Right Under Your Nose
You may have someone in your mind, you may have someone in your heart, you may have someone in your dreams, you may have someone in your life. But you always have someone when you think you have no one.
Her name was Lily Spinet, but they called her Spin because her best friend was Lily Fletcher (Fletch) and calling them both Lily would just get confusing. As far as Hadley Hardie (ugh, he hated his name) was concerned, Spin was the most fascinating creature on earth. Oh, not that he would ever tell her, God no. He was horrible at that kind of thing, and besides, they were living in a giant cliché. If you make a girl and a boy best friends and have the boy fall in love with the girl, how could that possibly not be clichéd? Thus being so, something had to go wrong.
And aha, that something wrong was an absolute classic: Spin was taken, but that's where the cliché stopped. Instead of being a total jerk to her, the boyfriend in question (Jaylin) was really sweet. He gave her flowers (on her birthday, he gave her lilies of course) and wrote her love letters and gave her stuffed animals… the works.
It nearly killed Hadley when he'd sometimes see them in the halls together, hand in hand, or when Spin decided that he would make a good listener when she started talking about Jaylin. It certainly didn't help that the winter formal was coming up and Spin was bent on finding Hadley a date.
"What about Monica?"
Yeah. Slowly dying here.
Hadley exhaled and shook his head, running a hand through his short blonde hair. "I don't even talk to her," he said, trying not to sound as exasperated as he felt. Sure, being set up by the girl of his dreams hurt just a little bit, but Spin's heart was in the right place and that's what counted.
Spin frowned and stared Hadley in the eyes, making him just a bit uncomfortable. "Are you feeling OK?" she asked in concern.
Hadley plastered on his very best smile and nodded. "Yeah, fine," he said, although he got the feeling that Spin wasn't buying it for a second. She had that whole intuition thing that always got Hadley in trouble.
Spin looked at Hadley skeptically, her hazel eyes narrowed. "Yeah right." She leaned over to get a closer look in Hadley's blue eyes. "Liar."
"I'm not lying!" Hadley protested quickly.
"Yeah you are." Spin pushed the tip of her finger against Hadley's chest (Hadley's heart stopped for a moment), now glaring at him. "Best friends, remember? And I thought best friends didn't lie to each other."
Hadley could feel his heart pounding rapidly. What was he supposed to say? He glanced up at the clock- still ten minutes left until the end of class. Curse you, clock. "Um... I just don't wanna talk about this right now." That was the truth.
Spin pulled away her finger and her face softened, although she looked a little annoyed at how she wasn't going to be able to set up Hadley with someone. "Fine..." she said, a little disgruntled. "But I'm not dropping this!" She held up her pointer finger close to Hadley's face for emphasis.
Hadley grinned. "Don't worry 'bout me, Lily," he said, knowing the use of her first name would make her smile, and smile she did. He looked back at the teacher, Mr. Jericho, who was busy on his computer. He leaned closer to Spin and whispered, "You're gonna love this."
Spin brightened significantly. "What?"
"You can't tell anyone," Hadley warned, knowing that no secret was safe with the girl. "But Skyler is gonna ask out Fletch." This was a complete lie; Hadley just wanted Spin to focus on his gangly best friend instead of him. It helped that she had been shipping Lily Fletcher and Skyler Allen since tenth grade, even though Fletch clearly couldn't stand Skyler and Skyler was scared of Fletch. But as many times as the two told Spin this, they just couldn't beat her stubbornness.
Spin clapped her hands together, that unmistakable look of fangirly joy in her eyes. "I knew it," she whispered excitedly. "I KNEW IT."
"You can't tell anyone," repeated Hadley. He was guessing that the whole female population in the senior class would know by the end of the day. Sure, Skyler and Fletch would know who started the rumor in the first place and would most certainly kill Hadley, but it was worth it.
Spin nodded. "I won't..." she lied.
"HADLEY HENRY HARDIE!"
Hadley smirked. He knew Skyler was mad when he put Hadley's fake middle name into action. He turned to the other, who was bright red and his dirty blonde hair was falling in his eyes. "Heeey, Skyler," Hadley greeted him cordially.
"Don't 'heeey, Skyler' me!" snapped Skyler, pointing at Hadley accusingly (man, what was with people pointing at Hadley today?). "You told Spin that I was gonna ask out Fletch, and I am going to MURDER YOU!"
