Disclaimer: I have absolutely no claim to anything involved the I Am Number Four franchise. I just wish I owned Alex Pettyfer.
Hi there. This story is based completely off of the movie. I've never read the book, though I should probably get around to that one of these days. I haven't written anything in quite a while, so I hope you all enjoy this. Please give me feedback if you'd like to me to continue.
Everything reminded Sarah of him. It had been five long years and yet her heart still raced when she caught a glimpse of shaggy blonde hair on the street. At least by the third year the battered organ had stopped leaping to her throat when there was a knock on the door, only to sink to stomach when it was never him.
Him, that's how she referred to the beautiful boy who had come into her life for such a brief moment it barely felt real anymore. The beautiful, inhuman boy that had changed everything she had ever know about life and love, the universe itself so quickly it was hard to believe he had ever been tangible. John, Number Four, whatever he went by now, he had to have been nothing but a dream to help her escape from the mundane world around her. Then, just as quickly as it had come, the dream had dissipated like a puff of hot breath in the bitter winter air.
Now all that was left was a few pictures she kept carefully hidden away.
Five years had gone by since she watched him drive away in Sam's fathers pickup truck. It had been three since she had last heard from him. Sarah had known it was coming. Each desperate correspondence had come farther and farther apart. Then they had simply stopped coming at all. There hadn't been a single short but loving text from an unknown number or hand written plea to remember him with no return address in three years. Her hope that he would return was something like grains of sand in an hourglass. These days there were a spare few that had not yet slipped through to the other side, but a few grains remained.
Her mother had gently suggested that maybe he would never return to their ironically named little town because he couldn't. She had danced around the word, but Sarah had heard her implication loud and clear. Maybe he was dead. She had demanded her mother say the words aloud. Sarah screamed and raged at the idea until the older woman finally whispered the horrible the possibility.
"Maybe John is dead."
The statement had hung in the air, choking Sarah as she struggled to breath it in. She couldn't stay in parents house after that. Not with the words forever echoing though the hallways and polluting everything around them. That very night she packed her bags and drove away from their idealist little two story craftsman that John had admired so much. He had saw it as a true home, something that he had never known. To Sarah it was nothing but a constant reminder of what she would never have with him.
It he had died somewhere out there trying to protect their insignificant little planet she would have felt it. Sarah knew deep down to the marrow of her bones that she would have felt the last breath he took. Still, the thought was a cancer that spread through her slowly. For all of the romantic notions she kept close to her heart, their story was hardly a fairytale.
Life went on. Sarah was incredibly good at going through the motions. She ended up doing exactly what her parents had wanted her to do. She received a two year associates degree at the local community college and became a dental hygienist of all things, doing wedding photography on weekends for cheap. Blushing brides and well lubricated groomsmen were all she took pictures of anymore it seemed. Before John she had been able to find a certain beauty in the ordinary. After John the most extraordinary thing she would ever experience, the simple things were suddenly stale and banal.
Still, life went on.
Angrily wiping a stray tear from her eye, Sarah filled a second glass of chardonnay and joined her roommate on the living room couch. Handing the glass to Cassie, she took a healthy gulp of her own and folded her legs underneath her in an effort to get comfortable.
"Pick your poison babe, Waiting to Exhale, (500) Days of Summer or The Notebook?"
Sarah took another sip of her wine and sighed. "It's your breakup. What are you feeling?"
"I might be a little too tempted to pull an Angela Bassett if we watch Waiting to Exhale," she mused as she inspected each of the DVD covers. "And I feel too much for poor Tom in 500 Days. Summer was such a unholy raging bitch..."
"We were going to end up watching The Notebook whatever I said, weren't we?"
A small smile pulled at Cassie's lips. "Yeah, pretty much. Let me just pretend that I have a Ryan Gosling out there somewhere for a little while please?"
"But of course. Who am I to deny a lady?"
"I'm definitely a lady."
"Evan was an asshole anyway, Cass. Cliche aside, you can do much better than him."
"I know," the girl sighed. "I definitely see why you don't date now. Either they're hopeless losers looking for someone to leech on to or dirty little piggies who'll stick it in anything with a pair of tits and a pulse. Or both."
"I don't believe that. You're just looking in the wrong places."
"I guess. You know what I don't get? How you can have an incredibly sweet and incredibly attractive guy with a job following you around like a little puppy and you won't give him the time of day. Sometimes I want to beat some sense into you with the nearest blunt object."
Sarah drained her glass and looked down at her hands. "Kyle is great but..."
"But it's not that easy," Cassie finished for her, rolling her eyes. "I don't understand why you're unwilling to at least try. Maybe if you finally told me why it's so complicated..."
"Uh uh. Tonight is supposed be about you."
Cassie rose from the couch and grabbed Sarah's empty glass. "Then indulge me."
"I really don't...think that's a good idea," Sarah finished weakly as she watched her disappear into the kitchen, knowing she wasn't listening, nor did she care.
After a little banging around Cassie reappeared holding a bottle of tequila and a bright smile. "Fuck the wine. It's not getting either of us anywhere."
"Where exactly do you want to go?"
"To that special, warm glowy place where I'm too shitfaced to remember douchebag Evan even exists. By how fast you gulped down that wine I'd say you'd like to go there too."
Biting her lip, Sarah contemplated what could possibly go wrong. At best they would get smashed and cry their eyes out to a chick flick or two. At worst she all of her secrets and failures would come spilling it out. Maybe if she paced herself scenario B could be avoided...
