note(s): this was inspired by taylor swift's fearless

there's something about the way the street looks
when it's just rained there's a glow
off the pavement, you walk me to
the car and you know i wanna ask you
to dance right there
in the middle of the parking lot
-taylor swift, fearless

Marley Rose stood in the center of the dance floor with her best friends, Sugar and Unique. Even though the two of them were laughing and having a good time, Marley couldn't feel more depressed. Just across the room, Ryder Lynn, her now ex-boyfriend, was dancing with Kitty. Kitty, the very same girl who seemed to always manage to steal away every boy Marley had ever wanted. First, her sophomore year crush, Jake, and now Ryder, whom had been her boyfriend ever since her junior year started.

Now, junior year was ending, just around the same time her relationship with Ryder had. It was fitting, Marley thought sarcastically.

She sighed a little and swayed her body half-heartily to the music when Sugar and Unique started on her about "being so damn depressed at their Junior Prom." To be honest, she wasn't even really upset her relationship with Ryder was over. In fact, she was kind of relieved. No, what upset her the most, was the fact that, once again, another guy had chosen Kitty over Marley.

Marley knew she wasn't anything special, really. Her hair was a boring brown and so were her eyes, and okay, so she could stand to lose a few pounds, but just for once, she wanted that feeling of being wanted; the same feeling Kitty got daily.

Sugar rolled her eyes and shared a look with Unique. It pained them both to see their closet friend so upset, and without notice, the two of them danced closer together. "We have to do something!" Sugar cried over the music, a few feet away from an obvious Marley, who was letting the crowd push her in different directions.

"Uh-huh, girl. I can't stand to see that frown on her face any longer. What's the plan?" Unique asked, still moving her body to the music.

Sugar paused, and allowed her eyes to rake over the crowd. The answer was obvious: Marley Rose needed a rebound. And not just any rebounded, no.

"Jake Puckerman."

A year ago, Unique would have shaken her head and agreed faster than you could blink, but now after spending as much time as she had with the boy, Unique knew he was a good kid at her. She also knew he still had feelings for the brunette girl in the middle of the dance floor. Marley didn't even seem to realize their were people around her.

"Let's go." Unique said, sparing one glance last glance at Marley, before the two girls went searching for Jake in the crowd.

Jake Puckerman blinked at the two girls in front of him. "You want me to what?"

Sugar rolled her eyes and shared a glance with Unique. Was this boy dumb or something? "Go ask Marley to dance. Right now."

"Shoo," Unique added, waving Jake away.

Jake, who had just been casually chilling near the (spiked) punch bowl, with his tie loosened, his sleeves rolled up, and his jacket was thrown over a chair at the table a few guys he knew were sitting at with his dates, was still slightly confused as to why Marley's two best friends were suddenly threatening his manhood if he didn't go and ask Marley to dance.

Not that he saw anything wrong with asking her to dance, of course. He didn't. In fact, he was happy to do so. But wasn't she with Ryder? He had seen them holding hands in Glee club and making out on several occurrences, though now that he thought about it, it had been nearly a week since the two of them had sat next to each other in Glee, though Jake hadn't thought much of it, up until now.

"Did Marley and Ryder break up?" He asked, before the two could get rid of him. Jake tried not to sound to excited or curious about the question, but he knew the second he saw the looks on their faces that his tone had indeed given him away.

"Yep," Unique said, popping the "p." She smirked at Jake, and gave him one last pointed look, before grabbing Sugar's wrist and dragging her away, saying something about "needing to find some hotties to dance with."

Jake took a deep breath, before he started towards Marley. Marley, whom he had been rather close to since the start of their sophomore year. Marley, who he considered to be one of his closest friends. Marley, who he was totally in love with, but hadn't ever told her.

He sighed when he finally got to her. She was staring blankly into the air, and the people around her seemed to be a bit frustrated by the fact that she was taking up their dance room and not dancing.

Jake didn't bother doing as Unique and Sugar had told him to. Instead of asking, he just grabbed her wrists gently and pulled her to him. It was only then that she seemed to remember her whereabouts. For a moment Jake was sure she was going to rip herself away from him, and turn and walk out, but she just snuggled her head against his chest as a slow song came on (good timing, Jake thought), and sighed.

"Are you alright?" Jake asked carefully, holding her to him carefully, almost as if she were a precious china doll he didn't want broken.

"Yeah, I guess. It's just weird seeing Ryder make out with Kitty. I'll get used to it, though, I suppose." Jake tried to get a look at her face in an attempt to read her emotions on all that had happened, but her face was buried in the front of his white button up, so he couldn't see her face.

Jake decided to make a joke. Maybe that would make her feel better. "You won't have to get used to it, probably. You know how Kitty is; she'll be with a different guy in less than two weeks, most likely."

Marley smiled against his chest and sighed, this time in content. It felt nice, to be wrapped up in Jake's arms. It felt...right.

They spent the rest of prom like that - wrapped up in each other's arms, slow dancing, even to the fast songs. It was like the rest of the world had disappeared, leaving only the two of them. It was a really good feeling, Marley decided.

