Author's note: As always, this is a story about Jenny and Luke.
Although this is merely a one-shot, it has taken me longer to write than any of my other Teen Idol fanfiction. In fact there are nearly 3700 words. I was inspired by a chainmail, 25 Things A Perfect Guy Would Do. Even reading it, I knew that it reminded me of a certain ship and this had to be written. So here we go, it takes place in Jenny's house and as Jen and Trina read this article, memories rush over her as she realizes that there really is a perfect guy. And there's absolutely no question regarding who that might be. In fact, from the start, you'll see that Jenny and Luke are already dating, happy together.
Disclaimer: Meg Cabot owns the characters, but what I have are the following words.
The Fifteen things You Do
She throws a magazine at me.
"What?" I want to know as I grab the issue from the floor, which Trina has hauled towards me.
Alright, l'm Jenny Greenly. I'm seventeen years old, a senior studying at Clayton High. I have brown hair and brown eyes -you probably know that. I'm very much the girl next door type and there is really nothing out of the ordinary about me.
Oh, maybe except for the fact that I'm dating one of America's most beloved movie stars.
"Turn to page thirty!" she cries, clapping her hands excitedly. Jumping onto my bed, she chortles like a young child.
Honestly, I don't even know where to begin. It has never been a sudden change - falling for Luke Striker, I mean. I didn't even care for him or any of his movies until he set foot in the halls of our school. It has taken me a while to understand the kind of person he is in the midst of our arguments, but he has slowly become one of my closest friends and the best kind of a confidant. He makes me feel vulnerable at times, like he can read through me and he comprehends me in a way that I might not even understand myself.
Well, okay. I'll be truthful with you. To this day, I still don't know what makes Luke the way he is... However, instead of obsessing over the minor details, I've begun to appreciate the fact that I'll never have the right answers when it comes to him.
After all, it sort of keeps things fun.
"Why?" I mumble, flicking through the pages of the latest Seventeen. I hate teen magazines – Trina knows that… Doesn't she?
I cared a lot about Scott. While our relationship deteriorated, I also realized that I've fallen for someone else: my best friend.
My other best friend… Not Trina, but for Luke. As crazy and impulsive as he is, I can tell you that he has made an impact on my life. He has changed the way I am and I'm not saying that in the sense that other couples do, but because he really has. He pushes me to be a better person - do things I would never ever dream of doing. He makes me stand up for things I believe in, but would not have dared to be outspoken about. I love to be challenged and he brings that out in me.
Besides, I finally figured out that the fluttering heart thing I first felt when meeting him isn't because he is a movie star. It was something else entirely different... which I wouldn't admit to myself until the last couple of months.
I look at the publication. It is an article – or more like a list – written by a woman called Mya Hikes. It was titled, 17 Things A Perfect Guy Would Do. I roll my eyes, because I didn't think there was anything that can cheesier than that.
"Trina…" I mutter. "This looks really lame." I walk across the room from my chair to hand the magazine back to her.
"No," she frowns melodramatically, like the actress she was. "Please… I was reading this and I counted – Steve only does four of the seventeen things. Speaking of, he's doing really well—thank God for Luke." She smirks at me. "Read it—"
I blink. "Trina, I'm really busy. I have an essay due tomorrow and Luke is coming over in a while… He's been so busy. I haven't seen him in weeks."
"Read it, maybe he does all these things…"
In hopes of humouring Trina, I say, "Fine—give me."
While I avoid interviews at all costs, I still get the occasional questions from family and friends. "What is Luke like around you?" "Is he a romantic?" Or there's always this one: "what do you love most about Luke Striker?"
I usually shrug. I hate when people ask me these things! Just to be polite though, I tell them that: a. "He's great. He's the same, really." b. "He's very sweet, but not overly romantic... it's good."
As for c, I never have a decent answer to give anyone, because at the end of the day, it isn't about how blue his eyes are or how gorgeous he looks in person. While those are great perks, of course and I'll admit: even after two years, his gaze still drives me insane... It's always the tiny things that count the most, like the way he plays with tendrils of your hair in the morning as he comes over for breakfast with your parents and Cal and Rick... Or maybe it's the way he kisses you on the nape of your neck or, perhaps, how he lets you win at Clue, even if he figures out that Miss Scarlett is the killer minutes before you do.
It's quite the task to narrow down the reasons why and I contemplate as I scan the article. It is now that I realize that perhaps… it's everything in between.
I press my fingers onto my temple to massage my head.
"You know what? Why don't I read them?" Trina says happily as she takes the magazine back again. She watches as I fall onto my bed, resting my head against her.
"Number one: know how to make you smile," she starts to say, "when you are down." She looks at me as I feel like breaking into a smile of my own.
