Title: Perfect In An Imperfect World
Disclaimer: Don't own the characters. Or other things 'Once and Again'.
Summary: Jessie, Katie, and confusion.
Author’s Notes: I like the show a lot. Jessie’s just about the most adorable thing in this world. I love her to bits. Haven’t seen much beyond mid season 2, sorry about the problems that might bring up. I have read a few recaps on MightyBigTv.com. This story picks up after the school play thing.
“I choose you.”
Me? She chooses me? That is so... so...
“I don’t want anyone to choose anyone!”, I fight back, shaking my head and frowning.
But inside, I’m feeling so happy. It feels so good. To be chosen. By this girl.
“I can’t help it”, she goes on. She talks like nothing. Like it’s the most natural thing in the world, like she’s, “I’m drawn to you”, drawn to me. Right.
I sigh and turn my back on her, “But I just said...”
“I want to be your friend”, she cuts me off, “I want to be more than your friend.”
More... whatever that means. I turn to stare out my window. I love the rain. It’s so melancholy. So depressing, just like me. She inches her way closer. I can hear her steps. It doesn’t bother me. I like it when Katie’s near me. She’s one of the few people I like having close to me, I even like her touching me.
Like now, when her hand comes up and takes a hold of mine. She’s standing right behind me. I can hear her breathe, “Do you like the rain Katie?”, I ask, so as to break the silence more than anything.
“Sure”, she whispers. I feel her other hand stroking my hair, “It’s so wet.”
That it is. How well put. I take a quick step away and sit down on the bed. She is forced to release my hand. Now I can see her face, I can see her warm smile. Her deep eyes. Drilling into me. Why is she so interested in me? No one else is. No one else goes out of their way to be my friend. To be kind to me.
“That’s deep”, I smirk at her.
Katie comes and sits next to me. Again she reaches out and touches me. Places her hand on top of mine, “You asked”, she smiles back. And I start to giggle. She smiles even more, “I like it when you laugh.”
You do? I like you. I like your warm, caring smile. I like your soft touch. But most I like that you’re all mine. That you have nothing to do with the rest of my family. I stop laughing, but I keep a smile on my face. I look into her eyes for the longest time. She looks into mine.
“What do you mean, more than a friend?”, I ask not moving my gaze.
I want to see her eyes when she answers. I want to, but I don’t. Cause she finally moves her gaze, bows her head. Turns to stare at her lap, “What do you want me to mean?”
That’s the first time she sounds uncertain. The first time she sounds vulnerable. I think I like it. That she feels she can let her guard down with me.
I lean up front, trying to catch her attention. She only glances at me, and turns to look in the opposite direction, away from me, “Katie?”, I say her name. She takes her hand away. I’m disappointed. I miss her touch already.
“I should probably go”, she blurts out. Nothing vulnerable about her anymore. Just Katie, the way she is around everyone.
“Where?”, I ask quietly. She shrugs, and gives me one last look. Was it something I said? I didn’t say anything wrong. I didn’t, I know I didn’t! So why is she going? SHE’s the one who wanted to be MY friend.
“See you later”, she mutters.
Oh, whatever. Like I care. Just go already then!
She strolls down the hallways. So carefree. So confident. So beautiful.
Some guy moves in front of her, tries to stop her. Tries to get her attention. I bet he has some cute one-liner ready. I smile inwardly as Katie only ducks under his arm, and throws in a comment of her own. I can’t hear it. They are too far, and the halls are bustling with sound.
She smirks when she catches me spying on her. I quickly turn back to my locker and pray she’ll pass me by.
And I pray she’ll come talk to me. I miss her.
I count the seconds. One... two... three... How far was she anyway? How long till she should be here? Five seconds? Ten tops. Oh God, now I lost count! Six, maybe seven...
“Hey Jessie”, Katie’s sweet voice interrupts my math problem. She comes and leans on the locker next to mine.
I give her a quick glance, and try to appear like I’m in the middle of something important, “He... hey Katie.”
“You know”, I say and retrieve a book from the locker, “School stuff”, I bang the door shut.
“Yeah”, she chuckles, “Sucks, doesn’t it?”
I turn to look at her and shrug, “Could be worse I guess.”
“I guess”, she agrees and tilts her head. I don’t know what to make of the weird expression on her face, “You sure you wanna go to class?”, she smiles deviously, while her hand is slowly reaching out to me. I follow it’s moves as it graces my left arm, “We could go... do stuff?”, Katie goes on, more quietly this time.
I can’t remove my eyes from her hand as it raises up to my shoulder. And moves even closer, towards my neck. It’s like I’m hypnotized by it. And then, when it touches my bare skin, I quickly jerk away. And furiously look around, if anyone noticed. They didn’t. They are all busy with their own stuff.
“What are you doing?”, I whisper to Katie.
She grins, “What do you want me to do?”
“Not with that again!”, I cry out frustrated. Why does she have to answer a question with a question?
“With what?”, Katie fakes innocent. She likes that mysterious act way too much. I just keep glaring back at her. There’s no way I’m gona start begging for answers, “Okay. Let’s do the school thing then”, she says shrugging.
