|The Butterfly's Shadow
Author: theatrics PM
Kate had always been invisible. Beth had always been misunderstood. They were about to discover themselves in each other.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 9 - Words: 37,812 - Reviews: 84 - Favs: 48 - Follows: 81 - Updated: 10-04-09 - Published: 02-18-09 - id: 4874080
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This will be my first (and most likely only, haha) full-length story. This story is completely AU (alternate universe). Basically, it would be easiest if you forget that the movie even exists, as this is as though it never happened. That said, enjoy!
As always, this is dedicated to my beautiful, perfect, and amazing girlfriend, Tracy. I love you with all that I am, my darling, and I always, always will. This is for you.
"Kate!" Lori Spencer called her daughter's name from downstairs. "You're going to be late."
"I'm never late!" Kate countered, with a good-natured roll of her eyes. It was her first day at Forest Hills High School, and she already had an hour to spare. The school was a mere ten minutes from her house. Kate was hardly worried.
Snatching up her backpack, she slung it absentmindedly over her shoulder, and then emerged from her room, shutting the door behind her. Kate thumped down the stairs, her mind at complete ease at the idea of attending another high school.
"I'm ready, Mom," Kate smiled to her mother and shook her head, as she reached for an apple from the bowl in the center of the kitchen table.
"It's your first day," Lori began, beaming. "Ready to give 'em the ol' Spencer charm?" She teased affectionately, as she rubbed her daughter's back with her hand.
"Mom," Kate laughed softly. "I've done this so many times. I doubt there's any of that 'ol' Spencer charm' left."
"Oh, yeah?" Lori grinned. "I don't think so. Where do you think you get your looks from, huh?" She winked as she cleaned off a plate beneath the running water of the sink.
Kate groaned playfully and took a bite out of her fresh, red apple.
"Can we please not go down this road again?" She echoed her mother's grin. "I'd really like to get to school on time."
"Kate Emily Spencer, are you saying I'm conceited?" Lori feigned disbelief and hurt.
"No," Kate shook her head, smiling all the while. "Of course not."
The two shared a laugh, and then talked idly while Kate finished off her apple.
"So, what classes are you taking, again?" Lori wondered distractedly.
"Mom," Kate chuckled. "we've been through this."
"Yeah, I know," She smiled. "I just can't believe you're seventeen already."
"I just turned seventeen, Mom."
"But, now you're almost eighteen!"
"Please don't get all," She wiggled her fingers, forming air-quotes. "sentimental. I don't think I can handle it, Mom. It's way too early."
"Okay, okay," Lori chuckled and shook her head.
There was silence for a moment as Kate tossed her apple core into the nearby waste bin. She looked up toward her mother, blinking. Lori merely smiled.
"Hey, kiddo," She grinned and wrapped her arm around her daughter warmly. "Have a good day, okay? No picking fights on your first day. Deal?"
Kate smiled, returning the hug that her mother offered.
"I'll do my best," She nodded and snatched her makeshift handbag from the kitchen counter. "Later, Mom!" Kate called the words as she slipped out the front door.
It was first block U.S. Government—one of Kate's least favorite classes. It was a complete and total bore. The idea of discussing how the government worked hardly provided her mind any stimulus whatsoever.
"Kate Spencer," Mrs. Johnson sounded irritated as she called on her student. "I'm glad that your first day with us has brought with it such rousing festivities," She pushed her glasses down on the bridge of her nose. "Would you care to join us?"
"I-I… I'm really sorry, Mrs. Johnson," Kate mumbled awkwardly, her cheeks hot with embarrassment. All eyes were on her. She wanted to sink into her seat and just fade away. However, after the initial giggles and smirks passed, Kate found herself back to her typical state of outward indifference.
Silently steadying her swiftly beating heart, she glanced around, curious about the rest of the class. They appeared equally bored. Most were texting or mouthing various things to each other. Kate cleared her throat softly, and then brushed her fingers through her blond hair.
Suddenly she felt at a loss. She was senior now. Never before had she been forced to go to a new school where it was her final year of attendance. How was she supposed to bond with anyone when she was a wayward senior, anyway?
