A/N: I am going to be honest and tell you that I never thought I would be doing this. I am a long time fanfic reader, but I had always promised myself that I wouldn't get caught up in the encompassing process of writing fanfic. Unfortunately, once this idea hit me, it niggled until I put it down on Word document, so to speak. I also never thought I would write a story with a supernatural element. So with that being said, go gentle on me, but I would also love feedback. I hope some of you can find enjoyment out of my story.
Chapter 1: Initial Thoughts
I am sitting on the couch watching some mindless wedding dress show when Jane comes in our front door.
"Hey," I say, still transfixed by the hideous mess of tulle bride #2 is trying on. "How was your first day?"
"Fine. My classes don't seem like they will be too bad," she says, trying to sound cheery. Her body language is saying something else entirely, though, as she plops down next to me.
I arch my eyebrow at her and hold out my hand to her, hoping she will give me hers. She looks at the proffered hand for a moment, weighing her options, sighs, and puts her hand in mine.
Fine, I am afraid that my physics class is finally going to be the end of my GPA, there was this guy in American Heritage who was leering at me the entire class, and I got partnered with Janna Michaelson in Poly Sci, who you know has always had it out for me for some reason.
"Happy?" she asks with a tired smile.
I give her hand back. "You will ace physics, just like you always. Point out American Heritage boy to me and I will knee him where the sun don't shine. And yes, I do know that Janna has always had it out for you, but that's just because her boyfriend always throws way more than friendly vibes your way."
"It's not like I want him to do that, Liz. The only reason I ever even talked to him was because he was dating Janna, and I thought we were friends," she pouts.
"Oh, Jane. You are too good and beautiful." She is, too. Jane is all long, flowing locks of sunshine with the face of a non-creepy porcelain doll. "Surely, I should have gotten some of that, right?" I tease. "Or did you not leave enough in the embryonic fluids for the rest of us Bennett girls?" This finally weasels an honest-to-goodness laugh out of my sister.
"You are beautiful, too. You got the beauty and all those other family traits, it would seem," she responds, before turning her attention to Bride #3's dress selection.
To this day, Dad and I aren't sure how I got my gift. He says he has read some ancestral journals that hint to it being something that has been in our family, but we don't know for sure. I first became aware that I was… special when I was five years old. My sister Jane and I were playing Barbies when we both reached for the pink convertible. I brushed her hand and heard all the wonderful things she had planned for them. Barbie would be a veterinarian and Ken would fall in love with her after seeing her tenderly care for Spot, our 101 Dalmatians happy meal toy. When I couldn't hear any more of what would happen to them, I grabbed Jane's hand and listened as she spun tales of the different ways Ken would whisk Barbie away to her happily ever after. I didn't know how I was able to read Jane's thoughts, but I knew it wasn't normal.
Dad became aware of it soon after that. Sitting at the dinner table, our knees would touch and I would pass him the salt and pepper before he could ask for it. Or I would tell him that I love him, too as he kissed me goodnight. He took me out for ice cream when I was six and asked if there was anything that I had noticed that made me different from the other kids in my class or in the family. I shyly took his hand, listened, frowned a bit, then gave it back.
"Don't worry, Daddy. Just because I am different doesn't mean that I'm not happy. Yes, some of the other kids tease me, but Jane and I have so much fun playing together, and I don't really care what those other kids think anyways," I replied, even though he hadn't expressed his concerns out loud.
Dad had decided not to tell my mom, which looking back on, I am so happy he did because I probably would have ended on Oprah or something. Jane and my dad are the only two people in the world who know that I can read minds when I touch someone. My friends think I am just really good at reading emotions. People who don't know me that well think I'm handsy with strangers or just really clumsy and run into people all the time, (depending on how I chose to read them).
Now, don't get the wrong idea, I don't go invading the thoughts of every person I meet, but I will admit to being curious when I first meet someone. It's only natural, right?
That being said, I am an excellent judge of character. And I am sad to report, but most people are severely lacking. Everything they say about guys thinking about sex all the time is true and has put an extreme damper on my love life. It's really disheartening to spend time getting all dolled up for a date only to have the guy think about ripping it all off of you while trying to carry on a conversation throughout dinner.
Jane and I are both knocked out of our stupors of thought by the front door opening.
"Knock, knock," Charlotte says as she comes through the door, holding a plastic bag from the grocery store down the street. "I brought first day of school Ben & Jerry's."
"Huh, I've never heard of that flavor. Is it new? Please tell me there's cookie dough in it!" I say, kidding about the flavor, but most certainly NOT kidding about the necessity for cookie dough.
