Author: ThePolarBear PM
Jake's eyes were like the weather. They were always changing. In autumn, when the leaves were falling from the trees, and the weather was cold and dead, his eyes would be green, with hints of orange. And sometimes when it rained, his eyes looked like rain, too. Always changing... They were beautiful. Based on a dream I had.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy/Romance - Words: 2,617 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Published: 08-23-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3052891
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Based on a dream I had.
Special thanks to Silent Storm for being my Beta and helping with the title.
If you want to know more about this story, check out my profile.
Caroline walked speedily. She had a destination. She had a plan. Today is the day, she told herself.
It was not in her plan to run into Jake, though she didn't particularly mind him.
Caroline and Jake were both 'special'- that's what the school board called them, and all the other kids at school. They basically lived at Clement's Boarding School for the Talented. The whole school year kids were there, with no where else to go. Sometimes even on the holidays no one came to get them. That's why so many kids disliked school- Being a Clement's kid meant you were different and no one wanted you. Well, mostly.
But Clement's wasn't all bad. It was kind of pretty- Old fashioned buildings and lots of flower gardens, and all that. And most of the kids were okay too. There were still jerks and bullies, like everywhere else, but Caroline felt like there were considerably less. Maybe due to the fact that everyone there was there for a reason. They were all handpicked for being 'special', and/or dumped there.
Jake liked to call everyone magic. Some people didn't like the term, but he liked it. It described what the kids at Clement's could do- and they WERE special, though no one liked that term either.
Jake was sitting on a wall, assessing the weather. He did this all the time. Jake was the weather kid- anyone wanted to know if it'd rain, Jake was their guy. He always knew, because, to an extent, he could control the weather himself.
Kids at Clement's had all kinds of weird powers and stuff. Take Caroline, for example.
Caroline could see through any substance. Well, currently. She had sort of an x-ray-vision thing going, and in her personalized class they hadn't yet found a thing she couldn't see right through.
Comically, though, Caroline was horrible at reading people- and that mattered much more than seeing through steel, or anything else.
"Caroline!" Jake spotted her from atop his wall, and he smiled a real smile. Jake wasn't much of a smiler- he was one left there unloved by his so-called parents. But he always smiled for Caroline. Caroline slowed her rushed pace a little.
"Hey... Well, um, I kinda gotta go, um, important business..." She muttered. Then she stopped all together. "How you get up that wall?"
Ever since Jake was born, he'd had a lame leg. Just another reason for his parents to dump him here... One leg was completely fine, but he couldn't move, or really feel, his other leg. His preferred choice of getting around was crutches, but sometimes teachers and doctors forced him to use a wheelchair.
He hated wheelchairs.
"I like challenges." Jake said, and paused for a moment. "Now come talk to me." Caroline fidgeted. She was on a mission... She glanced at her clock, but she figured she'd still have plenty of time, even if she stopped to chat for a while.
"Fine," She said, hoisting herself up the wall. She sat next to Jake, as usual, being a little drawn to his eyes. But who wasn't?
Jake's eyes were like the weather. They were always changing. In autumn, when the leaves were falling from the trees, and the weather was cold and dead, his eyes would be green, with hints of orange. And sometimes when it rained, his eyes looked like rain, too. Always changing...
They were beautiful.
Today Jake's eyes looked like spring and sunshine. They were green and just a little-little bit of gold, rimmed in blue.
"So how was class today?" He asked nonchalantly. They both knew the school year was winding down. Caroline's parents would come get her, but Jake's parent's might... Forget. And he'd be stuck there for even longer, only, without Caroline, or his other friends. Well, friend. Everyone liked Jake, for the most part, but he in truth only had two real friends- Caroline, and Green, a kid who went by his last name. And like Caroline, Green was always home for the holidays, the lucky guy. At least he had nice grandparents who liked him.
"Stupid." Caroline said in response to Jake's question. They both laughed. "So... What did you want?" Nervously she checked her watch again. She was already on edge with her mission, as she was calling it, and with the whole time-issue-thing she was just getting herself more worked up.
