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Evanescent. [closed] Read 7373 times

Pride

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Evanescent. [closed]
« on: January 30, 2014, 06:59:37 am »
he tasted the blood from his blue veins, frozen with an unforgiving future.


For a lanky fourteen year old moving through heavy woods, Christopher Hawke was remarkably quiet.

Each step was as precise as it was instinctive, the casual and steady gait of one who had made this particular journey many times in the past. Hidden roots and mossy rocks were avoided without a glance from pale blue eyes, t-shirt and jeans twisting with his body to avoid low hanging branches swaying with the steady breeze. Light and dark warred across his tousled, blonde hair as he moved between sunlight and shadow, right hand reaching up occasionally in a habitual swipe to move the long strands from his eyes.  In his left rested an old friend, part worn leather and part faded paper, bouncing with familiarity off his hip as he skipped over a small creek.

He wasn’t far now. The thought brought a gentle upward curve to lips seemed forever turned downward and eyes glanced skyward, noting the position of the sun relative to the dancing leaves. Chris had managed to escape the confines of the manor earlier than expected, evading his piano lessons yet again. He knew he was pushing his luck, but with school starting up again soon, it was really the last chance he had to enjoy a peaceful summer day. Besides, with Mr. Hawke almost always gone on business, who was the teacher going to complain to?

His open bedroom window, a few missing bricks in the kitchen chimney as a convenient ladder, and a stealthy jog to the edge that marked the border between the estate and the local park were the keys to his freedom. After that, it was only a fifteen minute walk to his sanctuary: a towering oak with thick limbs low enough to climb but high enough to enjoy a nice breeze. The shade it offered was a welcome respite from the heat and excellent protection from any surprise summer showers. Best of all, it was far enough from the beaten paths that not once in the last six years had his reading ever been disturbed. It was his sanctuary, the one place he knew he could retreat to safely. Chris was certain that no one else even knew about his remarkable tree.

In the few seconds it took him to emerge from into the clearing where his tree stood tall, he blinked once and his tiny smile evaporated.

It appeared that he was also certainly wrong.

Pach_Work

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 09:01:30 am »
"I try out a smile and I aim it at you"

Summer’s light tickled her exposed toes that reached just outside of the shadow the large oak branches provided. The barefoot girl wriggled those orange painted toes idly; her legs were stretched out with a sketchbook pressed flat against her lap, large enough to overlap her long sock tan lines. Nearby were a pair of soccer cleats, one was upside down, and both cast away carelessly with other equipment and a ball stowed in a bag. Their owner seemed engrossed in a work of art on a page littered with eraser shavings and barely-there pencil marks. The preoccupied teen blew a stray curl from her face as she brushed her hand across the page to clean it off.

Penelope Heatherington hadn’t come looking for this place, and she certainly wouldn’t have stolen it if she’d known it was claimed. To be honest she had been easily distracted on her hunt for more dandelion weeds to make wishes on. There were plenty around this tree, but after plucking two or three out of the grass, the decision was made to save a few for another time.

Now she sat doodling, her loosened chocolate pigtails rested against her shoulders like puppydog ears. The thick dark curls were messed from her practice. Soccer had ended over an hour ago, but the peculiar girl lived just across the street. She quite liked the time to herself, and spent it productively. Penny didn’t always spend that time alone on purpose, however. Perhaps it was her sociable disposition that intimidated the majority of awkward middle-school teens, or a pair of large and curious dark blue eyes that gave her a permanently surprised appearance. Penny wasn’t in the ‘cool’ category of middle school. She was one of the rare few thirteen-year olds that someone had forgotten to classify; a marble among a collection of bottle caps. But never had she been aware of that. She was characteristically unaware of most people when she was consumed in her own world.

But right now she realized she had company.

The blond boy was familiar; she recognized him from homeroom last school year. The artistic athlete glanced up from quite a realistic sketch of a swallow on a branch. Chris Hawke had a book tucked under his arm, and when she saw the irritated look on his face, it didn’t take the doe-eyed teen long to figure out why he was here.

“Hey,” Her head tilted slightly, ponytails sliding, “how’s your summer been?” He was usually quiet, and the times he did speak, he wasn’t very nice. She smiled anyway.

"You must have missed it, you always do"
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 09:11:40 am by Pach_Work »

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2014, 07:10:14 am »
Penelope Heatherington.
 
The name came to him automatically as the product of an excellent memory and a year of homeroom roll call. Beyond that, Chris had little to associate with the wide, dark-eyed curiosity staring back at him. She was not among the sycophants who trailed in his wake, the so-called ‘popular kids’, who amounted to little more than pawns of ambitious parents seeking a connection to the Hawke name. As such, she had always had a rather substantial barrier of annoying individuals between her and his attention.

Looking at her now, the frowning boy found that her appearance was too haphazard to draw any accurate conclusions from. Alone at the park, dirty cleats by a small bag, a sketch pad with a detailed drawing, childish pig tails, absurdly bright toe nails – and were those dandelions scattered around her feet? What was he supposed to make of that? She did not fit any of the archetypes he had come to expect from a teenage girl, especially one who attended a prestigious academy. Penelope was an oddity.

Christopher did not like oddities.
 
Pale blue studied her with the same detached disdain one might study a piece of gum on the bottom of their shoe, as if trying to ascertain how exactly the unwanted item got there in the first place. Her friendly greeting, her warm smile, her innocent question: all disregarded with the contemptuous arch of a single eyebrow. When he spoke, his tone was even, but his words were cold.

“This is my tree. Your presence here is unwelcome and off-putting, Ms. Heatherington.” A brief pause to ensure understanding, as if she was a slow child who might not understand what the word ‘presence’ meant. “Please collect your items and leave at once.”

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2014, 08:38:16 am »
He would probably be in her class again this year; last year was the first time the students had been organized into homeroom classes. It was another cycle the new teenagers went through, a coming of age for junior-high students to share a small period of their schedules with fifteen to twenty other H, I’s and J’s. She wasn’t thinking about how awful that might be, despite Christopher’s crass presence She wasn’t even irritated with him for politely asking her to move.

Penelope didn’t subconsciously philosophize the situation and put Christopher in his category. They weren’t at school right now, so she answered his educated request with a much simpler reply, “I don’t want to leave yet.” There was no mean bite to her words and the same expression remained on her face as before his entitled request, but they were words of steel malleability. If she went back before the sun went down, her father would be just getting home, and he usually wanted Penny to walk their Great Dane, Ranger. It wasn’t that Penny didn’t love Ranger, but the dog was twice the size of her with the horsepower of a Harley. Walking him was sometimes dangerous. She wasn’t about to risk her life for a selfish request from a schoolmate.

Christopher was not someone Penny thought about on a daily basis, much like he probably never minded her. His blue eyes were flat, icy and robotic; even his voice was monotone and unexciting. Penelope didn’t know his friends, but she also wasn’t sure who would be attracted to that kind of attention. Her mother had always said that hurt people said hurtful words. 

“Maybe we could share the tree?” Sharing was second grade stuff. Christopher was obviously smart, one of the smartest guys she knew of at school. He’d remember that lesson for sure. “I don’t think I’m being off-putting. I’m only sitting here.” She turned her attention back to her drawing for a second and began to erase some things from the page. Then she looked back to the blond boy as her smile formed into a smirk, devilish, if possible with those eyes.

"Just sit, I won't bite you silly."

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2014, 07:19:17 am »
Christopher stared in disbelief at her and that mischievous grin.

Despite his name and a reputation for a sharp wit matched with a sharper tongue, it was not that uncommon for people to take poorly to the cold commands of a teenager with an extensive vocabulary. But such individuals were as predictable as they were boring and Chris knew well how to put them in their place. But this girl was again defying the rational rules of his world, reacting in a way completely unexpected. People either obeyed or they retaliated. They did not smile playfully at him, unfazed by his tone and calmly resolute against his wishes.

Chris did not know how to deal with that.

He wondered for a moment if she didn’t know who he was, but the idea was immediately rejected. She had asked how is summer was, implying that she did indeed recognize him. Besides, practically everyone at the academy knew who the heir to Hawke Industries was. No, the only logical answer to her unique response was the one he had already concluded upon first observation: Penelope was an oddity.

With the distinct impression that any further verbal confrontation would be met with the same results, he found himself lost for what to do. The longer he stood there, the more daylight he was wasting that could be spent finishing his book. But if he approached, it might look like he was complying with her demand. He couldn’t let her think she was the boss of him. A Hawke was always in control.

“I am not silly.” He informed her matter-of-factually. “And I will sit, but it is only because my desire to read outweighs my grievance with you.”

Satisfied with the clarification, however petulant, Chris approached. He occupied his favorite spot on a gnarled root positioned just high enough to be a comfortable chair against the oak trunk. Penelope was only a couple feet to his right, but he’d be damned if he sat anywhere but his spot just because of her.

The blonde glanced over briefly as he set his book on his lap, gaze lingering on the sketch pad. He was mildly impressed to see that she had talent, or was at least talented enough that Chris could tell immediately what bird she was drawing. He didn’t know what they were called, but he had seen them fly to and from the oak branches often enough. They were likely the reason she had settled at this tree long enough for their encounter.

The young man scowled at the source of the inconvenience and turned back to his book. The desired page number was found easily by a seeking hand, though he shifted subtly in his seat to obscure its contents from those curious dark orbs.

Christopher would die before anyone ever discovered his love for fairy tales.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2014, 02:12:15 am »

Penelope nodded with a smile as Christopher decided to join her, unconcerned with the reason of his decision. She had no idea he thought of her as some sort of enigma. The brunette only went back to her drawing, adding subtle details as Christopher read his fairy tales. A few moments later, she flipped her page and stared intensely at the blankness of it. What would be her next still life attempt?

Her curious eyes went from her carelessly tossed soccer cleats, to the stems of the dandelions surrounding her naked, tangerine painted toes. She chewed her bottom lip idly in wonder and wriggled them. The sun had moved a bit in the sky, chopping her legs off just where the sock tan did. The summer warmth felt nice, but she was just shaded enough to keep cool. Penny glanced to her left to see Chris very interested in his story, and she smiled to herself. The lighting was really interesting; there were speckles of sunlight that shone brightly in his blonde hair and over his face from the light poking through the leaves. His expression intensely imagining the scene he was reading. Penelope always enjoyed fiction.

