A Myriad of Stories

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Monstrous Mistake

Postby ghostyghost » October 17th, 2018, 9:18:17 pm

A small thing for spooktober and Halloween. Maybe I'll do more spooky stuff, who knows?

Smoke curls lazily around his head as he exhales, and I forcefully tear my eyes away from the oddly enchanting sight as I focus on the plants in front of me. Bathed in the cold light of the moon, their “fanged” jaws look even more threatening than usual, and I lightly trace the edge of one. It snaps lazily but otherwise remains unreactive.

“So why'd you call me out here?” Nati questions while curiously slips up next to me, the smaller male having no qualms about personal space as he presses right against my chest, and it takes all of my willpower to keep from jumping him right now.

“Needed a smoke,” I casually answer, playing his game as I slip a hand into his pocket to grab the pack of cigarettes and lighter for myself. A sharp, surprised intake of breath is his only reaction, but I still allow myself a devious grin before I meander over towards the center of my small garden plot. Green eyes, bright and almost glowing in the darkness, narrow mischievously at me; an uncomfortable warmth spreads through me despite the chill of the night.

Calm down, Adrian. Control. Lit cigarette held between my teeth, I toss the pack and lighter back to Nati and quickly strip off my black jacket, and after a few seconds of thought, I unwind my black and grey-striped scarf from my neck. As always, the dark red eyes on either side of my neck remain shut, and the sewed-shut mouth stretching across my neck seems to almost quiver in the cool air. Glancing over at my rambunctious companion, I'm surprised to find him staring rather intently at me as opposed to antagonizing one of the several carnivorous flowers I've been growing.

“You never really told me why your neck-mouth is sewed up,” Nati points out after a few moments of intense thought. Taking a slow drag, I drag out the moment so as to provide myself with a few more moments of thought. My shadowy wings spread out nervously, and it takes a rather impressive display of self-control for me to reign them back in.

Should I…? Glancing over at his form, I stare almost enviously at the closed mouth on his forehead, nestled between two cute horns. Wait, cute? Blinking, I curse under my breath and shake my head slightly. As ashes drift from the end of my cigarette, I try to gather my thoughts, scattered by stupid invasive compliments, and with a sigh, I put my cigarette out in the ashtray before stretching out on the soft ground.

“After we get this over with, you and I are getting wasted,” I grumble. Nati snickers as he glides over towards me, his long pastel red jacket streaming behind him impressively. I take a few moments to admire the way his dark red pants fit him, and my eyes flash immediately to the small strip of milky white skin, teasingly peeking out from under his pale red tank top.

Why does he have to be so tempting? Clenching my jaws against the uncontrollable feelings swirling inside, I avert my gaze from the sex god strutting towards me, and a harsh breath escapes me as he plops down on my stomach. Vivid green eyes stare into my void-like ones, and only the soft touch of fingers against my sensitive neck drags me out of the daze that simple action left me in.

Right. Suddenly grateful for the distraction, I slowly recount the events that led to my neck-mouth. Essentially, my mother hated it; she said that it ruined my perfection, just like the eyes on my neck. As such, I always kept them covered up, but apparently that wasn't good enough for her—since when was anything? In any case, she had my mouth sewed shut and the eyes blinded, and she had been about to inquire about surgical removal, a dangerous and outlawed practice, when my “doctor” tried to—”That's that.” My mouth snaps shut after those two words to keep the rest of it from spilling out, all of my secrets almost laid bare to someone who probably doesn't even care about me.

But I care about him, want him to care about me, need him so deeply and desperately that it physically hurts. Emotions writhe around in my chest, so many that I struggle to breathe, and I find myself so distracted by my inner turmoil that I don't realize Nati is hugging me until warm tears soak through my shirt.

Instantly, I carefully but quickly sit up, cradling Nati delicately between my arms. He trembles on my lap, and I soothingly run my hand through soft curls as I whisper sweet nothings in his ear. His sobs slowly dissolve into whimpers; it's not until he peers up at me with bloodshot eyes that I really begin to wonder why he was crying in the first place.