Hadley decided to play the innocent card. "No I didn't," he said. "You know Spin. She was probably hoping that starting the rumor would get you two together." Good intentions, but she had the unfortunate habit of fangirling over a couple that was never meant to be. The same held true in real life, the worst of them being their math and English teachers in ninth grade. She'd gotten detention one day for telling the math teacher to his face that he should ask out the English teacher.
Yeah, that was a little bit of a catastrophe.
And that was a major digression. Sorry about that.
Skyler looked skeptical. "You were trying to save your skin," he said matter-of-factly. "She almost figured out you had a thing for her and you panicked and nearly GOT ME KILLED! Do you know how terrifying it is when Lily Fletcher pins you to the lockers and starts yelling in your face? It ain't exactly a freakin' CAKEWALK!"
Hadley cringed. Skyler usually wasn't very easily angered, believe it or not, but scare the living daylights out of him and you were so in for it. "Um... I'll buy you Skittles?" However, peace treaties were very easily made with him.
Skyler considered it. "A giant one?" he asked.
"Would it be a peace treaty if it wasn't?"
Skyler nodded. "Very true, very true." He smiled, walked up to Hadley, and linked arms with him. "To Wal-Mart!"
Hadley grinned. "To Wal-Mart!" he echoed. He and Skyler began to march down the hallway, their thirty-second war over and a peace treaty to be made.
"If anyone could make me a better person, YOU COULD! All I gotta say is I must've done something good! You came along one and you rearranged MY LIFE! All I gotta say is I must've done something riiight… must've done something right!" Spin threw her arm around Fletch's shoulder and said, "Relient K. So, were you happy to hear that Skyler is gonna ask you out?" She was so sure that Fletch would be nearly as happy as Spin was.
Fletch turned her dark eyes on the fangirl and snapped, "For the last time... I... don't... LIKE HIM! So you can STOP fangirling!" She rolled her eyes.
But nobody could rain on Spin's parade. "Yeah, sure," she said dismissively. "That's the perfect start for a clichéd love story." She walked over to the drinking fountain, but before she even got a sip, Fletch said something that made Spin freeze.
"Just like you and Hadley?"
Suddenly not thirsty, Spin slowly turned back to face Fletch, who had crossed her arms and had a dark smile on her face. Spin shook her head and said, "Nooo… I like JAYLIN, remember? He's my BOYFRIEND. Hadley's just a friend."
Fletch looked doubtful. "Mmhmm." She waited for several moments for Spin to defend herself against that suggestive "mmhmm," but when she didn't, Fletch continued, "Spin, what would you say your type is? Don't say Jaylin- what are you LOOKING FOR?"
Spin thought over this as she and Fletch walked down the hallway and she slowly answered, "Sweet, of course… a little devious and fun… someone who'll pass notes with me… sympathetic… cheerful, but not like, all the time because who's cheerful all the time? That's inhuman." Spin shrugged a little. "And… someone who'll let me fangirl… and won't be afraid to (agh, this sounds clichéd) be himself. And it wouldn't hurt if he was cute." Spin giggled just a little.
"Oh…" Fletch grinned. "So like a best friend."
Spin nodded. "Yeah, kinda like that. I know Jaylin doesn't fit everything, but I don't think that matters much. I mean, I like him and that's generally what you're supposed to do in a relationship."
"Mmm." Fletch nodded but appeared to be lost in thought for a minute or so before saying, "Y'know, that description sounded an awful lot like Hadley."
Spin's eyes grew to the size of saucers. "Wh-what?" She laughed nervously. "No, Hadley's just a friend, and he sees me the same way." Still, the thought unsettled her. While it was true that Hadley met everything on her "list," she just couldn't feel that way about him. Jaylin only fit a few of those qualities, and she would rather go out with him, not Hadley. That would be too weird. Hadley was her best friend, and even if she did like him like that, their friendship would be destroyed if they broke up and she valued his friendship too much to let that happen.
I'm protesting too much, aren't I?
"I'm sorry I couldn't find anyone for you."
"It's fine. Geez… only Mr. Jericho wouldn't tell you to get into your seat." Hadley said this because Spin had decided to sit on his desk instead of her seat beside him. He couldn't say he didn't mind because Spin looked terribly cute when she let her legs dangle off the side of the desk and unconsciously played with her hair.
Spin shrugged and smiled. "Mr. Jericho wouldn't notice if the building caught fire." She really loved the study hall teacher, if you could even call him that. He basically let the class do whatever they wanted.
Hadley laughed. "So…" He trailed off and met Spin's eyes, looking just a little curious. "Who's the pairing of the day?" He found it quite funny when she started to fangirl.
