Overlook - to look past or fail to notice
Ruth blinked. She moved her gaze from contemplating the withered leaves of her salad to stare at her best friend with incredulity. Kim Conweller was looking at her, a mischievous grin playing about her lips. Ruth merely stared.
"Come again?" she said. Kim's smile widened to a grin, revealing several even white teeth.
"Pepperoni pizza," she replied, "it's Jared's favourite. Do you realise that he's been gone for three whole weeks now? I need to keep quizzing myself or I may forget something vital."
Ruth rolled her eyes.
"I don't think that three weeks are going to make any difference to a two-year obsession, Kim," she remarked dryly, spearing a piece of lettuce with her fork.
Kim poked her.
"It makes all the difference in the world," she protested, "I think I'm even starting to forget what he looks like."
Ruth snorted. "Please," she muttered, "there is as much likelihood of you forgetting what Jared looks like as you ever being able to convince me to eat that questionable ravioli. Is it actually grey?" She stared at the suspect piece of pasta which Kim had been waving about on her fork. It was a greyish cream colour and looked decidedly dodgy.
Kim glared at her best friend. "Don't you take your annoyance out on my choice of lunch," she protested, popping the ravioli into her mouth. "It's meant to be grey, the sauce is mushroom."
Ruth raised an eye brow. "You'd still never get me eating it."
"Oh and your dead salad is supposed to look all the more appetising?"
Ruth chewed several pieces of lettuce in retaliation, pausing only to take a sip of lemonade. She forced the mouthful down, carefully controlling her expression. It had been pretty dry …
"At least my salad is relatively healthy," she responded, emptying a sachet of mayonnaise over it. "I don't want to know what is congealing in that sauce …" Kim poked her tongue out, eating another piece of ravioli. She closed her eyes, making appreciative noises and pretending to savour the taste for several seconds. Ruth watched her friend skeptically for a moment before Kim's eyes opened and they both burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of the argument.
As they laughed, Ruth watched her friend and smiled, happy to see her giggling again. It was rare for Kim to laugh with anyone, let alone people that she didn't know. She was painfully shy and introspective; burying her head in her work and trying to avoid all unwanted attention. So to most of the student body of La Push High, including a certain Mr Jared Cameron, she was invisible - a quiet, studious girl who kept to herself and avoided the limelight at all costs.
Ruth was suddenly struck by how privileged she was to see this mischievous, amusing side of Kim. Very few people had ever seen the elusive dimple that appeared on her right cheek when she laughed, and fewer still had seen how her regular features lit up when she was amused. Ruth had always been of the opinion that Kim was at her prettiest when she smiled. Her normally placid dark eyes would dance and utterly change her face. But, it was sadly a side of Kim that was seldom seen by her, let alone the rest of the student body.
From those first few months in second grade, when she had determined to befriend the small, quiet Kim who always sat in the corner and never talked to anyone - Ruth had had to work hard to gain Kim's trust. It had taken offering to share countless numbers of twinkies and oreos at lunch not counting the numerous smiles and several invitations to play, for her to finally draw Kim out of her shell. But in the end the effort had definitely been worth it and since that day, the two had been inseparable.
It had proven to be a friendship that both had needed, growing up through La Push's tiny education system. They were two of the sixteen girls in their junior class at La Push High School. It was a class that reached the grand total of thirty nine when the boys were added – leading to a very small and ridiculously familiar year-group. Yet, it was still one within which Kim still managed to be invisible.
Ruth pierced a tomato thoughtfully, wondering at her friend's shyness. In comparison, she was a confident and friendly girl by nature, finding it easy to make friends and talk to people. Although not majorly popular, she swam, was an active member of the choir and had also managed that rare feat of staying with her boyfriend after the summer.
Kim swallowed a regretful mouthful of coke, running a hand through her thin hair.
"Doesn't really matter anyway," she muttered. "It's not like Jared would notice me even if he was back. You're so lucky to have Kaden, Ru."
Ruth sighed before reaching over to squeeze her friend's hand. "He just needs time, Kim," she said gently, "you wait until he comes back; I bet you that Jared will start to talk to you."
Kim snorted. "Yeah and La Push will have sun tomorrow."
Ruth laughed. "Hey, stranger things have happened." Carefully, she glanced over her shoulder before muttering. "Look at Sam and Leah."
Instantly, Kim's expression was one of pity. "Yeah, that's true. If a couple as tight as them can split up, I suppose anything is possible." Unable to help herself, Kim chanced a glance over at the table in the corner where Leah Clearwater was sitting, poking at her fries with a plastic fork.
