AN: (Dramatic music from Sponge bob) It…has…arrived… Special thanks to everyone who reviewed frequently, or just dropped by once – you've all made a difference! Just making it to fifty reviews was a happy moment. Special thanks to you all!
POV(s); Dylan, Kristen, Claire, Cam, Alicia, Olivia, Kemp
Live Your Life
--Love is not blind – it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less. – Rabbi Julius Gordon--
Dylan Marvil looked up from her table in the small, empty coffee shop, green eyes widening in response. She stopped rubbing her abnormally large stomach to gasp in surprise. Kemp Hurley sat down next to her, taking her hand in his, a caring gesture.
And just like that, everything was right. No words needed to be spoken; it was just one of those moments. The two just sat together, and eventually resorted to sharing the tall iced latte sitting in front of them. To anyone who'd passed, they looked like your average couple, bringing the term 'young love' to life.
Dylan closed her eyes and sighed contentedly, wishing it could just stay that way.
--Forget 'bout what the haters say, ignore them 'til they fade away – T.I.--
As Kristen Gregory passed by familiar faces on her way to the soccer field, she felt pride swell up inside her. People still gave her odd glances, laced with suspicion instead of disgust. Some even offered up small, somewhat friendly smiles. The ones who glared at her as if she'd insulted their good family name continued to glare viciously, but for once, she didn't care.
Walking over to high-five her teammates, Kristen had never felt so alive. Skipping over Cameron Fisher, Derrick Harrington, and Kemp Hurley, she came to Josh Hotz only to get an awkward arm-punch and a hug instead.
The haters melted away, about as important as the blades of grass crunching underneath her cleats.
--A person is never happy except at the price of some ignorance. – Anatole France
Claire Lyons giggled as Derrick Harrington brushed something out of her hair, like a schoolgirl with a crush. Her face was flushed that unmistakable shade of carnation pink, the one you can only find on Valentine's Day cards.
Almost instantly, comments about how cute they were rose in the air, old couples 'awing', and sitting a little closer to each other. At the sight of them, others held hands, cuddled closer, and suddenly, it was like love was in the air.
Claire rested her head on his shoulder, feeling at home, but for some reason, slightly wrong. Derrick kept a hand around her waist, a little too tightly. Girls passed them by, occasionally stopping to wink at him. Claire ignored them for the most part, but it was only when a certain blond just happened to brush by that she looked up.
The girl mouthed 'your choice', and continued into the arms of one of the football players. Derrick's mouth twisted into what looked like a scowl, until he realized that Claire had been watching his reaction.
"She just bothers me."
Accepting that for an answer, Claire laid her head back on his shoulder. But for some reason, she couldn't help but check his reaction when everyone passed by. She'd been cheated on once, and she didn't intend on having it happen again. No matter what the cost was.
--Can't you tell I'm in love, woman? Like no other woman! Alright, I'm sorry sweetheart…I thought you were my other woman– Lil Wayne, Pop Bottles
Cameron Fisher didn't like to say that his life had gone downhill. He preferred instead to use the term 'on hold' when it came to love life. He didn't have the time to find someone else's life to ruin, because the one thing he could admit willingly was that: he was confused.
Had he regretted it all because he wanted Claire back? Was that sparking feeling a spark, like in movies, or just lust? Had his judgment been clouded, or emotions brought out? Did he hate Derrick because he'd poured the wine into his punch, or because he was using Claire?
The only question he could answer was: Was Alicia leaving a good thing for him?
Meaningless hookups. More like one-date "stands" with awkward, unfelt kisses and boring small talk. Boring, dreary, and utterly depressing. Usually, the girl was able to catch on to his low opinion of them. And usually, they tried cursing him out (only to be out cursed by a very amused Derrick, who had it in his head that the two were still friends), and went on with their lives.
Nikki Dalton wasn't your usual girl. She had declared herself his 'one true love', maybe not to his face, but just about everyone knew about her declaration. She squeezed into his table, despite sideways glances and that everlasting smirk on Olivia Ryan. Of course Nikki wouldn't notice, she was new to Hotchkiss, and therefore unaware of his current reputation.
"You sure you don't want me to come with you?" There was a hint of pleading deep within her voice, accompanied by a low purring sound. She was trying to be seductive again. Nikki was a nice girl, and he didn't have anything against her, but when she tried too hard she was about as annoying as Olivia.
"Yeah, I'm sure, I'm just going home."
