|"Everything screams in my dreams tonight."|
“Whoops!” A young girl, no older than fourteen, hurriedly exclaims, twisting a strawberry blond lock nervously around her finger. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!”
“Oh…” you belatedly fight against yourself to shout the foul oath on the tip of your tongue. Your sparkling eyes glaze over the humongous stack of reports handed to you by your colleagues, half of it drenched to the tips with sticky tan coffee that’s pouring out of your simple mug.
Pages upon pages of neatly typed words, and now some of them are wiped off the mark. You mentally chide yourself not to scream at the girl—as she hasn’t done anything wrong—but no doubt you’ll pay the price for it later on.
“It’s all right, it’s fine, I didn’t really need that stack of papers anyway.” You force out the last genuine smile in your body, while mentally swallowing down obscenities.
“You sure?” she anxiously asks, clasping her hands together. No doubt she wouldn’t want to anger the girl that might as well balance S.H.I.E.L.D on top of her head. Oh, and come to think of it, you might be so angry that you might refuse to work any longer!
One curt nod from you is all the reassurance she needs, and she guiltlessly skips to her tiny workplace, already typing shamelessly to her friends via chat, on her paper thin laptop.
You exhale in relief, and forcefully turn towards the dripping stack of work now increasingly growing, as worker upon worker goes by and stacks a manuscript on your desk. You’ve got a lot of work to do. With a quick twist of your right hand, you snatch a handful of towels that’s innocently sitting on the side of your file cabinet, and begin to sop up the mess with agonizingly slow pace. (Due to the fact that you have to be extremely careful not to knock over the skyscraper piles growing like beanstalks on your desk).
When the mess is cleared away—for the moment—you throw yourself into your squeaky desk chair, blowing a straggly strand of hair out of your face.
It’s not as if I have a choice, you think to yourself resentfully, as you take the tip top manuscript off the countless sheaves of paper lining your desks. In bold, yet neatly inked font, is a requirement for a new laptop, slim as a wood leaf, but must be evergreen in all corners. Keyboard symbols drawn in rusted gold ink, touchscreen sensitive, of course.
As you begin your tedious work cycle again, you try and block out the mental scream that’s been building up in your head for years. You had snagged a job at S.H.I.E.L.D by pure chance-due to someone slipping that you had a work of a prodigy in the arts.
And everyone always knows that prodigies are picked quite quickly by the elite.
You were sent by streaming underwater jet (yes, underwater jet) to S.H.I.E.L.D’s main headquarters in the middle of nowhere, and ordered to start designing contraptions and such for the program.
At first, you were an equal to everyone in the office, a girl who had equal talents to everyone around her. But your advanced skills preceded you, and propelled you into a reputation that you didn’t know you had, until it was too late.
To your unfortunate luck, your coworkers were such lazy procrastinators, they would just kick up their heels and relax while sipping a cup of coffee, plopping the day’s work onto your desk. You, on the other hand, can’t afford to rest.
Being the sharpest tack in the glass headquarters takes its tolls; and unfortunately, that toll is as high as the Taipei 101. All your colleagues took your innovative mind for granted, stating that they couldn’t possibly dream up of genius designs, and put their work directly on your hands.
And if your boss finds out…well, you think sarcastically to yourself as you refill your mug with coffee. Would he want to change this unfair system?
Your boss wasn’t one for the resting type-in fact, he would proudly declare to anyone who’s about, that his designing office was the first in all of S.H.I.E.L.D’s networks.
He’s one to talk.
The reason that his branch of design was number one is because of you. Almost every single piece of technology that S.H.I.E.L.D had ever created was in your designs. You are the one to first sketch, then make a prototype drawing, and sent them back to their workers. They then ship the drawings to the engineering department. If they approve of the design, the department would then make a miniscule prototype-not to scale, of course-and if it’s sufficient enough for you-after your coworkers give you the prototype-, S.H.I.E.L.D immediately patents it.
Now this isn’t to say that there aren’t other artists that make the government program itself. Nukes, explosives, and guns…no, those you left to the pyromaniacs that are miles away from you-thankfully. But where simplicity, artistic skill, and efficiency is involved, almost all the time you created it.
The infamous Helicarrier, with its camouflaging glass surfaces, gigantic whirring blades, and complex inner system that nearly went haywire after the Avengers’ recent battle? Your idea.
The nearly indestructible Tesseract holder, that firmly and cautiously contained the cube in midair, so it wouldn’t detonate? Courtesy of yours truly.
The inescapable circular cage that the troublesome Loki Laufeyson, Norse God of Mischief, was once imprisoned in? Not capable without your quick thinking.
Over half of S.H.I.E.L.D’s crisp outfits, furniture, and secretive underground interiors? Check, check, check; all of them are of your mind and creative spurring.
Unfortunately, those ideas are your colleagues officially. The back and forth exchange of work from the people in the office is all the communication you ever have with them.
All they can find out in their idiotic minds are that you are the girl who does everyone’s work as a service; why do all the difficult jobs designing while you can just send them over to the girl next door? Exactly.
As much as you want and desire to break free of your titanium locked prison in S.H.I.E.L.D, you know you cannot. Almost every designed and technologically innovative machine or substance comes from you now.
If you leave, every worker in the office would be startled into submission in real attempt at their job, and it wouldn’t be pretty after a few years’ rest. S.H.I.E.L.D wouldn’t exactly be advanced for the next couple of decades, not in a long time.
If you drop out of the program now, S.H.I.E.L.D may as well be knocking stones together without your help. Heck, if you stretched your surprising large influence to its maximum limit, not even the Avengers would be grouped if you left.
You allow your frame to be rocked by a single shiver; without your art, to quite literally put the quote, the earth would just be ‘eh’. Or it could also be thrown into a chaotic tumult where no one could stop evil forces from coming.
Is it any wonder that you’re obliged to choose the former option?
In S.H.I.E.L.D’s book, nothing is what it seems to be. ‘Obliged’ isn’t a sense of obedience. Obliged is equal to deciding whether or not there be near-apocalyptic equations.
And even that’s wildly not to scale for, say, if another crazy person decides to rule the Earth and crush it to bits, instead of making it their possessive domain.
The fate of humanity and the world resting in one’s palms, and you’re thinking of quitting your job, and losing the hope of millions?
But for such a crucial job, you’d think you should be treated with some respect. Nada. S.H.I.E.L.D’s got respect for field agents, the highest branches of helpers-the nervy Agent Coulson, for example-and of course, the best of the best for the Avengers. But most probably because the Avengers together would have enough power to blow S.H.I.E.L.D up in a second’s passing.
Why should an overruling government care about one single employer that’s working for them?
That’s fueling all their technology and needs?
And who’s frustrated to her wit’s end?
With the destiny of the earth’s future on her shoulders?
That’s right. Nothing.
Exactly what you get a second after you resentfully think this thought to yourself. A fierce slamming of hard skin meeting tabletop nearly upends your freshly filled mug of coffee, jerking your legs against the desk so that the sheaves of papers tremble.
