Somebody That I Used to KnowFandom: Eternal LawRating:
Zak/Hannah, because apparently that’s what my fingers wanted to type.Summary:
Hannah muses on Zak.
She never thought she’d meet someone else who makes her feel like this. Like a certain brand of madness may be contagious, like her heart is three sizes too big for her chest, like she wants to calm his every jitter with a stroke of her fingers. Hannah’s always been the responsible one. Her idea of a wild time in the past has been skinny-dipping in her month-long-absent neighbour’s swimming pool, eating three slices of cherry cheesecake for breakfast (it had been a bad, bad evening the night before), and choosing to make a journey from Cornwall to Lake Windemere a roadtrip. She isn’t used to making terrible decisions.
Zak Gist is an appalling idea. He’s an enigma wrapped up in a mystery, encased in a gigantic ball of insanity. And he is appealing in ways that make absolutely no sense to her. Hannah is the sort of girl (Woman. Girl. She’ll think of herself however she chooses, that’s
the sort of person she is) who reads the final pages of thrillers and crime procedurals before reading the first chapter, who eats the last Rolo immediately after the penultimate, who can’t continue to think of herself in clichés, but every line is true. The only other time Hannah has gone against her natural inclinations was with Daniel.
Zak is nothing like Daniel.
He’s a different ethnicity, different age, he has a different accent, education, fiscal capability, if his clothes are anything to go by. He’s had more opportunities, been given more privileges. When Zak quotes Shakespeare, Dickens and Larkin, it’s with smug satisfaction that he can accurately recall every word. When Daniel did, it was with wonderment at writers who were more skilled than he at conveying the human condition, at describing his feelings, his understandings.
Zak is everything like Daniel.
It’s so strange. Like the nerves beneath her skin have an understanding her brain couldn’t. Her tongue is too heavy in her mouth when she speaks to Zak, as it always was with Daniel. Laughter bubbles beneath her surface. She has the constant urge to wrap him up, keep him close, soothe his furious disappointment with the world, to protect him.
It wouldn’t be fair to replace Daniel with a man who provokes in her the same joy and anger, especially when, by all rights, he should not.
It wasn’t fair for Daniel to leave her, cold and bereft, without ever saying goodbye, giving her no indication if he was alive, or injured, or hit by a speeding car.
Fairness is a loaded concept.
Yet, it remains: Zak is a bad choice when it comes to moving on with her life. He is forever changeable, continually surprising. That could be part of the charm, it’s definitely part of the frustration. On any given day, he may light up at her presence like she’s a fire sale, or stumble away from her like she’s brimstone.
So Hannah is caught in a conundrum. Should she pursue Zak Gist, a man who is several curls short of a barrister’s wig, or should she allow him his escape? He is, after all, not truly the ‘One who spread a heaven beneath the sun’. Just a passable facsimile; faded beyond recognition, but with the information laid out in the same general persuasion. She knows she’s already spent too much time with him when she’s beginning to think in elaborate analogies.
Maybe she’s been fooling herself, maybe she doesn’t have a choice. Perhaps this is not her decision to make. Because when she sees Zak at the bar, her hand rises against her volition and she’s smiling across at him, lungs squeezing tight at his matched expression, all tentative curving lips and crinkle-cornered eyes. She’s ushering him over, telling him about her day, giggling at his rolling eyes when she talks about Richard. She’s picking at his plate of chips as if she paid for half.
And this is surely Hell on Earth.