From where I sit, I can just see him sitting on a patch of open ground, his face upturned toward the sky.
Ever since I've known him, he's had an infatuation with the moon.
I don't understand it. It's nothing special--just a huge rock hanging above this planet. There are other moons in the system far prettier than it.
But I never can get over how lovely he looks reflected in its delicate glow.
At those moments, like now, he appears to be some magical creature, summoning me to another world.
I pull myself out of my reverie. I don't have time for whimsy. I have to work. I have to be strong and fight. Logically, I know this. But all logic has left me, and emotion--something I thought had died within me--rears its head.
I cast another glance out the window at the moonlit wraith in the grass and close up my laptop.
I fold his jacket over my arm and step out into the night. It's cold and clear. Thousands of stars blaze above me. I've never seen anything like it. But then, I've never been one to pay attention to such things. Not like he does.
He's made me notice so much. He's made me feel. He's reminded me how to be human.
I hate him for it.
Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.
I enter the clearing, and move to stand behind him, watching. He gathers the end of that impractical braid in his nimble fingers and slowly begins to work it free. I watch him, completely transfixed.
He settles the rich, honey-colored strands around his body as I release the breath I had unconsciously held. He hears my soft exhale and half-turns to face me.
"Who is it?"
"Me," I reply, trying to keep my tone as cool as possible.
A huge grin lights up his face. "I thought you had to work, and you couldn't be bothered with such a silly thing as stargazing."
"I do. And I can't. I merely came out here to give you your jacket," I say as I walk up to him, holding the coat out. My convenient excuse. He laughs as he slips it over his thin shoulders. "I didn't know you had such strong maternal instincts."
"Hn." We drop back into silence. He looks at the sky and I look at him.
His eyes seem even more purple in the shadowy light, and I can see the wonder in them as he scans the heavens. I know I'm looking at the child within him--the one who was lost not too long ago at Maxwell Church. When did he rediscover that side to himself? How can he possibly keep it alive?
It's one of the things that amaze me about him.
It's one of the things I love about him.
He turns his luminous eyes to me once more, and I see surprise shimmering in their depths when he notices I've been watching him. I look down at the grass, breaking the thin thread of contact between us, trying my best to scowl. I don't like his scrutiny. I don't want him to know how I feel.
I hear a faint rustle. I regain my composure and glance at him once more.
He's standing now, just a few steps away, his eyes still on me. I struggle to keep my expression neutral, unable to tear my gaze away from his face. He's just too beautiful for words.
We stay like that for what seems like ages.
Then he slowly approaches me, stopping only mere inches away. He's so close, I can feel the heat from his body.
I freeze, afraid of what he will do. I don't want him to touch me, because I...I don't know how I will react.
Or I do know...and that's frightening as well, but I can't move away. I don't want to move.
He lifts his slender hand and cups my chin with it. He brushes his thumb lightly over my mouth, and my whole body aches, wanting more of his touch.
He leans closer, his warm breath teasing my lips, his eyes never leaving mine.
"Don't be scared," I hear him whisper just before he nibbles gently, coaxingly at my lower lip. I gasp at the sweet sensation, and he easily slips his tongue into my mouth as I close my eyes.
I feel like I'm melting.
My hands awkwardly settle around his slim waist and he drops his hands to my shoulders, pulling me closer as our kiss grows more passionate. Our bodies fit so well together, and a quiet moan trickles involuntarily from my throat.
He breaks away. I open my eyes, reluctantly, fearing what I might see in his own.
But there is no teasing--something much different lurks in those fathlomless pools.
He smiles at me again and embraces me. His fingers swirl over the nape of my neck, sending shivers down my spine.
I can feel the last vestiges of my mask crumbling away, and I'm helpless to prevent it from happening.
As I wrap my arms tighter around the boy before me, I realize I don't care.