"Hardy har har," Charlotte oozes sarcasm, throwing me my own carton of Half Baked. She goes to get spoons from the kitchen that is attached to our sitting room.
"Thanks, Char. That's really sweet of you," Jane throws over her shoulder. "And after today, I need it."
"Yeah, about time you earn your keep, too. Don't you owe me some rent by now?" I joke.
"Shut up." She launches a spoon at my chest and sits on our loveseat.
Charlotte is my best friend and practically our roommate for how much time she spends sitting around with us and for all the food she has in our fridge. She lives in the condo next door with her sister, Mariah.
"So. How was everybody's day? Ah, I remember junior year." She digs into her Chubby Hubby, glancing between us, the ice cream and the makeover that is being sprung on an unsuspecting fashion victim. Charlotte is one of those perpetual students. She is now working on her second masters, this time in philosophy. She says she just loves to learn, but I have heard her think that she wants to get married and is afraid to leave the singles scene on campus. I don't hold it against her, though. To each his own.
"Well, I learned that I hate Statistics, my new shoes are too narrow, and my rhetoric professor is a pervert," I announce around a mouth full of ice cream.
"You think everyone is a pervert, Liz," Charlotte admonishes.
Jane and I exchange a look. "That's because they are."
"Ooh, I forgot to tell you guys," Charlotte sits up in her seat with excitement and sets her ice cream down on the coffee table. "There is a definite non-pervy looking dreamboat moving into that big house around the corner on Netherfield Avenue!"
"Someone is living in that big-ass house all by themselves?" I ask. "Sounds like someone needs a guest room for their ego."
"No, he is living with his sister and some friend," Charlotte swats away my negative comment. "But he is supposedly going to be at the new semester block party at Pinecrest. You guys are going, right?"
"I don't know," I answer dubiously. "I don't know that I'm ready to rescue Jane from a swarm of lurkers like I did last year."
"It wasn't that bad, Liz," Jane blushes. "I already promised Luc that I would go. Come on, it'll be fun." Jane pokes me in the side.
Come on, I haven't had a date in two months.
I roll my eyes at her. "Fine, but you are wearing a nun's habit."
"Oh, you said the dress I got last weekend?" Jane jokingly asks. "I heard the dress I got last weekend? Char?"
"That's what I heard, Jane."
"I hate you both."
I am still eye-loathing them as we stand in the patio area at the Pinecrest complex. They do this every semester, supposedly to kick off the semester, but I know better. It's a full-blown meat-market. I try to my elbows tucked in, but people still brush past me constantly in the mob.
I can't believe that bastard has the nerve to show up with Melanie Longe. Of all the sluts on all the college campuses...
Man, I thought Jerry said that the girls here would be hot…
What if he thinks that I'm fat? Or if my nose is too pointy? Or if my dress is too short? Or maybe it's not short enough? I don't want him to think I'm a slut, but I also don't want to be a tease? Or what if…
Okay, just breathe. You just walk up, say, "Hey, do you wanna dance?" No! That'll never work…
Pretty much your standard party fare: girls thinking about how they look, guys trying to figure out the best way to get some.
Jane is looking particularly knockout in a blue dress that matches her eyes and hugs in all the right places. Damn her. Although, I am feeling like I am none too shabby tonight. I have on a green top, what Char calls my "come and get it" jeans, and my favorite flats. Understated, but still flattering. In fact, as guys have brushed past me, I have gotten a totally hot, an I'd hit that, and the succinct doable. And Char wonders why I think men are scum. Nonetheless, they have all helped me feel less skuzzy standing next to Jane.
Charlotte brings Jane and I in closer and stands behind us with her arms around our shoulders as she says loud enough for us to hear over the party din, "Look, there he is, coming out of the bathroom! The guy that moved into the house on Netherfield!"
He is way too good looking. He is going to fall for Jane in a millisecond. I'm never going to get a guy being friends with these two.
Charlotte and her lack of self-confidence are maddening to me sometimes. My height rears it's ugly head as I can't see over and through the crowd, but Jane seems impressed.
"Oh, he is dreamy," Jane says. "But how can we meet him?"
I get up on my tiptoes but still can't see the guy they are talking about. "Well, we could just go up and…"
Charlotte cuts me off. "Ah! He's coming this way, he saw us looking at him, he smiled at Jane, what do we do?"
Jane blushes and Charlotte tries to appear nonchalant. I finally give up on the tiptoes now knowing that he's on his way over. "Uh-oh, sounds like someone's Jane radar just booted."