It had astounded the whole school when Sam Uley had split up with Leah a year and a half ago; causing a rare scandal that had been retold for months. With each retelling, the breakup had become more and more ridiculous until even the most gullible listener had come to question the truth of whether Leah would have actually thrown a glass bowl at Sam's head. However, what was definitely true was the reality that La Push High School's golden couple had finished. If Kim had not believed the spoken gossip, the continuing misery of Leah's expression would have been enough to convince anyone.
"Did you hear the worst?"
Kim snapped round to face her friend.
Ruth grimaced. "I hear that he's now got together with Emily Young."
Kim cringed. "Please tell we you're joking, Ruth. She's Leah's cousin."
"I know, I wish I were," Ruth's face was grave. "Kaden told me that he heard it from Paul Lahote."
Kim nodded, glancing at Leah with renewed pity. Poor girl. To not have a boyfriend was one thing, but to be in love with a boy, have him break up with you and then move on to your cousin? The thought was almost unbelievable.
"I couldn't bear to come into school if that was me," she remarked, pushing away the remains of her lunch. "Still, it's never going to happen, so I might as well accept reality and continue to dream from a distance."
Ruth sighed, abandoning her own lunch at the sight of her friend's depression. "Kim, have you ever thought about looking at another boy?"
Her friend glanced up. "Um … who are you talking about Ruth? Seriously, if you can find anyone available and with potential for me to even consider among the boys in our year then I would love to see them."
Ruth thought for a moment, her eyes tracing over first one table and then another. She frowned.
Kim grimaced. "See? There's no-one."
"There's no-one where?" The girls glanced up to see Kaden slipping into the empty seat next to Ruth's.
"There are no boys in school that are worth dating," Ruth replied, turning to her boyfriend. "Seriously, all of the decent boys are either taken or utterly uninterested."
Kaden blinked. "And this conversation has come from where ...?"
Ruth raised an incredulous eye brow at him. "Do I even have to dignify that question with an answer?"
A single second passed before Kaden glanced over at Kim and slowly nodded. "Right," he muttered, taking a large bite of his burger. Past experience had taught him to mostly ignore these girlie angst sessions and concentrate on the more important task of eating.
With a roll of her eyes, Ruth turned back to her best friend. "I guess sophomores are out?" she remarked, casting a doubtful glance over three who were seated at the next table.
Kim ended this suggestion with a brisk shake of her head. "Don't even go there," she murmured, playing with the remains of her pasta. "The idea of dating someone younger than me is just wrong."
Ruth nodded. She was about to suggest a change of subject when Kim started to shove her tray sideways. "I'll see you after school," she muttered, "I want to visit the library before Art."
"Kay." With a slightly weary smile Kim left the cafeteria, her jacket knotted around her waist. Ruth watched her, frowning slightly. She jumped slightly when a warm hand brushed her hair back from her face.
"She'll be fine, Ruthy."
Unable to help herself, Ruth smiled at her boyfriend. Kaden was the only person she had ever allowed to call her 'Ruthy' since her Grandma had died. From his lips it sounded nice, an endearment rather than a childish lengthening.
"I know," she sighed, leaning her head against his shoulder. "I just wish she could be happy as she is. The whole school knows how far gone she is on Jared."
"Fraid so," Kaden agreed, putting his arm around her waist. "I'm sorry to say it, but he doesn't even know she exists."
"Wish I knew what to do."
"Just be her friend. Who knows, maybe Jared's absence will help Kim to get over him and move on."
With a weary nod, Ruth pushed her tray away. "Time for another afternoon of the joyful grind that is high school," she murmured.
"Best years of your life," Kaden said, mimicking the word spoken to them on their first day by the principal Mr Opaka.
Ruth giggled and reached up to kiss his cheek. "Always," she said with a wink. Kaden laughed.
0 0 0
She had been struggling with the shade of the sky in her landscape water-colour for the better part of half an hour and was still unhappy with the tone she had created. It was a direct representation of a photograph she had taken of First Beach that weekend and the balance of the light simply wasn't right.
At that moment, trying to create a realistic contrast between the dullness of the wild, overcast sky with the impossible vibrancy of the forest's chartreuse sheen seemed an impossible endeavour to Kim. With careful brush strokes she rewashed the sky, darkening the edges of the clouds with a few flicks, but still she faltered. She was finding it impossible to create the perfect balance. Either the emerald moss was too dull, or the leaden clouds were too brightly blue.
Fed up, Kim threw her brush back into the water, thinking longingly of the bell which would hail the start of the weekend and her two days of freedom.
She glanced at the clock. 2.00. Half an hour to waste in some mindless pursuit.
