A/N I had one reviewer who made a very perceptive comment that I thought I would address on this author's note. She said that Kim was acting a bit stalkerish, which is true so far as it goes. However, one thing I'm trying to do in this story is to explore -- really explore -- what it means to love.
Kim is in high school. Kim has a crush. So far, that seems very simple. However, I would encourage everyone to think back to when you were in high school or middle school. What exactly happened when you had a crush on someone? Did you pay attention -- like Kim is doing -- to every detail of your crush in order to help them, even if such help was never noticed or rewarded? Answer honestly! I know I didn't.
This is why I like Kim and Jared's story so much (at least how I see it in my universe). Even though, by conventional standards, Kim could be called a stalker, she is very different from your everyday, run-of-the-mill crush in that she is not using Jared to satisfy some need of her own.
I think that so many people enter a relationship for the wrong reasons -- They enter because they need the relationship. I believe that it is only when one can be perfectly content being single that one is in a position to enter a relationship because one is able to give love to the other person -- and not always take.
I hope that my portrayal of Kim -- no matter how wacky it gets -- shows that kind of sacrificial nature. It's not an immature crush. Her "stalking" of Jared may get comical, but I hope it's never selfish.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
Chapter Six: Monday Morning
The air about the schoolyard was rent with a great howling and shrieking … It was as though rip after rip were being slashed in the air, and then the edges were drawn together and healed.
Silence. And quiet. And a small, ordinary, everyday wind.
It was perhaps one of the longest weekends of Kim's life. She stayed inside the house, unsettled, never able to sit down to anything, but too afraid to leave the house.
Too afraid of possibly running into Jared.
She slept badly Sunday night, and woke up late on a surprisingly sunny Monday morning. Hurrying with unaccustomed crankiness to get the three boys ready for school, she rushed through breakfast and broke multiple traffic laws getting them to class. That done, she careened around the corner of the high school lot, parked and dashed inside the building.
Just in front of her locker, she came to an abrupt halt, almost crashing to the ground.
Jared moved instinctively, ready to catch her, but Kim righted herself and just stared at him. As soon as it became clear that she was not going to fall, Jared's face broke out into a stunning smile.
"Hi," he said.
"Hello," she responded softly. As soon as Kim spoke, Jared's grin became, if anything, wider.
Jared stood there for a few moments staring at her, when suddenly the bell rang harshly against the silence of the now empty halls.
Kim jumped and dashed down the hall to her first period class, nervously aware of Jared's soft steps behind her. She reached the room before the tardy bell rang, however, and tried to focus on her art.
Which was slightly difficult since her heart was pounding a strange rhythm against her chest.
Mrs. Nahimana looked at Kim strangely for a second, and then began showing the class what they would be doing that day. Kim struggled to pay attention, but she could barely concentrate when Mrs. Nahimana passed out the boxes of pastels.
Over the next fifty minutes, Kim tried to focus on the drawing in front of her, but her heart wasn't in it. However, bringing all her practicality to bear on the issue at hand she had almost succeeded in concentrating when suddenly Mrs. Nahimana rushed to the door.
"Jared, what in the world are you doing here? You should be in class!" she scolded softly, trying not to disturb her students.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Nahimana, but I have to stay here right now. You may speak to the principle if you like. But it's …. important," Jared said in a voice of calm authority.
Dazed, apparently, at the note of command she heard in his voice, Mrs. Nahimana just nodded her head and proceeded with class.
It was all over now. A nuclear explosion could have occurred in the classroom and Kim wouldn't have noticed. All she could think about was that Jared Tala-Hania was waiting outside her classroom door – for her.
When the bell finally rang, Kim gathered her books slowly. She carefully washed her hands and put away her supplies. Her hands only trembled slightly when she picked up her backpack and moved towards the door, one of the last students in the class to leave.
Jared was leaning against the wall. He smiled just as soon as she appeared.
She blushed instantly, but couldn't help smiling back, causing Jared's grin to grow broader. He walked with her in silence to her next class, standing guard outside the door the same as first period.
He continued to do so until lunch arrived. Kim hurried from her biology class to the cafeteria, hyper aware that he was quietly following her again. Only when she hurried to put on an apron and push open the door to the kitchen did he finally speak.
"Whoa … wait a minute!" he said in that warm, deep voice of his. "Where are you going?"
"T-the k-k-itchen," Kim stuttered, looking at the floor.
"Why?" he asked softly.
Kim hesitated, and then – raising her chin slightly – replied, "It would take too long to explain."
She pushed past him and he reluctantly let her pass.
When she finally emerged fifteen minutes later she was so nervous she was wringing her hands. She quickly selected and paid for a lunch. Looking at her feet, she wove swiftly through the students to her table in the corner. As she bit into her apple she heard a strange silence engulf the cafeteria. She looked up and stared. And then she blushed.
Jared was standing with his tray of food right in front of her table.
"How do you do that," he asked curiously.
"Do what?" she gasped.
"Disappear so suddenly…. I saw you come out of the kitchen, but then I lost you," he said in a tone of awe. Kim thought she heard a hint of frustration in his voice.
"I don't know," she replied softly. "I guess people just don't see me."
Jared's face hardened at her words and muttered, "Well, they should."
Kim, surprised that he would defend her, wasn't able to reply. Her discomfort became worse when he sat down next to her and began to eat.
Kim had never seen anybody eat so much in her life. Too upset and confused to eat herself, she just barely managed to finish her apple (all the while trying to ignore how Jared kept darting anxious glances at how little she was eating) before the bell rang.
Like before, Jared followed her to all her classes, speaking rarely in the hallways. As the day passed, Kim found herself becoming less uneasy, until she came to expect his quiet presence next to her. When she found the courage to look at him at all (which was rare) she saw a perplexing frustration growing on his face.
When the final bell rang, Kim walked out to her car, very aware of Jared close behind her.
She turned around, fiddling with the strap of her backpack. "Um, thanks for walking with me today, Jared," she said. As soon as she said his name, a pained expression crossed his face.
Unsure what to say or do, she blurted out, "Well, I'll see you tomorrow. I'm just going to wait on my brothers…."
"Brothers? You have brothers?" asked Jared eagerly.
"Yes, three brothers," said Kim softly. "They go to the middle school. On sunny days like today they like to walk across the street and meet me here."
"May I wait here with you?" asked Jared.
Kim raised her eyes briefly in shock, before looking down again and blushing.
"Sure," she whispered.
She shifted nervously from foot to foot until she heard their high-pitched teasing from across the street. Kim turned around and waved at Scotty, Ryan and Joey. Her forehead crinkled a little when she noticed Joey walking a little slower than he normally did.
"Kim!" shouted Scotty. "Guess what!"
Before she could reply, she felt someone crush her in the warmest hug she had ever felt. She realized a split second later that the slightly woodsy smell of the t-shirt in front of her nose was Jared's.
She started gasping and Jared let her go. He gave her a cocky grin that still managed to smolder with intensity before shouting, "Good-bye … Kim!"
Kim, sure that a silly smile was on her face, was barely able to concentrate on what had Scotty so excited.