You immediately snap your attention to the person in front of you, the one and only, grand title of Designing and Engineering. In other words, your boss. And he certainly doesn’t seem happy now.
“Miss ______________________,” he barks out harshly, waving a hand over the stacks of paper patiently lining your wobbling desk. “What on earth is all this rubbish?”
His grey slush eyes find the now yellowing stack of coffee stained papers off the corner of your desk. In that instant, you know you’re dead before you can open your mouth in defense.
So you give the truth as best as you can, even though you know you’re in for it.
“I spilled coffee over a part of my work-a mistake, a grave one, I know now. As for the extra sheets of paper, that’s a silly little misunderstanding.” You fib and lace your fingers together delicately, folding them on the top of your desk.
“I’ve rather overslept today and didn’t keep track of my records, so I have yesterday night’s and today’s work to finish on.” You cleanly announce, straightening your posture so you sit absolutely upright. Even while he’s about to blow, your boss can still spot slumping shoulders.
Your superior doesn’t blink. He doesn’t even ask of your welfare and being, which to anyone else, would be necessary, since you were awake to three o’clock in the morning, working furiously to complete all your coworkers’ orders on time.
And he knows you’ve been relentlessly giving your all to your work, since he spotted you in the exact same position in the office night and day. But he doesn’t give a care in the world.
“I don’t have time for your petty excuses, Miss ___________________.” And in one sweep of his hand, he shoves off nearly a fourth of your hard won drawings near the coffee stained spot on your desk. Immediately, some of them soak up parchment color splotches, ruining the meticulous details on every contraption, others curdle up at the edges, and still others turn to sludge in the now cold liquid.
Your boss smiles viciously. “There, don’t you feel better? You’ve gotten a load of work off your hands-I’ve relieved you from some of your duty. I believe a thank you is in motion.”
“Thank you,” you automatically reply, eyes fixated on the stack of drawings that you spent almost the whole night on. You bow slightly towards the heartless man, showing your bland respects. His smirk only becomes more pronounced as he looks upon your helpless state.
“That’s right. I see you’re attempting to learn your manners-it was about time you started,” he calls out behind his back as he turns around.
In his eyes, he has only kindly reprimanded a stupid girl to keep her in check. But in reality, he has no earthly idea what he has started.
As soon as he walks out of the office, several flames spark up like firecrackers in your pupils, as if someone’s struck a flint-and-steel in your eyes. It’s as if a phoenix died in blood instead of fire; the rage in your eyes can’t be contained.
But the instant they appear in your eyes, your cool head calms them down. You can’t go about like this, you can’t afford to lose your temper.
And so mechanically, like an obedient automaton, you set out straight for sketching.
However, inside the silence of your head, your overly stressed brain sends out little electronic waves of tension and anger, violently slashed with ruby red and eye-watering purple, as if your thoughts themselves are bruised as much as your heart.
About a couple hundred miles away, another person is stressing out and is trying desperately to control his temper, but under completely different circumstances.
That is not to say that the task is any less difficult, considering the unbelievably stupid actions that his comrades are participating in now.
“Come on, come on! You can do it!” a cocky—if not a touch sarcastic—voice declares from one of the Tower’s many rooms. Turning around the whitewashed corner, one can find the source of the voice in a matter of seconds.
He’s an average height man with scraggly dark beard stubble dotting all over his lower face and the edge of his chin. What’s unusual about this man is not his casual outfit (faded jeans, sneakers, and simple patterned T-shirt), nor his lack of manners despite his rich surroundings, but that at the center of his shirt, at his chest, a glowing blue core pulses from evergreen to iceberg blue from time to time. The more strange fact is, no one seems to really notice.
“Stark, don’t you think this has gone a touch too stupid-” a female’s voice chips in, only the slightest edge of Russian judging by her statement. This one is a lithe young woman in a tightly fitted black jumpsuit, with fiery red curls tumbling down her head as she crosses her arms.
Deadpan pours from her eyes, most obviously trying to get her colleagues out of another mess. From the looks of things, this isn’t her first time trying.
“Nat, Thor hasn’t gone on this many Poptarts since he raided the supermarkets two months ago due to major sales. Besides, you never know when this sort of thing might happen again.” The man next to her chuckles to himself.
He has a kindly face, marked delicately with healed battle scars and supports a tousled brown, slightly cropped buzzcut, with a black quiver and bow—that would make Katniss Everdeen’s Mockingjay gear look like a child’s daydreams—to match his fitted midnight dark tunic and pants.
“Your sense of humor never fails to amaze me, Agent Barton.” Natasha cuts through, turning her kill-me-now-with-this-idiocy look on the male partner sitting near her.
“Why are we doing this again?” The wide chested, yet tall male sitting across from the inseparable duo curiously asks. On first glance, he seems as if he is an average muscled man in his early twenties, but on second glance, he’s much more.
His blue eyes are the eyes of a naïve child, ironically while going along with a stocky build that would make girls salivate over him until they dehydrated themselves. His dirty blonde hair, a bit wavy at the crest of his head, shakes from side to side as Steve Rogers/Captain America looks on at the eccentric sight.
“I’ll tell you why, Steve.” The green-eyed, dark-haired older man next to him replies, looking over the rim of his silver glasses. Strangely, everyone in the room seems to edge away from him as he says these words, although he seems like a well-educated middle aged professor. “It’s because Tony bribes us with stuff we love, hacks it all up on his credit cards, and makes us drool all over it. The aftermath he orders J.A.R.V.I.S to record as future blackmail.”
Tony Stark, the infamous billionaire, playboy, philatropenrist—aka Iron Man himself—raises his hands in mocking surrender.
“Guilty as charged, Banner.” He snickers approvingly.
“Oof msthre…” a rumbling voice announces, with an unusual muffling noise in the back of his throat. Tony’s eyes light up in anticipation as he watches a blond haired, large chested man with a titanium armor not of this world.
Thor, Norse God of Thunder, would most definitely look intimidating—if not for the shockingly large number of Poptarts stuffed in his mouth.
Why Poptarts? Better not to ask.
“Doesn’t anyone besides Agent Romanoff think that this idea is the essence of pure idiocy?” a slick, oily voice declares, and everyone swivels around in their seats to glare at a raven haired man in impressive dark forest green and gold gilded armor, who has a look of complete disdain on his pale stretched face.
His eyes are Arctic blue, so strikingly bold that one narrow would pierce any glare to pieces, and his midnight ash cape trails behind him silently.
In other words: Loki Laufeyson, Norse God of Mischief, adoptive brother of Thor, and basically an impossibly arrogant prick.
“I’m surprised my brother even agreed to this lunatic deal in the first place.” He quietly announces, his disdainfully lidded eyes only gaining repulse when everyone begins to stare at him.
“Nothing doing, Reindeer Games.” Stark scoffs, waving a dismissive hand. “Thor’s amazingly close to beating his record for how many Poptarts he can stuff in his mouth. I’d think you’d like to get a try at that, won’t you?”
