it was like a time bomb set into motion / we knew that
we were destined to explode
- all time low, "time-bomb"

.

It starts like this: His fingers on her waist, her eyes on his.

/

She's unsure of what she's feeling, so she plays it off as if it's nothing. Everyday she dances in a pretty pink dress at a pretty, pretty party, with a pretty, pretty, pretty prince. No big deal, she pretends. As if she's not fighting shivers off from his touch, as if her skin isn't burning where his palm is pressed against hers.

They're too close and yet not nearly close enough.

There's a connection between them, there is. Hesitant, but still there. A spark, not quite a flame, but it's there and it's real and – "may I cut in?"

Callie pulls back from Brandon before he can answer Tayla. "He's all yours," she says in that nonchalant way of hers. Like she doesn't care, like she can't be bothered to show any emotion whatsoever.

Tayla gives her a smirk that says of course he is. It stings, just a little.

But she's Callie and she doesn't react. Her back is already to Tayla and Brandon anyway.

She walks away confused and arguing with herself.

You can't have feelings for him.

She can already hear the whispered rumors of incest hidden behind hands following her, can already see the fake smiles and judge-y eyes. No, you're better off.

Not only that, but catching a glimpse of Mariana dance with both of her moms' she can't help but wonder – what would the Fosters say?

Never, ever, ever has she cared about what anyone thought before. She doesn't now, either... except. They're special, she thinks as she watches Lena laugh and twirl Mariana around to the music with one hand, while pulling Stef to her in one fluid motion with the other.

She doesn't want to do anything that they would disapprove of.

So she sits alone at a table and alternates between watching Stef and Lena with Mariana and not watching Tayla and Brandon out of the corner of her eye.

/

She ends up dancing with several people that night, Jesus one of them.

They talk about small things, like classes and favorite colors and she wishes him a happy birthday to which he responds with a smile and a thank you. His smile doesn't quite reach his lips and she wonders briefly if it has anything to do with the talk she'd noticed him having with Mariana earlier.

Callie doesn't press, though. She knows better than anyone just how high a value privacy has.

Apparently, though, Jesus doesn't.

"I see the way you look at each other."

He says this as he spins her away, and she tumbles back into his chest in what would have been such a graceful manner, had he not said that. She splutters, but he keeps the dance going as if she didn't just poke holes into the tops of his feet with her high heels.

"I see the way you-" he starts. She cuts him off.

"I heard you the first time."

Callie stares at him.

Jesus stares right back. There's a smug look on his face, as if he's proud of himself for noticing this tiny detail. Being the kid with the ADD, he would be the last person anyone would ever expect to notice anything like that. Callie's no exception.

There's no time for her to ponder over his words – the way we look at each other? As in, he looks at her in some way that's meaningful, or whatever? – because he's already speaking. "I just... I wanted you to know that if anything ever happened there, I'd be okay with it. And, I mean – I'm sure you're not looking for my blessing, not as a whole anyway. But..." his eyes trail away from a very stunned Callie.

She follows them and spots Lexi, arguing with Mariana. She'd never had a real conversation with the girl before, but she seemed alright to Callie. She had no steady judgments on her, though. She didn't know her well enough.

"I just wanted you to know that I wouldn't be against you and Brandon."

Jesus spins her around once more, before letting go of her hands and offering her a smile. "See you, Callie."

Forcing herself to break out of her stunned stupor, she calls after him. "Jesus!"

"Yeah?"

She plays with the fabric of her dress nervously, caught of guard. She doesn't really know what to say, so finally she settles on: "Thank you."

He says nothing, instead just smiles and nods and then disappears into the crowd.

She tries not to think about Jesus' words, reminds herself of Tayla's existence and her job as Brandon's girlfriend.

Really, she's okay with that. She is.

Obviously, she doesn't like Tayla – but that has nothing to do with Brandon and everything to do with her journal (she can't think about that, though, or the panic will start welling up that something so personal made its way into her hands) – but that doesn't mean she's going to suddenly try and steal Brandon from her.

