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13 February 2012 @ 03:06 pm
The Real LJ Idol: "In The Clouds"  
In The Clouds
real lj idol | week 14 | 850 words
Twitterpated

x-x-x-x-x

College was a time for new ideas and new opportunities—and best of all, for love.

When Kevin Stables wound up in the same English class as Julia Mandolini, he knew that last part was completely true.

Julia was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen, and so incredibly smart. She had so much insight into the writers they studied that Kevin sometimes wondered if he really belonged in the program himself. But since Julia was majoring in English too, he stayed put. It was a shared passion.

They never saw enough of each other, but at least they were guaranteed those three times a week for lecture sessions.

Wednesday morning, Kevin hurried to class, anxious to see Julia again. He still managed to be almost late, and had to settle for a seat two rows away from her. He glanced over and smiled, and she smiled back in that special way she had. The blue of her eyes was like nothing he'd ever seen before, a soft, vivid color that wasn't sky-blue or cornflower-blue, something more like—

"—which author?" Professor Kirkpatrick asked. "Mr. Stables?"

"Neptune!" Kevin blurted out.

"Hmm. Not in my experience. Anyone else?"

Later that morning, Kevin walked to the ATM with his friend Zachary, to pick up some weekend cash. Kevin tried to explain the whole thing to him, not for the first time.

"Her voice is like music," he said, "sweet, glorious music. I heard her read Beaudelaire out loud in the original French, once. Mon Dieu!"

"Dude," Zachary protested. "Get a grip."

"Seriously, it was incredible." Kevin put his card in the ATM, which beeped at him and spat it back out.

"That's your Student ID card," Zachary said.

"Oh." Kevin tried to swap cards, and wound up dropping the contents of his wallet on the ground. He scrambled through the mess. "Anyway, she's got this hair…"

"She'd better," Zachary snorted. "Bald chicks freak me out."

Afterwards, Zachary went to Organic Chemistry while Kevin found a bench in the Quad and sat down to eat lunch.

The first hints of spring were beginning, and it made him giddy. Trees were in bloom, and flowers were just starting to open. The blossom-scented breeze reminded him of the smell of Julia's shampoo, which was something fresh and floral he'd never encountered before.

So much about Julia was new and amazing. He couldn't keep his mind off of her for a second.

There was squirrel on a nearby tree limb, watching him with shiny, black eyes—a willing audience, if he'd ever seen one.

"It's not just her laugh, or that she's so pretty," he told it. "For instance, she has the most amazing hands."

The squirrel inched closer.

"Such long, beautiful fingers," Kevin went on. "She could be an artist with those hands, a sculptor, maybe, or a musician."

The squirrel leaped right onto the bench and assaulted Kevin's lunch.

"What—aughhhh!"

Kevin pulled himself together, and stomped over to the student union to buy another sandwich.

"What happened to you?" the cashier said.

"Nothing."

"Huh. Looks like you've got egg salad in your hair."

Figures, Kevin thought. Stupid squirrel.

He stopped off at the condiments table, and spent some time trying unsuccessfully to stab a plastic knife through the top of his soda cup before the horrified expression on the face of the woman next to him registered. He switched to a straw, feeling like a complete idiot.

The smell of sunshine hit him as soon as he opened the door and went outside. He lifted up his face, feeling as if the sky itself was smiling on him.

He changed his mind after taking a Wile E. Coyote air-step over the edge of the patio because he'd forgotten about the stairs.

Still, no permanent damage. He shrugged off a twinge of grumpiness. It was spring and the sun was shining, and he was in love. Life's little imperfections couldn't stand in the way of that.

He started walking toward his General Health class, eyes on the sidewalk to monitor treacherous terrain. Love was everywhere—in the sky, on the ground—and he felt swept up and surrounded by it as he moved along.

His thoughts turned to Julia once more. He'd never known anyone like her before, never felt so connected to anyone else. It was as if he could sense her, catch the edge of her perfume or hear the sound of her voice…

Suddenly, he smashed right into someone, his breath catching brutally as he splatted onto the ground like a newborn foal. Ouch!

He blinked and lifted his head, noticing that the shoes in front of him looked familiar. Adorable, even.

His gaze traveled up, up, up, and there was Julia, auburn hair blazing like the sun itself.

Her beauty took him by surprise, just as it always did—even after all this time. He became a fool all over again every time he looked at her, and now his stomach swooned and his head swam as those three all-important little words burst out of him:

"Hi. I'm Kevin."




If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with the other fine entries here

 
 
 
medleymistymedleymisty on February 14th, 2012 01:37 am (UTC)
Excellent description of the prompt! :)

Also, as always, beautifully written. I really enjoyed it, with all the little details about the trees and the flowers and the sun and the squirrel. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2012 03:33 am (UTC)
Thank you! Really, getting the tone of the prompt was what made this a challenge. Love stories are one thing, but this was a particular flavor of love.

