News: 
Paragraphite

Evanescent. [closed] Read 6978 times

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2014, 10:59:46 pm »
Chris had almost forgotten what it felt like to be dry.

The towel helped with the worst of the wetness, though his school uniform was still a bit damp and he was shivering a little from the cold. Part of him was amused by that; the ice man trembling from a bit of weather? It seems even he wasn’t immune. At least his hair was dry now and he could actually look around without having to deal with a personal, mini rainfall from his pale locks. He moved back to the doorway between the bathroom and the bedroom, looking anywhere but at Penelope as he subconsciously began to fold the used towel into a neat stack.

The Heatherington girl’s personality shone from every aspect of the living space, from the warmth of her yellow walls to the creative creations that decorated them. Her thoughts and emotions were scattered across innumerable pages, detailed sketches of the things that occupied her mind and captivated her attention. In contrast, his room was as empty as it was expensive, the large room filled with elegant and refined furniture but completely unadorned by any decoration. The only things of any personal nature were the baby grand piano by the window and a secret, loose floorboard with his mother’s favorite books. If her room reflected her unique personality, then Chris’ expressed just how hollow his own was.

His eyes flickered to the sketchpad on the bed, unsurprised to see the signs of her recently working on it. His gaze lingered on the eyes of the golden beast, then on the taunt whip in the unfinished gentry’s hand, before moving to find the easel and half-finished painting by the window. He blinked at it, suddenly very still.

Father?

The confusion faded almost immediately, logic dictating the impossibility of it. No, of course it wasn’t. He was clearly sitting at a school desk and dressed in their school uniform; it was Chris in the picture, not his father. Aside from that, Penelope had never met his father and she never would if Chris could help it. But between his best friend’s great talent for realistic portrayals and his own genetics, it was an easy mistake to make. It seemed he was becoming more like the man with every passing day, in more ways than one.

Her question shook him out of his contemplation, turning to find his best friend watching him carefully from her perch on the edge of the bed, her chin resting on her knees. When she had first insisted that he come into the house, he had almost refused; how could he possibly accept her kindness, unconditional despite how he had treated her only hours ago? How could he let her lead him to her room, the place where they had shared more than one smile and laugh, when he had intentionally brought her to tears and belittled her with lies? He had worried that she wouldn’t even acknowledge him, let alone speak to him, and yet she had managed to take him off-guard completely with her unexpected concern for a man she had every right to hate.

She truly was a wonderfully odd girl.

Christopher opened his mouth. Then closed it. Annoyance at his own hesitation flickered across his face in brief, tiny motions: a twitch of impassive lips, narrowed eyes, and a set jaw. He shifted his weight uneasily, wondering how in the world something as simple as apologizing could be so difficult. Surely millions of people all around the world apologized every single day, all without the difficulty of even formulating the words. If they could do it, then he could as well.

“Penelope, I…“ He paused again, frowning at himself. Two words in and he’d already messed up. He shook his head and then quietly corrected his mistake. “Penny.”

There were many things he wanted to say. He had prepared no less than four speeches on his way to her home, each explaining how much he regretted what he had said to her and begging her forgiveness. He wanted to tell her that the words he had so cruelly taunted her with were lies created by a terrible and jealous fool, so far from the truth that it was too absurd to call them anything but delusional.

He wanted to explain how precious she was to him, his gentle sun in a world that had always been so cold. He wanted to prove how much her friendship meant to him, how her smile made him want to be a better person than he was. He wanted to say how he would do everything in his power to ensure that she would always have a reason to give that smile. He wanted to promise never to make her cry again.

Perhaps above all else, he wanted to tell her how beautiful she was, her dark hair braided to the side and wearing her father’s sweater, her eyes as deep and lovely as the day they had first met.

But standing there, watching her look at him with tired eyes rimmed red with past tears and with her legs pulled up protectively to her chest, those speeches flit from his mind like a frightened bird. He was once again reminded of just how terrible of a person he was, rotten to his very core, to make someone as wonderful and kind as Penelope afraid of him. So in the end, all he wanted to say would never be enough. A genuine apology, the first in his life, would have to suffice.

“I’m sorry.”

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2014, 06:16:39 am »
There was a gentle, low rumble of thunder, like Ranger’s grumpy growl. Penny’s eyes watched the towel Chris so characteristically folded while he fumbled for what to say. An apology was so out of character that she didn’t even know what to wait for. She couldn’t expect the worst. Hadn’t that already happened? Could there possibly be something he had forgotten to say back under the shady branches of their tree? She watched as he looked everywhere in the room but her. Penny’s eyebrows knit with an irritated worry.

”Look at me.”

She thought eagerly. How was it that he could look her dead in the eyes when sharp, fighting words came out, but anything else was a casual glance? Sometimes she wasn’t even worthy of eye contact. Penny bit her bottom lip. She could feel the returning sadness welling up inside again. The girl swallowed it down though, listening to what her friend had to say.

Her name came out of his mouth, first her whole name, then Penny, just like everyone close to her called her. She pressed her mouth against the cold skin of her legs, the subtle smile hidden behind her knees. Chris stumbled, but he was calling her Penny and that had to be a good sign. She could see the conflict behind his eyes as he paused again. He was going to apologize, and that was tough for him. Penny had never received a real verbal apology from Chris. They had always come in the form of small gifts or it was just implied. The brunette could see the struggle behind those lips that had earlier been curled into a vicious smile. She wasn’t going to finish the sentence for him even though she knew he was sorry. Even though she hated to watch him struggle. It was written all over his face. Chris could apologize without her help. He needed to.
 
When he did it was short and to the point, but an apology with meaning, nonetheless. She revealed the small smile when he would finally look at her. It was nothing to some people, but Penny could feel relief wash through her. She nodded in the silence between them.

“I know you didn’t mean it; it’s ok.”

There was no reason for her to stay angry. Penny knew better than to think he meant those hateful words. But she still didn’t understand what the cause of that sudden bitter snap had been. Perhaps just stress of school, his father and the rain was heavier than usual today.

She moved so that her legs were no longer guarding her and sat so that they hung off the edge of her bed. As she looked at him, she could see the weariness in his eyes now, he was probably freezing. She didn’t have anything for him to wear. Penny frowned and looked over his soaked school uniform. She didn’t care if he got everything wet. She scooted to the side and patted a spot beside her for him. When he sat down her eyes studied him for a few seconds, ”Did something happen?”

If he was hurting, she wanted to help. “You wouldn’t have said those things if there wasn’t something…bothering you.” She swallowed nervously like she always did when she asked him personal questions. He didn’t open up as easily as she did.

“It’s ok Chris. We’re friends.”   

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2014, 10:55:44 pm »
Christopher hadn’t realized how heavy the weight of his fear was until she relieved him of it with a simple smile.

The wave of relief her words brought washed away the tumultuous thoughts that had been tormenting him for the last few hours, leaving only a quiet, exhausted calm in its wake. It was a welcome reprieve from the storm, but he hadn’t realized quite how tired or cold he really was until that moment. The Hawke boy had spent a great deal of time in the rain, either standing stiller than a statue or beating a rapid pace through the forest, with little regard to his health. With the knowledge that Penny still wanted to be his friend now safely putting his worst fears to rest, he could really appreciate just how drained he was, mentally and physically.

He acquiesced to her insistent patting of the bed, though he did spread the meticulously folded towel over his spot in his best attempt to keep it dry. A less tired Chris would have likely realized the futility of sitting on a damp towel to keep the bed from getting wet, but as it were, he was mostly focused on the way she was watching him.

He glanced at her without really turned his head toward her. Though his expression wasn’t the carefully constructed mask of indifference, it also wasn’t particularly expressive. Her question made him arch a brow. “Aside from the whole ‘Chris being an even bigger jerk than usual’ thing, you mean?”

His dry humor was perhaps the only thing to have come out of the storm untouched. He smiled a little to reassure her.

“You know the rain has a negative effect on me.” He waved his hand in a small, dismissive manner. “People who call rain ‘rhythmic’ have no ideas what rhythm is. It’s cacophonous white noise, not a soothing melody.”

He was evading the nature of her question and he could tell she knew it. He never reacted this badly to just the rain. He would need to give her more. Not the truth, of course. She couldn’t know it had been jealousy and irrational fear of her leaving him behind that had pushed him. But not a lie either; she was growing too adept at reading him for that. A half-truth, then.

“Father intended to inform me where I would be attending college over dinner this evening. It has been a matter of...discussion that has been concerning me for quite some time now. Tonight's meeting at my insistence, because I wished to have some final say in the matter, so he will not be happy at what will have been a waste of his time.”

He gave her a pointed look. “That is not your fault, so don’t even start. I could have very well made it back in time. But between the rain and my concern that you would be going to prom with some bas…” Christopher hesitated, then corrected the almost slip. “…guy who might take advantage of you, I lost what little patience I had left. But that is no excuse for the cruel and unjustified things I said. I was wrong and I am sorry.”

He looked away from her again, down instead at his hands as he slowly clenched them together. “You are my best friend, Penny. You mean more to me than you’ll ever know.”

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2014, 07:44:39 am »
The room felt big around her. Penny blinked as a flash of lightning flickered outside. Dark eyes held her friend’s as he explained his troubles to the extent he was willing. It was to be expected that the rain dampened his mood. He didn’t find it soothing like Penny did. She didn’t flinch at the “People who” quote, though. Just because they were best friends didn’t mean they had disagreements on certain subjects.