"Luna and Neville!" announced Spin, thrusting her fist in the air for emphasis. "They would have been perfect together. They got that whole 'hidden courage' thing going on, 'specially in Deathly Hallows. Luna got kidnapped and wasn't afraid at all, then Neville rocked hardcore and got the Room of Requirement to work so everybody could hide and killed Nagini! AGH, coolest scene ever!" Spin laughed as she recalled it. "Then they're both kinda outsiders cuz Neville's a little awkward up until the end and Luna's really weird… ah, they would have been beautiful." Spin smiled dreamily for a few moments but suddenly became alert and sat up straight.
Hadley knew that look and internally sighed. It could only mean one thing-
"Hi Jaylin!" Spin beamed as the black-haired boy walked up to the two others, and she promptly kissed him on the cheek. "Missed you yesterday. Feeling better?" She didn't notice how Hadley suddenly looked deflated.
Jaylin nodded and stroked a strand of hair behind Spin's ear. "Throat's still a little sore," he said faintly. "But I'll be fine for the formal."
Spin clapped her hands happily. "You got a white tie, right?" She was very serious about the tie color: it had to match her dress.
Jaylin grinned. "White tux."
"Very nice." Hadley said this a bit too sarcastically, but he couldn't help it. He was sitting right there and they weren't even acknowledging his existence.
Neither Jaylin nor Spin caught the sarcasm. "I thought so," said Jaylin, looking rather smug. Turning his attention away from Hadley, he asked Spin, "So you want me to pick you up around six?"
Spin beamed. "That'd be great."
Hadley exhaled, feeling just a little neglected. It was so hard to watch the person you care about the most practically head over heels with someone else, but what could you do about it? They were happy, and why would you want to spoil that?
"Screw it and just tell her. You sicken me when you're like this."
Hadley didn't turn his attention away from the bouncy ball he was repeatedly throwing against his bedroom wall, although Skyler's comment made him frown a little. "Uh, Sky? Maybe you forgot but Spin is taken."
Skyler snorted. "So? Practically everybody knows that Jaylin'll dump her any day now." Maybe he sounded a little callous, but he was honest.
"Like he'll do it at the dance." Hadley threw the ball a little harder. "I'm not even sure I wanna go now."
"OH YES YOU DO!" Skyler yanked Hadley off the bed by his collar (the ball hit the bed and slid off to the side) and said, "I have to drive Amy there-" Amy was Skyler's younger sister- "and if you don't come with me, then Spin will try to set me up with Fletch again, and I intend to be alive by the end of the year!"
Hadley's eyes were incredibly wide now and, unable to say anything, slowly nodded. He had a feeling that Spin wouldn't be happy until Skyler was either happily in love with Fletch (like that'd ever happen) or in dire need of therapy.
She felt rather beautiful in her dress. She hadn't let anyone but Fletch and her parents see it, and Fletch had joked, "Geez, Spin! Now I'm jealous cuz I don't look nearly that good in mine." Spin disagreed; dark green had always suited Fletch, just like white had always suited Spin.
"I wish I had nice long hair like yours," sighed Spin as she brushed through Fletch's dark hair. "It's so pretty and thick."
"Yeah, but it's a pain trying to clean. My hair gets so tangled in the morning…" Fletch frowned at her reflection. She was apprehensive about wearing the silver moon necklace out of fear that it might get caught, but she agreed to wear it after a five-minute debate. It fell over the top of her strapless dark green dress that had no decoration or embroidery, just the way Fletch liked it.
Spin said nothing to this. "It's the first and last formal dance Jaylin and I are going to," she said mostly to herself. She pushed down on Fletch's head when the latter started to look up. "Seven month anniversary."
"Y'know, he's been lookin' at you kinda weird lately," commented Fletch with a bit of warning to her tone. "Like he knows something you don't." Seeing Spin's alarmed look in the mirror, Fletch hastily said, "No, I don't think he's cheating! God no. There's just something strange."
Spin felt disturbed by this but quickly pushed away the feeling. Jaylin was sweet and wouldn't hurt her. He loved her and she loved him. As if her mind and heart teamed up to spite her, an image of Hadley popped in her mind.
Ugh, why did he have to be everything she was looking for? Why did he have to be so perfect for her when he was only supposed to be a friend? Better question: Why was this upsetting her so much? She knew she couldn't like Hadley... so why did she act so defensive against her own thoughts?
...Why was she thinking about Hadley in the first place?