No, Brandon's Tayla's, regardless of any feelings Callie may or may not have.

Making her way towards the bathroom, she goes straight to the sink and stares at herself for a long time. "Don't over think it."

"Over think what?"

A stall flies open and Callie is met with Tayla's bright red smile. A little too bright, a little too... plastic.

Callie meets her eyes through the mirror and gives Tayla a smile just as fake as her own. "Nothing," she says, dismissing her earlier words even though her thoughts have already answered Tayla – don't over think feelings I may or may not have for your boyfriend, who may or may not return them. Too bad Tayla couldn't hear it.

...Unless. You know, Callie wrote them down in her journal.

Tayla moves forward and turns on the faucet. Callie watches her warily as she squeezes some soap into her palm. "So, that was quite a tale. Liam seems like quite the character."

"Don't."

"Stay away from Brandon and I won't." Her smile is sugary sweet and it ignites a deep hatred in Callie's veins, one she hadn't felt this intensely since her last foster father. What pushes someone to be this insecure about their relationship?

Callie can feel herself getting worked up, can feel the frustration and anger and underneath that, a sadness. Liam. She takes a deep breath, trying to ward away the tears that always come along with a little too much frustration.

"Of course," Tayla continues. "If you don't, I suppose the entire school won't have any problems with hearing all about your..." she pauses to chose the right word. "Spicy adventures with Liam."

Callie understands that she's not entirely innocent, what with the feelings that were beginning to develop in her chest. But the thing was, Callie had no plans whatsoever to go after Brandon. There was too much, too many people standing in the way of that. There was no use in even trying.

So what drives a person to be so insecure? She wonders. What drives a person to drop the front she'd been carrying the entire time they'd known each other and right out threaten someone who more likely than not means nothing to Brandon anyway?

She doesn't think too much on the subject, though. Instead, she snaps the second Tayla pops her bubble and brings her back into the grim reality that is her life. She doesn't belong her, with them. They're happy and all fluffy and in any description of Callie, her 'dark past' would always be noted.

Different people, different worlds.

She wanted so badly to come from theirs but she didn't and it was too late to fix that.

"Don't be such an insecure, insufferable bitch, Tayla. Tell everyone. I don't care. It's not like I'll be here that much longer, anyway. Brandon is yours, now and forever."

Because the truth was: Callie was a foster kid, would always be one, even when she was old and frail and long on her own. It was how she was raised, she was shaped around the system. It both changed her and made her into who she was today. A foster kid is who she'd always be.

A foster, but not quite a Foster.

/

She passes Brandon as she's storming out of the bathroom.

"Callie?" He tries to grab her arm but she shakes him off. His touch, once the cause of a sudden influx of butterflies in her stomach and nerves in her chest, now unwelcome. He's too close to Tayla, who got too close to her dirtiest secret of all. Too much.

"Air," she mumbles to herself as she brushes him off. The room feels too small suddenly. Like it's caving in on her, burying her in her feelings, in her thoughts, but most importantly in her past.

/

He follows her, but not before a shouting match ensues in the hallway near the bathroom. Tayla came out of the bathroom after her before, and Brandon immediately demanded answers from her. "What did you do to Callie?" He had said in an accusing tone, and maybe Callie understood then, why exactly Tayla was so insecure.

But still.

She had no right.

Callie doesn't know what happened after that. She'd been too far away to hear things, or maybe the sound of her heart thudding loudly in her chest and the blood rushing in her ears was just a little too loud for her to hear much of anything else.

She wasn't sure.

Either way, she ends up outside.

It's still daytime out, and the light shocks her, makes her shrink away from it behind the make-shift shade of her hand. It had been pretty dark inside, during Mariana's party. Coming outside was like slipping back into reality. It was too much for Callie right then, so she closed her eyes and shook her head, shaking the thoughts away along with it.

