The Other You
After her infamous adventure of freeing the lost souls of the children eaten by Beldam, Coraline Jones was left to her normal life. Things had certainly blossomed from how they were before. Mr. Bobinksy seemed less crazy, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible were more active, and Coraline actually got to know more about Wybie’s grandmother.
Coraline was now sitting in the garden, staring at the newly grown flowers. The garden was looking its best. When she first moved in two years ago, the place was completely dead. Her family planting some carnations and tulips certainly brightened the garden up. By this rate, all the flowers would hide the dead remnants from before. Everything would look perfect for when her friends would finally come and visit.
Her thoughts suddenly wandered back to the Other World. How vivid the garden was and how it seemed like each and every flower there was brought to life. It was a sight Coraline wouldn’t forget, no matter how bad its core truly was. Seeing her face arranged in flowers was something she wouldn’t see in her life again. Ever.
And when her thoughts came back to the Other world, they also went to him. The only boy Coraline met that was really....different. Someone who actually cared about her enough that he sacrificed his own life. His warm touch, his soft, frizzy hair, his dark skin, and the way he looked at her...The Other Wybie.
She knew he wasn’t real - he never had been, but his touch was so warm that she could never stop thinking about it. He smelled wonderful for a doll and those black buttons of him showed how truly broken he was. Coraline ever so rarely cared about others’ misfortunes, but the one time she saw him frown.....she wanted to help him. So badly. But she couldn’t - because he gave up his life to make sure she was back in her own world.
Coraline held her face in her hands and gave a low sob. “Oh, Wybie...”
"Are you, uh, talking about me?"
She looked up from her hands and found the real Wybie Lovat standing across from her. He was wearing his usual black-and-silver coat, as well as those baggy jeans of his. He was shifting uncomfortable from foot to foot and had his head down really low, slumping. Wybie hadn’t changed at all through these two years.
“No!” Coraline snapped, feeling suddenly embarrassed that he saw her crying. “It’s someone else.”
“Uh, yeah...” He rubbed the back of his head. “As far as I know, there isn’t anyone else here with the same name like ‘Wyborn’. Nice try, though.”
She groaned, turning so she wouldn’t have to face him. She held her head high as she replied, “No, the other Wybie, stupid.”
He mouthed an ‘oh’ before turning away from her as well. He took a look around the garden and stepped forward to admire a patch of roses. Coraline turned her head slightly to watch him from the corner of her eye. She knew he couldn’t have come for the garden - he only set foot in here once to attend that party two years ago. No, she knew exactly why he was here.
“Stalking me again, Why-were-you-born?”
He ducked his head. “N-No! I told you, Jonesy, I don’t stalk y-you. I just...wanted to come over and say...h-hi?”
Coraline rolled her eyes. THAT confirmed her suspicions. It was creepy that he followed her sometimes, but she was actually starting to enjoy it. There weren’t many people here to befriend and the kids at school lived nowhere near her. Wybie was the company Coraline needed when there was no one else to talk to. Though she’d honestly prefer anyone else.
“So, this ‘Other Me’ thing...” He brought up, gulping as he did so. “I-Is he nice? You talk about him a lot.”
“Nice?” She scoffed. “He was the kindest person I knew, Wybie. He did things I wouldn’t have...”
He nodded. “Uh-huh, uh-huh. And, uh...what made him so kind, exactly?”
This part couldn’t have been avoided. Coraline’s tone slurred only slightly as she leaned forward. Her eyes dropped as she stared at the tulips longingly. She said, “He was really attractive.”
“I-I mean!” Coraline brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear nervously. “He, um, made sure I had a good time. He went with me to see a circus and a trapeze act. He gave me cotton candy and, uh, we sat next to each other.”
The girl suddenly started to smack herself on the forehead. Inwardly, she was scolding herself for sounding so awkward. Why was she acting like this!? It wasn’t like she and the Other Wybie had been on a date or anything. After all, Beldam and her Other Father referred to him as her “friend”. It couldn’t have been anything more.
Wybie suddenly sat down next to her and started wringing his hands together. He was looking around in the garden and was doing his best to avoid eye contact with her. Coraline stared at him in silence until he finally wracked up the nerve to speak.
“Sounds to me like you guys were really close...” He looked at her. “What happened to him?”
“He saved me by grabbing me out from the mirror, first of all.” Coraline recalled the memory. “Then he led me back to the door to this world, and...And...”
She suddenly started choking. Tears fell from her eyes and she had to place a hand over her mouth to stop herself from sobbing again.
“-He sacrificed himself for me. He pushed me through the door and faced the Other Mother by himself. She killed him after that, and...I saw his clothes hanging on the Other Bobinksy’s rail. I didn’t even get to thank him for everything he did.”
Coraline gave in to her tears. She hid her face from Wybie and continued to cry as quietly as she could. It wasn’t her fault that she got all emotional when she thought about it. He had done so much for her! It was a big thing to lose someone so close to you. Especially when it had been your best friend......and even when you wanted something more.
