It took three rounds of fishing through every pocket on various articles of clothing, patting down his bed sheets, and frisking about his cabinets for Jared to finally accept that his cell phone was not lying forgotten somewhere within the boundaries of his dorm room. The fruitless hour-long search had taken him through every possible nook and cranny and left him exasperatedly thrown against the floor, head and arm partially beneath his bedding structure. Reaching into the depths of items splayed underneath the bed’s frame, he plucked out an empty box, his only finding in the mass of belongings, and propped his elbows up onto his mattress to help himself to his feet. Making his way across the room towards its only trash bin, he rolled the hollow container in his hands and nearly laughed aloud at the band aid box’s promoting cartoon character – what would people say if they caught him throwing out a void box of Dora the Explorer band aids?
Jared blinked down at the box, a memory catching him before he could chuck it into the trash can and forget about it forever. After Marion and Serenity’s physical spat, he’d been left with the bunch of unused Dora the Explorer band aids that hadn’t gone to the beneficiary of Marion Lee that he most certainly did not want his roommate coming across, should the guy ever be on a frantic search for the small, binding solutions. Consequently, he sifted through a series of logical resolutions and decided on one surefire way to get rid of the embarrassing things; he stuck the remainders all onto a piece of construction paper large enough to hold their shrill entities and labeled it, with big and bold lettering done in Sharpie, “To: M. Lee. USE AS NEEDED.” He had slid the monstrosity of a card through the crack under the door of her dormitory and dashed from the area without looking back successfully. That had been a hell of a mission on its own and he had yet to regret the amusement that had come from it.
Chuckling from the relief that he hadn’t seen her since she’d been freed from his oppression, the night of her fight with Serenity, he watched the box fall amongst other scrap pieces of paper and crumpled up failures.
Suddenly, very much like the occasional epiphanies that came to him in the middle of the night and startled him out of the best dreams, he realized where he had left his cellular device abandoned – his usual table at the school’s café! It was such a painfully obvious realization that he groaned and slammed the heel of his palm against his forehead with a little too much gusto. He’d been quick to dive into a recommended reading after snagging his coffee order and had slipped the phone into the little slot between the sugar and the dessert menu. The abrupt call to leave that had interrupted him mid-drink instilled so much urgency in him that he’d left it in his hurry. Grunting his disapproval once again, he grabbed his keys and wallet, bolting out the door in hopes that no one had picked it out from its spot in the three hours that it’d been left stranded there.
Nearly stumbling into an exiting customer, Jared held the door open in unspoken apology and tumbled in as soon as they had cleared the way. He turned the small corner that would give him sight to the seating area with a skid, gulping down a mouthful of coffee-scented air. He made his way to the table and his line of sight latched onto a figure seated in the chair he had previously used. The adrenaline from his rush over to the place simmered down anticlimactically when he identified whom he was gawking at so intently. “Marion,” he said slowly, his eyes lingering momentarily on hers before lowering to target a familiar electronic in the clutches of her hands. “Hey! That’s mine!”
Marion lay sprawled on the bed. Her legs and arms were resting at what looked like uncomfortable angles but she paid no mind. Her face was void of emotion. A dark halo of hair graced the pillow her head rested on. She was flat on her back and appeared to be fixating on the ceiling. Marions normally lively eyes were dull as she listlessly traced the outline of the plastic stars glued to the celing. She had put them there their sophomore year despite Nanette’s protests. She had even taken the care to arrange them in constellations; Orion, Pleidies and the Big Dipper. Marion took comfort in the soft neon glow while Nanette claimed they disturbed her beauty sleep. As Marion turned her head she felt the crisp cool sheet on her cheek. She became dimly aware of a fly buzzing near the window. Nanette was lounging on on her bed in a similiar fashion except she was paging through a gossip magazine. Nanette’s expression gradually turned from aloof to a sneer as she read further. Finally when Marion could stand the boredom no longer, she stood up. Instantly she was overcome by dizzyness. When her vision righted itself Marion spoke, “I need cafefine,” She said simply. Nanette gave her a small nod of acknowledgement.