“Sorry,” he croaks, “but that just reminded me of my father for some reason.” Familiar with his uptight jerk of a father, I merely nod and pull him closer, and I'm only vaguely aware of my wings moving to enclose us in a shadowy ball as Nati’s fingers trace the edge of the larger scales on the back of my neck. A shudder wracks my body at the feeling; my teeth dig into my lip as my self-control slips away.

“Nati,” I breathe out. Despite my intentions to warn him, it comes out like a plea for more. Green eyes stare into my own, and I swallow thickly. For a few moments, it seems like there's something more between us, a storm of emotions that has been brewing for a while now. Leaning towards him, I unleash the storm as our lips connect.

He tastes like cigarette smoke and freedom. Not just rebellion but actual freedom, like maybe I can walk away from my past one day and live without the chains of painful memories dragging me down. Based on the look he gives me as we part, surprised and desperate for more, I know that he feels it, too, and in a silent exchange, we come to the same agreement. We both stand up, with me quickly gathering my things, and make our way across campus to his cramped one-room apartment.

Electricity crackles between us. Every brush of skin against skin, every meeting of gazes strokes the fire burning in my stomach, and by the time we step into his apartment, I can't control myself any longer. Once again, I allow myself to become lost in the pursuit of happiness, almost drowning in excitement and pleasure, but instead of chemicals or alcohol, I’m chasing away the memories with the taste of freedom and cigarettes and the feel of skin against skin. For the duration of the night, we forget about everything but each other and the way we feel together.

Morning rolls around, as it always does, and as the light slowly spills into the room, all those memories come crashing down again. The walls begin to close in as my mind races with all of the possibilities, and I slowly untangle myself from Nati. He groans a little but wraps himself around a pillow instead; while I would like to stay and admire the adorable scene for a while, I can't.

I can't do this. This was a mistake, such a big mistake. I can't be what he needs me to be, I can't be anything! My breath comes in short, erratic bursts as I hurriedly tug on my clothes. Casting one last regretful look at the male sleeping on the bed, I shamefully slip through the door of the apartment, and as I said my way to my dorm, a feeling of finality settles over me.

Why do I have to screw everything up? Letting out a harsh sigh, I creep into my dorm and quickly gather my things for the day ahead. Throwing on a black hoodie and black skinny jeans, I keep my scarf wrapped around my neck and sling my bag across my shoulders. Exhausted but humming with an odd energy, I sneak back out of the quiet dorms and make my way towards the plaza. Settling down on a bench, I pull out my laptop and pull up a new document.

For once, I wish I didn't have so many ideas. Smiling wryly, I begin typing away, the words flowing smoothly onto the screen as I write. Oftentimes deleting entire sections at once, I struggle with myself to keep from writing too close to reality, but eventually I give up on controlling it and just allow the words to come. By the time my first class starts, I have a few thousand words, all going in circles over the issue, but I have come to a conclusion.

I can't let him know I love him. It hurts, so badly, but… but I just can't. Is that unfair? Am I selfish? Is this the right answer? Doubts and questions plague me, even as I try to focus on the lectures. Throughout the day, I find myself getting lost in thought and unable to focus. Finally, the dreaded class rolls in, the class I share with Nati.

Almost instantly, his eyes meet mine. I force my gaze to remain passive as I look away, but I continue to look at him out of my peripheral. His face falls instantly; my heart aches at the pain and disappointment obvious in his expression. All those doubts from before double, but the professor quickly begins his lecture.

As soon as class ends, I rush to pack up and catch Nati before he leaves. I manage to corner the quick male in the hallway, and he glares up at me with such pain that I'm left speechless.

“Don't explain yourself, Adrian. I know what you're going to say. You don't have to worry about me getting clingy or anything, I understand that you just wanted some fun. See you around, yeah?” Nati forces out, faking some of hid characteristic enthusiasm before pushing his way past my numb body. Too shocked to react at first, I simply stare at his retreating back. Suddenly, I realize exactly what I need to do.