Completely abandoning her water colour for the day, Kim picked up her sketch book and moved to one of the unoccupied tables. Slightly bored, she flipped through some of the photos that she had taken of the La Push area, thinking of a new sketch that she might begin or even of the artist whose style she was supposed to have begun researching a week ago … when she paused at a photo. It wasn't particularly well taken, a shot of the forest from one of the trails, but she had liked the merging of the different shades of green in the tree canopy and so had decided to print it.
But now her eyes were riveted upon a strange animal that seemed to be lingering behind a fallen trunk. Long and hairy, the creature looked huge. All that she had snapped was the shaggy hindlegs and bushy tail of the creature, but it was enough to make her stomach clench slightly from fear and excitement. How had she missed that?
Unbidden, Kim found ideas for sketches coming to her mind as she stared at the picture. The hint of some ferocious animal lurking on the edge of some rugged scene, giving a hint but never a full picture of what the creature was. With a grin, she found her pencil moving lightly over the page as she sketched a similar scene, rugged, wild and beautiful, with that hint of a dangerous animal lurking menacingly behind one of the mossy trunks. The creature started off as a familiar creature, maybe the size of a dog. But as she sketched more of the landscape, Kim found herself constantly coming back to redo the animal, drawing it larger and more terrifying with each re-sketch until it was the size of a horse.
She smiled gently to herself, liking the fact that she had drawn the detailed bulk of its back without revealing its front. It somehow made the sketch more interesting, more sinister but appealing …
"Interesting idea, Kim," Mr Eldin commented as he looked over her shoulder. "Where did your inspiration come from?"
Kim found herself blushing under his scrutiny. "Oh um … a book or something," she muttered, pushing the photos under her sketch book.
Her teacher smiled. "Well good work, I look forward to seeing the final piece that comes from this."
With a slight nod, Kim turned back to her sketch, putting the final touches to one of the mossy trunks. Already she was considering the medium that she would use and kept coming back to acrylic. Sure, it wasn't her favourite, but to achieve the depth of colour that she wished for the composition, she needed to use it.
She was just considering the use of shade when the bell rang, proclaiming the commencement of her two days of freedom. Surprised, Kim packed up her sketch book and headed for the door, joining the steady tide of students heading for the car park.
0 0 0
Kim's old mini was rusting along the trunk, the left door had a dent and it needed a clean, but she loved it. With amazement she had come out on to the drive way on the first morning of the Christmas vacation to see the little car waiting for her in the drive. With a whoop of disbelief, she had hugged her parents before running to stroke a hand down the little car's side. Her younger sister Lucy had gaped in disbelief and then grinned.
"Does this mean we can stop riding the school bus for good?" she had suggested hopefully.
Ted Conweller had shrugged his shoulders. "It depends on whether Kim will let you ride with her."
Kim's sister had turned imploring eyes upon her. "Oh please Kim, will you let me ride in Mickey with you?"
Kim blinked. "Mickey?"
Lucy grinned. "Yeah, as in Mickey Mouse, so we can call it Mickey to go with Minnie."
With a shake of her head, Kim nodded. "Okay fine, I will give you a lift to school but I get to name my car myself."
"Deal." The sisters had shaken hands as though closing a business transaction.
The car (now renamed Mouse) was waiting for Kim when she entered the car park, with an impatient Lucy waiting by its side.
"Come on Kim," she whined, "We need to get home; I've got rehearsal at the hall in twenty minutes."
Kim's response was to roll her eyes as she unlocked her car. It was always this way on Fridays. Lucy had rehearsal for the dance festival that the rez's dance troupe was entering in Seattle and she had to somehow rush home for them to change, get her sister to the rez hall and then out to Forks' Shelter where she volunteered, by 3.30. With a disgruntled noise Kim opened the car, searching hurriedly around for her glasses in her bag whilst Lucy bounced annoyingly next to her. With the eventual discovery of the case, she pulled her glasses on and started up the engine, before heading for the exit as quickly as was possible in her little car.
To both girls' amazement, they made it to the rez hall at 2.55, giving Kim a luxurious half an hour to get to the animal shelter for the 3.30 dog walking shift. She drove at a leisurely pace, stopping in the parking lot to listen to some music before pulling the centre T-shirt on over her sweater and strolling towards the kennels. It started to rain lightly as she entered, narrowly missing a collision with a skinny Forks girl.
"Woah!" she exclaimed, glancing apologetically at her companion. "Sorry Courtney I didn't mean to barge you."
The other girl smiled. "No bother Kim, I wasn't looking where I was going either." She lowered her voice to a conspiratorial level. "I was just telling Jessie about the wolves."
Kim blinked. "The what?"
"The wolves," Courtney replied. "My brother was out hiking with his friends and he said he saw something huge in the forest. Just be careful to keep to the trails when you're dog walking okay?"
Kim shuddered. "Are you serious?"
