Dedicated to my friend Stacy from idreamofjimmy dot com, as part of her 21st birthday present. Sorry part two is so late, Stacy. All italics are lines from the song "Vermilion, Pt 2" by Slipknot.
The Unrequited Dream
"She is everything to me
The unrequited dream
A song that no one sings"
Resident genius Jimmy Neutron sat at the chair in front of his large computer screen. His lab was quiet around him, and he tossed a photograph into an open drawer near him. The photo was of a certain Betty Quinlan, the girl all the guys seemed to want. She was kind, calm, and had a voice as soothing as honey.
Jimmy couldn't keep her out of his thoughts.
It was something even he couldn't understand, and it frustrated him. Geniuses were supposed to know everything. So why couldn't he understand why she held such a power over him that no one else did? He knew he liked her; who didn't? She was beautiful and never said mean things to him. Even if he went on tangents about his inventions, she would listen patiently as he explained.
But since when did having a fondness for one girl suddenly make him putty in her hands? As soon as Betty walked into the room, he lost all sense of himself. He stopped thinking logically and could only focus on her. He would watch how her smile lit up her whole face, even her golden brown eyes.
He loved her eyes. They never looked at him in any angry way, and he never felt threatened or vulnerable when held in her gaze.
Jimmy longed to please her. But she wasn't in his class, and he only saw her briefly at school or around town. It wasn't sensible to be so smitten with someone he saw so little of, but he couldn't help himself. When she was near him, he felt right.
Sighing, Jimmy ran a hand over his face and looked at the open drawer to his right. It contained more Betty Quinlan photos than were realistically necessary, but he couldn't help but keep them all. Why would only one picture suit his random impulses to look at her, to stare into her eyes?
Maybe he was obsessing. It wouldn't be the first time he obsessed over something. Jimmy shook his head and focused his eyes on the computer screen, where an endless series of numbers awaited his analysis. "I need to get back to work," he mumbled to himself "or I'll never finish this next invention."
He tapped his chin and read over all the numbers. "That's what went wrong!" he exclaimed, switching three ones to zeros and one three to a seven. He hit enter and watched as his new program transferred the data to the small blue disc hooked up wirelessly to his computer. The progress bar moved at a snail's pace, increasing by only one percent every few minutes.
"Gas planet!" Jimmy sighed and leaned back in his chair, preparing for a long wait. Of their own accord, his eyes traveled to the draw filled with photos of Betty. He reached over and picked one up, glancing at it before smiling.
It really did him no good to focus on her so much, especially since she didn't seem to feel the same way he did. As much as he cared for her, he felt his heart tear a little each time she appeared to have her eyes on any boy. Jimmy closed his eyes and the smile fell from his face. He didn't understand why she meant so much to him when he wasn't even sure how much he meant to her.
She probably only thought of him as a friend. She probably thought his desperate attempts to win her heart were cute, or flattering, but nothing more.
He knew there had to be other guys that cared for her, but he couldn't find any that seemed to care for her to the same intensity he did. She was on others' tongues often enough for him to know she wasn't lost from the school's collective mind. Never had he heard any boy speak of her as anything other than herself. They all undervalued her, he thought. She was her own song, and no one sang it. No one listened to it.
He showed her how her song spoke to him, but she didn't seem to understand, didn't seem to hear him. She didn't return what he felt.
"I should invent her something." He placed the photo on his keyboard and spun his chair around to inspect the silent lab. But what should he make? What would make her realize how much she meant to him? Was there anything that would make her feel the same way?
Jimmy was at a loss. "If I'm such a genius, why can't I figure out girls?"
"I'd do anything to have her to myself
Just to have her for myself
Now I don't know what to do"
He walked over to his bin of abandoned inventions. Out of it he pulled an array of fantastical items built for a rainbow of purposes. Buried at the bottom of the bin was the finished anti-love vaccine, which he created shortly after the Valentine's Day fiasco. It was only enough for one person, and he hadn't told Sheen or Carl about its completion. Even without the influence of the pheromone, Jimmy could see Sheen still liked Libby. Jimmy wouldn't want to make his friend unhappy.
Carl, on the other hand…maybe Carl should get the vaccine. His love for Jimmy's mother was starting to creep him out just the tiniest bit.
"Maybe I'm the one that needs this," he mused to himself. "My preoccupation with Betty is hindering my scientific efficiency." His grip tightened on the bottle and he brought it close to his face. Suddenly he saw her eyes floating in front of him. Jimmy blinked in surprise, and the eyes vanished. Gently, he pocketed the vial and continued to sift through his inventions.