“Ignatius!” I call out, chasing after him through the crowded halls. He ignores me and walks even faster; even though my legs are much longer, he takes advantage of his smallness to weave through the crowd. Before long, I’m just watching his head of short curls disappear into the crowd, and as everyone slowly dissipates, I remain standing there, bolted to the ground by my own self-hatred. “I just wanted to say I love you.”

The words escape me without my awareness, and I, numbed by my monstrous mistake, slowly make my way back to the plaza to await my next class. Sighing, I sit down on the bench and stare blankly ahead. Once again, the chains of the past wrap around me, and the taste of freedom is quickly replaced by the bitter taste of self-hatred and worthlessness as I just accept that I’ll never be anything but a monstrous mistake.
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Re: A Myriad of Stories

Postby ghostyghost » November 4th, 2018, 3:48:56 am

So I missed the one-year anniversary of this, but hey, whatever. In any case, let us continue on!

Another dreadful day. Heaving a rough, weary sigh, I flip the sign on the door to read “closed” and cast one last look around the interior of my cramped store. As always, the customers left it quite messy, and I'll have to come early tomorrow to clean it up. Well, I could stay late tonight, but if I stay in this place for one more second, I’m going to go berserk.

Man, I need a break. With another sigh, I walk out of the small space that has become both my prison and my paradise. Locking the door, I take a moment to stare into it and allow myself a smile. I love my store, I wouldn't give it up for anything, but… but it's certainly cost a lot.

Maybe too much. The memories begin to weigh me down again, and I quickly set off down the street to the bar, which has become my go-to place after work. Usually, I’d spend an hour relaxing there before I dragged myself back to my desolate apartment, but depending on the day, I could spend up to two.

Today seems like a two-hour day. Pulling my jacket tighter around me, I hustle through the streets, and as the warm glow of the cozy bar comes closer and closer, I can already feel myself relaxing a little. By the time I slip into the building, a small smile has managed to work its way onto my face, and I take my usual seat with a sense of relief.

“The usual?” Frank, the bartender, questions as he already moves to prepare my drink. Nodding, I gratefully accept the glass and take a slow drink. My eyes scan the interior habitually, noticing nothing out of place. A lot of the same people as usual loiter around, drinking the same drinks as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary, just as cozy as ever.

More homely than home. With a small, dry chuckle, I turn back around to face my drink. At about the halfway point, an unfamiliar (yet oddly familiar in an odd way) man staggers up from his chair across the room and gracelessly slings himself onto stool next to me. His oversized jacket sits lopsidedly on rail-thin shoulders, and a pair of jeans, tied with a shoestring, still hang treacherously low.

“Hey, barkeep,” the man calls, his voice surprisingly clear and strong for someone so unkempt and wiry. It’s accented, though I can't tell what accent it is—even though it sounds familiar. Either way, Frank sighs good naturedly, like he’s put up with this man several times before, and quickly fixes a drink without any guidance or request, and as he gives it to the man next to me, the bartender flashes me a sympathetic but knowing smile. That one smile catches the attention of my bar neighbor. He turns towards me and gives me an expectant look; awkwardly, I smile and hold my slightly-trembling hand out for a handshake.

“Liam,” I introduce myself, my voice surprisingly strong despite my insecurity. The man smiles widely and clasps my hand between two boney ones, and I laugh nervously as he continues to clasp my hand for a few seconds too long. It feels like some of his feverish energy seeps into my skin, though, as I feel myself relaxing and even catching a little bit of the madness I can see in his eyes.

Just a little, though, so I'm still uncomfortable with the prolonged contact. Although, I suppose I'm more uncomfortable with my level of comfortability with him. Carefully pulling my hand out from his, I take another drink, cautiously and smoothly. My unnamed companion seems to throw image out the window as he carelessly pours his drink into his mouth without a care, some of the liquid spilling out. With a wild expression that’s half-smirk and half-grin, he fixes his intense grey eyes on my own.

“Liam, eh? That's a good name for a lad as graceful as you. Mine’s Z, like the letter,” Z informs me good-naturedly. I can't help but grin at the energy in his words, as odd as they are, and I manage to pin his accent down as South American—maybe. Can that even be a type of accent? Honestly, I suck at accents, so I don't really waste too much brain power trying to decipher it.

