For Songwriter18's contest. The bold words are for the contest and hold no relation to the actual story. Enjoy!
"Help me!" screamed Alfie, he was clutching the edge of the board with his hands, the rest of his body swinging under the board into the dark cellar "Don't just stand there, help me Jerome!" Jerome stood two squares away, and faltered.
"No." he said simply. Fabian, Amber and Patricia turned to Jerome sharply
"Don't be so…nutty!" screamed Alfie, elbows slipping slightly
"Jerome!" cried Fabian "Help him!" Jerome turned to glare at Fabian
"I don't even want to be here. You guys are making forcing me back into this whole situation! I can't deal with this-" he gestured to the entire chamber "I can't deal with Rufus and neither can you!"
"You think we wanted you to join us Jerome!" cried Amber
"We need you because Nina's down there!" Fabian screamed.
"Well then you better chisel her out on your own," Jerome muttered, tears in his voice. He backed of the board the way he had come. The tall boy stood beside Fabians chair for a moment, watching them. Patricia leaned over from four squares away, and helped Alfie up. As soon as she did, Alfie turned and pointed a finger at Jerome
"You were gonna leave me." He accused. Jerome nodded once, stiffly. "How come we never get the nice Jerome!" he called at his friend "How come you treat Mara like royalty and your other friends like trash Jerome!" he called.
"Please," he whispered, suddenly very weak "I can't." Fabian let out a sigh and patted Jerome on the shoulder
"Go," he said quietly "We won't make you come back,"
"It's Mick," she smiled sympathetically at Jerome, her black hair soft around her face. She still had marsh mellows in her mouth
"Do you want me to…" he pointed to the door, begging silently for her to say no. But she didn't, as always.
"Do you mind?"
"Of course not," he stood and then faked bowed at her, lifting the bowl from the floor. He walked towards the door, and turned to see her climb onto her bed, he didn't know why he added it. But the fact of the matter is, he did. "I know my place," he said in a low voice. She looked up at him quickly, guilt etched into her pretty features
"It was a joke." He lied quickly, plastering a smile onto a face "Relax Mara, not all of us are going to blame you for everything that goes wrong." He gave her a nod, taking in her beauty once more, before leaving.
Even after he closed the door, he could hear it, the loud, annoying, obnoxious voice; "Hey Maraculous, I've missed you!"
Was it that Jerome hated Mick? Of course not, actually, before they had started dating, Jerome had thought the big lug was alright. Never a major issue, oh how blind he was. If only he'd seen it earlier.
Jerome hit himself in the forehead with his palm, creating a slight clapping sound.
"You alright?" asked Eddie, walking out from his room. He was wearing a chequered shirt over a grey plain one.
"I'm fine." Said Jerome tightly, his hair was swept off to the side, making him look older, more sophisticated.
"Alright," Eddie replied suspiciously, he let out a loud yawn suddenly, raising his arms above his head. "I think I'm gonna call it a night. Where have you been by the way?"
"With Mara," Jerome furrowed his eye brows, unsure where Eddie was going with this
"Of course you were, could have guessed that," and with that Eddie walked back down the hall. Jerome starred after him for moment, confused. Before sighing to himself
"Americans," he muttered under his breath "Always think they know it all,"
"Jerome?" Mara knocked on the door, she had her purple bag slung across her shoulder, hair in its usual style. Her uniform neat and makeup perfect, not too much, but enough to make her feel confidence and appear flawless
"Come in," Jerome called, he watched Mara in the reflection as he did his tie, and couldn't help the natural smile that emerged on his face "How are we this fine morrow?" he asked Mara, his gorgeous princess. She stood awkwardly in the door, smiling at him. Unsure whether she should entre or not "Alfie's not here," he smiled, "He's out with the Scooby gang, come on in,"
Mara let go of the door handle and walked into the moderately tidy and spacious room, eyes glittering when she saw the watch she had given him for his birthday on his wrist. He hadn't worn it since his dad's hearing last week, and she worried he hadn't liked it. But today he wore it on his pale wrist, and it suited him perfectly, just as she thought it would
"What is going on in that brain of yours?" he laughed at her, and Mara looked down blushing. Never good to be caught starring she reminded herself, especially at Jerome.
"Nothing, have you had breakfast?"
"Can we go?"
"Of course," Jerome held his hand out for her in a silly joking gesture, but she took it and he wanted to jump up and down. They walked out of the room and out of Anubis house down the stony path towards the school. "So," he began, straightening the strap on his bag "You and Mick have a long mushy heart to heart?" he didn't really want to know, he didn't know why he'd asked. But it was something that seemed to fulfil him, see what Mick did to make her happy, and copy him.
