By Crazywritings

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy.

She watches her out of the corner of her eye. Beautiful, she supposes. Sure, she may be beautiful, what with that long, chocolate-colored hair that extends to her back, the hair that is wished for by every single girl she could imagine. And those dark brown eyes surely don't hurt her beauty. And, why not, her perfect body may add a little flare as well. Sure, she may be beautiful. And perhaps she is smart. And perhaps she is funny. And perhaps she is unflawed. But that still gives her no right.

Out of the corner of her eye, she watches. A glimmer of light off of her bouncy tresses flashes, as does her jealousy. She permits a single irritated sigh to escape her, low enough to not be heard by any, and yet still just enough to provide some relief. She figures it does little good, though, as it is never and has never been enough to release the pressure building inside her.

"Kayleigh?" a voice prompts. Her head swings back to her friends, back to the lunch table at which she sits. They are all staring at her, their eyes wide and curious, as though she has suddenly sprouted tentacles out the back of her head. Unconsciously, she runs a hair through her sandy tendrils. Nope, no tentacles.

"Yeah?" she asks.

"Are you staring at Tim and Christina?" she inquires blankly, not at all trying to hide the names for her sake, maybe save her a smidge of embarrassment. No, she full-on releases the question, and heat rises through Kayleigh's cheeks, spreads through her skin with so much fervor and vehemence that she can't possibly stop it if she tried. It isn't so much that she's bothered with them knowing that she's interested in Tim, but more that they caught her staring. Actually, she guesses that it was more like she was ogling than anything else.

"Uh…maybe," she has to admit it. How could she hide it? She's well aware that her eyes had practically been dripping out of her head in an attempt to see the two's interactions. Compulsive, she is in compulsive need to see them.

As she expects, many at the table burst out laughing. "Oh, please, you may as well have just whipped out a video camera. It would last longer."

"Oh, like you're one to talk," she shoots back at Erica, the one that had spoken up. "You practically stalk Michael." Somehow, she sees Christina yank playfully on a strand of her dark hair. Kayleigh mimics the motion without thinking about it, picking out a lock of her own rib-length mane and giving it a quick tug. She doesn't understand why the movement took place; why Christina chose to do it, she couldn't imagine.

Then, she sees him chuckling. Her head snaps around to face him, and like a dying man, she takes it in, takes in everything she can see. His wavy brown hair, his glistening brown eyes, his radiant smile that practically splits his cheeks open—everything is flawless, perfect, it burns her eyes with how enviable he is, with how desirable he is. Does he even understand?

Suddenly, Tim's gaze sweeps towards her. Their eyes clash, battle for a moment.

"I've got to go," she says immediately, slamming her palms onto the table and leaping out of her chair. The seat's legs squeal in protest.

"Aw, come on, Kayleigh," one of the girls sitting at the round table whimpers. "We were just joking around. He's hot, definitely, and we can't blame you for liking him."

"Yeah," she mumbles, utterly distracted. "Well, bye!" And before any more protests can be heard, she sweeps away from them, struts out of the cafeteria with the poise that many of them are jealous of. Her shoulders held back, her spine completely straight, her head held high, she walks by Tim and Christina's table. She has no doubt that Christina is hardly interested in her, but she can't help but feel another pair of eyes boring into her shoulder blades like white-hot darts. She lets her strides lengthen enough to combat her short stature as she tries to get out of there quicker, but what she doesn't know is that the more speed she gathers, the more her plaid uniform skirt flares up around her thighs, revealing more and more than she could intend to.

The pair of eyes is becoming more and more interested with each step she takes.

She tugs anxiously on her tie. Where the hell is he? Class has almost started, and she likes a few minutes to stare at him before the teacher commands attention. He sits a mere two seats in front of her and one to the right, and for her, this is no distance at all, nothing a step won't send into oblivion. And Rob, the guy that the seat in front of her is assigned to, is out sick today. That means an even clearer view for her.

The door opens. Yes, yes, he strides in, she takes in all his glory. For a moment, she fears he may acknowledge her. He can't have forgotten about yesterday's cafeteria eye-brush so quickly, now can he? But he just takes his seat, places his bottom onto the chair, leans back, and runs a large hand quickly through his wavy hair. Just as he does every day, she's kept track. How she longs to be the one to stick her fingers into those light brown tresses, feel the silk that would undoubtedly run like butter through the gaps in her appendages.