Besides, I’m too busy trying to wrap my head around the fact that he called me graceful. Then again… I glance over my temporary companion again, taking note of his ruffled shirt and messy hair. Compared to him, I suppose I am indeed graceful, but while such a sloppy appearance (and a boisterous personality) would usually repulse me, there’s something shining in those maddened grey eyes that draws me closer to him.

Because of his odd magnetism, I find myself staying in my seat, and our stools slowly scoot closer and closer until we become entangled in one another. Frank watches the scenario with vague amusement and an odd kind of reluctant approval, but Z’s insistent poking of my face distracts me from the bartender. Turning towards him, I’m met with the sight of a stick figure, jacket long since discarded in the heat of the bar, leaning in a crude imitation of a cool, elegant pose with a glass clasped dangerously loosely in hands too prone to sudden movement for comfort.

Pose aside, Z seems completely serious, and I manage to force myself to sober up just a little bit as he leans in. “There are two kinds of people,” Z muses, pausing to take another artless swig. “Those who are found and those who are lost. Which are you?” Maybe it's the liquor or the madness throbbing in my veins, but in this moment, his words seem so wise, so profound, so much deeper than what I’ve ever heard. I blink owlishly at my companion, who nods sagaciously as if his question had been answered.

Then, after that, everything blurs together. Waking up the next morning, I can barely even remember stumbling into my cluttered apartment at some time early in the morning—a certain guest right in tow. I sit up quickly, far too quickly, and immediately regret it as unbearable pain sparks in my head. I yelp and curl up under my blankets in a childish effort to hide from the pain.

“Here you go, Liam. Just what the doctor ordered,” Z, creeping in from my door, places a tray of food and medicine on my nightside table, and I can't help but feel a pang of worry as I gaze at his too-thin form. A loose tank top hangs off of his shoulders, and a pair of shorts seem to be just barely clinging to his thin hips. Is he okay?

Then it registers in my head that he's there, it's the morning, and are those my clothes? Furrowing my brow in quiet, calm concern, I grab my phone off of my nightstand and check the time. Ten in the morning… ah, wow. Okay. Letting out a quiet groan, I swallow the medicine, push the food towards Z, and take the cup of coffee as I carefully stand up and walk into my bathroom.

As soon as the door closes, I call Jamie, a close friend. “Hey, uh, I’m not going to be able to work the store today. Can you swing by there and check to see if everything is alright?” I question, my voice dry and hoarse. I clear my throat and patiently wait for the answer, and while I wait, I take the time to glance over myself in the mirror.

Wow. Is that… really me? I blink and step closer to the mirror, but Jamie answers before I get too lost in my reflection. “Yeah, sure, man,” he mumbles, “but why? I mean, I’m glad that you're finally taking a day for yourself, it's just unexpected.” He sounds… happy? I sigh softly and turn around, resting against the counter as I begin to just think about it all.

“I had a late night. In fact, I still have stuff to do, so I’ll call you later, man,” I distractedly inform Jamie, not even waiting for his response before I hang up. Have I really been that obsessed with my store? Turning to face reflection again, I stare into the face of a stranger. Stressed, hollow eyes stare at me, darkness wreathing them, and I seem to have lost quite a bit of weight, now looking more like Z than I ever could have thought. On top of that, any healthy color I had has disappeared completely, leaving behind a ghostly pallor. Everything that used to be me is just gone.

“I really am lost, aren't I?” I mutter to myself. With a dry, humorless chuckle, I take a drink of my coffee and set about my morning routine. By the time I step out of my bathroom, towel wrapped around my waist, my headache has mostly gone away, leaving behind just a slight pain that has become commonplace in the past few months. Z lays on my bed, tray of empty plates back on the nightstand, and I smile slightly at the look of pure contentment on his face. After a few seconds, though, I clear my throat to get his attention.

