A love story based off a Greek Myth.
Wind wrestles with falling red petals, the flower heads droop. Clouds block the sun, and the cold settles in the cracks of the concrete, in the pockets of the soil and in the corners of the branches. Skin quivers from a frosty touch, lips chap from a freezing kiss, thighs tighten from a frozen embrace. The wind settles, allowing the red petals to fall and splatter on the ground. Peering eyes pierce through the wind. A gloved hand brushes through red silky hair; laughter and giggles bounce around the school rooftop. Cracks form as two sharp teeth cling onto a lower pale lip. Splotches of blood erupt from lip cracks, but a swift tongue gathers each droplet. Chlo 's hand clenches into a fist and the pattering of footsteps drifts away. A loud ringing calls everyone inside.
Chairs screech against the floor, crossed legs hide beneath block desks. A pair of curious eyes wander around and notice a twitching arm, a tapping finger and a cracking neck. The tests are marked with red ink. Foreheads wrinkle, noses scrunch, lips pout, and eyes widen. Coughs and sighs attempt to break down the silence. A smile appears on Ane's face: her paper lacks red ink. She watches Chlo leaning on her hand, staring at Ze. Her head slips closer and closer to the edge of her hand and then... “bang!” Heads swivel, lips smirk, eyes wink and tongues pop. Scarlet paints Chlo's pale cheeks; her head burrows beneath her arms. Ane grins as Chlo's hand brushes off her drab hair from her eyes; they quickly peek from hiding and hope to see the back of heads instead of judging eyes.
“They were all looking at me and laughing, I'm such an idiot,” says Chlo.
“No one cares. Did you hurt your head?” asks Ane, and her hands rub Chlo's hair.
“I'm fine.” Pale hands brush away Ane's hands. “I was stupid, why would he even look at me? I should just adopt nine cats and take up knitting.”
“That wouldn't be the worst. I'll join you, cats are amazing.” They both giggle and Chlo opens her hand to Ane.
“Can I have a cigarette? It's freezing.” Ane pulls out thin cigarettes and places one in Chlo's mouth. She takes out a crimson lighter and hands it to Chlo. “So I came here before class to see you, but you were with Ze; what were you guys talking about?”
“He was just asking me if I wanted to join him at his family's cottage next weekend. He told me it was warmer there and he saw some flowers already blooming.”
“I love flowers. Are you going?” Chlo grinds her teeth.
“No. I don't mind the cold and we're supposed to hang out every weekend: you still have to finish all those chocolate roses.”
“I want some now. I'm hungry, we should go get our lunch.”
Hungry stomachs wait in line for a warm meal. Gossip and rumour echo through the room and hope to seize interested ears. Hunger and thirst deprive the mind, while hands entertain phones, eyes frisk chests and tongues lick lips. Silvery spoons gather orange creamy mush on gunmetal trays and straws pierce closed holes allowing empty mouths to slurp stale liquids. Ane's curious eyes watch Chlo walk past Ze. Chlo gropes a brown paper bag close to her chest. She plays with her dry hair, twirling and stretching every strand. Ze's eyes wander to Ane and he winks. Chlo crumples the brown bag and drops it onto a green table. A sunny smile greets Chlo as she sits. She pulls out a pomegranate and a salad. Small fingers pick out the pomegranate's flesh, and reddish juices pour down a naked wrist.
“Can I have some of your chips?”asks Chlo
“Yeah. If you want some pizza or brownies too, just take them,” says Ane. Chlo sprinkles greasy chips on the green salad. “How did you do on the test?”
“Perfect. I thought one thing was going to be wrong, but I was wrong.” Chlo snorts.
“Great. I got a couple wrong. I'm glad I studied with you.” She touches Chlo's hands.
“Right. Too bad studying won't help me get a date. Do you have a date to the dance?”
“Nope. I haven't put too much thought into it; we should just go together like last year.”
“Sure, but I wish I could actually get a date, like a guy, you know? I haven't kissed one yet or even been seen by one; cats notice me,” Chlo says.
“I'll go if you go: it's not fun without you. We can bring cats in tuxes as our dates, since you don't want to go together. You should come over tomorrow so we can plan.”
“I'll come over, but I'd rather go naked than go with tuxedo cats.”
“Really? You could go naked, I'm sure everyone will enjoy that.” Chlo blushes and looks away; her hair dangles and blocks her vision. Ane's hand shifts the unmanageable hair away.
“Hey, you having important girl talk?” asks Bor. His knapsack falls onto the green table.
“No. Do you need something?” Chlo giggles.
“Ane, you want to hang out this weekend?” Chlo grinds her bottom lip.
“Sorry. Chlo and I are hanging out, so we can decide what to wear for formal.”
“Cool we should all go together; I can pick you all up in my new car. It's pretty cool, my dad got it for me,” says Bor.