Her prom date was one of those subjects. Penny resisted the urge to argue with her friend. He didn’t even know who had asked her yet. She never got the chance to tell him. The action reminded her of her own father, which softened her at the same time. Over-protectiveness came from a deep concern. She understood that. She was grateful for it.

Another “I’m sorry,” was comforting, although unneeded. Penny was happy with just one. She took his hand and squeezed it gently. “Same goes both ways you know. We look out for each other.” Her smile was warm as she leaned her chin forward to prop against his shoulder briefly. Her hand released his so that it could join her other in wrapping around his wet shoulders.

Droplets of leftover rain fell from his hair and made little dots of moisture on her sweatshirt.

Deep marine eyes fell on a small canvas propped in her bookshelf behind him; it was decorated with painted mermaids in pastel colors; right next to her Little Mermaid music box. Something about the childhood items brought back fond memories of fairy tales, the tree. Penny let out a sigh of contentment. This type of affection was surely uncomfortable for Chris. He stiffened even when she seldom had to adjust his tie for school. But tonight she wasn’t worried about that. The kid needed a hug every now and then. He needed to know someone cared for him.

Just let it happen. Don’t ruin it.

Her smile broadened at the thought of Chris being overwhelmed by the hug. She could only imagine the sensory overload that was happening within him. Penny finally let go after a last squeeze, noticing that his wet clothes had bled through the towel and her bedspread, creating a large patch of water. The sight amused her even more. The relief from tonight’s events allowed her the freedom of musical giggles that couldn’t be held in. She pointed to the spot and reached to brush away a tear with the heel of her palm.

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2014, 04:58:42 pm »
She was warm.

Her hug was unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome. He would like to think that he did well only to stiffen for the first few seconds before he gradually relaxed into it; the heir apparent was not accustomed to people touching him, let alone hugging him. Her head on his shoulder was a comforting weight, more thankful than he could ever express that even after all that had happened, she was still comfortable enough with him to do such a thing. Part of him marveled that he was comfortable enough with her to actually allow it to happen.

How long had it been since he had been hugged? Ten years? Twelve?

Oddly, the cold he had been shivering with was gone. He was still wet and making the bed wetter with every passing moment, but the chills had faded under her gentle warmth. Logically, he knew that to be absurd: a girl of her size couldn’t possible produce enough body heat to warm him thoroughly enough in such a short time span. But then again, she had always had a unique effect on him, able to chase away the chill no matter if it came from a storm or from his own heart.

Quite abruptly, he wondered if he should be hugging her back. He should, right? To show her that he cared too? The thought made him stiffen a little again, anxiety rising. Did he know how to hug people? It wasn’t that difficult, surely. You just put your arms around someone and apply pressure. But what if he applied too much and hurt her? Or what if he did too little and she thought he was just humoring her? How did one know the exact amount of force to put into a hug to make it comforting? Normally he would ask Penny such things, but he couldn’t very well do that now. Maybe he could-

And just like that, the hug was over. He wasn’t sure if he was more relieved that the problem of returning the hug was no longer an issue or disappointed that her warmth was gone, allowing the chill to slowly creep back into him. But she was smiling at him in such a way that he couldn’t help but to smile back, brow creased in uncertainty as he wasn’t quite sure why she was looking so amused.

It was then that he noticed that his feeble attempts at protecting her bed had ended in a spectacular failure; he half way stood, horrified and apologetic, before her laughter gave him pause. The smile evolved into a low chuckle, amused more by her merriment than anything else, but her contagious giggles finally made him give away into low chuckles he failed to mask under the guise of coughing. It was only a matter of time before he was laughing with her, helplessly and without any logical reason for it. The remaining tension and anxiety that had lingered since their conversation finally faded, leaving only a quiet adoration for the pretty girl with a musical laugh.

But perhaps if he kept at least a sliver of that logical anxiety, he might have remembered they were not the only people in the quiet, sleeping house.

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2014, 05:58:22 am »
Penny could not help but to laugh harder as Chris tried to disguise his own chuckles with coughs. She held her stomach as he somewhat stood there with her, smile shy on his face. She nearly was crying with laughter now, trying her hardest to keep quiet, but that was almost painful. The girl fell onto her back, abdomen sore with joy. Tears hung in the small creases beneath her eyes, caused by the tightness in her smiling cheeks until they spilled over and rolled down her face. She rose again, pressing her palm flat against their pink plumpness.

She had not noticed the door gently open behind Chris.

Her face changed almost instantly when she saw her tired father in the shadow of her doorway. Penny stopped laughing, her hand dropping, although the color remained in her face. She knew what this looked like.

“What in the world are you doing up?” His eyes went immediately to Chris in the room, and his face now flushed a dark magenta. “Penelope Heatherington.” An internal shudder slipped through Penny at the sound of her whole name. Her father was the only one who could make “Penelope” sound sinister.

“Dad! Uhh…” She wasn’t sure what to say to make him understand that this was not what it looked like, “Sorry we woke you. Chris was just..” Penny struggled to figure out an excuse so she wouldn’t have to tell her dad that Chris had hurt her feelings. That would make him angrier. “He had a fight with his dad.” She finally said, her mouth forming a frown now. Penny glanced to her friend, his wet clothes made him seem awkward in the room.

“So he came to your bedroom?” Her dad was now standing with his arms crossed, clad in a dark brown robe. It looked soft. Penny blushed furiously at the statement,

“No it’s not like that. I let him in, it’s pouring outside. We only came up here to talk so we wouldn’t wake you.” The girl bit her bottom lip. She was rarely in trouble at home, not like this, “I’m sorry. I couldn’t let him stand in the rain.”

Sergeant Heatherington and his daughter weren’t the most similar of species. He had a tough exterior and little toleration for disrespect. Penny was kind and forgiving, she hardly even resembled the man with his celtic green eyes and sandy hair.

The crease in his brow was something they shared however, when in a cross mood.

“Christopher…it’s nearly four in the morning…I…” He was about to tell Chris that he’d drive him home, but when he saw the look on Penny’s face, he caved, “I have some dry clothing you can borrow. Penny…” He glanced back to his young daughter, sighing as the crease disappeared from his brow, “Go set up the guest room.”

She was smiling now, and hopped up from her bed, “Thanks Dad! I’ll clean up and everything, I swear.” The girl looked to Chris and nodded as she reached for her father’s robe, which he was now handing to her. Beneath he was clad in a white t-shirt and boxer shorts. Penny handed Chris the robe. “Here wear this. I’ll get the clothes for you. Guest room is across the hall.”

She followed Sergeant Heatherington down the stairs after pointing to the room across the stairwell. “Let me know if you need anything else. There should be a spare toothbrush in the cabinet.”

When she came back up a few minutes later she had a fresh t-shirt for him and gym shorts. Penny knocked gently on the door before entering and set the clothes down on the bed. “Sorry if he worried you. He can be a big softy if you know where to hit him though.” She chuckled. Her cheeks and tummy still hurt from laughter, the good kind of hurt. Penny smiled at him,

“Thanks for coming over. I’m glad you trust me enough to feel safe here.”

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2014, 05:48:09 pm »
He knew without turning precisely why her face had fallen.

Christopher had met her father before, albeit briefly, and was under the impression the man did not think too fondly of him. He wasn’t rude or particularly unfriendly, but the Hawke boy could feel his eyes watching him whenever he came over, suspicious and ready to act at a moment’s notice. Penelope had assured him that he was just a little overprotective, but Christopher got the feeling that it would only take one misstep to find out how protective he really was.

And now Chris was caught in his daughter’s bedroom in the middle of the night.

He stood mute for a majority of their conversation, back straight and hands held together politely in front, a habit picked up from a lifetime of knowing never to speak unless Father addressed him directly first. The tension was back in his shoulders and with it the carefully blank mask, leaving him looking more akin to a statue than an actual teenage boy.

Her lie was an attempt to let Chris save face, he knew. The situation looked bad enough without her dad knowing that the young man had made her cry. She glanced at him, frowning and looking apologetic, but he nodded along with it to confirm the story. He watched her dad turn that severe gaze back at him, the hard line of his mouth eyeing the blonde boy’s dripping clothes and then the noticeably damp spot on the bed.

Chris wondered who was angrier: her father or the Hawke boy’s inner logic, demanding how he could have possibly have been so stupid to allow this situation to even happen.

He flushed with her at the heavy implication in her father’s questioning, looking remarkably intimidating for a man in a bathrobe. Icy blue flicked between the two, his best friend’s nervous apology and the army sergeant's frown of disapproval. He noted with a distant sort of interest that though they did not look very similar in any traditional manner, the father and daughter shared the same disapproving look with their brow creased and downturn of the lips.

Christopher knew it was rare for Penny to get in any sort of trouble, let alone something like this; her father had to know that too. The blonde boy frowned a little at the obvious distress and almost spoke up, lips parting to take the blame from her. Her father would likely be furious at him, but it was better for that anger to be directed at him instead of Penny.

The words paused on the tip of his tongue, surprised by the sudden offer for the guest bedroom. What emerged instead was a quiet thanks, icy blue meeting sharp green respectfully. “Thank you, sir.”

He took a sidelong glance at Penny, who flashed a smile at him as she bounded from the bed to take her father’s robe. The blonde boy took it with a bit of hesitance, not sure what to make of the situation. Had her dad really just allowed him to stay the night? His mind wondered at such leniency, unable to comprehend his own father ever doing anything even remotely the same. If their positions had been reversed, he would have surely sent Penelope on her way without a second thought, likely without even the offer of a ride home.