“Ydo bueslurrised.” Thor puts in, which no one pays any attention to.
“If you think I’m stupid enough to attempt at such foolish behavior, I’m surprised you can even walk around this Tower and find your way to the main hall.” Loki, God of Mischief shoots Tony with one of his signature death glares.
“That’s probably because the bar’s exceedingly and coincidentally close to the elevator.” Hawkeye smirks, fingering the handle of his simple, yet elegant bow.
“Hmm, wonder how that happened?” Natasha Romanoff, alias Black Widow, groans, and slams her head down on the tabletop frustratingly. Her red curls shake like crisp autumn leaves.
“Hey!” Tony complains. “Pepper made me put the bar there, because she didn’t approve of me putting it only in my room!”
“Your room?” Steve’s eyes widen at this. “You were planning to put the bar in your room?”
“Dear Lord…that wouldn’t have been pretty. Imagine Stark drunk and raving every single day.” Banner guffaws.
“And add to the fact that he’s a wisecracking git.” Romanoff murmurs underneath her breath, earning a proper flipping off from Tony.
“Actually, it wouldn’t be that different.” Loki muses to himself, dodging the vodka bottle that Tony chucks at him with graceful ease.
“You, shut up. You, lighten up. You, keep going.” The billionaire orders, pointing an accusatory finger at Loki, Natasha, and at Thor, who amazingly seems to hold the enormous amount of poptarts in his mouth. And the impossible fact that he's still stuffing himself? So mindblowing it seems next to a wonder.
“What’s the number at again?” Steve asks, his baby blue eyes sparking an innocent curiosity of a child’s that’s extremely disproportionate to his burly size.
“I lost track at fifty-four.” Clint supplies, eyeing the poptart box with interest, as if he’s calculating how fast he can nail the box to the wall with one of his arrows.
“Nah, it was more than eighty-five.” Tony shakes his head in disagreement.
“Couldn’t have been more than a hundred though…” Dr. Banner runs a tired hand through his dark locks.
“You’d be surprised at what my brother can do.” Murmurs the God of Mischief, eyeing Thor’s bulging mouth with disgust written all over his face.
“Well, let’s say the number is at least over ninety. Now, if he can just get to…” Iron Man muses, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
“AGENTS!” A thundering voice booms out over the Tower, that makes all the Avengers jump in unison, and Thor’s eyes widen and he chokes.
He’s so surprised, in fact, he spews out every single Poptart in his mouth with the speed of a machine gun.
Now, it might seem like a pretty hilarious moment by reading it, but the event itself is as deadly as homicidal maniac opening fire without warning.
“Duck and cover!” Hawkeye shouts, tumbling to the ground in a flash, as each Poptart sails out of the God of Thunder’s mouth like a missile from a sub.
“I told you this was a bad idea!” Natasha yells, jumping out of harm’s way as a lone Poptart sails past her cheek, leaving a scratch mark as thin as a sewing string in its path.
“It wasn’t my idea!” Barton insists as he snaps his bow back, arrow ready to fly, but his face changes from courageous to distraught as he realizes his high-tech quiver is empty.
“It might as well be!” Tony hollers as he ducks under the countertop to avoid any speeding snacks. “And your stupid arrows won’t be much use here, Mockingjay!”
“Hark who’s talking, I distinctly remember you were the one who rounded us all up!” Captain America barks out, sheltering the back of his head protectively. “And at least he’s not the one who’s gotten us into this whole mess!”
And the constant shouting and accusation go on. And on. And ON. Loki rolls his startling blue eyes exasperatedly, so much that one could hear them from a hundred leagues away. The Avengers may be Earth’s mightiest heroes, but they have an outstandingly large lack of logic.
For the son of Odin, how do these people work together? The devilish rouge thinks to himself while safely taking shelter behind a large sofa. Even I cannot figure out how they get along, and that may be saying something, since I know quite a lot.
When the barrage is over—hopefully—the Avengers cautiously creep out of their hiding places, wary to do so. Their eyes scan the room, and dilate widely in mixed emotions when they see the last person they would want to meet in this state.
“How the hell did he get in here without permission?” Tony coughs out, spitting a random Poptart out of his mouth and hacking up a considerable amount of phlegm.
“I believe he just walked towards the elevator and found his way up here judging from all the noise, sir.” J.A.R.V.I.S, Tony Stark’s obedient, faithful—and at times extremely sarcastic—home system/AI announces in his sophisticated and monotone British accent.
“Remind me to suspend all admittance to S.H.I.E.L.D agents,” Stark groans, slowly getting to his feet and cricking his neck painfully. “Or anyone else that I just happen to know and are at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“That would be mostly everyone you meet, sir.”
“Avengers.” Nick Fury, feared leader of S.H.I.E.L.D in his frightening robes and gloves growls, fixing a steely glare with his one good eye. The moody eye patch and scar marked across his serious face does nothing to lighten the mood. “This is what you do to spend your free time?”
“I would like you to note that I am not involved in this situation at all, thank you very much.” Loki helpfully adds in, shuffling away from the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D lazily, but is caught at the scruff of the neck at the last minute.
“Not so fast, Loki. You think that just because you thought this was idiotic you’re getting out of this one? Not likely.”
“Hmm, and since when did I ever say I was in the Avengers?” he asks coolly, cockily raising a thinly branching eyebrow. “I specifically heard you naming the earth’s mightiest heroes, not one benevolent prince that’s in no ways involved with the stupidity of his colleagues.”
Fury releases the Norse God forcefully, choosing instead to vent his anger on the unlucky group that are the Avengers. Besides, he would rather make a choice to blow his top than to negotiate the slimeball’s cunning loopholes.
Barton swears underneath his breath as Nick Fury turns on the group of superheroes, while Natasha gazes up at the Director with no kind of emotion at all. Steve doesn’t blink, nor does Banner or Thor, but Tony seems the most eager to get out of the place.
Loki strolls out of the room, humming to himself as the force of Fury’s shout vibrates the walls of Stark Tower, making the dust shake from the pristine ceiling. His disturbing smile, in nanoseconds, turns into a bored scowl. In all retrospect, he really should not be in the building at all, as the last time he had been here was when he caused a Chitauri invasion on Manhattan.
Dull. That’s the word for his life now. What had he done through the past few years? Made millions of people scream and run for his lives from his actions. Struck a deal with Chitauri and caused chaos everywhere he went.
And where is this feared being now? Cooped up in a tiny tower like hens, accompanied with the people that tried to kill him. Though it was in fact quite amusing to watch the pathetic group known as ‘The Avengers’ bicker and shout amongst themselves.
Not to mention the fact that he enjoyed ticking them off with pranks—which is just an elaborate way of saying that Loki tricks them all the time.
But it’s quite boring to be shut up in a skyscraper tower for more than five months straight. He can’t do anything about it, of course. If he ever so much tries to step over the entrance hall, S.H.I.E.L.D. will knock him down flat with sixty bullets.