Outside the isolated world of her shared bedroom, Marion’s senses were overwhelmed. The common room was packed with underclassmen. The shouts of boys and the giggles of girls filled the room. They grew quieter as Marion entered and she felt many pairs of eyes glance furtively in her direction. They all knew of her reputation. She kept her eyes straight ahead and walked briskly through the room; they were below her notice. Once the cold New England wind hit her, Marion regretted the choice of a thin North Face jacket. The trampled snow created a well-worn path to Ricardo’s. Students frequented the cozy cafe. However, Marion was relieved to find it nearly deserted. She beelined to her usual seat by the fireplace. Marion sunk into the soft leather of the armchair and sipped contentedly on her Mocha Latte. The soft music and low murmers of fellow coffee lovers created a pleasant ambiance.
Marion watched customers with her alert green eyes. Carefully she considered everything from the way they stood to their choice of drink, looking for insight into their everyday lives and personalities. She shifted in her seat suddenly uncomfortable. It felt as though she was sitting on a small rectangular rock. Marion reached a hand under herself and patted the cushion, blindly searching for the cause of her discomfort. Her fingers brushed a hard cold object and she curiously pulled it out from under herself. It was a phone. Marion checked her pocket, her phone was safely tucked away. Marion looked around her, searching for someone who appeared to be frantically looking for a missing item. She spotted no one. Surely there is no harm in turning it on, Marion thought. She powered on the phone and began searchinf for clues about its owner.
It was in that moment she heard the promclamation, “Hey! That’s mine!” The voice had a familiar ring to it. She whipped around looking for its owner. To her surprise the speaker and apparent owner of the phone was Jared. Marion twirled the phone in her hand, “And why should I believe you?” Marion raised an eyebrow at Jared. She was in the mood to play games. Marion paused appearing to be in deep thought, “What’s that saying?” Jared looked bewildered. Marion smirked, “Oh that’s right. Finders keepers.” She had no real intention to steal the phone but it was amusing to play with Jared.
Leaning back against his dormitory’s door with pointedly crossed arms, Jared leered down at the girl who’d been screaming the scathing load of ignored protests into his ear not moments ago. His feet remained sturdily planted on the ground before her and he made no move to oblige towards her continued demands. If anything, it was the biting remarks that continued to come at him that fueled enough of his irritation to prevent him from simply releasing her now that plenty of distance had been placed between her and Serenity. He hadn’t meant to drag her into his room, but with all of the raucous noise that had stemmed from such a small person, there was no where else he could really head without attracting more attention than she’d already captured. Given, he could have been more practical about his own choice to simply carry her away, but it had been the option with most efficiency at the moment.
But… now what?
“I don’t know what makes you think you’re at the liberty to say those kinds of things.” He hadn’t meant to open his mouth, but her jabs at Serenity provoked a response from him. Sighing, he closed his eyes and hung his head, holding steadily against her only exit. “On the contrary, I’m sure we can reach some sort of compromise. As much as I feel threatened by that little statement, I’m not sure I can let you out until we do.” Why had he placed himself in this predicament anyway? Although he had resolved to take more initiative and cave into action, he hadn’t planned on including intervention on cat fights as an event to fit into that agenda. Though, analyzing that realization a little bit more, he might have been more prepared if he had expected to be at the ready for just about anything and that had to do with the resolution, didn’t it?
Deciding that it wasn’t the time to go in depth with his abstractions, he lifted his head and gave Marion a wary glance with a seriously set and pressed line for a mouth. “Listen up. Even if you did decide to tell me that you wouldn’t go tearing after Serenity again, I’d find it hard to believe anyway, so we can just shove that nonsense aside right now. What you do have to do first is relax. Until it’s obvious that you’re genuinely clear of mind, I’m staying right here.” He presented her with a grim smile. “Luckily for you, there really aren’t any prior commitments that are going to hinder my ability to do that. But a proud Galloway like you? I’m sure there are many happenings you’d love to be attending on this busy day.”
Wasn’t that a good way to go about it? Jared was unsure; he’d never had to deal with an angered teenage girl like Marion Lee before, so it was possible that it’d take him quite a number of attempts to get through to her before it actually happened. And even then, he wasn’t sure it would keep her from jumping into another fight with his friend. He didn’t owe Serenity anything that would justify his rather direct approach to forcing the danger away, but it didn’t feel as though he’d dived in out of the casually humane aspect of his nature. Again, that was something he could worry about later. “What do you say?”
