Thanks a million to those who read this and double that for those who reviewed to let me know what they liked/didn't. I appreciate all of your support in either form. :)
AN: Poem is by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Happily Ever After
It was the morning of April 25, 2020. For some, this date represented yet another tedious Monday, another week of work, and worst of all, another four days until the weekend. For Molly Vettle, today represented a new beginning to her life. Today was the day she became the heroine of her own story rather than the damsel in distress.
Her experience the Saturday before had changed her forever. No longer did she feel like an outsider and a freak, but rather saw herself as an intrinsic part of a universal plan. As small and unimportant as she had always felt before, Molly now saw herself as a woman with a destiny and purpose. No matter what hurtful words people tossed in her direction, the young woman knew without a doubt that she was meant to use her life helping others, and her path in life was something so empowering that nothing and no one could keep her from it.
It was for this reason that there was a lightness in her step as Molly reached her locker just as the first bell for lunch rang through the hallways of the highschool. She smiled to herself as she opened up her locker to find a note had been stuffed through the slots and had fallen on top of her Honors Chemistry book.
"Hey, you," a familiar voice broke into her thoughts.
Molly stooped to pick up the note before turning to her friend. "Hey Bryan."
"Hey Bryan? That's all you have to say to me?"
The young woman was barely paying attention, her hazel eyes too busy scanning over the note she had found. She laughed softly at something within the message.
The brown eyed boy folded his arms over his chest. "Hey, earth to Molly. Remember me? Bryan? The guy who has been your friend since forever?"
"I said, hello," Molly reiterated. "What do you need?"
Bryan rolled his eyes. "Details. Details, Woman. I get to the prom to discover that you've not only managed to get a date, but that it happens to be with your true love's kid brother. I went looking for you, but then couldn't find you. Where'd you get off to?"
"Chris and I went for a walk," Molly smoothly lied, using the line the Halliwell boys had come up with for her. "It was too stuffy in the gym."
"So," Bryan went on, "It has a name. Chris. How come I've never heard of this guy before? If he's Wyatt's brother how come he isn't Mr. Popularity Jr.? What's he like? He treat you well? If not I swear, Wyatt Halliwell's brother or no, I'll kick the shit out of him."
"He was perfect. Really. No need to get all big brother on me."
Bryan narrowed his eyes, "You're all glowy. Why are you all glowy?" Noticing the note, "Wait a minute...is that from him?"
Molly's eyes widened, and she moved the note behind her back. "So, how was Sara Tomson?"
"Dull as dirt. Now, show me the note."
"Molly, come on. I saw it already. You always end up telling me everything anyway, so might as well just show me."
Just as Molly was about to protest, arguing how it was a private letter meant only for her eyes, it was snatched from her hand from behind by a pair of perfectly manicured hands.
"Sara Burnheart," Bryan commented. "Give that back to her. It's none of your business."'
"Oh, but the people want to know," the woman maliciously countered, opening the note and turning to her group of friends. She laughed as her eyes scanned the page. "Oh my god. How cliche. How I love thee? Let me count the ways? Gag me. Listen to this:
I've never really done this sort of thing before, but I hear that girls find poetry romantic. I'm no poet myself, but I think this one should at least bring a smile to your face and let you know I'm thinking of you.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Bryan's head whipped around to face his friend, who to his surprise, was not blushing with embarrassment but seemed livid instead.
"What kind of a pathetic loser would write you a love poem?" Sara commented, gesturing with the hand that held the purloined letter.
Just as her hand went up, the letter was ripped from her finger tips. The group turned around to find one blond teen with blue jeans and a green dress shirt and one brunet in black jeans and a hooded sweatshirt with the unfamiliar name "Fall Out Boy" on it standing behind them. The brunet's clear green eyes were focused on Sara. "This kind of pathetic loser."
Wyatt folded his arms over his chest, glowering down at the girl. "You were saying about my kid brother?"
"Nothing at all about Chris here," Sara practically cooed. She slipped her hand onto Chris' chest, batting her long lashes up at him. "I've been meaning to talk to you, Baby. I just had a great time on our last date...I figured maybe this time we could go somewhere a little more quiet and," she lowered her voice suggestively, "private."
"Get. Your. Skanky. Hands. Off," Molly growled.
Wyatt nodded in approval and shared a satisfied look with his sibling. Both remained silent though.
Sara, taken back by the sudden assertiveness in the other girl, let her eyebrows fly up. "Excuse you?"
"No, excuse you," Molly countered. "You're ridiculous. When are you going to grow up? You could never get a guy of Chris' caliber, Sara. Not because you aren't gorgeous. No one can deny that. It's how ugly you act that makes people repulsed by you. I may be overweight, but you know what? I can change if I want to. You? You're always going to be a horrible little person that has to make other people feel smaller in order to cure your own insecurities. Now, get your pathetic loser hands off my boyfriend before I remove them for you."
Sara's wide eyes looked for support from her group of friends only to find that no one would look her in the face. She found herself gazing up into Chris' face as a last resort.
Chris smirked. "Sorry, Sara. I'm off the market."
The brunet moved away from the teen queen to take a position next to Molly, his arm slipping around her shoulders as he helped her stare down her nemesis, who could only stumble backwards away from the sight of them together.
