Hello, everyone! So, I think you all know what's going to happen in this chapter and that's why I'm not going to get in your way this time around and just let you enjoy the chapter.
Thank you for the follows, favorites, and reviews~! I love you all. :)
The last week and a half was… boring, to say the least. Ever since Scott broke his truck (a feat that Hiccup really did not want to know how he accomplished), Hiccup hadn't been able to go to the library to see Jack or hang out with her other friends, unless someone else gave her a ride to and from. With both of her own parents having really wonky working hours, getting a ride somewhere wasn't the easiest thing in the world. So, she was left to waking up an hour earlier than normal so that she could get herself ready in time to catch the bus… and rushing to her locker at the end of the day in order to take it home. Gods, she couldn't wait until Scott got the truck back.
The only day out of the ten that the truck was out of commission that Hiccup managed to get out of the house was when Cam had fencing practice after school and Astrid invited her to stay after and watch. The blonde claimed that her mother wouldn't mind dropping the brunette off, so she didn't refuse.
But, for the most part, watching Cam and a bunch of boys (yes, she was the only girl on the whole team) run through practice drills and try to stab each other in the chest got to be pretty boring. Mostly because Cam was not only on the team but was the captain. So practice was more like "Dictator Hofferson's Squad of Suckers," as Cam liked to call it. And, ever the braggart she was, the messy blonde took advantage of the fact that a girl led the team. It was her main angle when telling the guys that they sucked that round or how their attacks were too weak.
Their coach never came into the gym until after the warm-ups were over, probably because he liked to let Cam rough up the rest of the team a bit. The blondes told Hiccup that the coach noticed that the guys behave better if Cam wears them out a bit during warm-ups, so they were less of a headache for him. Coach Hugh Hotshot was his name and… let's just say he loved to make his presence known. He had blond hair that kind of reminded Hiccup of Thor and matching stubble on his face, which was starting to darken with forming gray hairs. He was a well built man and always one to tell a crazy story if he could find the time, mostly about the adventures he took when he was in his twenties.
But Hiccup also knew him on a more personal level. And that's because the high school coach was an old flame of her mother's. Val has told her stories about her youth and how she was always an adventurous spirit "before you kids came along." And many of her photo albums were filled to the last page with images to document her travels. And a lot of them were taken with none other than Hugh Hotshot by her side. Apparently, before they got separated on one trip through some mountain range in search of some treasure of local legend, he even asked Val to marry him. Hiccup was never told exactly what happened to them, but apparently some freak storm hit and they got separated in the chaos. Her mother looked for her partner for a week before coming back home and didn't find a trace of him. She was convinced after that point that the man was dead.
Val didn't go on another trip for a long time after that. It was almost like a reality check for her; that she still had more domestic things that she wanted to do before she died. She wanted to have a family of her own someday and pass on the tales of her adventures to them. She wanted something more than pictures to be remembered by and, really, how else can someone be remembered? Val knew she would always want to explore the world, but she could suppress that desire until she could fill more albums and, hopefully, take her children on some incredible trips with her someday. And that's what she did. She settled into a much more mundane lifestyle, went to college, got a job at the travel agency that she practically ran now. And then she met Stefan Haddock and, well, anyone can guess what happened from there.
The only mystery remaining was exactly what happened to Mr. Hotshot over those next few years. And that was solved when he escaped a maze of caverns he had been trapped inside and made his way back to the States. He tracked Val down so that they could pick up where they left off but, when he got to the front door, he learned all too quickly that he was too late for that. His old love answered the door that day when she was very clearly pregnant with Scott. The tiny ruby encased in a gold ring that he gave her was replaced with a silver wedding band decorated with a bright, shiny diamond.
But that didn't exactly mean they went their separate ways. Even as time went on, she kept the ring Hugh gave her. To this day, she had it on a chain around her neck, a symbol of her past life and the set of events that led her to the life that she was leading now. Even after all that had happened, Hugh and Val did pick up where they left off; they just left certain details in the past and stayed friends. And Hiccup thought that was great. It said something about the man, really. He only wanted to keep Val in his life; it didn't matter what role she played in it as long as she was. Hugh was a good guy and it seemed like he even had his eye on Hiccup and Scott at school. But… it was still awkward whenever he and her father were in the same room. Eh, life's not perfect.