"To tell you something. It's important." Jake replied, not waiting for a response. "Here, come with me." Scaring Caroline out of her wits, he jumped down from the wall. For a moment she could just see him hurting himself- maybe his other leg. But he landed almost perfectly, and honestly, Caroline's landing was worse, her dark brown hair flying everywhere.
"Where?" She asked simply, nervously. Jake tipped his head.
"The usual place. Why, is this a bad time?" He asked. "We could... Talk later." Jake's eyes turned a little more green.
"No." Caroline shook her head. "I'm just being crazy. You know me." Her heart was doing tap dance, but Jake looked sort of serious. Not that that was uncommon. But still, she'd always felt sort of protective of him. She felt like she needed to guard him, with his leg and all, but maybe that was just because she was embarrassed at how much it was really him taking care of her.
Jake smiled again. He must be in a good mood, Caroline thought. He led her away from the wall and into the woods bordering Clement's. Technically, it was off-limits, but lots of kids went in there. No big deal, right? Right.
Jake's own thoughts were racing, and he had a heart set on tap-dance too. But there was something he had to do. Today... He thought. Today I'll tell Caroline how much I like her.
The weather overhead matched Jake's emotions, like it so often did. A natural occurrence for Jake's mind to take control. A wind was picking up, and the sun sent bright rays down into the trees. They reached the place they always liked to sit, a small clearing.
"First off," Jake announced, "Happy Birthday." The statement almost surprised Caroline. She'd forgotten her own birthday in her morning anxiousness and haste. "You're 16." Jake announced, and plucked something out of his hoodie pocket. It was a slightly smooshed daisy chain. Caroline had taught him how to make one a few weeks ago, when they had stolen a few flowers from the greenhouse. Caroline laughed, and he placed it around her neck.
"You are so lame," She said. Jake did his smile that he did for Caroline. In his head he called it that- his Caroline Smile. No one else made him smile, except sometimes Green, and even so it was never quite the same as this kind of smile. His Caroline Smile naturally happened. It was never forced, and it was a little lopsided.
For his 16 birthday, Caroline had given Jake a set of watercolor paints. And here he was giving her a smooshed daisy chain. But somehow it was better than anything else she'd ever received, and far more charming than a set of paints. Besides, she knew that Jake didn't have much money. Rather, make that none.
"So, I have something to tell you, birthday girl." Jake shifted his crutches from in the lap to next to him. He leaned forward a little, and to Caroline's ultimate surprise, he brushed a little hair out of her face, and said, "I like you, Caroline. Like... A lot. You know." Jake wasn't as smiley now, but instead looked hopeful.
Caroline's whole train of thought went careening off the tracks. In the back of her head, her so-called mission had still been bothering her, but now... Now she was lost for words. Jake liked her? Jake was just... He was just a friend... And... And...
Hesitantly, Jake leaned over more and kissed her. He wasn't trying to be forward, but he needed to know what Caroline thought. Emotions were vibrating around in Caroline's skull, but she didn't know what emotions they were. Jake backed off, but his thoughts were vibrating and bouncing too. He'd done the right thing, right? Telling her? He really did like her. He trusted her more than anyone.
"I..." Caroline didn't finish. She looked so shocked. Jake backed away a little more.
"Sorry." He said, and he honestly meant it.
When Caroline had composed herself a little more, she turned to Jake. It was hard to look him in the eyes, but she had to. "Jake, I think I like someone else." She faltered, thinking in a worst-case-scenario mindset. Would this make Jake turn against her? She couldn't see returning to Clement's after break without him by her side. It would hurt too much.
"Who?" It was a simple question, and Jake's tone was neutral, but Caroline could see faint pain creeping into his eyes, like storm clouds gathering.
"Well." She said slowly. "This morning, well... I was rushing to find Green. I really... I've always thought that... Maybe he liked me too. I- He's leaving this afternoon, you know that. I had to tell him before he left for break. I-" She faltered yet again. There was a pause, and a cold breeze swept Caroline's hair around her face. Jake shook his head.
"Then go." He said quietly. "If you like Green, you're right, you should tell him before he leaves for break."
Was it possible Caroline was more surprised than when he had kissed her?
Yes, it was possible.
"You're like, okay with this?" Caroline asked. She felt herself tipping her head quizzically when she asked, something that Jake always did. Jake actually laughed.