"I guess," Mara hedged "I don't know though, it isn't the same. I mean, I still like him, but with him not being here. It feels like we have nothing…what is it exactly that's keeping us together?"
Jerome blinked once "I- I mean…" He actually thought about giving her advice, on how to patch things up with Mick. But that was only for half a second, that's when the sneaky, sly and cunning Jerome crept out "What did you have in common with him when he was here?" he asked innocently. Mara crinkled her nose in thought
"Well…I don't know, I just enjoyed his company I guess,"
"You enjoy my company, does that mean you want to be my girlfriend?" he asked her. He knew he was pushing it just a bit far, but he watched her face intently as they walked. She looked taken aback, as if she had never even thought of the possibility before.
"I…" she trailed off, unsure how to continue. Jerome stopped and starred at her in disbelief. Did her silence mean she wanted to be his girlfriend? Because it sure seemed like it.
"Mara?" he question, shocked and hopeful. She looked up to meet his ice blue eyes and couldn't help the blush that crawled across her cheeks.
"I…really think we should get to school," and with that Mara started to speed walk. He watched her for a moment, before running his hand through his dirty blonde hair, and walking after her.
"Annotation. Anyone know what it means?" Miss Valentine asked, she drew it as a title on the board in red pen. Jerome and Mara sat in the middle of the room. Mara had so desperately wanted to sit at the front, and Jerome had so desperately not wanted to. So they settled for the middle. They had a neat arrangement.
Jerome reached out and held Mara's arm to the table just as she was about to shoot it up and answer the question. She cocked her head at him and sighed
"Please Jerome," she whispered "Just one question?"
"Mara, Mara, Mara, it's like you never learn," he kept her arm on the table, his hand tingling from the bare contact. He didn't have to worry about her other hand, he trusted her.
"Please…" Mara quickly scanned the room, no one even had their hand up.
"You have to give other people a chance," Jerome reminded.
"Where you explain something, right?"
"Right!" exclaimed the teacher, she shot a look of curiosity at Mara, but wrote it anyway. "So, lets do an easy one. 'We three kings from orient are we'" she quoted trailing off.
"Jerome!" Alfie called, running across the garden "Hey mate," he said, panting slightly "I wanted to apologise for everything that happened down there." Jerome turned to his dark, good friend, and didn't point out that it was in fact him who should be apologising.
"It's cool mate, I just can't deal sometimes,"
"Is that almost an apology?" asked Alfie hopefully. Jerome laughed shortly
"I wouldn't count on it."
"So, we're cool right?"
"Oh, we're always cool," They high fived and then Alfie ran off. Jerome starred after him, that was one of the reasons he liked Alfie. Nothing scarred him, if he found out something hurt, he would forget the burn and kiss the thing that burnt him. It wasn't a great quality, but Jerome admired it anyway. He walked towards the house, not knowing what awaited.
"They said no," Poppy wept, she didn't hug her brother, but stood safely in the door way of his room.
"They what?" Jerome whispered in a dangerously low voice
"I really thought they would let him out," she cried. Jerome starred at her sadly, his eyes not focused. It was taking everything he had not to cry.
"Me too," he chocked "Now be a big girl and help me out Poppy," he shuddered "Please…get out." Poppy nodded, she understood, turning she walked out briskly, tears still flowing freely down her face.
Jerome sat there, the streaks of almond in his blonde hair shining. He would not cry.
"Jerome, what did you say to Poppy, I just saw her run out. She looked like she was crying." Mara turned to look at Jerome then, look at him properly. He looked crestfallen "Jerome?" she asked worriedly "Are you okay," she went to sit beside him, laying a comforting hand on his shoulder "What happened?"
The tall boy stood, not wanting to be near her right now. He wanted to be alone. Far away from anyone, he needed time to put his façade back into place. "Please, get out." He muttered. Mara looked up at him, but did not move
"Jerome, I get it. You're upset, but please let me help…"
"You get it!" Jerome snapped at her, voice raising suddenly. Mara was thankful there was no one else in the house. "You don't get it Mara! Has this ever happened to you? You have no idea what I'm going through!"
"I know," she stood now, speaking gently "But I want to help you,"
"You can start by leaving,"
"You don't mean that," she shook her head, believing her own statement 100%.
"Please Jerome. I'm not clueless-" she was cut off my his scoff. "What?" she asked frowning
"Oh Mara," he began, smiling cruelly. Hurt still painfully obvious in his eyes "You're so smart, so aware. But you are the most clueless person I know."