He followed Penny’s direction to the guest bedroom, changing from his wet clothes mechanically as his thoughts lingered on the impossibility of the situation. By the time Penny returned, Christopher was dressed in the robe that was a bit too big on him, his wet clothes were hanging to dry, and he had the sheets turned down in the neat, precise manner that he always did when preparing for sleep. He took the change of clothes from her with the same hesitance from before, unsure of how to respond to their generosity.

“He is a good man.” Christopher murmured quietly in reply to her explanation. “You should be proud.”

There was a lull then. He looked up from the change of clothes she had given him and studied her smile, the words trust and safety examined under his mind’s eye. Yes, he agreed silently to himself, that must be the difference between her family and his. Trust in each other. Knowing that they are safe together. And she was extending that to him, showing her in the casual kindness of a smile that he is welcome to it as well. His grip tightened on the clothes. His mask almost cracked.

He really did love this girl.

“You are an odd girl, Penelope Heatherington.” He turned from her and toward the bed, stacking the clothes in a neat pile on the bedside table. “Go to sleep. We’ll talk more tomorrow.”

She was almost out and closing the door behind her before he spoke again, just loud enough to be heard. He still hadn’t turned from the bed, but his tone was different than any before. Gentler. Nearly vulnerable. “Thank you, Penny. You mean more to me than you will ever know.”
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 12:13:28 am by Pride »

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2014, 07:09:23 am »
Penny could not control the pride that she felt when she received the invitation one early morning in March. After high school, Chris had gone off to an Ivy League university, to no one’s surprise really. He was a brilliant mind. Penny missed seeing him every day, but she would brag to her friends and coworkers about her best friend’s accomplishments. This invitation was one more story that’d be told to her coworkers during a busy shift at the Lunar Café.

The young artistic girl had been hired there after prom and all the business of high school had ended. She enjoyed the people who came through. She had saved nearly enough to pay her parents back for helping cover her classes and tuition at the local art school. Right now she was part-time barista, full-time student, and had managed to earn some extra spending money by doing commissions on the side.

The owner of the Lunar Café was kind enough to allow Penny to display her creations and share with the customers that came regularly. She had even talked to Robert one weekend when he was visiting home from college. To no one’s surprise the handsome athlete had taken a soccer scholarship and now played for his school’s team. The two of them had stayed friends after prom. But it was Chris she texted every day to keep in touch, sending him frequent pictures of her works-in-progress.

The beautiful paintings hung over the seating area of the café, the beginning of a lengthy series of paintings inspired by her best friend and his secret love of fairy tales. Detailed drawings and paintings of fairies, mermaids, dragons and castles covered the pages of the two friend’s favorite books. She had sent him one in the mail, a majestic painting of a lion that proudly decorated the pages of ”The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

This must have been his return letter, she had thought when opening the invitation. She was pleasantly surprised to see that Chris was going to be performing. Penny had been saving up to travel and pay him a visit anyway.

This would be the perfect opportunity!

She arrived the evening of the recital in a pale lilac chiffon dress. The invitation had said formal, so she had spent hours in the department store with her mother looking for the perfect attire. She felt ritzy in the environment of men in ties, women in gowns, some to the floor. It was even more frightening than prom! The young brunette had never seen so many diamonds. The only rocks she wore were the pearl earrings and necklace she’d gotten for her sixteenth birthday. Her dark hair was curled and pulled up in a low bun that rested below her left ear. A few small pieces of chocolate locks hung to frame her face.

Her hands nervously clutched the small silver purse that held her phone and other miscellaneous items. She opened the fastener to pull out the cell, quickly typing a message to her friend before she looked around to find her seat.

”Can’t wait to see you up there! Good luck. I know you will be wonderful.”

A small smile tugged at her painted lips. Penny had managed to successfully wear makeup for the second time (the first being prom). Her blue eyes were lined with a thin wing that seemed to enlarge her already round eyes, lashes coated minimally with mascara. Pink cheeks were flushed with the chill of the cool March air and a little touch of rose blush. Chris had never seen her with makeup on, but that didn’t cross her mind as she wandered the entrance of the concert hall.

Finally, Penny found her section and entered. She was a little early, but that made finding her reserved seat much easier. The gold sticker showed “C10,” and a cloth draped over with “Penelope Heatherington” printed on it. It was so fancy. Even the interior of the concert hall took her breath away. The whimsical architecture was something historic, like many of the other buildings on campus. As she made herself comfortable, Penny noticed the cloth on the seat next to her.

His father’s name.

She felt nervous for a moment. This was the father that kept Chris confined to his studies, business degree and shut out his beloved fairy tales. The young woman had never come to understand why a father would hold his son back from the fanciful and whimsical when he adored it so. She had told him many times that the man only wanted what he thought was best. The stifling came from his desire to see his son succeed. Parents only wanted to see their children grow up happy, didn’t they?

She dismissed the thoughts as the lights dimmed. The show was about to start. Penny sat through many student performers, and genuinely enjoyed the talent of them all. Her favorite of who’d gone so far was a girl who beautifully sang a piece from the Opera “Tosca” She was breathless at the end of it, standing with the rest of the audience when she finished.

Christopher Hawke was listed as one of the last performers. Penny could feel herself growing more excited. She hadn’t realized how long it had been since they’d last seen each other in a form that was not video chat. She clenched her program in her hands, smiling at the thought of being able to talk to him afterwards. A reunion was long overdue.


Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2014, 04:25:13 pm »
Can’t wait to see you up there! Good luck. I know you will be wonderful.

The words were bright in the gloom of the backstage, Christopher’s frown illuminated by the glow of his phone as he reread the text for the fifth time. He stood stiffly in his fine, expensive suit, an agitated foot tapping an idle accompaniment to the violist currently on stage as gloved fingers fidgeted habitually with a thin, black tie. Even with only the dim luminance of his cell, his perfectly groomed hair was a brilliant gold that made his blue eyes look even sharper, giving him the appearance of an annoyed angel with impeccable fashion sense.

Off to the side were a number of other students performing in the concert, talking to each other quietly while sending the Hawke furtive looks over their shoulder. Each of them had learned fairly quickly that the quiet boy with a perpetually bored look did not appreciate people talking to him. Or around him. Or talking at all, really. They had all seen his anger, that icy look and sharp tongue cutting deeper than any knife ever could. But they had never seen him like this. Frankly, they had never seen him show interest in anything at all, even the music he played so well. But the restless way the blonde shifted his weight back and forward would have been a clear sign to anyone.

Christopher Hawke was nervous.

Chris knew it was absolutely ridiculous to be anxious. It wasn’t his first time performing in front a group of people. It didn’t matter to him in the slightest that their concert had drawn a few hundred into the auditorium, since he didn’t play to impress them. He couldn’t care less that most were upper class and influential, because worthless people are irrelevant regardless of how much money they had. No, it was not their opinion he valued. There was only one person in that audience that mattered to him.

Can’t wait to see you up there! Good luck. I know you will be wonderful.

Christopher could almost see her smile in the words. His thumb hesitated over the reply button, his frown vaguely annoyed with the fluttering anxiety in his stomach. Distance hadn’t done him as much good as he had hoped it would if this was his reaction to seeing her again. Sure, they had kept in touch as often as they could with video chat and the likes, but he had hoped some physical distance would lessen the weight of his attraction to Penny. If anything, it had just made him acutely aware of how much he missed being around her. His half-hearted attempts at going out on dates with the college girls brave enough to ask always ended with him zoning out, wondering what his odd friend was drawing at that moment or if she had finished the book he insisted she read.

“Mr. Hawke,” The music professor’s whisper made Chris blink, tearing him from his thoughts. “You’re up next. Are you ready?”

The blonde nodded once, sliding his phone into his pocket. Now or never. “Yes.”

“Come then, come! Serena is nearly finished with her solo.”

--

“…our gifted pianist, Christopher Hawke!”

Christopher Hawke strode onto the stage with casual grace, hands politely behind his back and long gait carrying him to the bench in a few short moments. He turned on his heel to the clapping crowd and gave the smallest of polite bows, seemingly more out of necessity than any real gratitude, before turning to the piano. He did not look at the two seats reserved near the front, one empty with a love never experienced and the other filled with a love out of his reach.

He sat at the bench and spent a moment to meticulously adjust the music sheets until they were situated precisely how he liked them. They weren’t necessary, really; he knew his music as well as he knew his books. The papers were there more for convenience sake, though how they expected him to be able to play comfortably while staring at that disorganized mess was beyond him. Once satisfied, he turned his attention to the keys.

There was no build up to his playing. Christopher swept into the first piece like a thunderclap, fingers pounding across ivory and ebony teeth as the crowd got swept into the wind of his music. His hands danced with practiced perfection, feet moving the pedals without conscious thought. He threaded minors and majors together into a tightly woven harmony, moving seamlessly from piece to piece as time ticked by, Bach and Chopin and Vivaldi all elements of his storm. At the end of the final movement, he slowly drew it to a close, like the rainfall fading into sunlight as the storm dissipates, leaving the final notes to trail off into a peaceful, warm silence.

The applause was thunderous. Many stood to congratulate the young man who still sat at the piano, gazing down at his fingers on the white keys. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the professor clapping as well with a knowing nod, the wry smile on his face telling everyone that he had expected both the great performance and the indifferent reaction from the pianist. The music teacher was beginning to make his way toward the piano, gesturing widely to the crowd to show the appreciation Christopher did not offer. Chris returned his focus to the keys, considering them again for a long moment. Should he perform it? He had been asking himself that question ever since Penny had agreed to come see him play. It was the very reason he had been so nervous. The piano concerto was as easy as breathing. But this…should he play it? Could he?

