“Sit still, Phoenix! I’m trying to get this right!” I scowled at him as he shrugged and tried to sit straight and still. I was darn interested in getting his eyes perfect. A perfect painting of the perfect eyes.
His eyes were every hue of the forest, rimmed coolly with moss. Their lightness reminded him of summertime, when the sun-rays warmed each extended leaf. Next to the shade of his hair, that deepest brown, he was alive in the same way birds are, casually wild.
He was handsome. Phoenix was a beautiful boy, and he was the best subject I could get to paint.
I dabbed at the light green on my palette and applied a few last strokes to the eyes in the picture.
Perfect. It was perfect. Not as perfect as him, but they looked so beautiful, one could get lost in that painting of him.
“Are you done, Scar?!” He threw his hands up in the air.
“I am.” I said softly, not taking my eyes away from the canvas in front of me.
He was out of his seat at the speed of lightning, and behind me, watching the picture. I turned around to face him, trying to know if he liked it.
What if he didn’t? What if he thought I was not a good painter? What if he thought that I wasted his time? What if some part of his painting wasn’t accurate?
“No, they’re beautiful, Scarlett.” His voice pulled me out of my reverie, and I was amazed that he could read my mind and thoughts, and a smile made it’s way onto my face.
“You look so beautiful, as beautiful as you are, in the painting, mi amore.” He breathed, his breath hot on my neck, his eyes shining.
“I’m not beautiful, Phoenix, you don’t get to judge like that,” I frowned, “Beauty is not of the world in which you can physically hold. It is not just the admiration that one gains from the visual aspect of something they find attractive, but also the admiration that one gains from the thing it’s self, Phoenix.” I smiled, looking at the trees, and then back at him, to find his intense gaze on my face.
“Your thoughts, your creative spark, the way you dance- it is beautiful... you are beautiful. All I ask is that when the storms come, you always remember to open up those delicate petals again and feel the gentle rays of the sun. I know you like the back of my hand, Scarlett, and I can safely claim that you are beautiful, something out of this world.” His eyes shone again, drawing me in. My cheeks heated up at his words, he was always a charmer.
A beautiful charmer, though.
Of course, he knew me like the back of his hand.
He’d been my solace on the darkest of days and coldest of nights, his warmth shielding me from the intensity of the pain. He didn’t do anything, but in that nothingness, I found solace. He just would wipe my tears, and cup my cheeks, pulling me closer and making me warm. He wouldn’t fight the demons, but he’d keep me safe in the midst of it. A confidante, a friend, someone who’d understand all of me. Everything would be so silent, yet so assuring.
“Scarlett?” He clicked his fingers in front of my face, with that alluring smile on his face, pulling me out of my thoughts again. “Penny for your thoughts?” He asked.
“I’d rather keep my thoughts to myself, boy.” I swatted him away, and turned around to look at the painting of me and him.
Literally, how could I even picture both of us?
But I did. Because he seemed to be the light at the end of my tunnel.
“This is for you, Phoenix.” I took the paper clipper out and handed the canvas painting to him.
“This is so beautiful, I gonna show this to my Mamma and Papa, Scar.” He lit up and out of the blue, he pulled me close, and pecked me on the cheek.
He pecked me.
His lips felt so warm on my cheeks, I blushed as red as a tomato.
He just smiled. Not affected? Wow, he must really have seen pretty girls to not blush.
“I have so many paintings made by you, Scar, lots and lots of them.” He turned his gaze to the painting again.
The art- it pours out of me, as if my heart wishes to sing all day and all night. It is such a chatterbox, this heart of mine. It dances in the strokes as if it were performing a ballet, loving each tiny movement. It comes as a river, often gentle, yet with a flow that appears to have a sense of where it is going. It comes to be born rather than moulded, to show itself for what it is. It is a lot of me and a lot of divine inspiration, or that is how I see it when the artist truly loves, when the art is the proof of the loving heart.
“Do you really love zoning out, mi bella?” He clicked his fingers again, and I became red. Thrice in a day? I must really be losing my mind.
“Uh, I- um, it- you know”- I stuttered and started playing with my fingers, a habit when I was nervous.
“It’s fine, bella. Go home now, it’s getting late, I should get going too.” He traced the tip of my nose, his skilled fingers giving me tingling feelings.
“Goodbye, bella!” He called me after I turned towards the door.
“You shouldn’t say goodbye, Phoenix,” I said softly, “Say ‘see you soon’, promise that you’ll come again. Don’t say goodbye, ever, Phoenix.” I looked downwards.