Her eyes clumsily fell on the form of a brunette across the room, scribbling away with a light-up pen on her loose leaf paper. Tilting her head slightly, she watched her, bored, before the girl abruptly glanced up and caught Kate's awkward gaze. Immediately, Kate looked away, afraid of the girl's reaction.
Though, after a moment, when Kate side-glanced the nameless girl again, she was back to doodling. Sighing, Kate began to tap the eraser-end of her pencil against the top of her desk.
Pursing her lips, she exhaled heavily, completely unaware that her teacher was standing mere inches from her desk.
"Miss Spencer," The teacher called sharply, her eyes blazing directly through Kate.
Snapping to attention immediately, Kate stared at her teacher, wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
"S-sorry! I just… I—"
"I do hope that this will not become a habit, Miss Spencer."
"N-no… no, Mrs. Johnson! I just… I'm… Your lesson is so intense!" Kate blurted the words out while her ill-intentioned classmates looked on and snickered.
Mrs. Johnson quirked one of her eyebrows.
"Really, Miss Spencer? Because I haven't even begun. We were reading aloud from the handbook, as I'm sure you know is customary at every school on the first day."
"Oh, excuse me. I had almost forgotten that you were new," Mrs. Johnson narrowed her eyes. "Let me show you how a student is disciplined when they refuse to pay attention in my class."
"Mrs. Johnson," A husky, unfamiliar voice spoke up, causing every head to turn. It was that same girl who had caught Kate's gaze before—the one who had been scribbling something or another on her paper.
"What is it, Bethany?"
Kate blinked her eyes curiously. She certainly didn't look like a Bethany.
"It's Beth," She supplied tightly, her exterior completely confident; Kate envied her. "She's new. Don't write her up on her first day."
"Miss Davis, I hardly see why it's any business of yours what types of discipline I practice in my classroom."
Kate watched as Beth pursed her lips, obviously biting back a more jagged retort.
"It's not her fault that she's totally bored," Beth replied evenly. The rest of the class erupted into laughter and sneers. Kate felt her face grow hot again. She hated thinking that all of this confrontation was because of her.
"Miss Davis, do you wish to join Miss Spencer in after-school detention?" Mrs. Johnson fumed, her eyes narrowed to aggravated slits.
"Anything to get me out of this snooze fest, Mrs. J. I'm completely bored out of my mind, too, you know," Beth offered her matter-of-factly, with a dramatic exhale.
"Bethany Davis! You have just earned both you and Miss Spencer a trip to after-school detention," Mrs. Johnson barked her decision as she stomped back toward her desk for two yellow pieces of paper for the write-up slips. "I wasn't even going to punish Miss Spencer that severely, but given that you have such a big mouth on you, I suppose I don't have a choice."
The class snickered while Kate watched Beth roll her eyes. Kate wasn't sure what sort of reputation that this Beth girl had, but it didn't look to be very good, at least with her classmates.
After Mrs. Johnson had finished their write-ups, she slammed one on Kate's desk, and then one on Beth's. Kate cringed, feeling very small again. She wasn't sure how she felt about being dragged down by this complete stranger. She reasoned that she was only trying to help, but, still, Kate hated to think that this would go on her virtually stainless record.
Beth simply grinned charmingly up at her teacher.
Kate glanced up timidly, and then looked over to Beth. At that instant, they caught each other's gaze again, and Beth winked at her, before glancing away, her lips parted slightly in a soundless chuckle. Kate's eyes darted away as she sunk down into her seat.
She could only imagine what detention with this girl was going to be like.
Hesitantly venturing into the library, Kate clutched her notebooks to her chest. Glancing around, she realized that she was the first (and only) one present. Running her tongue over her lips self-consciously, she pulled out her chair, and then slid into it. Taking out her pencil, she flipped open her notebook and began writing down nothing in particular.
"Well, hey there."
Kate jumped, her heart pounding in her chest. Beth? How had she not seen or heard her before?
Emerging from the nearby bookcases, Beth grinned.
"Did I scare you?" She giggled—a giggle that was both husky and quite feminine. "Sorry. I was just looking around. Never knew this school had a library!"
Kate smiled awkwardly to her and nodded. There was no sense in being sarcastic.
