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Fire Inside

Summary:
Sometimes, the normalest lives are touched by magic. Sometimes, happy endings are possible. Sometimes, we get our fairytales after all. Sometimes, the one person we want more than anyone else sees the fire inside us. Kim's life is a disaster- the bleak and average kind of disaster. She fixates through the mess on one perfect, unattainable goal. And then she gets it. In a way she never would have expected, in her wildest dreams.


Notes:
In case you couldn't tell from the summary, this is a Jared/Kim chaptered piece. I'm projecting at about seven chapters, but it may end up closer to ten.


1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 765   Review this Chapter

I pull the pillow back on top of my head. It doesn’t muffle the tears quite enough. Why do I always cry when I’m angry? It’s so embarrassing. I am trying to make a point here. I was supposed to stalk out of the kitchen with my bruised dignity apparently intact.

Unfortunately, I only made it three steps up the stairs when I broke down. Now I’m sobbing loud enough that everyone in Washington can probably hear me. How totally humiliating.

I’m not supposed to cry. It pisses Mom off- she’s always going on and on about how I’m supposed to be a strong woman. She doesn’t get that that’s just not who I am. I’m not the kind of person who stands up for themselves. I have like no self-esteem. Seriously, zero. I base my self-worth entirely on other people’s approval and I’m okay with that. I have no intention of changing. I doubt I could.

My name is Kimberly Lakesend. Call me Kim, please. I’m a nice girl, quiet, shy, smart. Very smart- I have the highest grade point average at the school. I’m the best setter on the volleyball team. I’m in the state Honors Choir and I’ve already been accepted to a really good college. But that’s apparently not enough. Nothing’s ever enough.

My mother is a perfectionist, but she isn’t like those crazy soccer moms who are always pushing their kids to be good athletes or the weird wannabe best buds who take their ten year olds for makeovers.

No, my mom is all of them put together. I have to be good at everything all the time. Right now, she’s threatening to take my iPod away. Why? Because I don’t have a boyfriend.

Wait… what? Aren’t moms not supposed to want their daughters to date until they’re like… a hundred and five? Isn’t that how it works?

Yeah. But, she thinks I should be getting asked out by a different hottie every other day, apparently. I don’t ‘devote enough time to my personal appearance’, and that’s why no one’s interested in me. I’ve tried to explain more than once that I’m not pretty, I was born not pretty, and that’s simply the way I am. All the makeup in the world can’t change that, not that I’ve ever worn any.

So she says no music for me until I ‘uphold the basic standards of personal grooming’ she sets for me. She really doesn’t understand how important it is, hearing—just hearing—stories about how beautiful and exciting life can be, when my own is so drab. She doesn’t get it. And so I’m in my room, sulking, crying hysterically, and trying to decide whether I’m heartbroken, insecure, or really, really pissed off.

I squeeze the pillow back over my head. Then I gasp in another deep breath, stand up, and walk downstairs. Mom is sitting on the couch, her knees crossed, and her hand on one of them, the exact same position she was in twenty minutes ago when I left. My dad’s joined her, and he’s looking rather stern. Apparently he’s gotten Mom’s version of events.

Great.

“I changed my mind,” I say in the most perfect monotone I can manage. “I’ll go to Port Angeles, shopping with you, on Saturday. Can I have my iPod back now?”

“You made the right decision,” she says, smiling. “I’m so proud of you.”

I smile. Sort of.

“Now, didn’t I tell you…”

“Jen, really. Don’t gloat, darling,” Dad interjects. I smile gratefully at him and he grins back.

“All right. Well, try to clear off your busy social calendar, Kimberly, would you? Make some time for your mom. It won’t be so bad.”

“Sure.”

I walk upstairs slowly. The thing is, I don’t hate my parents. It’d be so much easier if they were just awful and impossible. But I don’t hate them. I love them and I honestly want their approval.

But I never seem to get it.

What a ridiculous thing to fight about. Boys? Like I care about boys.

In the plural, at least.

I grumble to myself and pluck my diary off the shelf. I carefully ignore certain pages and then turn to the newest blank one. I write the incident down and flip back through the pages, trying not to look at the beginning again.

I sneak one glance.

Mrs. Jared Tajeva.

I slam the book shut.