A Star in the Ocean

A one-shot story. Written listening to really soppy music, and an idea I've been trying to do justice for a long time - I hope you enjoy.

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1. Deep Blue

 

“Are you there?” I whisper to the stars. A rush of wind sweeps past me, sending half of my hair across my face, blocking out the moon for a moment. As the gust dies away, I lean out of the window and shake my head. Of course she isn’t here, why would she be?

Below me, the street is a deep blue, the night has not quite taken over yet - though the streetlight across the road is bathing the pavement in pale yellow. A few remnants of puddles glint, it rained earlier, but now the dark is only disturbed by the pulsing winter breeze. I look up the hill, then down. No sign.

Turning from the window, I close my eyes and let my breath escape. The nights seem so much quieter than they once were, so much emptier. Another gust forces my window shut behind me, leaving only me and the whir of the plug-in heater next to my bed. I pull my dressing gown tighter around me, only now feeling the chill of the outside. I laugh slightly to myself.

“Stupid girl,” I say, looking at my shivering toes, “you’ll be cold all night now.”

I lower myself to the floor, lying back.  The nights have been lonely without her, longer and darker without that smile. I've been watching the clock, wishing the days away. I keep telling myself to sleep. So she might feel a little closer. But my ears never seem to doze, instead waiting for...something.

A tap on the window stirs me, a second gets me to my feet. I blink, my late-evening mental capacity not quite ready for the face smiling at me. Two brown eyes and a pair of thin, pale lips looked back, joined soon by a hand, gesturing for me to open the window. I scramble to let her in, shaking my head as she clambers into my room without even a hint of grace.

“That’s not how they do it in the movies, Sara,” I tease, closing the window behind her and folding my arms.

“Oh really? Well how else am I supposed to get in, hm?” She replies, tidying up her hair and shifting into a sitting position.

“At least have a smooth line ready or something,” I retort, but giving her a grin to let her know I wasn’t serious.

“Well then, Miss Spielberg,” Sara says, shuffling across to me and pulling me down to her level, before clearing her throat. “Now you’ve opened your window, perhaps you’ll open your heart as readily.”

“My God, that was terrible,” I laugh.

“I didn’t have long, I was too busy looking into your eyes,” She replies, soft as air, “Oceáne.” I feel a shiver as she says my name, but not from the cold this time.

“Better…” I say, voice fading as Sara leans forward and presses her lips softly against mine, her eyes closing with my own. A moment of warmth passes between us, ending as easily as it began. She rests her head against mine for a second, before snuggling up to me and settling her head on my shoulder.

“Glad you approve,” she says, letting silence take over, listening to my breaths and I to hers until she speaks again. “Did you miss me?” She asks. I nod without even thinking and press my cheek into her forehead.

“Of course I did, silly…” I tell her, “How was it?” Sara shrugs, a sigh fluttering through her ebony hair. She reaches for my hand and strokes my fingers with her thumb.

“It was...as expected,” she says eventually.

“You’re back early,” I point out, changing the subject.

“Couldn’t wait to see my beautiful mermaid,” she replies, tilting her head up to show me her smile. I giggle, she’s called me mermaid for as long as I remember, usually when she’s being soft - like now. She’s definitely cold now, even with the heater aimed at her feet, the jeans and t-shirt aren’t keeping her from shuddering. I hook the covers of my bed on my toes and drag it close enough for her to pull up around us.

“So I’m more inviting than an awkward post-wedding family meal?” I ask, considering briefly then continuing, “I’ll take that.” Sara laughs, not some serene laugh of some perfect actress, but a real laugh - an honest laugh.

“That’s hardly the greatest compliment I’ve ever given you,” she points out.

“I don’t need compliments,” I say.

“No,” Sara butts in, “No-one needs compliments, that’s the point...I want you to have them.”

Sara was always the romantic one, sweeter than me certainly, and always ready to be mushy. Not that that’s a bad thing, I just sometimes feel it’s all a little one-sided. I adore her. I love her more than I can say, I just...feel awkward saying it. So it remains unsaid, but she knows, and she doesn’t mind that I don’t tell her.

“How are you holding up, then?” Sara asks, weaving her fingers into mine. I know she’s asking more than just how I’m doing. She means, ‘Did you cope with being alone with just your parents who are glad to see me gone for even a few days?’

“I’m, managing,” I tell her. “It’s not perfect, but it never will be, will it? I’ve just been keeping my thoughts away from reality, you know?” Sara gives me a sympathetic smile and pulls herself a little closer.

“This is reality, Oceáne,” she says, holding my hand a fraction tighter, “Me, you, sneaking into each other’s rooms and staying up a little bit too late.”

I let myself relax into her, the wall and floor as comfortable as my bed with the heat of her body against mine. It’s too late now, for sure, but too late to send Sara away as well. So instead I welcome the embrace of drowsiness, let the rest of the world fade away until all I can hear is her breath and all I can feel is her hand in mine.

“I love you, Sara,” I whisper, as my eyelids fall.

“I love you too, Mermaid,” Sara replies, “Goodnight, Oceáne.”

Before she utters my name, conscious thought has left me and her words become that of a guardian angel, watching over my rest. That night, nothing could touch me, but her.

 

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