“I-I’m sorry but I ate all your breakfast,” Z stutters out as he sits up and looks over at me. Any confidence from the night before seems to have left him, and I smile warmly at the nervous man as I stride over to my closet. I can feel his eye on my back while I rifle through my clothes, but instead of being weirded out, his gaze seems normal, like it's supposed to be there, like it's always been there.

Or maybe I'm just still really tired. I chuckle and grab my clothes for the day; as I turn around, I flash the stunned male a warm smile. Z blushes, red quickly spreading over pale cheeks, and the entire situation seems so intimate that I forget I just met him last night. Setting my empty coffee cup on the tray, I slip back into the bathroom to dress.

He probably needs to shower. I hum at the thought as I slip on an slightly too-large shirt and cargo shorts, and when I step back out, I smile at Z once again and ask, “Do you need to shower?” He stares at me in shock for a few seconds before nodding shyly, and I quickly get him set up in the shower before I lay out several clothes on the bed for him to choose from.

Why am I doing all this for a complete stranger? I frown as I remember that odd familiarity from last night, and my mind wanders through the years while I wash empty dishes. A thin face, hidden behind large glasses and filled with the same feverish sort of excitement, stares up at me from a sea of mist; with a soft sigh, I dry off the last of the dishes and lean against my counter.

Who is he? Frowning, I decide to ask him as soon as he gets out. Sitting down on my couch, I distractedly turn on the television and flip to some random channel, and by the time Z steps out, wearing my clothes once again, I have become sucked into the movie playing on screen. It's only when he sits next to me that I remember my previous thought process, and I waste no time.

“Do I know you?” I ask him. Z blinks at me a few times, his big grey eyes wide in a mixture of confusion and fear. An odd wave of dread washes over me, like I’ve uncorked some horrible secret of the past, but there's that underlying hint of magnetic madness that draws me closer to him. It takes all of my willpower to not lean in and cover him with my body, wrap him up and protect him from everything.

“Y-yeah, uh, you do,” Z nervously admits, and I listen as he explains everything. Slowly, the memories, which had been lying under a layer of defenses put in place to defend me from the blackness of the past, seep through, and as horrible as all of them are, there's a sense of satisfaction at the fact that Z is back, he’s here, I’ve found him again just like I promised.

As we spend the rest of the day, reminiscing and reconnecting, I also feel like I’ve found a part of myself again, the part of me that stays up all night just to see the stars and sits out in the rain to watch the lightning. That stupid, immature, invincible part of myself that got lost in the mess of life, trampled by the stampede of stress. Oftentimes, the things we lose have the oddest way of coming to us, but as I stare into the excitement-filled eyes of Z, my oldest and closest friend, I find myself unable to think of a better way for it all to come together.
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Hollow Words, Our Only Comfort

Postby ghostyghost » November 9th, 2018, 12:59:56 am

We lay awake in the silence. She shifts beside me, her warm skin brushing against mine, and never have I felt so alone in the presence of another human. Especially not next to her.

Can you hear me? I'm screaming for you.

The seconds tick by agonizingly slowly; it seems as if time drags on for an eternity, always too slow or too fast but never the correct speed. It's rather funny, actually, the tricks that time plays on us humans, stupid beings of mass intellectual prowess that still waste too much time, too much precious time.

It's not my choice.

By this point, the silence has become suffocating, yet all my words cling, like reluctant children, to my throat as I try to force them out. I almost think she's asleep, almost give up on trying to speak, almost fall back into the merciful grasp of sleep to hide away from my issues once more when she twists suddenly, and I find myself gazing into a face full of cold, guarded passion, flames trying to escape from a prison of ice. I open my mouth, about to say something. Her eyes gain an almost unnoticeable spark, one all too unfamiliar in these recent days.

Can't we just hold each other, like we used to? I miss you.

As always, the words die in my throat. She gives me a disappointed look and moves to turn over, and in her eyes, I can see that this is the end. If she turns her back on me now, she's turning her back on me forever. Automatically, my hand reaches out, gently grasps her, pulls her close—close enough to smell the lingering shampoo from her earlier shower. “New shampoo?” I whisper hoarsely, stupidly.