"I've got salt and limes," Cassie sing-songed, shaking the bottle enticingly.
"Alright," Sarah smiled reluctantly. "One or two can't hurt."
"Evan," Cassie slurred, holding the shot glass to her mouth and snorting. "He even has a douchebag name. Evaaaan."
"He dresses like a douche too," Sarah snickered. "Popping his polo collar with those stupid plaid shorts and boat shoes."
"Gawd what was I thinking?" Cassie groaned as she buried her head in her hands. "His idea of a date was to drive around town bumping shitty rap in the Escalade his mommy and daddy bought him. When he was feeling real gentlemanly he'd let me order anything I wanted from Taco Bell."
"And you let him go?" Sarah gasped mockingly. "He'll be the one that got away, Cass. I promise you."
Cassie smiled in amusement, but went quiet at the statement. After a short stretch of silence she finally asked. "Who got away form you?"
"How do you figure I've got a one that got away?"
"Oh come on Sarah. You're good at playing dumb but I don't buy it for a second."
Grabbing for the bottle, Sarah didn't bother with a shot glass. "He didn't get away. He just...had more important priorities."
"If he had priorities bigger than you than fuck him."
"If only it was that easy Cass," Sarah laughed bitterly as she took a pull from the near empty bottle.
"Nothing comes easy with you, huh?"
"I'm a complicated girl. What can I say."
" You could tell me about him."
"Would it really make you feel better?"
"Silly girl, this has nothing to do with making me feel better. I've watched you walk around like a fucking zombie for the past year with a fake smile on your face, and it kills me. What did he do to you?"
Hot tears burned at Sarah's eyes at Cassie's words. She had been so closed off for so long. Drowning in her own pain was all and well, but where did it get her? Maybe if she said the words out loud they would lose some of their power.
"He left, but it wasn't his choice. There are things out there bigger than us Cassie. If there's one thing I can thank him for, it's teaching me that."
"Oh, baby. Is some guy leaving you really worth all the pain you've put yourself through? You have to be lonely."
"I promised I would wait. I'll wait until the end of time if I have to."
"For what? Someone who's never coming back?"
"He will." Sarah insisted as irrational anger rose. Cassie was only going off of the very little she had been told. She couldn't fault her friend for not understanding.
"How long has it been then?"
"So you're just going to waste the rest of your life on some hope that this guy comes back? Fuck Sarah. You couldn't have even been legal when all of this went down. At that age it's nothing but bullshit puppy love."
"You don't understand!"
"Then tell me."
The tears she had been battling finally came rolling down her cheeks. Sarah wasn't the crying type, but the mix of alcohol and memories was too much for her. Soon sobs wracked her small frame as everything she had kept held in for so long came pouring out.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Oh honey, try me."
"His name was John." The statement hung heavily in the air as Sarah tried to find her grounding to continue. "He...I don't know how to explain this Cass. It's not my place to tell you any of this. I just know in my heart that he'll come back to me."
"I'm sure. You don't sound so convinced yourself."
"All I can do is hope."
"You're really going to spend the rest of your life alone because you've got some shred of hope? I love you Sarah, but that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. This guy has probably forgotten all about you by now."
A long time ago John had told her that his kind would only love once. She still held on to that promise like a lifeline, but Sarah would be a liar if she hadn't doubted it. So many times she had laid in bed at night staring up at her ceiling wondering if he had grown tired of holding on to her and forsaken love all together. What if he was out there with someone else right now? Sure, if he what he said was true he didn't love her, but she was with him. That was far more than Sarah could claim.
"No! I don't believe that. He promised me Cassie!"
"Douchebag Evan promised me a lot of things too."
"He's different." It came out a broken, disbelieving whisper.
"I didn't..." Cassie struggled for words. "Fuck Sarah, I didn't mean...All I'm saying is that it's been five years. I know you still love him, but you could at least try to move on. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't, but it would be good for you to at least go out on a date."
"A date with Kyle you mean."
"He's head over heels for you."
"It wouldn't be fair to him."
"How do you know until you try? Maybe he's exactly what you need to forget."
Forget. As much as Sarah loved John, maybe that's exactly what she needed to do. Maybe he was dead. Maybe he had been lying and had moved on himself. Maybe, maybe, maybe. She didn't know anything anymore, expect that she was miserable and alone. Part of that was her fault. She had done her best to stay close to Paradise in case he returned. She had no one to blame but herself for losing all of her fight.
"Do you really think I should?"
At Cassie's scathing look Sarah sighed. "One date couldn't hurt. There's no real commitment in one date."
"Exactly. One date just says oh hey boy, you're kind of cute. Lets see where this goes. It'll be good for you."
"I've had a lifetime full of people telling me what's good for me. Look where that got me."
"God, I'm not telling you to marry him. Just go out to dinner and see how it goes. What could that possibly hurt?"
Her heart. "Nothing. Nothing at all."
"Look, I've known Kyle for a long time. He's not the type that's going to fuck with you. He really likes you Sarah. It's kind of pathetic how much."
"Just one. I promise you you won't regret it."
"That's my girl! It'll give me a chance to live vicariously through you once you realize you're soul mates."
"I said one date!"
Sarah was going to do it. It might have been the tequila running through her veins, but Cassie was right. What could one date hurt? John was clearly not coming back anytime soon, if ever. She might fall in love with Kyle. She might not. Deep down she wouldn't, that just like the Loriens there was only one person out there for her, but did she really want to spend the rest of her life alone?