Clandestine by colorfulwonder
Clandestine: adj; characterized by, done in, or executed with secrecy or concealment, especially for purposes of subversion or deception; private or surreptitious.
She was the most colorful thing he had ever seen, and he never wanted her to leave. His dead eyes fed hungrily on her, a focal point in a world that was whirring haphazardly around him – her movement and excitement and talking and color and life, but also her solidity and permanency. The opposite of him; poor, sad, small him, sitting in the corner on an armchair, concealed by shadows and silence and easily forgotten. Oh, how he wished he could be happy like her, be happy with himself and have people to talk to. But he was alone. He supposed it was better this way.
She was delicate and lovely and he loved it. Her legs were pale and thin under her skirt and her fingers, long and dainty. He liked this about her because it was everything he was not. He was harsh and corrupted and as good as dead; unwilling and uneventful. She was soft and innocent and so alive. She ate in the middle of the house table with her hair piled in a bun, loose strands falling out around her face as she raised her fork to her mouth. He watched from the far end of the table, no food on his sparkling plate and nobody around him, his skin pale and drawn over his cheekbones. He wanted to smoke. She made him miss everything he once had; thinking about the things he missed made him sad, which made him feel alone, which made him want to smoke. His past friends smoked recreationally – he did it therapeutically. Sure, it made his eyes sink, his skin sallow, his breath wheezy and his clothes smell, but it was worth the short time of freedom from himself.
He didn't turn.
It was a girl, why was she calling him?
"James," she panted as she reached his side. His eyes only flickered in her direction and he continued walking through the corridor without as much as outwardly acknowledging her existence. She did not seem to find this type of behavior offensive and stared up at him, long lashes framing her wide eyes.
"I was just wondering how you were."
He stopped curiously. Why was she here? They had never talked for any length of time; before this he was a prick and she, the same innocence personified. He turned to look at her, all sallow skin and tired limbs, sad and creaking and aching and tired, so tired.
"Why are you asking me?" he said, with a voice scratchy and jaw creaking from lack of use. She clutched her canvas bookbag and continued to flicker her eyes over his face. He felt as if she was seeing everything he had already done and everything he was going to do right through his skin. His eyes stared back impassively at her warm face and fiery hair, standing out against the grey stone of the walls.
"I'm getting along," he answered when she gave him no reply, no emotion betrayed in his voice. She didn't look convinced, he noted with a slight feeling of disappointment, although he had been waiting for the day when someone noticed he wasn't getting along. She came to him, and today might turn out to be that day.
The skeptical look that she had in her eyes did not spread to the rest of her face or persona, but he knew it was there. Spending so much time alone had led him to improve the way he read people's emotions from their faces. Then she relaxed a little and tilted her head to the side, considering him.
"I know," she sighed, her breath tickling his bare arms. She took another minute to observe him, raking her eyes over his prominent collarbones and thin neck and unruly hair. He really, really needed a smoke.
Suddenly her hand stretched out out out and took his cold fingers into her palm and pressed them there, as if she was trying to press life and loveliness into them. "I want to talk to you," she said earnestly, but in a way that meant their present conversation was over, and as quickly as it had come the warmth from her hand was gone and his fingers were once again limp by his side, and she had vanished down the corridor, leaving him one again concealed by shadows and silence.
Author's Note: Thanks for stopping by!