Trade-Up (A Season 5 Reboot)

Chapter Eight

Auggie smiled. He stepped in closer to her and put out his hand, touching the spot above her left ear. He closed his eyes, and Annie peered at him, deeply, waiting.

“Your hair is spun out of sunlight and silk. Sometimes you wear it up and you look like a million bucks. You are a gazelle in a gilded room, innocence and grace, but you don’t belong there. You are made from different places. “ He moved his fingertip across her cheekbone and caressed it, sliding it over her eyelid.

“Your eyes,” he said, opening his own and smiling, “are brown. You told me that a long time ago. No magic there. What you didn’t tell me is how your soul pours out through them. I know this because I’ve talked to your sister. When I had to call her to tell her you... well, anyway, we talked for a long time, Walker. She told me a lot of things about you. She needed to... talk, as much as I needed to connect and grieve. She told me that you looked into her soul with yours through those eyes.” He felt her shake her head ever so minutely.

His fingers traced to her nose. “Your nose... well, it is perfect. I can’t rave enough about your nose. I imagine you have freckles there somewhere. Maybe, when the sun hits and you have no makeup?” He was enjoying this. “It would suit you, so I’m gonna say you’re freckled in the summer. Just here.” He leaned forward and his fingers left the bridge of her nose just as his lips reached it. He felt a breath of air puff from her nose as she giggled a bit. He leaned back, a cocky grin on his face, and found her cheek again, then ran his fingers on her lips.

“Big smile. Warm. Infectious. “ He twitched his shoulders and quirked his mouth. “Maybe the most perfect mouth.”

“Maybe?”

“I need more research into it. I’m gonna say, tentatively that you have the most perfect lips. I’ll be doing some work into that, just so you know.”

Annie laughed and tapped his chest in her gesture for him to know she was exasperated. He laughed, and as he did, he felt a part of how it had been before come bubbling to the surface between them.

He took a breath and felt down her lithe neck to her shoulder. “You are small and quick and strong. I remember when I touched your shoulder and your arm one day when you came in from climbing rock faces—”

“With Doctor Scott?”

Auggie made a face. “Yeah, maybe. I don’t know. I just remember I dragged you off the face of a cliff and you were wearing a very small tank top. I remember thinking how small you were. But then, in the gym, you’re a firecracker, a powerhouse. So, in a way, I picture you like an angel. You are grace and elegance and strength and fury and beauty and soul. You are soft and you are terrifying.” He sighed. Then he raised his eyebrows and grinned at her. “Sometimes, I feel the colour orange from you.”

“Orange?” Annie laughed.

“Yeah,” Auggie shook his head, as confused by the idea as she was.

“Why orange?”

“I don’t know. Fresh and sunshiney? I have no idea. Maybe it was your Jo Malone Grapefruit. I just... feel orange sometimes. Other times, I find you a bit in the turquoise green tones. I know you need some laughs then.” His smiled faded. “Lately, you give off nothing. Black, I guess. It scared me, Annie.”

“I know.”

“I want to see you in colours again.”

She took his hands in hers and then slid them around her waist. “I want you to see me in colours, too. I just want you to hold me and see me however you need to, and never let go. But I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Don’t run. Don’t leave. And we can keep working on all this. I like this. This is good.”

“I like it, too,” she said, honestly. “I like that you see me in colours.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. I’m no angel. Maybe a fallen one. But I like gazelle.”

“You’re all of those things.”

“What colour am I now?”

Auggie stood in thought. He had no idea. Right now, she was velvet. She was deep and comforting and beautiful, but he was afraid to crush her. She was translucent and only beginning to take on a familiar form again. Then it hit him.


“Silver.”

Annie was silent. Auggie wasn’t sure if she was upset or just bored. He found her hand and squeezed it, and to his relief she squeezed back and held tight.

“Silver. Sometimes, there’s a flash of light there, and other times, you disappear into your surroundings so I can’t make you out. I don’t like it, Annie. I miss... knowing it’s you.”

“That was always weird.”

This is weird. That was perfection.”

“We’ll get there.”

Auggie felt his heart blossom at her words, so believed by their speaker as she spoke them.

“We will.”


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