Another prompt was completed. (From the fic exchange from last year. sor_ficexchange) This one's late due to my own idiocy; it's been sitting in my inbox since mid-August. >.< (Feel free to hit me now.)
This one was written by smearedink for nanners_77.
Prompt: fireplace, revenge, teenage, burning, glass
In chemistry, a catalyst is a substance that decreases the activation energy of a chemical reaction (see also catalysis) without itself being changed at the end of the chemical reaction.
Summer Hathaway can't remember a time when she didn't have a crush on Freddy Jones. She knows the laws of nature – opposites attract and all that. It's obvious. People seek out other people that complete them, that compliment them, that make them feel whole.
(X and Y, X and Y, she thinks. Genetically, it makes sense.)
Freddy has never exactly made Summer feel whole. He hasn't ever even made her feel that she was liked, particularly. But she can't exactly help it. He seems to be in her very nature itself, sometimes, teasing her, the voice in her head telling her to stop worrying all the time.
But when it comes to Freddy Jones, she can't exactly help it.
Still, she goes over to his house when Katie asks her to, even though it it late at night and her parents wouldn't like it. Katie knows about her crush, of course, but as far as Summer knows she hasn't said anything to Freddy.
She has probably said things to Zack, since Katie and Zack have been dating for, oh, forever, but Summer can't exactly be mad at that. Much.
Still, she doesn't quite expect it when, out of nowhere, a foot pushes against her back and flings her right into the arms of Freddy, who had been only begging her to join him in the pool.
(Catalysts, too fast, the thinks, as she is pulled underwater.)
She squeezes her eyes shut, arms flailing uselessly. Freddy grabs at her arms as they sink underwater, then presses his lips tight against her closed mouth.
Summer opens her eyes to see Freddy looking right into hers. The poollights are making him glow in ways that make her heart thump, and it's silly and it's teenaged, but she loves it.
(Genetics. Reproduction. Meiosis. The miracle of life.)
They reach the surface again. Katie is giggling, and Zack is kissing her neck. Summer scowls, but not for long, because then there is Freddy again, smiling face so close to hers, so close.
"Wanna be my girlfriend?" he asks simply, hands rubbing up and down her arms slowly.
(Catalysts, again, thinks happening too fast.)
"Yeah," Summer says.
A simple model for heterogeneous catalysis involves the catalyst providing a surface on which the reactants (or substrates) temporarily become adsorbed.
It's cold outside. This is probably because it's nighttime and Summer shouldn't be outside, because, even though it it summer, there is still the wind and the chill in the air.
Not to mention the electricity.
(What a silly saying, she thinks. There really is no electricity in the air, between two people, no matter how it feels.)
She is wearing normal clothes. They all are. Still, everybody is in the pool except for her, because, for some reason, she can't help but think of the damage chlorine can do to clothes, of her mother's reaction, of how un-her it is.
So, instead, she goes into Freddy's house, ignoring the cries of her friends to come back.
She breathes hard against his pool table, mentally berating herself.
(What are the chemicals of emotions? she asks herself. What can she extract from her body to make her okay?)
"Summer?" Freddy's voice comes, and there is his body, wet and dripping, right next to her.
She looks at him, really looks at him. Freddy is very attractive, very perfect. Very not her.
(Survival of the fittest. He would definitely make it.)
"I'm sorry," she begins to say, but then changes her mind, grabs him, and kisses him.
And as he lays her flat against his pool table, she thinks that, at least her clothes won't be ruined this way.
In homogeneous catalysis the catalyst is a molecule which facilitates the reaction.
The summer humidity had been stifling, siphoning every molecule of moisture out of Summer's body to her flesh, dotting her skin with perspiration (sweat – water, salt, urea, she thinks). It is a typical Jersey summer, and she adores it, even if it does mean having to use extra deodorant to keep her sweat from getting the best of her.
(Sweat. "Cappilary action," her brain says back, and she is a stem, elongated trunk, pale face and large lips and dark hair to the sun. She is a flower, a daisy, probably, something simple, and smart, and classic.)
Summer is shivering by the fireplace, because the heat is no longer there, replaced by the night's breeze. Her dress is clinging to her, just like it was before. Except this time it is because she was thrown in the pool, as opposed to her own water and salts making it difficult to breathe.
"You need to cool down," Freddy has said, grinning as he picked her up and threw her in. She had squealed and beat against his chest, and finally, when she reached the surface again, she had pulled him in with her by his foot.
Katie had laughed and rested her head on Zack's shoulder. They had been sitting on the edge of the pool, feet obscuring the nightlights that lit the pool up, holding hands and smiling at Freddy and Summer, not-yet a couple, their eyes said, not-yet.
Never, Summer's eyes said back, but then she had looked at Freddy, water clinging to his blond eyelashes, ear-to-ear grin making him look comical, and had almost seen it, for a moment.
Seen what, she didn't know, but it was something.
Speaking of which.
Freddy joins her by the fireplace, since it is his own house and all and somebody needs to tend to this fire. His clothes are still clinging to him, because he didn't have enough clean towels and he didn't want Summer to suffer alone. He grabs a random piece of newspaper by his side and throws it on the dregs, watching the new sparks come alive, feeding on the wood, the already-burned paper, the fire that is already there.
(Catalyst, fire, CO2, Summer thinks, brain going into overdrive. The trees that were the newspaper. Succession, how they had to die, or else everything would stop growing.)
"Thirsty?" Freddy asks, handing Summer a wine glass full of a mysterious substance. She eyes it funny, shakes her head, thinking of all of the rumors about Freddy Jones.
"No thanks," she says, laughing and looking at the fire, the champagne beige carpet, anything but his eyes.
He looks at her (she can feel it, his eyes, which is absurd, no scientific basis, how do people feel eyes?) then at the glass. Laughs, drinks some himself.
"It's apple juice. I bought it myself." He pauses, pushes another glass towards her. "I promise."
Shy eyes. Embarrassed eyes. Closed eyes, drinks the apple juice.
"I feel like I'm seven," she says, laughing, thinking of the endorphins that are released into her system now. Freddy smiles, and so does she. "I'm finally acting your age."
"Low blow, Tink," Freddy mutters, seriously, and Summer thinks she may have hurt his feelings. (What is the chemical basis of feelings, she wonders?)
"Hey, I have to get back at you somehow," she says, settling, settling her brain down, at ease.
But then he is laughing, and she is blushing. Why would she ever believe him?
Silence. But not the bad kind, Summer thinks, because they are by the fire, and it is beautiful outside, and inside, and their toes are almost-touching.
"You're not so bad, you know," Freddy finally says, gulping down his drink, because boys don't sip. Summer does, though, looking at him from over the glass, thinking it might be sexy, like those girls in the movies. If she can be sexy with her hair tangled and her clothes sticking to her body in weird places.
Summer likes Biology. Summer likes Chemistry. Summer likes Physics. Summer likes science, mostly, for its simple rules, its mystery. Everything always equals something, except for sometimes. Fire. Catalysts. Succession. The constant growth.
Maybe it all has to do with this. And maybe it is revenge.
Summer thinks. But she also puts her glass down and leans forward, her hand on Freddy's leg.
Freddy's mouth meets hers halfway.
Their lips slide together, mouths only barely open. A short hint of a sigh, a breath. Wet. And that slow burn in her stomach, the summer heat inside them, around them, from them, low, there, right there. Yes.
"Nice," Freddy says when he leans back, licking his lips and smiling that smile that always gets to Summer.
(What is the biological answer to sex? What causes it? What are the chemicals that give these feelings? What does it all mean?)
She pulls him back in.