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Lilac Wine. [ rick x eri ]

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Eri
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Lilac Wine. [ rick x eri ]

Post by Eri » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:42 pm

In the blue smoke, between a piano key and the drop of a voice, I watched as shadows dripped over your shoulders, reluctant to let you go and in that moment, the words slipped from my lips. Underneath the hot white lights, surrounded by faceless gods in this smoky gin joint, air shot through my lungs. But darling, a girl like me doesn’t cry.

Don’t you remember?

Not tonight, and not like this.

The most fleeting of looks—my pianist waited, gracefully, for me to resume the song and I did but remind me, Alessandro, of how you stood before me, that night in Macau.

___


When I met you, I was alone.

I was often alone, but this was a little different. Cozy between a cloud of lavender and a narrow pane of glass, my champagne made good friends with the summer breeze. It was July, and beneath a large hat and oversized sunglasses, I thought myself perfectly content, balancing delicately on the brim of immortality. I was invincible in summer, left behind tearstained evenings in winter. But you swept by me, a silent thunder-cloud, and at the time, I did not know you would dismember my life.

But I digress.

It was a beautiful summer day in Paris, wasn’t it, darling? I locked eyes with you, and I knew I was positively undone.

___

I knew happiness back then and her name was Lilla. I remember how she felt wrapped around my neck, her breath fragrant and sweet. Her eyes pools of pristine water, her smile an autumn breeze. When she told me to follow her to Paris, I couldn’t resist, I didn’t want to resist. I left my life and my pain in Italy behind, promising myself I would make a new life with her in La Ville Lumière. How ironic that she would fall ill on our arrival at the tail end of summer, her pink lips in a constant pout when I reminded her she had to stay in bed. She pleaded with me to at least go out, explore the city, she couldn’t stand the idea of me being locked in with her at the beginning of our greatest adventure. I agreed, if only to bring back wine and fresh Parisian bread in hopes of bringing a smile to her face.

I headed out into the city, already in love with it because she loved it so dearly. I walked the streets with a curious eye until I saw it; the café with her namesake, La Closerie des Lilas. You were already there, a rose among a sea of grass, wearing your thorns proudly. Inconsiderately, I smiled when our eyes met. I couldn’t help it, there was a truth in your eyes, a truth I knew and one Lilla couldn’t possibly hope to understand, which was another reason I loved her. You smiled back at me, a smile that would have melted most men, but I saw it for what it really was; a greeting to someone who shared a similar scar that life had given us. I ignored all the free tables available and made my way to yours, La Vie en rose playing on an old radio by the entrance of the café.

“Cappuccino, per favore,” I called to the waiter without breaking my gaze with you.

I leaned into my chair and pulled out a cigarette, there was too much going on in my mind and I wanted to only focus on you. I offered you one, simply raising an eyebrow, no words yet exchanged between us.

___

La Ville Lumière.

In this city, on a day like today, anything was possible. You were possible, a manifestation of my childhood dreams and dreariest nightmares. You looked like a prince and smiled like a scoundrel. It wasn’t very fair.

You offered me a cigarette and I obliged, leaning forward, lashes lowered as you lit me for the first time. I noted your split-second glance at my lips, suddenly self-conscious. But the feeling was soon gone—forced, shame never holds me for long—and I exhaled before reaching for the ashtray.

I picked up my fork, sliced a tiny bit of crêpes suzette, offered you a bite.

“They’re very good,” I said, and I wasn’t quite sure why it hurt a little, to look at you.

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Rick
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Re: Lilac Wine. [ rick x eri ]

Post by Rick » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:22 am

My smile became a grin as an old memory sprung up like a weed in my mind. In what felt like a lifetime ago, Lilla had glided up to me like petals in the wind and offered me a bite of her torta caprese, completely ignoring the dangerous company I kept that shrouded me like a black cloud. All the other girls of my familia’s hillside town wanted to be chased, to be treated like a prize, but not her, not Lilla, she went after what she wanted. That day, she had wanted me.

“No grazie, Tesoro, I am finding Paris, and present company, sweet enough for me,” I took a drag of my cigarette, letting the smoke swirl in my mouth before expelling it through my nose like a prized bull swaggering in his domain.

I didn’t know if you were used to being told no, but you didn’t show any sign at being bothered. With elegance, you placed the crêpe suzette near your lips, brought into your mouth, and gently slid the fork out. My eyes narrowed and I clenched my jaw as I fought to keep myself from gulping the saliva building up in my mouth from hunger and passion. In that moment, the desire to be dessert was overpowering. I took another hit of my cigarette and brought my foot to rest on my knee, trying to imagine what your eyes looked like behind those sunglasses.

“You are not from Paris, are you, Belladonna? Your accent, it sounds…foreign,” I smiled, I wanted you to know I was teasing you, taking this moment to study you in greater detail.

Lilla’s skin was porcelain and white, like milk, her voice sweet like honey, but you, your skin was like silk, and your voice intoxicating, like wine.

___

“Paris runs in my blood but not my mouth, darling,” I said, and I couldn’t stop the smile that crept onto my lips, sugary from the dessert you had so easily refused. Your compliments came easily too, slipped out your throat while your jaw grit, set. “I’m afraid I’m one of those silly American girls. And you? Which corner of this little planet do you come from?”

Who are you? Which strange dream did I first meet you in?

From the corner of my eye, the waiter approached, a cappuccino in hand. Your smile seemed ever-present, and I wondered how it was that a man like you could smile so warmly, almost mischievously, while your gaze still held slivers of ice. In this nebula of coffee and lavender, you were simultaneously at home and ill-suited—you seemed too tall, too broad—but your calmness somehow struck a chord, and the book in your hand…

Mine was still in my purse, untouched. I hadn’t been able to quiet my thoughts enough to read.

“What title?” Another sip of champagne, then: “I do hope I haven’t interrupted your date with a wonderful book.”

____

“Not at all,...darling,” I dropped it effortlessly after tapping my cigarette on the table’s ashtray.

I liked to think it would had made you smile if you hadn’t been already.

It was perfectly pleasant that day in Paris. Yet you... you lit up the place. You made the colors more vibrant, life more sweet. I almost didn't want to talk. I wanted to watch you. To drink in your smile and delicate gestures. To taste the sparkling syrup that wetted your lips and learn the confidence of your tongue as you asked your question.

“Voltaire, one of Paris’ own proud sons, this being the city of lights, why not read something enlightening,” I placed the book on the table, setting aside the intent behind it to focus on you,” as for where I am from...Italia, belladonna, the nazione of my parents. A land of rolling hills and rich earth. Beautiful women and good music. Vines and wine. But what about you? What brings you out into the city today?”
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