Can’t wait to see you up there! Good luck. I know you will be wonderful.

The applause spluttered and died as Christopher Hawke began to play again. There was a general murmur of surprise and the scratchy sound of paper turning as many checked their programs, wondering what piece he was playing now. The professor, already half way to the piano, slowed to a stop. He seemed annoyed at first, mouth open as if to tell Christopher to stop playing so the next student could perform, before the anger melted into a bemused curiosity. The more music savvy of the crowd understood his puzzlement; the piece Christopher was playing now wasn’t Bach, Chopin, or Vivaldi. Was he playing an original composition?

It was a slow beginning, soft and careful in the way its notes moved. If the previous piano concerto had been a building storm, then the quiet complexity of this new movement was a heavy snowfall, all quiet cold and thick ice. Each note was played with careful precision, meticulous and perfect with every stroke, as if each snowflake had its place. And then the change came, an unexpected beat of warmth in the cold perfection of the melody. It was like the Spring sun arriving for the first time in an age-long winter, it’s gentle warmth slowly melting the ice to reveal the green grass and colorful flowers that had been buried and forgotten for so long.

The crescendo continued until the air as thrumming with the beat of spring and melody of winter, a dance of winding contradictions that seemed impossible to perform with only one pair of hands. Gone was the Hawke’s impassivity; a look of fierce concentration creased his brow as he leaned over the keys, hands blurs of movement and feet working the pedals with nearly reckless abandon.  It continued to climb, building higher and faster with ever second, the tempo building and building and-

It was over. It was so abrupt it was almost jarring, the final notes hanging in the air with the faint taste of bitter regret, as if the winter ice had finally cracked under the weight of the spring sun. The silence was so sudden that it seemed most of the audience had forgotten to breathe, as if their next inhale depended upon his finger pressing the next key.

The spell was broken at the rough scrape of the piano bench being pushed back. Christopher stood, sweat on his brow at odds with an impassive face, and offered that same, mockingly polite bow to the crowd. Then, without waiting even for the recovering crowd to remember they’re supposed to clap, Christopher strode off the stage, brushing past his stunned teacher without a single word.

It was ridiculous to be nervous, Christopher knew. He couldn’t care less about the hundreds of fools who watched on. He couldn’t even be bothered to remember what the music professor’s name, let alone worry about what he would say. But indifference was very difficult when you wanted to play a song that has been lingering in your soul ever since you met the woman who carries your heart.  Especially when you’re playing it for her.

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2014, 10:02:51 am »
The shuffling of papers, the quick bow, it was all so Christopher. She felt a smile warm her face as she watched the familiar gestures that made him her friend. She had never seen him nervous before. Penny tilted her head to the side, chin propped in her hand, and elbow leaned against the char’s armrest. His playing was just as enchanting as it always was. The look on his face was concentrated, focused.

It was the same look she had while she painted, drew, and sculpted.

His melodies were perfect, and the staccatos were quick as they should be. Each climb and crescendo was smooth as silk against skin. For a moment she closed her eyes and imagined them as children again. At a birds’ eye view she saw two preteens beneath an oak tree shaded from the sun. Shadows of leaves and small speckles of light moved across their faces. One was barefoot and giggling at the large dog beside her that licked her face, the other was curled in a nook with a story unfolded over his lap. His eyes just barely an inch from the page.

She opened her eyes as the music stopped, and the applause came.

Penny was standing with the rest of the audience when Chris suddenly began playing again. She stopped clapping as the music touched her ears. The gentle sound was familiar to her, but she knew he’d never played this before. The rest of the audience took their seats again, but Penny remained standing, listening closely to his fingers stroking the keys. She couldn't sit.

And just when it was building, the piece was over. Just like that.

Before she could think, the audience was back on its feet, applauding Christopher for an outstanding performance. An applause that was well deserved. Penny managed a few small claps, but she was still stupefied by Christopher’s unexpected abruptness and spontaneity. Here was a boy who did as he was told his entire life, and today he broke agenda…did he ever!

Penny snapped out of it, watching the pale-haired young man take a bow, stiff as he usually was. But he had been wonderful! Her smile couldn’t have been bigger as her claps grew frantic. She clapped harder than she ever had before for anyone. The warmth of proud tears prickled in the corners of her deep blue eyes. She wiped them away, but that seemed to only trigger more. Truly he had moved her with his performance.

He was marvelous.

The rest of the performances held no candles to Christopher's. At least that was what Penny thought. She clutched her purse tightly, waiting for them to be over so that she could congratulate him face to face. But she couldn't help but clap harder at the very end when all of the performers in the concert came out for the final bow.

Penny waited outside later, the palms of her hands were warm and itched at the same time, but she didn’t even notice or care. She leaned against the side of the stairs as she watched for her friend. Several violinists came out from backstage, grinning about their successful performances. The singers followed, holding hot styrofoam cups with honeyed tea and lemon in them, talking to each other excitedly. Her neck arched, looking for the shine of his gold hair. She looked down at her phone and tapped out a quick message.

”I’m outside! ☺ ☺ ☺”

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #40 on: June 30, 2014, 05:30:43 pm »
“Penelope Heatherington.”

The voice the name came from was neither quiet nor loud, lacking any of the usual intonations that people generally had when they spoke to a fellow human being. Her name was spoken in the detached manner one might point out an object: a chair, a table, Penelope Heatherington. There was no emotion attached to the name because to the speaker, it would have been absurd to feel anything for something so inconsequential.

The owner of that voice stood just to the side, hands in the pockets of his very expensive suit and observing her as she looked up from her phone. He watched her eyes go wide, though his own expression remained blank. It was no surprise she recognized him even if they had never met before. He knew how similar his son looked to him. They shared the same facial structure, the same sharp brilliance to their blue eyes, the same carefully groomed angel blonde hair. It was extremely likely that in twenty years, the boy would look exactly as he did now.

Perhaps the only difference was that the boy, despite years of teaching him better and methodically removing possibilities for such influence, still allowed his emotions to show in some form. If Christopher Hawke’s heart was ice, then Malcolm Hawke’s heart was stone, immovable and immune to the weakness that melted away his son’s rationality. 

And the source of that weakness, Malcolm mused as he studied Penelope, was this girl.

“What did you think of the boy’s performance?”
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 11:46:29 pm by Pride »

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #41 on: July 07, 2014, 05:55:58 am »
The way he said her name was familiar in a distant way. When she turned to face the Malcom Hawke, Penny immediately smiled, it was a reflex when she met anyone. Chris’s father was no exception. She’d always wanted to meet the man, but the disapproval of the idea was always obvious from Chris. She held onto her purse with both hands now. Penny made no motion to shake his hand since his stayed buried in his pockets. She did manage a subtle, polite wave.

“Hello Mr. Hawke, I was wondering if we would ever meet.” She replied, recognizing him just from the way he said her full name. “I quite enjoyed the performance. His talent has always amazed me.” Her reply was honest, as was her gaze upon Malcom’s face. She saw every similarity. He was handsome, just like his son. “I wasn’t expecting that part at the end, but I could tell he worked hard on the piece.” She wasn’t uncomfortable yet. The refined and reserved Hawke presence was something she had grown accustomed to. Rigidness did not usually have an effect on her carefree personality.

Her eyes went from the Hawke man’s to where other performers continued to file out, then she turned back, “What did you think? Did you enjoy it?”

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2014, 11:23:25 pm »
“No, I did not.”

He didn’t bother elaborating, as it was clear she herself had missed the meaning of the improvised piece entirely. He instead examined her eyes and her smile, contemplating whether she simply was oblivious to his son’s feelings or if she was attempting to deceive him. But her honesty seemed genuine, a fact that was almost as amusing as it was annoying. This was the kind of girl the boy was interested in? Malcolm wondered if his son was a masochist as well as a fool.

“We would have met earlier, though the boy was very careful to hide you from me. I see now why he sought to do so. You are killing him.”  Every word was spoken with the indifferent simplicity of reading the time, leaving the meaning of his phrases almost ambiguous if not for the cold hardness to his eyes. But Malcolm Hawke was never one to beat around the bush. “But that is irrelevant at this point. The damage is done. What matters is what you do next.”

He nodded toward the entrance Penelope kept looking toward without taking his eyes off of her. “You will leave immediately, without waiting for the boy to arrive. You will take the plane I have waiting at the airport back home and never speak to him again. Do you understand?”

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #43 on: July 12, 2014, 09:22:12 am »
She couldn't say she wasn't surprised at his response. Penny had thought about what it might be like to meet Christopher Hawke's father. It couldn't be too much different than when she had met Chris. She could have made many assumptions from the way he would dismiss the subject of his parents. It was obvious in Chris who his dad could have been, so why did his words seem to break her heart into pieces?

Here was a father who had just watched his son pour his heart over the piano keys, and he was brushing it off like dust on a library book. She didn't say anything. She just listened, though the passionate flicker in her deep marine eyes said plenty. Penelope pitied this man.

Malcom was extravagant in his accusations. She was killing Christopher. Penny frowned, hurt by his words but she also didn't agree with him, because she knew the words her mother had always told her were true. Penelope had seen that as the two had grown up together.

"People who love themselves don't hurt other people."

Christopher Hawke did not love himself. And here in front of her asking-no, ordering her to leave, was the reason why. "Mr. Hawke, I'm sorry you feel that way, " Penny's mouth formed a line, and she repeated the same thing she had said to her best friend long ago,

"But I don't want to leave yet."