She looked away before Chris noticed her observing him, and began to sketch out rectangular lines on the page, starting her drawing with the center of the page. His book, although he attempted to hide it, was the first thing that started to form with her lines and shadows. Penelope had found that starting by drawing the shadows before the lines was much easier for her. Sure enough, in no time Chris’s profile was beginning to show against the white paper.

Penny had done well with the spots of light on his face and hair. She erased a few stray marks and used her fingers to blend at some marks to soften them. Perhaps if Chris saw it he’d feel a little unusual about the girl sketching him, but Penelope didn’t think anything of it. In fact, this may have been her best sketch in a while. The bird was nice but there were a few too many erase marks for her to dub it perfect. Not that she minded that.

To her, perfection was in imperfect things, and that was why she’d left it with the marks.

Penny slowly and gently shaded in the engraved letters that she could see on the leather bound book. It was a nice cover, not the usual, graphic paperback. Those were always the best books. “Have you gotten to seventeen yet?” She asked without looking away from her drawing, “That’s my favorite chapter.” The ultramarine-eyed oddity finally glanced his way and smiled before she eventually went back to her picture.

It was starting to get dark, and Penny was sure that if she didn’t head back pretty soon that her mother would come to the park looking. She usually came home when it got dark. They lived in the small suburban neighborhood across the street. The Heatherington family didn’t have as much money as the majority of Penny and Chris’s classmates, but her father was a sergeant in the army, and that gave their children some benefits to their place of education.
It was another thing that estranged Penny from the other students, who had grown up with each other. Penny had only moved to this town two and a half years ago. She was new by the standards of most of her classmates unlike Chris, whose family practically ran their community. She never really minded moving. It was like an adventure every time.
 
“I won’t spoil what happens if you haven’t gotten there yet.” She glanced back again and let her knees lay to the side, sketchpad propped against them, “I just finished that the other day. This is a nice place to come and read.” She looked around, “You’re lucky you found it.”

Maybe she would come back. 
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 02:14:01 am by Pach_Work »

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2014, 03:32:18 am »
Fiction was the realm of the childish and the foolish.

Or so his father always said. It built false hope for happy endings and honest people, when the real world had neither.  Such books served only to push colorful lies of the existence of silly things like dragons into the heads of stupid children. Christopher Hawke would not be a stupid child. There was no room in a regiment of specified text that Christopher was required to read, books on economics and psychology and mathematics, for pointless literature.

“Pointless? You sound like your father, love.” A gentle hand ran through his hair, playfully messing it. Her smile was the sun, warm and radiant. “Fairytales don't tell us that dragons exist; we already know that dragons exist. Fairytales tell us that dragons can be beaten.”


When her warmth left the world, so too had any proof of her existence. Pictures, the garden, the library: all of it cleansed of his mother’s touch. Chris had only managed to hide a dozen of his mother’s countless favorites from his father’s command. They rested under a loose floorboard under his bed, each a priceless treasure wrapped carefully in cloth to preserve the worn covers and faded pages. They were all he had left of her now and he could hardly imagine his father’s reaction if he ever discovered it.

The heat of a dragon’s breath would be preferable to the chill of his father’s fury.

When Penelope spoke, the break in the silence startled him from his thoughts. He was loathe to admit it, but her presence wasn’t nearly as irritating as he expected it would be. She had seemed content with the quiet between them, only the soft harmony of pages turning and pencil sketching to fill their silence. She did not pepper him with questions on what he was reading, continuously make cloy compliments, or even hum in a maddeningly idle way.  It took him a second to realize what she had actually said.

He stilled, turning to face her with narrowed eyes as she glanced over at him. Suspicious light met unassuming dark and Christopher instinctively calculated the likelihood that her persona was merely a façade designed to get him to lower his guard. Her smile was disarming, leaving him unable to read her as anything but a genuinely friendly soul. The whisper of the wind through oak branches, cascading him in warm light and cool shadow.

“You’re always so paranoid Christopher.” Her laugh was leaves dancing in the wind, a soft and raspy sound he loved. “Sometimes a smile is just that. Sometimes people just want to be your friend.”

He didn’t realize he was staring silently until Penelope spoke again, looking at him and then their surroundings. The young Hawke, still at a loss for what he should say to this girl, found that his gaze was drawn inevitably back to the sketchpad in her lap. He blinked once, then twice. He was certain only after that his eyes were not deceiving him: this odd girl had drawn him.

While the sketch of the bird had impressed him, he was truly awed by the detailed shading in the balance of light and dark across his face, so intent upon the book, as if trying to find something there he had been long searching for. Some part of him knew he should be angry. Should feel violated or uncomfortable with the close inspection she must have made to create such a piece of art. But he wasn’t. He was oddly flattered; surprised anyone would have taken so much effort on him. He was-

Smiling?

The small curve of his lips was gone before she turned to look at him again, but he was not frowning at her anymore either. He studied her for a long moment, taking in her pigtails, socks, and dandelions. He watched her easy smile and wide eyes. He felt her warmth, her friendliness, her curiosity. When he spoke, it was not entirely unfriendly. “You are a very odd girl, Penelope Heatherington.”

He closed his book and stood, taking in the red sky over the tree line with a mildly annoyed glare, as if the natural rotation of the world should still for his desires. He didn’t look at her when he spoke again, though he did begin to walk in the direction that would lead him home. “Perhaps we will discuss your reasons for preferring the seventeenth chapter to the obviously superior ninth another time. I don’t believe your returned presence would be…too off-putting.”

He was gone even before his last words drifted back.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 09:17:48 pm by Pride »

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2014, 07:01:44 am »
And discuss they did.

Penelope and Christopher met again several times under the large oak. And they had many literary conversations. Christopher pulled curiosity out of Penny, not that it was hard to do. But his resistance that always came at first was like a challenge she couldn’t pass up. Instead of beating down the walls, she did interesting things because she knew he would respond. She never sat in the spot that fit the curve of his back, and he didn’t deem her as off-putting anymore- out loud any way. Many more birds were sketched and chapters read.

It almost seemed as if Christopher were beginning to enjoy her company. Not that the pale-haired boy would ever admit to it. Weeks went by, and soon the sunlight would be passing through orange and yellow oak leaves as autumn approached and school started back.

Pencils were sharpened and notebooks stacked in descending sizes in Penelope’s backpack. She’d ditched the puppy dog ears and wore her hair pulled half up, a few wavy strands fell out before she’d gotten out of her mother’s suburban, but they were easily brushed out of her face with her hand. A blue ribbon decorated the ponytail, matching almost perfectly with her school uniform polo shirt.

The first few days of class had already passed, so most of the girls had already taken to getting their khaki skirts hemmed, just barely making dress code. Penny took her seat in homeroom, just in front of Sydney Hastings and Caroline Harker, two girls that kept their rulers around, just in case any teachers mentioned their skirt lengths.

Penny managed to glance around, looking for where Chris might be sitting, but the teacher sent around a sheet of paper with their names before she could say hi. Each student was to fill in information beside his or her name in case of emergencies. Penny picked up her pencil and filled in her address.

She was oddly focused, trying to make her handwriting readable. The girl never had the best penmanship, but she was going to try and do better this year. Penny even tried a heart over her the “I” in Heatherington, but immediately erased it. Who did she think she was?

“Are you almost done with that?” Caroline’s voice interrupted her, and Penny glanced behind her to the pretty dark-haired girl. She smiled, handing over the paper, “Yes, just finished.” She didn’t notice the lingered stares she received from her. Penny turned back around, but she wasn’t quite out of earshot of the gossip Caroline started with Sydney right behind her.

“I saw her eat that weird green dessert at lunch yesterday. You think it gave her rabies?”

Penny felt her ears burn with embarrassment. Had she heard that right? They had said it as if they’d wanted her to hear it. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, ignoring the comment for now. She thought about what her mother had said to her about hurtful words. She thought it was over, but as the teacher called role and announcements were made, so were more green gelatin jokes, jokes about her hair, her lack of mascara. Penny somehow kept her composure during the thirty minutes of homeroom. She had never been one to conform to a lot of pressures of junior high. She had always been happy with herself. Everyone had insecurities, and these girls were just being mean. But even Penny couldn’t deny the hurt those whispered words caused.

”Hurtful words come from hurt people. Hurtful words come from hurt people…”

She mentally reminded herself over and over; each time she felt the tears brim at her wide blue eyes. The boys in the left row overheard, chuckling and providing an “Ouch,” or an “Ooh,” but nothing else. Penny wished that it would have been acceptable to put her hands over her ears, but she didn’t, she just tried to ignore it.

”It’s not true. Don't believe it.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2014, 06:25:50 am »
School was almost as annoying as it was boring.

The young Hawke lounged at his desk in homeroom, head resting on a lazy hand as the other tapped an idle rhythm across the wood of his desk. He was surrounded on all sides by idiots, his fellow males in the ‘popular clique’ chatting incessantly with one another about… well, Chris wasn’t really sure because he wasn’t listening, but he could make an educated guess it was something inane. He regretted immensely only bringing one book to classes today; he should have known that a hundred pages would barely last him through geometry. Even the hypocritical rambling of Ann Rand on American economics was better than being subjected to a conversation with his fellow classmates.

The sole exception to that rule entered the room only minutes before the bell.

January skies followed Penelope from the door to her seat on the opposite side of the room. His gaze lingered on the unfamiliar hairstyle, some small, quiet part of him still disappointed to see the lack of pigtails he had become accustomed to over the summer, before he looked away to where the homeroom teacher was calling for attention. He knew Penny usually sought out his gaze, offering a smile his way whenever she caught him looking over. Sure, he kind of liked that ribbon in her hair, but it simply wouldn’t do to be caught by that wide mischief three day in a row.

His thoughts drifted as the teacher droned on with various announcements, idly wondering at the possibility of sneaking out to the oak later that evening. A soft chorus of ‘oooh’ pricked at his unwilling attention, light blue sliding to the side to find the source of the interruption. It took a moment, filtering out the oblivious teacher and the random assortment of calls his clique of annoyances was making, but Chris found what he was looking for.