Or that irritating AI J.A.R.V.I.S. might alert the puny Midguardians and his one imbecile of a brother. Or if worse comes to worse, they’ll send in the Hulk.
The God of Mischief winces at the thought, and rubs his shoulder tentatively. The pain in his ribs—courtesy of being thrown around on the cement like a paper doll—still hasn’t ebbed out fully.
Yes, nothing has changed from that event.
Well…nothing much has changed….yet.
|Complying with a certain God of Mischief is not an easy task.|
Timekeepers (Twelfth Doctor x Reader)Timekeepers (Twelfth Doctor x Reader) by katnisseverdeen4life
“How about this one?” he points to a steampunk styled one, the hands of an automaton acting as moving minute trackers. The problem is it’s twice as large as the door to fit through.
“No, that one’s too big.” You walk around the charmingly old antique shop, eyes roving over the metallic hands that tick time away. “Think simple, Doctor. We’re not going to jam a clock the size of Big Ben inside the TARDIS.”
“Actually-” the wizened Time Lord concurs, but you flap your hands at him in exasperation.
“We are not getting a large one. Case closed.”
“Picky, picky,” murmurs the Doctor with a touch of resentment, his attack eyebrows bobbing up and down a
Artistic Differences: Defy DeafnessArtistic Differences: Defy Deafness by katnisseverdeen4life
The finest of all fine afternoons throws a hazy veil across Manhattan’s glorious skyline. The air seems fresher, the people more poignant and well detailed. Every little detail focused to a magnified vision. Not like in Stark Tower, where everything was so incredibly small and vaguely disillusioned. Down here, on the ground, everything becomes important, everything is seen.
The back of your neck prickles slightly as a biting wind nips at your skin. You gnaw the inside corner of your mouth to stop the shiver from revealing itself. A keening whine seems to grow in your ears. Shrugging the trench coat’s collar higher, you attempt not to think.
Artistic Differences: Strung UpArtistic Differences: Strung Up by katnisseverdeen4life
Odd cackles reverberate from the doors, echoing up and down the asylum like some morbid morning call. Piano chords crash against the ears, a massive jangling of ivory. And that horrible laughter, vibrating ten times over and over. Thunder crackles above the rooftop, seemingly splitting the roof with a great splintering of wood.
(you think you can escape from me)
Your lips thin together to a disturbingly transparent line, bloodless and ice cold. What little color left in your rosy cheeks drains away, leaving you no paler than the god of mischief beside you.
Seeing you dangerously swaying like a pin wheeling leaf, Loki pinches your wrist, until what seems like drops of champagne quiver on the skin, making you yelp softly.
First KissWhat does a kissFirst Kiss by katnisseverdeen4life
feel like I wonder
Is it frothy cotton
candy spun from a cloud
Or dark and sticky like
the relationships we maintain
I know there are no fireworks nor
the blissful blankness of the mind
The sensation of bewilderment
But all I have are words
that are not mine
So how should I know
what a kiss is?
|Enjoy the randomosity of my mind.|
“Jackson Overland Frost, when I get my hands on you, you’re going to wish you’ve never been born.” You glare at a gleaming pair of confidently cocky sapphire pupils.
“What did I do now?” the playful spirit defensively asks, mussing his iceberg diamond locks.
“Everything.” You chatter out violently, moving your arms up and down whilst hugging yourself desperately to keep your body temperature in. Your companion only smirks with a glacial touch at your frantic self. Jack glances sideways towards you, as you and him sit side by side on a wooden bench in the park.
It’s supposed to be Easter in a few months in your town. Spring is already in full bloom, and summer time is approaching rapidly. Warm weather with cotton candy spun clouds, plinking rain drops on the rooftops tiles musically, flowering May roses and daffodils come to mind when visualizing this time of year.
Not an inch of biting snow dusting the weathered shingle rooftops and brushing lightly across the newly grown grass stalks.
You are openly welcome to the prospect of spring, because as much as you loved sledding down the hilltop, steaming hot chocolate, and having snowball fights that are equal to massacres with the world’s best winter trickster, even you had to admit there is a limit to how many snow days you can have. Spring break was half canceled to make up for the lost days of school. But would Jack listen to anyone but himself?
Bitter frost on the front windows whenever he flies past your neighborhood, crunching ice particles in your new red buckle shoes, breathing down your back with his arctic breath that would freeze your spine to tick you off. Now, any normal person would have just locked him up in the boiler room with thermal heaters turned on full blast until the champagne dripped leaves start to flutter to the dead grounds in crisp autumn.
However, you just cope with him as well as any other of your friends. Besides, if anyone thought this was insanity, they never saw how he ‘gave you a present’ and froze you down in your house just for a passing visit. It’s odd, though, how the mischievous hellion cannot stop bringing winter wrapped in a bowtie on your doorstep. Lately, he’s been concentrating on more and more of your town, which irks you to no end.
Everywhere else is heaven’s delight or so they claim; flourishing cherry blossoms with hints of roseate and flattering blush, grass as green as the glorious emeralds of Oz, a sky painted with strokes of kingfisher blue and dips of Mediterranean. Robins chirping lovely melodies of warmth, the birds coming back from migration, the shy sun finally peering out of its hiding hole to the world. You love spring, want it to come so badly. You can sustain well enough in the wintertime, however, spring is like the new world waking up from the slumber of the snow.
But oh no. That’s no place for your neighborhood. It’s as if Jack Frost’s intent on giving on giving the world a new ice age that’s grander than ever before.
No wonder Bunny is set to strangle the immortal teenager into an icy pulp.
That and the fact that the temperature is making his delicately painted eggs break apart into a million shell pieces.
You can’t really blame him, because you feel exactly the same way.
“Aren’t you afraid of being caught by Bunny? He seems pretty fired up about how you’re messing with the weather.” You worriedly ask him, flicking off a fleck of dust that has landed on his shoulder with one deft finger.
“Ah, I’ll be fine. Bunny never catches me, he’s just cranky that I accidentally froze his eggs twice this week.” Jack waves the looming threat off with a nonchalant flick of his hand and wizened staff. Then a self-satisfied smile unfurls on his colorless lips, the look he gives you simply unbearable. “But thanks for worrying about me, though, sweet.”
“Don’t get your hopes up, Frost, it’s only to save you from the damage you’ve caused.” You grit out in mounting frustration. Honestly, this friend is like a bomb; you need only say one word and he’s off like a bang.
“Damage? I thought you liked mischief?” he questions playfully
“Before it turns out of control.” You note frigidly.
“You’re no fun.” Jack pouts.
A minute of utter and awkward silence passes in between the both of you. You resist the urge to shiver like a cat without fur.
“The daffodils are dying.” You point out, attempting to make conversation to avoid hypothermia, your cheeks turning rosy red from the harsh sting of the winter wind. The Guardian of Fun turns his head around to see that, indeed, the cheerful butter blossoms are wilting to the ground like a group of brightly dressed funeral goers.