Soon, the man himself is standing by us, obviously warring with how to approach a beautiful stranger. I have to admit, he is cute, but so Jane's type that its ridiculous. He is all floppy blond hair and piercing blue eyes, wrapped in an argyle-sweater-and-khakis bow.
He finally takes the plunge. "Hi, sorry if this seems weird, but you seem like a friendly enough group. Will you have mercy on the new guy and let me introduce myself? I'm Charlie"
Charming in a non-smarmy way. I like this guy. I put my arms around first Charlotte (Geez, Liz and I may as well not even be standing here), then Jane (Blue. Teeth. Charlie. Dimples.), and realize I am not going to be getting any help from either of them.
"Certainly, Charlie. I'm Liz. This is Charlotte and my sister Jane." He glances at Charlotte and I out of courtesy but obviously only has eyes for my sister. Out of curiosity, I add, "Nice to meet you," sticking my hand out to shake. He takes it absently, still glancing to Jane and smiling.
She is heaven incarnate. Angelic. That smile.
Ok, I can allow this guy. Not one mention about her cleavage. This is a definite step up and a half from most of the others. Trying to work actual conversation into this meeting, I say, "So, Charlie, did you come to a party all by yourself? You're either a very brave or very stupid man."
Shaking the cartoon cupids from around his head, Charlie says, "What? Oh, uh, no. My sister and my friend are here somewhere. Probably along the walls somewhere." He scours the perimeter. "There they are!" He waves someone over, but again I am too short to see anything. Charlie goes back to staring at my sister, while Jane resumes her blushing maiden persona.
Then I see him, parting through the crowd like everyone is a door on a hinge. All I can think is… sex on legs. Suddenly, I'm thinking like Jane was about Charlie moments ago.
Wavy black hair. Finger-running-throughable. Green eyes. Like a Jolly Rancher. Mmm, green apple. Sharp-dressed. Every girl's crazy for 'em.
If Charlie is the boy next door, this guy is the handsome stranger that you met at your family's beach house one summer. Great, now all I can do is imagine him shirtless. I gather my chin from the floor as I realize he is headed towards our little foursome.
Charlie introduces us as I mentally put his clothes back on him. His name is Darcy and the girl I hadn't noticed before is Charlie's sister Caroline.
"So let me get this straight. You two are sisters?" Caroline gestures between Jane and I with a finger that drips condescension like candle wax. "I'm sorry but I just don't see it. Surely, you must get that a lot."
True, Jane and I don't have a lot in common in the looks department with the exception of our dad's nose and our mom's smile, but she could lose the insinuating tone. "Well, that's what our parents have been telling us." I glance to Darcy. His eyes languidly shift from one thing to another.
Wanting to leave Charlie and Jane to their love fest, leave Darcy to his smoldering, and just plain leave Caroline, I grab Char. "Let's go get some beverage."
I can't help but brush past Darcy as we go.
What the hell am I doing here?
Toying with my libido, or so it would seem.
An hour or so later, I have pulled Charlotte off to the side with me, having tired of getting a glimpse into the now booze-addled thoughts of our fellow party-goers. I am sitting enjoying my Diet Coke when I hear a familiar voice off to the side.
"Come on, are you really just going to stand here all night? Dance. Live a little. You're not chained to a multi-million dollar corporation yet." I glance over and see Charlie with Darcy. So Darcy is rich and hot to boot? It's been a long time since I eavesdropped the old-fashioned way. "This is why we changed schools. Change of scenery."
"Charlie, it would appear that you already staked your claim on the only bit of scenery worth getting around here." Part of me swells with pride for Jane, but most of gawps in shock for the rest us here.
"Isn't Jane beautiful? I feel like I am walking on cloud accompanied by every cheesy love song ever written." I laugh a little at that. "But don't be such a dick, there's lots of good-looking girls here. What about Liz? Jane's sister? She's much more your type anyways, and I think she's quite cute."
Thank you very much, sir. Yes, I can definitely allow Jane to date this guy.
I feel Darcy look over at me, so I focus on my drink. Damn him and his tractor beam stare. "You mean the one that has been sitting over there all night, ignored by every guy here?'
Hey! That's by choice, jackass!
"Charlie, I am not going to throw myself at just any co-ed with a decent face."
That's it. I rise to my feet. "Charlotte. I'm going to the bathroom." I walk past Charlie and Darcy and bump into him accidentally on purpose.
I wonder if she heard that. I don't even know why I said it in the first place…
A/N: Again, I would love your first impressions, as it were ;)