PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
A/N: I wrote this for the "Entrance Exam for Writers" in the group [Oh no! Writers Block!]. It's supposed to have been shorter but knowing me, I wouldn't be able to pull off a one-paragraph story. XD The names come from a story of mine (that hasn't been written yet) but I decided to use them because I couldn't think of any names when I was writing it. Hence, Zeke and Hayley's appearance here! Anyway, here it is! Hope you like it.
Damn it, he was late again. There was no time to tame his messy brown hair or place his contacts on. He settled with a tousled do and grabbed his glasses from the top shelf. Curse his dreams of brilliant colors and their reflections that made him sleep in. Today was the most important day of his career too! And he was late. Damn it.
"Hold on a minute, Mister. Come here and eat breakfast with us." a stern voice interrupted his mad dash to the door.
"Sorry, mom! I'm late!"
"What's new? It's Zeke we're talking about, he's always late for something." a soft voice mumbled, snickering.
"Very funny, Hayley." Zeke retorted, glaring at the brunette with his bright green eyes before he realized that she was only stalling him. He didn't need distractions. He had to leave.
"Is that today?" Hayley asked with curious blue eyes as she eyed the rectangular object carefully wrapped in cloth.
"Yes." he answered curtly. "And Mr. Varner will kill me if I don't show up in his classroom soon."
"Good luck then." she bid as she reverted her attention back to her food.
"Thanks." he managed to utter as he continued on his way to his school. College life was a killer, he thought. He couldn't count how many sleepless nights he'd already had in his first 2 years of education. Well, it would pay off soon and that was what put the smile on his face as he decided to use his shortcut.
He had no time to admire the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom, though, as his mind was set on getting to school on time. He'd burst through the classroom doors with at least 3 minutes to spare if he kept this up. But apparently, the universe was always against him especially on this particular day.
"Uh, Mister, excuse me!" he swore he heard a voice calling out to him.
He was momentarily distracted from his goal. He stopped running and looked around. Besides the brilliancy of the Cherry Blossoms blooming magnificently, there was nothing out of place. He wondered for a brief moment why they were blooming in the middle of summer? The weight on his hands reminded him, however, that he had places to be. And that wasn't here in the Cherry Blossom trail. He ran once more.
"Hey, wait! I could use a little help here." again, he thought he was hearing voices. Could an imaginary voice be so annoying though?
"I'm up here, you idiot! Look up!" she yelled as he searched blindly for the voice for a second time. Pissed off that he was called an idiot, he turned his glare upwards. And there, indeed, was a petite girl, hanging - though barely - onto one of the tree's branches.
He stared with his mouth agape. This was the girl in his colorful dreams. There was no mistaking those long blonde locks, her pale skin, and the pink glow of her eyes. She was the Cherry Blossom Princess, as he'd referred to her whenever he recalled the dreams in his consciousness.
"Hello? I'm still about to fall here?" she told him as she flailed her legs about not at all caring that her white dress was flying around.
"Oh! Sorry." he muttered as he extended his arms as if to catch her.
Seeing that he was going to break her fall, she let go. She came crash landing into his arms but because he hadn't expected the sudden weight, he was thrown off balance and they fell over. Her laughter made his heart do somersaults but she didn't seem to notice that she was closer to him than was considered comfortable.
"I thought I was going to die up there! Thanks for catching me!" she exclaimed, cheerful even after the near-disastrous situation she was just in.
"You're welcome!" he said, still dazzled.
"Are you okay?" she asked, noticing his distress as he leaned in closer to him. He would have backed away if not for the ground getting in his way.
"Fine." was all he was able to force out. How she could be the girl in his dreams seemed an impossible thought.
She accepted that answer, surprisingly, and turned her attention to the parcel he'd been carrying moments ago, which was carelessly thrown to the side when the girl fell. A bit of the cloth was starting to peal off, revealing part of the painting. Her curiosity pushed her into taking the covering off and stare at the masterpiece. The 'wow' she had yet to utter died in her mouth as the work of art deserved more coherent praise, which she couldn't really give at the moment.
"What?" he asked when she looked like she wanted to say something but just couldn't find the words.
"I have to go!" she screamed, dropping the painting on the ground before sprinting hastily away from him.
That was strange, he thought. But he did not have the time to ponder about the girl's strange behavior, he had to hurry or he'd miss his class altogether.
o 0 o
His piece earned him a quick A+ but somehow he couldn't manage a smile. Why? He'd been asking that to himself for a while but the answer just wouldn't come to him. Unconsciously, he found himself using his shortcut even though he was in no hurry to get home. Without the pressure of time, he was able to admire the Cherry Blossoms but what he saw when he stared up at the flowering trees was not what he expected but at the same time what he had wanted to see.
"Hey! Get down from there!" he yelled, anxious for the girl casually sitting on top of a tree branch.
"Oh, hello." she greeted but made no attempts to come down.
"Don't 'oh hello' me! Do you want to die?" he questioned rhetorically.
"No, but your painting, I've seen it before." she whispered, deep in thought.
"What? How?" he demanded as he began ascending the tree to sit by her.
"I was sleeping, then." she answered. "I saw you too. But you weren't wearing glasses in my dream. That's why I didn't realize it before." she continued, turning to stare at him.
"I got the idea for the painting from a dream I had." he confided. He didn't understand what was happening. How could they have the same dream?
"Do you think this is a dream?" she asked, batting her lashes cutely as she removed the distance between them to a mere few inches.
Nothing was making sense. It was all surreal. Her presence. Her voice. Her face. But the feeling of her lips on his was real. It was no dream. Even if it was, he didn't want that dream to end because as wrong as it was it felt right.
[so what if it could have, it would have, or even if it SHOULD have? the fact...