Courtney nodded. "He said it was huge, almost the size of a horse."
Kim looked at her with sudden skepticism. "Are you sure? The size of a horse?"
"I know what you mean, but my brother doesn't lie Kim. He swore that this wolf was huge."
Unbidden, Kim saw the image of a partially hidden monster lurking on the edge of a dark forest glade.
With a sudden shudder she turned back to Courtney. "Guess I won't be heading too deep into the forest any time soon then," she replied with a forced cheeriness that sounded hollow to her own ears.
Feeling a real need to shake off the unwanted image, she said good bye to Courtney and strode into the shelter in search of a distraction. She soon found it in the shape of a spaniel-Labrador cross named Ruby whose tail never seemed to stop moving. After a half-hour session of fetch in the exercise yard, Kim led Ruby off on one of their regular walks, a pretty and picturesque path that wound off to the south of the shelter. With Ruby bounding off in search of one interesting smell after another, Kim finally felt herself relaxing and was soon lost within her thoughts as she allowed herself to be touched and inspired by the scenery around her. It was only in moments like this that she allowed herself to indulge in a very personal and very private habit … story telling.
She had kept a diary for a long time but had never shown it to anyone for one reason – it was hers and hers alone. Not even Ruth had been allowed to see inside Kim's journal, although she knew of its existence. Within its pages Kim wrote down not just her hopes and dreams, but snippets of conversations, stories, characters, and ideas for novels that she would never finish. To Kim, her journal was a blank canvas upon which she could express the private creativity that always lurked on the edge of her mind.
Without thinking, she started to describe a scene.
"The wind howled keenly," she murmured, stuffing her hands deeper into her pockets as a gust actually did blow past her. "The rain lashed against the panes of cracked glass as the storm raged outside the window. Desperate to find shelter from its torrent, the girl struggled with the rusty latch of the shed's door. Eventually, she managed to dislodge it and escape from the deluge, but not before she was wet-through and shuddering violently with cold …"
To her left, a stick suddenly snapped. With a slight horror, Kim spun around to see a man approaching around the corner of the path, his German shepherd bounding ahead of him. Her cheeks flushing, Kim abandoned her creative outlet and hurried back to the shelter. It was only in complete isolation that she would ever indulge her story telling, and now the moment was gone.
0 0 0
Two hours and four dog walks later, Kim drove her car slowly out of Forks, her mind wandering as she considered the events of the day. It had been a weird mix of highs and lows, but then Fridays did often seem to be. With a sigh she pulled into the drive before running upstairs, desperate for a shower and a chance to change before heading over to Ruth's for a girls' night.
Sophie Conweller's voice always managed to carry clearly up the stairs, penetrating even the sanctuary of the shower or a closed bedroom door. Deflating slightly, Kim returned to the head of her stairs.
"What is it Mom?" she called down, her eyes darting to the bathroom door and thoughts of a hot shower.
"Just checking it was you, honey," her mom replied, "did you have a good day?"
"Average," Kim called back. "School and then the shelter, I walked a few dogs and got caught in a downpour. Which means that I am now soaking and cold, could I escape for five minutes to have a shower? I promise I will come down and make proper eye contact if you let me."
She heard the snort of Sophie's laughter. "Permission granted, only five minutes though. I'll have a cup of hot chocolate waiting for you."
"Thanks Mom!" Kim cried as she sprinted for the shower.
She was down seven minutes later - clean and changed into a dry set of clothes, gratefully sipping her mug of hot chocolate. It was a standing joke in their family of coffee addicts that Kim could not stand any hot beverage other than hot chocolate.
"You get that water colour finished?" Sophie asked as she searched around the kitchen for something.
Kim made a face. "The sky was causing me problems."
As a graphic designer, Sophie had passed on her creative side to her eldest daughter and was always an understanding ear for her artistic crises. She now smiled with understanding, "Can't get that washed out grey right, eh?"
Kim nodded, taking a sip of her hot chocolate.
"Do you want me to take a look at it?"
She shook her head. "It's alright Mom, I might start a new piece anyway. Are you and Dad doing anything tonight?"
Sophie laughed. "If your father has his way it'll be another CSImarathon."
Kim laughed. "Well good luck with that, I'm off to Ruth's." She gave Sophie a quick peck on the cheek and was just heading for the door when she heard the call of,
"Ten thirty honey."
"Sure, Mom!" she called back, wondering if there would ever be a night when she wasn't back by ten thirty. Somehow, she severely doubted it.
I decided over the summer that I am going to write out three separate plot bunnies that have been on my laptop for far too long! They'll be set in the Twilght, LOTR and Narnia worlds and although no-one may review, I believe these stories deserve to be told and I hope you enjoy them!