When prom ended, most couples ended up in motels, but not Marley and Jake. No, they ended up driving around aimlessly through the town. The sidewalks were still damp from the brief rainfall they had gotten earlier, and seemed to glow underneath the light of the streetlights.

Marley rested her head against Jake's shoulder, and watched as the rest of the world seemed to fly by. Today had been a good day, she decided, as her phone vibrated in her purse. Marley paid no mind to it, knowing it was probably Sugar or Unique. She'd talk to them later.

Being in a car with Jake, after spending nearly two hours dancing chest to chest with him seemed to bring back all the feelings that she had thought she had ridden herself of long ago. No, she thought, as she stole a glance at Jake, she still felt every bit as strong as she had about him the day she found out he was with Kitty. If anything, those feelings had only intensified.

Maybe that was why she was so okay with Ryder dating Kitty. Maybe that was why she had been upset before; Ryder was the person who kept those feelings at bay, the person who she could hold hands with and not think about Jake. In some ways, she did love Ryder, but it was a friendly love.

All this time she thought she was over Jake, but really she wasn't. The thought made her stomach fill with butterflies, and she grew a bit more nervous than she had been before she came to this realization.

They ended up in an empty Wal-Mart parking lot. Marley was confused when he stepped out of the car, a slow song blaring from the speakers, with the head lights shining ahead, as if they were still headed somewhere.

"Get out of the car, but leave the door open," Jake told her, as he made his way around the front of the car, and ended up by her door. Before she could open it, he was already doing so for her.

"Who taught you manners?" Marley teased, barley keeping the curiosity at bay. What the hell were they doing in an empty Wal-Mart parking lot at 11:30 at night? She didn't ask, mainly because she figured that as he took her hand, she was about to find out.

Jake didn't reply to her question, only shook his head a little in amusement and lead her to the front of the car. "May I have this dance?" He asked, in a posh-British accent. Marley laughed and rolled her eyes playfully.

"Well, I dunno. See, I have this thing about not dancing with British men," she told him, batting her eyes teasingly at him.

Jake grinned, and using the hand he still had hers captured in, he twirled her around without warning, and taking advantage of her off-balance, he pulled her to him. Marley's laughter grew and she couldn't help but grin widely, despite the fact that her nerves were mounting.

"Okay, maybe I'll reconsider," she said, and pretended to sigh a little.

Jake grinned, "maybe?" He arched an eyebrow at her.

Marley stuck her tongue out at him, "alright, alright. I'll dance with you. You can stop begging now." The words rolled so naturally off her tongue when she was with him. It was easy for her to playfully banter with him, and it was also easy for her to have deep discussions with him, and it was even easier for her to talk about things she normally wouldn't want to talk about - like her troubled past, how her father leaving her really made her feel, and about the bullies she had faced at her old schools.

Maybe that was why she was so crazy for him. No, wait, scratch that. That was why she was so head over heals for him; or, at least, one of the many reasons why.

"Good. I was afraid I'd have to get down on my knees." Jake said, as he released her hand, only to wrap his arms around her thin body.

They danced quietly for a few minutes, the music from Jake's truck's radio washing over them, before it started to sprinkle outside, just as Jake opened his mouth to speak once again. "Do you ever think about last year?" He asked her quietly, his lips brushing against the softness of her hair.

Marley paused. "What do you mean?" She asked finally, after a few moments of hesitation. Her face was buried against his collar bone, so he could just hardly understand her.

"I mean... us. If Kitty and I hadn't dated, and you and Ryder never got together."

Marley's brain hardly registered what he had just said. What? Her first reaction was to splutter incoherently and blush a lot, but she managed to at least not start the spluttering. The blushing, however, well, she couldn't really help that.

"Yes," she said finally, because she wanted to be honest with him. She had thought about what could have happened between them, quite often under the cover of the dark and her very comfortable blanket in her bedroom. Her mind spent a lot of time the rest of her sophomore year wandering towards Jake Puckerman, and even in eleventh grade, her mind had done the same thing - she had just gotten much better at controlling it.

This seemed to give Jake as much of the courage as he needed, because he pulled away from Marley a little, and Marley started to think maybe he would laugh in her face, but instead of doing that, he spoke, "good." And then he leaned down and captured her face in his hands, and pulled her lips against his.

The kiss started out innocent and close-mouthed, but slowly turned much more than that. His tongue traced her bottom lip, and her lower stomach turned to liquid, and Marley clung to the collar of his shirt as their tongues battled together, just as the sprinkling of rain turned into a full-on shower. Marley moved to pull away, but Jake caught her and pulled her back to him before she could blink, and really, she didn't mind.

Kissing in the rain had always been a bit too cliched for her, previously, but now, well. Needless to say she appreciated it much more, even if the dress she had spent nearly two years saving up for was ruined - "you can take it off, if you'd like," Jake had said when she mentioned this to him later and that was exactly the direction they went in.