Norman Maple."
Ash muttered something under his breath so no one could hear. Finally, he managed a "Hi" to May, and the girl could only reply with a faint "Hello" of her own.