"I am not," she defended herself
"Really?" Jerome was losing his temper. Why couldn't she just leave when he asked her? Why did she have this urge to help? Why did she have to be so different? "You're so clueless that both you're best friends ditched you for the new girl! Remember Amber and Joy, Mara? You use to be their friend." He took a second to look at the shock on her face "You're so clueless, you didn't notice that things have been going on, all around you this whole time! You're so oblivious Mara! I think Mick moved away, so he wouldn't have to be around you all the time!" Jerome stopped short, just realising what he had said. He had crossed a line, a big line. His eyes widened, and his heart hurt as he looked at Mara.
Tears were sliding down her cheeks, her eyes were red and puffy. Her bottom lip was trembling.
"Oh god Mara, I didn't mean too…" he reached out to her, he had this urge, this undying urge to go to her and comfort her. To hug her and make her smile. She just shook her head at him, and dodged him to the door, he turned quickly, catching her hand "I don't know why I said that…" he trailed off, hoping she would forgive him. But she just sniffed and withdrew her hand harshly. Mara slipped through the open door, and closed it behind her. "Mara please!" he called, but she had gone.
Jerome just starred at the door a moment, before screaming it and kicking it hard with his foot. He took a few deep breaths. Worst day ever.
It was an awkward breakfast the next morning. Apparently there had been some sort of disagreement in the secret gang and they weren't talking to each other. Eddie had another argument with Patricia, and Mara wouldn't even glance at Jerome.
"Oh my, why is it so quiet today? Is there something I missed?" asked Trudy as she walked in.
"No Trudy, I think we're all just tired." Mara answered for everyone, and they were all thankful. Jerome looked at her, hoping to catch her eyes, but she skilfully avoided them. "I'm off then, see you at school," she picked up her bag, and they murmured their goodbyes
"I'll go with you," Jerome offered, his chair scraping along the wooden floor as he stood up, pleading. Mara looked up at him then, met his eyes. She spoke very quietly, not getting angry.
"No thank you Jerome." She replied "I would much rather just walk on my own," and with that she walked out. Jerome stood awkwardly, starring after her, and the rest of the table watched him. Slowly, he sat back down
"Oh don't look at me." He hissed at them "It's not exactly like you're all talking. What happened? Joy finally make her move on Fabian? Or did Fabian finally decide?" apparently this was exactly the right thing to say because Fabian, Nina and Joy stiffened "Like I thought," he leaned forward and buttered himself one more slice of toast.
"Why can't life just be like science?" Mara sighed, she added another drop of solution into the flask. Eddie shrugged beside her
"If it were, I guess you'd have a pretty easy life right?" he laughed at his own joke. Then became serious "It's like Patricia picks the rest of them over me,"
"You're not the first it's happened too," Mara looked over her shoulder, to find Jerome already watching her, he smiled at her, but she just turned away.
"Are you two, like a couple?" asked Eddie, turning to look at Jerome who was now muttering something to Alfie
"Why not? You guys seem so good together,"
"I don't know Eddie, like I said. Why can't life just be like science?" Eddie chuckled, and placing a comforting hand on her shoulder,
"Sorry Mara," he squeezed her shoulder sympathetically. He turned once more to see Jerome glaring at his hand. Eddie frowned, before realising "Maybe you should let him talk to you."
"Mara?" asked Alfie, he sat in library, feet on the table. He normally wouldn't be in the library, but it was pouring with rain and Anubis house was really starting to give him the creeps
"Yeah, I don't know what to say to make it better,"
"You must have said something bad mate, when we were friends, she hardly ever got angry with m-"
"What?" Jerome snapped. Alfie looked up at his friend startled
"She hardly ever got angry with me," repeated Alfie, raising a dark eye brow
"When you were friends? When have you and Mara ever been friends?" Jerome stopped swinging on the chair now, and turned to look at his friend intently
"Yeah, we were like, best friends I guess. It was before she met Patricia and I met you. We were best friends," he shrugged like it was nothing.
"And you didn't even think to tell me!" Jerome exclaimed "Not even when I'm in my current…predicament!"
"How does you fancying her mean I have to tell you my past?" laughed Alfie
"So, you two were actually best friends?" asked Jerome, trying to wrap his head around it
"Yeah," Alfie nodded, eye brows drawing together "I guess it all kind of fell apart when she realised how much she cared about her work, and how much I didn't…" as he spoke, he seemed to only realise it for the first time "I did try…" he wondered aloud "To keep spending time with her, and so did she…but then I met you, and she met Trixie…It got even harder then, to spend time together…and eventually we decided against it anymore. I should never have agreed to it…she was such a loyal friend…"
"I didn't know."