"If you love something, let it go. Right?" Jake paused. "I never liked that saying. But you should be happy." He gave a crooked smile. "Especially on your birthday." Caroline pushed messy brown hair out of her face and stood.
"Jake, I'm never going to forget this." She promised. "You are... The best friend I've ever had." She felt stupid, and tears were coming on. In Jake's eyes, the storm clouds were thinning, but they were still there. In his dark, dark blue eyes and in the clearing, it began to rain, lightly, gently.
"Go." Jake said with a voice that matched the rain. He even made a little shooing motion with his hand. Without any words, Caroline ran, tripping over a few rocks. She felt horrible. "Wait!" Jake called, and she froze. "Just... If you ever need me, I'll still be here." Jake said. For a hazy moment Caroline thought he meant in the meadow, but he clarified. "I mean, I'll always be your friend." He said it so honestly that Caroline's confused heart broke a little.
She nodded, and ran again, feeling like a coward of some sort. Not really fixing the problem. Just running. Away from the rain, away from Jake. It's always easier to run, isn't it?
When she'd reached the end of the rain, she stopped. Her watch told her it was 11:01. She had another hour before Green left. But suddenly, she wasn't sure of anything. She looked back, almost afraid she'd see Jake and his crutches coming out of the clearing. But there was no one but herself, and the rain was still falling gently.
Maybe it isn't always easier to run.
Caroline leaned against a tree and picked at her daisy chain necklace. Did she really... like Green? Just yesterday she'd thought that maybe she even loved him. His all-star smile, his patience with everyone and everything. He was outgoing and brave, and his reason for being at Clement's was that he could talk to dogs. Just dogs, as far as he knew, and he loved them more than anything in the world.
Green was a good friend, to Caroline, Jake, and dogs, but he wasn't one for drying tears or cheering you up (unless you liked corny knock-knock jokes, or conversations with dogs) or even sitting in a clearing and talking. Just... Talking. Or really understanding, with hardly a word being spoken. He wasn't...
In the clearing, Jake was content to let himself get wet with rain. He felt sort of empty. He'd done all he'd needed to, and now Caroline would be happy, with Green. That was it. That was fine. Or maybe it wasn't. But all that mattered was Caroline. And sometimes, when you do something that you know you needed to do but it doesn't turn out the way you wanted it to, you do feel like that. Empty, but maybe, slowly filling with content.
Caroline was crumbling. The daisy chain crushed in her hand. I messed up, she thought, and the phrase was repeating in her head, over and over and over. She stood. She composed herself again, and for the first time, she let her emotions from the Jake-kiss really run through her. She was a little wet and cold, but now she felt warm. She felt the tingles in her toes. And most of all she felt like she'd messed up, big time.
She'd never loved Green.
She'd never liked Green.
And suddenly, she was sure he hadn't felt like that about her, either. And there was a rumor going around that Green had a major crush on Scarlet Qwon, that girl who could control plants.
And at that moment, Caroline only liked- or maybe even loved- one person, and she'd stupidly just pushed him away. Tap-dance heart, big time. Why had it taken her so long to realize?
She ran back to the clearing, through the rain.
"Jake?" A hesitant call, and then there was Caroline. She resisted the urge to throw her arms around him. The rain was a little heavier, because at Caroline's departure Jake's mind took over just a little more, and he was thinking, thinking thinking.
And he was sitting so still, with his brilliant eyes closed, that he could have been asleep.
"Yeah?" He opened his eyes, and their extremity took her breath away for a moment. Then she not-so-gracefully scrambled to sit down next to him.
"I was totally, totally wrong." She said, with a Jake-amount of honesty. Then she leaned over and kissed him, lightly. The rain just sort of stopped, in that very moment, and when Caroline pulled away, the sun was shining again. Jake's eyes were as light a shade of blue as the sky. And Caroline didn't need X-ray vision to see what he was thinking.
"You were?" Jake said, tipping his head a little with a Caroline Smile. But he didn't wait for a response. Instead, he reached for her hand, like he'd been waiting to do for so long, and laced his fingers through hers.
That was fine by Caroline.