“I mean, check out her hair. Have you ever seen such an ugly color before?”

Harker and Hastings had found themselves a new target, it seemed. Christopher rolled his eyes and immediately began to tune them out, having no interest in how the predictable pair hid their own insecurities by torturing others as long as they left him out of it.

“I know, right? Like, does she really think that blue ribbon does anything but make it uglier?”

Chris paused. He looked again and found Penny bent over her desk, seemingly oblivious to the words. But sharp blue could see the tension in her shoulders, the strain of white on her knuckles from where she tightly gripped the pencil, and perhaps most importantly, the glassiness in her eyes. His rhythmic tapping on the desk stilled. The sudden ice in his veins was a familiar friend arriving at an unexpected time.

Anger? Christopher was surprised to acknowledge its presence. The emotion confused him, when he was wholly unrelated to the incident. Why should he care if Penelope was being teased by those two idiots? If she wasn’t strong enough to stand up to them or was stupid enough to actually care about what they said, that wasn’t his problem. He didn’t owe Penny anything. He gained nothing from involving himself in her issues. She was just some weird girl who didn’t know when to take a hint. No. He had nothing to be angry about.

Chris turned from the scene, jaw tight. Homeroom ended with the bell shortly after, its shrill toll a mocking laughter in his ears.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2014, 09:29:08 am »
The sound of the bell was a relief as Penny lunged out of her seat and for the door. It was pointless to escape however; she had her next class with Sydney and two of the other boys that had witnessed the harassment. She picked a chair far away in her history class, taking a seat next to Roman Price, a smaller eighth grader, possibly due to his brains. He probably skipped a grade. She smiled kindly at him as she put her backpack on the floor by the desk. They got along great, and Penny ignored whatever Sydney had to say after class, because her next one was bully-free.

Still, the giggles and jokes echoed in her head as she clutched her backpack straps to her chest, walking swiftly to the large oak after school. In tow was the obedient Great Dane, Ranger who had come along to keep her company while she did her homework. Home by six she had promised. There was something about the company of a dog, and a sturdy tree that comforted her. Penny sat down in a spot other than Christopher’s in case he decided to show up today, cracked open her math book, and began her homework problems quietly while Ranger sniffed around. Soon the large dog took a seat beside her, towering a foot taller in his upright form. Perhaps it was her father’s training, but the K-9 had an oddly militaristic posture. Eventually, he lay down, his head propped against Penny’s backpack.

The girl pushed her hair out of her face, blinking away a tear that landed on her paper filled with simplified ratios. She ran the back of her hand over Ranger’s head, wiping her eyes with her sleeve. Penny sniffed and immediately shut her math book, shoved it into her backpack, and pulled out her sketchbook, flipping to a clean page.

Her pencil stroked effortlessly the shape of Ranger’s long tail, his idle back legs and his strong haunches. The tail was quite small in comparison to the rest of the dog’s large body, but her depth of field was accurate, the Great Dane’s large and deep brown eyes reflecting off the page as she shaded in their shadows.

More than once the brunette was distracted by the comments that had been said that morning. What was wrong with the color of her hair? She pondered chopping it off, dying it blonde. She wouldn’t be ordering green jell-o in the lunchroom anymore. It hadn’t tasted that good anyway. Her nose scrunched up when she thought about it. But as much as she tried to convince herself that what those kids were saying were reasonable, the more she felt the pain in her chest that signified a longing of acceptance.

She paused and leaned her head back against the tree, blue eyes gazing into the spaces of light between the browning leaves above. Penny closed them, a slow tear gliding down her cheek. The girl let out a short, irritated sigh. She did not enjoy this feeling. Her eyes popped back open as she heard leaves rustling, and immediately she wiped her eyes with her jacket sleeve.

Back to her drawing.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2014, 03:55:24 am »
Christopher had forgotten his book.

It was a realization made only moments from the oak, his thoughts as tangled and deep as the underbrush he pushed through to enter the clearing. It was a nearly unbelievable mistake to have made, making the fifteen minute journey without once noticing the lack of weight in his hand. It defeated the entire purpose of going to the oak in the first place. For what reason did Christopher Hawke have for his sanctuary if he left his sacred texts behind?

The answer was wiping the sleeve of her jacket hastily across her face as he cleared the tree line, companion to a behemoth of an animal that lifted its head to meet Christopher’s stare.

“Ranger, I presume.” Chris called after a moment, still lingering on the edge of the trees. Penny had spoken of her Great Dane before and the protective way in which it laid beside her made it rather obvious. He considered the dog for a long moment, animal and man staring at one another, before he offered it a polite bow of the head. The dog made a soft ‘huff’ sound before it laid its head back down, never taking its gaze from the blonde as he approached.

Christopher did not move to his usual spot. Rather, he came to a stop directly in front of Penelope, his hands in his uniform pockets and tie loose around his neck as he stared down at her, blue studying blue. He did not comment on the redness of her eyes or the fact that, in her haste to hide the evidence of her fragile state, she was holding her drawing pencil in the wrong hand. He did, however, frown at her.

Comforting someone really wasn’t Chris’ forte. Frankly, interacting with people in general really wasn’t either. But there was a cold hand in his chest, pressing hard and making it difficult to breathe when he saw her looking like that. It clenched mercilessly around his heart with every beat, a tight reminder that the hurt in her eyes could have been prevented if he had intervened. The guilt of it ate at him like nothing ever had before; it plagued his thoughts from the moment she fled homeroom to the moment he realized he had made it to the oak but left his books behind.

It pissed him off.

“Stop being an idiot.” Christopher commanded, crouching down so they would be eye level. Ranger lifted his head, a warning growl at the tone in Chris’ voice, but he ignored it. Cold blue bright with anger met its darker, more somber counterpart. “I refuse to believe a girl as intelligent as you does not know the lack of worth in words from vapid girls like Harker and Hastings. Shall I spell it out for you?"

He pointed a long, pale finger at her, gesturing to each part of her in turn. "Your hair, though more preferable in its pigtails form, is a pleasant shade of brown. Your lack of makeup is fitting, for unlike those girls who seek to bury how repulsive they are inside under layers of paint and powder, you have no need to hide. Your eating habits, while perhaps unusual, are part of the reason you are interesting when others are predictably annoying.”

There was a pause, however slight.

"They target you because you are different. Likewise, I would not waste my time on you if you weren't different. Do you understand?" He leaned closer until they were almost nose to nose, perhaps the closest Christopher had willingly ever been to another human being in years. “You will stop being an idiot, Penelope Heatherington. I will not tolerate it any longer.”
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 03:57:30 am by Pride »

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2014, 07:27:08 am »
Ranger’s stiff composure was slightly surprising to Penny. Usually the dog was quite sweet to other companions. It was his breed. But when she thought about it she supposed that Christopher didn’t have the most approachable presence. That was why what he did next surprised her.

He hunched down, eyes were level with hers, staring not coldly this time, but sternly into her very core. Penny didn’t jerk her head back, but she did turn her nose down slightly, wide eyes staring up at him like the eyes of a sad pup being scolded by its loved master. Her bottom lip hesitated to quiver and she felt her brows knit in the middle of her forehead.

Why was he getting bitter with her for being upset?

Penny could tell that he meant well, but his unsympathetic manner was frustrating. She wasn’t being an idiot she was just hurt. Perhaps this was how Christopher Hawke pep-talked his friends, but it was almost more insulting that he called her names just like the other girls. The fact that he had never consoled anyone before didn’t cross her mind. How would she know? Penny had only known Chris for a few weeks, and even after talking a few times, he wasn’t exactly friendly.

The boy did redeem himself slightly by some-what complimenting her? Penny wasn’t sure if he was or not. He skillfully weaved his way through pointing out what the other girls considered flaws, and debauched each of them with not something sugar coated, but just the truth. It was almost as if he were avoiding saying anything nice so she wouldn't feel pitied. The brunette was quiet when he finished, irritated and flattered at the same time. She pushed more tears away and crossed her arms, gazing up at the Hawke boy through glassy marine eyes. Because she was flustered, she chose to argue, it was the only thing that would come out when she spoke.

“You can’t call me intelligent and an idiot all at the same time, Chris.” She mentioned in a discouraged tone. Penny leaned back against the tree, “Look, I appreciate what you said but…” She sniffled. She had never stood up to anything Chris had said to her before. He was often cold and short, but she usually wasn’t in a vulnerable state like this when they met. Now she just felt attacked.

“I can’t help it that my feelings are hurt.” 

The girl looked down at her sketchpad into the large, sweet eyes of her drawing of a dog. Part of her felt bad for retaliating against Chris when he meant well, but she didn’t understand why kind words needed to be disguised as everyday chit chat.

“People don’t want to be told that they are wasting your time.” She said. Her shoulders were hunched over as she looked back up to him. Penelope knew there was a reason Chris was the way he was. She wasn’t sure what it was just yet, but even though she may have been the odd one, his behavior was just as unusual. No one would call it out because of his family situation, but Penny wondered if it was from just that reason.

Ranger lifted his head to lick away the salted moisture that slid down her cheek, and she gently pushed his muzzle away, dark eyes bearing right back into Chris's lighter,

“Do you understand?”
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 07:28:23 am by Pach_Work »

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2014, 09:07:26 am »
She didn’t understand.

He narrowed his eyes at her and the way she threw his question back at him, his jaw tight and lips a bloodless line. Christopher wasn’t sure if he was more annoyed with her for missing the point or more angry with himself for failing to express it. He was floundering here, a boy familiar with the concept of comfort but so inept in its delivery that the girl thought he was insulting her. It had always seemed so simple when he read it from the lines of a book. The hero always knew the perfect things to say to make things right.

But watching that wet hurt slide down her cheek, Christopher knew he was the furthest thing from a hero.

“No.” He answered her in his habitually frank manner. “I do not. I do not understand why you permit yourself to be vulnerable. Nor do I understand why your inability to control your emotions should invoke my own. Perhaps most of all, I do not understand you, Penelope.”