Class starts. She tears her attention away from him. Chemistry abruptly takes hold, demanding that she pay the utmost attention to the words spilling from the aging woman's wrinkled lips. Formulas drown her for fifteen minutes before she turns bored. Mathematical formulas can never grip her for more than a bit, and so her sight now wanders. It hovers over the window for the longest, grazes along the blank white walls dotted with miniscule posters that mean little, but finally sets upon the place that she knows she will always come back to. His mane glints in the light that blares into the room, and she practically drools. The way it winks and glistens drives her crazy. It flows neatly into his strong neck, then into his broad shoulders, and she cannot see anymore, for the chair disrupts the vision.

Suddenly, he turns. She watches in almost slow-motion as his head swivels and stops without hesitation so his flawless eyes are fixed upon her.

Kayleigh freezes. Her heart, it flares, thundering louder than a stampede, warbling a haunting song that she prays only she can hear as she uses the blood rushing in her ears to keep the beat. Breath becomes scarce, it barely seeps in and out of her lungs for she hasn't the strength to force it in and out any longer. Every resolve she's ever had, every ounce of toughness she's ever felt is immediately sapped from her, disappears into the air before her and floats away, shrouded in nothingness.

He continues to stare at her. What should she do, what to do? She's choking, losing life, dying right before him, because of him, and he just watches. She withers beneath his hypnotic gaze.

Out of nowhere, her neck twists, and she's staring forward again. The silence that radiates through the classroom, save for the teacher's blathering, is a clear indication that absolutely no one knew of what just took place. Quietly, she presses her fingers to just beneath her eye, to the apple of her cheek, and deftly checks the temperature. It feels as though fire was raging beneath the white skin, and so she lowers her gaze resignedly, acknowledging that she is certain that blood had practically exploded in her face and showered her in a blush so heated that she couldn't bear to try and extinguish it.

She groans and throws herself into the back of her chair, huffing, and crosses her arms. The urge to check to see if he is looking at her nearly strangles her, but she stays strong allows the teacher to berate her with thoughts of copper and gas laws and things that could hardly mean less to her.

Class slips by. The bell rings. Tim is up and gone in a matter of seconds, just as he is every day. He doesn't note anything that transpired between them, not his sudden look, and not her near-death experience. The only thing she gets as a reminder that it even occurred is a whiff of his intoxicating aroma, a mix of Axe and simply him, his skin and his hair and his radiance. Words well up in her throat, and she nearly calls out to him, but she bites her tongue as hard as she can to curse herself for such a stupid wish.

With a sigh, she collects her things, rams them in her bookbag, hauls it over her shoulder, and exits the classroom. Not a look is spared any other direction as she glares at the floor, trying to recount every glorious and horrifying second that he was taking her in.

What she doesn't see in her haste is the very boy she was thinking of, leaning casually against the opposite corner and watching her stalk down the hallway. She still does it with the mesmerizing grace he recalls, and he is still tantalized by the sway of her uniform skirt and the way her mandatory sleeveless vest clings around her white button-down shirt and along her body.

She is lounging in the sitting room of her dorm. She is the only one there; it's quite late, early morning, and she simply cannot sleep. Everyone else has taken to bed, all lights have been extinguished, save for the hearty fire that is continuously burning in the fireplace. She takes up a comfy couch in front of this fire, her knees rolled up to her chest and a book perched upon her kneecaps. The words begin to numb her mind, she can feel the reading taking effect. Heavily-lidded eyes idly glance at the boys' corridor and then the girls' corridor. Not a face appears within the darkness. A yawn escapes her.

Within the fog infecting her brain, she fails to hear the door open quietly, quieter than she could've thought possible. She fails to hear the ghost-like footsteps that pad along the hardwood floor. She fails to hear the whisper of pant-legs against each other.

But she is immediately ripped out of her drunken-like state when she feels a pair of fingers hook onto a lock of her hair and give an immensely gentle tug, a light coaxing as whoever caught onto her tendril continues to walk past her. Without intention, she waits until the person has released her, and then she straightens up and snaps her head to her right to see the person responsible.

She is immediately hypnotized by the backside of Tim as he meanders into the abyss that was the boys' corridor without a word.

Aching lungs and weak knees plague her as, after ten minutes of staring at the empty air in which he had just been, she stands and stumbles back into her room, pondering where he could have come from and ultimately assuming it to have been a late-night visit to that vixen of a girlfriend of his.

Her elective, Home Economics, comes without fail in the eighth time slot. Today is clearly the best day out of them all; they get to cook recipes that they've chosen themselves. Her group of five has chosen to make homemade fudge, something that'll surely be the envy of everyone, no doubt.

