|worse than weishan. (squish) wrote in armadas,|
@ 2014-10-17 14:15:00
|Entry tags:||!log, ship: micros, universe: canon|
Fall semester had passed by so much faster than Micah had ever anticipated. Now it was spring. The air was pollen-thick. HGSL's student population had an increasing interest in love and merrymaking with the good weather. Micah passed too many couples to count on his way to the gym lockers across campus. He had left something in there before archery practice and before he went back to the dorms, he needed to get it - a textbook he had promised to lend Nayeon. Insisted, actually. He'd been hoping to get her more interested in her academics, but she hadn't seemed to take his bait yet.
Still, it was nice to be out and about. The sun was warm and he could feel its comfortable heat on the back of his neck. He'd gained a bit of color this year - a first. Oliver had wanted to look for tanlines, but Micah had denied him that almost immediately. He wondered vaguely what his best friend was doing, if he was okay, if he could manage for the rest of the day or if Micah was about to glance at his cell phone and see a hundred missed calls. He didn't mind. He liked feeling needed. Necessary. This was the first semester where he felt truly at ease.
Maybe it wasn't the spring semester he had imagined. He had imagined a significantly different senior year - a different girl - but he could honestly say he was growing happier with himself every morning he woke up. That was a new feeling: to look in the mirror and feel like he was worth something. So maybe this unexpected spring wasn't so bad, Micah thought idly, stepping around another student pair canoodling in the grass.
Eight months since Rose had laid eyes on HGSL, and still, it felt immediately familiar. Comfortable. The weather was fair and bright. Milder than California -- where it was hot and exciting and new, but never quite like this. Never quite like home. The months away had brought with it a more-evolved Rose -- fresh from her experiences trying to make it in the vastly competitive, cutthroat pool of young hopeful actresses just like her. She didn’t make any friends, really -- it was hard to, given the environment -- but she certainly grew stronger in the process.
But still, she was ready to return, or at least, to revisit for a short time before everyone left HGSL for good. One more semester and there would be no coming back. Everyone would be moving on. There were people she wanted to see before then. Or person. One in particular. They hadn’t spoken much -- she wanted him to be free while she was away. To be happy. Now that she was here, she thought of him first, because to her, HGSL was always first and foremost Micah Kim.
There was a breeze; it tickled her neck. She swept a hand through hair -- now shorter, sitting neatly above her shoulders. She crossed the quad -- couples milled here and there. She rounded the corner of a building and then, suddenly -- there he was. He looked about the same. Just like she pictured he would for eight months. Her mouth split into a radiant smile. “Hello there, you,” she said as she got close, waiting for him to turn and see her, too.
He heard her before he saw her. And it felt too much like a dream, or the fake scenarios he had dreamt up sometimes when he was idle in class. Almost immediately there was a twitch inside of him, like two synapses snapping together. His heart felt clenched. His throat was tight. This was what he had wanted for months - but now it was just not the right time. He wasn't - sure if he wanted it anymore. It had been months since he'd seen her, since he'd heard her.
But here she was. He turned around and she was standing in front of him. She had a new hair-cut. Her skin looked a little darker to him, maybe from California. Something else was different, but he couldn't put his finger on just what it was. And he stood there, surprise obvious on his face. She was here. Why hadn't she told him she was coming? Why was it now?
"Rose," he said. He hadn't said her name in a while. When was the last time they had talked? They had done well for the first month or so, and then communication just fell to the wayside. Around the time he met… "You're back?"
She glanced down at herself as if to check that she wasn’t disappearing. “Looks that way,” she grinned again. Her eyes glanced over his eyes, his mouth -- she took a second to really look at his face. He certainly looked surprised to see her -- she expected this -- but she couldn’t quite tell if he was happy to see her. Her grin dialed down to a close-lipped smile. Maybe surprising him wasn’t the right choice.
Still -- how she had missed this face. She felt each and every day that she had been away compressed into the space between them, filling up her beating chest. “You look really nice,” she said. It didn’t occur to her to hold back saying these things. “You look like Micah.”
“Well, that’s because I am,” Micah said, slowly. He wanted to say so many things, but they were all so tightly-wadded inside of him. He wanted to tell her that he was happy to see her. That she looked different but still like Rose. He wanted to tell her about the last few months. He wanted to tell her that he had missed her, a lot, achingly, the kind of missing that he didn’t think he was capable of but at seventeen, felt a lot like longing. But all the things he wanted to say were dammed up and kept back by the thing he didn’t want to tell her. Not because he wanted to deceive her; because he didn’t know how to say it.
He tried. “You look,” he hesitated, “good. Your hair.” He hadn’t noticed he’d taken steps towards her. Now he reached out and touched the end of her bob, lightly. “When did you cut it?”