Cam's practice was let out and the trio of girls hung out on the bleachers until Bertha came to pick them up. After that, Hiccup was dropped off at her house and the rest of her incredibly long week ensued. At least she finally got out of that dungeon in The Legend of Zelda. That only took three months total to accomplish.
Needless to say she was excited that Scott finally got his truck back from the repair shop. Not really because she hated being stuck in the house with him or anything, but so she could go to the library again. Her bother seemed to be just as happy to get his "baby" back too. He'd been missing going wherever-it-is he liked to go every few days with Derek, but he seemed to busy himself in the garage. Though, it was without his loud music this time. And she didn't hear any tools banging because there was nothing to mess around with. But Hiccup could have sworn that she walked past the door one time and heard… classical music? She decided she'd rather not question him anymore; he's done weirder stuff than start listening to a new genre of music.
Hiccup's excitement came more from the fact that she wouldn't be so isolated anymore. Sure, she saw all of her other friends in school every day, but she'd gone about ten days without seeing Jack and, well, it kind of hurt. They texted each other over that time, but Jack's silly emoticons were nothing compared to seeing his expressions and hearing him laugh at her smart remarks. Hiccup missed Jack's voice and his contagious smiles and his go-with-the-flow personality. The older teen was fun to be around and, she wasn't gonna lie to herself, the boy was attractive. Really attractive.
Hiccup guessed that she just… missed him in general. It was almost like the emptiness that she felt in the past week came from not seeing Jack. Gods, crushes were so weird! Why couldn't it just go away? This was really starting to annoy her; it was like seeing Jack or not impacted the rest of her day. Nothing else had ever done this to her; not hearing bad news first thing in the morning, not waiting for a vacation or expecting a snow day… nothing. No matter how hard Hiccup tried to keep the white-haired teen off of her mind… she just couldn't. Jack was stuck in her mind and he refused to leave.
If this didn't end soon… maybe she'd just have to work up the courage to say something to him. She just hoped, if she didn't, it would turn out better than the last time she tried her hand at dating.
Jack came into work that day with a bit of relief over him. But also some anxiety. He got out early that night because Harry had been putting Sandy on night shift duty lately. His pay was lower, of course, but the college boy's personal matters had been interfering with his own work hours. He needed them more than Jack anyway. Besides, he'd get them back… eventually.
The anxious feeling in his gut was coming from seeing Hiccup that day. He knew she was finally able to come back to the library and, in a way, he didn't want her to yet. He wasn't sure if he was ready yet; if he was prepared to tell her how he felt and not look like a complete idiot. The teen talked to Anna about it a few times over the past week, asking her questions that probably sounded really stupid to the aspiring dentist, seeing as she had more relationship experience than he did. She kept telling him to just be honest with her; say what was in his heart… but not enough to scare her off either. That led to a joke about how confessing undying love for someone you aren't dating would raise a few red flags in the other person's mind. Ugh, at least his sister had a sense of humor. That was always good when he was having a crisis to talk to her about, that was for sure.
At least he had a bit of time before Hiccup did walk through the front door of the library and take a seat at her normal table. Fortunately, she was alone. That would make this easier, for sure. It would be a lot less weird to pull her to the side if she was by herself anyway, right? Right. Once Hiccup's focus was on her assignments, Jack did his best to keep his mind on work. But the details behind asking her out were still buzzing around in his head.
He was afraid of a lot of ridiculous things as this went on. That she'd brush him off, she wouldn't let him finish before shutting him down, that she'd actually laugh at him. Jack silenced them as well as he could. It was just him over-thinking things… that was all. The worst she would ever do is say no. Hiccup wasn't like that. She was kind and sensitive to other people's emotions. She'd never try to hurt someone who didn't deserve it. Hiccup would hear him out. She'd listen until he was finished. She wouldn't laugh.
"Hey~!" Jack came out of his daze of blankly checking in books and saw Anna coming towards him with a skip in her step and a knowing smile on her face.
"Hey…" He greeted "what are you doing here; I thought you had classes tonight?"
His sister tucked a rainbow lock of hair behind her ear "I do, bu~t I wanted to stop by here first and see you."
Jack leaned on the counter and smirked "What do you want, sis?"
The college student sighed before clutching the books in her arms close to her chest, perfect teeth glimmering "Did you ask her yet?"