She couldn't help but feel her heart break. Because she knew deep down that Malcom was the one hurting Christopher. "I am going to tell my best friend how talented he is." She said firmly, "He deserves to know that from someone." She swallowed what may have been tears of anger never surfaced. It hurt to see a father so lost in success that he forgot that a parent's obligation was to make sure that his child loved himself.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 09:25:22 am by Pach_Work »

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #44 on: July 14, 2014, 03:38:05 pm »
Malcolm hadn't honestly expected her to leave. His son wouldn't be interested in someone so fickle or weak as to bend to every command. But the gentle fierceness of the girl did surprise him - it reminded him a bit too much of a woman he didn't want to remember.

“Deserves to be told?” Mr. Hawke arched an imperial brow, tone thick with his condescension. “You do not praise a dog for barking or a bird for flying. It is natural for them to do so. Likewise, he is my son and thus it is only natural for the boy to be talented. He is not so weak as to need a pat on the head for something so mundane.”

He frowned at her, a severe look heavy with the weight of his disapproval. “The fact that you think he does speaks to how little you truly understand him. Do you really believe the boy’s goal in playing that ‘improvised’ piece was to impress? To demonstrate to you, who is surely already aware of his prowess, what he is capable of? Even someone like you cannot be that thick.”

The elder Hawke lifted a hand from his pocket, lifting the sleeve just enough to glance at the expensive watch underneath. He was already running behind schedule, having put everything on a temporary hold after the conclusion of his son’s heartfelt playing. The business tycoon could not stand to leave his son in such a pitiful state of vulnerability, weak at the hands of this girl who twisted the knife with every unknowing smile. But time was growing short; it was time to wrap things up. Malcolm glanced back at her, studying that angry gleam in dark depths, and arched his brow again.

“Do you think me to be the villain here?” He asked, something darker than amusement tilting the edges of his lips. “How ironic. Then shall we put your faith to the test? You, who believe your kindness to him is a blessing, against me, who strives to protect him against everything in this world. So when you see him again, ask him this: why did he play that improvised piece?”

His gaze was frozen stone, hard and unflinching as his smile dropped into the thin line of his indifference. He offered her the slightest tilt of his head and turned away from her. “Unfortunately, I am late for a previous engagement, so I will not be here to listen to his answer. I trust that even you are capable of telling when my son is lying, hm? For all the boy’s talent, he is woefully incompetent at keeping his true thoughts from his eyes.”

The elder Hawke walked away, hands in his pockets and back perfectly straight. “This world is not a fairy tale, Penelope Heatherington, despite how much that boy might wish it to be. You would do well to remind him of that.”

He was gone even before his final words drifted back.

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #45 on: July 21, 2014, 04:53:31 am »
His condescending tone did not fall silent to her ears. This man had no idea how ignorant he sounded to her. She didn't care what Mr. Hawke thought of her. She never planned to aim for his approval. Christopher had showed her that long ago. It had become something that defined her. Not the words that hurt. But he did see something she couldn't.

"I don't think you're a villain."

She thought to herself. Penny saw where there could have been misunderstanding. And it was sad. It was becoming clear to her that Malcom felt concerned in his own way for his son. His words did stroke something, though.

Did she believe her kindness a blessing?

She had never thought that her friendship would come off that way towards anyone. Did Christopher think that?

Penny understood isolation. She knew pain to an extent, perhaps not the same pain, but she'd been hurt before. Why was it wrong to wish it away for those she cared for?  Why did he wish to make her feel guilty for caring about her friend? She pressed a hand to her aching chest as all her intentions whizzed over Malcom Hawke's head. Her eyes softened a little towards him. 

He left her there, and Penny felt relief at his absence. His words had left bruises, but not cuts. Now she understood Chris's insistence on never meeting the icy father he took after so much. She wondered why Malcom would need to protect him from someone like her.

She closed her eyes and leaned against the wall, overwhelmed. She never wanted to hurt anyone.

"It's not the fairy tales I believe in," She whispered to herself. She turned away as Malcom disappeared, "It's the happy endings."

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #46 on: July 21, 2014, 03:42:17 pm »
The reaction was stronger than he had initially expected.

The younger Hawke had gathered his possessions quickly after his performance, the thrill of the moment enough to let him tolerate the annoying questions from his fellow students. Christopher had expected more anger or annoyance than this, which he was more than ready to deal with; he was not expecting praise and congratulations, requests that he show them the sheets for the music he had played. But there wasn’t a chance in hell that would ever happen, and even when promptly informed as such, there were still a few who milled about annoying him long enough for his professor to arrive with a few more wealthy to-do guests and begin introductions. Chris’ frustration was barely tempered enough to allow for polite conversation.

This is why he wouldn’t normally wouldn’t tolerate this nonsense. He allowed it this once, good mood a horrible catalyst for patience and understanding, and look where he was now. Talking to some pompous man about the benefits of a Giovanni suit over an Armani when playing the piano, since the thread count allowed for greater breadth of movement, when he would give everything he owned just to be outside and talking with Penelope.

By the time he had finally managed to break free with only the bare minimum of curt and cutting sarcasm as a farewell, the adrenaline of knowing he had finally managed to play the song had faded into pressing trepidation. Was it a fool’s choice to actually play that song? It was a selfish decision, one to ease the weight of his desire to tell her how he really felt, though it was hardly relieved in the end. What would he do if Penelope had understood the meaning behind his piece? Or perhaps more pressingly, what would he do if she didn’t?

Christopher stilled those thoughts as he pushed open the door and emerged outside, reminding himself the answer was the same regardless: he would lie.

He found her leaning against a wall, not far from the back entrance to the theater. The blonde man felt a small smile tug at the corners of lips, a mixture of genuine joy to see his best friend and excitement to see her looking so beautiful in her lilac dress. But that smile faded the instant he was closer, reading the expression on her face as clearly as if it was a message written for him. Christopher stopped perhaps a little closer than he would have normally, the concern in ice blue bleeding a little into his tone.

“Penny, what’s wrong?”

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #47 on: July 23, 2014, 01:25:59 am »
Her eyes scanned the various posters of talented college performers. Several decorated the walls, some incased their own glass frames. Penny placed an idle hand on the cool surface while she waited for her friend. If she really pondered, the evening had been much too enjoyable already for a father's disapproving words to ruin. It wasn't his disapproval that hurt, but his under appreciation for his son. Christopher didn't deserve to feel as if his own parent saw him as a nuisance.

Christopher's voice brought her out of her thoughts. Penny immediately dropped whatever weighed her down in that moment to turn and look for its owner. Her expression softened, as blue eyes found him over her shoulder. Oceanic depths brightened at the sight of her old friend. She'd hardly heard his expressed concerns, and she couldn't hold back a warm smile. It spread over her lips as she turned to face him. It'd been months since they'd seen each other.

Penny didn't reach out immediately to hug her friend. Physical contact with Christopher was like petting a stranger's dog. Penny was cautious, but the ever-refined urge to greet people she hadn't seen in a while was strong. It wasn't natural for her not to hug him after all that time. But she knew his comfort zones. Even though she sometimes thought those were stupid, she respected his boundaries. If Christopher knew her at all, he'd be expecting it sooner or later.

"Well, well," She said with a subtle arch of a brow, "if it isn't the show off." Her eyes glinted with a playfulness and her smile widened into a grin. "You saved me an autograph, right?" She held out her program jokingly. Penny's gaze changed as she realized he'd asked her a question.

A loaded question at that. The hint of concern in his eyes made her wonder if there really was more to his surprise performance of original work. She shook her head, leaning against the wall, "No." Penny's shoulders lifted and she squeezed the paper in her hands,

"I enjoyed this," She said with sincerity, "Thank you for inviting me."

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #48 on: July 24, 2014, 04:58:59 pm »
Her smile was almost enough to make him forget his concern. Almost.

That was not to say he did not appreciate that wide grin or the teasing gleam in her eyes; he most certainly did. Seeing her over through a computer screen or hearing her voice were a far cry from experiencing them in person, where he could feel the warmth of it even if he closed his eyes. Frankly, he was almost a little disappointed she hadn’t hugged him as he had half-expected her to, though she was likely restraining herself for his sake. Her gentle mockery would have been enough to have him give a small, genuine smile in return, if the circumstances had perhaps been a little different.

But if there was anything in the world Christopher was confident he knew, it was Penelope Heatherington. The blonde knew that there was something weighing on her mind, even as she shook her head and denied the possibility. The part of him that had worried she might understand his music was growing a little louder, its voice more insistent as he searched her expression for any clue to what was wrong. Icy blue flickered to the program she squeezed between her fingers and back to dark eyes when she thanked him for the invitation.

“I’m glad you were able to make it.” He answered quietly. “It’s good to see you again.”

Hesitance. Should he ask her what she thought of his performance? It would work to his advantage in multiple ways, gathering information on both how much she had inferred from the music and the narrowing the possibilities of what was bothering her. Or perhaps a lie? He could play on what she said about being a show-off and her own knowledge of his habits, creating a likely story about how he had played it to mock those pompous fools in the audience. From there he could effectively disarm the possibility of her understanding the true intent and observe if her demeanor changed as a result.

Christopher frowned a little, troubled by his own thoughts. He didn’t like thinking that way around Penny, manipulating her to answer in ways that would benefit him the most. It felt…wrong.

Honesty, then. Icy blue looked away, observing others in the distance. “I wasn’t sure if I should have played that improvised bit at the end. Do you think I made a mistake?”

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2014, 07:54:50 am »
She watched his hesitation. Her eyes softened at the boy who seemed oddly concerned with what others could be thinking. Others being just Penny. She couldn't allow him to regret anything he'd done out there. It had been too impressive, and unexpected! A Hawke going outside of the status quo. She shuffled her foot, the wedged heel digging into the hard carpet of the concert hall's floors.