"It's cool," Alfie shrugged, grinning "She only ever got angry with me twice," he gave an almost Jerome worthy smirk "So, what did you do to get her so mad at you? Normally she couldn't resist that 'oh so charming' smile you give her,"
"I said she had no friends and that she was clueless not to notice the whole mystery and she was oblivious and Mick left because of her," he cringed at the words coming out of his mouth, and he winced when Alfie of all people starred at him, open-mouthed
"You know, you can be pretty heartless," he said in his high pitched 'oh so Alfie' voice.
"I know," Jerome sighed, looking down. "What do I do?" he asked, it was a rhetorical question, and he didn't expect Alfie to say anything. But Alfie did.
"Give her this," he said, handing Jerome a golden ring with a ruby diamond. Jerome twiddled it in his fingers, looking at the engraving We've always been proud of you Mara was engraved.
"Where did you get this?" asked Jerome, looking up at his friend. Alfie was looking at his watch, standing to leave
"I need to go mate, something to uh…do." Alfie said, he was never good at being subtle
"Of course there is, just tell me where you got this?"
"Oh." Alfie looked down at the ring as if he'd forgotten he'd handed it over "She lost that ring, it was like her most treasured possession, funny actually, I found it a few days ago, I was going to give it to her but I forgot. Give her that ring, and she'll forgive you like that," he clicked his fingers, smiling, obviously quite pleased with himself "Lucky right? It's like fate," and with that Alfie walked out. Jerome looked down at the ring once more and shook his head, his laughter echoing in the empty library. Lucky indeed.
"I have something for you," he called through the door. She opened it slowly, drinking him in. It was hard to be angry with him when he looked so…aloof.
"What?" she asked, lowering her eyes to the ground. He pulled the ring out from behind his back
"A little birdie told me you were looking for it," he watched her with an amused expression. She was stunned
"Oh…"she trailed off. Jerome smiled and reached for her hand. She was so shocked she didn't pull away like she wanted to. Jerome put all his focus into not letting his fingers shake. He would not let her know he was nervous. His fingers tingled as he slid the ring onto her fourth finger. He let his hand linger there, looking up at her
"I really am sorry Mara," he said in a low voice. She looked up at him, and pulled her hand away, for a moment he thought she was going to slam the door in his face, but she didn't she leaned in and hugged him. He hugged her back, not caring who saw "I'm an idiot."
"No," she shook her head, her voice muffled in his shirt "You're not an idiot."
"Thanks," he whispered, letting out a deep breath. They pulled away from each other
"Where did you get this?" she asked smiling "Did you know my parents gave it to me?" She looked up at Jerome, but he said nothing. She sighed, realising she would get no answer. "Can I tell you something?" she asked, half smiling up at him. He nodded at her, not trusting his voice
"I broke up with Mick,"
"Oh." He managed
"Yeah…"they stood there for a moment. Before Mara smiled "Up for a game of chess after dinner?"
"You're turning me into a nerd Mara," he laughed, running a hand through his hair.
"I don't think that's possible,"
"It is so sweet!" Amber squealed "Isn't it sweet?" she turned to Alfie, who nodded
"Yeah I guess, it is pretty sweet," The two of them were looking at everyone in the house. They were all in the lounge, they'd finished dinner around an hour ago. And now, Amber and Alfie were sat together in the large green armchair, Alfie on the arm, his arm slung casually around Ambers shoulders. They were looking at everyone in the house.
"And since Mick's here for a holiday, I guess it makes things better," Amber smiled
"No need to get jealous Alfie, I was talking about for Joy," he nodded with her. Their gaze on Joy and Mick, who were sat in front of her laptop, editing a sports page for the website. They then turned to Jerome and Mara, who were both leaning over a game of chess. Flirting. Nina and Fabian were talking in hushed urgent whispers, close together on the sofa. They were all adorable.
"Unfortunately," Alfie whispered to Amber "Jerome is about to break the atmosphere, and just as Alfie predicted, Jerome called out
"Mick, could you keep it down, I'm trying to concentrate," Mick turned to look at Jerome, a look of disgust on his face
"That's rich, it's not like I was yelling Clarke,"
"Defensive," Jerome rang out in a shrill voice. Mick was not going to respond, but then Mara giggled. Mara giggled at something Jerome said, and Mick couldn't take it
"I hate you Jerome." He spat suddenly, the whole room turned to face him.
"Mick!" Joy and Mara scolded in unison.
"Well I detest you," loathed Jerome.