“Fine,” He gave me a soft smile, “See you soon, bellisima.” He waved and ran out of my sight, his hair messy and tousled as ever.
~End of Prologue~
“You’ve got so many beautiful pieces here, Scarlett, I love ya!” Annalise threw her arms around my neck, choking the air out of me. Blade stood behind her with an apologetic smile on his face.
Finally Annalise let me go, leaving me panting for air.
“Good job, girl.” Blade gave me a light hug, and ruffled my hair.
Of course, Blade was really handsome. Annalise and him were made for each other.
Anna had dirty blonde hair, with striking brownies for her eyes. She was tall like me, almost 5′9". Blade had a kind of Italian ruggedness. His Italian nationalism reminded me of a person I really wanted to forget, but somehow, he was too close to my heart to let go.
Someone who used to be my savior, my safe haven.
Leaving me with unsaid things, pain and hollowness.
Phoenix. Phoenix Giovanni.
And that brought into my mind memories I didn’t want to be reminded of. Pictures and moments I dreaded.
Cause he had deserted me. In my worst times, he had left me. Without any trace left, it was as if he was never there. As if he was a fictional, imaginary person.
But no, he’d left me with very much alive memories.
“This is so beautiful, Scarlett.” Blade looked up and pointed at the one of a girl sitting in the abode of colors. I loved it, too.
“It’s awesome, I’m getting this, Scarlett.” Annalise gasped as she assessed the painting.
“You don’t need to do this, Ann,“- I started, but she put her finger to my lips. “I love it, and I’m not doing charity here! As you can see, I can notice that you’ve got a huge crowd and you’re making so much at the moment, but I don’t wanna take the advantage of being your bestie, you know.” She swiped her card for so much, and looked at me as she put the card back in her bag, “You know, you could repay with dinner tonight, how about it?” She winked.
“Sure, Ann, Blade.” I smiled.
“McDonalds? Please, I have been craving some junk.” She gave me her doe-eyes and pouty lips, making me chuckle. “Whatever you’d like, Anna.” I smiled.
The evening went on smoothly, and Blade was fangirling over a devil’s painting that he’d bought for himself. I was happy to see that people actually appreciated my works.
“A happy meal for me, with extra fries!” Anna squealed as she jumped up and down. I rolled my eyes at her actions and Blade shrugged. The waiter looked at her as if she was weird, but went back to writing the orders.
“The BigMac and an Oreo McFlurry.” I said softly, it was my regular. I ate other McDonalds too, but this was all I could take after the countless glasses of Blackberry Virgin Mojitos that were in my system at the moment.
“The McWrap Chicken for me, and Diet Coke.” I gasped, wondering how he could take that in after all the champagne- what, he drank almost six or seven flutes of that stuff.
And he didn’t even pee, the idiot would wet his pants sometime in between drinking the coke, I knew.
“Earth to Scarlett.” Blade shook me out of my world.
That habit hadn’t gone. Like he’d said, did I love zoning out?
There, he always managed to invade into my thoughts. I shook him off my mind, and smiled back at Blade.
“Nah, just wondering how you would be able to drink so much now.” He stuck his tongue at my response.
“That’s a part of my awesomeness, sweetheart.” He lifted his collar and winked, earning a playful smack from Ann.
“Cocky much, Blade?”
“If that’s what you call my aura, dear.” He shrugged.
I bit into my burger, enjoying the cheesy goodness. Blade scowled when he saw Ann moaning at the deliciousness of her chicken nuggets.
“I could do better, mi amore.” Blade scowled.
“You look so beautiful, as beautiful as you are, in the painting, mi amore.”
Wasn’t that what he used to call me? Mi amore.
I tried to shake him off my mind.
Really, Scar? You would never forget him, after all it’s been twelve freaking years, and you never let go of him.
My subconscious was blunt. Too blunt for my liking, actually. I hated to listen to the truth. Truth was bitter, it was.
Later that night, I plopped down on my bed, my mind racing with a million thoughts per second. And what was funny?
All the thoughts were of him.
Hadn’t they always been?
Until I heard gunshots.
I rushed to the window of the room, and tried to peek at the down in the darkness, but it wasn’t so easy, though.
A sharp sound pierced my ears, and a bullet wheezed past my head, grazing a few centimetres above my left brow, and I felt a warm liquid trickle down my face.
I touched the liquid.
And more gunshots erupted, as a shriek escaped my lips.
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