"Jenny," Luke pronounced, his voice ringing in my ear. "C'mon, it's not that bad."
"I don't know, Luke… It was that bad. I botched the interview!" I exclaimed as I put him on speakerphone.
"No, Jen…" He trailed off, before picking up again. "I know you. You're a leader, you're born that way. You're charismatic – I'm sure that you're just being overly critical of yourself."
"Luke, it was so bad," I moaned. "I don't even remember saying anything that made sense!"
He repeated my name again, his tone softer this time. "Jenny, this isn't you… Stop—stop the self-pity. Cut the crap, Jenny. You know better than that."
When I didn't respond, he continued. "I know what you're doing—you're sitting on your bed, with a pen behind your ear, in your Spongebob pyjamas…" I looked at my shirt, tracing the yellow-faced cartoon character with a smile.
"Jenny!" Trina says with a knowing glance. "He does do it, doesn't he?"
I nod, feeling my cheeks starting to burn. Biting my lip, I tell her, "Trina, just—just read it."
She smirks, her eyes back to the page. "Try to secretly smell your hair, but you always notice. Awww, isn't that romantic? Steve never does this!"
"Really?" I find myself asking as I run my fingers along the bed sheets. "That's a surprise."
I couldn't believe it. We were stuck in an elevator! I groaned as I looked at Luke—who, at this time, was still posing as Lucas. I watched him, his features beatific.
"So this is the trip to the mall, huh?" he said.
I closed my eyes. Taking a deep breath—one, two, three… three. One, two three, I counted. I felt my hands shiver almost unconsciously.
"Jenny… are you okay?" he asked, moments before coming to comprehension as I looked up at him when I slid down onto the cold metal floor. "You're claustrophobic."
"Yeah," I whispered quietly, feeling strange that he has figured out another one of my secrets.
He slowly sat beside me, his long legs awkwardly bent. "You'll be fine," he reassured me with a quick hand-squeeze. "You always are." Then, he wrapped an arm around my waist, allowing me to rest my head on his chest. While I hyperventilated, he breathed, his nose grazing the top of my head. "You smell good," he added, his voice soothing and warm against my cheeks.
"Okay, Jenny… here's the third one," Trina continues. "Stick up for you, and still respect your independence."
Yeah, I know this one. How can I not?
"Well, you're a pretty girl," a voice said as I turned around to see a stranger, about my age. He looked like a football player with a large shoulders. "Care to dance?"
"No, thank you," I replied politely, searching for Luke's. He must have been here somewhere… The bathroom wasn't that far away. Ugh, I told myself. I shouldn't have come along to another one of Geri-Lynn's parties. There were thousands of people here, I was sure.
"Excuse me, I didn't hear you," he said loudly.
I scoffed. How rude could people be? "I'm just here, waiting for someone."
He grabbed my hand with force and I was about to—
"Hey, let go of her," Luke said, coming from behind. I could hear his anger as I shook the greasy, slimy hand off my own.
"Sick," I muttered. Turning around, I stood on my tiptoes. "I can handle this, Luke."
He stepped forward, then shook his head. "If you dare talk to her tonight, I'd make sure—"
"Luke, it's fine…"
He looked at the man again, his hands curling into fists—something I've never seen before. Pressing his hand on my hip, Luke steered us away and into the crowd, where we would be greeted by familiar faces like that of Trina's and Cara's.
I look at the page, becoming more interested in what is written. I see Trina smile a little, clearly satisfied. "I'm gonna get a drink," I vaguely hear her say as she strolls out of my bedroom.
The fourth one is that he would be so wrapped up in everything else and still have time for you.
"Just a sec, Marty!" I listened to Luke say hurriedly. "I'm still on the phone… Yes, I know. I'll be right there. Yep, Sam and I will be at the read-through at 8—don't worry…" He sighed, the sound muffled through the phone. "I'm here." Pause. "I'm here—Jenny, I mean. That was the director."
"You're really busy," I observed. "How's it going? Did you guys film the swimming pool scene yet?"
"No worries," he said, calm as always. "Nah, we're rehearsing that tonight—listen, I have to go. I love you. We'll talk tonight?"
I can feel another blush crawling along my pale skin as I continue. The next one is, fit his arms firmly around you.
"You look beautiful," he complimented as I did a little spin in front of him, showcasing my pink dress beneath the carnival lights. "The rollercoaster's just here."
Same colour, I mused, looking at the cotton candy Luke was holding as he offered it to me. He's been busy in the past few weeks, but he had promised to take me to the town carnival—the one I was so excited about, despite my initial protests. And now, he was here. After waiting for a couple of minutes, which were easily filled with the flow of our conversation, I could feel his arms fit around my petite body as we climbed onto the amusement ride.
