So everybody knows that fairytales aren't real. They're just that. Tales. But what if... What if you'd saved your first kiss for someone you truely love, only to find that he's not the person you thought. Urban fantasy that has vague connections with various fairytales, and Tangled.
I sit in the back of the armoured vehicle, staring out of the tinted window, my hands folded nervously on my lap. I jump as something touches my right hand, and I turn quickly, causing several ringlets to fall over my face, but calm down immediately as I see that it's just my date.
"Is it okay?" He asks, his cheeks colouring slightly.
"Is what okay?"
"Me holding your hand..." He replies quietly, and I can't help but smile at how hopeless he looks.
"Of course it's okay." The relief on his face is evident, and I feel a rush of happiness.
We're not dating or anything, he's just a date. To the school's senior year dance. But we're not going out. He asked me to the dance, and I figured that since nobody else would ask me, and he probably wouldn't ask anyone else, so I said yes. And I'm glad I did. He may not be the most popular boy in school, but he's always been kind to me, even though I barely go to the school. I'm homeschooled, mostly. I'm often ill, so only go in for about a week every term, but while everyone else claims that I'm skiving, Clark remains on my side, falsly claiming that he's seen me while I wasn't in school, and saying that I do look very ill, but to be true, I look exactly the same. I appreciate the effort though.
I smile at him again and turn to the window, leaving my hand resting limply in his. The truth is, I'm terrified of tonight. Most of the people in my year I've never spoken to, and the ones that I have completely deteste me. I don't know why. Maybe because I don't have to go to school, and because I refused to go out with the ringleader when he asked me, and now he's got it in for me, and Clark, because apparantly he's liked me ever since I first joined. The amoured vehicle rolls to a stop, and Clark gets out, rushing round in his tuxedo to open the door for me. I sigh, but take the hand he offers and step out, careful not to trip over my dress, or fall over in my high heels. I'm certain I'll break my ankles by the time this night is over. I've never worn high heels before, preferring to go with bare feet since I hardly ever leave the house. Clark senses my unsteadiness, and keeps a tight hold of me, linking his arm with mine. I mutter a thanks, grateful for his support and for the fact that he doesn't seem too intent on walking fast.
We make our way down the street towards the hall where the dance is held. We couldn't drive up because to get there you have to walk through an alley, or else make a huge scene right outside the entrance along with all the popular girls in their gaudy pink limosines.
"You look like a Princess." Clark mutters approvingly nodding towards my floor-length dark green dress. I blush, not exactly sure how to respond. Eventually, I settle for another "Thank you", but it seems unsatisfactory. I hear a noise further down the alley, and start to think that it must just be a stray cat, until I see four shadows block our path. I feel Clark's hold on me tighten and he whispers "If anything happens, run." My heart is beating quickly, and I nod.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't Kari and Baxter." A familiar voice says, coming from the front figure. I groan inwardly. I'm sure they won't make any trouble, but they're going to make our lives a living hell tonight.
"Get out of the way, Gared." Clark says loudly, but the reply is only a raucous laughter. The group of boys walk forwards, Gared staggering slightly, and I guess that he isn't entirely sober.
"Don't you answer back to me, Baxter." He says, referring to Clark's surname as he often does.
"Gared, don't be an idiot." I say, exhausted with arguing with him already, but at the same time that Clark elbows me, Gared turns on me,
"Oh I see, feeling well enough to pick a fight, are we, Kari?" He asks, stepping up to me, but thanks to my shoes, I'm not as badly outsized as I would be normally.
"You know I'm not picking a fight." I say, trying to be reasonable, but he grabs my arm quickly and bends it round my back, making me whimper in pain as my shoulder joint is strained. "NOW!" Gared yells to his cronies, and before Clark can react, two of Gared's friends grab an arm each and force him down onto his knees while the third lands a heavy kick to Clark's stomach. "NO! LEAVE HIM ALONE! STOP!" I shout at them, but they pay no attention to me, and Gared just twists my arm. I struggle against him, but he's bigger than me, and I have little effect. I can only watch as Clark is beaten up by the boys. I feel tears prick my eyes and I try kicking backwards at Gared's shins, but he seems to be expecting this, and moves easily out of the range of my kick. I curse at him, but eventually he just clamps a large hand over my mouth, effectively cutting off my words and soon, my breath. His hand easily covers my nose too, and I writhe about, trying to free myself. I feel his breath on my neck and my skin tingles unpleasantly, "I'm going to get my way, Kari. Like it, or not." He growls, spinning me around, but still keeping my arms in his control. He leans closer to me, and I spit at him, struggling more. He releases my left arm to wipe his face, which is steadily turning redder in anger and impatience. I wrench my arm back, taking a step away and trying to pull my other arm free, but he releases my wrist so he can grab the top of my arm, forcing both my arms to my sides.
"Let go of me!" I shout at him as he leans closer to me again, faster this time. "Get away from me! Leave us alone!" I cry, subtly bringing my knee back.
"Don't let him kiss you, Kari!" I hear Clark shout from somewhere behind me. The pained note in his voice spurs me into action, and I bring my right knee up between his legs. Hard. He doubles over in pain, and releases me. I pull away from him, and aim a punch at his nose. It misses, but catches his cheek, which seems to keep him occupied for a while. I run over to where Clark is, breaking the heel off one of my shoes in the process. I hit the boy beating Clark in the temple and he keels over, apparantly unconcious. Taking the opportunity, Clark slams his weight against the boy on his left, making him release his arm, and then punches the other, distracting him while he gets up, takes my hand and starts running. I run along as best I can, but eventually kick off my shoe with the broken heel, and go a little faster. Clark turns back and sees Gared start to recover and start towards us. He's on the first rugby team. We havn't got a chance against him a second time. Before I can voice this, Clark turns to me and sweeps me into his arms. He runs faster, carrying me, and dodges into one of many side alleys. Although I'm sure that Gared isn't bright enough to work out which one we went into in the dark, he carries on running, turning into other alleys. I press my now tear-streaked face against his chest and eventually I feel his pace slow and his breathing turns laboured.