He was quiet then, simply observing her, irritation still flickering in his eyes like ice cracking under the weight of his frustration at being unable to properly express himself.  Chris glanced at her sketchpad, her usual talent a familiar sight in fresh form. A firm finger tapped the portrait while a meaningful nod was made to the faithful dog that rested at her side. “But I do understand this. Even I understand that a person who can capture life so wonderfully well must never have a reason cry.”

He stood abruptly then, towering over her and those sad eyes that made him say too much. He turned and moved back toward the woods, unable to deal with the emotions crawling in his gut any longer. He called to her as he went without so much as a second glance. “I told you I won’t tolerate this foolishness any longer. It is the truth. This will not happen again.”

As always, he was gone even before his final words drifted back.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2014, 12:48:13 am »
The oddity clung her sketchbook to her chest and watched Christopher go. Something inside felt emptier as she watched him weave back through the woods. He didn’t even sit down to read. Penelope looked to Ranger as she thought silently to herself about the whole situation, dissecting it like he might have. Then she realized how ridiculous her words had been. She had practically been begging the cold Hawke boy for pity. How could she not have realized how pathetic she was?

The next morning was cooler than most. Autumn was quickly approaching. Penny had taken the time to pull a cozy white sweater over her head that morning, and like most girls had decided to wear the longer socks. She avoided the stabbing eyes of Caroline when the girl passed by to take her seat, and picked up on a comment about “granny’s knitting.” Penny continued to doodle on the corner of her history assignment, effortless swirls that collided to form roses and other flora. The brunette propped her chin in her hand, her face flushing at the sound of whispers.

Penny hadn’t worn the ribbon in her hair today. It was pulled into their usual twin puppy-dog ears, resting against each shoulder. Perhaps a defense mechanism, since Sydney tended to sport the same hairstyle sometimes. Even today, the blonde girl wore low braided pigtails. Would they find something other than her hair to play with? She wasn’t sure.

Their teacher went over announcements, and a few students walked in late, causing a slight interruption, or otherwise known as an opportunity for junior high goers to gossip. Penny glanced over her shoulder to see the girls eyeing her.

“She copied your hair because we made fun of it yesterday.” Caroline sneered in a bitter whisper. Sydney rolled her eyes, and muttered something that Penny couldn’t hear, because she had already turned around to press her face into the warm sleeve of her sweater.

Oddly enough, she found herself remembering Chris’s cool blues probing her to stop being an idiot. She swallowed, afraid to look to the familiar boy. He was probably mad at her still for the way she had acted yesterday at their tree. Still, his words echoed,

”I refuse to believe a girl as intelligent as you does not know the lack of worth in words from vapid girls like Harker and Hastings.”

Refuse to believe?

He had more faith in her than she may have in herself at that time. But as she reflected on those words more, Penny realized that she had indeed known the entire time that the nothings those girls said weren’t true. She had told herself to just ignore it and not to believe it, but she didn’t believe it. If she did, she wouldn’t have eaten that green jell-o in the first place, nor would she have left her house with no mascara on. Christopher, the one who had first seemed most unpleased with her presence, had told her something more important than she would have ever imagined.

There was no worth in their words.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 07:39:41 am »
The sound of a heavy book slamming shut brought a hush to the murmuring classroom.

Even the teacher looked up, surprised by the sudden silence, and followed the gaze of everyone to where Christopher sat with a vaguely annoyed expression. He spoke in the off-hand way one might mention the time. “Ms. Connell, I believe I overheard a number of students that intend to vandalize your vehicle today as a prank. I imagine their best opportunity would be during homeroom, when you are occupied and most teachers are not exercising proper caution.”

She stared at him, uncomprehending. Then she paled. “My new car?”

Chris shrugged, but she was already running out of the door, her duties as a supervisor for a classroom of teenagers forgotten in her fear that the beloved new car she had saved for years to buy was about to meet a terrible fate. The young Hawke watched her go and wondered idly how long Ms. Connell would hover protectively around her car before she realized that no one was coming. Not that it really mattered; he only needed her gone for a few minutes. Christopher stood.

As expected, the event had set the classroom buzzing again, louder now that their task master had been called away. But the screech of his chair pushing back against the tile as he stood brought that sudden hush back to the room, all eyes on the tall, fair-haired boy as he calmly made his way across the room. The rhythmic steps of his well-polished oxfords came to a pause before a trio of desks, leaving only an expectant silence in its wake. He leveled his stare on the back two occupants, never once making eye contact with the foremost girl with pretty pigtails and deep eyes.

“Leave.”

The word was a block of ice, hard and cold with enough weight to break the silence he had bound the room with. The two glanced at each other uncertainly, as if unsure if he was talking to them, before Sydney turned to him with a bemused smile. “Chris, what are you-?”

“Christopher.” He corrected, the hint of a frown showing his displeasure at her easy use of a nickname. “And I do not believe I spoke unclearly. I am weary of your thinly veiled insecurity and desperate cries for the attention your parents won’t give you. Go away.”

The classroom buzzed with mocking oh’s and muffled laughter at the insults, but a scathing look from Chris over his shoulder brought the audience back into silence. He turned his attention back just as Caroline stood to meet him, a full head shorter but anger burning in her eyes and a coy smile to match his indifferent frown. He almost wanted to smile; this was the reaction he expected from people. This was the sort of interaction he always knew what to do in.

“How noble of dear Christopher Hawke, to come to the rescue of a loser.” His full name was spat like poison, though she smiled no less sweetly. “Though I can’t help but wonder what it is that moved our quietly indifferent Hawke into action. Our games have never bothered you before.” A small, theatrical gasp as she lifted a hand to her mouth, as if a thought suddenly occurred to her. “Could you possibly have an interest in little Penny Nobody? Is there something you would like to tell us, Christopher?”

It was a good play, he acknowledged silently as he felt all eyes in the classroom shift to observe the way he stood by Penelope’s desk, almost protectively between her and the two girls. Long fingers of his left hand tapped a quiet, subconscious rhythm on her table as he considered. Caroline was undermining his credibility, setting him up to be a joke in the face of his classmates if he attempted to deny her claim or pretended to ignore it. Likewise, if he accepted her mocking implication, she would play it to her advantage and take control of the situation.  He had known that Caroline Harker was, despite her faults, a shrewd girl. She was good at this game.

But Christopher was better.

“How astute of you, Ms. Harker. Surely my reaction has nothing to do with the harpy-like shriek of your voice or how the entire IQ of the room drops the moment you open your mouth. It must have everything to do with some kind of fateful attraction that I have with Ms. Heatherington. After all, everyone knows just how much I love to make friends.” There was laughter from his peers at his dead-pan sarcasm and Christopher smiled back at her, a thin and sharp thing that was more patronizing than if he’d reached out and pattered her on the head like a dog.

“Of course, I would hate to bore our audience with a recounting of all the exact reasons why I find your presence so intolerable. Especially when I have proof of something that is likely to be far more interesting to them.” He leaned in closer, his voice whisper soft in its mocking and inaudible to all except Caroline’s inner ear. “Though I can’t help but to wonder how your parents might react if they knew there was video footage of the…finer points in your relationship with our dear gym teacher.”

He watched her go unnaturally still, the blood draining from her face and leaving her looking a little ill. She stumbled a little away from him and Sydney rose to steady her, looking concerned and a little hurt when Caroline shook her off angrily. The Harker girl looked up and met his eye, her gaze equals parts hate and fear – but she said nothing before turning to grab her backpack. Christopher nodded once, satisfied with the confused murmuring of his classmates as they tried to figure out why the showdown between the Ice King and Queen Bee had ended so abruptly. What was the interesting thing Christopher was talking about?

“You will not bother me again with this nonsense. Ever.” Though he looked at the two girls, his tone implied it was a warning for everyone. There was a pause as he waited to ensure they understood the weight of the word. “You will apologize to Penelope and-“

“Apologize to her?” Sydney interrupted incredulously, face flush with anger. “The freak? You think that just because you’re a Hawke you can order us around and-“

Her outrage froze on the tip of her tongue under the baleful glare of those icy orbs. It was unclear if his anger was a result of being interrupted or at Penelope being called a freak, but it honestly didn’t make a difference. He did not say a word, though that contemptuous look seemed to steal Sydney’s ability to speak. He turned back to Caroline and continued as if there had been no interruption.

“-leave. Tomorrow, I will allow one of you occupy my previous seat, as that is the furthest you could possibly be from me in this setting. The other can sit on the floor. I could not care less.” He took Caroline’s seat and made a gesture toward Penelope, giving an expectant look. “Apologize.”

“How dare you-“ Sydney found her words again, her face so red that Christopher wondered if there was any blood left in the rest of her body. But Caroline grabbed her arm and hissed at her to shut up. She turned and bit out a rough apology through gritted teeth and would not relent until Sydney had followed through as well. Caroline then pulled her away wordlessly; ignoring Sydney’s confused protests as they went.

Christopher watched them disappear from the classroom and winced at the sudden, predictable uproar of conversation as the door closed in their wake. He rubbed his temples as a half dozen people began talking to him all at the same time, asking what it was he knew and laughing as they recanted the 'funny' parts of the conversation back to him, as if he had not been a part of it. Some were very quiet; friends of Caroline and Sydney no doubt, none too happy with what occurred but not stupid enough to make a scene. He ignored them all, giving a boy by his previous chair a pointed look that was understood after only a moment of blinked confusion, gathering the Hawke’s belongings so he could bring them to the new seat.

He felt Penelope’s gaze on him, the same way he might feel sunlight through a window. He turned slowly to look at her, giving her an imperious glower he knew was only a shadow of the one he had just delivered to her two bullies.

“What?” He muttered quietly, looking away from her toward the boy who was approaching with his backpack. “Don’t give me that look. It’s not like I did this for you.”

Distantly, he wondered if Ms. Connell was still in the parking lot clutching her car protectively from imaginary vandals.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2014, 08:21:10 am »
She realized that she had been trying so hard to not let the words of Caroline and Sydney reach her, that the sound of Christopher’s book slamming shut was a startling snap to reality. Penny felt her shoulders hunch and she looked up as their teacher scurried out to check on her beloved new car. Penny was astonished that she would have believed something so obviously fabricated.