Marion had a problem when someone told her to do something her stubborness usually caused her to do the opposite. So when Jared told her to relax, Marion become more agitated. She began to pace, her heels making sharp clicking sounds on the dorm floor. Abruptly she turned on Jared, “I don’t care whatever you have with her,” Marion didn’t dain to speak Serenity’s name, “What’s between us is between us. So if you could kindly let me go?” Marion made her way to the door before Jared grabbed her around the waist and placed her back on the bed.
Marion laughed angrly, “Of course you don’t have any prior commitments, you are a Montgomery.” Marion hardly knew Jared and she already found him insufferable. She decided to try another approach. Marion stood up and placed a hand on Jared’s shoulder, “Jared, I’ve been horrible,” Marion said in a candy-sweet voice, “You were trying to protect me,” Marion flutterd her eye lashes at Jared, “What if the tables were suddenly reversed and Serenity got the better of me.” Marion looked into Jared’s eyes suddenly feeling mesmerized before she quickly snapped out of it. “I should be thanking you!” Marion bit lightly on her lower lip and smiled up at Jared, “And now that I have, I’ll just be leaving now.”
Marion didn’t even make it to the door. “Look Jared,” Marion began, “You don’t know me and I don’t know you so I don’t want to get started on the wrong foot,” Marion said her green eyes flashing, “And that seems to be exactly the direction we are headed in.”Marion was frustrated. Nothing she said seemed to effort Jared. It was like he was made of stone. Marion wasn’t used to her threats being ignored. They always rang true and people took them seriously.
Marion rested her head in her hands. She turned to gaze at Jared looking for any weakness, for any clue as to why he wouldn’t let her go. Marion once again found herself lost in Jared’s eyes. She has always had a weakness for boys with pretty eyes. Suddenly Marion was acutely aware of how close Jared was. She could feel the warmth emanating off of his body. “Jared,” Marion’s voice caught in her throat. Marion reached up and touched her cheek, her fingers gently touching the long scratch marks Serenity had left there. When she drew away her fingers she saw blood. Marion was surprised, up until this point she hadn’t noticed the intense stinging. She quickly wiped her hands on her pants not wanting Jared to see.
"Let go of me!" Marion screamed at her captor to no avail. Marion was furious. All the anger that had been released at Serenity was back. She attempted to rip her wrist out of Jared’s grasp and run back to the courtyard. But her efforts to struggle were useless, Jared was much stronger than the small brunette. Marion cried out in frustration. She planted her heels into the ground in an effort to throw her entire body weight into the struggle. Jared looked back at her in exasperation, he appeared to be determined to get her as far away from the courtyard and Serenity as possible. Marion let out a sharp cry when she was aburptly swept off her feet and thrown over Jared’s shoulder.
"You-you," Marion was at a loss for words, "You pig-headed boy!" Marion attempted to wiggle out of Jared’s arms. She did not appreciate being man-handled like this. Only a Montgomery boy would have this little respect for the treatment of a woman and she told him just that. Jared seemed to be ignoring her. Marion did not like being ignored. She was used to commanding respect, not feeling like a little girl. She began pounding her fists on his back in an effort to be put down. She got no reaction from Jared. He hardly seemed to notice the stares of other students as they passed by.
Marion had almost given up on the struggle when she saw the direction Jared was headed in. The Montgomery House. Marion doubled her efforts to escape Jared grasp. No self-respecting Galloway allowed a Montgomery to drag them into the Montgomery House. “Put me down, Montgomery!” Marion yelled, “There is no way I’m going into that house!” Unfortunately Jared paid Marion’s pleas no heed. His mind seemed to be made up. Marion was frustrated. All day she had been dealing with shit. First Serenity and now this Jared character abducting her. He was, either, just trying to protect Serenity or he just really hated Marion.
Jared dumped Marion unceremoniously on his bed. Marion stood up immediately. “What the hell was that, Montgomery?” Marion’s business was with Serenity and she didn’t like other people interfering. “Let me guess, you are in love with that slut? You hooked up one night and now you’re soulmates,” Marion said her voice dripping with sarcasm. God that girl really gets around, Marion thought somewhat annoyed. “Look I can’t promise you that I won’t go back there and finish what I started,” Marion said with a devilish smile. She stepped closer to Jared, “But if you don’t let me out, I can promise I will make your life hell.”