"What kinds of things do girls like?" Jimmy stared at the inventions he had strewn about the floor, trying to think of something that Betty might like. "She loves magic. Magic doesn't exist." He thought back to the magic show he had put on for the sole purpose of impressing her. "She liked the rose I put on her seat, didn't she?"
Jimmy turned and looked at the large screen of his main computer. The data transfer was only forty-five percent complete. He then switched his glance to the two connected computers by his sealable chamber where he had stored the love pheromone. Standing up and brushing off his lab coat, he walked over to the computer on the right. Opening up the internet, he began searching different types of flowers.
He would create an endless bloom of flowers for her. She would never know what was coming next. He scrolled through several websites, picking out twelve different flowers to use in his invention. Each held a separate meaning, and represented twelve different things he felt about her and the two of them together.
It would truly be his greatest invention ever.
She's a myth that I have to believe in
All I need to make it real is one more reason
I don't know what to do"
Goddard whined and pushed his nose against his master's leg.
"Just a few more minutes, boy. I'm almost done," Jimmy said to his dog and went back to smoothing over rough spots with his mini laser. After the entire vase was perfectly smooth, he picked it up to examine it. It was made of a hard clear material similar to glass, only indestructible. It was clean and streamlined, tall and rectangular. He picked a small vial of translucent red liquid and poured it into the vase's opening.
It congregated at the bottom where it began to sparkle. Jimmy watched as slowly, a green stem and leaf began to grow out of the chemical he had put in. A few inches above the opening, a small yellow bud bloomed into a star-shaped gladiolus flower. He had selected that one because it meant "love at first sight."
He would give it to her the next day at school. Each week the flower would wilt and grow into a different one overnight. There were twelve different flowers, and they never grew in the same order. Some flowers would grow back as different colors, if the color was unimportant to the meaning. But if the color of the flower spoke, it would always grow that way.
"I hope she likes it," Jimmy said, placing it carefully on the table before leaving the lab for the night.
The next week was honeysuckle. Jimmy heard her tell her friends her surprise that the flower had grown back as something different after she thought it had died. He heard her say she definitely hadn't expected honeysuckle, out of all the flowers to give someone.
He thought back to the websites he had scoured for information. Honeysuckle represented devoted affection. He had chosen it because he knew he couldn't feel this way about any other girl, he didn't think it was possible. Jimmy was devoted to Betty. And the honeysuckle in the vase proved that.
She especially loved the orchid. She said she had never seen anything as beautiful as the purple flower she found in her vase. It looked like a butterfly, in her words. He had chosen the orchid with only her character in mind. It showed how she was more refined than other girls their age, which made her that much more worthy of being loved.
Betty had smiled all day after her orchid changed into a pink rose. She carried the vase with her to school and showed the flower to her friends. He wondered if she knew what it meant. She thanked him endlessly for the changing flower, saying she looked forward to seeing what it would be next week. He desperately hoped she could see how much she meant to him, that she could see what he was trying to tell her, though the flowers. The pink rose symbolized eternal love.
The next flower was an orange hibiscus. It reflected her delicate beauty better than anything he could ever think to say or make. Jimmy had chosen the tropical bloom as a representation of her, and to make her think of summer. Summer was when all things were alive, locked in limbo between the birth of spring and the death of autumn. Summer was endless days of happiness. He always wanted her to be happy.
She had never seen a jonquil before. After the small white flower grew in her vase she took it to him and asked what it was called. He told her he chose it because he'd never seen it before and thought she'd enjoy it. She had smiled and gone away, back to her friends. Jimmy was losing hope in her understanding the flower words. The jonquil showed his desire for her to return his affection. He wanted this to stop being so one-sided.
The next week's acacia meant secret love. He knew his love for her was not at all secret. It must have been written all over his face. Surely his actions screamed how much he loved her. Surely his flowers told her. Maybe the flowers themselves were the secrets. Did Betty ever look up what they meant? Did she know why he had chosen each one? Would she ever know?
Secret love was pointless. Why had he chosen the flower that represented that? He should have picked something truer, more meaningful. The acacia and the other flowers only turned his love more secret, and that wasn't what Jimmy wanted. Not at all.
