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(Inspired by Twilight by Stephenie Meyer)
It’s strange that I never noticed how fast clouds move before. It was sort of frightening. I almost felt like running for cover, as though they might lose control and tumble from the sky and crush me. I might have done just that had I not been so comfortable where I was, lying in the sun in a lush meadow.
I turned to look at the beautiful, ageless being stretched on the grass beside me. His looks were deceiving, for while he appeared to be a normal teenage boy, I knew he was well over 300 years old and not human at all.
“Nathaniel,” I said, my voice sounding loud in the calm of the clearing.
“Mmm?” was his only reply. His eyes were closed and a lazy smile graced his lips as he soaked up the sun.
“I want to see you.”
He opened his violet eyes a fraction, peering at me with a look of amusement and adoration. Then, he closed them again and let out a long breath. Slowly, he started to change. The color in his skin faded until he was all white, except for his lips which remained a pale rose, and his hair became an impossible shade of black. He sat up and a set of filmy, sparkling wings sprouted from his back, the light bouncing off,sending rainbows dancing around the meadow.
I pushed myself into a sitting position and grinned when he opened his eyes, now a deep purple.
“Much better,” I said, and his lips parted in a breathtaking smile.
He lowered himself onto the grass,holding his head up with his hand, his face turned toward the sun. He looked so perfectly at ease and so easily perfect that it was hard to believe he was even real. He was so lovely that it hurt to think of what he saw in me. The ordinariness of my humanity couldn’t possibly be endearing compared to the fantastical beauty of this faerie boy.
Yet there he was, utterly content to be with me. I wasn’t sure I’d ever understand, but I didn’t mind.Having him was more than enough. To ask for an explanation would be greedy. Still, I had to wonder if there had been others before me. After all, he’d been alive for three centuries. Certainly he hadn’t spent those years alone. It hurt to think of others holding his heart, and that others would, because, of course, I wouldn’t be around forever. I would grow old and die, and he would goon.
But if he loved me as he said he did, would he be able to goon? Would he survive after I was gone? Were our positions switched, I knew I wouldn’t be able to exist. Now that I knew what it was to be with him, I don’t think I’d be able to live without him.So, did the thought of being without me frighten him? Did it scare him to think he would live forever?
“What are you thinking?” he asked softly, looking at me with curious eyes.
“Well,” I said, mirroring his position and propping my head on my elbow. I took his hand and flipped it so his palm was facing up. Running my fingers lightly up and down the inside of his arm, I looked at him. “I was wondering if it ever scares you, the thought of living forever.” I saw him frown.
“That’s a strange thing to think about.”
I shrugged. We’d long ago established the fact that my mind didn’t work the same way as everyone else’s.
“Does it?” I prodded.
With a sigh, he wrapped his arms around me.
“Sometimes, yes, the thought frightens me, mostly because of how inconceivable it is. When does forever stop? Does it stop? How do you measure an eternity?”He paused, I assumed, in thought. I saw his lovely face tighten with anguish and confusion and sorrow. “No one can even say for sure when it began. Some say billions of years; others say millions, and others believe thousands. If we don’t know where it started, how can we know where it ends?”
I’d never heard him voice his thoughts so freely. He growled in frustration and the sound was loud in my ear, sending shivers down my spine.
“Or if it ends at all! What if I just go on infinitely? What if my family and others like us never truly die? What if I am doomed to walk this Earth,to exist in this universe, ...” His eyes closed with some ancient emotion I could not comprehend.
“Forever?” I whispered.
His gaze came to rest on me and I propped my head upon my forearm, which was folded over his chest. And then his eyes met mine. The sorrow, the pain, the turmoil, the deep, heavy woe in his eyes broke my heart several times in that fraction of a second. The emotions were so strong, so inconsolable, that they shook me to my core and before I knew it, tears rolled down my cheeks. It wasn’t until I felt him wipe one away, his fingers as light as a moth’s wing,that I even realized I was crying.