I nod slightly, and look how she pushes herself straight, and starts to walk away. After a few steps she spins around, “Wanna do something after school?”, she chirps. I hesitate for a second, and then nod again, “Cool”, she replies and slips away.
I keep staring at her distancing back for as long as I can. Finally she disappears into the crowd, and I’m left alone.
This is too weird. Whenever I’m with Katie, I get this feeling like we’re doing something wrong. And I want her to leave. And when she does, all I want is for her to come back. Everything is so... gray without her. So dull. So depressing. I like depressing. But I also like not-so-depressing, when it involves Katie.
The Manning house. An unbearable place. There’re too many people around. All the time. You can never get any privacy here. I wish I could live with mom. All the time. It’s melancholy there. Depressing, just like me. Rainy days at mom’s house... those are the best.
“How was school, Jessie?”, my stepmother asks, coming out of the kitchen.
I want to sigh. I was hoping I could escape to my room without anyone being the wiser, “Great”, I mumble and head for the stairs.
“You want something to eat?”, Lily goes on bugging me.
And now I have to stop. Now I have to get involved into an exhausting conversation. Cause just leaving would be rude. And I can’t be rude, “No thanks”, I answer, turning to face her. And flashing a smile.
It almost fools the woman, who smiles back. But it’s quite not enough, “Are you sure? Cause I could make you something.”
What did I just say? It’s like I have to repeat everything I say, before she believes me, “I’m sure”, I start nodding my head like crazy. Can I go now, please?
There’s an awkward silence. Lily stares at me confused. Then she quickly shakes her head once, “Okay. Let me know if you change your mind.”
I smile again, and nod one more time, “I will”, I say and disappear upstairs.
This doesn’t feel like a home. Not to me anyways. I don’t know about Eli. He doesn’t talk to me much anymore. He never ever comes to me, and I seldom go to him. Cause whenever I do, all he wants is to get rid of me. It hurts sometimes, feels like I’m losing my brother. Losing him to this house. This family.
I rush up to my attic-room, and flop down on my bed. Who lives in an attic? Weird creeps like me, I guess.
They’ve already taken my father. Now they want my brother. And after him... I guess it’s me. Sometimes I’m scared witless of waking up, and feeling happy about living in this house. I don’t want that. I want something else. I want my mother. I want... I want something of my own.
I want to sleep. And I can always sleep. I’m always tired.
So I close my eyes, and turn my back to the door. Let them have their house, and their family. I’m going to escape to my dream world...
“Jessie?”, comes a quiet whisper. A tender hand is caressing my cheek, “Jessiee...”, the voice says again. This time louder. This time waking me up. I didn’t even realize I’d fallen asleep yet. Well, I guess you never realize that. You just fall, “Wake up Jessieee...”, the hand pulls back and starts to shake me from my shoulder.
“I’m awake”, I mumble angrily. Can’t they even let me sleep?, “What is it now?”, I roll around expecting to find Zoe.
And it comes as a total shock, when I find myself staring straight into Katie, “Hey”, she chirps with a grin, “You promised we could do stuff after school”, I did? Oh yeah. I did, “It’s after school”, she tilts her head. And looks adorable doing it.
“So what do you...”, I start trying to sit up.
Katie leans close to me and pushes me back down from my shoulders, “What do I want to do?”, she finishes my question, and then answers it before I can protest, “What do you want me to do?”, she asks, with the grin growing even wider. Again with the counter questions.
I grin back. Once was annoying. Twice, frustrating. Three times is cute.
“Can I get up now?”, I ask sweetly.
She shakes her head once and leans even further over me. The grin disappears from her pretty face, when her hand starts to inch towards my face. She brings it to my cheek, and starts tracing my skin. Her touch feels so cold. Her hand is freezing.
I swallow hard and try to regain my verbal skills, “Wha...”, I start, but she’s quick to cut me off.
“Shhh”, Katie hisses, placing a finger on my lips. Her face is slowly falling closer to me. It gets bigger and bigger. Our eyes are locked together. I can’t look away from her deep blue eyes. Such pretty eyes. Such pretty face...
At the last moment she turns her head slightly, and our gazes part. That’s when I want to pull away. But I don’t have the strength. Things are happening too fast. I can’t... I don’t want to...
Her lips land on mine. She’s kissing me. I’m kissing her back. One of her hands is buried into my hair, and the other searches for my hand. Our fingers cross each other, and she squeezes my hand.
Her kiss is so soft. Tender. Warm. Such a contrast to her cold hands. It feels so good, so right.
Katie finally ends the kiss and pulls away. Her eyes grow restless. They become wild. They are darting between me and the window. The roof. The door.
She stands up, “Sorry”, she mumbles.
Sorry? For what? For doing it? For ending it? Wasn’t I good enough?
I sit up, “What?”, I ask confused.
“I shouldn’t have. Please don’t hate me”, she says and starts walking towards the door.
“Katie”, I call after her. She stops. Don’t be sorry. I’m not, “I don’t hate you. Don’t be sorry.”
It was the most perfect thing. She’s the most perfect thing in my imperfect world.
She turns around. I smile at her.
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