Keith looked down at the boxcutter in his left hand, then back to his right wrist. How hard could it be? He’d seen others who had done it; it wasn’t like this was rocket science. He could feel his pulse speed up as he brought the blade down and across his pale flesh. He winced through the cut. He was breathing slightly heavier. Blood rushed to the surface and poured out from the wound he’d made. Keith’s features set themselves into a frown as he watched the blood.
Mike pushed through the bathroom door; he probably should’ve locked that.
“Kay, there you are. I- what did you do?”
Keith just stared as his cousin started grabbing first-aid items from the cabinets and drawers around them.
“So you’re cutting now?”
Keith’s eyes drifted to his marred wrist. He shrugged. “Not really.”
Mike shot him an incredulous look before pushing his wrist under the faucet and turning it on.
“I just wanted to see what it felt like.” Keith watched the water wash the blood down the drain. “It hurt.”
“I guess I just expected it to feel… more…”
“More what?” Mike turned off the sink and squirted some hydrogen peroxide on the cut. Keith winced again.
“Just more.” He thought a minute. “Maybe even profound. But it didn’t, it just hurt.”
Mike applied the neosporin then looked his cousin in the eye. “So I’m not going to have to worry about a repeat peformance; am I?”
Keith shook his head. “No, it doesn’t do anything for me. I think I’ll just stick to smoking.”
Mike laughed and covered the cut with a bandage. “You do that.”
“What-what scares you?” Trevor grabbed a strand of licorice and wielded it like a microphone. “What are you afraid of Miss Valentine?” he said in his best mock-announcer voice before turning the licorice to her.
Images of her family laughing around the table sprang to mind. She bit her lip then played it off in an exaggeration of the action.
“I am absolutely TERRIFIED… of…” Luna paused for dramatic effect and everyone in the circle leaned closer to her. “…having all of my hair fall out.” Luna forced a bright smile, she was getting good at those, and then threw in a hair flip for good measure. The circle burst into chatter again.
She could almost make herself believe that losing her hair was her greatest fear until Luce caught her eye and ruined it. Figures he’d know she was lying. Luce signaled the door with a nod and walked away, not bothering to see if she would follow.
Luna didn’t bother to make excuses to the circle, they had already moved on. Luna took in a steadying breath. When she walked outside she was blasted with a wave of freezing air that tapered off to a constant cold nipping at her exposed flesh.
“Fine, why do you ask?” Luna moved to lean on the wall next to Luce.
“You can lie to them, but don’t lie to me. You looked shell-shocked, you know?” He pulled out a cigarette and lit it before looking up at the stars. “You recovered quickly, but I still noticed. What came to mind when Trevor asked?” Luce blew out a stream of smoke then shifted so that he was looking at her.
“My family. Happy.” Luna’s eyes started to mist up.
Luce lifted a brow but said nothing.
“I’m afraid of no one ever loving me. Really loving me. Wanting me around. Noticing when I’m not there… and actually caring.” She wiped at her eyes and turned to face away from Luce. “I’m afraid I’m always going to be the one standing outside looking in.”
She didn’t hear when he moved, but she felt when Luce’s warm arms wrapped around her from behind.
“It’s too late. Your fear can never come true. I already notice you, and so does Nick. And we both love you, so you’re doomed to never face that fear of yours.
She couldn’t bring herself to look at him, so she just listened as his comforting words warmed her from with in.
Luna sat on the couch looking very much the wilted flower. That was how Luce found her.
“Well, don’t you look deflated.”
She glanced up at his voice, but gave no other response. Luce moved to her side and made a motion with his hands.
“Scooch” He beside her when she acquiesced. “What’s wrong? You’ve lost your perky,” Luce looked to be thinking something over before he added, “and your sass.”
Luna shrugged noncommittally, but at Luce’s raised brow answered.
“I hate Valentine’s Day.”
Luce got a skeptical look.
“How can you hate Valentine’s Day? Your last name is Valentine, for god’s sake. It’s practically a rule that you have to like it.”