Her brother chuckled and moved his bangs out of his eyes "Not yet." He glanced Hiccup's way and saw her focusing on the book in front of her "I'm working on it."
Anna followed Jack's eyes until she spotted the brunette as well "Is that her?" she whispered. Jack nodded and it looked like she was about to scream in happiness, but then remembered where she was and closed her mouth "Oh my gosh, she's adorable!" She was trying to be as quiet as possible but was clearly struggling with that "Why didn't you tell me she was that cute; I don't even know her yet and I love her."
Jack felt heat creep up his neck and dust onto his cheeks. He looked down at the countertop and smiled "I can't tell you everything; where's the fun if you know everything?"
"I guess you're right." She glanced back at Hiccup before smiling at her brother again "I'd better get going before I'm late. Good luck."
"Thanks." The younger teen watched her exit before returning to his stack of books and continuing to check them back in.
He carried on until the stack was all checked in and on the cart. Then, he started pushing it through the aisles of bookshelves and began putting them all back in their rightful places. And he made sure he did; he REALLY didn't want Harry to come out and tell him to re-organize a section because he put them in the wrong places.
He was in the science fiction section when he felt a vibration in his pocket. Someone was texting him. Ugh, he wasn't supposed to be texting at work but… eh, what the hell? The shelves would cover him for a few minutes while he took a peek at the message, anyway.
He pulled his phone out of his pocket and entered his pass code, unlocking the device. He pulled up the most recent text he received Hey Jack. It was a text from Sandy Can't take the night shift tonight. I gotta take care of my brother. Do you mind covering for me?
He put the book he had in his free hand back on the cart and replied Is it his nightmares again?
Before he could even put his phone down to keep doing his job, it vibrated again. Geez, Sandy was a fast texter Yeah. He says I'm the only thing that keeps them away, so I'm gonna hang with him for the night if I can.
Jack weighed his options and decided that there were no other ones, really. Uh… sure. Tell Lucien I said hi. :)
Sandy's little brother had been suffering from nightmares and night terrors since he was six years old or so. Sandy was convinced that they had something to do with the fact that Lucien was adopted by his parents when the poor kid was a toddler. The blond never told Jack where he came from, probably because he didn't know himself, but it was a hunch that he'd had for some time now. They weren't so bad at first, but they've been getting more and more frequent as he got older. It was really starting to scare everyone who knew Lucien.
It was weird though, that Sandy had some kind of soothing effect on the preteen. Sandy was a pretty chill guy and all, but he didn't get how he could keep the kid from having bad dreams all the time. Apparently, the stout man didn't understand it himself. But he and Lucien have had a pretty strong bond since they became comfortable with one another; awhile after the younger was adopted. If it helped him, that was all that Sandy cared about.
Sandy replied I will. And thanks, Jack. I owe you one.
No prob. :P
Jack put his phone away and went back to work, putting the rest of the books back where they belonged. As he was pushing the cart back behind the desk, he glanced up at the clock and his eyes widened. Crap; it was already 7:30! Hiccup could be going at any minute now.
Okay, okay, cool it Jack He told himself If you missed her, you can just do it Monday or something… no big deal.
He parked the cart and looked around the library. Hiccup was still there, reading How to Break a Dragon's Heart, the eighth book in the series that started everything. It was kind of amazing to Jack that Hiccup could crank through eight books in only a couple of months. But, granted, they were children's books so they were easy to read and the brunette was definitely more of a bookworm that he was. Maybe he should introduce her to Querty sometime… they might get along well.
No, no, focus! Jack reminded himself Just go over there and ask her. Get it over with.
The white-haired teen scanned the room around him and took notice that the door to Harry's office was closed, like it usually was. A bit of light was filtering through the tiny window on it so he knew that the old man was, in fact, in there. There was a decent sized group of people in the library, but it was no one that he saw outside of the place. Even if he did make himself look like an idiot, at least it would only be in front of Hiccup and a bunch of strangers.
Jack meandered from the desk to Hiccup's table. He rested his hands on the tabletop and put his weight on them before he spoke "Hey, Hiccup." He started "So, uh, I saw the time and I wanted to ask you something before you left." Wow, way to be subtle "That cool?"
