Aurora

To escape her constant solitude, Aurora seeks attention and affections from boys who smirk the right way, despite being degraded for it. Amidst it all, she sort of, accidentally, falls in love...Ok so I completely rushed this IM SORRY. I wrote it for the John Green competition and literally posted it at one minute to midnight, punctual as ever. But here it is. I hope you can still make some sense out of it. Credit for the chapter titles go to Marina & the Diamonds, whose Electra Heart character inspired me a lot :)

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2. II. If only you knew my dear, how I lived my life in fear

Here’s how it goes: she stares and pouts and draws circles with her fingertip over her collar bone, he stares and looms and his touch lingers too long on her wrist, their heartbeats thunder, and then they’re stumbling through the hall to her suite.

At least, usually. But this time her tricks are failing; the magicians hat is empty. It’s a book editors 50th, so the room is thriving with writers - she’d love a writer, to engrave billets-doux into her skin and to craft a sonnet from her loins. Yet she’s threaded her way through the party, coated in vanilla butter and her Marc Jacobs perfume, biting on her bottom lip as she talks about Dickinson, all to no avail. A little nonplussed, she heads to the bar, shoulders drooped like lily heads in autumn.

Of course, it’s then she feels heads turning, gazes burning. Turns out that all it took was a Long Island, an unyielding umbra and a wilted spirit. She sits quietly for a while, reluctant to disturb the water. Then finally, finally, a lanky figure slides onto the stool next to her. A sliver of black ink peeks out from under the neckline of his shirt. She can’t tell what it is, a Chinese symbol maybe, but whatever, it looks delicious.

‘You seem lonely,’ he says, almost sounds like an apology, the right corner of his mouth tugging upwards.

‘Aren’t you the perceptive one,’ she smiles wickedly around the rim of her glass as she sips and then, languidly, licks her lips.

‘I’m Luka,’ he grins, and offers her his hand, to like, shake. That’s - that’s a first.

Gently, she shakes it, making sure to drag her nails softly across his palm as she lets go, keeping her objectives in mind. Except it’s followed by a silence, and she panics, lungs contracting. A train of questions steams through her mind, (what does he want? what should I do?) because honestly, these writers are a whole new species and she doesn’t know –

‘And your name is…?’

Oh. Oh.

‘Aurora.’

He nods, ‘oh, like –‘

‘The Disney princess, yeah,’ she chuckles blandly, another sip.

‘Well, yes, that, but also like the Roman goddess of dawn. Did you know that?’

For some reason, she feels a  heat swell across her cheeks, like rose buds blooming. Another sip. ‘I didn’t.’

‘It’s true. She flies across the sky every morning with the sun in tow.’

She can’t help herself beaming at this new revelation, or maybe it’s just the drink that has her so dazzled, but still. ‘Wow! Well, you learn something new every day.’

His eyes are creased and glinting behind his Ray Ban glasses. She reckons he just wears them for the nerd look, but even if it is pretentious, it works, with his unshaven jaw and mussed fringe. She cannot wait to get her hands on him.

They talk some more as she absent-mindedly skips her fingers over his forearm, smirking at the goose-bumps she evokes. Slowly, their talking dwindles, and his mouth is slack, begging to bleed. She leans closer, hot breath on his ear, whispers, ‘Let’s go.’ He doesn’t hesitate, and she thinks maybe writers aren’t that different after all.

-

It hadn’t started the same, so it makes sense it wouldn’t end the same, either.

To start with, she doesn’t wake to an expanse of cold sheets, alone in a wasteland with the stale smell of booze and sex. Instead, there’s warmth, a pillow made of chest where she could rest her head and trace the skull on his breast if she wanted to. She doesn’t.

‘You’re still here,’ she murmurs as his eyelids flutter in the harsh sunlight.

His brow puckers. ‘Oh. I – I must have fallen asleep.’

‘I see.’

She gets up and that would have been the end of it. Would have been, if it were anybody else.

But that bloody writer.

She returns to what appears to be an empty room, but as she sits at her French dressing table, she sees she is not entirely alone. She finds the note attached to the mirror, a small piece of him left behind, a breadcrumb.

‘I like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
I like your body. I like what it does,
I like its hows. I like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh...And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new

-         ee cummings.
 

Coffee or tea?
07812943566’

It was romantic. Really romantic, actually. But the thing with girls who hand out their hearts for free, is that they become threadbare and mangled, until they’re barely hearts anymore but clumps of flimsy material. And poetry doesn’t fix that, romance doesn’t fix that. She’s fake and heartless and she screws the note up within the hour.