Almost as astonished as she was for what was happening now.

Christopher Hawke was now defending her, but never once looked her way the majority of the time he spoke. She watched as the blonde boy criticized her attackers. His combat strategy was smart, and never once did he lose his cool. In fact, he scattered that coolness throughout the room, and Penny almost felt as if the windows would frost over. She wondered if she should stop Chris, but Penny almost felt as if he would turn on her. His manner was neutral, and never once did he put pity on the pigtailed girl.

Her face reddened as Caroline accused Christopher for having feelings towards Penny, and she almost protested right alongside of him.

There was no way he liked her. He barely tolerated her!

But he had it under control it seemed. She could do nothing but watch. The shock didn’t register on her face; she seemed more worried than surprised at his actions. Penny turned to face the girls as they were forced to make an apology to her.

“Thank you…” She said, with an understanding nod. She knew how it felt to be humiliated, and now they did too, “I forgive you.” But the girls had stormed out before she could express her mercy loud enough.

Christopher took the seat behind her, and she slowly turned to meet the chilling stare of the boy who had bravely come to her rescue. He didn’t want to admit that to himself, fine. His demeanor from the day before under the tree, his entire approach to making their friendship seem like it was barely acceptable. She got it.

“I know,” She smiled through the white lie and turned back around in her seat, but her dark eyes met his again as she glanced over her shoulder again, “Thank you.” Penny mouthed, and with that, she faced the front of the room once more, and never mentioned the bullying incident again.

The story of Christopher’s icy battle against Caroline and Sydney spread through the school like wildfire. First with the H’s, I’s, and J’s, and then the rest of the alphabet, even the lower grade students gossiped about it in the cafeteria. Students began to accept her now that the “dubbed” king of junior high had come to her defense. She still ate the green jell-o that was served on Wednesdays at lunch. Although it did seem Christopher had unknowingly boosted her popularity a little, Penny remained what she would always be. An oddball.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2014, 10:50:13 pm »
It would be three and a half more years before Christopher Hawke truly understood what Penny meant to him.

His attitude shift toward her was a gradual thing, slow and sure as thawing ice under gentle sunlight. There were rough patches of course, moments when tempers flared or touchy subjects were accidentally stumbled upon. It became known that Christopher was particularly unfriendly on rainy days and Penelope was not always so pleased with his isolationist attitude. Her pointed questions about his father were eventually met with chilly silence for the rest of the day and a casual nonchalance the next morning, greeting her as normal and pretending like the previous day had never occurred at all. His habitually blunt nature and general obtuseness at human empathy sometimes left her very quiet and it wouldn’t be until much later that day that he realized her hurt her feelings.

But he was changing. The Hawke boy had long since dropped the pretense of barely tolerating her presence and actively sought her out, enjoying his lunchtimes at her side and walking with her between classes. He was looser with that small upturning at the corner of his lips that some might call a smile and his low chuckle was its rare, quiet companion. His sharp tongue had grown dull after countless conversations, familiar words like ‘idiot’ and ‘oddball’ more amused nicknames than biting insults without the cold curtness that had characterized them before. When he messed up and upset her, he always had something to give her the next day: an old book, a new set of sketching pencils, a music album she’d been wanting. It was never a direct apology and he never brought up the mistake, but his blue eyes conveyed the regret he could not find the words for.

He even called her Penny instead of Penelope now. If nothing else, that was progress, right?

The catalyst for his epiphany came on a cold Tuesday afternoon, the tall teen laying on his bed and staring out at the dark clouds that had been building into a storm all day long. He was frowning, a dull headache already pulsating behind his eyes, as if sensing the promise of rain. It had been a long day, the announcement of prom a curse that had plagued in the form of girls playing coy games with him in every class, each seeking an invitation from him to the dance. While he supposed he wasn’t too unattractive – honestly, all he knew was that the face in the mirror was looking more similar to his Father with every passing day – Chris knew that their real interest was in his family name and the money that came with it. They certainly weren’t attracted by his winning personality.

Penelope had seemed a little troubled by it all. She didn’t seem to mind when their lunch was interrupted four separate times, but she didn’t chide him for the callous way in which he dismissed them either. She simply watched him like she always did, smiling a tiny bit at his sigh of exasperation, before asking if it would really be so terrible to experience prom with one of them.

Honestly, Christopher mused as he rolled over on the bed and buried his face in a pillow, he didn’t see what the big deal was. It was just some childish dance, where a boy and girl spend ridiculous amounts of money to be awkward and dance poorly to terrible music. Why should he willingly subject himself to that kind of situation, especially with one of those harpies? It would be much more pleasant just stargazing under the oak with Penny, the only music the rhythm of heartbeats against wind through leaves. He blinked as a novel thought occurred to him.

Did Penny want to go to prom?

The quiet chime of his cellphone on his bed side table caught his attention, the message alert only a mild surprise because there was only one person in the world who would actually text him.  His lips quirked into a small smile as he reached for the phone, wondering when it was exactly that his rule about only texting for an emergency had degenerated into casual good mornings, this class is so boring, have you gotten to chapter twelve yet, and sleepy good nights. He unlocked the phone, thumbing to the message Penelope had sent him. His smile faded when it appeared.

SOS! Tree?

He stared at it only for a moment before rolling off the bed and to his feet, reaching swiftly for his shoes and coat. As he moved to the window his thumb moved quickly across the phone in reply, but he hesitated briefly, left fingers pressed against the cool glass as his right hovered over the send button. Father would be returning home soon and would be expecting Chris to meet him for dinner. Going to the oak now would likely make him late for that dinner, even more so if there was something seriously wrong. That would not go over well. At all. But Penny rarely, if ever, sent him a call for help. What if she was upset? What if she was hurt?

On my way.

Chris stepped through the open window into the building storm.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2014, 04:10:53 am »
The spring season brought many things; rain, sunshine and pollen. So much that a certain blue Great Dane came back to the house covered in it, sparking allergies everywhere. Ranger liked to roll in the flowers, something about the smell, surely. When the dog came back inside, little sneezes erupted from Sergeant Heatherington and Bethany, Penny’s younger sister. So Penelope, the brave soul that she was, braced herself for bath time with Ranger.

It was not as easy as it sounded.

He was a good twenty pounds heavier than her, and taller than an NBA player. She led the four-year-old canine out into the driveway, hose in one hand and soap in the other. Penny stood next to her huge pet; this was a face-off now. But she’d done this before, and was ready for it. Ranger tried with his puppy-dog eyes, but she would have none of it. Soap and hose were dropped; leash was equipped at his collar then securely weighted under her foot.

As soon as the water was visible, Ranger tried his escape, but at the tug of the leash around his neck, there was nowhere to go. He circled the girl in attempts to avoid the cold splashes but to no avail. The Great Dane was putty under the gentle, soothing strokes of his master. Penny calmed him to sit after the short struggle, and began the wash.

Still, the peace did not keep when a few boys circled the cul-de-sac on their bikes. Ranger lunged, barking in excitement to see company. Saviors! Her weight was twenty pounds too light to keep the dog at bay. His leash slipped from beneath her foot and she slipped; butt on pavement, water everywhere.

A boy in Penny’s history class and soccer player, Robert Leery, greeted Ranger, giving the dog a good rub on the ears. She immediately stood, face burning with embarrassment. “Sorry! I’m so sorry!” She dropped the hose and ran over, snatching up the leash. Robert smiled and shook his head, leaning his bike to the side.

“Hey Penny. This is your dog?” She nodded and wrapped the leash around her hand nervously. Robert was cute, curly dark hair and bits of scruff that shadowed his jaw line. “He’s huge, what’s his name?” The two of them small talked for a few moments, and the flirtation began from there, water dripping from her messy pigtails.

It didn’t occur to Penny that Robert might ever have an interest in her. She never caught him staring, but he caught her all the time. He did sit in front of her during class, however, so it was hard not to look. He spotted her one gray afternoon when the boys had finished practice, and she was leaving late after helping set up for the school play.

Prom was the thing on every girl’s mind at that school. Penny hadn’t really thought about it much. She just assumed that she and Chris would go together as friends. They did almost everything else together. It came out of the blue, but she had no idea how to respond. Should she ask Chris if it were all right? He had turned down several girls, so did that mean that they were going together or not? The blonde boy had also mentioned not having an interest in Prom, which she sort of expected from him. Penny had subtly encouraged him to go. They both missed last year. She had gone out of town with her family, and Chris just…didn’t want to.

In the end she told Robert she’d think about it. Penny was not adept at the flirting game like most girls. She merely blushed and smiled, but sometimes that’d do the trick. She was beginning to find that instead of teasing her about her quirkiness, she was teased by boys trying to flirt with her.

The girl had predictably grown out of her awkwardness and more into a charming quirk. While she had always looked like her mother, now her large blue eyes were alluring to some, dark hair had thickened and refined its curl. She wasn’t made fun of anymore, but she also was not popular, she never would be. Penny had nothing in common with the girls that dyed their hair and had the knowledge of make-up. She knew as much about mascara and lipstick as Ranger knew about behaving at bath time.

Oh no…mascara and lipstick…prom!?

The girl sat in her old blue ford as a storm brewed in the sky. She didn’t have an older sister to consult in a crisis like this, and Bethany was eight with no knowledge of boys except that they ate bugs and pulled hair. Her mother would gush and coddle her.

So she punched in a cry for help to the only person she knew to.

SOS! Tree?

Immediately the brunette pulled out of the school parking lot and headed towards the park across from her neighborhood. A message blinked on the screen of her phone. On my way.

At the base of the large oak, Penny took a seat, folding the floral skirt of her sundress underneath her. She was already comforted by the return text. Maybe she was being dramatic. Sometimes girls were, right? Big eyes stared down at her light blue sneakers, pressing the white toes of them together in the dirt. Penelope heard familiar footsteps approaching, and she was unable to prevent a smile from tugging at her lips. She would always be happy to see him. Even in desperate times like these.

He was going to hate her though. And it was about to rain…

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2014, 08:15:17 pm »
He emerged from the tree line like he always did, broadening shoulders back and long steps slow with the confidence that comes with a certainty of power.