She's alone outside for a good five minutes before she hears the door open and close, just staring off into the distance, fingers clutching at the fabric that rests on her body. It's much too fancy for her taste. Too... pink. Completely Mariana though, which brings a small smile to her face.

"Callie." His fingers brush against the bare skin of her shoulder and she squeezes her eyes shut briefly, before turning around to face him.

Her mask slips into place, not a stony wall of indifference, but a blank, bland look not uninviting but not inviting either. "Brandon." She says, raising an eyebrow at him. "Shouldn't you be inside, dancing with Tayla or whatever?" She curses herself for the bitter tone her voice had taken on. Her mask was slipping and she'd been speaking with Brandon for what, five seconds?

Control yourself.

Brandon looks taken aback. "I, no. I mean. We broke up." He stares at her, searching her face. For what, she's unsure, but she meets his unwavering gaze with one of her own.

"Oh." Is all she says. She doesn't want to ask why, doesn't want to pry or dig into his business, because it's his, but also because she doesn't want to feel the happiness bubble up in her stomach, like she's some stupid school girl with a crush.

(Which, technically, she supposed she was, but whatever).

"Ask me why," he murmurs, much too soft for her liking. His fingers find her arm, he squeezes gently. Once, twice. She bites the inside of her lip, before finally shaking her head.

"No."

Callie pushes past him and moves to make her way back inside, when he grabs her wrist and turns to look at her. "Whatever it is she has on you, I don't need to know. Whatever it was she used to threaten you, I don't care. I know all I need to know about you, Callie."

He stares at her so intently, it alone unsettles her. But his words, his words. She looks at him for a very long time, before more gently moving past him.

Why? Why didn't Tayla tell him? Obviously she had offered. But why did he tell her he didn't want to know? Why didn't Tayla ignore him and tell him anyway? None of this was making sense. Nothing. Ever since she was put into the Foster's home, her world had been pushed off its axial. Not too shocking, considering she'd never had much of a stable axial to start with, but the point was they'd knocked her off her feet and she'd gotten a little too comfortable just laying there.

He doesn't let her move, though. His fingers, warm and inviting, but unwelcome all the same are on her wrist and he tugs her to him. They're much closer now, than they ever were in dance practice. His eyes are just as intense as ever, something she'd notice about him. How his eyes always seemed to burn with passion – for his family, for his compositions, and now, for her.

She stares up at him and she knows how scared she must look. It's like she's five again, watching her dad walk out. And then she's eight, and her mother's dead. She's all alone, always has been. It's always just been her and Jude. They never, ever needed anyone else.

Not until now.

He gives her the time to push him away, she'll give him that. But she doesn't – can't. She's frozen. And then he's kissing her, his lips warm and inviting and he tastes like grape jolly ranchers. It's unlike anything she's ever experienced before. As if someone has thrown ice water on her, she comes alive again.

Her fingers find his face, his her hair, and then the kiss goes from soft to desperate and nastily emotional. She unloads into this kiss, pushes every feeling she's ever pushed away from her into it. All of the anger and disappointment is let out by biting his lip, the sadness when he opens his mouth to hers and she gently caresses his tongue with hers, and then there's the feelings she has for him and the happiness the Fosters have brought her.

She doesn't let that out completely as she wants to hold onto some of that, so instead she gives him little pieces of it: Her lips on his; her fingers, raking through his hair softly.

She feels him start to pull away, but he's broken her flood gates and now it's all hitting her, like ocean waves upon ocean waves – salty and suffocating. In a good way, though. Kind of. Her fingers find his collar and she pulls him back to her, presses her lips harder against his.

He complies happily.

/

The thing about sparks is this: They're always the creators of an even bigger flame.

.

note(s): I have no idea what this is. i was just having way too many feels and needed to get them out. so, there you go. callie was ooc, i think, in the way that she was a bit more emotional than what i believe she actually is in the show. sorry for that.

anyway, hope you guys enjoyed this. who knows, maybe it'll inspire you to try your hands at your own callie/brandon fics. ;)