A/N This is my take on Jared and Kim's story. The words in italics are from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door. It's an incredible book, and my inclusion of quotes from it will make more sense as the story progresses. Tell me what you think! Review and you can have the werewolf of your choice. :o)
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
Chapter One: Optimism
"There are dragons in the twins' vegetable garden."
Meg Murray took her head out of the refrigerator where she had been foraging for an after-school snack, and looked at her six-year-old brother. "What?"
"There are dragons in the twins' vegetable garden. Or there were. They've moved to the north pasture now."
Kim Donoma rolled out of bed Monday morning five minutes before her alarm clock went off. She always set her alarm, but she rarely let it wake her up, preferring to allow her body's internal clock that privilege. And it sure beat greeting the day by waking up to her alarm's infernal noise.
"…And to be more like Him, more with Him, not merely with oneself…" Kim whispered softly. She wasn't sure how much she really believed from Sunday mass, but she liked the prayer.
Kim stretched and padded off softly to wake up her three little brothers, Ryan, Joey and Scotty. Ryan was twelve and Joey and Scotty were ten-year-old twins. One touch on the shoulder was all it took. They awoke with a vengeance, trampling through the house with their own particular brand of little boy teasing, ferocious noise, pig-headed competitiveness, and unspoken camaraderie.
She adored them.
Her parents both worked at the hospital, her mother as a nurse and her father as a lab tech. They drove to work early in the morning so that they could be home in the evening when the children got home from school at 4:30. Although school let out at 2:45, Kim took care of taking the boys to after-school activities – Ryan to band practice where he played (in a loose sense of the word played) the drums, Joey to art class and Scotty to soccer.
While the boys ate, Kim showered and got dressed for school. She pulled a plain black sweater from her closet, wide-leg jeans and black boots. Her style was a carefully constructed compromise between the stylish and the plain. The jeans and the sweater were of good material, and cut beautifully, but they had nothing special to distinguish them. No buttons, ribbons, or stitching – nothing to make her stand out, either as a punk, prep, or goth. She refused to wear any of the uniforms of high school, preferring the anonymity that her simple style brought. Nobody ever noticed her by the way she dressed, either to mock or admire.
"Ryan, Scotty, Joey – come on!" she called, grabbing her heavy backpack. "Let's go!"
The boys scrambled to grab their backpacks, extract missing sneakers under the couch, stuff Oreos and peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches into lunch bags, and forgotten homework assignments into rumpled folders. Instantly there erupted a fierce argument over who would take shot-gun.
"Boys, you remember our rule," said Kim. "We alternate every three days. Now, who rode shotgun yesterday?"
Scotty raised his hand.
"Alright, then today it's Joey's turn to sit in the front seat," said Kim, smiling at him.
Joey whooped and did a strange dance that Kim thought was based off some of the traditional dances of the tribe – but in his rain-boots it was hard to be sure.
If she was allowed to have a favorite, it would be Joey. Joey had an autoimmune disorder called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or JRA for short. He took fistfuls of medication every day that stunted his growth and weakened his already fragile bones, but that allowed his gnarled joints to relax – to be pain-free and supple. Several inches shorter than his twin, Joey looked years younger than the other two, something that never ceased to cause him mortification. Aside from his height, Joey never spared a single thought for his disease.
Today was a good day for Joey as well. He hadn't rolled out of bed with that stiff-shouldered hunch and tightened skin around the eyes that she dreaded. His hands were able to grip the breakfast spoon easily, causing Kim to heave a sigh of relief. If he could hold the spoon, then he could hold a paint-brush at his after-school art class. Some days he couldn't, although he would never admit it. He called those days "pottery days" because his teacher would allow him to work with the softer clay, so much easier on his arthritic hands. In his simple optimism, he looked forward to both painting days and pottery days, unwilling to admit the underlying reason that made pottery days necessary.
When Joey had good days, Kim had good days. His unconscious and spontaneous optimism filtered like sunshine into her step.
She dropped the boys off at the reservation's Middle School, which was conveniently close to the High School. After dropping them off, she rushed across the street to her school. She slammed her beat-up car into one of the farthest spots at the already filled High School's parking lot, and dashed inside, almost late for first period.
The small mob of the res's high school population milled around inside, and Kim began her usual fluid weave in between the students. She had learned long ago that at her stature (5"2) she would either get plastered against the walls, or trampled under foot unless she learned to navigate crowds with any kind of ease.
Thankfully, her size, in this case, worked for her instead of against her. Being small and just shy of a hundred pounds, Kim could maneuver through spaces taller and larger people could not, meaning that she was able to skim along the edges of crowds, moving with a patient, practiced ease.
On days like today, when she was feeling optimistic, she almost considered it a game. She liked to see if she could get to her locker at the end of the hallway without stopping her measured, unhurried but purposeful tred. Most days she succeeded.
Of course, on days like today, she was even (sometimes) able to admit to herself why she wanted to get to her locker so quickly.
Jared Tala-Hania had the locker just across from hers.