“Who cares about a few flowers? Didn’t you say you loved winter before?” Jack winks at you before a misbehaving breeze flutters the collar of your thin coat like a pined butterfly.
“I did—before the snow days’ numbers reached triple digits.” You snap sassily, pulling down the corner of your dress to discreetly hide your knocking knees. Jack lays an ivory hand on his heart, mocking offense.
“You hurt me, ________________________! It’s my job to keep winter alive, isn’t it?” he pouts, pretending hurtfulness, his strikingly blue pupils enlarging to the size of magnifying glasses, trembling in their alabaster eye sockets. Normally, any girl would have fallen straight for this trick, but knowing you, who has put up with this behavior for over three years, know better than that.
“Give it up, Frost, your Bambi eyes won’t work on me.” You retort icily, and your sly friend only chuckles lightly.
“I can’t think of anyone who can resist my charm but you, ____________________. You have such a frozen heart.”
“What can I say? Maybe I inherited it because someone apparently doesn’t want to let it go.”
At this, the hectic master of pranks lets out a crooked smile as long as the curved slice of the harvest moon.
“Let it go, you say?”
You narrow your eyes like a hawk. Oh, you know what’s going to happen. Yes, you know exactly what’s brewing up in that oh-so-clever mind of his.
“Don’t...you…even…think about it!” you articulate, spitting out each word as if they’re phlegm attacking your weakened vocal cords. A misty cloud of breath accumulates in front of you. But it’s already too late.
“Let it go, let it go~” Jack singsongs in a tingling voice that could freeze a summer sun. “Can’t hold it back any more~!”
“Arrgh!” you throw your hands up in the air in total frustration, and immediately wish you hadn’t. A whisk of wind nips at your exposed arms, and wraps them in their enveloping grip.
“Now you seem lightened up.” The sneaky spirit laughs, only to be yanked by the collar of his Pacific blue hoodie, forced to look straight into your stony face.
“Listen here, Snowman. I didn’t sign up to undergo your own torture facility and I certainly didn’t sign up to be your experiment on patience.” You snarl poisonously into his flawless face, but the polar Guardian doesn’t seem to flinch. Maybe because you’ve both known each other so well.
“Well, it’s not my fault you had to wear such springy outfits today.” He shoots back, smiling at you annoyingly with his pearly whites, looking down at your milky white dress, fluttering aquamarine scarf, and light beige trench coat with muddy amber buttons.
“It was supposed to be warm! But no, you just happened to come along and make things worse for me!”
“Why would I ever want to make things worse for you?” he asks, furrowing his brow. A look of genuine confusion crosses his face. You resist the urge to slap yourself in the forehead. Sometimes your winter companion can be so dense.
“Jack,” you slowly clip out monotonously, making absolutely sure he heard every word you said. “It’s nearing the end of April. If I remember correctly, this was the time when you helped the Guardians out with Easter, didn’t you?”
“And in supporting all of them, did you happen to bother them so much that they eventually got tired of your presence around them?” you say softly, choosing your words carefully.
Dead silence greets this answer. You can’t be too sure, but a pained look flashes across his face.
“No.” he finally gets out after what seems like an eternity. His usually friendly face has become cold and shut out like an endless blizzard. “Fine. I get it. You don’t need me. You want spring back, I understand.”
“Wait,” You stumble over your own words. What is going on? “I didn’t mean--”
“Of course you meant. You always meant. You’ve been waiting for winter to end all this time, haven’t you? I mean,” he bitterly rambles. “You can’t live all your life with cold weather bumping into your life style, can you?”
“Jack, I only meant that I want spring for a short while. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to reject winter forever.” You weakly say, stuttering to an unsteady halt when the glacial Guardian gives you a look of chilling contempt, one that he has inherited from you.
“Really? Because I most definitely heard ‘tired of your presence’, don’t you? You’re the one who said those words. Think on that, I’m sure you’ll find out, clever girl.”
He jumps up into the air with a spiral of twirling frost flakes, and though you have the sudden urge to call him back, you don’t think you have the strength to do so, in your confusion.
Easter finally arrives one dainty Sunday, the sun mercifully shining through the evergreen boughs, delightfully delicious scents of fragrant ylang-ylang and innocent lily-of-the-valley weave through the freshly budding blossoms of hawthorn. The sounds of children shouting joyfully is heard on all corners, and you make your way across the forest, dressed with a white lily bow in your hair, accompanied with a frock of pale Alice blue and rose stem emerald flats, tottering a woven Easter basket in your wake.
As you hunt carefully for the hiding eggs, a sudden gust of wind rustles through the branches of the Warren, not a welcoming spring breeze, but a hard built one that’s usually the norm of the winter.
A small smile plays on your lips, and you resume your hunt for the eggs.
“I knew you wouldn’t resist playing a game along with me.” You smirk.
“How’d you guess?” Jack smiles back, but a flash of recognition snakes across his thought process, and he once again becomes closed off and distant, the smile waning off quickly like a murky crescent moon on the summer solstice. Your own smile slips down a few notches of brightness.
“What are you all playing, leaving me out?” he asks.
“It’s the Easter egg hunt, Jack. Everyone’s here—Jamie, Tooth, North, everyone. You were invited, you know, all Guardians of childhood were.”
“And you don’t think I don’t know that?” the mischievous teenager replies, flicking out a gold gilded invitation, curvy calligraphic letters spelling out his name on cream stationary. He flicks it open with a careless finger.
“You are invited to the Official Easter Egg Hunt, blah blah blah, hunt as many eggs as you can, more blah, winner is the one with the most eggs, however a token…” Here he raises an intrigued eyebrow and reads off the card. “‘Whoever takes the Golden Egg home will be winner of the competition, regardless of the amount of eggs.’”
“Wonder where Bunny found a Golden Egg.” You question offhandedly.
“Probably from the Golden Goose.” Jack dismissively comments, throwing the card over the treetops. “But in any case, if there’s anything I’m ever good at, it’s winning games. I am the Guardian of Fun, after all.”
The sight of him rubbing his hands together as if he’s expecting to win automatically only makes you laugh.
“Fat chance, Frost. I’m going to get that egg if it’s the last thing I do.” You goad him, playfulness crackling out of yourself like a loose firework. Just like old times.
To your surprise, he leans in a little bit too much to your comfort zone and whispers chillingly in your ear, making your ear tickle from the cold.
“Well then, we’ll see who’ll win soon enough, won’t we?” And with a flash of snowflakes, he disappears on the spot.
After the lapse of one hour, you totter around a nearly full basket, trying carefully not to smash any of them. And they are lovely—in differentiating hues of robin’s egg, leaf vein, hazelnut, and macaroon rose petal. Somehow, Jack now knows you’re a good finder, and has stuck to you like glue.
Not that you don’t mind. It’s awfully lonely working for oneself. Working in a pair does balance amounts.
