A/N: This story is a one-shot.
Kara Stewart was a social recluse. She wasn't exactly an introvert; she just didn't know how to interact with people. More often than not, conversations would go totally contrary to the way they had played out on her mind. She helped people, looked out for them and basically did everything a "nice girl" would do. The only difference being, she did those things in her own, inconspicuous way. It's not like she did not like the limelight; she just felt very awkward and uncomfortable in it as compared to the solitude of her quiet corners.
Even so, every girl longs for some form of attention deep within her heart and hers, happened to be from Neil Matthews – the popular hotshot of the school; the one guy that is labeled as "everybody's". As society would term it, 'he was way out of her league'! But that did not stop Kara from fantasizing about him. Unlike the other girls whose attraction to him was purely because he was a rare case of 'good looks and good character', Kara knew there was more to him than that. She had a couple of classes with him and knew that he was intelligent, witty, humorous and a genuine person; she admired him for it.
"Oh how I wish I could just talk to him!" she said to herself, as she swept the dust off the attic floor one Sunday morning.
As she was sweeping, a small red box caught her eye. Tucked snugly between a large, dusty cupboard and the wall, she would not have noticed it had she not been the perfectionist she was even while sweeping.
Curiosity took the better of her and she put down the broom to take out the box. As she brushed off the thick layers off dust, she noticed some writing that caught her eyes. She quickly cleared away the dust to find beautiful, old-fashioned calligraphy on the lid. It read:
'Blessed are you, who have found me,
May good fortune now find thee;
From this day forth, part not with me
And you shall find the true love you seek.'
All the more curious now, she propped open the lid to find a beautiful heart-shaped pendant made of silver, strung on a thin silver chain. Even without the 'charm' on the lid, she would have been mesmerized by it; such was its beauty. She couldn't believe such a precious treasure was hers to keep. Well, the inscription did say 'you, who have found me'!
The next day as she walked out of English class, she was fiddling with the pendant, still pondering about where it came from and its authenticity. She did not notice where she was going until she ran smack into somebody's back.
"Sorry…" She mumbled, looking up to find a pair of warm brown eyes intently gazing at her.
If she was any normal girl, she would swooned right then. But she was not; so she kept herself in check.
He bent down to pick up something silvery from near her foot. It took her a moment to realize that it was her precious pendant. She all but grabbed it from his hands. He stared curiously at her behavior.
"S-sorry… and thanks!" Though she stammered, her eyes were maintaining a leveled gaze with his.
He chuckled. "You're Kara aren't you? We have a few classes together. I'm sorry I've never properly introduced myself before; I'm Neil Matthews!" He struck his hand out.
Her face must have betrayed her surprise at him knowing who she was, for he threw his head back and laughed heartily at her expression.
He has a pretty laugh… It's unpretentious and genuine…
Her 'admiration' for him grew as she shook his hand, and she actually gave him a smile.
"I'll be seeing you around then!" he said and jogged off with his friends.
After that day, Kara seemed to run into Neil almost everywhere. By spending time with him, she gradually learned to open herself up; not only to him but to others as well. People wondered whether this was the same Kara Stewart they knew.
As they spent more time together, they realized how similar they were. Kara and Neil saw sides of each other they never knew existed and slowly but surely, they fell in love. Words were not required for they understood each other plenty well to know what they felt. After a while, not even Neil's fan club could complain for they complimented each other perfectly – Kara was beautiful, intelligent and good; it was just her social awkwardness that had made her aloof before.
As for Kara, this transformation in her life seemed to be happening too quickly to be attributed to her own qualities. She had no doubt it was the pendant's doing.
It must contain a magic spell after all, she thought.
Years passed and nothing hindered their relationship; not distance as they went to college nor families and friends. It was like they were meant to be.
One evening, they were walking hand in hand at the park as the sun was setting below the horizon, painting the sky a million colours...
"It's beautiful" Kara whispered.
"Not as beautiful as you"
She turned to find Neil's warm brown eyes looking at her with a devotion she almost felt unworthy of. It must be because of the pendant, she thought once again. Doubtlessly, she loved Neil unconditionally, that she knew; but she could also never expel the nagging thought that all this was only because of the pendant.