The real Wybie, however, was a mess. He was naturally awkward and had no idea how to initiate conversations properly. At times, he either had nothing to say or would spurt out the worst thing to say. Seeing Coraline crying triggered the alarm bells in his mind. He leaned forward and gently placed a hand on her shoulder to try and ease his friend.
“It’s okay, Jonesy! You don’t really have to worry about that world anymore, anyway. We got rid of the key, remember?”
“Yeah, but...” She held her knees tightly. “I think I....had a crush on him?”
Things went silent. Coraline nudged his gloved hand off from her shoulder and continued to squeeze her knees nervously. Why did that feel like a confession? The Other Wybie was dead, so she shouldn’t be feeling as guilty as she did right now. It felt like she was revealing something big, even though she really wasn’t.
“...So does that mean, like, you had a crush on me?”
“No!” Coraline defended. “The Other Wybie was.....he.....he didn’t stutter, first of all. His posture was great and he never spoke once to me. He was the greatest thing there is!”
A hurt look spread on Wybie’s face. “Y-You mean? He was a...better version of me?”
She bit her lip. Coraline hadn’t been expecting him to understand. “Well, the Other Mother said she fixed him, so....I guess he was.”
Things went quiet again, so she decided to finally turn and look at him properly. Wybie was staring at the ground with a low frown on his face. When his hazel eyes met hers, he suddenly stood and started walking for the nearest gate.
“Well, thanks for having me, Coraline. I gotta’ go.”
She shot up from the bricks, following him to the gate. “No - Wybie! I didn’t mean-”
He had already closed the gate and was walking down the trail. Coraline struggled to get it open but flung through the bars once she did. She ran down the trail until she found Wybie near the lake. He had his welder’s mask on and was about to start his dirt bike until Coraline stood in front of him.
“Hey!” She snapped. “Where do you think you’re going!?”
"To my grandma’s." He replied from under the mask. ”She’s making a roast for dinner, so-"
“But I’m not done with you!”
Hesitantly, he lifted up the mask. His next tone sounded a bit snappy. “What else do you have to say? He’s exactly like me, just better.”
“Yeah, about that...” She rubbed her arm. “The Other Mother kinda’...well, you know how she used that doll to eavesdrop on me? Sometimes I paced around my room and talked to myself about you, and I guess she just picked up on the things that annoyed me.”
Wybie looked lost. “What do you mean?”
“Ugh! Remember that time you stuttered when I was asking you an important question? It really made me mad so I went back to my room and talked to myself about how much I hated it when you stuttered. She fixed that because she thought it was something wrong with you.”
“I thought it was something wrong with m-me?”
“It isn’t!” Coraline tried to convince herself. “Then I started complaining about how you talked a lot and she did the same thing. I just....I don’t know. She fixed everything wrong with you to make this amazing guy.”
Wybie revved up the engine and was about to take off again. Coraline had to take another step in front of the bike to stop him. He groaned loudly and waited for her to finish.
“My point is...” She sighed. “You aren’t perfect, Wyborn, but...you’re all I have now. I realize that, if I had stayed with the Other Wybie, I probably would have gotten bored at this point. He can’t exactly say anything to me.”
“So you’re just gonna’ use me to save you from boredom?”
“Yep.” Coraline caught herself and smacked her forehead. She was acting so dumb today! She corrected, “I mean, would you like to go on a date this Friday?”
He stuttered. “A-As friends?”
"No." She leaned on his bike. “You know...like boyfriend and girlfriend?”
This was the first time he’d seen Coraline Jones flirtatious. She was leaning on his bike with a smug look on her lips. She really likes him? He’ll admit, he was far from her league. Plus, they didn’t even go to the same school together. She was always so mean to him, too.
“I, uh...” Wybie started wringing his hands again. “I don’t have any money...”
“I do. I’ll take you to that stupid tool shop you like, and we can catch a movie after. What do you say?”
The offer was too good to refuse. He smirked and replied, “Yeah, sure, Jonesy. We can do it at 3 - that’s when the crowds start to go away.”
“Mkay.” She got off his bike. “I’ll see you then. Make sure you take a shower, though. I don’t want my date all dirty.”
Wybie nudged his welding mask over his face and started to drive off. When he came over a hill, he heard Coraline’s voice call for him from afar.
"SEE YOU LATER, WHY-WERE-YOU-BORN!"
He turned around and saw Coraline waving to him. He moved one of his hands off from the steering wheel and waved back.
Maybe this date between them would work out and he could start dating Jonesy. He really liked her ever since the met. Besides the whole “poison oak” thing. Sure, Coraline was weird, but she was a good kind of weird. Hopefully Wybie could be a good of guy as his counterpart was to her. Nice, clean, and less awkward...
Him crashing into a tree, however, gave him second thoughts.
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