The girl looked up at him for a moment and he flashed a half-smile at her. She seemed confused by the action but her face went back to being neutral seconds later. Hiccup took her phone out of her pocket and checked the time before looking back at him "I'm not going for awhile yet, but sure."
The older teen was surprised by the response "…You're not?"
"Nope." The younger confirmed "Scott wanted to go to the gym early and, well, I don't mind hanging around here longer than usual. So, my dad's gonna come get me when he gets out of work."
"Oh…" He oh-so-smartly answered "Okay." He looked away from her and bit his lip "When should that be?"
The brunette shrugged "Around nine, I think. That's when this place closes down, isn't it?" Jack nodded. Hiccup tilted her head at him and was quiet for a moment. "What is it?" She questioned.
Jack returned his gaze to her "Huh?"
"What you wanted to tell me." Hiccup clarified "What is it? You okay?"
"Yeah, yeah…" Jack replied "It's just uh… how about I tell you when I start to close up? It's kinda… personal."
"Sure." She smiled at him.
The time seemed to just fly by after that, even though there was really nothing going on. Harry slinked out of his office and barked at Jack to do a list of chores for him, like taking out the trash and cleaning the tables. He did them without a second thought, except for the one that Hiccup was occupying. He thought it would be a little rude to make her move or anything, so he'd just do it later or skip it. It's not like he'd get fired because he forgot to clean one table or anything as stupid as that. It wasn't exactly a frequent thing for someone to eat on them anyway.
Jack wound up playing games on his phone for about a half hour, since it was only the last few stragglers in the library checking stuff out and leaving. It seemed like no time at all before the clock read 8:50 and the teen decided to start locking up and shutting down the computers. He peeked at Hiccup and saw that she was getting on her coat and checking her bag, probably making sure she had everything in it. He was shutting down the desktop behind the counter when he heard her voice interrupt the silence "So, do you still wanna talk to me?"
Jack turned off the monitor and stood from his seat "Yeah, can you hang back for a minute?" He walked around the counter and stood in front of her.
"Um," Hiccup chewed her bottom lip "If you really mean it when you say 'a minute.' My dad hates having to wait and-" he heard her text tone go off in her pocket "… that would be him."
"Yeah, yeah. I won't keep you for long."
There was an awkward silence after that. The brunette was looking up at him expectantly; waiting for him to say whatever it was that he wanted to tell her. Jack's hands swayed at his sides and he made a popping noise with his mouth. Hiccup's expression became concerned as the silence pursued.
It looked like she was going to break the spell until Jack clapped his hands together awkwardly and rocked on his feet "So…"
Her eyes widened a bit at his clap. It was a pretty sudden change to the quiet that was over them before, maybe louder than normal with the echo in the space "So…" The brunette shyly grinned.
Jack cleared his throat "So, uh… I was wondering if you…" he sighed and darted his eyes to the carpet, scratching the back of his head.
His words got caught in his throat when he peered through his bangs and his eyes met Hiccup's bright green eyes. Those grassy plains were shining in the dimmed light. The collar of her green sweater stuck out of her brown overcoat and it created a bit of harmony with those meadows. Jack never noticed how much green pops when it's surrounded by dark browns before then. And the way her mouth was open just a crack as she stared up at him just made her look so cute.
Come on, you can do this. Don't back out now. He felt his cheeks turning red and he broke his gaze with her in an effort to make them stop.
He awkwardly smiled at her "… If you knew I got an 80 on that big history test?"
Hiccup chuckled and lightly shook her head "No, I didn't know that." A car horn sounded from outside and she turned her head towards the door before looking back at him "Is that all you wanted to tell me?" She practically pleaded.
"… Yeah. Just, uh, wanted you to know what a good tutor you are."
Her cheeks turned a light pink color "Well, thanks." The horn bellowed again "I'm sorry, I really gotta go. Um… bye." She quickly hugged him and walked out the door.
Jack just stood there for a moment, frozen in what had just happened. He seriously just clammed up when he had his big chance. I got an 80 on the test? Really, that's the best cover-up I could think of?!
Hiccup could probably sense the awkward coming off of Jack at that point; he could see it in her face. It was like she was expecting him to tell her something bigger, you know, like he was supposed to!
He turned to the closest wall and kept going until his head met it. He closed his eyes and lightly banged his forehead against the drywall.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid…
I~m a terrible person, aren't I?