"Who the fuck chose this?!" Erica snarls beneath her breath as she struggles with the stirring of the mixture. "And why is it so damn hard to stir?!"

Kayleigh peers over her shoulder. "Well, you're using a whisk…that won't get you anywhere."

"Fine, then, Ms. Know-It-All," she snaps and rounds on her, shaking the wire utensil in her face. "Then go get me something that will work." She rolls her eyes, but Kayleigh takes the thing anyway and walks toward the utility closet. On her way, she pauses to toss the whisk into the sink to be washed later in the class. Then, she pursues her route into the cramped closet. Only inkling amounts of light are able to seep into the area, but she hardly needs it; she knows by now that the spoons are in the hardest place for her to reach.

So, with a twinge of annoyance, she stretches toward the topmost bucket where she can see a handle of a wooden spoon poking out of.

Another hand clasps onto hers just as she plucks the spoon out of the basin.

When she returns to her normal height and turns to see who had attempted to help her, she is immediately pushed in reverse, and her back collides with the wall. A dull fear forces her eyes to grow to epic proportions, and then they continue to widen further once they see who has her pinned to the wall.

Warm and mysterious brown orbs gaze down into hers. Her heart stops.

Tim's fingers are wrapped firmly around hers, holding the spoon into her palm. His other hand comes forward to rest on the plaster beside her head to further entrap her in his presence, as if his eyes aren't enough to hold her there like a fly trapped in amber. It takes no time at all for his heady scent to combine with his heady presence to completely overload her senses and send her into a downward spiral, one where she's completely suffocated by his perfection, everything she wants from him and everything she can't have, yet everything he seems to be presenting right here, right now.

She can't tear her gaze away from him. He seems to leave his gaze on her out of his own desire, a controllable factor that is the exact opposite of her need for him. If she leans a hair to her left, her cheek could brush his incredibly toned forearm. But she is unable to move, unable to think clearly without a haze engulfing her.

"What are you…" she manages to choke before her throat shuts down as well. His brow furrows lightly, but he doesn't back away in the least. In fact, he seems to lean a bit closer, as suddenly his breath is hotter on her skin, his aroma more pronounced than ever as it infiltrates her airways.

Then he pries her hand open. The spoon clatters to the floor, the sound resounding and louder than it should be. His hand guides the empty fingers to the collar of his blazer. Once she brushes the material, her fingers automatically spread out to accommodate the new landscape, and now her skin is running over the material on the navy jacket. But he isn't finished with her yet. He pulls her wrist lightly downward, slowly, so she now feels the contours beneath the fabric in all their glory. His collarbone feels prominent beneath his button-down white shirt, and the slope of his pecs practically leaps out at her through the material.

He leans in, traces his nose along a shadow on her neck, his breath flutters against her.

And then he is gone.

It takes her a few seconds to realize that he has disappeared, but once she does, shock sets in. Her knees knock together and certainly must make a noise that is something akin to that of maracas. Her lungs clench and her stomach clenches and her throat clenches and soon she is a tiny ball at the floor of the closet, the racket of the kitchen beyond her a lullaby that makes her lean her head back against the shelves and fight for breath.

"Where the hell is that girl—Kayleigh? Are…are you okay?" a voice inquires. She looks up, and Erica is gazing worriedly at her. Surely she has enough reason to; a shriveled up shell of a friend lies on the floor, what else is she supposed to do? And the haunted, shocked look in her eye does nothing to assuage her.

"Yeah," Kayleigh coughs out and snatches the spoon off of the floor. It takes her a good two minutes to get to her feet, but she insists on doing it alone. "I'm fine."

"You sure?" she makes sure. Despite her assurances, she lets her hands hover around her friend's waist in case of another collapse. "You look kind of pale…well, except for your cheeks, but they're always red."

"I promise, I'm fine," she swears to the girl beside her, and even was able to give her a ghost of a smile. But all the while, her eyes sweep the room in a fevered attempt to land a sight, a glimpse of the boy that sent her down to the floor. She spots him in his own sect of the kitchen, kneading batter like nothing ever happened, boys flocked around him like birds.

Well, she thinks to herself, if he can get past it just like that, then I can, too.

The rest of the class fades quickly. Their fudge turns out perfect, absolutely delectable. They snack on it in the courtyard during lunch, letting the fall wind whip at their nearly-bare legs and ruffle their long hair and shower them in barely-turned leaves. Perhaps they even look like goddesses as the breeze laps at their merry faces, their smiles like beacons and their eyes like radiant shards of gems embedded into happy expressions. Kayleigh tosses her buttery hair across her shoulders, a carefree feeling growing deep in her chest.

