Chapter 1 : the jealous sun
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The sun rose high in the sky and kissed every inch of her exposed skin. Her hands, her arms, the backs of her legs, her neck, her shoulders; nothing was safe from the delicate press of the sunís rays as they danced through the clouds all the way down to earth.
The ground was soft beneath her bare feet as she walked through the tall grass, her hand skimming the silken tops of the stalks being whipped about by the wind in slowly moving circles. The thin wisps tickled the palm of her hand, the sensation crawling up the length of her arm and spreading until it dissipated just above her heart, floating but not sinking in.
Sighing softly, she tilted her head back and let the beams of sunlight beat down upon her, let her skin soak up the rays that had been, until now, seemingly absent. Despite the pleasant heat radiating from the sun, her insides felt cold. There was something out of place, and it wasnít just her.
She had no idea how she had gotten here, and quite honestly, she didnít want to find out. Wherever here was, it felt right. It felt good and warm and comforting and just about the only place she could ever imagine herself being for the rest of forever. With the rays of light dancing along her skin, with the brush of the tall grass against her legs and her ankles. It was contentment, this was.
And yet there was no denying the pitting sensation that took residence in the not-so-deep of her stomach; it was there on the surface, prickling at her warming flesh. She could not shake the feeling that something was missing. A piece of the puzzle, a fragment of glass in the shattered mirror.
This placeÖit could have been perfection, like one of van Goghís masterpieces, but there was something wrong. The picture was not finished, and the paint was still wet. It was missing that final stroke of brilliance, that one dash, dot, spot, what have you of pure radiance. That one thing that turned a work of art into a work of absolute genius.
Despite the distinct feeling pervading the air, she could not bring herself to feel sorrow. Instead, she felt hopeful, like the next dawn would bring to her what was missing. Somehow, she knew this was not the end. This was not a time to despair.
As she walked, the grass caressed her bare legs and the soft dirt slipped between her toes, dulling the brightness of the red lacquer on her toenails. The smell of earth, of nature, of freedom was all around her, and it was impossible to resist. So she heeded the call and flung her arms out, spinning around and around and around until the horizon blurred in a fabulous stream of blue, green, and gold, like the field she stood in.
She spun until her head felt dizzy and her heart felt light. And yet the feeling of incompleteness still remained, but not for long. She could feel it lifting; her shoulders did not feel quite so heavy any more. Hope bubbled in her stomach as she once again began to pick her way through the golden field, occasionally reaching out to touch the high grass.
It was only as the sun crept towards the ground, streaking the sky with pinks and reds and oranges and deep, dark purples and the wind turned west, that the bubble of hope burst, sending such a rush through her that she gasped in surprise. Tilting her head, she squinted towards the horizon and saw it.
She saw him.
Her walk became brisk, then a slow jog until her hair spiralled out of its enclosure and down her back as she ran full-tilt towards her past, her present, her eternity. He didnít walk, he didnít run. He stayed exactly where he was in the middle of the barley field, shadowed by the setting sun.
The barley smacked her shins as she ran, her bare feet digging deep into the earth as she beat the new, but strangely familiar path towards him. Though she had never traversed this path before, though she had never lived this moment, she had never seen him standing in a field, it felt as though she was all she had ever known. All she ever needed to know.
He opened his arms just moments before she barrelled him into him, jumping into his embrace. Her arms locked round his waist as she flung her arms about his neck. He touched her back, her arms, her thighs, her sides until his hands stopped on her face. His eyes roamed her face in a way that his hands could never do, reaching deep inside of her and prising her open, exploring and examining even though he already knew every bit of her.
The light press of his mouth against her lips sent a gasp through her entire being, shocking her so completely, her body arched into his, every part of their beings - minds, bodies, and souls - touching.
ďJames,Ē she whispered, and the final piece of the puzzle snapped into place. The picture was complete, fit for the walls of any museum, meant to be viewed by the world, and yet it was a moment so like many others, it was entirely theirs.
A/N: Majorly, majorly inspired by the song of the same name by Sting, from which the title also comes. This is one of my personal favourites, and it immediately brought to mind Lily and James. I hope you enjoyed it! J