“Well, I don’t.” Luna slumped lower into the couch with a huff.
“Alright, sorry. Seriously though, why do you hate it?”
Luna pointedly directed her eyes away from Luce before responding. “Valentine’s Day always reminds me how I’m just an extra.”
“I’ve never made you feel that way; have I?” There was an edge of panic in his voice. Luna’s eyes shot to him immediately.
“What? No! I just- It’s not you…”
“Then what is it? Who made you feel like an extra? And do I need to kick their ass?”
A half-chuckle escaped from her, dying as quickly as it’d come.
“Growing up in my house, V-day was this huge deal.” Luna shifted so she could look forward. She could already feel her eyes misting and a lump growing in her throat. “I’d get a front row ticket to seeing my parents fawn over my sister, expressing how much they loved her and how grateful and blessed they were to have her.” Her words became mocking with each word. “Aaaand, I’d just be there.” She started fidgeting with her hands. “Look, I know it’s dumb, and it was a long time ago, and it shouldn’t matter anymore-”
“But it does,” Luce cut in. When he had shifted to face her, she didn’t know, but his stare was intense. It felt like he was boring into her soul. It unnerved her.
“Valentine’s Day… It just always makes me remember.”
Luce stared at her a minute longer before taking out his cell phone.
“You’re calling someone now? Really? No interfering advice on how I should get over it? Or how I should find a date to make me feel special for a night?” Luna knew she was edging toward hysterics, but she expected more. She bit her bottom lip to keep herself from continuing.
Luce just stared at her, calm as ever.
“Are you done now?”
Luna nodded jerkily after a moment.
“Good.” He dialed and waited for the other person to pick up. Luna could feel the tears rolling from her eyes and she forced herself to turn away from him. Luce was generally kinder than that. She had sort of come to rely on him “rescuing” her. Maybe this was the exception.
“Hey, Veronica. Mind id we reschedule our date? Yeah, sorry it’s so last minute, but a family emergency popped up. No, everything’s gonna be fine; I just can’t go out tonight. Yeah. Thanks for understanding.”
Luna looked back at him, shell-shocked.
“You just cancelled your date.”
Yes. Yes, I did. Now go grab lots of blankets and pillows. I’ll call Nick, see if he can swap shifts with someone and bring us home some pizzas. Then we’re gonna camp out here on the couch and watch movies like a family.”
And that’s just what they did. The three of them sprawled out on top of one another a strange jumble of limbs on the couch. They watched comedies and a few action movies while pigging out on pizza. And when the next year rolled around, they all turned down dates, knowing there was no place they’d rather be than tangled up with their make-shift family on that couch.
Prompt” Valentine’s Day
Becka was a force of nature. Her eyes dared you to try. For anything. For everything. Before you realized you had even moved, you were attempting something crazy with her. She’d be laughing, and the crazy would seem normal. Fun.
She was an all-in type of person. You’d think it’d be exhausting, but it was refreshing. In a world where everyone played life close to the vest, no one revealing what they actually thought, she’d just tell you. She was defiant. She’d grab your hand and drag you along.
Becka was always smiling, always exploring, and always living. She drew the lost, the shy, and the struggling to her. Bring them into her fold and make them better for the experience.
Being near her radiating goodness, it wasn’t hard to fall in love. It took me months to say anything. Months of doubting, of rehearsing a thousand different ways to confess, of looking like a fish as I repeatedly failed to say anything. In the end, it was her challenging eyes telling me to go for it that pushed me to act. I grabbed her and kissed her. It was awkward. I missed slightly, half-kissing her cheek and half-kissing her lips. Not looking as you shove your face forward will do that. I may have also inadvertently bit her in the process. When I pulled back, her eyes were amused.
“Took you long enough.” Just like that, my months of worrying seemed useless.
“Go out with me.” She kissed me in response.
Being with her was an adrenaline rush. She was crazy. She was beautiful. She was fearless. And whenever I was with her, I could believe anything was possible.
Prompt: First Love