Without knocking, Trina returns with two cans of coke in her hand and a big, goofy smile on her face. "I knew that you'd like it." When I ignore her, she makes a clucking sound with the tip of her tongue. "From the looks of it, Entertainment Weekly's right: Luke is really the perfect guy."
I shrug helplessly, chuckling… partly because of what Trina has been saying, but mostly because of this: hint that he wants to kiss you.
As we come a stop near the west side of the park, we sat down onto the bench. He touched my shoulder with his long fingers, moving them upwards to trace the curve of my lips.
"Luke…" I caught my breath as his forehead pressed up to meet mine. I, then, felt his free hand cup my chin as I closed my eyes.
"How's Steve doing?" I suddenly say as Trina grins, reminded of a certain someone as I read the next one on the list—
"He's good—Mrs. McKnight is so grateful."
—Be a good friend.
"No…" Trina uttered as we arrived at the block. I saw Luke sigh with concern as the entire town stood there, watching the McKnights' house burn in fatal flames.
Steve, struck by melancholy, held his mom's hand as his dad put his arm around the both of them.
"Mr. McKnight," Luke said, walking towards the family. "I'm really sorry—if there's something I can do…"
"Thank you," Scott's father replied solemnly. "We really appreciate that."
"I—I still have the condo where I stayed last year. I was going to rent it out, but if you want to stay there for a while…"
Scott blinked, Trina coming to his side. "Are you serious?"
"You're saving us,: his mother breathed, exasperated and grateful.
And it turns out that Luke was completely serious. I've always known that Luke was a good friend, but I didn't know how great he could be up until that point. I watched as he handed over his key with a kind smile, not that of someone who wanted to prove themselves to others or gain good publicity, but of someone who was genuine… my boyfriend.
Both of us comforted by the memory, Trina hugs me tightly. "He's a keeper, Jen."
"He is…" I say, reading the following words:
8) Never run out of jokes—
"Want some?" my mom asked, gesturing towards the delivery from McDonald's.
Cal and Rick jumped onto the seats next to Luke and me. "Yes!" they cried in unison.
"I was not asking you two," Mom said. "You boys already had hotdogs this morning."
"Nah, I'm on a diet," Luke winked at the twins.
"Oh… really?" she exclaimed, clearly surprised.
"Yeah, a fast food one," he laughed, winking at my siblings.
They looked at each other, then proceeded to roll their eyes. My mom's chuckles filled the room.
"That's lame, Luke," Cal said.
— and certainly, out of love.
"Yeah, it is. It's really lame," I said teasingly. I rested my head on his shoulder.
He put his hand on my thigh, planting a kiss on my shoulder, to which Rick said, "Ew! Get a room!"
"Look at you, Jen!" Trina giggles, disrupting my thoughts. "You're all gooey-eyed!" She pinches my cheek. "It's about time."
"Shut up, Trina…" I say. "You're reading the next one," I tell her to stop her before she launches into more fangirling over Luke Striker. I smirk – it is so like her.
She raises her chin and pronounces in her best stage voice, "be funny, but know when to be serious."
There was one time… actually, one of the many times he comes to our house for breakfast.
"Hi, Luke," Mom said, entering the kitchen to see he and I sitting around the table on high stools. She was dressed in work attire: grey slacks and a white Oxford. "How are you?"
"Good," he replied, obviously well-mannered. "It's good to see you again, Mrs. Greenly."
She nodded with an easy smile, one that told me she trusted Luke completely… Maybe even more than she did Scott. "Oops," she said quickly, looking at her watch. "I've forgotten some of my sketches upstairs!"
Thinking that he had stayed over, she added, "Just make sure you're being safe." She ran up the stairs, before either of us could comprehend what she said.
Mom came down again to see my embarrassment seconds later.
"Mom!" I shouted just as she was about to exit the door. "Luke didn't stay over."
I looked at him, a stoic expression on his face.
"We're—we're not having sex," Luke added, now serious.
My mom looked seemingly relieved, her hand slipping from the doorknob. "Oh, good. I was pretending to be—to be okay with it." She let out an exhale. "I've never been a very good actress," she added.
Luke was staying for the weekend—something he rarely ever did and that night, when my mom came home, I saw them talk in the study room. The door was half-closed as I listened.
"You're good, Luke. You're the best boyfriend Jenny can ever ask for," she said, rearranging the books on the shelves. "I trust you completely and I'm—I know that you're older, probably more experienced… so I'm—I'm glad that nothing has happened."
And something did strange happened:
My mom laughed when Luke said, "Someday, but not today."