"Hmm.." Penny played as if she were pondering. Her eyes looking around as his did before they came to rest on him. If that was a mistake, then all her mistakes combined must have been something dreadful. She didn't want to make it a joke. He seemed so concerned about her opinion. Malcom's words pricked her thoughts, but Penny couldn't keep the truth from him.

Her hand found his shoulder, and she tilted her head a little to try and get him to meet her eyes. She squeezed the shoulder gently and smiled, "If it was I'm glad you made it." Then a chuckle escaped and she shrugged a little, the program tucked under her arm, "It's about time you made some, isn't it?" Even his mistakes were perfect. She shook her head,

"Don't be ridiculous Christopher." Her voice lowered, but not grimly. She wanted him to listen, "You took my breath away." It was the truth. Her hand rested against her chest and her smile was warm. "What is it called?"

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2014, 07:07:49 pm »
Her small hand was warm even through his suit jacket. His thoughts lingered on her touch even as she assuaged his fear, her smile and laughter bringing out a small smile of his own. The distraction of her touch faded with the change of her tone, the serious look to her dark eyes assuring him of her words truth. Heat rose unbidden in his pale cheeks at her heartfelt praise and light blue flickered away. He was reminded again that seeing her through a computer screen was night and day from seeing her in person.

Penny was so beautiful, standing there in that dress with her hand on her chest and smiling so warmly at him, that his heart ached.

Her question startled him though, his body suddenly tense as he remembered all at once why he had been concerned. Her replies echoed in his mind again, searching through every syllable for some hint that she had understood the meaning of the song – but found nothing. This was the reaction he would have called ‘typical Penny’: very warm, very kind, very genuine. There was nothing there that indicated that she suspected an ulterior motive.

“Nightingale.” Christopher answered, turning back to observe her reaction.  It was the same name as a Danish fairy tale, one he’d never discussed with Penny before but would not be surprised if she knew. It was the story of an emperor who preferred the tinkling of a bejeweled mechanical bird to the song of a real nightingale. It wasn’t until the Emperor was near death and a nightingale’s song restored him to health did he come to realize his mistake.

Christopher found himself resonating with that emperor, having always been content with the cold logic of the world and believing it superior to the emotional irrationality of feelings. Like that lonely king, he had not realized his mistake until Penelope had reached out to him, saving him from a cold and mechanical fate. But all of that was perhaps secondary to the more subtle feature of the story that lead the Hawke heir to choose it.

The Emperor came to love the Nightingale, but would never attempt to make it his own. He would never rob the Nightingale of the happiness it deserved by forcing it to remain by his side.

“Are you certain everything is alright?” Changing the topic was a good idea now, before she could press the matter of the title. He still hadn’t forgotten the way she looked when he approached and if it wasn’t because of his recital, then he wanted to know what could be bothering her. Christopher wouldn’t allow anything to make her look like that. “If something is bothering you, tell me. I’ll take care of it.”

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #51 on: August 05, 2014, 10:03:05 am »
Nightingale. She liked it.

He did know his fairytales. Penny wasn't familiar with this one but she was almost positive that was the origin of the name. She noted the color in his cheeks at her compliment and left the smile on her lips. The two best friends made an odd pair. She wasn't sure if she'd truly reflected on their personalities. They weren't that different at all.

They both wanted to see the other happy more than they wanted to be happy.

Christopher with the hard exterior was brilliant. But the Chris she knew beneath the shell was caring and the most pure form of selfless that she wasn't even fully aware of. He made that clear in his voice as he expressed his concern for her in his own way. He'd take care of it. She felt a comfort at those words, but something held her back from telling him the truth. Why disappoint him when he needed to feel good about himself after such a performance?

"I said I'm fine...but I think I need to check your temperature." She lifted a hand to press against his forehead with a soft laugh, "I don't think I've ever seen you break the rules. We should get Chinese or something to celebrate your rebellion." A dinner without silverware. What would Malcom say about that? Penny let her hand fall and rest on his shoulder before she broke their gaze to pull him into a hug, finally. It just didn't feel right without that.

"I'm really proud of you Chris."

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #52 on: August 06, 2014, 06:49:52 pm »

Honestly, Christopher felt like he should be used to her touch after being by her side for so many years.

But he wasn’t. If anything, he was getting worse. Her hand on his forehead still made his heart beat faster, her close proximity allowing him to appreciate the familiar scent of her shampoo and the gentle presence of her perfume. Part of him rationalized it was only stronger because he hadn’t seen her in so long, but deeper down, he knew that was only a partial truth. Whether she was a thousand miles from him or stood only a few inches away as she did now, the effect was the same.

Penelope had his heart bound to her rhythm, her smile and laughter the keys that made it sing.

Any protest he might have made about his temperature or breaking the rules was lost on his lips the moment she wrapped her arms around him, pressing her smaller form to his. There was only the briefest of hesitations before he returned the gesture, one arm around the waist to place his hand on the small of her back as the other hand rested lightly on the back of her head. It was as much of an affectionate gesture as it was a protective one; Christopher felt surprisingly at ease like this, holding this precious bundle of kindness and warmth to him, where he could shield her from a world of people that would take advantage of her. People like his father.

People like Christopher.

“Thank you, Penny.” His voice was as soft as it was sincere, a gentle squeeze of his arms to show he appreciated both her words and her presence there before he released her to step a little bit away. His logical thoughts had always had a sobering effect on him whenever he got drunk her presence, reminding him of his true place in her world.

Icy blue lingered on her for a moment, drawing back to her insistence that she was fine. He still wasn’t completely convinced, but if she was this insistent, then he would trust her. Penny knew that she could call on him for anything she needed. If something was wrong, Chris believed she would tell him. So rather than focus on it again, he instead drew their attention back to food.

“Chinese?”

It was as much of an offer as it was a teasing echo. The Hawke heir hadn’t had Chinese since he had gone to college, but it was a guilty pleasure he had shared with Penelope in high school. He had originally hoped to take her somewhere a bit nicer, but be it a Chinese diner or the finest restaurant in the city, Christopher would gladly take his lady anywhere she wished to go.

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2014, 08:43:32 am »
It was over a bowl of plain noodles that Penny experienced the heartbreaking sobs of her little sister. When she looked into her cup of black tea, she wished that the darkness would become a hole she could crawl into; somewhere she could hide from the news that her parents gathered the family together at dinner to deliver.

Saying goodbye to her father was the scariest thing she ever had to do.

Sergeant Heatherington held his eldest daughter in his arms as long as he could. The tears wanted to fall, but he had to be sturdy for his girls. Before he released her, he whispered in her ear, “I’m gonna miss you.” His large fingers delicately pushed the dark curls behind her ear, “Don’t stop smiling Penny. Knowing you’re smiling is gonna give me that extra push when I need it.” He whispered, triggering a dull ache in the girls’ heart, “Love you Daddy.”

She didn’t cry when he left. Nor did she shed tears as her little sister buried her face into her shoulder. Penny hugged Bethany tight, their mother holding them both before they left the terminal and found the family suburban in the parking garage. When she looked at Bethany in the car, it was much easier for her to see their dad in her featured. The ache grew and she swallowed, turning to look out the window of the front seat. Their mother chatted about Bethany’s school play the coming weekend, trying to get the younger girls’ mind off the hard goodbye. Bethany was unable to stifle her crying, finally the soft sobs turning into short breaths. She and Dad had always been close. She was his baby. Penny remained quiet the whole ride back, and the following days after. Their home felt a little less full without the presence of the large man of the house.

It was not even months after, they would have to say another sad goodbye.

Great Danes were never known for living long lives. The larger breed took on health problems easier than others. Ranger was nearly 9 when he passed, and that was old for a dog his size. She couldn’t believe that as a puppy he’d nearly been larger than her. She wanted the memories of trying to walk him in the neighborhood to inspire her creativity, but the missing pieces of her life made it hard to paint. Penny sat in front of her easel, a white canvas with the soft sketch lines forming the happy face of her beloved Ranger.

She couldn’t paint him.

The girl felt panicked, as she looked around at her other paintings on the walls of her bright yellow bedroom. What could she paint? Christopher was away; her father across the earth…Ranger was gone. She pulled her knees to her chest, unable to take her eyes off of the photograph pinned to the corner of the canvas. Was her talent gone now that the precious lives around her weren’t there?

“I miss you big guy…”

She glanced to her phone and picked it up, placing her paintbrush in the empty cut on her easel. The girl pulled up an ongoing conversation with her best friend. She hadn’t spoken to him in a while. He was busy with finals, and she had needed time to process everything.

”I can’t paint.”

Something inside of her broke as she pushed send, and she closed her eyes, trying to decide if she was strong enough to tell him what was wrong, especially when they had some catching up to do. He knew her Dad was gone, but Ranger had just passed the day before. Penny stood up from her chair and crawled into her bed, pulling the homework-covered quilt over her head.

Her body was heavy with grief.

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #54 on: September 04, 2014, 02:00:06 am »
Half-lidded blue stared out the car window, temple pressed against the cool glass while he listened to the gentle thrum of the Rolls-Royce engine as it rolled down the street. Though it was just past dusk, the passing street lamps brought his face in and out of shadow, the resting expression of a man who frowned so much that it now more habitual than conscience thought. His steady breath was warm against the chill of the outside, forming a mist over his window that was a thin wall between him and the cheery colors of Christmas lights on the familiar buildings passing by. But it was on the gentle fall of the snow that his eyes lingered, watching their slow descent from the dark heavens to the white wonderland below.