"Earth to Lily Spinet. I'm pretty sure my hair's brushed enough now." Fletch couldn't help but laugh at the sheepish look on her best friend's face. As Fletch took the hairbrush and pushed Spin in the chair, she said, "You were checked out for a while. Were you arguing with yourself again?" It wasn't really a question: every time Spin "checked out" for more than twenty seconds meant that she was arguing with herself.
"No..." Spin denied. "I was just thinking of ways to get you and Skyler together."
"Lily Spinet, I don't like him!"
"Yeah you do."
Oh the things she did to him.
White dress, crystal necklace, hair down and curled... God, she looks like an angel. Hadley tried to stop staring at Spin, but she just looked so doggone... Oh yeah. Jaylin. He broke his gaze when Jaylin walked up and took Spin's hand. Spin practically glowed when Jaylin did so, but Hadley didn't notice how her eyes darted to him for just a moment.
Might as well go talk. Hadley summoned up all the happiness he could spare and made his way to Spin and Jaylin. "Hey guys." He was about to smile, but instead he laughed because he saw Skyler and his look-alike sister come into the heavily decorated gymnasium, and Skyler was looking around warily, obviously scared that Spin had told Fletch that he liked her or something along those lines. "Spin, just curious, but have you talked to Fletch about Skyler again?"
Spin feigned innocence, much to Jaylin and Hadley's amusement. "Maaayyybeee..."
Sure enough, the moment Fletch spotted Skyler, she pointed at him accusingly and said something they couldn't quite make out, but it made Skyler sprint to the boys' bathroom. This, of course, made the others laugh quite a bit.
"I don't know how you keep convincing her that Skyler wants to ask her out," wondered Jaylin. He suddenly hit his palm against his forehead. "Look who I'm talkin' to."
"Fangirl POWER!" Spin threw her fist up in the air for dramatic purposes, which made the two boys laugh again.
But Jaylin didn't laugh for long because he let go of Spin's hand and took a step back, saying, "I'll be right back... bathroom." There was something about the expression on his face that suggested he had ulterior motives, but Spin didn't seem to realize it.
"'Kay," she chimed as he walked off. "He's sweet, even if he did forget to get me a corsage." She chuckled, but then she realized that it was just her and Hadley. It was suddenly hard to breathe and her palms started to sweat. "Sooo..." She trailed off awkwardly.
"Um..." Hadley smiled hesitantly. "You look nice."
Spin turned a faint pink color. "Thanks... um... you too." She didn't know why she was so nervous. They'd seen each other dolled up before; what made tonight different? Maybe it's because you're in love, said a quiet voice in Spin's mind. Woah, what? She was not in love... she just... agh, she was having issues just liking him more than a friend ('Bout time you admitted it, the voice said); she would have a heart attack if she admitted that. No, it was for the good of her health that she didn't fall in love with him. Yet, the voice added.
"Spin, are you arguing with yourself again?"
Spin laughed nervously. "Um, no," she lied for the second time that evening. "Er... I think I need to use the bathroom, too." She hastily walked away from a very puzzled Hadley. God oh God she couldn't do this. She had a boyfriend who cared about her, and she didn't even know if Hadley felt the same way in the first place. She would've screamed if there wasn't a chance she'd get in trouble for it. Why should I give up something guaranteed?
She cringed as the little voice spoke up again. Because you care more about Hadley. Drat that little voice.
She walked in the bathroom to find several girls chattering away and fixing their makeup, and joy of joys, Fletch was in the corner squeezing a wad of paper towel she was using in place of a stress ball. "Fletch?" Spin walked up to the black-haired girl and poked her. "Fletch, I was just being a fangirl again. Skyler doesn't plan on asking you out... yet." She still held to that hope.
Fletch simply rolled her eyes. Throwing away the paper towel, she commented lightly, "I saw you talking with Jaylin and Hadley." She smiled wickedly. "Hadley was giving you quite a look there."
Spin's cheeks heated up. "No, you're just trying to embarrass me. Need I repeat that I have a boyfriend?" She gave Fletch an exasperated look.
But Fletch was like Spin in the regard that she was very stubborn about these things, except she was nearly always right. "Just cuz you have a boyfriend doesn't mean you don't like Hadley, and I know you do so don't deny it." She knew Spin way too well.
Spin let her head hang. Her heart wasn't playing very nice these days.
"DUDE DUDE DUDE DUDE DUDE DUDE DU-"
Skyler looked torn between worry and enthusiasm. "I heard Jaylin talking to Michael, an' he was talking about how he was going to dump Spin!"