Or at least, that’s what he hoped he looked like. Christopher didn’t want to emerge panting and looking worried, unwilling to reveal the level of his concern so easily. He knew his normally well-groomed hair was a bit askew from the wind and his face was a little flush from the rapid pace, but overall, he thought he pulled off the nonchalance rather well. After all, what kind of hero shows up to save the damsel winded and sweaty, alarm written all over their face? Not any worthy one, certainly.

He found her in her spot, sitting prettily in her sundress despite the darkening gloom of the evening. Icy blue flicked over her but saw no signs of physical harm, her smile as warm as always when she looked up at his approach. He felt his own lips tug upward in response unbidden, his subconscious responding naturally to her, before he took the reins of control and snapped it back to his general calm, bored look. This wasn’t the time for that. If something was hurting her, he needed to take command of the situation before it got worse.

“What’s wrong?” He asked as he came to a stop a little before the canopy of the tree, hands in his pockets as he looked her over again for anything he might have missed from a distance. But finding nothing again, he turned his blue to meet hers, more concern there than he would ever express aloud. “Are you alright?”

There was a rumble of deep thunder and a splash of cold water against his cheek made him blink in surprise. Long fingers reached up to wipe it away as he turned a glare at the sky, his nonchalance suddenly a fierce scowl. It was starting to rain.

Just perfect.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 08:18:40 pm by Pride »

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2014, 10:38:32 pm »
Penny had learned a lot about Christopher in the past few years. He was cranky and sour, appeared bored all the time. But what was beneath the exterior was more than that. The boy was incredibly intelligent, and just had less patience for those who were not yet to his maturity. Why take the time to poach this egg when frying it created a similar result and was much quicker? She had come to find that the things that took the most time were worth the wait.

He had come to accept her, perhaps from their commonality in books and discussion, and now that he had, Penny was grateful for her patience. She had other friends, but none as valuable as him; none that had known her when she was the doe-eyed, pig-tailed oddball.

The subtle hints of concern would not be picked up by most, but Penny savored them when they were revealed. Never did she point them out to him, they were for her only. She patted the ground beside her. If it were going to rain, the shade of the tree would keep them dryer than standing on the edges of the canopy.

“Yes, I’m fine but…”

She shifted his way when he decided to sit. The scowl was familiar, and she immediately felt the guilt. Penny knew he hated the rain. The brunette tucked her phone in the pocket of her jean jacket and leaned her shoulder against the tree, then the side of her head, her dark blues searching his pale ones for an honest reply,

“Someone asked me to prom.” Her nervous swallow was an odd action that somehow was made endearing. She could sense the irritation of the subject before he could even express it; “I know you hate me for calling out to you about something you think is…dumb and silly…” She shook her head, as to move on, “But I think I want to go.” Her hand came to her lips and she shyly pinched her bottom curve, an anxious habit. Penny was afraid of the reaction now that it was raining. Ever since Christopher had stood up to her bullies in junior high, Penny had become indifferent to the rest of the student body’s opinion of her, everyone but Christopher’s, and now Robert Leery’s.

This was the first time Penny had expressed interest in the opposite sex to her dear friend who happened to be the opposite sex as well. He knew her better than anybody, and so she continued her solicit,

“I guess I’m just worried I’ll make a fool out of myself.” She smiled a little, hoping to get his mood up by poking fun at herself. A soft chuckle was quieted by another rumble of thunder in the distance. “You know how I can be sometimes.” Her eyes found his again, lids softening around the wideness to form a humorless plead.

“But I also don’t want to change for someone.”

The dilemma was so simple out loud, but she felt the conflict inside. Christopher had taught her that her uniqueness was special. Wouldn’t he understand this? Her brows knitted with the concern, and she glanced up at the sky when she felt a quick, cool sensation touch her cheek. Rain.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2014, 08:14:17 am »
Christopher sat beside her, one long leg bent to his chest for an elbow rest as the other stretched out before them toward the beginning downpour. It was an undignified way to sit and his tutor would have had a few choice words, but the warmth of her side pressed to his and their knees bumping lightly together as they shifted into comfortable positions silenced the opposition. He mirrored her casual lean, shoulder back and head twisted just enough so he could meet her searching gaze.

The answer to his nervous anticipation, the fear that had propelled him from his room and into the stormy night at a rapid pace, took him completely by surprise. It was no injury or insult that harmed her, no accident or missing person that had driven her to call for his help. There was no child stupid enough to mock his friend and no adult taking advantage of a young girl. The source of her SOS was-

Prom?

A single eyebrow above an incredulous stare twitched with relief and annoyance of equal measure. He held his tongue and the sharp rebuke that rested at the tip of it, her clear nervousness and the earnest look in her eyes reminding him that it was his own fault for jumping to conclusions. If it had been a real emergency, she surely would have just called him, not waited for him to reach the tree before explaining a dangerous problem. He should be more relieved. Penny wasn’t hurt. She wasn't in danger. She was just…asked to prom?

The meaning of her words finally sank in as the rest of his anxiety bled out, leaving him feeling oddly shell shocked to the unexpected turn of events. Icy blue watched blankly as she played shyly with her lower lip, a sure sign if any that her fretfulness was sincere. Her unsure smile and the playful joke at her expense finally broke the momentary vulnerability, leaving him a whirlwind of rising thoughts. She was not only asked out to prom, but she actually wanted to go with the guy who asked her. Had she finally found a guy who could replace him? A boy capable of friendly conversation and honest compliments? Another who saw how saw how precious her warm smile was? There was a quiet roar as the rain really began to fall in earnest, reaching them even through the protective canopy of leaves.

The anger rose quickly then, inexplicably swift and terribly cold.

He turned from her hopeful expression and eyes that could read him too deeply, the hand that had rested between their knees rising to hide his face under the pretext of massaging a temple. There was iciness in his veins, a crawling frost that burned like fire. There was a thundering in his head, a pounding that echoed the call of lightning in the distance. Perfect, white teeth ground harshly against each other. But what emerged from those bloodless lips were quiet words, too calm and too casual in their nonchalance. They were a thin layer of ice above dark and frigid waters.

“Who cares?” He shrugged, as if to emphasis his own indifference. He closed his eyes and willed the pressure behind them to fade, ignoring the rain drops that began to run down his face as long fingers continued to massage his temple. “Don’t be so stupid, Penelope. No boy would really be interested in you. You just look like you’d be an easy fuck.”

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2014, 11:56:20 pm »
Her words seemed to hang in the air for the long moments he remained silent. The soft rumble of thunder and following raindrops caused her to press closer to their beloved tree. Penny could nearly feel him ice over beside her. The droplets fell slowly at first, and then came down with more force, pushing her hanging words into the dirt with the help of Chris’s indifferent response. She had expected the shrug and the lack of interest in the subject.

“Well…” She started, but paused at the hand reaching to massage his temple; something familiar, especially with this weather. Her brows knit in concern as she hesitated to explain that she did care, his words cutting hers off. Stupid was barely an insult to her anymore but…

She almost didn’t hear him, because before the actual sound reached her ears, her eyes watched his lips form those hateful words, and Penny could feel her face burn at his rude comment. The girl froze, unable to process the blatant insult. Even the bullies had not been that brutal with their words back then. Her breath caught in her chest and she could feel the unwanted pressure of tears cumulating behind her eyes. Penny didn’t even hear herself respond,

“What?”

It had been a mere thought that forced itself out of her mouth in the form of a delicate hurt whisper. The girl looked down for a moment before he could see the wetness in her eyes, though he was also avoiding contact. She said nothing for what seemed like a very long time, and then she looked back up at him. Even her glare was somehow wide-eyed. The hurt bubbled into a concentrated irritation. She wasn’t going to ignore it like she usually did. He had taken this too far.

“How could you say something so awful?” When he wouldn’t face her, she tugged on his arm to try and turn him towards her again, “I’m your friend.” Her voice was firm this time, though it cracked in the end, the hurt was still there. His avoidance infuriated her even more.

“How could you?”

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2014, 05:40:36 pm »
There was a roaring in his ears and he couldn’t tell if it was the cacophonous rain or the rime in his blood. He didn’t hear her initial disbelief, the shock in that single word or the hurt in the natural question, because behind the bass that beat its rhythm on his skull there was a murmur that sounded too much like Father.

This is what comes of emotional attachments, boy. Look at you: once so proud and noble, reduced now to a petty, jealous child. How did you think this would end? Even with all of your ridiculous analogies about her being the sun, it never once occurred to you what is bound to happen to a boy made of ice when he stands too close for too long.

Her insistent hand was warm on his skin.

“Don’t touch me.” He snarled, yanking his arm from her grasp and stumbled upward to his feet, pressing a hand against the trunk as the other clutched his head. He towered above her seated form now, but this time he heard her question. A question so absurd that is made him laugh – but it was a cruel sound, twisted and halting, far removed for his normal quiet chuckle. For the first time, real anger cracked through the icy façade and icy blue opened to glare balefully downward.

“How could I?” He mocked, his lips twisted into a sneer. “You mean, how could I run out here in the middle of a building storm as quickly as I could because you sent me a text asking for my help? How could I miss a dinner appointment with Father despite what he’s sure to do to me later because I thought you were hurt? How could I possibly try to protect you from the real world, where a teenage boy asking a teenage girl to prom is not because he likes her, but because he wants another conquest to brag about to his buddies?”

Christopher laughed again, that same horrible, contemptuous sound. “Yes Penelope, how could I even waste my time with a stupid girl like you? You’re not worth the effort.”

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2014, 04:38:09 am »
The two of them had plenty of history, most of those moments she had become almost immune to Christopher’s insults. They didn’t bother her anymore, and if she fed them with her hurt, they would grow. And in time, they became milder, and eventually Chris softened around her at least. That was why his more tender moments were so special to her, though she never called attention to them. These snarls were different. They were cruel.