She wrinkled her nose in thought, squinting to remember. “Maybe… last month? Two months ago? I cut it almost to my chin but it’s starting to grow a little bit.” Unconsciously, she leaned ever so slightly into his touch, felt his fingers graze against her jaw. She felt an ache just underneath her collarbone. She wanted to tell him how good it was to see him, but her hammering heart halted her words. Instead, she stepped closer, wrapped her arms around his waist, tucked her chin against his shoulder, and squeezed.
For a moment, Micah allowed his arms to come around her. Just a moment, he thought. Just a moment, just this once. He let the side of his face lean against her head. She was here, right now, and he was holding her. Her hair was soft. The air smelled sweet, like new grass and something unidentifiable that clung to Rose like a mist. Had she always smelled so nice? And felt so soft? Or had it just been too long? In this small, short moment, Micah felt that feeling inside of him that always came when Rose was around - as if someone was pulling on him from the inside. As if he were a taut rope.
But his arms came up and he felt his hands fold gently on her small shoulders. He took a step back, in more ways than one.
“Did you just get here?” He was changing the subject abruptly. His mouth felt dry. His cheeks were hot. He couldn’t just explain to her how he wanted to hold her and how he couldn’t. He should, but he couldn’t. Again, the words roosted.
She nodded, “Yeah, not too long ago.” He looked vaguely uncomfortable, his cheeks flushed -- she noticed with a slight pang and doubt began to creep in just a little bit further. She cautiously took a step back, letting his hands drop from her shoulders. “I’m really glad to be back here. Are you -- doing anything right now? If it’s at all possible, I’d like to just -- catch up.”
His arms hung uselessly at his sides. “I,” Micah started and then gave up, like a car puttering. The key was in the ignition but sometimes it took a bit more energy than he cared to put in to do the things he needed to do (he could admit that now to himself, although reluctantly; he’d always thought he was a hard worker but maybe he just didn’t know how to say no). He wanted to talk to her and catch up. But. There was a ‘but’ with them, and there had always been a ‘but’. He figured that at this point, there might always be one. “I might be busy right now, but la--”
A streak of hot red -- Nayeon’s hair, blazing in the bright, unimpeded afternoon sun. She was shorter than Micah but taller than Rose, wearing sunglasses too big for her face, her uniform not fully tucked. She appeared suddenly and nestled in under Micah’s arm immediately, leaning her head against his shoulder. “Oppa, I’m so tired. Algebra was awful today,” her voice was lower than Rose’s. She tipped up her chin and stamped a kiss on Micah’s cheek. “I’m starving.” Her eyes turned to Rose with curiosity. “Who’s your friend?”
Rose took another step back, thrown off by the sudden appearance of this girl. Even without her powers, it was obvious who she was, but sensing their connection made it more palpable and real. Micah had moved on -- suddenly it became very clear what Rose was inadvertently doing. She was intruding. She tried to smile. “Hi, I’m Rose.”
Micah was stuck. Here he was, trapped - on one hand, here was the past. She standing in front of him, a little different. Familiar, but grown. He wondered if he felt the same way to her. He wondered, just a little, if kissing her would feel different. If her hands in his would feel a little warmer or cooler; if her voice sighed his name the same way.
But tucked under one arm, here was his present, and the sound of her voice brought him abruptly back to earth from the dream realm he’d drifted to. Almost absently, Micah’s arm settled around Nayeon, fingers caught in the loose ends of her hair. The kiss on his cheek barely registered, but the warmth of her person spread from there, from his side, until his toes felt that same tingle.
“Nayeon, this is Rose, she’s a friend of mine. She’s been gone for most of last semester,” he said. Explained? His voice felt like it was coming from somewhere else entirely, certainly not his body. “Rose, this is,” he did not hesitate, “Nayeon, my girlfriend.”
She knew it before he said it. Rose waved her hand, trying not to make the moment too awkward. They looked good together, she thought. Micah looked comfortable like this, with his arm around someone else. She would be lying to herself if she said that it didn’t hurt. It did. But she wasn’t upset. She had been gone a long time. She nodded her head subtly, almost imperceptibly, to reassure Micah.
“It’s nice to meet you,” she said to Nayeon, giving her a smile before turning her attention back to Micah. “I should probably -- I’ll probably catch you around campus.”
He didn’t want her to go. “Well, alright,” he said, his voice a bit more soft than he would have wanted - as if proof of his still-lingering affection. He followed Rose with his eyes. If he looked apologetic, it was because that was what he felt. I’m sorry, he wanted to tell her. I tried to wait. And he did - he had meant to - but the thing about time was that despite his best attempts to stay rooted in the one spot for her, it had kept pushing him forward. So even if he looked at her now, after a moment, he looked down to his side - just for a second - before glancing back up at Rose.
“I’ll text you,” he told her. “We’ll catch up.”