Wyatt addressed Sara pointedly, "I'd say congratulations are in order, wouldn't you?"
"Con...congratulations," she mumbled, stumbling away.
Jenny, one of Sara's friends rolled her eyes, "Well thank god somebody finally told her off."
"Mhmm," Her boyfriend Tony agreed.
Byran scrunched up his face, "Waaait a minute. If you didn't agree with her, how come you went along with her?"
"She's the team captain, and I needed a cheerleading scholarship to get into college," Jenny remarked. "And Tony was keeping his mouth shut for my sake. Most people only follow her through fear of what she'll do to them. But year's over and we're finally free."
Wyatt rolled his eyes, "Sounds like an excuse to me. You were always free to make your own choices. You chose to be cowards."
Jenny lowered her eyes, "I guess I can't blame you for that one. It's true."
Tony added, "Sorry. And sorry about what happened at the dance, Molly. I do swear that if I would've known she was going to do that, I wouldn't have let it happen."
"Me either," his girlfriend joined in. "That was totally uncalled for. For the record, I think you looked amazing. You and Chris make a beautiful couple. She's just jealous."
Molly smiled shyly. "Thanks. That means a lot."
As the rest of Sara's group dissipated, Chris looked down into Molly's eyes and grinned. "Wow, that was impressive. I bet they're going to have a lot to talk about. You worried?"
His girlfriend shook her head, her plait swinging against her back. "Nope. Someone told me not to care what other people think, so that's just what I'm going to do: not care."
"Ok, you two are giving me a toothache," Wyatt commented. He patted his brother on the back, "I'll see you after seventh period?"
Wyatt raised an eyebrow, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
The twice blessed tossed one more smile in Molly's direction, gave a nod of acknowledgment to Bryan and then, with hands stuffed into his pockets, sauntered off down the hallway toward the aroma of fresh baked pizza.
Bryan raised an eyebrow. "Whoa, hold on just one second. You. Me. Talk. Now."
Chris' eyebrows rose significantly at the demanding tone. "There something you want to say to me?"
"Yeah, there is," Bryan stepped forward, his chest puffed out. "What are your intentions with Molly."
Chris shot a look to the young lady in question. "Is he serious?"
"Better humor him."
The witchlighter returned his focus to the angry youth before him. "My intentions are purely selfish. I want to spend as much time with Molly as humanly possible simply because she's one of the only people I feel I can be myself around. I want to make her smile because it makes me happy. I want to hear her laugh because it's better than anything I can hear on my MP12 player. Most of all? I want to treat her like she deserves to be treated in hopes that I can somehow make her see that I'm worthy of her affection because between you and me, I don't think anyone on this planet is actually good enough for her, but I've got to try because like I said, I'm selfish."
Bryan's eyebrows shot up, and he looked to Molly, "Wow. He's smooth...be careful around this one."
Chris donned a look of mock offence. "Hey, I'll have you know that it's not my fault I'm good with the lines...my mother was a hopeless romantic. And my father..." he shrugged, "you could say he was an angel."
Molly laughed, unable to help herself.
Bryan ran a hand through his hair, gave one more look at his new improved friend and extended a hand to her new beau. "Put her there, Man. Seems like you might just come close to being good enough for this amazing person."
The two teens shook hand, both smiling at the other. Brian pulled away first and lifted a warning finger, "But, I swear, you make her cry even once, and I will hunt you down. Got it?"
"Got it," Chris replied with a chuckle.
Bryan nodded, satisfied. "Okay, then. I'm grabbing food. You two love birds coming?"
Molly nodded, "In a second. There's something I want to show Chris first."
"I see how it is. You know I have abandonment issues."
The young woman moved forward, wrapping her arms around his neck and giving him a kiss on the cheek. At the same time whispering, "What do you really think?"
He pulled her into a hug, replying just as softly, "I'm so happy for you."
Bryan slowly released his childhood friend from his arms and nodded to Chris before taking off down the hallway toward the cafeteria.
Molly then excitedly turned to Chris, taking his hand and pulling him down to the hall of the building where the art classes were held. She stopped in front of one of the doors and gestured for him to wait a moment.
While Chris stood outside, he couldn't help but grin at her excitement. Whatever it was must have been something she was pretty proud of making.
Molly returned a moment later with something in her hand. "Okay, so we were working with clay today, and I was hit with inspiration, and made this and I really hope you like it..."
Unfolding her hand, Molly revealed a medallion made of sleek black clay, and painted with artistic precision dead in the center was a silver triquetra. The craftsman ship of the piece was exquisite and it had obviously taken quite a bit of concentration and skill on her part to make it so smooth and even.
Chris smiled softly, letting his finger run over the smooth surface lightly. He looked up into Molly's eyes and found that not for the first time in her presence, he was speechless. So, instead of using words to show his appreciation, he bent down and landed a sweet, gentle kiss on her lips, softly caressing them with his own.
When he reluctantly pulled away, he placed his forehead gently against hers and let out a contented breath. "Wow."
"You know, if the teachers catch us we'll be in trouble."
"You're worth it."
Molly grinned. "Here's to not caring what people think," and without warning, pulled Chris back down to her level, smiling at his shocked look as they shared another kiss, which both were certain would be just one of many, many more in their long and happy future together.