What I mean to say is that I miss you and I'm sorry and please don't leave me, I love you.

She stiffens in my grasp, anger breaking through her cool façade, and I curse inwardly as I tighten my arms around her and pull her struggling form against my chest. “I'm sorry,” I whisper, over and over again. Slowly, she calms down and simply rests against my chest.

Can you feel my heart beating for you? Tell me, do you love me still?

Once again, a blanket of silence settles over us. A thousand questions and answers dance on the tip of my tongue, each straining out towards freedom only to hide as soon as the doors open. All the while, she stares up at, passionately apathetic, and the longer I fumble, the further away she drifts.

Do you stare at your other lovers like that, or am I the only one who deserves such an expression of icy fury?

Eventually, I manage to stutter, “I'm, uh, I have to leave in a couple of days. Work.” It's the wrong thing to say, but since when do I say anything right? Her expression hardens again, tries to shut off, but I can clearly read the hurt in the way she pulls away and turns her head but still leans towards me, craving my touch but too wounded from the callousness of my words to accept it. I wince. Why do I always screw up?

Why can't you just talk to me? I'm trying! Can't you see that? Please, love, ask me a question. Accuse me of cheating, of abandoning you… just say something.

“I know,” she bitterly remarks, the first words she's said all night. They're dripping with poison and scorn, which burn as they sink into my soul, but I soak them up eagerly. My fingers twitch, straining out towards her; it's too soon, though. Instead, I run a hand through my hair and try to come up with something that will at least somewhat lessen the ever-growing divide between us.

I think of you every day when I'm away; when I close my eyes, I see you. Do you see this scar? I was distracted thinking about you, spent an extra month just healing.

None of that escapes me, though. Perhaps some deep part of me is afraid to admit how much I miss her because it knows that she doesn't miss me, or maybe it just knows that there's really nothing I can say to fix this anymore. Still, I have to try! I can't just let her slip out of my hand, can I? “I would have been home earlier,” I explain, “but I spent a month in the hospital.”

Do you even care anymore? Am I just talking to a wall? Is this worth it at all?

She doesn't react, except maybe a small flinch. Her eyes seem to darken with guilt, another common emotion on top of all the other negative ones, and I swallow thickly as I try to shove away all the ideas of what things she has to feel guilty about.

Do you prefer his touch over mine? Does he kiss you better? Is he here when I'm not? Tell me, love, does he love you in this house, in this room, in this bed?

“I miss you,” I rush out. She glances over at me dubiously, and I find myself rambling about how much I love her. Her jaw tightens, the way it does when things don't go as expected and her actions have unintended consequences, and I talk faster, trying to outrun the inevitable revelation.

Please don't say what you're going to say. I know it's true already, I already know, I know but please don't tell me. Can't I have this weekend with you? Just one weekend of hollow words and empty touches and cold passion.

She places her finger on my lips, a signal to be quiet, and my heart threatens to beat out of my chest as I await the inevitable words, the soul-crushing admittances of guilt. Eyes stare into mine, their icy cast almost entirely gone; before I can help myself, I'm crushing her body against my own. In a desperate attempt to preserve this love of deception and emptiness, we fall into a whirlwind of desperate touches and pleading kisses, every action as much a question as an answer.

Tell me, love, was all of this fake? Was there always someone else, or did I ruin it?

We lay once again in silence, this time with limbs entangled in each other's. Still, that sickening sense of loneliness seeps through me, and I lay awake long after she's fallen asleep. Hollow words, our only comfort… what do you do when they stop working? Unsettled and terrified, I close my eyes and try to pretend like the next day won't bring about the ending of my relationship, like my empty apologies and cold love haven't torn us apart.

My love… were you always so cold and hollow? Or have I made you this way?
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Galactic Confusion

Postby ghostyghost » November 11th, 2018, 2:10:35 am

With a sigh, I flop back onto the bed. The colorful male sitting at the end of my bed peers over at me curiously, and I scowl at him. He smiles brightly back, which only worsens my mood.

