Seconds, Minutes, Hours

seconds...

Jeremy Gilbert thought Bonnie Bennett was the prettiest girl he'd ever seen. Granted he was eight, she was nine, and completely unconcerned with his presence. He did what he could to steal one second of her attention.

Pulling her ponytail worked, especially if he didn't mind a bloody lip or black eye.

She had a killer right hook for someone so small and precious, but at least he had a moment to himself. A brief passage of time where her eyes met his and nothing stood between them. That was usually when he stuck his tongue out and ran in the other direction. It was easier than trying to make sense of foreign emotions swimming around his heart.

Jeremy knew he was angry when Tyler pushed her swing or Matt broke his Twinkie in half and gave her the end with the most cream. He didn't know why she had to lock herself away in Elena's room and not come out until her dad pulled in the driveway and blew his horn. Before, he noticed the color of her eyes, and the way other boys were around her, they wrestled, she beat him at Super Mario Brothers, and he was able to call her his friend.

When Bonnie accepted his offer for a ride home that evening and her steps fell in line with his, long forgotten feelings emerged. He noticed the way the starlight sky played against the gold in her eyes. He fought the urge to caress her cheek and brush away the last traces of tears that remained. She shivered and it was second nature for him to slip off his jacket and cover her shoulders, no questions asked.

She was silent on the short drive from the Lockwood mansion to her father's house on McCullough Drive. Her eyes fixed on the horizon. He contemplated a return to his immature ways, but decided against receiving bodily injury at the hands of the lovely witch. Instead of pulling her hair, he reached for her hand, and entwined his fingers with hers.

A second – one brief beautiful second – before she slipped her hand from his grip.

minutes...

Bonnie was always in the background; content to be the confidante and waiting shoulder when Elena or Caroline needed to talk, vent, or cry. She'd never expected Jeremy. It was close to midnight when she heard the knock on her front door. His eyes were red and full of tears. Her arms were open, but they were barely wide enough to fit his massive frame. She was a year older, but he was fourteen now, not the same little boy that taunted and teased her when she spent the night with his sister. She tried to soothe him, remembering how she felt the day her mother packed her things without a goodbye.

This was different, his parents were dead, gone, and never coming back to deliver birthday hugs or Christmas kisses. Minute after minute he sobbed, holding on to her for dear life. Siphoning every bit of emotional comfort she had to offer. Bonnie gave it freely, it was the least she could do. When it was over, he wiped his eyes, and smiled. He gave her disheveled curls a playful tug before he walked down the steps into the night.

She bit her tongue, forcing his name back down her throat as she closed the door.

Now it was his arms, the strength in his hands that encouraged and supported her. He whispered soothing words as she poured over the pages of Emily's grimoire. His eyes were lit with a softness that warmed her skin. She didn't doubt herself in his presence. Even when Bonnie's body failed and Jeremy rushed to her side, she knew she was protected, safe from any harm that could befall her.

She trusted him.

hours...

Seconds gave way to minutes that morphed into hours.

Jeremy watched as Bonnie slept. He could see glimmers of the girl he once followed, sneaking worms down the back of her dress.

Now…now…

His fingertips followed the lashes that fluttered in her sleep. The pads of his fingers ghosted across the lips that formed Bonnie's crooked smirk.

This very hour he wanted more.