He places me down on a wooden crate outside someone's back door, and bends over, his breathing now ragged and pained. Although he just put me down, I get up and rush over to him, steering him onto the crate. He bends over so his head is touching his knees. "Ribs..." He says roughly, spitting out some blood from his mouth. I pull out a packet of tissues from his jacket pocket and rip several out. I spit on one and wipe his face gently. His nose had stopped bleeding, but I suspect it's broken. I lift his chin up so he faces me, and so I can focus on cleaning the dried blood from his face. I feel him staring at me as I do this, but I just get another tissue and try to ignore his gaze. I ask him to sit up after the blood is mainly gone, and kneel in front of him. I remove his jacket, gently feeling his ribs, and trying to work out if it's broken or just dislocated. I sigh with relief as I find the injured one and know that it's just dislocated. This I can fix. I look up at him, an apologetic look on my face.
"This will hurt, I'm sorry." I say, and press firmly in the right place. I hear a sickeningly loud crack, and he screams. I wince, but check the joint and release the breath I didn't know I'd been holding when I know that it's back in the right place. I collapse onto his knees, my arms folded with my head resting on them, exhaustion suddenly rushing over me. My breath is wracked with sobs, and I feel him stroking my hair, most of which had come out of the elaborate updo that mother had done. While I cry on his lap, he gently pins some of my ringlets back into place, and rubs my back soothingly. I jump as I hear another crack and cry of pain, but when I look up, Clark's holding another tissue to his nose, and I realise he must have tried to push it back in place. I gently move the hand holding the tissue away to see if he did it right. After all my years of confinement and being too sick for school, I'd learned a great deal about first aid. I smile softly and release his hand, which goes back to his nose just in time to catch a drop of blood before it falls onto his tux. After a few minutes of watching eachother, Clark blushes slightly. It's dark, but still quite obvious.
"You... You didn't let him kiss you, did you?" He asks, sounding anxious. I shake my head, confused, and he lets out a sigh, wincing a little as his bruised rib takes the impact.
"Why is that important? You could have died then, and all you care about is whether he kissed me?!" I say incredulously, and then feel guilty as Clark looks down, almost looking ashamed of himself.
"I had to know..." He whispers. He looks at me, his metallic grey eyes intensly glistening in the moonlight, reflecting the cold grey rock that's lightening our conversation. "You can't give it away carelessly. Kari, your first kiss matters to you like the blood that runs through your veins. Use it only when you know you must." I frown, considering his words, and look up at him again.
"Why? How do you know this?" I can feel my eyes start to sting again, but I blink quickly.
"Trust me." He says, taking my hands in his and grasping them tightly, but not hurting me. "I know because your mother told me." I gasp, suddenly feeling betrayed. "Kari, it's for your own saftey. You have no idea how much this means!" A tear trickles down my cheek and I stand up, realising that I must have lost my other shoe somewhere, and try to pull out of his grip. Try to walk away. He stands up too, but keeps a tight hold on me.
"No... Let go of me..." I say quietly but desperately, tugging, but not having an impact on the boy who's both taller and larger than me. I turn to look at him, "Let go." I say, my voice betraying me and breaking. He looks hurt, but I no longer care. I just want to get away from this place.
But his hold remains absolute, "I'm sorry..." He says, and he really does sound it, but I tug again. Crying freely now, I give up, realising that he's not going to let me go. He releases one hand, which falls to my side, but the other is still outstretched towards him. He walks closer to me, slowly, hesitantly, until he is standing right in front of me. He takes a hold of both hands again and lifts them level with my shoulders. "Kari." His voice is quiet, but I don't look up. I stare resolutely at our hands. He releases my left hand, and gently places his right on my cheek, just above my jawline. He gently lifts my head up, and I reluctantly look into his eyes. They seem to look through me, into my soul, sensing my tiring body and mind, my confusion. "Kari." He says again, in the same soft voice that seems to melt the metal I'm sure his eyes are made of. "Please believe me." He says, just as I ask "How do I know when?" His thumb is stroking my cheek, the rythm relaxing me. Instinctively, I lean into his hand, my head seeming to weigh a ton.
"You'll know." He says, certainty in his voice.
"But what if I don't? Clark, there is no Prince Charming waiting around the corner. No pumpkin coach for us to get in and live Happily Ever After!" I say, desperately trying to get him to understand. "What if I love you? You saved my life!"
His thumb strays to my lips, as if it was aiming for my cheek and missed, except I know that the movement was deliberate. "You don't love me." He says, looking away from my eyes. "I love you, but that feeling will never be returned." He says meeting my eyes again.
"How can you love me? We've hardly spoken. I only come to school once a term." I say, not believing his claim.
"You don't believe in love at first sight?" He asks, and I feel guilty for not understanding before.
"I do... I just think that sometimes it takes a while to realise what the feeling was." I say. He drops my hand abruptly, and walks away. My head falls, thinking I said something wrong, but a second later he's in front of me again, his hands putting something on my head. It's cold, but when I try to take it off to see what it is, he catches my hand.
"Don't, it looks beautiful." He says, looking at me rather than the object on my head. I sigh again, and let my head fall to rest on his chest. He takes a step closer and embraces me with his strong arms. I feel his head rest on top of mine and his breath on my neck doesn't scare me like Gared's did. It's warm and calming, making my skin feel like a summer breeze just blew over it. I close my eyes and try to forget everything. "I love you." I say quietly, only half telling myself it's true, as the rest of me knows it can't be.