Jenny Quinn is no normal nineteen year-old. Not only is she one of the top ranked distance runners in the country, but she isn't entirely human. She's a daughter of Nike, and born to win. This story is told in a linear fashion, but is made up of various snapshots throughout her teenage/young adult years. Some things may seem obscure, that's because they're supposed to be.
Jenny’s feet hit the ground in a rhythmic pattern. The wind whipped through her ponytail as she ran through the woods. Forest runs were her favorite. She didn’t do them nearly as often as she would like to. Had it been up to Jenny, she would go on long runs through the woods everyday. The sounds of wildlife calmed Jenny, the only time she felt like she could think straight was when she was running. The rest of the time Jenny was just operating on borrowed motivations, her running time was the only time she completely came into her own. She was a different Jenny when she ran, she was no longer the insecure, lonely Jenny Quinn that she normally was, she was confident, and it didn’t matter if she was alone, when she ran, she was never lonely.
Maybe that was what drew her to it. When she ran, Jenny felt free. There was nothing tying her down, if she wanted, she could run all the way back home to if she wanted to. The only thing that kept her from doing just that was her own self. She liked it here, or at least, she liked it better than she liked home. She had friends here. Friends. Jenny had never thought that that word would ever apply to her. Poor, odd Jenny, always alone. She was no longer a freak, or an outsider. People here didn’t whisper whenever she walked past them in a hallway. They understood what it was like, or at least some of them did anyway.
Friends, the word felt slightly foreign in her mind. If only the people back home could see this, Jenny thought to herself. They would probably be questioning the sanity of anyone who befriended her if they were here. Jenny was glad that they weren’t. The last thing she needed was for when she’d finally gotten away to have them show up here. Besides, she no longer needed their acceptance. She was accepted here. Nothing else really mattered.
As she continued to run, Jenny noticed that her feet had gone to autopilot, she found herself on the path to a small glade that she’d discovered a few weeks ago when running. It was a small little meadow, and there were a few boulders that Jenny could sit on. It was shaped almost like a very misshapen egg. It was anything but picturesque. But Jenny loved it, she was pretty sure that no one else knew about it, and she was glad. It was her private place to think, and she wanted it to stay that way. Besides, she had a lot on her mind lately.
Quinn was the first issue to tackle. It wasn’t that kind of issue. She didn’t have romantic feelings for him, if anything, Jenny felt the opposite. Dating Quinn would be almost, gross. He was her best friend, but was that mutual? Jenny didn’t know, and that’s what worried her. She was worried about losing him. It wasn’t exactly an irrational fear, and this was the first time she felt like she had something to lose. Maybe it was the way that the two of them were complete opposites that made their friendship work. Maybe it was the way that Quinn made Jenny relax for once, and she tried to give him some structure in return. Whatever it was about their give and take, it worked. Jenny trusted him completely, and even she wasn’t quite sure why. She barely knew Quinn, she had only just met him last week, and yet she still found herself spilling out her thoughts and feelings to him.
Jenny was nothing if not carefully guarded. She rarely let people see what was going on below the surface, preferring them to think that she was just a remarkably cheerful, if a little obsessed with running, girl. And no one questioned it. Jenny was the best actor of them all and no one knew about it to appreciate it. She kept everything hidden behind a cheery smile. And to be quite honest, Jenny liked it like that. Showing what she felt was something that terrified her, and she was determined not to do that. And that was why Quinn terrified her.
She talked to him, and not just the happy, carefree banter that she exchanged with everyone else, she talked to him about things that mattered to her. She found herself telling Quinn things after a week of friendship that she had never told anyone else in her whole entire life (not that she’d ever had anyone to tell it to.) And she didn’t know why. Sure, Quinn was a good friend, but he wasn’t the kind of person that you’d normally go spilling your life story to, but Jenny did anyway. Why? She wanted to know the answer more than she’d ever wanted anything before. But, she had no idea.
Jenny looked around, once again focusing her eyes on her surroundings. The sun was beginning to go down, and the sky was turning a light orange-pink. It was getting late, and Jenny couldn’t afford to get lost in the woods at night. She stood up and began to run back to her dorm to shower and do her homework. Her question still unanswered, Jenny found herself forced to push it to the back of her mind for the time being, and focusing instead on the consistent rhythm of her feet padding along against the forest floor.