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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.


6. Chapter 6

Rating 0/5   Word Count 553   Review this Chapter

He drives a light blue, tiny sedan. It seems like he’ll barely fit in it, but he manages. Jared opens the door for me, and I sit in the passenger seat, swiftly buckling myself in.

He smiles at me. “I was planning on leaving the explanation until our date, Kim, but… actually, you know, maybe we should wait. I want to be able to enjoy at least the one evening with you, and I’m not sure you’re going to want to speak to me after this is over.”

“I’m sure,” I whisper. “Again, not to totally freak you out, but I don’t think there’s much you could say that could scare me away.” I wonder what it is. A possessive ex-girlfriend, a bad habit, a weird home situation? It can’t be enough to keep me away from Jared. Nothing could do that.

“I want to talk about you, just for the ride home. What street do you live on?”

“Wentworth Street.”

“Near the Atearas?”

“Yeah.” I nod. “Right next to them.”

He starts the car. The engine grumbles in complaint. It’s not a new car, but I’m surprised he has one at all. Not a lot of kids here can afford them. “So, I have a question, Kim. You’ve liked me for three years?”

“Yeah.” I blush again, furiously, and he shakes his head. Jared raises his hand slowly and brushes the back of his fingers against my cheek, his other hand still on the wheel.

His skin burns. I remember that from before. His body heat is way too high, and it’s oddly pleasant. He should be dead, with that kind of fever, but it’s just comforting to feel the warmth as he touches my face softly. So softly, like he’s afraid he’ll break me. He leans towards me, and takes his eyes off the road for one second to lean in and whisper into my ear. “There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, Kim.”

He whirls back to look at the road, careful to drive safely. “Yeah, there is. I mean, you’ve never spoken to me before today.”

“Really? Not once?”

“No.”

“Why didn’t you tell me, Kim? You could have tried to talk to me, you know. You shouldn’t have just waited for me to stop being an idiot… it took me a while.”

He laughs a little, at himself, and I reply. “Well, I’m kind of insecure. I didn’t want to… I didn’t want you to laugh at me. And I knew you wouldn’t say yes. Well…” I stop, think. “I thought I knew, anyway.”

“Kim.” He’s smiling. “I don’t know why I was blind before today, but now I can see. And I’ll explain tomorrow, after dinner, and thank you so much for agreeing to go with me. You… you don’t know what it means.”

I smile. “You don’t know what it means to me, either, that you asked. That you noticed. No one notices me.”

“I do. I always will.” He straightens up, embarrassed, and says, “I think we’re here.”

He parks the car in my driveway, and then jumps out and around to help me get out. Casually, he takes my hand as I lead him toward the house.