Coping with the world

When Colette, the love of Henry’s life, tragically passes away, Henry starts to feel the pain of a life time. He is left in this world with nothing but a broken heart and a young child that he struggles to love. Soon he begins to read Colette’s novels, and finds that she poured out the very depths of her soul onto paper, and he begins to find peace in her writing as he slowly learns how to cope with the world he has been left behind in.

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1. Forever

He watched her nimble fingers hit each key carefully yet swiftly as she disappeared into her own little world. He didn’t know where she’d be today, a fairytale land or an adventure of impeccable things, but no matter where it was, he knew it would be magical because everything she imagined always was. He watched as her mouth curved into a bewitching smile, that reflected his well, and if he knew that smile, which he did, he could tell that she was fascinated by her own creations.

Momentarily, she stopped typing and she distanced herself from the screen and he could see that she was having a mental block. He also knew that it wouldn’t last long. And so he watched her as she dived into the depths of her own mind in search of inspiration and, sure enough, her eyes lit up and her fingertips grazed the keyboard once more.

He himself never wrote or even read many stories. Why would he? Reality is enough for him and even that is too short to waste away in somebody else’s dream world. He admired her though for making up these little scenarios that she often shared with him, and her dedication, admiration and passion for her novels was something he had to commend, despite that fact that most of them remained unfinished.

Her novels were something that she took pride in and by saying unfinished this does not necessarily mean that she is not committed to them and has failed to write the ending. In fact, some of her books have an ending and a start but are without the middle, and most have the middle and the end but are without a start. This is not an uncommon thing for her because she struggles to find the words to place on that first page. The perfect novel needs a perfect beginning.

He stood up from the couch and walked over to where she was sitting cross-legged on the floor, her laptop on a small table before her, and proceeded in closing the lid slightly to gain her attention - which she gave to him willingly. Their eyes met and they held the gaze for a few heartbeats, then he beamed an exasperated and utterly smitten smile. She took a deep inhale, her eyes cast down to the floor as hundreds of emotions flooded her body. Every time she looked at him, they were always there.

Joining her on the floor, he placed his arm around her without moving his eyes from hers, allowing her to rest her dreary head on his shoulder. He could tell she was tired as the dark bags formed beneath her eyes, looking so out of place against her pale skin. Though he never admitted it to her, he secretly liked the dark circles as they brought out the bright colour of her eyes.

The laptop screen was still leaning over the keyboard but from where he was sat he could have easily read a few lines of her writing. He didn’t though. As much as he loved her and hearing her fascinating tales, he never read anything she wrote, purely because he knew everything about her already - her dreams and her fears and her secrets - and didn’t need to learn anything about her again in the form of a character she created.

There were times when he would wonder if she wrote about him. He sort of hoped that he was in her novels as the tall, dark and handsome man that swept her off her feet, even though he was none of those things listed. Of course, he asked her if ever made an appearance in her stories but she would always reply with the same phrase and the same dull tone of voice stating that he would have to read them to find out. But he didn’t want to read them. He liked her as she was and didn’t want to ruin that by spending his time wondering if her characters were truly made up or if they were a part of her that she had hidden away. Besides, the more time he spent staring tediously at a page was less time he could spend looking at her.

Gently he kissed her hair, pulling her body closer to him but she was still distant in her mind. Her eyes had become fixed on the bright screen - that was the only thing illuminating the room- as she became lost in her own world once more. He moved his free hand to her face, tucking back as few dark strands of hair that had freed from her bun, which appeared to have been shoved up in a hast.

He could barely see her facial features as the screens light only brushed across the left side of her face, though he did not need to see as he already knew them perfectly. He could draw the outline of her face with his eyes, down from her forehead across her button nose to her thin, pink lips and her strong jaw line. It was as if he could see the innocence of her face and the rosiness of her cheek through the darkness.

They had not been together for long, yet he already knew that he loved her liked he had never loved anybody else. He would glance at her and just think to himself that he must have been extremely good in a previous life to receive such a gift in this one. Her slim body curved in all the right places, though he would often notice her sucking in her stomach but he said nothing because that was the correct thing to do, and her dainty hands and slim fingers that would interlock perfectly with his, soothing over his calluses. Even her name made his entire world light up.

“Colette?” He whispered gently and his breath ran over her skin. “You’re not falling asleep are you?” She did not reply but he refrained himself for asking again, keeping a close eye on her lips for signs of movement. She blinked a few times but other than that remained impassive to his words.

In an instant, she sat up turning to gaze at him, green eyes to blue, and smiled. “Sorry,” she managed to murmur, her voice slightly raspy but to him she still sounded as sweet as ever. “I think I am rather sleepy. Shall we go to bed?”

His smile grew wider and his eyes flashed lighter, his entire world seemingly brightening up. The sound of her voice and the way her lips moved and the gleam in her eye when she spoke to him was utterly enticing. She was no longer out of reach; she was beside him in all aspects.

Without saying another word, he pulled her as close to him as possible and cradled her in his arms, her hair still lingering the smell of her posh perfume that he had never bothered to read the label of. All he knew was that it was too expensive for his liking. Colette gently wrapped her slim arms around his neck, the pale colour of her skin standing out against his faint tan, and he lifted her up.

Barely managing to snatch his glare away from her, he guided them from the room, careful not to bang her dainty legs against the framework. He did not mind carrying Colette as she was light enough for him to carry, despite the fact that he did not posses bulging muscles, and it took him little to no effort to carry her upstairs and to their bedroom.

The room was dim when they entered, the wall lights on the opposite walls flickering and close to utter destruction, the trails of white wire that linked them cut and run down. The shelves across the far wall were filled with Colette’s first editions, her desk was cluttered with her make-up from that morning, her blusher marking the already stained wood, and her clothes were slung over the chair. It smelt like her and always felt warmer because he shared it with her, and they were all the reasons he loved it so much.

He placed her down on the large bed that centred the room, the plush blankets and duvet cushioning her softly, before untucking the sheets and wrapping them warmly around her. He placed a gently kiss to her forehead and she squirmed with delight at his tender touch, though her weary eyes remained closed.

He swiftly walked to his side of the bed and clambered in, enfolding her in his arms. Her scent was like heaven to him. It was sweet and fresh much like her and reminded him that she was there with him, as if her physical form wasn’t quite enough. No, he liked more than that. He liked the complicated labyrinth that was her mind and the quirky questions she tended to ask and the way she smelt and the way she breathed and the way she laughed – carefree and loud.

There’s the funny thing about love. You don’t just fall for the person; you fall for their life, their music, their words, and even their flaws. You start to see the world from a different perspective - their perspective - not because you have chosen to but because you have to. I’m afraid when it comes to love, we don’t get much choice in the matter.

“You’re mine, Henry,” her voice was like music to his ears – a soft symphony – just like his favourite song.

“And you’re mine,” he replied with a smile dancing tastefully across his lips. Now it was her turn to smile, hugging him closer than she ever had before, just like every other night that they lay there as he whispered, “Forever.”

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