Hadley's face fell dramatically and Skyler cringed terribly. "She's right behind me, isn't she?" he asked stiffly, and his fears were confirmed when Hadley nodded once. He turned around and saw Fletch looking at Spin worriedly and the latter's eyes were glistening.
"He's gonna break up with me?" she asked with a quavering voice.
Skyler bit his lip and nodded slightly. "I'm sorry," he said, truly apologetic.
Spin looked between him, Fletch, Hadley, and Jaylin as he approached the other four. Spin was obviously in a distressed state of mind because the first thing she said to Jaylin was, "You're going to break up with me?" She sniffed.
Jaylin looked very guilty. "Spin... let's go talk." He led her into a corner and took a deep breath. "I'm really sorry, but..."
She didn't really comprehend what he was saying the whole time. She just kept asking herself questions that she couldn't possibly answer. Where had he stopped liking her? Was it something she did? Was it something she said? What happened?
"...we weren't going to stay together forever..."
She felt like she was falling and no one was there to catch her and she would just shatter on the ground. Hadley? He doesn't see me like that, she thought hopelessly. No, Hadley wouldn't be able to save her. He'd try, he'd definitely try, but... it was one of those things where you could be surrounded by friends and still feel so empty.
Jaylin walked away, letting her go, and letting her fall.
She'd been sitting there for five minutes now, staring at the little cup of punch she hadn't taken one sip from. Hadley'd never seen her like this and he hated it. She looked so hopeless and desolate. But what could he do? He wasn't very good with words; what could he possibly say that would make her OK again?
Hadley was surprised when Fletch marched up to him and shoved him backwards. "What the heck!" she yelled angrily. "I know you're crazy about her- don't look so surprised when you're really obvious- and she feels the same way about you!" She glanced over at her best friend. "Go tell her."
Hadley blinked several times. "...You've been within ten feet of Skyler, haven't you?"
Fletch's eyes narrowed. "Go. Tell. Her. Now."
It didn't take Hadley long to obey Fletch's orders. He speed-walked over to Spin, who didn't seem to notice him, and he glanced over his shoulder a couple times only to see Fletch glaring at Skyler, who was looking everywhere but at Fletch. Keeping a two-foot distance, Hadley said, "Hey Lily."
Spin didn't reply at first, but when she did, it wasn't a hello. "I'm wondering if I should drink this. It might be spiked." She continued to stare at the punch.
"I don't think you should." Hadley took a few steps closer and sat next to Spin. "You OK?"
Spin didn't say anything; she simply shook her head.
Hadley sighed, debating whether or not to put his arm around her. In the end, he decided not to do it. Instead he clasped his hands together and said, "Y'know... I don't think he was worth your breath anyways. It's his loss. You're really pretty amazing." Resist, resist...
Spin laughed hollowly. "He wasn't even everything I wanted." She sighed and slumped back in her chair, looking at the punch again. "I should really throw this away."
Hadley couldn't help but laugh. "Why? You don't wanna have a hangover in the morning?" he joked. When Spin only smiled weakly, he said, "I think you'll be OK. You'll find the guy you've been looking for. But..." He paused, searching for the right words to say. "Maybe who you've been looking for hasn't been that far away. Maybe he's been right… here… right under your nose… just waiting for you to realize it." He touched Spin's cheek to turn her face towards him and he looked her straight in the eye.
Spin swallowed hard. "Um... wh-what d'you mean?" she asked timidly, not daring to believe that he liked her more than platonically, that he cared more about her than Jaylin ever did.
Hadley started looking for the right words again, but the impatient voice in his head said, Screw it. Hadley moved closer to her and said quietly (or as quietly as he could with the music blaring), "You know exactly what I mean." And with that, he kissed her flat on the lips. She felt so warm, he thought, and this felt like it was so much more than anything he'd shared with his ex-girlfriends. Now it truly meant something that was so much bigger than both of them. His heart leaped when Spin put her arms around him and started kissing him back.
Spin felt her heart beating strongly again and she realized that she hadn't hit the ground quite yet. Someone caught her and he loved her, and it was just so perfect. Three years and a ship was finally sailing, a ship she'd never gone fangirl about. But now, oh, this could fill her with more than fangirly joy; this could fill her with ecstasy and elation that someone could ever feel this way about her.
This was so worth squeeing for.
Fangirl POWER! :P
Yaaay, I finished a dare from CaveDwellers! Had to use the summary for the story, and I had stashed the first couple pages away in my ideas folder, and they happened to fit wonderfully. ^^
I should mention that I don't own "Must Have Done Something Right" by Relient K or Deathly Hallows.
Have an apple and a banana. :)