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As If

Summary:
Kim has had a crush on Jared Lancer for a good solid year, but she's too shy to even look at him. She's doodled "Kimberly Lancer" in all her notebooks. So when Jared starts paying attention to her--in fact, a lot of attention--how is she supposed to react? Chapter three now up!


Notes:
This is actually going to have a couple other chapters, rather than being a oneshot, so look out for updates fairly soon.


2. As If He Likes Me As Much As It Seems

Rating 0/5   Word Count 716   Review this Chapter

“Hello.”

The voice wasn’t Jodi’s, which was what made me look up in the first place, but once I had I wished I hadn’t.

Jared was standing a couple of feet from me. He was gorgeous, of course. He always was.

I began to return the greeting, but the syllables caught in my throat. He was watching me very closely, like he couldn’t stare enough. I stared back, shameless.

There was a difference between us, though; I was looking at him because I never could get the nerve to normally. He looked at me like I was…I don’t know. The love of his life or something.

More than that. Like I was the life raft keeping him from going under.

“Hi,” I finally managed to whisper.

“I’m Jared,” he said, his voice quiet too, which was ridiculous, because we were in a crowded hallway and everyone was talking, so it wasn’t like we were going to be overheard or something.

“Yeah,” I mumbled—I was more coherent in my mind, but it came out all jumbled—“I know.” I paused. “I’m Kim.”

“I know,” he echoed, and we both smiled. His was radiant, and mine more than a little hesitant.

We stood there, both still watching each other closely. Finally he took a deep breath and broke the silence. “Look, can I walk you home?”

How old school. Sweet, though. “Sure,” I said, still flattered, still confused.

He picked up my backpack, slinging it over his shoulder. Wow.

We walked to my house in silence, side by side. Jared opened his mouth several times, only to close it again.

When we got to my driveway, I said, “You can leave me here.” I didn’t want to be rude, so I added, “Thanks to walking with me.”

“You’re welcome.” He seemed like he was on the edge of saying something else. “And…” he began.

I waited.

“See you tomorrow,” Jared said.

***

“So who was the boy?” Mom asked the instant I walked in the door.

“Hi, Mom,” I said. “His name’s Jared. He’s in my math class at school.”

“Is he in your year?”

“Yeah, I would assume, if we share a class.”

“Is he nice?”

“Yes.”

She stared at me with narrowed eyes. “Wait—this isn’t the Jared, is it? Jared Lancer?”

“That’s him,” I said, facing away from her as I hung my backpack up, hoping that he didn’t have a bad reputation outside of school.

“The one you’ve been so infatuated with for what, a year?”

“Mom!” I shrieked indignantly.

“Well?”

“I’m not infatuated,” I muttered, “but yes, that Jared.”

“Hmm. Well,” she sighed, “he seems like a nice boy. Sarah Uley has nothing but good to say of him—well, he’s her son’s best friend, what do you expect?” She was talking half to herself, half to me.

I went into the kitchen. “Look, Mom, it’s not like we’re getting married or something.”

“I certainly hope not.” My mother hadn’t been married particularly early, not compared to some of the women at La Push, but apparently “marriage just wasn’t for her”. It lasted only long enough for her to have me and get a claim for welfare.

“I just met him.” It was true enough; I had hardly talked to Jared before today. Which was part of why the whole thing was so odd.

That night, I lay awake, playing this afternoon over and over. The part I kept going over the most was Jared’s expression as he looked at me, the utter devotion. I might be imagining things, yes. But what if I wasn’t?

***

Jared walked me home the next day, and the day after that. I heard nothing from him on the weekend—not that I really expected to, because that was silly, he couldn’t like me that much this soon—but the next Monday he was next to my locker again, smiling at me like no tomorrow. This time I didn’t hesitate with my smile. I could get used to this.

I could get used to having someone care about me besides my mother.

It was nice.