Hi guys, I'm back with a new story. I finally read "The Host" and I am completely in love with it. Particularly Melanie and Jared. This one is much like "Feel This". It's random selections from "The Host" told in other characters' point of views or even my own take on things. This one happens to be a "fill in the blank" sort of thing. It's about a night Jamie and Jared have shortly after Melanie goes to find Sharon. The next chapter will be a continuation of this and it will show the night that Jamie and Jared find out Melanie is not coming back. I really hope you guys like this and any suggestions you have to help me make it better are always welcome :)

Enjoy :)

"Running To Stand Still"--Chapter 1

Jared

-

The atmosphere was tense. Too tense. I couldn't handle the situation and it's seriousness. I had to do something to lighten the mood, even if I didn't believe it myself. I had to do it for Jamie.

"Hey pal...what do you think about playing a game of basketball? I think it's okay to hook up the playstation for a little while. Besides, it'll get your mind off of things." I felt the grin on my face that Melanie had told me was always there.

Melanie.

God, I needed her back. I needed to feel her in my arms, her and Jamie. My family.

I tried relentlessly the past few days to tear my mind away from her, though I knew that was hopeless. It wouldn't have been so bad if I could convince myself that she was fine and safe and on her way back to the two of us right now. That's what I wanted. But my mind wasn't letting me think those kinds of thoughts. It was betraying me in a way that it hadn't done since I met my two hopes for a future. It was laying out all the possibilities of things that could go wrong. Possibilities of death and loss. Possibilities that I couldn't bear to imagine but couldn't manage to escape.

I guess Jamie isn't the only one that needs to get his mind off of all the things that could be happening to the girl he loves as much as I do.

Jamie looked up at me for a minute. I knew he was contemplating if I was trying to trick him or not. He was wondering if I knew something he didn't about his sister's predicament.

"Jamie, you know that if I knew where she was and how she was doing, we wouldn't be sitting here right now. I promise that I will never keep something like that from you. She's your family, the only family you have." I said the words but they weren't the truth. Not for me anyway. Ever since I first laid eyes on the kid, I felt an overwhelming need--want--to keep him safe from the world that existed outside of our own little group. I felt an attachment to him that I'd never felt with my own brothers. He was my family. And so was Melanie.

"You're my family too, Jared. I'm not worried about staying here with you. I'm worried that..." He didn't continue and for that, I was grateful. Neither one of us could bear the ending of that sentence.

I didn't forget what else he said though. He considered me his family too. It made my heart swell with pride and joy. I couldn't understand why, lately, I was feeling like I couldn't talk to him. I was insecure around him ever since Mel had left to find Sharon. Before, we'd been the best of friends. Brothers, in every sense of the word. Now, I felt like I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing. Or I was only doing half of what I was supposed to be doing. I was keeping him safe, but not keeping him happy. I also wasn't keeping his sister safe. I realized that without doing the latter, I couldn't manage to do the penultimate.

I just sucked all around these days.

Without saying anything else, I got up off the tiny couch and walked the two strides that it took me to cross the room. The playstation was already out but the cords were tangled from the last time we played it. I remembered I nearly had to rip the plug out of the wall and take the plate covering the socket with it because we thought we heard footsteps outside. Melanie had rushed to turn out every light in the little cabin and grabbed Jamie by the back of his shirt to pull him into the miniscule hall closet. It took me a little longer because I made a trip to the kitchen to pull the biggest knife we owned out of the drawer. The anger I always felt when I thought something was going to threaten my final thread of happiness erupted inside of me and had it not been for Melanie quietly screeching my name and the fear laced in her whisper, I would have bounded out the door to kill the first moving thing I saw. Instead, I went to the closet and squeezed in with the two of them, making sure the knife was pointed up and out in case the door was ripped open by an unwelcome intruder. We sat there for what must have been hours until the silence was nearly deafening. I was the first one to exit the small space giving strict instructions that they were not to come out until I said. After a thorough investigation of the cabin and a good ten minutes of checking the outside through every window, Jamie and Mel ran to me from the cramped closet and we all held each other.

Though danger could very well have ripped us apart that night, I would give anything to relive it right now. I knew how it ended; Mel and Jamie were with me. But these consecutive nights of danger, though they didn't exactly reach Jamie and I directly, were undecided. And I would not know how they ended until Melanie was back and in my arms again.

Once I had the gaming system hooked back up, I sat down on the floor with Jamie, leaning my back against the couch. I handed him a controller and smiled at the excitement evident on his face. Like me, this wouldn't tear his thoughts completely away from the girl we wanted to return home, but it would serve as a decent distraction.

We played as a team against two unnamed players directed by the game itself. We didn't lose a single game and we both took our fair amount of shots. I was right in thinking that it would serve as a decent distraction. Every time one of the opposing players missed and I directed my man to shoot the rebound, Jamie would let out a cheer and his laugh was like a cure to an incurable disease. In those tiny moments, I pictured Melanie returning safely from her journey. I could see how she would appear, tired and dirty but thrilled. Her eyes were bright with happiness and her grin was smug at her own success. I could feel her hair tangled around my own hands and I could smell her scent that was never tainted no matter how long she had gone without a shower. I could feel her smooth skin on my palms and the taste of her lips against mine. I could hear her thanking me for keeping Jamie safe and telling me how much she missed me. I could hear myself reciprocating her words, only thanking her for keeping herself safe. My mind was allowed to dream in those few seconds when Jamie would laugh and the world seemed like it was supposed to be. A happy kid and two people in love. It was the perfect family. Something I never even dreamed of when human women made up half the population and there were plenty I could have ended up with. I took everything for granted in those times. And even though that's supposed to be a bad thing that teahces you lessons, I couldn't find myself wishing otherwise. Had I not taken my everyday life for granted, I never would have found Melanie. Or Jamie.

I'd been rewarded, somehow, for overlooking the things that were available to me in a time when the world was as it should be. I wasn't sure how, but that made sense to me. Because I'd waited, because I'd been patient, confident even, that I would find my own family, I'd been granted the best one possible. And even though we were the only ones left, surrounded by aliens and evil creatures, I couldn't wish the world back to the way it had once been. I would never give up the two people I loved more than my own life for the rest of humanity to regain itself.

Thoses were the thoughts I had in those rare and short moments. Those were the thoughts that gave me hope.

They would bring Melanie back to me. Always.

-

It's very short, I know. But this was just the start-up. I hope you liked it :)