-

It doesn’t even take a week before he’s back. She’s called down by the front desk and sees him standing there against the armrest of a sofa, the flesh and blood of sin. She can smell cigarettes on him, amidst his musk and coffee aroma, and it genuinely takes her a second to gather her bearings.

‘What do you want?’ she tilts her head, curious, but she could guess if she tried.

‘I take it you didn’t see my note?’ he asks tentatively, like one might reach a wavering arm out to pet a lion, or a tiger - something with fangs.

‘I like my body when it is with your body,’ she recites cockily. He gulps, his tongue flitting to find the right words. She doesn’t bother waiting. ‘Luka, the note was lovely, honestly. I’m just not looking for a relationship, I don’t – I don’t want a boyfriend. You shouldn’t waste your time on me.’

‘Who said anything about boyfriend?’ he says, chewing on his lip, (dammit).

‘Who else leaves poetry stuck to your mirror?’

‘I just didn’t want you to think I was binning you off…’ he dips his head, looking up at her through those chimney-sweep lashes, ‘Unless that’s what you want?’

She hmm’s, running her finger along the zip of his leather jacket. ‘I don’t know, I don’t usually go back for seconds. Maybe you could convince me?’

And that he does.

It gets better every time, she thinks. He holds her like parchment, biting the angel wing arch of her hips, sheening her body with sweat and lust. He spits out poetry like its toxic until he can’t anymore, until its kissed out of him. The hours in-between are spent in rumpled sheets, watching Marie Antoinette and living off room-service desserts: jam tarts and crème brulee. It’s what darling Marie would want, she insists.

At Luka’s flat, however, there is no tiny pudding kingdom awaiting seizure, no toffee-bricked palaces, no syrup moats, no meringue towers. Just a sweet steam unfurling through the air like a sail. She crouches in front of the oven, peering in at the dollops of mixture, sitting like plump little doves.

‘I told you it would be a success,’ Luka says, slapping her head with the oven mitts. ‘Maybe this is my true calling. La patisserie de Luka does have a ring to it, doesn’t it?’

She laughs, standing up. ‘Alright, muffin man. I admit it didn’t end as catastrophically as I thought.’

Of course, this is before he loosened the tie of her apron and splayed her upon the flour dusted worktops, making “bun” puns that she rolls her eyes at and cuffs him for. His baking dreams are over before they even began - hilariously, she thinks. Later, they find themselves scraping black slates off the fairy cake rooftops. Needless to say, she very much enjoyed licking cream off his chest.

She prefers his flat, it’s homelier than what she calls home. The floorboards creak under their feet and the floor above always seems to be vacuuming, sometimes as early as six in the morning. The surfaces of tables and sills are dotted with the circular trails of coffee mugs. He has shelves of records, lined alphabetically by the artists name, though there’d be far more from the 90’s era if it was up to her.

She likes to play Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill whenever she’s there, sometimes Nirvana, and just the music will be enough for them and their heavy eyes, as the last of the May light casts a halo around her head, where her dark roots have crept in amongst the blonde.

‘What does your tattoo mean?’

He glances down at the ink; the twists and winds of it, from sharp petals to butterfly wings to bone, pooling at the middle into two hollow eye sockets.  ‘Er. It means – it means live until you’re well and truly dead.’

A beat.

‘I like it.’

Soon the pillow begins to inhale her smell and bits of her clothing get heaped with his laundry. It’s nothing big enough to notice, but she notices. She’s not sure what to think about it. She’ll muse on her side of his bed during the days she’s there before he is.

‘Okay, you’re going to hate me for this soppy shit but I had to get it,’ he says one evening, handing the wine bottle to her as he fishes through his pocket. ‘I saw it and I - how could I not get it?’

He holds up a necklace of pearls, like tiny captured moonbeams hanging from his hands, falling to where a gold letter “A” dangles in the centre, tailed by three more lunar beads. It looks like the sister of that which once rested over the crevice in the chest of a ruthless queen, where a heart should have beat if she’d have had one, but the people knew better. They watched the weeping “B” slide to the floor with Her Majesty’s little neck, lying in the blood and gore as they cheered, gone is the witch!

‘Before you argue,’ he gabbles, nervous, ‘it wasn’t expensive or anything. I just spotted it on the market and I know how you love your ambitious, potent queens.’

‘I’ll let you off because it’s so lovely,’ she concedes, lifting her hair, ‘would you?’

His mouth erupts into a smug grin as he leans over. ‘A for Aurora. Isn’t it good?’

‘Yes, yes! Now then,’ she swigs from the bottle and  shuts him up with her wine stained lips and a vengeance.

-

 

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