"Yeah…" Kate maintained the smile, despite herself.
Beth watched her silently for a moment, her gaze thoughtful.
"You know, Mrs. J probably won't mess up your record, right?" Beth continued to grin—a trademark of hers now—as she turned her back to Kate and investigated the bookcases nearest her. "She knows you're a good kid."
"Yeah, I… ah—"
"What's your name, again?" Beth interrupted her suddenly, turning around.
"Kate. It's… Kate," The blonde watched Beth with uncertain eyes. She was getting strange vibes from this girl; although, she wasn't sure what to call her hunches.
"Oh, right!" Beth moved over to the table that Kate was sitting at and perched on top of it, completely oblivious to the fact that she was wearing an extraordinarily short, blue-jean miniskirt. Kate felt a hot blush rise in her cheeks for the other girl. "I'm Beth. Beth Davis," She recited her name matter-of-factly, though Kate already knew it.
Kate nodded her head, suddenly unsure of how to respond. She wasn't very social; her wording was almost always awkward; and she couldn't help but withdraw when the opportunity to bond with others arose. She just felt so out of place.
"You aren't mad, are you?" Beth asked, out of nowhere, jarring Kate from her thoughts.
"Mad?" Kate blinked, confused. "About what?"
"Me getting you detention."
"Oh," Kate didn't want to say anything. In all honesty, she was at least happy to think that someone was trying to stand up for her. "No," She shook her head, feeling strangely pleased when Beth's face lit up with a smile. "No. I'm not."
"Cool," Beth smiled again and nodded, as she crossed one of her legs over the other. "So, you're new, right?"
"Where are you from?"
"Well, I… my mom and I move… a lot," Kate swallowed, her throat dry. "I'm originally from Illinois."
Beth was silent, though only for a few seconds.
"That sounds right," The brunette smirked. "You're way too boring and quiet to be from anywhere else!" She laughed and spun around to face Kate, her knees dangerously close to Kate's own legs.
Kate furrowed her eyebrows, her face hot with sudden annoyance. This Beth girl was certainly assertive and brash. She didn't seem to care whether or not she was offending anyone.
"Anyway," Beth went on. "What do you do for fun?"
Kate blinked once again. She wasn't sure why she was being grilled with so many useless questions; yet, at the same time, she wasn't one to be rude, either.
"I listen to music," She offered reluctantly.
"That's… all?" Beth sounded surprised.
"Well, I did just move here…"
"I know, but…" Beth trailed off. Kate could tell that she was thumbing through possible responses. "Oh, whatever. It doesn't matter anyway." She shrugged.
Kate exhaled. This was going to be a long dose of detention.
"Am I bothering you?" Beth wondered, after a moment. It caught Kate off-guard, but she recovered quickly.
"Uh," She stammered. "No. No… I was just… reading."
Beth nodded, digesting the thought.
There was silence between the two of them for several moments following the premature termination of the conversation. Kate's face felt hot when she realized that Beth was watching her; her skin crawled with awkwardness.
Kate cleared her throat casually, snapping Beth from her vigilant state.
"So, what classes are you taking? Forest Hills has so much going on, especially for seniors!" Beth grinned. Kate already knew this, but she didn't bother to interject the thought.
"AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP English—"
"All AP's?!" Beth gasped.
"There's no AP Gym, is there?" Kate withheld a smirk.
Beth ran her tongue over her lips in protest.
For the first time, Kate thought that she saw Beth's confident exterior falter. It was odd, but she felt sort of accomplished because of it.
"I knew that," Beth mumbled carelessly before tossing her head aside slightly, sending her tight, brown curls all about. She paused, debating whether or not it was even worth it to continue talking with Kate. It was only a moment, though, before she quickly relented. "When do you have Gym?" The underlying urgency in her voice was scarcely traceable, but, somehow, Kate found herself noticing.
"Fifth block on B-Day."
"Me too!" Beth rounded on herself as she realized how enthusiastic she sounded. Swallowing, she cleared her throat. "I— what teacher do you have?"
"Coach… Williams?" Kate was afraid of Beth's intentions.
