Red hair, red brows, red lashes, red eyes. Red lips, wet and bitten. Red marks left just under his ear, along his jaw and neck, standing out against the pale skin and numerous freckles. You wouldn’t notice them unless you stood close enough to smell the beads of sweat rolling down his chest, and the grass stains on his worn pants. The freckles disappeared under the article of clothing that hung low on his hips. Judging by his long feet, they were a never ending sky. His toes curled into the sheets, flexing and unflexing, like the paws of a cat. His long fingers drew a masterpiece into my back, dull nails gently pressing into the skin. Not enough to leave a mark, but a reminder that they’re there. Slender wrists, a mole under his thumb covering the resting pulse of his heart. Fine arms, and strong shoulders. Prominent collarbone, and solid chest. A natural smile of pure tranquillity, white teeth with the corner of the top, front, right tooth chipped off. Fine strands of red hair. Light, red brows. Reddish gold lashes. Blazing red eyes. Beautiful red lips.
Red runs with us. In our soul. On the ground of every battlefield. In our hearts. In our bodies. Red blood. Bold, red, blood. Bold, red, hair, brows, lashes, eyes. Blue lips. Pale skin. Pale as bleach. Soft, cold hands. A mole under his thumb, covering the resting pulse of his heart, if there was one. I could still feel it under my lips, oh the familiarity. What an agony.
Red is the colour of our souls and with enough red, it eventually compacts to become a pool of black. It happens to everyone, and that’s when we wither up into a rotting mess, and eventually fall down and die. It happens to everyone. Why would I bother visiting then? It’s bound to happen to everyone, that includes him. He has too much red. Why would you postpone the inevitable?
Well, no use waiting around. It’s best to leave, leave far away from here before the rotting were to spread. Your suppose to kill off the branch before it poisons the tree, not feed it with inauspicious probabilities. It’s a trail to hell and back, you won’t come out the same. Best to skip the whole trip and go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect two-hundred. Not that It’d be of much help.
Red. I close my eyes and my senses are red. They’re too bright to turn black though. Almost like a puddle of stained glass, softened by the sun’s heat. You can see right through, but it’s a clear, prominent, red. Everything through it is red. My senses are filled with him as I sleep. It’s comforting, as if death didn’t know the boy’s name. Did I? Did I know his name? Not anymore, I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it was. His body’s in my dreams, his sweet scent filling my mind with running thoughts. I don’t know what they’re running from. Maybe it’s towards something, but it feels good to move. Change is good, but his smile will never change, and that’s why I love it. The world can be so cruel. Red lips, and a chipped tooth. I never asked him how he got it, but it was smooth, an old childhood accident. Who knew someone so careful could get in so many accidents. It’s old news, but the clumsy carefree attitude still makes me laugh. A bitter-sweet laugh that doesn’t reach my eyes.
Nothing reaches my eyes. I’m blind to the world around me, stuck in my own mind. I don’t want to leave, i’m comfortable there. I have no reason to leave. The void around me is filled with black. I might as well stay where it’s safe. The outside is dangerous at this time of year.
“That time of year again.” Clink.
“What of it?”
“You going out?”
“’Course not, you know that. This is the one night of the year I don’t. Unless you’ve finally decided to, how do you put it again; hit rock bottom?”
“Keep it in your pants, I don’t mind keeping you company, but I’m not that desperate. Here.” He slid the drink over to my seat at the empty bar, in fact the whole place was a ghost town.
Smooth music, that no one ever knew the name for, played in the background. You couldn’t even tell if there was lyrics or if it was instrumental, the volume was too low. I sat at the bar, on a red cushioned stool with silver legs that reflected the golden tint of the dimmed lights and gold and red walls. The bar itself was a polished wood, familiar and dark in colour. It ran the length of the room and held rounded corners without a dent in sight.
“Funny. You won’t beg, but comply when I do. Pitty, I was hoping for a paying customer tonight.” I played along, pouting.
“What, my charms not good enough for you now?” Ding.
I followed Nori’s gaze to the door. A shorter fellow walked in, wearing a yellow raincoat, hood pulled over his head to cover about half his face with a shadow. It was too big, the boy’s form disappeared into just the jacket alone. The sleeves cover his hands, and the bottom hem pret’ near reached his knees.
“Jeez kid, never thought someone be taking their chances bein’ out this late.”
“Sorry, lost track of time, and haven’t noticed how late it’s gotten. You have a room available?” He had the light tinge of an familiar accent, must have grown up in the Jungle Sector.
It wasn’t strange for him to still be living there. Then again their accent wasn’t very strong to begin with. He could’ve live near the border between Jungle and Technik.
“Your lucky day. Eh, May, get a room ready will you?”
“What? We’ve got a guest?” May, I guess you could say he’s the housekeeper, poked his head put from the kitchen door, “Huh. Sure.”
Compared to the doorway, and most of the city, May looked like a lost child, but I knew he was almost as old as me, though I wasn't sure of his exact age. You’d never hear me admit to being a tad jealous of his youthful appearances. Not at this exact moment though, I could go without the messy beyond belief brown hair, and the hand print of flour smudged against one side of his face, his dark skin did no help to hiding the ingredient. Not to mention the rest of the flour that ended up all over his uniform, which just happened to be black.
