A/N: Originally written for the Lackadaisy Forum writing contest... awaiting results!


Her name was Jane. She wasn't special in any particular way. She liked books, and sneakers, and most of all sweaters. She liked her wavy, carrot-colored hair; she liked the way it fell across her face when she turned her head a certain way. She hated the blob of freckles that ran across the bridge of her nose.

She didn't particularly care for boys. She liked to watch as the other girls squealed and giggled as the football players walked past. She didn't really see what appeal they had. They were, basically, a big wall of muscles. They had no feelings, no intelligence. In other words, these girls were crushing over a brick wall.

She laughs and shakes her head and returns to the book she is reading. If only boys could be like the men she found in there. Smart, kind, and genuine. Not a mass of muscles who looks on to her papers just to barely pass the class.

As she is reading, she notices an ant that is slowly making its way toward her. She watches it intently, waiting to see what it will do. It is inches from her foot- centimeters. She picks her foot up and smashes it. She looks up and sees him.

He watches her intently, waiting to see what she will do. She swallows against a dry lump in her throat. It's him. Travis.

She feels color rushing to her cheeks, and she is powerless to stop it. Suddenly she wishes that she hadn't squashed the ant- that she was anywhere but here. Her thoughts go back to another time...

He walked down the hall, confident and surrounded by his friends. They laughed about something. Jane watched silently, without interest. She was alone, her book clutched to her chest and her blue eyes unfocused. The boys passed by a locker with the lock hanging, open. Delighted, the boys opened the locker and searched for anything valuable. Travis rubbed his arm uneasily.

Jane's eyes lit up, seeing the commotion. She watched Travis, waiting to see what he would do. He took no part in the looting. He took no part in the vandalism. He searched the faces of the boys that he had, once, called friends. And in them he saw no trace of anything vaguely resembling men.

His decision was made.

He slammed the locker shut and put the lock back in its place. His actions earned him jeers from the boys that had once followed him. Jane looked on in awe, amazed that mankind was capable of such... chivalry.

When Travis walked away, only half of the monkeys followed him.

Travis smiles and waves at her. Her heart speeds up. She tries to think clearly. But it's hard to focus. She doesn't know why she's feeling this way- maybe she's caught something. There's a nasty cold going around...

Travis stands up and walks to her. She knows that she should stand, that she should do something other than just sit here petrified by the wave of nausea that has completely overtaken her.

Travis pulls something from his bag. It's a rose. He hands it to Jane. She takes it, barely comprehending her actions.

Words try to form themselves on her lips, but they quickly fall away. She finds herself speechless.

Travis says something- her clouded brain barely makes out the word "valentine".

What day is today? She hadn't given it much thought, but as she sifts through the contents of her mind she realizes that it is February the fourteenth. Valentine's day.

The color rises to her cheeks, and she searches frantically for something to say. But she is still at a loss for words. Travis smiles and walks away.

She looks down at the rose in her hands, its pink petals soft to the touch. A smile spreads across her face, and she makes no move to suppress it.

Then she hears a sound from in front of her- talking, laughing. She looks up. It's Michelle. And Travis.

Michelle. She wrinkles her nose at the sound of her name. She is part of the cheer squad, and Travis's love interest for a year and a half.

Something sharp brushes against her thumb and she looks down to see the rose. Her mouth twists its way into a smug grin. He gave her a rose. He has no rose for Michelle.

Michelle talks to Travis for a while. She laughs at something he says, and glances at her briefly. She giggles. Jane waits.

Travis does the unexpected. He pulls Michelle closer and kisses her.

The grin falls. She picks up her bag and book and runs. Runs far away- anywhere but here. She throws the rose into some forgotten corner and keeps going. Finally she stops where there is no one- she is sure of it.

She feels like there is a hole in her heart.

He gave her a rose.

But he gave Michelle a kiss.

She doesn't understand why she feels this way. She had never had feelings for Travis, anyway. She didn't particularly care for boys, right?

So why did she feel so broken?

She takes a few minutes to compose herself.

She shoves her emotions back where they came from.

She opens her book and continues where she left off.