Chapter 1 : Swimming in the Pools of Eyes
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Snow is falling, blanketing the previously bronze earth with layers of blinding white. She watches from the window, letting her eyes drift from the flakes that flutter down from the graying heavens. Her mind wanders, refusing to focus on one subject or another before it gets side tracked by something as equally dull or uninteresting. Her hands fold delicately in her lap, her feet tuck under her slight form as she curls into herself subconsciously. It is peaceful, sitting alone on her windowsill as she watches the weather flutter beyond the protection of the glass. Peaceful, she thinks, until he arrives.
His form is just visible in the snow, his figure draped in the black cloak she has always thought to large for him making its way down the garden path he has traveled many times before. She does not expect such a sudden appearance by him, and so she is surprised to make out his person coming nearer and nearer to her. His progress is slow, hindered by the ever-falling presence of the snow that surrounds him, but it is steady all the same. One foot after another, pace constant, his shoulders bobbing toward her.
The surprise that flickers through her blood has altered her mindset. It is no longer a peaceful, quiet afternoon, but instead something she had not anticipated and therefor an entirely different day altogether. She sits straighter, her eyes creasing around the edges as the cold plaster of the wall brushes against her thin shirt. Along he comes, his head tucked into the safety of his shoulders as the wind allows the snowflakes to swirl around him.
"Teddy." The name is but a whisper on her lips, the air floating to the surface of the atmosphere around her before she can stop herself from uttering his calling. Oh, what a foreign word it is, sticky but sweet against her tongue. It has not passed through her being for weeks, months even, and yet it makes its appearance now quite suddenly, almost as suddenly as he himself has.
Closer still he comes, hands shoved into the warmth his moth-eaten pockets can provide. The gentle weather she had once admired sweeps by his figure, but he pays it no mind. His goal is in sight, the roof of her house starting to crown over the flurries of snow. A smile graces his face, cracking against his lips, almost as foreign and unseen as the single word the girl inside, the girl he intends to meet, has unintentionally whispered. He does not know this of course, has no knowledge of his name's presence, as that would have made him quicken his pace along the brick path that is buried under layers of white. No, instead he continues as slow and as steady as he has been since he has arrived, as she has been watching him, knowing that he will reach his destination in a matter of minutes. He does not wish to expend any extra effort, as that would reveal the true anxiety amounting in his chest.
She rises, stretching to fill her form as she stands. The skirt she has worn just to spite the weather, as impractical her decision might have been that morning, brushes against her thighs and sends chills caressing her insides. The door is in sight, standing like an ominous bastion among a churning sea, towering over her figure as she approaches it.
He will knock any moment now, his form having disappeared from sight only seconds ago. Will it be quiet? Surely that would mean he would be hesitant to enter. Would it be loud? But that in itself would imply over-confidence. His tap on the worn wood would have to be a mix between the two, a happy medium to satisfy them both.
Silence. Both souls stand on either side of the door, waiting for a sound that will not come. Indecision floats over him like a cloud, dark and ominous. He could turn back. He has the option, right in this moment, to turn on his heel and never look in her direction again. But something draws him toward her, pulling at him like a magnetic force that he cannot find the will to turn away from. "Oh, Victoire," he mutters. "Oh... Victoire." It is bitter, the words twisting across his mouth as they are released into the air. He spits, almost, as he knows she will not be listening. Of course, he has no idea that she is only inches from his very being, cheek pressed delicately against the cool wood of the door while she waits like a schoolgirl for any sign of his presence.
Her hand grips the bronze of the weathered handle. It slides against her skin as if layered with scales of a snake, threatening to sink its pointed fangs into the flesh of her fingers if she moves any further. But she ignores this imaginary serpent, throwing caution to the blustering wind outside her home as the knob twists in her hands.
Suddenly, the cold air the window has protected her against is sliding across her skin, stinging like a thousand needles as it slips under shirt and pricks at her form. The door has blown open, the momentum started by the simple push of her weight against it, and she finds herself standing face to face with the man who swore he'd never see her again.
Again, the names float to the air and sit there like unneeded toys a small child has outgrown, limp and lifeless while neither makes a move to use them again. He stares at her, his eyes swimming in the pools of her own, unable to rip his gaze away from the face that has been branded upon his mind since he has left her. Neither is exactly sure of what they had expected of this moment, but neither makes a move to correct whatever wrongs had already been presented between them. And so they stand, silent and still, eyes wide and unwavering as they look upon the other.
This is when he knows he should do something, when whatever is left of a man inside him is demanding him to collide with her, kiss her. His feet, though, always unconnected with the ways of his heart, stay rooted to the ground in firm protest. His breathing is ragged, tearing from his lungs with almost silent gasps, struggling against the tide of his emotions as if drowning in a mid-June sea.
She does not respond, but instead reaches forward with a single finger to place upon his quivering lips. She need not say his name, as she knows it will only hang there like a forgotten article of clothing that moths have eaten through almost entirely. Instead, she steps inside, her foot searching into what she cannot see as it lands behind her. He follows, just as both of them knew he would, and melts into her atmosphere almost immediately.
The weather whispers across the door, pulling it shut with its spindly fingers of wind. It breathes across the pathway, covering the footsteps he has left behind so that the yard is smooth, quiet, and peaceful once again.