|In Her Eyes
Author: rachel-rage PM
Scene between Chris calling out Holly/Karen in class and them ending up on the loveseat.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Words: 1,276 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-26-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8258528
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Holly wastes no time getting home at the end of the day.
She skips art club, knowing that Karen will note her absence there, but she simply can't face it.
When she gets back to her flat, she expects herself to break down, to instantly feel the emotion of the day take her over, but surprisingly, she almost feels nothing. She just can't seem to process it yet, to process what it means if people know what she and Karen have between them.
An hour after she gets home, she's still sitting motionless on her sofa when there's a soft knock at the door. It's her, Holly thinks. Has to be. She almost, for just one moment, hesitates before getting up to get the door. It wouldn't be easy, but she could end this, right now, and save herself and more importantly, Karen, from all of the prejudice that would come with it.
But the thought of ending this, of losing Karen when she's the only thing that makes Holly happy these days, is so painful that she can't even entertain the notion. So she gets up and opens the door.
Karen's there. Her eyes are slightly red but her features are set in harsh defiance. She walks in immediately, brushing roughly past Holly.
"Why weren't you in art club?" she asks. It seems like she's trying to be accusing, but the waver in her voice betrays her. "I needed to see you, I wanted to make sure you were okay," she says. Holly can see she's trying so hard to be angry, to turn her fear and worry into a heat she can hurl out with her words, but her eyes are filled with tears. She crosses her arms defiantly, and when Holly walks over to her from across the room, she looks down to hide her eyes.
Holly puts her hand on Karen's wrist, run her fingertips up and down her forearm. Karen breathes in a shaky breath, and Holly takes her into her arms.
"It's going to be fine," Holly says, although honestly, she knows nothing of the sort. Karen sighs again, leans into Holly and tries to blink back her tears.
"It was Lorraine," she says. "Lorraine told them all, all the boys. She just picked up on it and she asked me about it and I told her nothing was going on, but she must have seen right through me. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, Holly," Karen says all in one breath. Her heart is beating so hard in her chest it hurts, it's a deep aching throb that reminds her more of the pain than of the fact that it's keeping her alive.
She sits on the sofa and brings her knees to her chest. Holly just stands there, one hand tangled in the hair pushed behind her ear and the other pressed to her lips.
"What do we do now?" Karen whispers. She's no longer crying, but there's a new fear in her voice that wasn't there before. This has been an unbelievable dream come true for Karen; to finally have Holly after all the time she's spent building up her courage. How could it stay this good for any length of time? How could Holly want to stay with her after what happened in class?
"I don't know," Holly murmurs. It seems impossible to her that they could continue this, to keep this behind closed doors now that all the boys in the class know about it.
They're both thinking it- what anyone would think in their position. How could this be worth it? They've only been seeing each other for a few weeks, barely even a fortnight. Is it worth Holly losing her job, Karen's possible punishment at the hand of her parents? Is it worth being viciously outed by a teenage boy?
Neither wants to say it. Karen makes Holly so happy. She wants to protect Karen from all of this backlash, but at the same time she can't imagine herself letting Karen go. And Karen has wanted this for too long, far too long to give up now that she finally has it.
"I don't want you to get hurt," Holly says. Her eyes are closed. She can't stand to look at Karen while she delivers this blow. She can hardly stand to be in her own skin as she says what she never wanted to have to say. "I… maybe we should-"
That's as far as she gets before Karen pushes up off the couch and grabs Holly by the shoulders.
"Please, don't say it. It's not going to happen." Karen is insistent. Holly shakes her head and one tear slides down her cheek.
"I can't do this to you, you stand to lose so much with me," she whispers. Karen's shaking her head now, refusing to listen. "You deserve someone free, someone who won't tie you down."
"I don't care, I don't care what you think I deserve. I want you. I've never wanted anything more than I want you," Karen says. "I don't care what anyone thinks. I only care about you," she whispers. She runs her fingertips over Holly's jaw, the apple of her cheek, her lips. "Please. Don't do this."
Holly looks into her eyes. There are no tears there now, only determination. She knows, by that look in her eyes, Karen will never give this up, she will never, never let Holly end it for her benefit. And if Holly is honest with herself, she doesn't want to either. After years of halfhearted dating, of being disappointed by men who didn't really care about her and abused by classes who didn't respect her, she's finally found someone who does. Who reads literature and paints and can't stand to see her cry.
And for now at least, even if it's selfish, she can't do it. She can't end this, even if it will end up ruining them both.
Karen can see Holly give up on ending it. She can see the shift from tense to relieved in her eyes. And when Karen leans in to kiss her, just hard enough to let Holly know she's there, she can feel more than just relief. There's worry there, of course, but hope too.
Somehow, they move back to the sofa. They just look at one another for the longest time, Karen tracing the veins in Holly's wrists with her fingertips, Holly dropping chaste kisses on Karen's neck and jaw.
Eventually, they look out onto the sea, still tangled up together. Karen rests her head on Holly's neck and closes her eyes. Holly may still be cautious and worried for them both, but in this moment, Karen just can't find the energy within herself to think about it. It seems impossible that she could be so content in such a precarious situation, that with her happiness hanging by such a thin thread she could soak it in so blissfully.
But when Holly kisses the side of her head and takes her arms in her own, somehow Karen feels like the war she's fighting has been suspended. For just a moment, she feels that the world is no longer against them; like a truce has been called and just for a second she can lay down her arms.