“Try a shower next time, trust me, it works much better than flour.” I snickered, fiddling with the glass in my hand.
“Oh shut up.” With an over-dramatic wave of the hand, May disappeared back into the, undoubtedly, mess of a kitchen.
“Thanks, I know it’s quite sudden.” Raincoat slide into the stool beside me, turning the seat to face the bar, his sneakers barely touching the wood floor.
“Yeah.” He reached up pulling down the hood that had covered his face.
Short pieces of brown hair fell around his face. The rest was pulled back into an elastic. His eyes shun a deep red, surround by freckles against pale skin. I swallowed, raincoat looked oddly familiar to him. I wish I could remember his name. Why the hell do I remember his face? Out of everything. If it wasn’t for the long brown hair, it almost be a perfect copy of my memory. Not it, he. He would almost be a perfect copy.
I caught his eye. He smiled, but it didn’t show teeth, not the same as him. Nothing was the same as him. Well, at least I wasn’t seeing the dead.
“Have we met before?” I had to ask, it’s not like any harm could come from it, after all, it was his fault my mind’s suddenly bringing up old memories.
“Pfft. That lines as old as time, good one, he’ll never guess your intentions now.” Nori unhelpfully butt in.
“What? No, I’m actually serious for once.” I pouted at the bartender, sitting up straight.
“I don’t think so.” Raincoat answered seriously, “I haven’t been around here before.”
Nori raised an eyebrow, “What made you come now of all times?”
“I’m an upcoming author back home, needed a break from the… excitement. Plus I’ve always wanted to see the sky light after the adrilides. I heard the adrilian lights were very pretty, might be inspiring.” He shrugged, the corner of his lips tilting upward, a bashful grin.
The guy was cute, no getting around that fact. The faces he made were too innocent to be done by accident, but you could tell there wasn’t no bad intentions behind them, just kindness.
“Maybe that’s where you’ve heard of him? Hm?” Nori inquired, setting some kind of brownish drink with ice in front of Raincoat.
“Nah, I don’t read.” I turned my attention back to Raincoat, “but I honestly wouldn’t mind reading your books.”
Nori straight up laughed, “Here we go. Hey kid, how old are yah?”
“Twenty-Two, why? Shouldn’t you’ve ask that before handing me a drink?” Raincoat replied.
“Just curious.” Nori hummed, throwing me a knowing look.
“That’s quite young for an successful author, isn’t it?” I ignored Nori, as well as May who had dropped two sets of keys between raincoat and I, and strolled by without a second glance.
Nori also disappeared, in favour of conversing with May at the end of the bar. No doubt, that was his only reason to leave us be.
“I’m not that successful, this is just my first major publishing.” He denied, “it’s not even that popular outside of my region.”
“I bet it’s gonna be. I’ll bet you this room.” I pushed both room keys to his side of the table.
There’s a shy smile on his face, “where would you sleep then?”
“I guess I’d have to get another room, or…” I trailed off, staring straight into his eyes.
A faint blush fell across raincoats face. I new the guy wasn’t that naive.
“Well, you know, you could just use the extra room. It is yours, a bet like that wouldn’t work anyways, they’re only for one night.” Raincoat pushed one of the keys back over.
“That’s no fun.” I pouted, watching him take a sip of the drink, “Darts? Winner gets the keys?”
“Actually, I’ve never played darts before, going to have to pass.”
“Huh, really? Never heard of someone who hasn’t played darts.” I replied.
“It’s not that uncommon.” Raincoat took a sip of his drink, trying his best to avoid eye contact.
That’s probably true, but how would I know.
I couldn’t help but grin, “you’re too cute.”
I stood up, place a hand into his hair to mess it up even more than his hood already had. The locks were softer than they looked. I didn’t want to let go, but my hand flew back as if suffering a shock. I abruptly turned around, taking a shaky breath.
“May I’m going to raid your kitchen.” I spoke as if my brain didn’t feel like a mesh of fried cells.
The two perked up, as if they hadn’t been listening in this whole time. Heck, maybe they haven’t, how would I know?
“Dammit.” Nori spoke for him in an unenthused tone.
“Yeah dammit!” May was much more vocal, “get your own food.”
“I am.” I was already through the kitchen door before finishing the sentence.
My body went straight for the large silver fridge, hand reaching out to pull it open. The metal was cold to touch, but provided an welcomed change to bring my senses back to my body and surrounding; being stuck in my jumbled up mind for a minute. Honestly, I don’t know how I was still able to keep my speech. It was probably a built up immunity from the past experiences. Why now? That was, what, 5 years ago? Six? Sometimes around that time. I pulled out some packaged cold cuts from the fridge. Well I guess everyone’s bound to have some sort of clone or something. I looked down at the package.
Honey Smoked Turkey.
It was his favourite food.
“I don’t understand how you like that crap.” I leaned back, the pressure of the kitchen counter digging into my back.