"How do you even have the nerve to talk to me Clarke? You steal my girl, put her under your creepy spell and you don't even care!" Jerome stood now, and everyone trembled slightly. It had been a long while since Jerome had looked pure evil. Spending time with Mara made him look soft. But it was time everyone in the house remembered just how he was, he was Jerome. His whole being, his essence screamed Jerome. And it's what he looked like now. He was wearing a red shirt with a black waist coat, dark jeans. His hair was brushed forward, giving him a fringe. He didn't wear it like that a lot nowadays, but Mara had said she liked it. And he was wearing it.
"You are the most vile, grotesque excuse of a human being and I want to see you dead." It wasn't that his words were too hurtful, it was the venom that he said them with which stung. His words hung in the air. Mick just glared daggers at him. Mara stood then, and shot a nervous glance at Mick, then she turned to Jerome
"Jerome," she whispered "Say sorry," Jerome looked down at her shocked.
"Are you telling me you still have feelings for him?" asked Jerome, pointing a long lanky arm at Mick. His heart lurched in pain. How could she still? Still? After everything he had gone through, she still liked him?
"No," she reassured him loudly, and the rest of the house saw Mick's shoulders sag at the statement. She was sure, she was so sure, and Mick could hear it in her voice. She really didn't love him anymore "I just think you should apologise, please," she looked up at him, with her warm, good doing brown eyes. And he gave in
"Sorry Campbell," Mick didn't even look up
"Sorry Mick," Mara added. Mick looked up at her, and his eyes softened
"Awww, atmosphere lifted!" Amber shrieked from the corner, everyone turned to her, but she just smiled.
"Okay wait, I'm confused, he wanted to dress up like Goldilocks or he wanted a dragon tattoo?" Mara questioned as they danced. The strobe lights flashed a dark purple then green. Everyone was dancing, a slow dance song was playing. Mara was wearing a puffed out white dress, Jerome was dressed in a tuxedo, and they were slow dancing.
"He's Alfie," Jerome shrugged it off, his hands resting on his waste "He wanted both," he listened to the sound of her soothing laughter. He was focused on nothing but her. "You know something Mara?" he asked moving a hand to tuck a stray black lock behind her ear
"I really love dancing with you," he said charmingly. Mara smiled and rested her head on his chest.
"Jerome," they both met each other's eyes "Remember when we faked dated?"
"Vaguely," Jerome nodded. Of course he remembered! Very suave of him, if he did say so himself.
"How would you feel about…going out for real?" Jerome licked his lips and smiled
"I was about to ask you the same question,"
Mara laughed lightly, and stood on tiptoes, and kissed him. Jerome kissed back, raising his hands to her shoulders. It was electric and sweet, something they had both been waiting for, for fair too long.
John and Poppy Clarke watched from the side, smiling enormously "Should we tell him now?" asked Poppy. John shook his head
"Let's tell him after he's finished kissing the pretty girl,"
"He's going to be so happy you're free,"
"Look," Mara whispered, looking over Jerome's shoulder. Jerome arched a perfect eyebrow and spun round.
"And then by my calculations if we moved the sofa here, it would give us more carpet space!" Mara smiled, turning to Jerome, showing him the paper that proved her theory proudly.
"Only you," laughed Jerome, ruffling her hair "Only you would calculate where to move the sofa,"
"Hey! Only so the room would look best!"
"Well," stated Jerome smartly "Watch this," he leaned in and gave her a small heart stopping kiss on the lips before moving over and lifting the sofa to the side of the room, he stood back and smiled. "I think that looks good,"
Mara starred at the sofa, then at her fiancé. "Well I think it…Maybe you should mo- What abou-" she stopped her stuttering and sighed "It looks fantastic," she admitted sulkily, she crossed her arms and pouted. Jerome laughed
"If it's any consolation, here," he handed her a piece of folded paper. She opened it up with nimble fingers, there were calculations on it, quite similar to her own plan. She smiled
"Only you Jerome, would mock someone who'd done the exact same thing as you," she leaned into him for a hug, and he wrapped his arms around her. "We should take a picture,"
She slid the camera out of her bag and set it up on the window cill opposite the well placed sofa. They both sat down, arms around each other. Mara pulled out her makeup
"Don't do that," he stopped her, his hand pushing the makeup back down "I love you more without it," he explained softly. She smiled and leaned in to kiss him, her hand running through his smooth blonde hair. The camera clicked and she pulled back laughing
"Great, we messed up the picture!"
"Oh contraire, I think we made a great one," he half smiled at her, blue eyes glittering
"We're getting married in a month," she reminded, over joyed with just the thought.
"I've loved you since the dawn of time," he spoke charmingly, taking a great pleasure in her blush
"Technically," she began "I don't think that's true-"
"Shut it Jaffrey," he laughed. And they kissed once more.
Hope you enjoy songwriter 18. Took me a while, hope you love it!