"Kara… Marry me."
It was simple. No bent knees, flower showers, shooting stars, nothing. But it was much more than all of that put together. His emotions shined through his eyes and his voice pulsed strongly with all the sincerity he could muster.
It was the first time that Kara truly felt that she had cheated him. She really believed that all his feelings for her were only because of her silver pendant. She felt ashamed and broken-hearted. Her voice quivered when she finally spoke,
"Neil… I have something I must tell you first"
She could see the trepidation growing in his eyes as he asked her in a strained voice, "What is it Kara?"
"Promise me that you will not hate me! …oh but I couldn't blame you if you did! I feel awful; like I've betrayed you!" Her eyes shone with tears and he couldn't take it anymore. He grasped her arms frantically, fear and anger showing in his voice. "Just spit it out Kara!"
"It's my pendant!" she exclaimed as the tears flowed down.
"You don't understand! You only think you love me but you actually don't! It's because of the pendant!"
Now he genuinely looked confused. "Kara, calm down." He waited until she was calm before proceeding, "Now tell me what this is all about."
So she did. She told him how, all those years ago, she had found the red box. She told him about the inscription on the box and explained how, from the very next day, he – her unrequited crush- had started taking an interest in her, how she had changed from being a social recluse to a social butterfly.
When she finished, he stared at her a few seconds before heartily laughing out loud.
"You find it funny? Don't you understand that your will is being manipulated?"
That only made him laugh harder. She was fuming at his reaction. He quickly tried to compose himself as he saw her expression. He took her hands in his and pulled her close.
"God, Kara, you really scared me there! Never do that to me again, you hear?" He chided gently before he brought her hands up to his lips and kissed them.
"But the pendant-"
He cut her short with another kiss, rendering her speechless. He pulled back and looked her squarely in the eyes and said, "I love you"
Seeing the faint look of disbelief on her face, a wry smile played on his lips. He held both her hands firmly in one hand and started removing the pendant from her neck with the other, all the while keeping his eyes locked on hers.
He saw her anxiety reflected on her face and she tried to break away, but couldn't. She closed her eyes and held her breath as felt the coolness of the silver slip away from her neck.
She slowly opened her eyes, expecting to see Neil filled with rage upon having his emotions trifled with. She feared his hatred. But what she saw caught her by surprise. Neil's expression had not changed one bit. His eyes, displaying the gravity of his emotions, still held her hers with his gaze.
"I Love you" he reiterated slowly, throwing the pendant over her head. She didn't turn for she had eyes only for him, staring at him with disbelief and shock. He waited for it to sink into her. "Will you marry me?"
He saw the myriad of emotions spread across her face till she finally settled on one of utter joy and confusion. Tears streamed down her face as she replied, "Yes… Yes! With all my heart!"
They reveled in their intimate moment and rejoiced. After quite some time had passed and the orange dusk had faded into a silver-speckled dark night sky, she suddenly remembered her pendant.
"It really was a beautiful pendant. Magic or not, it brought me to you…" she commented, her hands unconsciously feeling for it on her neck.
He studied her for a minute before nodding. "Let's search for it. It surely fell somewhere around here!"
They searched and searched until she finally spotted a glimmer of silver in the grass. As she picked it up, she noticed the heart had opened to reveal the inside. There was an inscription upon it in the same calligraphic style as had been on the box but it was too dark to read.
"Did you find it?" Neil asked, coming up behind her.
"Yes I did! Although, I never knew it was a locket!"
"I'm glad you found it." He smiled. "It's getting late; you should be getting home."
He dropped her off and kissed her goodnight, a warm and happy smile playing on both their lips; the kind of smile which says that you know everything is going to be alright from here on out and even if not, happiness can always be found if you're looking for it. She knew she was right when she read the inscription inside the locket in the light of her room:
'The magic is in you'
A/N: This is just something I wrote to catch a break from studying for my exams! I promise I will update my other stories soon but for now, I hope you liked this! :) Please Read & Review! ^_^