Short story

I believe I have mentioned these characters to you before. In leiu of writing them an actual novel, I keep postponing by writing them in short snapshot stories to get their characters down. This features Arvin, a injured Violet, and a confused August.

                The first time Violet gets hurt real bad is a hurried, muddled puzzle of rushed breathing and the smell of blood and Arvin’s gasping scream of what has become Violet’s other name; “Willow!” Then there’s the scrabbling touch of hands across her skin and then gasp of “hospital,” to which Violet chokes “no” to which August swears. Creatively.

                Violet hadn’t known August could swear like that. She’s dizzy and half blind with blood loss by the time they get back to Arvin’s loft, and then she’s lying on the clinical white table while Arvin rips mask and gloves and suit off and washes while August preps her. Then Arvin’s hands are swiftly analyzing every injury and painkiller washes through Violet’s system, leaving her gasping with sensory deprivation.

                Then there’s a gasp of horror and white blinding pain and Violet’s gone.

                When she comes back (sorta, she’s really more delirious than there) she’s only aware of people vaguely, images befuddling her dizzy brain. Touch becomes the best way to separate reality from illusion. Arvin’s touches are very precise, but kind of gentle, aware of every injury. August’s touches are very careful and accurate, pinpointing Violet’s injuries so he won’t accidentally hurt her. Mom and Dad are the same as always; there whenever she calls for them.

                She wonders, absently, when they have time to sleep.

                When she’s really, truly awake, that’s when she starts to wonder if August has any idea of what she looks like. Arvin he probably knows by heart; her body is familiar to him as his own. It’s clear from the way he never has to focus to meet her eyes, how the way he can identify tension in her body and banish it with a single touch or a tender, intimate and yet somehow proper and noninvasive kiss. The two of them are so tangled together that Violet can’t believe they even think they’re only friends.

                Violet thinks that they are soulmates.

                No; she knows intellectually that they are. They are going to get married sooner than later. It is a certainty, like all the equations of chemistry and physics scrambled in her brain after her fever.

                But never mind them. August has no idea what she looks like. He’s her friend and he has no idea of her face. August doesn’t do any unnecessary touching any more than Arvin does. He certainly doesn’t the horribly cliché face touching they do in movies. But he should. Smart as he is, he could piece things together, make a geometric sketch in his head or something.

                (To be fair, she might not have really been all the way over the fever when she was doing this reasoning.)

                She grabs his hand mechanically the next time he’s checking her fever. August frowns. “Anything wrong, Vi?”

                “You don’t know what I look like.” Violet insists; her head hurts like mad and she’s not sure why she’s being ridiculous, but she is.

                August smiles a bit. “I’m sorry.”

                “Nah,” Violet says scratchily around whatever’s in her throat. “Don’ be sorry. C’n you maybe try and see if you can see my face?”

                “My powers?” August says, looking confused. “I’m not sure that’d help awfully much.”

                Violet gets annoyed, and looks at Arvin, helpless to describe what she wants.

                Arvin grins a bit, and the lines of concern relax. “She wants you to touch her face to figure it out.”

                August’s confusion clears a little. “Alright then,” he says hesitantly. “Close your eyes so I won’t poke them, okay?”

                Violet huffs, and obeys. The first place he touches is her eyelid. He probably wanted to make sure he knew where it was. His hands glide over her face like he’s making a map or playing the piano. His hands are softly scarred and his fingers are dexterous and long. His callouses are hard, but not rough.

                He brushes her eyelashes and she can tell he’s smiling like it tickles. “Nice cheekbones,” He tells her.

                Violet laughs, tired and then chokes as her stitches pull. “Ow.”

                “Stay still.” August instructs, and follows the line of her chin to her ears. “Very small. No wonder you never listen to Arvin.” He says.

                Violet sticks out her tongue, and then as August’s fingers retract she snuggles against the pillows and falls asleep.

                They don’t really ever talk about it again.

                It was horrendously embarrassing when Violet woke up and several of the others teased her about it, after all. Apparently, there were unfortunately witnesses. And her mom took photos.

                She wishes she’d been awake enough to check that Arvin and August were the only witnesses. They’re smart enough not to talk about that kind of thing.

                They never do give her those same painkillers, because they kind of make her weird. Apparently, that was not her weirdest demand. They don’t tell her what the others were.

                She’s actually kind of glad about that until she finds the blackmail footage her mom has.

                Suffice it to say that her reaction involves quite creative and rather inappropriate language.

Yes, Violet swears. No I will not tell you what she says.

Love y’all and hope you enjoyed. God bless!


12 thoughts on “Short story

  1. This was snappy and very… the reader was very there right up to the bit about the mom.
    August is blind? Contrarily, I like how you left us to figure that out and didn’t go clomping through the middle with it.
    You could quite easily run these characters as a series of shorts, no need to novelize. I like their dynamic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this story. I think short stories are very good ways to explore characters, or even to create a bigger narrative by stringing a bunch of short stories together. Looking forward to seeing more of these characters!

    Liked by 1 person

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