“This isn't working, Nova! They just think it's a stupid phase,” I growl, turning over and burying my face in a pillow. For a few moments, Nova remains still, and I mentally thank whatever gods exist for the small reprieve as I take a few deep breaths to chase away the impending tears. Slowly, I calm down, and I allow myself to relax a little with a soft sigh.

“Why did you think they would care anyways? Are they homophobic?” Nova questions after a pause, his voice sounding much closer than expected. I resist the urge to flinch and instead calmly turn over to stare into his surprisingly serious eyes. Something about him seems… prettier than normal, which is certainly odd to say about a male, but it fits much better than handsome.

Why is he so mesmerizing? Suddenly entranced by him, I lose myself in his colorful eyes for a few seconds before I snap out of it, and, disturbed and incredibly confused, I quickly slip off the bed (and away from him). I can feel his eyes on me as I stride over to my mirror, but I ignore it and think back on his question.

Ah, yeah. Taking a deep breath, I close my eyes and try to calm down before I answer, not wanting my voice to tremble and hint towards the nervousness fluttering in my stomach. “Well,” I begin, “they aren't really homophobic, it's just that they always made it clear I would marry a female and sire an heir. They even told me that would still happen if I were gay, that they'd force me into a relationship and—well, it's just not in their plans.” I take another deep breath but find myself unable to, the air not filling up my lungs all the way. Trying to remain calm and in control, I distract myself from my racing thought by unbraiding my hair.

“If they made it clear, though, what made you think they would change their minds?” Nova questions, his voice not condescending but genuinely curious, and I curse him for his sudden interest in my motivations. We've been playing this charade for six months, why get so interested now? Still, I feel obligated to answer him, so, with trembling fingers, I run my hand through my loose hair and try to assemble my scattered thoughts into a logical explanation.

“I guess… well, I guess I just wanted to see if they cared. About my happiness, I mean. I thought… never mind what I thought,” I force out, my eyes focused not on me but the reflection of a picture on the far wall. Even if I can't make out the details from here, I know every small thing about the photo, the image imprinted in my head. My twelfth birthday… the last year I was happy.

That's emo, wow. Chuckling mirthlessly, I turn around and lean against my vanity as I try to force away all the emotions threatening to swallow me whole. Nova stares at me, and I stare back, uncomfortable but unwilling to back down. As I stare at him, I allow myself to focus not just on his eyes but on his entire body. His always wild and colorful hair seems even wilder today, the bandanna that usually keeps it out of his face having had been tied around his neck instead, and all of his normal silver piercings have been replaced by glittery gold ones.

An odd change, but not an entirely bad one. It works surprisingly well with his black skin, even though explosions of color spread over a majority of it—I assume, I haven't quite seen all of it yet. I find myself wondering if dark blue would look just as good, and I curse inwardly as I find myself unable to stop the train of thought.

Thankfully, Nova interrupts my self-destructive thinking. Smiling slyly, he slips off the bed and glides towards me, and I swallow thickly at the change in motion. His normally erratic and sharp movements, unsettling and wild, have been replaced by slow and almost seductive steps, tantalizing and…and confusing. Confusing because why is this so arousing and what is he doing?

“Well, why don't we prove to them that you're serious?” Nova suggests, his pink and red lips curling further into a grin as he takes in my discomfort. He places a hand on my chest, and my heart beats rapidly under his palm. Encouraged by my reaction, Nova leans up. His breath ghosts against my lips, and I find myself about to lean in subconsciously. Grateful that I managed to catch myself, I force my gaze to remain on his pupils, spots of black in the middle of color.

“And just how do you propose we do that?” I breathe out, my voice surprisingly steady and confident despite my racing heart and erratic thoughts. Nova seems taken aback by my response, his smile fading a little, but it quickly twists into a (deliciously) devious smirk as he leans in further. A shudder wracks my body as his warm breath puffs out on my sensitive ear and neck, but that sensation fades into the background once I register the feeling of his warm body pressed against mine. So… so… so confusing, my mind whirls and spins with the weight and speed of my thoughts, but I find myself enjoying the lack of control I have, the storm of emotions, the adrenaline racing through my veins.