The Hawke boy wasn’t making any sense. Penny knew Chris didn’t mean any of the things he was saying, but to hear them so suddenly...she wasn’t sure how to receive it, so her emotions took over. Her hand drew back at the same time he pulled away from her and stood. She was so stunned that her facial expression was blank for just a moment. And she couldn’t say anything either. Her brows knit together finally, an expression of worry; she wondered if something had happened earlier with his father to put him on edge.
 
Penelope also experienced that deafening roar bulging between her ears; it was her world tumbling, crashing like an avalanche of glacial words. There was no reason to argue, she didn’t agree with anything he managed to spit out at her in his wrath. Even though his words hurt, deep down she knew Chris didn’t believe them either.

Did he?

When he was done, she withdrew her arm and held them defensively against her body. Her eyes left the ground, now sprinkled with droplet of rain, and met his, their wetness fully obvious to anyone. There was no way those tears could be mistaken for rain. She almost resembled the victim of his laughter, like bullets to the abdomen, the way she held herself, the pain behind her eyes. Her voice cracked when she finally managed to speak,

“You’re right, it’s really not a big deal. You can go. I shouldn’t have even messaged you. I don’t want to waste anymore of your time.”  She finally said.

How could someone get so upset over something so small? Perhaps she was too naïve. A similar request would not have bothered her in the slightest. Christopher was different however. He lived in a world of dinner appointments and cotillion lessons by strict schedule. The blonde, perfect boy was taught to save face for the important people, and then what was built up was unleashed on people like her, the lower class. She shook her head and pushed some of the tears from her eyes.

“Just forget about it.”

A pained smile followed as the last of the salted moisture dripped from her chin and joined the other wet spots in the dirt between the roots. “Do you want a ride home? It’s the least I can do since I made you come out here for no reason.”

”I don’t know why you’re so mad.”

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2014, 07:57:11 pm »
It was too much. She was too much.

Why didn’t she lash back at him? Where was her sound and her fury, a fire that he could rally against so the ice around his heart would stop cracking at the sight of her?  Why did she simply sit there and tremble, dark eyes wide and wet, looking at him as if he had struck her a physical blow? How could she smile at him like that and offer a ride home, her tone all pain and empathy, as if she was still trying to understand him?

Self-loathing rose like bile in his throat at the sight of her tears and he wanted to scream at her, demand that she stop affecting him in this way.

“Stop it.” It came out not as a shout but a hissed whisper between clenched teeth, his eyes closed again when he could bear the sight of her smile no longer. “Stop being so kind. Stop trying to understand someone who hurts you. Are you an idiot? Can’t you comprehend how vulnerable you are?”

He pushed away from the tree and staggered out into the rain. He couldn’t tell anymore if the flashes of white across his eyes was lightning or the pounding pain in his head. He was immediately soaked, golden hair clinging to his pale skin, but the chill of the rain was nothing compared to the one that rested in his bones. He just wanted to be away from here, away from this place and a girl who made a decade of control falter with the ease of a simple look.

“You are the fabled lamb trying to understand the wolf, so open and honest in your attempts. But there is never a happy ending for those fairy tales.” The anger had bled from his voice and left him oddly toneless; it was not his usual indifference or nonchalance, but a quiet hollowness that resonated with the rain. He moved into the trees, always without a single look back. “The heartless wolf will always devour the lamb in the end.”
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 07:58:17 pm by Pride »

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2014, 05:51:30 am »
Why did he always come at her with his guns hot?

No, they weren’t guns. They were small darts with needle points and the intent to paralyze. Christopher Hawke didn’t do things hot. He did them with the ice that ran in his blood. Just like his father.

She didn’t understand.

He was annoyed with her for asking his help at such a bad time, yet when she apologized, his cold laughs became hissed whispers. She could see his jaw tighten as his teeth clenched. Penny couldn’t process any answers to his belittling questions, her world was too busy crumbling. Did this mean he didn’t want to be her friend anymore? What had she done?

Chris started to leave, unable to look at the stricken hurt on Penny’s face any longer. She ignored the rain, and his literary metaphors of lambs and wolves. He was going to catch a cold, and a fevered Chris couldn’t be anymore pleasant than a chilled one. She got to her feet immediately and ran after him.

“Wait! You’re going to get sick!”

She had to let him go. Running after him would make things worse. It was nearly torture watching him walk away. The sweet girl knew he wouldn’t go home to face his father. Penny sighed and shook her head and walked in the opposite direction towards her car. She pulled her jean jacket over her head and ran.

When she got to her truck, she grabbed the door handle, tears spilling from her eyes. The slipperiness of her wet skin became a lubricant between the car door and her hand. She pulled it, lost her grip, and then leaned against the door with a soft, heartbroken sob. Penny climbed into the front seat and propped her arms and head against the steering wheel, hiding her face within the damp sleeves of her jacket.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2014, 09:51:37 pm »
Christopher Hawke did not remember the last time he had visited his mother’s grave.

When the contours of his massive home loomed from the darkness of the woods, many windows still bright with light even through the downpour, he had simply turned away. He walked the edge of the trees, hugging the darkness until it merged with the beginning of the tiny flower garden that was built and maintained in this far corner of the Hawke property. It was a place rarely visited and only by those who tended it once a week; the chances of anyone finding him there during a storm in the growing evening was slim to none. Slim for the servants; none for Father.

His feet found the small pebbled trail with practiced ease, paying no mind to the number of beautifully colorful floras that stood tall even under the pounding of heavy rain. Icy blue were focused only on the simple black and gold plaque that rested at the heart of the little garden, and though the epitaph was blurry and indistinguishable in the storm, Christopher knew the words on it as if she was whispering them in his ear.

Fairytales don’t tell us that dragons exist; we already know that dragons exist. Fairytales tell us that dragons can be beaten.

Chris stood there among the downpour, pale hands hanging lifeless by his sides and staring blankly downward from his wet bangs. The pounding in his head was in full force, but he felt almost detached from his body, as if the pain was happening to someone else and he was merely observing. Instead his mind was a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions, a cacophony that surpassed even the storm that surrounded him, though habitual practice kept his expression empty. Dominating the storm of thoughts were lightning strikes of past memories with Penny, brief and fleeting with a focus on her smile or her curiously dark eyes, punctuated with the rumbling thunder of their conversations.



“You want me to study with you at your house?” His voice was etched with surprise, though her absent nod as she searched for her car keys told him she thought nothing of it. “But-“

“You promised we’d study for history together, remember?” She finally found her keys, lifting them up triumphantly. “The park is still wet from the rain this morning, so we can’t go to the tree. I know you’re not too fond of your place. So that just leaves my house. Besides, my dad’s been wanting to meet you for a while now.“

“…Your father has? Isn’t he an army sergeant?”

She smiled at him and pulled him after her toward the parking lot. “Yep! I’m sure you guys will get along great!”-



“What?” He asked, genuinely confused by her expression. He wondered faintly if she knew how cute she looked when she creased her brow at him, obviously not pleased. “Mr. Bryant was the one in the wrong there, not me.”

She gave him a look, though her lips did twitch in something like amusement. “That’s not the point, Chris. Don’t you think there might have been a better way of handling that than asking our science teacher if he ever wondered what life would be like if he’d had enough oxygen at birth?“

He watched her struggle against a smile and found that he couldn’t help but to grin a little back-



“Hold still.”

He blinked and tensed when she stopped him to adjust his school tie, oblivious to the looks of others in the hallway who stared and whispered. She didn’t ask why his normally impeccable attire was so askew or why it looked like he was favoring his left hand to do things instead of his dominant right, though he could tell from the tiny frown on her lips that she had noticed. The tension eased out of him at that, thankful for her in more ways that one; he didn’t want to fight with her today. She just didn’t understand that dealing with Father sometimes meant dealing with his disapproval as well.

“There.” She patted it, her hand lingering a moment before she looked up to meet his gaze. Even after years of seeing her nearly every day, he was still could not stop himself from being drawn helplessly into those eyes. Her words were a playful, but her eyes were serious. “You see? You can rely on me to help you when you need it.”



It would be a long time before Christopher Hawke realized he was falling for his best friend.

It was a sudden thing, the understanding as bright and shocking as a bolt of lightning, and it rooted him in place. Blue blinked dumbly down at his muddy shoes, the fragmented pieces of all those memories coalescing into a single grand picture before him. He wondered at it, eyes wide and lips parted just enough to lose a shaky breath. He could almost feel his mother’s gentle laughter at him, teasing him for taking so long to piece together such a simple puzzle, but proud that he had managed to figure it out.

It was then a cold, whistling wind came from the direction of the house, heavy and hard with the rain, chilling the pleasant glow of his realization. As always, the voice of reason sounded so much like Father. So what? You have a crush on the girl. But do you deserve her?

As simple as that, the flame that had warmed his chest at the realization flickered and died. A different sort of memory began to barrage him. Innumerable recollections of his harsh insults, his cold anger, his self-righteous indignation at her concern for his affairs. The way he would snap at her for the smallest of things, mock her for her genuine kindness, and hurt her feelings because he pretended that such ‘pointless’ things like emotions were beneath him.

“Don’t be so stupid, Penelope. No boy would really be interested in you. You just look like you’d be an easy fuck.”

He grit his teeth at that, hating himself more than he ever could have imagined possible. If anyone else had said that to her, he would have crushed them without hesitation and ensured they would never speak to her again. It was the sort of thing his Father would say and a sickened part of him knew that he would have been proud to hear it. Lightning flashed and the gold etching of his mother’s tombstone mocked him, concrete evidence of what happened to a woman who lived her life involved with a man like his father. With a man like Chris.

By the time he realized he was half way to Penny’s house, the rain was beginning to stop and he had already resolved himself to what needed to be done.

He would beg Penelope to forgive him everything he had said. Not in small gifts and wordless apologies, but in person and with honest words, in the way she deserved to hear them. But he would not reveal his own feelings to her. He would hide those away, carefully repressed, so that she might never know. He would fight against the jealousy that burned in his stomach, roaring against the idea of his Penelope going to prom with some worthless fool, and give her the help she had come seeking from him. He would stifle his feelings for her until either they disappeared completely or his best friend had found someone who could give her the happiness that he knew he never could.