While Christopher had never been particularly fond of Christmas, a holiday he had only really ever celebrated with Penny, the snow was perhaps one of the few things in the world the Hawke heir could honestly say he liked. Though logic reminded him that snow was only a few short steps removed from rain, the feel of it was entirely different all together. Rain was cacophonous, swift and blunt, far removed from the slow and silent grace of the subtle snow. He had spent more than one evening sitting at the window of his old room, watching the estate grounds slowly become blanketed in snow.

Christopher’s eyes focused, finding himself staring instead at his own reflection and the frown that rested there. How long had it been since he had last returned to the manor? Years, likely. The tall blonde could count on one hand the number of times he had returned to his home town, the excuse to stay away always near the tip of his tongue. Whether it was because he wanted to force a physical distance between him and the girl who held his heart or because he wanted to avoid meeting his father in person as much as possible, Christopher still wasn’t sure. When he did return, it was always to see Penny and never for longer than a day, a flight in early in the morning and a flight out late that evening.

His return this time was a special occasion, an abnormality in a carefully planned schedule of avoidance. As much as he told himself that the distance was necessary if he was to ever break her hold on him, Christopher could not stand to keep himself away when Penny had been so obviously down in the last few months. Her father’s call back into service had hit her hard. She tried to put up a brave face on their video chats, but Christopher knew those dark eyes better than he knew his own. She was worried. Sad.

Alone.

It had been a small matter of arranging his fall finals to be done ahead of schedule. He was the top student in nearly all of his classes, and even if the teacher’s did not appreciate his…frank manner, they did respect his grades. He booked a flight home and a short phone call had his family’s chauffeur waiting for him once he landed, taking his bags to the car waiting outside.

The plan was to surprise her in the morning, bright and early, having arrived a full week than she would have expected. Then he would whisk his dark-eyed beauty away to a day that would make her smile and laugh again. He knew there was an ice-skating rink that just opened nearby that she would probably enjoy. The Hawke was also fairly certain that she would enjoy a walk through downtown, looking at all the Christmas lights and perhaps do a little shopping. Maybe a movie after that, or a trip to the bookstore to browse. He’d tell her that evening when he was returning her home that he intended to stay for a week this time and express his hopes to see her at least once every day. It was his wish that the ‘Christmas Cheer’ that always managed to elude him might find the girl who’s smile was like the sun and bring it out again.

A muffled sneeze from the front of the car broke his train of thought. Christopher blinked at his reflection. When had he started smiling?
 
Icy blue flicked away from the window and toward the man in the driver’s seat, smile dropping back into his habitual frown. Was the man sick? The Hawke heir, like his father before him, had never once gotten ill. Christopher was not fond of the idea that his surprise for Penny might be ruined by his driver’s sneezing. The chauffeur caught the heir’s stare in the rear-view mirror, seemingly familiar with the look of sharp annoyance.

“Apologies, sir.” The man’s voice was raspy, raw with the man’s cold. “The cold weather doesn’t suit me well. I’ll try to keep from disturbing you.”

Christopher’s frown deepened a little, but it was not at the apologetic older man. Penny wouldn’t have liked him thinking like that, would she? Even if it was for her benefit, she probably wouldn’t have approved of him being annoyed with someone else for being sick. The blonde opened his mouth to assure the chauffeur that he did nothing wrong, but the buzz of his cellphone in his jacket pocket distracted him. He lifted it and checked the screen, all thoughts of the chauffeur fading immediately.

I can’t paint.

The text chilled him in a way the cold outside never could. Christopher tried to recall a time when his best friend had ever been unable to bring thoughts and feelings to life on whatever she had in front of her, be it school notes, her sketch pad, or the canvas in her room. No, he could not think of a single occasion; even when he had blown up on her years ago, ripping into his best friend and bringing her to tears, he had still seen the half-finished picture of a lion and its taskmaster resting on her bed.

Penny’s art was everything to her. It was as much part of her as her gentle smile, her dark eyes, her wonderful laughter. For her to be unable to paint…just how badly had he underestimated her depression?

“Stop the car.”

The chauffeur glanced in the rear view mirror, clearly confused. “Sir? We’re not far from the estate now-”

A single look was all it took for the chauffer to snap his mouth shut and look away, pulling the car to a stop at the side of the road. Christopher opened the door and stepped out into the snow, looking very much a stark contrast to the white ground in his black peacoat and dress slacks. A single glance was all it took for him to gather his bearings, even with everything draped in an unfamiliar layer of white – the chauffeur was right. They weren’t far from the manor, but also weren’t very far from Penny’s house either. He could cut through the woods here and make it there in probably twenty minutes if he walked briskly.

“Is everything alright, sir?”

The heir apparent glanced over his shoulder to the older man who stood by the open driver’s door, looking concerned even with his nose bright red against the cold. The chauffeur sneezed violently and Christopher turned away, icy blue focusing on the trees.

“Take my things to the manor. I have something I need to do.”

“Surely not in the woods when it’s this dark? Sir, I could drive you-“

A curt motion of Chris’ hand cut the older man’s words before they had finished, and if the blonde had been facing him, he would have seen the surprise on that face as well. It was the same gesture the elder Hawke used when he wanted someone to cease speaking immediately.

“You will take my things to the manor and inform Father that I will be returning home later than expected.” The undertone was obvious: I don’t want him to know where I’m going, so I’m not going to tell you. “Now get back in the car and go home. I will not have you getting sicker because you can’t follow simple instructions. I expect all of my things to be in my room upon my return. Understood?”
 
If the chauffeur responded, Christopher did not hear it over the crunch of the snow under his polished oxfords as he made his way into the woods. Long limbs carried him through the barren trees on a familiar path, his step ready and sure even through the darkness as his warm breath trailed like dragon fire to the sky. His peacoat was a thin barrier between him and the chill, only a fine white collared shirt and tie resting beneath it, but it didn’t bother him, especially at the pace he was walking. The cold had never bothered him anyways. 

Christopher was at her front door step in precisely twenty minutes, just as he had expected. He raised a hand, then hesitated, white knuckles inches from the wood. Was he doing the right thing? Would he really be able to cheer her up in person? Chris had never been the one to do the cheering in their relationship, the steady warmth and happiness that made up Penny’s being the balance to his chilly indifference and cynicism. The idea of him being able to make her happy was almost laughable. If she couldn’t even paint, the one thing that always steadied her and made her smile, what was he supposed to do?

Chris knocked on the door, a firm and even rhythm. Even if he didn’t know what to do, he’d simply see her and figure it out from there. It went against every logical, organized bone in his body, the part that screamed he needed a plan and should wait until he did, but he ignored it. Penny needed him now. It didn’t matter what he needed to do. He would just do it.

There was nothing Christopher Hawke wouldn’t do to make Penny smile.

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #55 on: September 12, 2014, 04:55:45 am »
“Sweetheart?”

A soft voice cooed Penny out of her light sleep. It was dinnertime, but she had fallen asleep before it had even gotten dark. She stuck her head out from beneath her blankets and sat up in her bed to see her mom standing in her doorway,

“Christopher is here to see you. He’s home from school.” She smiled at her daughter, knowing that a visit may bring her out of the depression she’d been in the past month or two. It seemed her assumptions would prove to be right as Penny swung her legs out of the covers and grabbed her dad’s sweatshirt she always wore before she followed her mom downstairs where Chris had been escorted to the kitchen.

At first, seeing him was confusing, and then concerning as well due to the fact that he was covered in melting snow. She wondered how many more times he’d show up to her doorstep after facing the weather as his opponent. But she also felt something close to relief, an overwhelmingly generous amount of it.

She nearly allowed herself to cry, but she was too happy to see him.

Penny was in pajama pants, tie-dye to the floor. She smiled for the first time for real since everything had weighed her down. “What are you doing here?” It was a pleasant surprise. But didn’t he have finals? The dark-haired girl beckoned her friend with the floppy arm of the oversized sweatshirt, “Come up to my room?” She’d had no idea he would be back so soon. She had texted him fifteen minutes ago.

By now he would have probably heard about Ranger. Penny didn’t bother covering up the rough sketch of the dog when they sat on her bed. She pulled her pillow into her lap and hugged it, “How are you? You’re home so soon…not that I’m not happy to see you. I…I need a friend right now.” Her dark eyes darted away for a moment, then returned as she managed a sad smile.

But it was smile and a start.

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #56 on: September 15, 2014, 08:37:46 pm »
Christopher stood awkwardly in the middle of the Heatherington kitchen, a tall and orderly man whose impeccable posture and distant frown seemed remarkably out of place in the warm disorder of a well-used kitchen. The light dusting of snow over his dark coat was already beginning to melt, but the angel-haired man paid it little attention. Instead, his icy gaze was focused on the picture of a great dane on the counter, the huge dog sandwiched between the hugs of two young, laughing girls.

Penelope’s mother had welcomed him warmly, shuffling him inside and out of the cold without hesitation. She had kept up a constant stream of amiable chatter as she shepherded him toward the kitchen, about Penny being upstairs and how happy she would be to see him, how long has it been since his last visit and my wasn’t he looking handsome in his coat and slacks, Penny has been so down since her father went back into service but now with Ranger passed away the poor girl is absolutely heartbroken, seeing Christopher would do her a world of good, would he like a cup of hot chocolate before she went to fetch Penny-?

