Better Off

Image found on wishestrumpet.com
Image found on wishestrumpet.com

Happy Hump Day!

I almost didn’t put up a post today, but here I am! Hope you’re reading for some more Videl angst.

Today’s post comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Coldly Calculating prompt (see below) for the week. Normally, I try to write the exact number of words for the limit, but for someone reason I struggled with that this time around. Usually it’s the other way around and I’m scrambling to cut words, but this time I dragged my feet to get over 600 words in. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, to be honest, but it does show that these flash prompts have served to reel in my wordy writing! So yay!

Prompt: It takes two to tango.

~~~

Better Off

Silence isn’t getting me anywhere, but I know better than to provoke him. At least, I try to convince myself of that. With every passing minute it gets harder and harder for me to hold my tongue. What’s the worst that can happen? If I really think about it, no situation is worse than the one I’m in, anyway. Besides – we’re both adults and it was barely a kiss – why is it so hard to talk about in the first place? Keeping that perspective in mind, I finally let the words out.

“So are you just going to pretend it didn’t happen?” I speak without looking at him, pretending to go back to my book and wondering if it would keep him from leaving the room.

“Yes.” Despite his response, he hovers at the door again. When I look up, he’s staring at me, eyes emotionless and blank. “I thought you were doing the same.”

“Why?” Holding his gaze, I close the book in my lap.

“It never should have happened in the first place.” He says it so flippantly, it’s difficult for me not to snap at him. Rather than lash out, though, I reel my annoyance in and do what I can to maintain my composure. In this case, that happens to be digging my nails into my palm until the skin breaks.

“Then why did it happen? If I recall correctly, you started it.” Now I sound like a child. I want to kick myself. He quirks an eyebrow, and for a moment he lets his guard down and I get a glimpse of shame in his eyes.

“A lapse in judgement that won’t happen again.” He pushes his glasses higher, but they’re already as high as they go. When I can see his eyes again, the wall is back and his arms are crossed. His words hurt, and I can almost feel a stab in my chest. Almost.

“Fine.” As abruptly as he did moments before, I get up and cross the room, not bothering to put my book back in its place, before pushing past him in the doorway. Instead of letting me go, his hand reaches out and stops me by my elbow. His grip is gentle but firm, triggering a flashback to his hands on my hips. I glare at him and yank at my arm. “What?”

He seems to have surprised himself, because he immediately releases me and takes a step back. Something dangerous flashes across his face but disappears just as quickly. “Nothing.”

“That’s what I thought.” His eyes practically burn holes into the back of my skull as I walked away. I’m halfway up the stairs in the hall when he calls my name.

“Videl.”

“Unless you have anything of real value to say, Marcus, I’m done talking. It’s clear you want to forget, so go ahead. I have more important things to do anyway.” I need to be alone – the last thing I want is for him to see me lose it over something this meaningless. It’s bad enough he’s seen me cry before.

“We’re better off like this. You know that, right? You heard what he said…”He lets out a sigh – a sound I’ve never heard from him before. For the first time, he actually seems human to me. Vulnerable. It’s enough to loosen my fists and slouch my shoulders. “He’ll find a way to use it against you – against both of us. The sooner we forget about it, the better.”

“Yeah.” Before I can say anything else, he disappears. The house feels completely empty, and I know he’s making himself scarce for my benefit.

~~~

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s #ThursThreads entry, which may or may not be about Videl. We’ll see. I almost made this one about Emma and Malakai but couldn’t fit it in the story, so maybe you’ll see them tomorrow instead. I’m starting to miss them.

As always, think happy thoughts!

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