Orion, as he stood there, fletcher by the ear, positioned in his monumentally strong stance, took his eyes off of Draco for only just a moment. He was disturbed, precariously drawn away from his battle to a small finger pointing directly at him some lightyears away. His unfocused and unguided attention caused him to miss his shot at the galactic beast. Orion usually had a smooth, constant, and clean mannerism, but his hand now quivered from the thought of his unforgiving foe striking back after his last mistake. Soon enough, when the stars aligned, he would find out exactly how much he would regret that misaligned shooting star.
The archer and the dragon had been battling for eons, and eons, and eons. The duo put on a display that had been watched by nearly every human being that has ever had the courage to look into the sky during the dark’s allotted free-time. It was the biggest fight ever broadcasted, with two fierce entities raging war against one another with unknown motives. Known to them, but unknown to bodies elsewhere.
To some, the duo was merely a focal point on a map, a navigational tool to shed light on location and provide an arrow in the right direction. Others looked to them in order to judge their own future depending on the astronomical properties that were fictionally conjured from irrational realms within their mind. Perhaps, to some alien and unknown species that Earth is not yet aware of, they were used as a form of religion. Two sides of a single battle, one benevolent while the other evil, except they watched the war between good and unfold in “real” time.
On this night, the doublet was nothing more than a brief moment and place of interest for two kindred hearts laying atop the hood of a cold metal car. The boy had just put his hand back to his chest after attempting to point out a series of three stars in a row he thought he might’ve recognize. The other present figure, a girl, inched closer to him in order to attempt to align the boy’s shoulder with the length of his arm to see if she could extrapolate the line of his finger to a triplet of stars he claimed to know. After a few moments of moderate effort, she was unsure if what she was looking at was in fact the same string of stars he was pointing towards, but regardless she affirmed his notion anyway.
Although the two of them were cold, with no heat other than what their coats radiated back to them, they stayed at this threshold, wanting to remain as close as possible without sharing body heat, preserving all those precious kilojoules.
The stars were out, but there was no magnificence behind the light. The boy and girl did nothing except stare at the vastness of empty space before them, contemplating their emotions for one another. As they lay there, a surplus of thoughts forced their way into the boy’s head, all of them were about her. He’d known her for a little while now, a few months, but nothing had ever come between them. Nothing explicit had ever been said, and nothing explicit had ever been done. He thought back to the last time they were together. It was the two of them, and his fellow friend. He remembered how they all got on that night, role playing various scenarios of random romantic encounters. He watched from a few feet away, as his friend put on his most serious face, and made a dramatical monologue proclaiming his affection for her for the sake of the night’s entertainment. Back and forth the roles switched, but the boy remained as the role of the audience, never joining in. He couldn’t, for if he played the part of the desperate fool hoping to get the girl, he would look at her, say those Hollywood romance movie lines with skill and charisma; he would have them believe he was an incredible actor, with a suave demeanor and a smooth mouth. The only reason they would think him a talented actor, is because when he looked into her eyes, and came up with whatever lines struck his brain, he would mean them. He would mean every last word he told her, and confess his suppressed admiration and desire for her, without anybody else realizing what was happening.
That’s why he didn’t join in that night, but how he longed to be able to come outright and express his devotion to her now. As they laid on that cold car in the dark, as he listened to every syllable she uttered in an attempt to understand her more; he wished nothing more than for her to know that he held her in the highest honor within his heart, but was held back by the uncertainness of her feelings for him. He could wait; he could wait a long time for her, as long as events like this one night could continue to occur. The title, commitment, and suppressed feelings were nothing for the price of her company. He was satisfied hiding everything, as long as he could continue to be in her proximity, and continue to understand her complex mind more and more. He wanted to hear her thoughts on the world, her stories, the little moments of her life that contributed to creating the person lying next to him, and with time, the seed would grow, surely.
There she was, next to him, just him and the vastness of space, but he would not say anything. He would not risk ruining the night, because not saying anything would be the safest thing to do. If he could manage to hold all his wishes in, there would always be hope. Despite all the insecurity the unknown brought, it carried hope, always. It’s a dangerous thing to take a chance on hope. It risks letting go of a cherished fantasy, and turns that dream into a useless, dry memory. Desire is strong when dreams of love accrue and live in the mind, but for him, his imagination carried the weight of this romantic fantasy. Yes him, it was all inside of him. All of the thoughts and emotions were carried inside and disbursed through his body where his heart pumped thoughts of their lips pressing to every cell and atom. In his mind, the question was always there, What about her?
What was she thinking? How would he ever know? What a curse it was to hear her speak, to feel her breathe, and if he even strained enough he could hear the quiet pumping of her heart, but he would never know what thoughts were running through that mysterious mind. It’s entirely too possible, that she could be here only out of curiosity and friendly companionship. Oh god, here she is, talking about books, about literature, music, and art. She talks about all the things she’s read, books he’s read too. Gatsby, Brave New World, Catcher in the Rye, Slaughter-House 5, and Jane Eyre, fuck she could really make books exciting. She focused on Gatsby, how it changed her perception of romance and love. She grew passionate about the subject the more she talked about it. It was like the more she said, the more she realized how much the book had sunk its way beyond her mind but into her heart and blood. She had swallowed the words and instead of digesting the paragraphs, they went into her bloodstream where the passion of Jay and Daisy lived through her veins and into her fingertips. If there was one thing he wanted to do in that moment it was to kiss her with the fervor of ten million suns and stars. He looked into her eyes and saw through the universe like a wormhole to the other side of the cosmos. The entirety of the universe was on top of this shrill car with him. When he looked into her eyes there was Orion and Draco, right there in front of him, with as much detail as looking at the constellation himself. He could see the shot that Orion had just missed, and could see Draco’s celestial body gather itself for a great leap across intergalactic horizons. He saw the Tralfamadorians, with their mountainous time-zone and Billy Pilgrim sitting in his exhibit. He saw The Great Wave Off Kanagawa falling against the sea, collapsing against the tide as the small fishing boat braces itself against the rising water. In her eyes, he saw the fireworks behind Jay Gatsby’s manor, and in the foreground Jay and Daisy hiding away talking about a life together. He saw Thornfield, in all its simplicity and hidden horrors, and inside the doors he saw Rochester pacing inside his room, in a heated mental debate about his intentions and feelings towards the simple governess, and Jane, cleaning her room whilst trying to get Mr. Rochester’s ruggedly beautiful face out of her mind. Oh, he saw the world and more behind her eyes. It burned to think of what he might feel given the chance to place his lips against hers, to have their mental existence in unison by the unity of their lips, to not only hear what she has to say, but feel it as well, and turn those thoughts into deep vibrations of passion and intimacy. To be brave he thought. To be able to have ten seconds of courage and make such things come to life. Consumed by the thought of them dancing their way across the stars, hand in hand, only stopping to embrace each other and kiss with only God as an audience. The boy struggled to retain his reality; his focus was lost Elsewhere. Noticeably unaware, he nodded his head with her speech until she stopped. She had paused her small talk for a second, noticing that he was carried away in some mental excursion across the universe.
She was curious about what was going through his mind, but unaware of what to do. She was inexperienced, and did the only thing that came to her mind, which was simply to ask him, even if it was a tiny bit terrifying.
It was there, in the quiet of the night, and in the middle of cosmic battle, she whispered, “What are you thinking?”