That squirrel... so innocent, so cute, until things turned ugly. Never trust a rodent with your emotional unburdening!
lawchickylawchicky on February 14th, 2012 02:35 am (UTC)
This was beautiful!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2012 03:33 am (UTC)
Thank you-- I'm so glad you thought so!
cindytsuki_no_bara on February 14th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)
this is completely adorable. i love how distracted kevin is, and the squirrel made me giggle.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC)
Yay! Sounds like it conveyed the prompt very thoroughly.

We really have no idea whether Kevin might ordinarily be a smart person, given what happens here.

And the squirrel... when wild things seem interested in you, that isn't always a good thing. o_O
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hairlilycobalt on February 14th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC)
I laughed so hard at everything that happened to distracted Kevin. Thank you for doing this topic so well!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2012 07:39 am (UTC)
I'm glad the humor struck you so well, here!

I feel bad for the guy, if only because the realization of every embarrassing thing he's done always comes after it's too late.

That outburst in class-- the other students sure must have wondered where THAT came from. :0
A Sentient Being: Heartsalien_infinity on February 14th, 2012 02:23 pm (UTC)
I liked the humor in this piece. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

The prompt really suggested something to me where the person involved might have no idea of just how scatterbrained they would be, but it likely would be obvious to everyone else. o_O
the middle of the road's fine with no cars aroundnoodledays on February 14th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
aww wow, he really has it bad! you captured it charmingly. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
He's so smitten, he's practically operating from orbit!

How I remember those days. :)
createdestinycreatedestiny on February 15th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
Lovely.

I like how the professor interrupted the story with a question.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2012 04:47 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I sometimes think they're like other teachers, where there is no better 'victim' than the student who isn't paying attention. Woolgathering is rarely as subtle as we might like to think. ;)

Thanks for reading!
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2012 04:49 am (UTC)
Thank you! I've been down his path before, utterly enamored of someone who probably didn't have the slightest clue what I was feeling. Somehow, it never saves you from getting as caught up in that person as you do.
Kristenpixiebelle on February 15th, 2012 04:44 am (UTC)
This was sweet! I love how you show him swooning for her, it seemed so realistic and cute!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2012 06:17 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it!

I suspect that, love-haze aside, Julia probably is every bit as wonderful as Kevin thinks she is. Guys like that always seem to know...
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it!

I feel constrained to actually use the tone of the prompt, even when I don't want to. ;) I'd rather have written about love in some other sense, but given the prompt I'm stuck with this particular tone.

My last entry didn't go with the obvious at all, but the prompt was still definitely there. I really loved that one. :D
sarcasmoqueen: heartsarcasmoqueen on February 15th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Heeheehee, I enjoyed this.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you! You can really feel for the poor guy, can't you?

I know I've been that stupid-in-love a few times in my life, and from the observer's POV... it usually isn't pretty. But sometimes funny. :D
A Karmic Sandbox: No Really!karmasoup on February 15th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
Cute. Zachary is awesome... I love his commentary. I wonder if it's a universal reality that campus squirrels are fearless and brazen from being accustomed to getting fed people-food. I've certainly experienced that at more than one university. This was a fun reminder!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
Hee-- my husband liked Zachary, too. He cracks me up, here. The voice of reason, except a little ruder. ;)

Not only are campus squirrels brazen, but a lot of golden-mantled ground squirrels are too. Those little guys are in the mountains (people mistake them for chipmunks), and they haunt parking lots, campsites, and sometimes hiking trails. If only they weren't so cute! I'm not strong enough to resist their begging. ;)
jacq22jacq22 on February 15th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
Just love Zachary, this was perfect!!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised at how people are loving Zachary, but he does kill me. He's like the bucket of cold water dousing the whole Epic Romance fantasy, isn't he? Not that I think he's wrong. ;)

So glad you enjoyed it. I'll be around your place sometime today... Your LJ place, that is. I'm still thinking about that Charming Stalker entry you wrote. :)
Jemima Paulerjem0000000 on February 15th, 2012 11:10 pm (UTC)
Lol, poor guy! I'm glad he managed to talk to her, though.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 16th, 2012 01:03 am (UTC)
You just can't ignore that first step, no matter how amazing you think someone is.

But it's impressive how far you can get toward being head-over-heels with someone who has no idea what's going on! You might think they do, but sometimes... no. :0

Thanks for reading!
(no subject) - jem0000000 on February 16th, 2012 03:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
Snarksnarkerdoodle on February 15th, 2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
"Anyway, she's got this hair…"

"She'd better," Zachary snorted. "Bald chicks freak me out."


Oh, I laughed and laughed at this. Great set of lines, lol. Nicely done piece!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 16th, 2012 01:04 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it!

There's nothing like vague praise to bring out the snark in someone, is there? I can't blame Zachary at all. :)