Though the both of you put the golden egg as a top notch priority.
“How many eggs did you get?” he politely asks as you search through the branches of a nearby tree, and you nearly cringe at his mannerly self. It seems so strange that he’s acting this way.
“Twenty. You?” you cordially reply.
“Forty six. Not including the extra ten that I found in Bunny’s secret stash in the pine tree hollow.” Your companion smugly boasts. “Though I fully plan on getting that golden egg.”
You choke on your own breath. “FOURTY SI-”
You suddenly have the sensation of biting down on snow as Jack’s utterly freezing hand clamps down on your lips, cutting off any sort of articulation.
“Shh! Are you crazy? Do you want the game to be over so soon?” he hisses, looking around the Warren for passerby Guardians. You rapidly shake your head, and motion for him to uncover your mouth. It feels like you’re stuck to a frozen lamppost. To top that off, the hellion’s breath is trickling down the back of your neck, making the hairs there stand up on end.
“All right. I’m going to let you talk now. Don’t tell anyone I found the extra eggs, though.” He readily warns you, and you roll your eyes in complete exasperation. It’s like he’s treating you like a disobedient child that can’t listen.
The mischievous immortal uncovers your mouth, and you rattle in a wheezing breath of fresh air, before doubling over and panting.
“Haven’t you forgotten I’m human and I need to breath for my own life?” you sarcastically comment, trying to get your breath back and chastising the champion prankster at the same time.
“Hmm. No, not exactly. I just needed you to stop acting on instinct so that I would win this thing.”
“Psh, as if I’m going to ever let you win!” you snort disbelievingly, pushing away his hand. “You are such a…”
But whatever Jack is, you don’t speak it, for your statement is cut short as your eyes fall on a telltale gleam of gold. Without moving an inch, your eyes involuntarily flick downwards to the third bush, the one you haven’t checked. And there, sitting patiently for an egg hunter to find it, was the golden egg, painted in buttercup jonquil and decorated with intricately cut beryls.
You look up at your companion’s face, and before you see the knowing look in his eyes, you know that he knows, and you spring into action before you even realize it.
The grass crunches beneath your heels as both of you dive for the egg, and your hands accidentally intertwine as both of your hands nab at the egg. You utter an exclamation as you frantically try to extract your hand from his, but Jack’s fingers are like an iron grip.
“All right,” he shortly starts, when you give him a death glare, a sly smirk starting to form on his face. “Why don’t we settle this outside instead of crawling under a bush like maniacs?”
“Suits me.” You answer readily, drawing yourself up properly into the light. When you finally sit up straight, you ask, “Jack, what in the world is wrong? You’ve been acting so distant these days. I know you’re avoiding me. I know you, you haven’t gone this long without a snow day in years. What happened to being intent on bringing winter every single day to my town?”
The king of all tricks only bites down on his lip uneasily. “Well…” he starts out. “It did seem like you didn’t want me to be around since you said you were ‘tired of my presence.’”
“And you think that I hate the cold just because of that little statement? You think I hate you?” you incredulously ask. “Are you out of your mind?”
“I thought you didn’t like winter in general,” he dryly replies, eyeballing you warily. “So I went away because I wasn’t wanted.”
“What! Think about what you’re saying! Jack, it’s not that I don’t like you. It’s just that you’ve been…a little odd somehow. I don’t know. Snow days and snowball fights, sure, I like them once in a while, but every day until the last months of spring? I’m not so sure…” You trail off, at a loss of words to say.
Jack chuckles to himself here, running a pale hand through his mussed crystal colored hair, and a vision of his old self reappears in front of you.
“Oh, ______________________. And you call me dense when it comes to situations like this.”
“Excuse me?” you answer in an offended tone, drawing your hand back, quite miffed. “Who are you calling dense?”
“Dense as in the utter idiocy that you can’t see I like you, ____________________.” The Guardian of Fun smirks.
Before you can even react, the hectic hellion pecks a quick kiss straight on your cheek, and your face immediately flames up like it’s been tossed in a wildfire. Though the rapid stomp on his foot isn’t of the unusual behavior.
“Aww, you’re blushing!” Jack observes, taking no note of your fancy shoe heels crushing his barefoot toes.
“I am not!” you protest heatedly, your cheeks a balmy apple varnish.
“Who said I was complaining, sweetheart? You look adorable when you do that.” He graciously compliments, pinching your cheeks with two of his thin fingers.
“All right, all right, enough with the cuddling, you’re going to make me sick.” You laugh, slapping away his hands, though two radish red spots, clear as fire, remain on your cheeks like ink splotches. Then you blink—the winter spirit has vanished. You’re on your own. Was it all an illusion?
“Jack?” you call out hesitatingly, peering around the bushes.
Suddenly a pair of zero degree arms wrap around your waist, hugging you from behind, making you gasp and flush a blood red. That wonderfully naughty little trickster.
“You called?” Jack playfully answers, and you can just visualize the smirk on his face as he burrows his face into your hair.
“Yes, er…can you please stop hugging me?” you stammer out, trying everything you can to release his titanium grip.
“What if I don’t want to?” he speaks mischievously, weaving his fingers through your hair, his breath leaving frost particles melting across your scalp.
The resounding whistle blows across the field answers for himself, signaling that time has run out, and the winter spirit lets go of your waist reluctantly.
“That should answer your question for you.” You reply, dusting off your dress for any grass stains.
“Ready to go?” he asks you hesitatingly, still holding the golden egg in his hand, though he can hardly care less about the competition. He did quite surprise you there, after all.
To his own shock, you’re perfectly fine with it.
“Only when you are.” You smile shyly, still a bit heated.
“Crikey, it’s about time!” Bunny chuckles, emerging out of the greenery with a rustle. “Finally got the nerve to tell her about it, haven’t ya, ya ganger?”
Your cheeks turn into such a violent shade of scarlet, they would shame the red rose to no end.
“Shut up, Bunny, I don’t exactly see you with the winning Easter Egg.” Jack shoots, but already a sneaking trance of cardinal has splashed itself across his face as well. “And watch what you say, or I’ll freeze your eggs again.”
“Aren’t you two so cute!” Tooth squeals, in a flouncing dress of Norway heath and lavender. Her little fairies, in robes of clean celeste, nod furiously in her wake. “Oh, you both make the perfect couple!”
“We’re not a couple!” you and Jack simultaneously protest at once, and the both of you stare at each other. “Stop doing that!”
“Uh huh. I can definitely see a relationship going on here.” Bunny nods his head. “But even I’ve got to admit you’ve got a good catch now.”
“Bunny, if you even think that I’m going to stay quiet and listen to this…” you threaten menacingly.
“We need the flowers for later dates! Oh, I know! Maybe glowing plum blossoms? Or maybe roses…”
“Tooth!” Jack yells. “We’re not going to that level yet!”
“You will, soon enough! And before you know it, you may even make preparations for the wedding!”