The next flower was a white carnation. White was the color of innocence. His love for her was pure and true. He couldn't think of any other way to describe it. The flower spoke for him. He hoped she saw it in his face, in his actions. Why would he invent the Immortal Flower for any other reason?
Betty didn't seem to like the baby's breath very much. She didn't say much to him that week. He wondered if she was getting tired of always having a different flower. Maybe he should have given her one everlasting flower, her favorite. What was her favorite? Jimmy sighed. Why hadn't he thought to find out what her favorite flower was? Giving her that would mean so much more to her than a guessing game of flowers. Wouldn't it?
Did she know the baby's breath showed his everlasting love? Maybe she did know what all the flowers meant, and was rejecting him. He feared that was what was happening. Maybe Betty thought the changing flower was too much. He knew he should have given her something simpler. But if she was rejecting him…would giving her a simpler gift help any? Or would she still push him away? Jimmy wished he could understand girls and what went on in their minds.
She enjoyed the red carnation more than the baby's breath. His admiration filled the whole bloom, every inch of it. Didn't she see that? Jimmy had always admired her easy way with people, how she could ease tensions with just a few simple words.
He was starting to doubt his invention. Did she truly love it, or did she only smile and thank him out of courtesy? Or was it pity? Did she feel sorry for how lost he was in all this? The Immortal Flower was supposed to be his greatest invention ever. Was it really worthy of that title?
Surely Betty knew what the red rose meant. She couldn't wonder about that one. Jimmy had made sure to include it in the chemical compound he created for the flower vase. Even before he made the invention, he knew she loved roses. He knew red roses showed love. Did she?
Jimmy sat in the computer chair in his lab. He stared at the computer screen, reading the endless rows of numbers. Rubbing his eyes, he thought long and hard about the past eleven weeks. Slowly, Betty had stopped thanking him for the flowers. She had stopped saying anything at all about them. He couldn't understand what that meant.
"Get a hold of yourself, Neutron. You've got work to do," he muttered, glancing back up at the screen. He highlighted an entire row of numbers and deleted it. The data transfer recommenced and he watched the progress bar inch its way along.
He hopped up from the chair and walked over to his table. Feeling an odd weight in the lab coat pocket, he reached in and retrieved the anti love vaccine. "I thought I put this back." He opened the tube and sniffed it a minute before looking inside. He had gotten rid of the possibility of inhaling it, since he considered it too dangerous.
"I should just get rid of this stuff. No one wants it." Jimmy resumed walking towards his table, but something in his path tripped him. He regained his balance quickly, but unbeknownst to him, a little of the antidote spilled onto the can of Purple Flurp he had sitting there. The bubbling purple liquid slipped down into the mouth of the can. Jimmy capped the vaccine shook it a little. "Down the trash chute." He tossed the test tube into the trash and turned to his soda can, taking a large gulp of the sugary Purple Flurp.
Realizing it tasted funny, he blinked. "Man is this stuff flat. I'll just get a new one." Throwing the can into the trash with the vaccine vial, he went to his refrigerator and got a new can of soda.
Betty came up to him at school the next day. She was holding the Immortal Flower, which had now sprouted a yellow tulip. She said it was the prettiest of all the flowers so far, and she thanked him for putting her favorite flower in his invention.
Mildly confused, Jimmy wondered why he no longer felt his stomach flip flop when she entered the room. Was he feeling sick? No, that couldn't be it. Something was definitely different, he knew that much.
The yellow tulip was her favorite. That made him chuckle dryly. The tulip was the one he had considered not even adding. Yellow tulips represented hopeless love. His love was, or had been, hopeless. She didn't seem to return it, and now it had vanished without a trace.
Part of him was glad it was gone. Why love someone so much if they didn't love him back? But there was also the part of him that missed it. Missed losing himself in her golden brown eyes, missed being hyperaware of everything she did. Missed that feeling he got in the pit of his stomach when she smiled at him.
No one sang the song that she was. And now he had even abandoned it, without knowing when or why. She had been his everything for a time. A dream that wasn't returned. Unrequited love had a strong bite. But lost love, even his lost love…it was unbearable. He wanted that emotional rollercoaster back. Those amazing high points when he knew she was smiling at only him, those times she went out of her way to make sure no one made fun of him when she was around.
Could she have returned it, and he had just never known? Jimmy didn't even know if he could ever love her again. It seemed as if there was something in him actively fighting it. But what? What was it that could possibly make him stop loving her so suddenly?
"She is everything to me
The unrequited dream
A song that no one sings"