"Number ten: react so cutely when you hit him when it doesn't actually hurt," Trina speaks. She also adds something else, but I've tuned her by now.
"Ow!" he said, cringing as he pretended to be hurt, touching the spot where I had hit him lightly."Painful!" He paused. "Watch out, Jen, I'm gonna get you back."
He wrapped me in a strong embrace and lifted me into the air, as I kicked and struggled helplessly. I half-screamed in the midst of laughter, "Put me down, Luke! Put me down!" He spun me once more before cradling me in his arms as I threw mine around his neck.
"You're so small," he said. I bit my lip as I brushed my fingers along the nape of his neck.
The phone rang as Trina shuffles to the bedside table to take it. "Hello? Oh, hi… yeah, we're up here." I know who it is immediately. "Alright, Jen can't wait."
Putting the phone down, she beams. "C'mon, he'll be here in five." Reading the article, she pronounces, "Eleven: smile."
Yeah, I think. That's the best one.
As artificial as the Clayton lake was, it was gorgeous, I thought as Luke walked next to me. Not that the stars paled in comparison either, I decided.
"Let's—let's just sit," I murmured.
"Nah," he said, shaking his head as tendrils of his blonde hair fell across his face. Standing at the edge of the lake, he grinned at me. Tugging at his shirt, he pulled it off over his head in one swift movement. He glowed underneath the beautiful, flickering diamonds. His skin was smooth and I could see the faint shadow of his lean, muscled body.
"No, Luke!" I said, knowing what he was about to do.
Thinking that he'd jump in as I watched, I was surprised as he pushed me into the lake.
I screamed, my hair and body soaked in water, which I will admit… was comfortably cool, especially on a hot summer day. His finger was pressed to my lips as he pulled me into him from behind. "Jen…" he laughed, twirling me around to face him. His smile was lopsided as he tickled my belly with his fingers, his hands pressed on both sides of my waist. "Happy birthday, Jenny. I love you."
"Oh, your boyfriend has the best smile," she sighs.
I shoot her a glare. "He doesn't." Tapping her on her shoulder, I roll my eyes, "C'mon, Trina. What's the next one?"
She reads it, but puts down the magazine. With a grand flourish, she declared, "The twelfth is, hug you on a bad day and the clouds seem to lift."
Landing in LA, I managed to find the baggage claim. As I was about to drag it onto the marble floor, I saw someone snatch it up. I shook her head in disbelief, breaking into a smile as I saw Luke gracefully handling my luggage.
"I'm supposed to meet you at the hotel…"
"Your mom told me you weren't so upbeat this morning—she didn't think that you wanted to come," he said apologetically, putting my suitcase onto a trolley.
Of course my mom had said that. With the SATs, college apps, student council meetings—I felt as though I was going crazy!
He didn't mutter anything more other than, "Come here."Instead, he enveloped me into a hug and for the strangest of reasons, I knew that I felt better as he put his hand on the small of my back.
"Number thirteen: know what to say to make you blush."
"That's a nice dress," he mumbled. "Have I told you that yet?"
"You have." I brushed my cheeks with my fingers, knowing that they would be as red as my crimson skirt.
The doorbell rings just as I finish the article… my eyes scanning the sixteenth thing—
I jump off the bed as I hear Trina's footsteps trail along. "Jenny!" I can hear my mom cry from the studio.
"I'll get it, Mom!" I say as I ran down the stairs. Opening the door, I finally see him.
Standing tall – over six feet, he looks both completely out of place and at home as I see him in the doorway. Dressed in jeans and a white shirt, he is holding his wallet and passport. His hair is shaggier since the last time we saw each other and his eyes are bloodshot, tired. Still, he grins in the way that always makes my heart do that… fluttery thing as he pulls into another warm embrace, his eyes focused on me.
— Looks at you in a way that makes you get butterflies in your stomach.
"I've missed you," he whispers, breathing into my hair. I chuckle, knowing that I'm wearing an old, grey t-shirt and black sweats, hair tied up in a bun, and that he must either be blind or stupid. Maybe, both, in this case.
Trina looks at me and winks. "The last one," she mouths, standing behind the door, and articulates, "Love you."
I nod, tears springing to my eyes as I squeeze his shoulder, his blonde locks tickling my ears. Staring into Luke's eyes, I laugh, "You're perfect."
He seems confused for a second, but slowly regains himself as he realizes Trina's presence. He narrows his eyebrows for a minute, before taking my hand in his protectively.
Trina's voice interrupts our tiny moment, a smile playing along her lips. "Yeah, he really is, Jen."
Author's Note: Hope you guys enjoyed it. Reviews are appreciated, like always, as is constructive criticism.