Porcelain

Calton Jayce is one of the few pupils to stay at his boarding school over the winter holidays. Struggling to overcome his incessant boredom, one day he stumbles upon a boy, a seemingly innocent boy, who sticks in his mind like glue on paper. At last, he might be able to be happy. But things are buried in the snow and the ice is thinner than Calton could imagine.

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1. Mistletoe

With a wistful sigh, Calton Jayce lowered himself onto the coveted window seat in his dormitory. Students milled about in the grounds below him, chatting, cheering, chortling. With uniform packed away and pre-holiday excitement setting in, the few teachers unfortunate enough to have been elected to remain struggled to control the masses. 

Calton glanced at his bed, fairly ne atly put together but unkempt compared to the crisp cleanliness of all the others. He had plenty of time to sort out that trivial thing. It wasn't as though he was going anywhere. 

Three weeks of snowfall and vacuity. Other students stayed too, but none of them paid each other any heed. To stay over Christmas was to admit that your house wasn't home and that loomed over them like mistletoe over unkissed lips.

The accepted rule was to remain in your dormitory until all the other students had gone home, but Calton was never one for such rules. In the chaos of the final day, he hadn't been for his morning walk and he was itching to get outside.

 

Calton was average. He had sort-of blond hair and thick-ish eyebrows. He was of medium build, not fat, not thin, not muscly. The only thing that stood out about him was his eyes. They were a dark colour, near-black. Even so, he was a mere background figure in the eyes of his peers.

He didn't walk for fitness. It was simply that he loved the company of the sky and the air. Embracing the icy teeth of the pre-snow frost, he revelled in the coming of winter. He favoured the colder months; the bright blankness of a wintry landscape appealed to him.

As he neared the forest that lay siege to the western boundary of the school grounds, Calton wondered if he should enter. During term time it was forbidden to go beyond the school borders, but no such rule had been set for the holidays. At least, not as far as he was aware. 

With a jump, he cleared the waist-high fence. There were several paths leading into the forest. He chose the one that was the least clearly defined, with the logic that he would meet less people. Some small part of him chuckled at the thought of attempting to use reasoning instead of indulging the curious instinct that formed the desire to break the rules. 

 

After a walking a good length of time, Calton decided it was time to head back. The other students would have gone home by now and if he turned back at this point he would be just hungry enough to eat lunch upon his return.

He spun on his heel, meaning to begin the walk back, but halted when he found himself gazing into a pair of icy blue eyes. The eyes belonged to a boy, shorter than him, who stared at him unabashedly from underneath ebony hair. He was paper-white and extremely thin, all bones and joints. In his right hand he clutched a sprig of mistletoe.

"Uh, hello. I'm Calton Jayce, from Verophithe."

"Sisi. From the forest." The boy stretched to dangle the mistletoe above Calton's head. "A kiss, Cal?" Calton flushed dawn pink.

"Um, I don't - I mean, no one calls me Cal and um, well, ah, mistletoe isn't, well . . ." He trailed off at the amused expression on the boy's face.

"Kiss me." He said softly. 

"I've never met you."

"It's mistletoe, you have to obey the rules."

"I . . . O-Okay." With trepidation, Calton leaned down slightly and focused on the boy's lips. Unexpectedly they surged at his and all of a sudden he found himself kissing this stranger. Then, just as he found he was getting used to and possibly enjoying the situation, the boy disappeared.

 

Bewildered, Calton touched his fingers to his lips before beginning to walk. That was new.

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