He turned around to look at me.
“Don’t be rude! In fact, it’s my favourite food.” He said in a matter of fact tone.
I let a loose smile form on my lips, “Oh really?”
His face hardened as if accepting some sort of challenge. I raised an eyebrow, leading him on. It was easy to play with the guy, and entertaining to watch him be lead on, even though he knows it.
“Yes ‘oh really’.” He quotes, “and I couldn’t care less if you liked it or not, I’m going to eat it and you won’t be able to kiss me, cause my mouth will taste like honey smoked turkey!”
“Well we can’t have that, now can we?” I plucked the meat from his hands.
He had the most offended look on his face, shocked that I would try something like that. He shut his mouth and opened it again, shutting it and clenching his fists and jaw together when he realized he lacked a response. He pulled a hand through his hair in frustration.
“Give it back,” he frowned, “or I won’t kiss you, and I won’t allow you to kiss me either!”
“We’ll see how long that’ll last.” I replied, holding it above my head and out of his reach just to rile him up.
“What makes you so confident?”
I hummed, thinking, but didn’t actually plan to reply, I wanted to bother him.
He smirked, “Fine then.”
With that he disappeared from the kitchen, jumping down onto the couch with the TV remote in hand. The smirk was still planted on his face. I swear the guy just stole confidence from me. I frowned, knowing that with a grin like that I probably wasn’t going to get anything I wanted anytime soon. The guy could be stubborn when he wanted to be, and knew every single way to push my buttons. I voiced a sigh of defeat, throwing the cold cut onto the marble counter top and rummaged through the fridge for sandwich ingredients and orange juice.
Placing the freshly made sandwich down on then coffee table in front of my boyfriend, I smirked at him in success. He looked up at me, shocked and confused expression written all over his face, always tending to exaggerate emotions, even without realizing it. I doubt that was the case this time.
“You made made me a sandwich.” It wasn’t a question.
I rolled my eyes. He looked from the sandwich and back to me, eyes wider then before.
“And you took a bite of it.” He continued, offended.
My face must have been as red as his. It was difficult to get me to blush like so, but he tended to beat the odds. I mean seriously, he somehow tricked me into dating him. It was a bad idea… but it felt good.
“It needs more mustard.” Is all I said.
He grinned, blinding me with the lopsided smile and chipped tooth. It was contagious, I couldn’t help but mirror his expression. He stood up pulling me into a tight hug, as if I could disappear at any second. I wrapped my arms loosely around the clingy boy.
“Thank you.” It was so much more.
I took a deep breath, inhaling his scent.
“What would I do without you?” I mumbled, pressing my nose into the crook of his neck.
He hummed, releasing me from the grasp in favour of taking a bit from the sandwich. I stood back admiring the way his face scrunched up at the overuse of mustard, and how his focus was so easily taken from the flavour to the crumbs dropping onto his shirt. The way his hair fell over and around his shoulders, like a waterfall on fire; untamed but in sync, all the pieces falling together to make a beautiful sight. His ruby eyes caught me staring, a sleepy smile appeared, as if it was an instinctive response. I don’t think he knew he was smiling. He placed the sandwich back onto the plate.
“There’s not something on my face is there? Honestly I wouldn’t be too surprised, there’s a lot of mustard in there, I can’t believe you’d want more-”
I interrupted the sentence by grabbing his hand, and planting a light kiss on the back of it. Shutting my eyes, lips sitting against his freckled skin.
“I want to be with you forever.” I whispered it like a prayer.
I didn’t have to open my eyes to see the blush on his face. It’s been, what, two years? How could someone be blushing so often after so long, and let’s just say, our relationship wasn’t exactly rated PG. I smiled into his hand.
“Is that a proposal?” I finally opened my eyes, looking up at him, “Yes.”
“What?” I spoke lazily into his hand.
He took a deep breath repeating the words, “Yes. I want to be with you forever.”
“That’s crazy.” I lifted my head, hand still in hand, “we’ve only been together two years.”
I dropped his hand, sliding my own to his waist, “I’m eight years older than you.”
I pulled him closer, “your only seventeen.”
“So? Your my lover, not parents, not society, or the government.” He looped his arms around my neck.
“Yeah.” I smiled, tilting my head downward.
I’m his boyfriend; the most luckiest person in the whole damn world.
I could feel his breath on my lips for the few seconds before he closed the gap between us. I could taste the sandwich on his lips, but couldn’t care less. I could put up with it for the rest of my life of it meant that I got to kiss him. The soft lips and passive force overcomes everything else. The fervent emotions felt like home to me. I don’t know how long we stood like that, it wouldn’t matter, but eventually I forced myself to slowly pull away and catch my breath. I could hear the small huffs of air coming from my boyfriend.
I grabbed his hand again. Falling down onto one of my knees. I clutched his hand between both of mine.
“We’re going to have to go shopping for rings, but will you marry me?” I asked.
He laughed, “Yes Draven Kovik Raines, I will marry you.”
I ignored his laughter, the silliest of grins on my face.
“I love you, Jasper Morel.”
“I love you too.”