|Hanging By A Moment
Author: Raina Wolfe - Lateraina PM
Valerie's challenge from Reign Storm goes deeper when she and Tucker work to try and get Danny and Sam together.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Danny F. & Sam M. - Chapters: 11 - Words: 27,209 - Reviews: 165 - Favs: 48 - Follows: 64 - Updated: 06-24-10 - Published: 09-09-05 - id: 2573210
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hey guys – it's been a while for this one. Thanks to my reviewers! Enjoy!
I'm standing here until you make me move…
I'd been wrong in ever thinking that Sam wouldn't figure out what I was trying to do. Drastically wrong. I should have known she would find out. And she had.
So I'd told her the pure reason for doing it. I was embarrassed at first, but when I finally just spilled the real reason I was playing matchmaker in the first place, it kind of made me feel more comfortable about it.
I sighed, shifting myself on the chair to face her. "If you're angry, I get it and I'll back off. But I stand by what I said."
Sam was silent for a moment and I didn't say anything either, feeling I'd said enough. But as she didn't say anything for at least another minute, I couldn't take it.
"Look, I understand if you completely hate me," I said, standing on my feet and pulling my bag over my shoulder. "I'll-"
"I don't," she suddenly said, looking up at me finally.
"What?" I asked, confused.
"I don't hate you," she said. She wasn't done talking and I sat down, slightly shocked. "At first when you started talking to us again, I was harsh to you because I was suspicious again and I thought you were still the same, snobby, preppy girl that used to put the three of us into the loser category. And then you…and Danny got closer and starting dating. I…was jealous. I thought you might have been using Danny to get closer to ghost hunting information because of his parents. I didn't want to see him get hurt. And…"
I wondered how much she had decided to skip. The way she was talking was as if there was more behind the story than just me and Danny dating… But I didn't question it. She looked down nervously.
"And…if I do like him…"
"You don't have to…do that," I told her. Even if I knew the truth, I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable. She seemed relieved. "I'm trying to…in all honesty, I was trying to help you…Sam, you deserve Danny after being there for him all this time. I could never even think of comparing. He deserves you too… And I really think if this works, he'll get some clarity in his cluelessness."
Tucker and Sam had given Danny a nickname (one that he didn't get, which made it all the funnier) for his lack of ability to see how much Sam really cared for him.
"So, you're still going to try and put us together?"
I wasn't surprised at her question. "If you want…it's up to you. But think about it Sam. Danny has no clue what's going on, what we're doing…If we keep going I think that maybe he'll get it."
"I just…I don't want to force him to like me."
I felt incredibly guilty. I hadn't even thought of that. I knew Danny shared some feeling for Sam, but what if it was just friendship? I didn't want to ruin something that special.
"I just don't think it's fair to him…"
She had a point. I shrugged, feeling even worse. "It's your decision. Honestly…it doesn't sound like such a good plan anymore…" I tried to laugh it off to make it seem like a joke. But then she surprised me again.
"Let me think about it."
"Okay," I agreed after a minute. Why argue after all? This had to be her decision. I was no longer in control of the situation.
"Have you had dinner?"
I shook my head and my stomach growled in agreement. "Kinda low on cash unfortunately."
"Go ahead and order something, I don't mind. I mean, we are here in a sort-of restaurant."
I glanced around the eerie goth café; black wasn't usually my style but it had some cool artwork decorating the place. That and the coffee smelled amazing. I knew I'd find her here too. Her offer was nice, but I had to refuse. "No really, I have food at home."
"It's okay, really – and if it bothers you that much you can always pay me back," Sam said. She was wearing a small, encouraging smile. She wasn't being sympathetic and charitable, she was being friendly. It was weird to have her go from scary rude to nice and sweet.
"Okay. Thanks." I sat down and Sam motioned a waitress over to us. We ordered two veggie paninis; I got a mocha latte and she ordered some kind of soy shake. Our waitress was a girl with eight piercings simply on her face and tiny black braids across her head.
For a moment, the silence was uncomfortable and she cleared her throat, seeming like she was nervous. "So…did you like the movie?"