Because the honest truth was that Christopher Hawke would never be hero he had always hoped, those amazing men who always managed to do the right thing at the right time. But he wouldn’t be the villain of this story either. He wouldn’t take away her chance at happiness because of his own selfish desires. He would be the dragon that guarded the tower, doing everything in his power to ensure Penelope would be safe from the world. A monster to protect the princess until she found her hero to slay him and reach that happy-ever-after. The idea brought him an inexplicable level of dark amusement.

His laughter was quiet in the dark woods and fading rain as he made his way slowly through the park toward his best friend's house, a sound like cracking ice and the bitter cold.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2014, 07:15:34 am »
The moisture dripping from her wet clothing gave away her presence in the foyer of the Heatherington household, signaling a series of siren-like barks from Ranger somewhere in the living room. Penny’s nose scrunched, she had hoped to avoid chitchat. Luckily, she’d managed to stop her silly tears in the driveway before entering. The girl sauntered into the kitchen to see her mother digging through the fridge. Her father stood over the stove, humming boisterously as he sautéed something in a pan.

“There you are!” Kathleen Heatherington found what she’d been looking for, zucchini for whatever went with tonight’s dinner. “Dad’s almost done with dinner. Wow, you’re soaked.” She looked Penny over, noting her hunched shoulders, “Something wrong, sweetie?” Her brow was knitted with worry, the lines around her matching dark blue eyes set. Penny was her spitting image.

The girl gave a smile, “Just starving is all! And I’m cold. I’ll be down to eat after a shower.” Her father turned around to scoop his proud dish into a serving bowl. His daughter’s smile surfaced one of his own. He was a tall breed of man, his sandy hair graying, though it was tough to see with the buzzed style he wore. His trimmed beard matched, shaved perfectly from years of strict practice. “Hey dad, hey Bethany.”

Penny’s little sister was lying on the floor of the living room watching TV with Ranger as her pillow. Green eyes, just like their dad’s lifted for a brief second from the cartoons on the screen. It was obvious the two sisters were related. Penny took after mom with dark hair and eyes, while Bethany’s golden hair took on more of the same color as her dad’s. “Come watch TV with me!” She called out. Penny thought about it for a moment, but she wanted to get out of her wet clothes.

“I’ll be down later!”


She ate dinner in her room that night since little Beth had insisted on having hers on the living room floor. Her favorite movie was on, and she didn’t want to miss a second. Ranger had been looming over her shoulder when Penny had left them.

She scooped a bite of stir-fry into her mouth after blowing on it. Penny had braided her hair to the side, the thick brown locks still wet from her shower earlier. It rested on her right shoulder and created a circle of dampness on the soft material of her t-shirt. The periwinkle material swallowed her and just barely hid the loose, gray sleep shorts she wore. The girl sat cross-legged on her bed, plate in hand and homework in front of her.

The walls of her room were bright yellow, though it was hardly seen behind hundreds of framed and unframed artwork. Sketches and paintings hung over her bed instead of photographs. Most of them were still life; there was an occasional portrait or two of the people she loved, very few self-portraits. There was one of her mom and dad sitting at the piano together, Bethany lying on Ranger as a pillow. There were some sketches of Ranger by himself, sleeping or just sitting there. Near her window was a picture of Chris reading during class, textbook cleverly shielding his world of fairy tales. The point of view was from the left and behind him, so that it was clear there were two books layered over each other. Beneath the sketch was an easel and stool along with a propped canvas that held a partially painted version of the same sketch.

He was one of her favorite people to draw, mostly because he was always so still, all of his movement was in the pale blue eyes that flicked across the page. There was a piece of plastic covered in colors so that there was hardly any space clear, a special area reserved for that particular shade of blue.

The rain was relaxing. The girl placed her dish on her nightstand and reached for her cup of lemonade as she looked out the window at the beads of water against the glass. It was still coming down. She was worried about him. Penny knew he wouldn’t go home right away after that. His dad would be angry…or worse, his dad wouldn’t even acknowledge him. She sighed and slurped an ice cube into her mouth, then placed her cup back down.

A crack of thunder echoed outside, just as she bit into an ice cube from her cup.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2014, 09:46:42 pm »
The glowing numbers on his phone told him it was just a little past two in the morning.

Christopher looked up through the lessened rain, now more a drizzle than the downpour that had been beating so fiercely against body and mind, to the window he knew to be Penny’s. Though most of the house was dark and still, he could see the soft illumination of a dim light in his best friend’s room. Some part of him was exasperated that the odd girl was still awake, likely drawing despite the promise of a morning full of wide yawns and sleepy blue blinking. A larger part of him was warring relief against anxiety, both glad and nervous that he wouldn’t have to put off his apology until morning.

The Hawke boy considered the best way to bring her attention to the window. He couldn’t very well shout for her, unless he wanted to wake her family (wake her father, his thoughts stressed most pressingly) in the process. Nor did he see any obvious way of climbing to her window, like the conveniently deteriorating kitchen chimney at the manor. Icy blue glanced briefly at the wet grass at his feet, searching without any real hope for some small pebbles to bounce off her window. Frankly though, he was never quite sure of how one was supposed to know the correct amount of force to use in such a situation. If he did it too softly, she wouldn’t hear it over the rain. Too hard, it might crack the glass or worse, wake the household. Honestly, things would be much simpler if he just had a way of asking her to come to the window-

He paused.

“Idiot.” He chided himself quietly, turning back to his phone. Cold fingers tapped out his message and the fair-haired teen wondered how different Romeo and Juliet might have played out if they had been able to text.

He hesitated at the send button, anxiety and regret rising again to eclipse the mundane thoughts that had been distracting him. What if she didn’t respond? What if she didn’t want to talk to him? What if she hated him? The boy closed his eyes at the thought, grip on the phone tightening. He wouldn’t blame her. Genuinely, he would have been more surprised by the fact that she had put up with him as long as she had, even if this was the worst he’d probably ever been to her. If that was the case, then he would have to reformulate his plans.

But for now, he had to try. She deserved an apology, even if he didn’t deserve her forgiveness. The quiet chime of his text going out echoed among the staccato of the rain.

Please open your window.

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Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2014, 09:47:55 am »
For the remainder of the night, Penelope was lost in a wind and rain combination of the gentle staccato from notes played on a piano along with the swirling gusts of waxed graphite on paper. Chris had recommended many pieces throughout the years they’d been friends. Penny enjoyed the downloaded music playing through her earphones, but even more she enjoyed sharing a rare love and treasure Christopher had for once revealed to her without reluctance. What added to the inspiring art was that its beauty was something he saw even though it was a hobby forced upon him. Over time, she had developed the habit of needing the melodies to concentrate on her strokes.

Her sketchpad revealed a hurried drawing of a lion, mane robust and unruly, perched on a small kitchen chair. Beside, the unfinished figure of a well-dressed gentleman took shape. In his gloved hand he held a long, skinny whip, wound tight around the other hand and no slack between each. The lion was sketched to obey its master, but the eyes of the beast were wild, as if it would leap right from the page and tear master if pushed too far, or whipped too hard.

Penny’s drawings did not always center on a theme or inspiration. Sometimes she held a picture in her mind, and it wouldn’t be until later, when it was illustrated that she realized where the thought had come from to draw the picture. This was one of those times, although it was taking her longer to find its meaning.

She’d fallen asleep draped over the large pillow propping her sketchpad. What woke her deep in the night was the gentle buzz and chime of her cell phone. Its glow was blurry as her vision came to. Penny blinked and picked it up to see Chris’s name on the screen. She closed her eyes before opening, even though she knew not what the message said. Never did she expect anything more than a short command or response to get the job done from Chris. This was no different.

“Please open your window.”

Her eyes instantaneously darted to her bedroom window, to the right of her bed. Her mind wondered why to the question, but her body just did as it was told. The brunette lazily sauntered to the glass pane, peering down through the rain droplets to see a warped version of Chris below. He was soaked.

She lifted the clamp and pushed the windows open, the sound of the downpour echoed loudly into her room. Penny leaned out, grateful for the brick awning above. “Why are you--? It’s pouring..” She didn’t need to shout, nor whisper. Her normal speaking voice would be loud enough despite the rain. Penny was not that far from the ground. He seemed longer in the rain, if at all possible.

Did he own an umbrella? Or the sense to take shelter? Perhaps it was pointless now.

Her shoulders fell somewhat then, and even though she was upset with him, she didn’t want him to stand there and gamble his health with Mother Nature. Penny motioned to the shaded front porch of their home, “I’m coming. Wait under there.” She closed the window and latched it in place before she grabbed a sweatshirt with the large gold letters “West Point” faded across the thick black cloth. Her dad’s. Penny slipped the oversized sleeves over her forearms, but did not pull the rest of the garment over her body.

Her bare feet hardly made a sound as she tiptoed down the wooden stairs and ended up in the foyer. The Heatherington household echoed like underground caverns, but Penny had mastered the steps long ago when she and Bethany used to sneak down and steal popsicles from the refrigerator during weekend nights. They had also mastered opening the pantry and fridge doors without Ranger overhearing and mistaking it for an intruder.

Carefully, the girl twisted the lever of the handle and waited for the gentle click before she opened the front door to see her best friend. The wetness weighed him down, and she could see the strands of blond hair that stuck to his forehead, curling around blue eyes. Penny stepped back to let him in, pressing her index finger to her lips. When he was on the inside welcome mat, she gently closed the door behind him and motioned for him to follow her upstairs.

It was a little bit easier to make noise up there, and the first place she went was to her bathroom to grab a towel for him to dry himself off. She closed her laptop while he stood in the doorway of the bedroom and private bath, her bedroom door shut all the way. She didn’t know what to say to him now; all she knew was that she hoped he wasn’t still angry. Tears pricked behind her eyes as she remembered the words he'd said earlier.

“What are you doing here so late?” She tucked a stray dark strand behind her ear; shorter, loose pieces had fallen out of her barely damp braid, cradling her tired face wispily. Penny sat down on the edge of her bed, pulling her knees to her chest. She rested her chin atop them, marine eyes peering at the boy. His silhouette was black against the bathroom light except his towel-dried locks. It shone through his blond, tousled halo of hair. No, not halo. Mane.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 10:12:37 am by Pach_Work »