"Ooooh!" She trilled, her usually husky voice rising considerably in pitch. "We have Gym together, too!"
Kate willed a tiny smile. How was she supposed to act? Beth's… kindness was admirable and sweet, but she was a bit too straightforward.
"It'll be so fun," Beth decided for her, smiling. "I hate Gym, but it'll be much better now."
Kate tensed subconsciously. Something about that statement made her visibly uncomfortable.
"Kate, you'll learn to love it here," Beth continued, entirely unfazed by the blonde's silence. "We have great clubs. I'm the leader of the Vegetarian Club," She proclaimed proudly. "It was the closest we could get to Veganism." Beth sighed.
Kate nodded politely. Beth's appearance suddenly made sense. She was very retro and almost hippie-esque with her outfits.
"You should come to one of the meetings!"
Ripped from her thoughts, Kate stared up at the brunette, open-mouthed.
"Oh, come on, Kate! It'll be so much fun. Please! We have twenty members already. They'd love to meet you!" Beth looked on at her hopefully, her eyes gleaming with excitement and something else—something unreadable and more intentional.
"Beth, I don't know if that's really something I—"
"Look," Beth began, sounding falsely diplomatic. "Just come to one meeting," She compromised, tucking her hair behind her ears. "If you don't like it, then you don't have to come again."
Kate sighed. Sure, that sounded fair enough, but she honestly didn't want to get involved in clubs on her first day. It was that, and she loved eating meat. It was horrible that they tortured the animals like they did, but… she couldn't help herself. It felt almost sinful to attend a meeting with die-hard Vegan/Vegetarian activists.
"All right," The words slipped from her lips before she even had a chance to retrieve them.
Beth squealed with happiness and threw her arms around Kate, practically choking the air out of her. Kate awkwardly pat her on the back, hoping to God that Beth's skirt didn't suddenly fly open from her abrupt movements.
"Great!" Beth appeared strangely relieved; Kate quirked an eyebrow, but said nothing. "It's directly after school tomorrow," She began, reaching for her large purse to collect that same pen she was using earlier in Government. Without asking for permission, she began to write something on the back of Kate's hand. "We meet every Tuesday and Thursday," Beth soon finished writing and clicked her pen.
Offering Kate a charming smile, she pursed her lips. Kate returned the smile, though significantly tighter and more ill-at-ease.
"I promise we're not scary," Beth grinned and brushed her fingertips over Kate's nearest hand encouragingly. Kate flinched and drew her hand back slightly, though it appeared casual.
"Yeah," Kate's voice was small and taut. "Thanks for the invite."
Beth nodded and glanced at the clock on the wall suddenly.
"Oh, shit!" She erupted into giggles. "Sweetie, we should've been out of here ten minutes ago!" Beth leapt off the tabletop and bent down to get her backpack.
Kate tensed, unable to tear her eyes away from Beth's skirt, which was creeping up her thighs at a threatening pace. Tearing her eyes away immediately, she reasoned that she shouldn't be looking. Beth might think she was weird or creepy, even though Kate thought she was simply looking out for the other girl's best interest.
"See you later," Beth spoke smoothly, smiling over her shoulder to Kate. "Nice meeting you, Kate."
Kate nodded her head, her mouth dry again.
"Yeah," She choked out the word. "It was nice to meet you, too… Beth."
Beth was gone a second later, leaving Kate alone to gather her things, as well as her thoughts. She couldn't shake the weird feeling that remained with her. It was bizarre that someone was taking so much interest in her now when she had been invisible all of her life. She didn't understand.
Kate slid her backpack's straps onto her shoulders and blinked. Her eyes had caught something on her hand: Beth's writing. Lifting her hand somewhat, she narrowed her eyes, both confused and surprised at what she saw.
Written in perfectly girly and neat handwriting was far more information than Kate thought Beth needed to give for a club meeting. It was that, or Kate was reading way too much into this.
Meeting tom. / Rm 221 A / 206-122-1007
Beth had left someone's phone number.
Kate reread the handwriting, and then looked away, perplexed. Whose number was that? Or, rather, who was she supposed to call? She exhaled heavily and shook her head before heading toward the library door.
She supposed that she would find out tomorrow, if ever.