“Oh, don’t look so surprised, the two of you.” Tooth giggles graciously behind her perfectly manicured nails. “Don’t you think I’d thought up of this beforehand? You’re a couple before you even knew it!”
“Of course you are!” a booming Russian voice laughs, cuffing you both on the shoulders so hard they might sustain injuries. “You know what they say, in spring, a young man’s fancy turns to love!”
“Not helping, North!” Jack glances at him frustratingly, his hand growing warmer and warmer by the second.
“No we’re not!” you defensively say, trying to control the heat flaming in your cheeks. “We just need a little time, we’re still just friends!”
Bunny chuckles. “If you’re still just friends, Shelia, why are you two holding hands like a lovey dovey couple?”
The Guardians all collectively draw in one breath, knowing he instantly went too far. You glance at Jack.
“Let’s kill him.”
Needless to say, this Easter Bunny sustained some serious injuries that he’s still trying to heal from to this day.
|Spring from Winter.|
Nine ElevenHello Daddy,Nine Eleven by Kay-double-O-Zii
How are you today?
Me and Mommy misses you -
We wish that you didn't go away.
Today was the day -
The day you went away.
It's been a long time Daddy,
When are you coming home?
Mommy is making dinner -
It's your favorite, Daddy.
Too bad you're not here to eat it.
I'll eat it for you, Daddy -
Even the green stuff.
When are you coming home?
Mommy was crying today,
As she was watching the TV.
There were two big buildings on fire,
There was lots of smoke.
She was crying, Daddy -
When are you coming home?
I hope -
I think I'm going to cry, too.
I asked Mommy when you're coming back,
So that we don't have to cry anymore,
It's been a long time, Daddy,
Since we've seen you at home.
I asked Mommy,
But she only cried.
She cried hard.
She cried for a long time.
When are you coming home, Daddy?
We miss you very,
I'm talking to your picture right now -
You don't look as old as my teacher, Daddy.
|Flawless, breathtaking, inspiring, peculiar, funny, curious, these artworks are one of a kind.|
“So the guest walks into the store, and…Jack? Jack? Hello? Earth to Jackson Overland.” You say, snapping your fingers sharply underneath his nose. Your dashing companion, Jackson Overland (Frost-he calls himself as a teasing nickname), pays no heed to your impatient signals. And this is saying something, because your best friend isn’t just some ordinary boy off the street corner.
Skin as pale as alabaster, fingers as nimble and slim as pan pipes, and with a cocky, mischievous attitude that makes all the girls in the area fan at themselves obsessively, Jackson Overland is no normal boy. His eyes are as freezing blue as the Caucasian Sea waves, glacier sparkling locks that are mussed ever so carelessly. A casual bleu de France hoodie is slung over his chest, with matching jeans and a pair of bleach white sneakers.
It’s actually quite an achievement that you managed to snag his attention at all. Childhood friends really did grow on you. And it was quite amusing to watch the cute little boy that skipped whenever snow fell transform into a young teenager that could turn girls to blithering idiots, while still acting like a gentleman all the time.
Well, most of the time. Jack did have his tricky skills—one time, just to make you laugh because you felt down in the dumps before summer vacation, he filled the school parking lot with jello, dumped a llama in the music room, put shoe polish in the coffee pot in the teacher’s lounge, and set a recording of the principal singing over the P.A. system.
Needless to say, the last day of school is now officially dubbed as “Prank Day.”
He once smugly boasted that he had seen most of the world before in an overnight, so nothing could really surprise him. And boy, he wasn’t kidding. Girl after girl fell head over heels for him, people teased him, nicknamed him “Old Man Winter” due to his obsession with cold seasons, but he barely batted an eye at these.
So for him to actually be overwhelmed? You turn your head around to divine the cause of the trickster’s awe, and immediately wish you haven’t.
Jack stares open mouthed, crystal cut eyes dilating at the passing girl that swirls in a cloud of evergreen tulle. The girl’s deliciously wavy dark hair curls richly and intimately at the nape of her neck, her skin perfectly bronzed with a natural glaze. Her dainty feet in embroidered leafy green flats are no match for your clumsy ones; she walks upon the cemented tiles as if she had bejeweled wings set in her curved back. There’s a certain aura about her which makes every other woman seem faded and insignificant.
And boy, did she know it.
As she sweeps majestically past the small table where you and your pranking friend sit, you sneak a peek at the gorgeous bombshell, and your eyes narrow like a hawk’s over your laptop edge. The girl’s slim back is turned away from the customers’, but every male in the six yard radius has his eyes glued on her curvaceous hourglass figure. You shoot a dreaded glance at Jack, and your heart sinks like a stone. He’s a goner for sure.
As soon as the girl provocatively sashays out of the café with a vanilla cappuccino in her hand, your friend shakes his head like a dog trying to rid his ears of water, making the iceberg tousled locks on his head tremble. Your dangerously sharp nails scrape against the table surface in irritation and furiousness.
“___________________________, who…who was that?” the master of winter cautiously whispers, as if he’s making an effort to spell out every syllable.
Eponine, who was that girl?
You grind your teeth so it sounds like you’re mining away rocks, and resist the urge to call the girl that walked in a foul specimen.
“She’s Toothiana, but everybody calls her Tooth. Her father’s a new head CEO of some major company, so she’s filthy rich. She’s got more callers than she can count, sets them all out on a string and tangles them up, I’ve heard.” You inform him with a small grimace twisting the corner of your lip. “Don’t go chasing after her, she’d snap your heart in two with her pretty little fingers.”
Some bourgeois two-a-penny thing!
Apparently, your snide commentary doesn’t make a dent in the hellion’s love interests. And he hasn’t gotten a hint from the envy tinging your voice.
“D-do you know her?” Jack stutters violently, and you raise a dubious eyebrow at him in a mocking fashion, pretending to think over the matter thoughtfully. While, on the contrary, you are prey to conflicting emotions. Should you tell him truthfully that you know her, or just selfishly keep the information to yourself?
You speak on your own accord before you even have time to make up your mind.
“Well…yes…I’d stay away from her, though, Jack, she’s had some people pretty upset before, and for good reason.”
“Oh, _______________________, I may sound like a crazy person, but do you think you can introduce me to her?”
Eponine, find her for me!
You give your closest friend a wan smile that’s as weak as a new moon cut on a midnight pond.
“And you expect me to do this without any sort of payment? Fat chance. And close your mouth. You’re going to attract flies in there.”
Jack blushingly unhinges his jaw with a deft hand, stumbling over his own words in a dizzying rush. You stare at him with a half-pitying smile.
‘If only you knew that’s how I feel all the time…’
What will you give me?
“Come on, _____________________, play nice!” he chides, flustering like a floundering jellyfish—it’s nice to see him unable to think when someone particular is around. “Fine, if you don’t want your chance of seeing the Glorious Tooth…” you loftily answer in a singsong voice, riveting your eyes back on the laptop screen dazedly.
The cool-headed boy you always know and love trips over the bait in an instant.