“Maybe. We usually go together. We're going to match and everything; adding you would make the process difficult.”
“Fine. Just make sure to be really pretty for me.” He picks up his knapsack, with a smirk and winks as he leaves the table.
The last bell rings. Lockers bang from the rush of anxious youths. Papers scatter on
floors as the wind rushes inside. Laughter and music echo floor to floor, top to bottom and then out the door. Polo shirts, baggy sweaters, long skirts and dark shoes are taken off quickly. Sweet fruity perfumes and heavy musk colognes conceal funky smells. Rumour and gossip exit but will continue in homes. Chlo watches patiently, and smiles behind a locker door. A gloved hand reaches into a locker nearby, and gray eyes catch a lurking presence.
“Are you taking anyone to the dance?” asks Bor.
“No. I'm thinking about asking Ane, she'll probably go with me. I'll take her home after and warm her up in bed,” says Ze.
“She's going with me, not you. You'll just leave her in the cold when you're done, like those other girls.” Bor snickers.
“So what? We have fun, no big deal. And do you really think she's going with you? You have more of a chance with that weird girl she hangs out with.”
Smiles liven up a pink bedroom. A flipped ashtray spills grey dust over an oak coffee table. Shirts, sweaters, socks and bras decorate a bare floor. Pink underwear with a dry maroon stain lie on a bed. Cacti cluster together on the window sill, gently pricking one another. Pictures of Chlo and Ane stand on a dresser, facing the head of the bed. Fierce winds bang against the window, but are unable to enter. A message appears onscreen from Ze, and Ane promises him one dance. Ane handwrites an intimate letter for Chlo; only Chlo's eyes can see the contents of the personal letter.
“Your chocolate roses are in my drawer and I also have some strawberry soda,” says Ane.
“You think I should lose some weight?” asks Chlo.
“Why? You already have a dress that fits perfectly. I really love the colour: red looks great on you. I'm sure someone will notice. And I got this violet hairpin for you, in case your hair falls onto your face. See the flower matches my dress right?” She fastens it to Chlo's hair.
“Thanks.” Scarlet softens Chlo's pale face.
“I'll be wearing this rose choker to match your dress and we'll be the hottest couple there. Also... I managed to sneak some vodka past my Mom, want some?”
“Yes, pass it here.” Chlo takes a drink. “So, do you like Ze?”
“Do you like anyone?”
“I don't know, maybe? I'm not sure if they like me back.”
“Chloris, did Anemone bring you those chocolate roses?” Hands conceal a silver bottle.
“Good. Are you excited for the formal?”
“The two of you will look so cute together.” Glaring eyes warn an unwanted presence to leave.
“Well, have fun.”
The sun lowers, the wind blows. A purple and a red dress appear in the gymnasium. A roaring crowd engulfs the center, small cliques huddle in corners, gentle loners hold up walls. Colours dance with music, hands dance down hips, lips dance on necks. Sweat slowly slides down foreheads and drips off pouted lips. Eyes beckon willing bodies, limbs tangle in delight. Chlo and Ane find an empty spot to dance. Their bodies twist, bend and stretch. Ane's curious eyes linger at Chlo's hips, chest and long flowing hair. Ane carefully pulls a letter from her chest and places it in Chlo's hand.
“Here just read it. I was going to give you this later, but I want you to read it now.”
Ze grabs Ane.
“What are you doing?” asks Chlo. Her hands tighten, crumpling the letter.
“She promised me a dance,” said Ze.
“She's dancing with me,” states Bor. Eyes gather and watch from a distance; whispers of “fight” echo. Bor's fist rushes forward and misses Ze's head. Ze retaliates and shoves Bor onto the floor. The crowd laughs.
“Why would you dance with him?” Chlo throws her violet pin on the ground and leaves the dance floor. Ze smiles and holds out his hand to Ane. Ane pulls away and picks up the hairpin.
Chlo clings to the sides of her dress. Her wet eyes twinkle and sparkle in the washroom; a mirror reflects her red eyes and trembling lip, and a crumpled letter. She opens the letter, her eyes widen, her tears stop, her lips smile. She runs quickly to their favourite spot the rooftop and finds Ane on the edge. Her guilty heart thumps and bumps, her soft hands grip and grab Ane, her red lips quiver and shake.
“Don't!” Chlo said.
“What? I picked up your pin and got away from that fight, but I accidentally dropped it below. Why are you crying?” Ane asks.
“Because I'm an idiot. I'm sorry, I never realized how you felt. Why are you crying?” Chlo brushes Ane's red hair from her red eyes.
“Because this is the happiest I've seen you.”
Laughter and giggles bounce around an empty rooftop. The wind subsides, the night is calm and flowers lay still. Chlo's red lips smile, her lush hair frames her face. Chlo's hands wrap around Ane's hands and they gaze below. Red flowers look up, greeting them before each petal closes.