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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.


4. Chapter 4

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1173   Review this Chapter

For a moment, he stares at me. It’s like his eyes are devouring me, almost scary, in fact. His jaw goes slack, his mouth is hanging open, his twitching hands become perfectly, completely still against the desk, flat, while his eyes… glued to mine, boring into my eyes, my heart, my soul, as he stares at me.

And then, while I listen to the sound of my heart beating faster and faster, he starts to speak.

It sounds odd, like it’s coming from a great distance. He’s whispering, since class is in session, but there’s more to it than that. It’s as though he’s having trouble finding his own voice. “Heh… hey,” he stutters.

“Hi.” I blush a little. I don’t think he’s ever actually spoken to me before this moment. That’s kind of sad. Of course I’ve heard his voice, from eavesdropping on his conversations and stuff, but he’s never actually addressed me.

“Um, that was…” he stops, blushes. It looks strange on his strong face. Weird, that he’s awkward around me. Not that I don’t feel the same way, but obviously he doesn’t care what I think. “… really nice of you. Thanks.”

My turn to stutter. “Thank… I mean, you’re welcome, Jared.”

His eyes widen even further. It’s remarkable. I feel like I’m drowning in the look he’s giving me. It’s everywhere, everything, and it’s all for me. Does he always stare like this, at everyone? I don’t think I’ve seen him do it before… “You… I’m sorry,” he whispers. “I don’t know your name.”

I try not to wince. After all, there’s no reason to suspect he knows me. Except that I’ve been in every single class with him since the day we started school, of course.

Well, no one really knows me. I’m pretty much a shadow in my own life. Just because I’m totally in love with him shouldn’t make him any different, I guess.

“Kim,” I say softly, and my voice breaks a little. On one syllable- anyone else think that’s pretty impressive.

“Kim,” he repeats. It sounds like a prayer. Like a song.

“Kimberly Lakesend, technically, but, seriously, don’t call me that.”

He nods, his head moving, but not his eyes. They remain trained on mine. He says again, “Kim.”

“Lakesend! Tajeva! If you wouldn’t mind, could I have your attention?” the teacher shrills. Jared makes a face as though he would mind, he’d mind very much, and I can’t say I completely disagree with that, but I do have to keep my grades up, or else my mom will kill me and I’ll never get to tell Jared I love him.

Or find out what the heck that was. I place a finger over my lips, hushing him, and his face goes slack in defeat, like he can’t even try to argue with me. He turns to face forward.

Well, I’m confused. He’s never paid me any attention before—he didn’t even know my name—and now he’s staring at me like he’s the creepy stalker out of the two of us. Not that I particularly object, but it totally bewilders me.

I don’t hear a word of the next forty-five minutes of class. I sit there, with my notebook open, doodling little hearts and writing “J and K” inside. I don’t even do it consciously. It’s just a habit. A nervous habit.

I’m pretty nervous right now. After all, this is an awful lot like my daydreams, but they’re daydreams for a reason. This really isn’t that likely. More believable is that he and Paul made a bet or his flu left him desperate for sex or something.

Whatever. If that’s the only reason he’s paying attention to me, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts and deal with how much it’s going to suck later. I’m pretty good at that, by now. I smile and feel loved whenever my mom’s actually nice to me and then pretend it’s not worse the next time she freaks over nothing.

It’s basically my whole life. I’m used to it, and I’m going to make myself believe it won’t be a hundred times worse when Jared does it too.

My beautiful, perfect Jared. I adore him so completely. When he betrays me, I’m going to have to find someone else to be obsessed with. It’ll be too painful to stare at him when he breaks my heart.

And I know he will.

I’m in love with him, in a remarkably real way. Even though he’s never given me a single word before, I fell for him just by staring at him. I made him my perfect dream, and when that too turns on me it’s going to destroy me.

I’m bracing myself for it.

The bell rings, loud and shrill. I bite my lip nervously and gather up the books. Jared steps right in front of me as soon as I start to brush past his desk.

“Wait,” he says gently.

“Okay.” I look down at my feet and he sighs. One hand reaches out, and Jared’s burning fingers gently pull my chin up. Geez, he’s hot. He must have a fever.

“Kim, look. I’ve… I haven’t ever… noticed you before… but… right now… I don’t know how I could have missed you all this time. I look at you and… do you know you’re beautiful?”

My face floods with heat. I try to pull away, look away.

“No, don’t be embarrassed. I… I’m really sorry for how long it took me to see what was right in front of me. But… I want… Look. Are you doing anything on Friday?”

My entire body tenses up, my arms and legs and torso shaking. I close my eyes for an instant and then I’m staring at him for an instant while his black eyes look into my soul. “I… no.” I wait for him to say something along the lines of, ‘Of course not, it’s not like you have a boyfriend.’ I wait.

“Do you…” he stops and takes a breath. I can see his shoulders shake-- it’s a ragged breath, and he trembles visibly. “Do you want to go to Port Angles with me, go to dinner, watch a movie, maybe take a walk on First Beach and watch the sunset?”

I laugh. “Do you know, I’ve never actually been to see the sunset there?”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I’ve lived in La Push my whole life but I have to be home by four-thirty if I’m out alone. My mom.”

“Oh.” He hesitates. “Will she mind this?”

“No… she wants me to…” I feel somewhat compelled to confess this to him. “She’s always wanted me to have a boyfriend. She’ll be really happy.”

“Will you come? Please?”

He sounds so ridiculously desperate. I laugh again. “Of course.”