“No, no, no! I didn’t mean that way! What do you want, then? I’ll give you anything you want, anything I could possibly provide!”
Earnest. Passionate. Wanting anything in the world to meet up with that blasted Toothiana.
Would he truly give anything just to meet her?
“You can’t possibly know what I’ll ask for, you’re not a mind reader.” You coldly reply, fixing Jack with a frosty deadpan, a note of unfriendliness edging into your usually warm voice. You’re screaming, crying, and shrieking inside, an internal wail of chaos that’s unable to be heard by any ear but yours. Why couldn’t have Tooth come just a few days later?
“But can’t I give you something? Anything that’ll please you?” the blue-eyed hellion persists, promising to hang on to his last hope, even if it’s hesitating by thread.
At this statement, you hesitate and inhale a sharp intake of breath. The fateful words are hovering over your mouth, on edge of spilling out.
How could an admitting of your true feelings for him feel so heavy on your tongue?
Got you all excited now,
But God knows what you see in her
“There is…one thing.” You start out slowly, and the up-to-no-good trickster beams his pearly whites at you expectantly, nearly melting your sadness away with the same warmth he always gave you.
His messy locks, when shook, look sprinkled with vanilla pearl chips. Ocean blue eyes like aquamarines. A playful attitude and an optimistic view on the world that always cheer you up. A confident smirk and the numerous teasing, the knowledge of when to tease, to have fun, to comfort. He knows how to make you laugh, and knows when to care about you enough.
But as soon as the fateful three words form on your awaiting lips, something causes you to change quite suddenly.
Aren't you all delighted now…
The trickster that you’ve loved since childhood fishes for his leather wallet, causing you to stop dead in your tracks.
No, I don't want your money sir...
“It’s not money I want from you, Jack,” you abruptly state, turning your head away to hide the heartbroken expression forming on your face. Stupid. Stupid, foolish little idiot. You actually thought that he would listen? That he would ever realize that you would have the ability to love...
“Then what is?” he impatiently states, waving his ivory hands about like he’s having a seizure. “Look, why don’t we settle this after you’ve fulfilled your end of the bargain? Please, can’t at least tell me where she lives so I can say hello? At least, sometime where her father doesn’t answer the door?”
Eponine, do this for me...
Discover where she lives
But be careful how you go
Don't let her father know...
“______________________________, please, I feel like I’m going to explode from frustration here!”
“You only saw her for about five seconds.” You let out a final fishing attempt to make him see sense. Surely, he must be joking. He can’t possibly love Tooth just from a moment’s glimpse of her beautiful self…
But his next defensive comment singlehandedly crushes your defense in one swift blow.
“Haven’t you ever heard of love at first sight?”
'Ponine! I'm lost until she's found!
A lighthearted laugh—that in no way reflects the turmoil of emotions churning inside you—escapes your moistened lips. Love at first sight! Isn’t that always written in the fairy tales of old? The prince falls for a beautiful princess just by one meeting, carries her off into the sunset a few days later, happily married. Love wasn’t for short pleasures or a sparking sense of desire. Love was long-term, feisty, a roller coaster of emotions that never ends. Jack’s such a child at heart, even when he thinks he’s in love. Such naivety! How ridiculous he looks, sapphire inked eyes bright as ignited sparklers, a half dazed, dreamy grin plastered on his colorless face. And yet how riveting…
Did you look like that too, when he was around?
Your smile dips down a few notches, dimming your brightness. But the grin stays on, though now it seems slightly forced. How could he not know, how could he ever not notice all these years, all this time? You blush crazily when he surprises you, chat more animatedly, and always seem to smile, while in reality, you barely smiled at all.
“All right, all right, I will. Don’t go jumping down my throat about it. Besides, you know I’ll find out. I always do, don’t I?” you say in a weak exasperated manner, though ‘exasperated’ is probably the last emotion you checked off as present in your subconscious.
You see, I told you so!
As usual, your more-than-friend has not the slightest clue of the distress you’re struggling to overcome.
What’s not of the usual, though, is that the snowball champion literally picks you up in his arms, and spins you around giddily. You fight the urge to giggle like a disobedient schoolgirl, as the warmly lit café whirls around in a blur of glowing gold and tonka bean brown. Men and women alike stare at you rudely, scandalized at the ruckus the two of you are making.
“Put me down, you lunatic, you’re going to decapitate me with this low ceiling!” you exclaim in a pleased shriek, with a genuine smile shining from your face now.
“Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, _____________________! I’ll make it up to you someday! I’ll…I’ll…”
“Set me down on the floor?” you joke, and the prankster immediately drops you to the ground like you’re a sack of potatoes.
“I don’t think my arms can take more strain anyway,” he grins mischievously at you, intending to amuse you—instead, it only stabs at your heart relentlessly and mercilessly. Jack shoots a half-hopeful glance at the revolving glass door, and you know he’s just clinging to the hope that Tooth might emerge like an angel from them. “But, oh God, thank you so much, ___________________________! You’re the most dependable person I’ve ever met!”
Your heart melts slowly at this statement; your mind sings a clear cut song of triumphant glory. Maybe there was still hope! Maybe there was still a chance of you attracting his attention! Maybe…
“What do you expect, I am the only person in town who knows about everybody here…” you flirtatiously laugh, jabbing an arm into your companion’s thin ribs.
There's lots of things I know...
“Well, that knowledge sure comes in handy sometimes!” And with a last graceful smile, the boy you’ve loved since an infant plants a caring kiss on your cheek, and dashes out of the café, bringing in a fresh gust of bitter snowflakes that drift and melt on the glossed floor, leaving you sitting stock still in shock.
The guests of the café have mixed reactions: some exclaim in outrage, others laugh like they’ve seen this all on a soap opera, and still others look at you like you’re a wounded puppy.
You touch the spot on your cheek where he kissed you tentatively. The happiness that sprung from you like a newly budded blossom is fading like an old photograph, but the memory of it flares bright and true in your mind. For once, you’re quite at a loss for words.
He only thought of you as a friend. An errand girl who knew everything about anything. Only dependable for knowledge, not for the heart. The close friend who always keeps him light on his feet.
Your vision begins to blur at the edges, and you swallow a lump of disappointment, getting the sense of vomit and bile rising in the back of your throat. Many people give you pitying looks as they make their final glances at you, numerous sympathetic smiles swimming in your wake.
You didn’t want sympathy. You didn’t want pity. You only wanted truth, and now you had it, handed to you on a silver platter.
What did you expect?
He’d never fall for you.
And never will.
Then you shake your head feverishly. No good of trying to capture his heart now. You’ve got a bargain to fulfill. A promise is a promise, no matter how twisted the deal may be. And to make matter more urgent, the person you made a deal with is the one person you wouldn’t want to disappoint…
But a brilliant star on the edge of your pupil betrays yourself, rolling across your cheek in a watery sparkle, and falls with a plop onto the spick and span tiles.
'Ponine... she knows her way around...
|Who was that girl?|