His lips were still parted in shock by the time she had asked the question, stunned at the unexpected news of Ranger’s passing, but managed to offer a polite refusal before too much time had passed. She nodded as if she had expected his answer, patting him affectionately on the arm before moving past him toward the stairs to get Penny and leaving him alone in the kitchen with his thoughts. Icy blue drifted from the picture to the various objects around the room: dog bowls by the door, a leash hanging from a nearby coat hook, a large bone half-chewed away in the corner.

As the logical wheels of his mind turned - Ranger’s death was very recent: the bowl was still half full of fresh food, the leash still dark with the damp of melted snow, the wrapper for the purchased bone was sitting near the top of the trash can - he found an unexpected tightness in his chest made his breath catch - how many evenings had he spent with Penny and Ranger, the massive dog curled up protectively between them, his hair soft under the Hawke’s fingers? He had never had a pet, was never allowed one, but he imagined sometimes that Ranger was -

Quick footsteps from the hall broke his train of thought. Penny emerged into the kitchen, her hair tousled with sleep and pretty face a kaleidoscope of surprise, concern, and relief. He greeted her with a small smile, somewhat amused to see her in her father’s large sweatshirt and colorful pajama pants, and she matched it with a smile that outshone anything he could have ever hoped to give. The tension he had felt ever since he received her text, the worry that had only magnified at the news of Ranger’s death, eased a bit at the sight of it.

“I came to see you.” It was an obvious answer, but it didn’t make it any less true. Especially now that he could guess the full extent of the meaning behind her text. But Penelope didn’t seem to mind his simple reply, beckoning him so eagerly with one over-sized shirt sleeve that he couldn’t help how his own smile grew in response. He nodded his acquiescence and followed her up the stairs.

He took a seat next to her on the bed, back straight and feet firm against the floor, as icy blue darted around the room to take stock of the new additions on her walls. They lingered momentarily on the sketch of a familiar dog, understanding almost instantly that it must have been the piece she was working on when she had sent the text, before shifting his gaze to the girl at his side. He could feel her warmth even now, both inside and out – the meticulous chill that came with the expectation of returning to his father’s manor was melting, easing the ice from his veins as his stiff shoulders relaxed inch by inch.

But now was not the time to relax, not when she was hugging that pillow as if it might protect her from all the things that would harm her in the world. He didn’t answer her question about his well-being, the same way he always ignored things he considered irrelevant or distracting to his goal. Her sorrowful smile, a weak thing that made his heart ache, was not something he could ignore. It was barely a ghost of that smile she had given him in the kitchen, the faded Polaroid picture someone had taken of a brilliant dawn.

He extended one arm to wrap around her shoulders, tugging her gently to lean into his side and rested his chin lightly on her crown. Christopher wondered if she was as surprised as he was by the action, arm still hugging the smaller girl in what he hoped was a comforting manner. Penny had always been the one to initiate physical intimacy between them – half because Christopher was never entirely certain how one went about doing it and the other half because his heart beat a rapid staccato just at the mere thought of it. But this had been instinctive, his body moving to a single thought:

Penny didn’t need that pillow to protect her. That was his job.

“I took my finals early.” He spoke softly, answering the concerns he knew lurked at the edge of curiosity. “I know you’ve been unhappy since your father went back into service, so I thought I would spend the extra week here with you and doing the things you enjoy. I was on the way to the estate when I got your text.”

A pause.

“You should have told me.” He chided gently, no real reprimand present in his voice. The only thing there was concern. “I would have come sooner.”

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #57 on: September 30, 2014, 08:24:20 am »
The outstretched arm was a total surprise to the usually affectionate girl. Penny was normally the one that extended the gesture, and it should have meant nothing to her, but since it was Christopher she could feel her insides cave in. Her grief was real, and he could see it. Her chin gave a delicate quiver as his gently rested atop her sleep-tousled waves. When she exhaled through her nose she could feel moisture collecting in her eyes. She was exhausted from holding it all in. She pushed her face into her pillow and stayed still for a moment before her grip around it loosened and she returned the hug. She didn’t know how Christopher did it. She didn’t understand how he pushed his emotions down inside him.

She brushed away tears with her fingers and released a shaky sigh, “I couldn’t…” Penny’s sorrow bubbled up in the form of a gentle sob, she tried to take a deep breath, “I couldn’t talk about it.”

He had been her shadow during their years of friendship. From his short puppyhood to his enormous growth spurt, Penny couldn’t believe how big he’d grown so quickly. Ranger had been a massive dog with a massive heart. People often asked her, “Is that a horse or is it a dog?” And she’d reply, “He’s my big brother.” Then Ranger would kiss her all over her face, because he was practically tall enough to reach her face. She would never forget the way his tail wagged when she hooked the leash on his collar, nor the floppy tongue that dangled from his mouth after the exercise.

It wasn’t just Ranger. Now with the reminiscence of her sweet companion left behind, it seemed more and more realistic that loss could become a consistent thing in the family. Sergeant Heatherington wasn’t due back for months. The looming threat of him never returning at all was like salt on a fresh wound. Penelope’s heart paused every time the phone rang and an unfamiliar number appeared on their caller ID.

Tears stained her face now, eyes and nose red. She swallowed and turned to bury her face into Christopher’s jacket. It was probably really expensive, but she couldn’t stop the tears from soaking the material. “Thank you for coming over.” She said, “Thank you.”

It was the first time she’d cried since her dad left. Penny was not used to enclosing the overwhelming feeling of loneliness. Now that she let it out, she was so tired. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I knew you would be busy studying and I didn’t want to be distracting. I didn’t want to be selfish.” She sniffled and looked up at him, “I don’t want your dad to find out. I know he wouldn’t be happy about it.”

Pride

  • Posts: 547
  • flash point.
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #58 on: October 15, 2014, 07:31:09 am »
The arm that held his most precious person tightened as she began to sob, the line of his mouth pressed thin and bloodless with his own unhappiness. Was there anything in the world that hurt him more than the sound of Penny crying? If there was, he couldn’t imagine what it could be. Her gentle sorrow made his heart ache in such a terrible way, made his fingers itch for something, anything he could do to make it all better. But there was nothing he could do here but hold her, wondering what in the world he could possibly say to make everything better.

He didn’t mind at all when she turned her face into his chest, crying into his fine coat as she thanked him again and again. Part of him wanted to insist that he didn’t deserve her thanks – he hadn’t noticed how upset she was soon enough. Or if he had studied a little harder, finished his exams a little earlier, he might have been here before Ranger passed away. He could have done something. A phone call and a great deal of money would have seen one of the country’s top veterinarians to Penny’s home. Maybe-

But no. The greater part of him knew the irrationality of that sentiment. It was no one’s fault Ranger died. He was old, especially so for his breed. Even if Christopher had done everything in his power, it was very likely the sweet animal still would have passed away. Penelope would still be heartbroken. And he would still be sitting here, holding the sun and stars of his world, wishing away her pain.

He rested one hand on the back of her head as she rested against his chest, long fingers running through her hair slowly and methodically in an instinctive desire to soothe her. Her apology was a bit more composed than her earlier words, but she sounded exhausted. He glanced down as she looked up, icy blue flickering with amused exasperation. “You don’t need to apologize, silly girl. Telling me when you’re upset isn’t being selfish. It is exactly what I want you to do. I want to help you as much as I can, as soon as I can. As for my father…”

His hand faltered for a moment, stilling at the thought. He only had a bare few months before he graduated and he would be expected to take his position in the company. Christopher had done well to hide Penny from him this long, but it would be come drastically more difficult once he became directly involved in the business side of things. The elder Hawke would expect his son to spend his time learning everything that was to know about the industry; any time spent otherwise would need to have a very good excuse for it.

But he wouldn’t tell Penny that now. Or at all, if he could help it. Chris was confident he would find a solution before it ever became a problem.

“Don’t worry about Father. I’ll take care of it.” His hand resumed the gentle motions of before, lifting his gaze to look out her window, where he could still see gentle snowfall. His Father would be angry, certainly. But it was worth it to be here when she needed someone to lean on. “Everything will be okay, Penny. I’ll always come help you when you need me.”

Pach_Work

  • Posts: 358
  • prone to imagination spasms
    • View Profile
Re: Evanescent. [closed]
« Reply #59 on: November 06, 2014, 04:10:42 am »
There had been many apologies she had given to Chris that were always misplaced. Penny knew her friend. She understood his trials with his father, she understood her inconvenience to him, but she understood it from Malcom’s perspective, and not his son’s. The girl allowed her head to lift and she smiled at him, dismissing it all completely for the first time. The worry and weight of Malcom’s warnings, she dismissed her pain, and squeezed her friend’s arm.

“I know. You’ve already done more than you think.” Her wet eyes shone as she pushed away the last of the tears. She had cried in front of Christopher enough. It was time to toughen up. “Are you free tomorrow? Let’s do something.”

The smiles were there, but grief was a never-ending feeling that nagged. She’d miss Ranger for the rest of her life. But she would be ok. She would paint again soon, not right away. But eventually that winter light would catch like diamonds on Christopher’s face, or she’d notice the deep purple hues in her mother’s curled hair on Christmas Eve. There would be something beautiful she would have to capture and keep as her own.

“Coffee and ice skating? We could go to the café.” It’d be nice to see her co-workers and be in a familiar place. She could introduce Chris to chai tea and blueberry chocolate tarts. It would be good for her to leave her room where the countless faces of Ranger reminded her that he was gone.

“It might be better to get hot drinks after we eat some ice.” Penny allowed a little chuckle to escape and she sighed softly, shrugging her shoulders, “I haven’t ice skated in years but I think it’d be fun.”

She managed a shy grin, “I would pay money to see you do a pirouette.”