But then she looks up to see Tim with his arms locked like vices around Christina, feeding her bits of the cookies he made in his own kitchen, and the feeling immediately burns away into a dead feeling of absolute jealousy.

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy.

The words inscribed into her brand new silver bracelet wink at her in the sunlight. Her fingers fiddle with it anxiously as a war rages beneath her. She decides that the bracelet is both right and wrong. Love is patient. Love is kind. But nothing, not even whatever she feels roaring inside her chest, can keep her from the envy she feels for Christina. Nothing in the world can keep her from wanting to shatter whatever they have so she can take it for herself.

A dark wish. But she can't help it.

And yet she will do anything to keep them together, if only to see that smile upon his perfect face.

The leaves have completely turned now, and the trees are alight with the colors of autumn. They look as though someone has set fire to them, the leaves feigning flame as they whip in the breeze and boast reds and oranges and yellows alike. The air is an empty blue, save for one cloud that has lost its way and is wandering, placid, across the azure void. It looks like a clover, a four leaf clover. But it seems as though her lucky day—or, at least, what she would consider lucky—has yet to come along, and she bet anything that it would never come.

A strong wind comes. Foliage rains down upon her head from above, concealed in the branches in the tree she sits beneath.

The grass rustles beside her, and before she can even turn her head, she can smell the striking aroma of Axe and just plain…him. Her heart lurches and her head snaps to the side.

His profile is nearly as perfect as his entire face. She can see the exact half of everything; half a sloped nose, half a pair of slim lips, half a strong chin, half a sculpted jaw, a single high cheekbone, one ear, and a solo eye that still somehow has the power to send her reeling.

For a time, he chooses not to look at her, instead finding the courtyard before him to be more interesting. She can't seem to take her gaze off of him, no matter what he does. But then, suddenly, his lovely head, the head she longs to hold in her lap, swings around to face her. His line of sight sears into her, and she cannot breathe just as quickly as it took him to look at her, and she can't find it in herself to look away and save her cheeks the torture of the blush that will erupt beneath her skin any second now.

And then, he reaches forward, and with a growled "Kayleigh," he presses his lips to hers.

He's warm, she notes. She assumes him to be warm because, of course, he is a mammal, he is living, he is mortal, so he should be warm. But this isn't warm, she finally deduces. This is heat, raw, undiluted heat she feels as he comes in contact with her. Even if the flimsy barrier that is skin still resides between them, she feels the spirals of fire that are thrown through her veins. Lust swathes her mind, rips her from reality and throws her into what could only be described as a fantasy world. She loses herself, completely lets go as his hand feels like the sun against her thigh.

It doesn't take long for his tongue to poke out of his mouth and lightly trace her lips, the gentleness a staggering surprise to her, for she never pegged him as the gentle type. And the second she lets her lips part, she understands why. His tongue slides in, dances with hers, and then he rolls fluidly atop her. She hasn't a clue how she ended up lying on the ground, but as long as she's here, with him on top of her, she figures she may as well make the most of it. The way he plants one elbow beside her arm and allows his other hand to trace up and down the complete side of her body like a curious toddler stokes the flame that has been ignited. She unconsciously arches into him, and a low growl emanates from his throat as he kisses her harder.

She has only one arm hooked around his neck. She reaches up with the other to wind it around his shoulders—

The sun catches it. Her eyes see the words, guilt tears at her insides, she pauses. He notices, attempts to coax her.

It does not envy.

The sun flickers, glistens, it blinds her, wrong. Her heart thumps, stutters, hurts her, wrong. This is wrong, wrong, so wrong.

And then, ever so casually, Tim shrugs out of his blazer and lets the cool air ravage his back, only clothed in a white button-down shirt. His tie whips in the wind with hers.

"You're beautiful," he whispers to her, and then he lightly nips and kisses her neck.

Without a second thought, without hesitation, and with a fervor he'd never seen before, she knots her fingers into his wavy brown hair, rips his head back up to hers, and attacks his mouth as though she's starving without it, as though she's grasping at last strands of life with everything she can muster. He kisses her back, casual and cool as ever, and yet she swears she feels something beneath.

The sun never touches her bracelet again, never makes it sparkle like stars in the night sky.

A/N: SO the usual ritual of a one-shot before I get to Step-Lover. It'd be sickkkk if you'd let me know what you think XD.