"It was good. Better than the first one," I told her.
"They're coming out with a third one in like two years or so I think," she replied.
"Cool. I would ask you how your movie was but I'm pretty sure I've heard all I needed to know last night," I said with a laugh, remembering the argument she and Danny had had over werewolves and vampires.
"Yeah, sorry. It was really good," she said, thinking along the same lines.
"Did you see the Underworld movie?" I asked.
"Yeah, Kate Beckinsale is my favorite actress," she replied. "I love supernatural movies."
I seemed to have opened a floodgate. I never imagined Sam would talk a lot without her usual sarcastic demeanor but she continued to talk about different sci-fi and fantasy movies she'd seen over the last few years. But she wasn't the center of the conversation and she kept asking me what my opinion was. Turns out we both liked the same type of movies and generally the same actors. She was a big fan of Johnny Depp and Hugh Jackman; I tended to side more with Will Smith and Bruce Willis. We both agreed that Chris Evans was gorgeous.
We launched into a discussion about television shows. She hated reality tv and soap operas. I thought that watching sports was boring and she nodded her head furiously in agreement to that one.
Our food came but we were in such an in-depth conversation that it took us a moment to dig in.
Sam had always carried an appealing "I don't care what you think about me" attitude; I'd respected her for it, even before I'd gotten to know her better. It must have been nice to be the only judge of yourself, to ignore everyone else's opinions. I wasn't so lucky. Old habits die hard.
Now I could see more beneath the surface. The part of her that was hidden beneath the creepy dark outlook and sardonic comments. She really cared about what she talked about whether it was movies or the environment. Her sarcasm seemed funnier to me now, not so weird. She seemed more laid back in my presence the more she talked.
I vaguely remembered our weird high-five the other night at the restaurant during our "double date." Maybe we were headed a step in the right direction, talking and hanging out like we were.
"Hmm…" she said, taking a sip of her drink. "This is wonderful."
I felt like she was talking about more than the drink. Like she was expressing her feelings for both it and the new relationship that had developed between us within the last twenty minutes.
"Yeah," I said. I held up my own drink. "Let's toast."
"To what?" she asked, but she still pushed the glass closer to mine.
"To um…to saying goodbye to everything that holds us back," I said, thinking of how much easier it would be to be friends with Sam, Tucker, and Danny rather than my old clique.
She hesitated a moment and then clinked her glass on mine. "Okay."
"Oh, I almost forgot. Are you going to be available to help tomorrow morning? I think they're putting the streamers up in the gymnasium." I'd helped earlier this morning but the trio hadn't been there.
Sam nodded, pushing a strand of her black hair away from her face. "Yeah, I should be. What's this dance for anyway?"
"Spring fling kinda," I replied. "What are your spring break plans?"
She shrugged. "I'm not sure. We always go to Floody Waters or hang out at each other's houses."
"Sounds fun. I think we should have a contest," I said.
An idea had been rolling around my head since I'd come up with the plan to get Sam and Danny together, but I'd never told anyone, not sure how it would work. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it didn't have to be all about those two. A lot of people could get involved.
"What kind of contest?"
"A boys vs. girl contest," I continued.
She took my answer in and nibbled on her Panini. "How would that work exactly?"
"We would just do crazy stuff – there's a new laser tag place in that strip club across from the Amity Park swim club. We could go to the beach and have a volleyball or ultimate Frisbee match. There's lots of stuff we can be better at than the boys."
"Sounds fun," she said. "We could also-"
She cut off when screams echoed from outside the café; I looked through the door and saw people running in the same direction away from some commotion. I instinctively grabbed the shoulder strap of my backpack, stood, and not thinking, rushed from the café and into the main part of the mall.
He was floating high above the small water fountain a couple yards away. I recognized him immediately; the high-tech silver battle suit, the flaming green hair, the energy guns strapped to his metal arms.
It wasn't me who said it. It was Sam, who had followed me into the fray and was now standing a few feet away, seeing the same thing I was.
"You know who that is?" I asked, confused.
Before she could answer, something streaked by me, whipping my hair into my face. I gasped when I saw the Phantom kid suddenly fly up towards Skulker.