"Maybe I can meet your-" she didn't have a chance to finish her sentence because Cam got up and left her behind, distant as usual.
And yet, Nikki released a dreamy sigh. It was still worth the effort, right?
-- We do not change as we grow older; we just become more clearly ourselves. – Lynn Hall Where Have All the Tigers Gone?
Alicia Rivera's grip tightened around her suitcase handle, as she made her way through JFK Airport. After Spain, the air was too cold, not at all embracing like returning home was supposed to be. Most of the unanswered messages on her phone were from her parents, with the occasional 'miss ya babe (no homo)!!!!11!!1! lolzzzz' from Massie and Olivia, stiff 'hi' from Cam, and the 'Livs told me to tell you hi' from random boys she couldn't keep track of. Feeling changed and out-of-place, she stood there in the cold, and frowned.
This wasn't how it was supposed to feel at all.
In movies and books, people always felt bursts of confidence as they thought of their friends, their angered enemies, and all of the changes they've made. They runway walked down the sidewalk, and people looked at them with awe, because they'd changed. And yet, Alicia Mariana Rivera felt exactly, and disappointingly, the same.
Now, if only things at home still felt 'the same'.
--You don't realize how much you need something until it's gone.—
"Don't ask me where I'm going," Olivia Ryan sneered with a roll of her eyes, knowing that none of it would sink into Eli Manning's head. She slipped on another black shoe, tossing her hair back with feigned confidence. "You sound like Der- my mom." Her face scrunched up at the lie. Eli failed to notice.
Ha, if only her mother would ask where she was going. Or who she was going with. If Olivia had bothered telling her mom that she was going to a dark alley where a pedophile lived, surrounded by armed, drug-dealing, gang members, the only thing Mrs. Ryan would be able to say would be: just don't make too much noise when you're leaving, I've got this horrible headache…
"Don't you want to see the baby? Our third period class is going to visit Dylan in the hospital." Did the boy really think that she wanted to see the spawn of Derrick Harrington and Dylan Marvil? A combination of two of the people she hated most?
Did she want to see the absence of caring and compassion on Derrick Harrington's face, as the nurse let them into the hospital room? Oh yeah.
But was she honestly going to miss a trip to the airport for Derrick?
He was old news. Disposed of. Replaced over ten times. Past mistakes. Leftovers. Tainted meat. An unwanted puppy. A broken toy.
Did Olivia really think so?
But she would with time.
--If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm – Bruce Barton
Kemp Hurley could only close his eyes slowly, forcing himself not to open them. Because if he did, there was absolutely no telling what he might do. And that was what scared him the most.
There she was. Miracle Elise Marvil. Born just yesterday, a warm morning in early June. She weighed in at exactly seven point five pounds, the average weight for a child. Already, the nurses gushed about her full head of red hair, which was slowly beginning to curl. Apparently, she had the cutest little button nose, and the biggest, most adorable caramel eyes.
The nurses shut up when they realized that Kemp's were the same color as dark chocolate.
Dylan seemed to feel that parental vibe. She fussed when one of her classmates didn't hold the baby right, and made a couple of threats against the goofier boys, who cracked jokes about kidnapping the baby to sell for money. Even as the baby was passed around, and ended up in Kemp's arms, he couldn't feel that instinct.
He felt like he was holding a stranger's baby, while they bent down to fix their stroller to go down a flight of stairs.
So instead of dwelling on it, he passed it over to Derrick Harrington, who stood next to him.
Derrick barely glimpsed at the baby, a dark scowl on his face, and shoved it into the hands of Coral McAdams. It was like Dylan had given him a red-haired Bratz doll to hold, Miracle was something he had absolutely no interest in.
Eventually, the baby was placed back in its basket. The class filed out, doling out congratulations (Derrick just snorted with contempt). Dylan let out a heavy sigh, and tickled her baby's stomach.
"I feel so different now," she sighed. "Like I'm actually more than I was before – responsible for a human life."
Kemp could only nod. If only he could say the same. So, without saying a word, he just continued to stare at little Miracle, waiting for the protective instincts to start. When it didn't, he said his goodbyes, and followed the class out.
Was it possible to love a girl, and resent her child?
EN: Yeah, I know that wasn't too satisfying. That way there's a chance for a sequel. If you have any ideas that you think would be good. Anyway, the title for the sequel is (drum roll)
Look Back and Laugh
Ignoring the boy she was supposed to love, Kristen Gregory wondered why she could never get what she wanted.