Dancer In The Dark

Claire’s the centre of attention, but she’s never in the spotlight.
Category: Making Out (K Applegate)
Rating: Teen
Characters: Claire Geiger
Genre: Angst, Character Reflection, Episodic
Pairing(s): Claire/Jake, Claire/Lucas, Claire/Other
Status: Complete


Claire danced. She was aware of all eyes on her. It wasn’t surprising, with her long lustrous hair, her short skirt and her not-too-daring shirt that still managed to reveal a tantalising glimpse of cleavage when she moved just so.

She was Claire Geiger, famed beauty of Weymouth High, and reputed ice queen of Chatham Island, if not the whole state of Maine. What was it Benjamin had called her? Cold? Icy? Superior? She couldn’t recall – or maybe didn’t want to – but the words were forever etched in her diary, if not her mind.

She was a cold heart breaker. Nina had called her that, Claire thought it was a line from one of Nina’s god-awful songs that she played at full volume, and she supposed, from the outside, it’s what she was.

There was Lucas, the sweet boy who had spent two years in Youth Authority (her mind was always called it that since the famed revelation, it seemed a little less terrible to call it Youth Authority rather than jail) because he had loved her enough to take the blame.

She then dated Benjamin. Why she had tolerated someone who was so obviously her mental equal for so long, she would never know. He scared her, his thirst for knowledge, his quest for the truth, so she had finished with him. It had been too late, he had gotten too close, and he had found the truth.

But not before she was entangled with Jake. Jake, whose loyal devotion to his brother had torn their relationship to shreds before it could even get going. Whose pain over loving the girl that killed his brother drove him to alcohol abuse and could have very easily killed him. Wouldn’t that be something? Both McRoyan boys dead because of her?

What about Flyer? Sweet, fat, Sean, who had understood her on so many levels. Maybe the one boy who had truly cared for her, based purely on her mind and emotions? He wasn’t attractive. She had wanted to be above that, but when it came down to it, she was a shallow as the boys she sneered at for finding her attractive. How could she honestly deserve someone who loved her for her mind when she had refused the one opportunity that had presented itself to her?

Then what had she done? She had fooled around with Lucas, trying to make Jake jealous, trying to make him understand how it felt to be rejected. All she had done was (eventually) solidify Zoey’s relationship with both boys. Zoey’s one true love was Lucas, but there was no question that Jake would forever cling to the hope that he and Zoey may be reunited.

Because what it basically came down to, is that boys didn’t fall for Claire. They lusted after her. She was much like a supermodel, or a celebrity. Metaphorically, her picture would be on their wall, they might have innocent (or even not-so-innocent) daydreams about her, but they wouldn’t love her.

They would love the girl next door.

And who could be more next-door than Zoey?

She might have scraggly hair at times, her chest might be practically concave, she might have whimsical idealistic views on the world, but she was real. She was not a poster on a wall, but a photo in a wallet.

Even Aaron, who was entirely fake, wanted someone real. He didn’t want a mental equal, he wanted sweet, innocent little Zoey.

No, that wasn’t right. Not exactly. Aaron had wanted Zoey for her innocence, but once that was gone, Aaron would be too. On realising he wasn’t going to get it, he had turned his attentions to Claire. Having to wait a few hours for what Claire was willing to give had proven far too difficult a task for Aaron, so he had just grabbed the first bimbo to walk past.

Claire carefully rearranged her features into a pleasant, if slightly superior, expression. One devoid of the emotion she felt sliding over her face on remembering Aaron’s heartless behaviour. This task was made more difficult by the lighting, randomly picking out couples, faces, exes, all happier without her. Zoey and Lucas. Benjamin and Nina. Jake, alone, but his eyes fixed on Zoey. Aaron, not here, but when she closed her eyes, his image flashed on her eyelids.

She continued to dance, all eyes on her, everyone watching her, but nobody noticing her.