"Not this time ghost," I said. I flipped open the top of the bracelet that usually posed as a watch and pressed a button there. Small white lights circled around me and I felt myself transform from ordinary Valerie to supercharged ghost hunter.
I felt the change both inside and out; I was stronger, powerful, graceful, and faster. I kicked together my feet and my jet sled appeared below me, shooting me into the air like a bullet.
"You have to be the winner of the bad timing awards," Phantom was saying. He hadn't noticed me, his fists green with ectoplasmic energy. Skulker didn't seem to either.
"And why's that? Skulker hunts what he hunts, whenever he wants to. You should know that by now," he said.
"Yeah, yeah, let's just get this over with."
"Sounds like an excellent idea," I pitched in.
Phantom gasped, spinning around, his facial expression shocked and almost instantly cautious. "Uh-oh," I heard him mutter.
"A two for one deal!" Skulker said. Flashes of light shot from his arms and headed straight for the two of us. I rose up on my board, aimed right towards him. I pressed a button on my jet and streaks of energy blasted from the sharp tips, striking him in the chest. The metal suit deflected the attack but I countered with a hit with my fists, sending him flying towards the ceiling.
I turned, focusing and three boxes materialized to the side of my head. I sent them towards Phantom, who had also managed to escape Skulker's energy blasts, but wasn't able to dodge mine in time. They crashed into him from behind and he reeled toward the ceiling, slamming hard into the roof.
"Skulker was right. This is a two for one deal."
I smiled and lurched forward. I was almost torn. On one hand, it seemed logical to go after Skulker. Although Phantom was number one on the hit list, he seemed like less of a threat. But if I focused my attention on Skulker, he could easily escape. Guess I had to take them on together.
I revved the engine of my jet sled and zoomed around, rushing toward Skulker who was recovering a few feet away. "This is for trapping me-"
A blue net launched from his arm, catching me off guard. It surrounded me completely, trapping me inside. I felt the sled release from my feet and fly away. I shouted, feeling myself free fall, plunging faster and faster towards the ground.
But then a blast of green light penetrated the net, leaving a small hole that I quickly crawled out of. I was still falling and I quickly pressed a button on my armband and my flight craft soared in my direction, catching me just as I was about to hit the ground.
Phantom was watching me, floating a few feet away, concern in his eyes. I realized he'd saved me. But why?
Skulker flew in between us, flying backwards and shooting out energy blasts simultaneously. Phantom rushed towards him and blue-white light came from his hands, hitting Skulker head on. Ice quickly covered him, shutting down the suit and sending him reeling towards the ground. A vortex of blue light erupted from Phantom's hand, originating in a cylindrical object. It sucked Skulker inside and he slammed the lid down on the thermos hard.
I caught him by surprise when I sent an array of mini-explosives his direction. He careened into the bookstore front, hitting hard and landing just as hard on the ground. He raised up on all fours, trying to get up, but then fell again. I landed next to him and turned him over with my foot. He stared at me with dazed green eyes; he wasn't hurt, just stunned. I was going to have to fix that.
I shoved a weapon in his face. "Finally. Revenge is sweet," I said. I cocked the gun and it hummed as it charged instantly. "Any last words?"
I loves cliffhangers! Please R&R! I haven't done a sneak peek lately, so I guess I can give one to you now.
Chapter Twelve: Paulina, Part 2
"You never told me your answer," I said, purposely holding onto his hand longer.
"Answer to what?"
"I asked you last week if you wanted to go to the spring dance with me, remember?" I batted my eyes at him.
The corners of his mouth twitched into a silent "oh yeah," and I could tell he'd forgotten. He sighed. "I'm sorry Paulina, normally I would say yes, but I don't think I can."
"Why?" I suddenly felt like crying.
He rubbed the back of his neck with his hand. "Well, you see…if I go to the dance with you – a lot of…." He trailed off, looking like he was trying to come up with an excuse. "What happens if the world gets into trouble? Who's going to save it? If I'm not there, I mean."
Wait a second. He was saying no?
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