I felt it, though. I felt the emotions reflected in his eyes. I felt them deep in my chest, weighing heavily on my heart, choking me. I felt the total impossibility of his existence. The uncertainty and the forlorn question of what his purpose was. I felt it all, and I nearly exploded with grief. All of the heartache bubbled over and my body shook with sobs.
I felt his arms form a loving shield around me, although the anguish was his, and not mine. I should have been protecting him, consoling him, but I couldn’t hold myself together.
A soft, soothing melody came and I realized Nathaniel was humming. My heart swelled with love and a wave of ease flooded me. I clung to his shirt, wanting to be as close as possible. I wanted him to know I was there with him. His hold on me tightened and I felt him press his face into my hair.
“My lovely Delilah,” he whispered. My name on his tongue sounded wonderful, and I wanted him to say it again and again. Reluctantly, I lifted my head from his chest and the sad smile on his perfect lips brought fresh tears to my eyes. “So absurd,” he muttered,stroking my cheek with his thumb.
“Nathaniel,” I sighed his name and my voice cracked. “I -”
His exquisite lavender eyes softened and he pulled me up so that my face was level with his. He pressed his cheek to mine and said softly in my ear,“What is it?”
I pulled back to gaze at his sinfully gorgeous face. Hesitantly, I traced its contours, his smooth brow, his lavender eyelids and the circles beneath them, the bridge of his nose,the planes of his cheeks, the angles of his jaw, his soft, soft lips. I heard his sharp intake of breath and the way my name floated from his lips.
In his eyes I saw are flection of my own longings and it made my stomach flip.
“Nathaniel,” I whispered. “The thought of you ... alone forever ...” my voice trembled and I buried my face in his neck. I forced back sobs as his hands traced soothing circles on my back. I shook my head, unable to finish my sentence. I hoped he understood.
His arms enclosed me completely and he held me so tightly that I was sure I’d fall into him. Except it wasn’t tight enough. It never seemed to be. I could never be close enough to him. He pressed his cheek to my hair and I heard him inhale deeply. He sat up and I stretched my arms as far as they could go around his chest,my fingers splayed across his back, making sure not to disturb his wings.
I wasn’t sure why, but my eyes were shut tight.Maybe I was afraid that when I opened them he wouldn’t be there.How would I live without him? He’d have to move on in a few years for people would notice that he never aged, and then what would I do?
I breathed in his sweet scent and tried to commit it to memory. The thought of him having to go through infinite lifetimes in pain was unbearable. I’d only have one life without him;he’d go on eternally.
“Delilah,” his voice washed over me and warmed my heart. “Look at me.” I couldn’t disobey and leaned back to gaze at him. His eyes were full of such intensity that I melted in his arms. I leaned in and his lips met mine. He kissed me hard, harder than he’d ever kissed me,and I knew he was pouring his heart into it. I was, too.
I smiled against his mouth and felt him do the same. My grin broadened and I leaned back to look at him. His mouth spread into one of his glorious crooked smiles and I brought my hands to my face, my cheeks hurting from the strain of smiling. I laughed breathily and shook my head.
“What?” he asked, his voice husky, his lips still stretched in a smile.
I shook my head again.“It’s embarrassing.” What was I supposed to tell him?That his smile made my insides turn to mush?
He rolled his eyes good-naturedly and said, “Everything with you is embarrassing.” He grabbed my chin and drew my face closer to his.
“Tell me,” he breathed, and I was temporarily dazed.
I also totally lost all of my resolve. “Your smile,” I started.
“Yes?” he prompted.
“I love it.”
His grin grew into one of triumph and I pouted at having given in. He placed a kiss on my forehead and then on my mouth.
“I love you,” he whispered against my ear. I brushed his obsidian hair away from his forehead and smiled down on him, my face no doubt glowing bright red.
For some reason I laughed, then said quietly, “I love you, too.”
If possible, he smiled more breathtakingly than ever and pulled me to him.
“Those words from you will bring me happiness forever. No matter how long forever may be.”