“I'm sure you can figure it out,” Nova whispers in my ear, his hand slipping the my chest. I resist the urge to move or make a noise, even as his hand slips up my shirt. His fingers, warm and impossibly soft, gently caress the skin above my heart as he pulls away from my ear, and I stare impassively down at him. He pouts, an adorable expression that makes me want to—no, Renzi. Calm down. Self-control.

“I'm sure you'd love that, but, unfortunately, I'm not as serious as you seem to be,” I casually inform him, and a smirk spreads over my face as he narrows his eyes. He leans in closer, just barely away from actual contact; this close, I can discern small details, such as the more intricate designs in his eyes and the faint grey freckles spread over his nose and cheeks, barely visible. Additionally, I can pick out a warmer tone of black across his cheeks, a blush, and as my confidence grows, I draw myself up to my full height.

As expected, the shift causes him to back up slightly, enough for me to take a step forward, and Nova instinctually steps backwards. Feeling almost drunk on confidence and new experiences, I take another step forward and continue guiding him back until his knees hit the bed. He sits, and I slowly saunter up to fill the space before him. Nova smirks up at me, one hand lazily lifting and gently grabbing my hair to pull me closer. I obey, awkwardly bending over him; there's something drawing me ever closer, something that's growing ever harder to ignore.

“Are you sure about that, Renzi? You seem pretty serious right now,” Nova teases, except his voice isn't as playful as it usually is. He stares at me, an oddly serious and almost pleading expression in his eyes, and that small break allows all rational thought to come flooding back in. As if scorched, I quickly stand back up and retreat across the room.

Oh, gods, what did I just do? Nausea washes over me as I recall the past events, the loss of control, and war wages in my head. On the one hand, I like it and want more, but on the other hand, I'm not gay. Even if I was, I'm Zailrenzi, Prince of the Galaxies. The next king, someone who has to have children. Besides, that's Nova lying on my bed! Nova, a punk, wild kid high on life and doing anything to keep that high going.

As soon as I stop being interesting, he's going to drop me and move on. The thought threatens to bring everything crashing down, and I grit my teeth against the wave of emotions as I stand, back to Nova. My hands curl into tight fists, my nails digging into my palms, and the pain provides enough of an interruption in my thoughts for me to hear Nova padding up to me. As I turn around, he stops in tracks, and for a few seconds, we just stare at each other.

Why does he look so… sad? I frown and reach out to do something, anything, to make him small, but he gently pushes my hand down with a forced smile. “No, it's fine,” he assures, though his voice is tight and suggests the opposite. “I'm sorry if I did anything wrong… I'm just going to go, okay? Call me… if you still want to.” He turns to go. There's a few seconds of pause by the door, and his head turns slightly, as if waiting for me to say anything.

I remain silent. There are so many things I want to say, but they refuse to come out, clustered at the exit, each fighting but failing to reach through. “Stay,” I finally croak out, but it's too late. He's gone.

What…? I swallow, try to fight back the tears, and allow my shoulders to slump in defeat as it registers that he might never come back. Maybe… maybe he's more serious about this than I thought. The idea makes me breathless and sick to my stomach and stupidly happy, and it's the last straw. Tears break through their prison and stream down my face; like a little kid, I curl up under my blankets and sob.

Unlike a little kid, though, my parents don't come and soothe me. They're too busy trying to groom me into a perfect king when all I want is… I don't know. Freedom? Happiness? Both? Nova? I'm not sure, and the confusion only makes me cry harder because at the end of the day I don't have any of those, not anymore. My future is all planned out, a future that I don't want surrounded by people I don't want, and the only person who could save me from such a colorless life just walked out because I'm an idiot that can't control myself.

Life sucks. Sniffling, I slowly sit up and against my headboard, and with a heavy sigh, I reach over and grab my headphones, phone, remote, and controller. Turning on my phone and the T.V., I slip my headphones on, drowning out the world around me and the war inside me, and as I turn on my game console, I glumly recognize that video games and music will always be with me. My two best friends… my two only friends. Life sucks.
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