“And that’s basically how we started dating,” she said, her eyes wet with desperation.
He remembered how long it had taken for him to con those words out of her. He was not proud of it; he could not be proud of having to coerce her into saying it. But he needed to know. He needed to know.
Kingsley swirled his foot through the cold seawater. Hell, he wanted to know.
“Kingsley? You okay?”
The voice broke through the thin sands of silence that Kingsley had erected, the only voice that was capable of breaking through. Kingsley did not respond. He did not need to look up to see who it was; the only person that could find him here was Sky.
The stupid, worthless, adorable thing that Kingsley had unwilling fallen in love with.
He heard Sky approach, scrambling unsteadily down the soft sands. “Kingsley?”
His voice was bland and emotionless, and it hurt Kingsley to even hear it. It hurt him how similar he sounded to the beginning. Before everything began, back when life was simpler but a lot less bright than it was now.
“Kingsley,” said Sky softly, repeating the name. “Kingsley, Kingsley, Kingsley. Kingsley.”
Kingsley simply dragged his foot through the water, watching the interesting formations in the moonlight. “Yes?”
“Why are you here?” asked Sky softly.
“Why can’t I be here, Sky?” retorted Kingsley.
“You’re only ever here when you’re sad or depressed. And you haven’t been here for over a year.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Kingsley, looking around through the darkness. He saw Sky’s thin, outlined figure, but let his fire-bright eyes gloss past them easily, taking in the night trees and evening sea breeze. “It’s changed.”
“I know. I watched it change.”
“Like how I watched you change, Sky?” said Kingsley harshly. He didn’t mean it, but the words tumbled out of his mouth. And he regretted it. He shouldn’t be mad at Sky, since it was Kingsley’s own fault that he had fallen for him. Not Sky’s.
Kingsley saw Sky’s face fall in the darkness. “You found out?”
“It wasn’t hard.”
“How much did she tell you?”
“Everything,” said Kingsley heavily.
He saw Sky raise his eyebrows. “Eventually,” added Kingsley.
Sky sat down on the edge of the water line and splashed the saltwater quietly. “I remember when you used to sit here,” he whispered. “All day. Just looking out toward the stars. And I remember how you told me how terrible it was that there was no one to see them.”
“Yeah, I did.” Kingsley turned his eyes to the horizon, and realised how terrible it was now. He could pick out the individual houses on the distant island, even count the trees lining the originally invisible shoreline. But the stars, the wonderful, bright lights on the dark canvas that Kingsley had memorised, were gone. Washed out by that glow.
“You can’t see them anymore, can you?” asked Sky.
“No. They’ve lost their glow to artificial human lighting.”
“Do you regret it?”
The answer came easily to Kingsley’s lips.
“I’d willingly pay this price for the advantages it brings me,” said Kingsley. “Given that choice of enhanced night vision again and I’d still take it.”
“Because… I never really thought about it. Back then, everything was just so confusing, people were dying, fights were going on, and I simply wanted all the fighting to stop. All the suffering to end.”
“Or did you just do it for me?”
Kingsley looked at Sky sharply. Sky didn’t have night vision; he couldn’t possibly have seen Kingsley’s face, worked out Kingsley’s emotions…
“I realised you were in love with me a long time ago, Kingsley,” said Sky quietly.
A large silence fell between them. Kingsley could see it; a shimmering glass of awkwardness that Sky would not break. If Sky knew…
“Why?” growled Kingsley. “Why didn’t you say anything if you knew?”
“Because I didn’t want to see your reaction. I didn’t know how you were going to respond.”
“Respond to what?” demanded Kingsley. He began to feel the energy bubble inside him again; a bad sign, but he failed to find the self-control needed to stifle it. Why? Why did Sky betray him so? Why had Sky not said anything to him, and let Kingsley suffer through all that pain alone?
“You were going to reject me, weren’t you?” said Kingsley emotionlessly. “You were going to outright reject me since you loved her instead.”
“I don’t love her, Kingsley,” said Sky defensively. “It’s just I feel inclined to date her more than I want to date you. You know, with you being a guy and all-”
“So it’s fear,” smashed Kingsley. “Simply fear of losing with your so-called friends. Since you know that they’re going to laugh at you and ridicule you and bully you once they find out that you were going out with another boy. Fine. Fine!”
Kingsley jumped up and ripped the small vial from its chain around his neck. Inside, the poison boiled away dangerously, reminding him of the potential effects — but Kingsley didn’t care about it anymore.
“Remember this?” demanded Kingsley, holding it up in front of Sky.
“Your memory capsule.” Sky’s face grew pale. “That holds your personal memories from the past two years -”
“I know,” said Kingsley. The grey liquid was bubbling in his stomach more than ever. “The past two years that I’ve been secretly going after you. And you know what? I don’t want to remember.”
He crushed the vial slowly and purposefully, feeling the silver of memories trail down his arm and dribble onto the ground, until it was washed away by a sudden wave.
“You’ve changed a lot, Kingsley,” said Sky sadly. “I didn’t know you would ever throw a rage like that.”
“Yeah?” said Kingsley venomously. “Or maybe it’s simply because you know nothing about me. Nothing.”
Kingsley turned away, feeling the tear-wetted sand curdle slowly under his feet.
“I regret ever calling you a friend, Sky.”
- Lifesaving Embrace (adadriandakota.wordpress.com)