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He tastes festive revelry between his teeth. Bites down ‘till it bleeds.
It’s a heavy honey-haze of holiday luster, the time of year where sorrow-edged frowns are unwelcome and off-key. Dominic’s neighborly regard stands a derisible phantasm; barely negates a speck under the anxious-weighted gaze of the woman before him. Iron grip smolders soft red patterns of tension on his fingertips. But he attempts to hold her in place, slim legs quivering in rickety stilts that anchor their balance on him like a crutch.
Both of them meet here tonight—unprecedented—an innocent eventuation from her accident-prone display. The visceral offer to help her prompts him to skate across, gregariousness a carefully curated web. Cliché mentoring of ice skating from man-to-woman. Time escapes them both. It’s been an hour—almost.
“You haven’t slipped thrice in a row. That’s progress.”
Awkwardness paws between them with blunt claws unsheathed. He can see that she still wants to have her fun. But she has been too caught up in the dirge of successively failed attempts. Humiliation leaves clefts on well-lacquered pride and she thinks they sting more than multiple stubs on the toe.
‘I can’t anymore.’ Sheepish laughter. ‘I’m not cut-out for this. Plus my family’s waiting, anyway. Thanks a lot, really.’
“I’d still say it was a good try. I'd hate for you to think your time's being wasted for nothing.” Broad shoulders roll into a shrug, a fully blossomed tenor of casual. His smile is easy, adhesive, and a little contagious. “But suit yourself. I’ll see you around, then.”
It’s after they haul a colloquial fest of farewells for another minute that he knows they actually won’t. The moment she leaves, he decides not to wave goodbye.
Now barren of anything worthwhile.
He makes out breaths of hitched exhales and stunned gasps.
Heads seem to jerk in dumbstruck wonder. A generous tract of curiosity clips within—and they breathe from the answer entirely at the sight of a fallen girl nearby. Dominic pauses as well, bones and muscles in shock-enkindled paralysis, with momentary puzzlement no less quick in its tracks at the unwanted publicity. Murmurs of ‘ouch’, ‘that must have hurt’ weep hushed whispers under duress of confidentiality for diversion’s sake.
Dominic spares a glance about him, then eases back to the girl.
Skate blades hiss atop the ice rink, blazing a trail of haste ‘till he glides to a stop in front of her. Dominic looks down, and to bystanders, he appears completely sympathetic. Any idiot can recognize that, but only a fool’s analysis ends there. Most people, most men and women (especially the latter, good gracious), are fools.
He bends to her level. Gaze steady and resolute, he hovers a hand on her elbow—a generous leeway for accepting and refusing assistance. His features are fine, synthetic effigies of concern.
“Hey, you still in one piece?—Let me give you a hand.”
drawn to flame
i'm falling apart
m e !
ghost in my lungs and it sighs in my sleep
she can already feel them. bruises, black and blue will colour her skin by tomorrow, and her father will express his displeasure and disapproval, and his worry for her. what had began as a day to forget her anxieties for a little while in the form of ice skating has turned into one of complete disaster, and embarrassment. she skids across the ice dangerously, before coming to a halt, muscles crying out in pain as her limbs twist into an odd angle. rhi takes a moment to grimace, not a whimper, nor a cry of pain leaving her lips, teeth clamping down to avoid making further a scene. she feels the ice soak into her clothes, but that is the least of her problems.
the brunette is notably now, quite furious. cerulean orbs alight with fury, not at her unwanted audience, but at herself. she had not wanted to make a scene, to be innocuous, to be just like any other amateur skater, but here she is now. she feels dozens of eyes rest of her amidst tsks of sympathy. if she wanted fucking sympathy, then she would bloody well ask. rhi makes a lame attempt to get up, and flinches at the blinding pain in one of her ankles.
she sits there, unsure, whether she would now be required to crawl her way to the end of the rink. then appears her saviour, a man much, much older than her, a man with too sweet a smile for her liking. swallowing her pride, rhi nods mutely, and allows him to help him up. she slips her arms around his elbow, taking care to not put too much pressure on her twisted ankle. "i'm fine," falls from her lips woodenly, a vain show of courage, of bravery, but brave is the last thing she feels. frankly, she is worried. there is a new woman in the jackson house, and she for certain, is not a fan. ava could have been her fucking older sister, and here she was now, intruding as though she owns the damn place -
the young woman remains mute as he leads her out of the rink, shrugging off any other concerns or questions. she is in no mood to converse, as handsome as the stranger is. "thanks," finally leaves her mouth, and she nods in acknowledgment as well, dropping into a bench. fingers begin to unlace the skates. "i'll be fine from here."