He'd always drifted in and out of her life.

She hated him for it.

He'd be her whole world. And then he'd be gone. And she'd spend months, sometimes years forgetting him.

And then he'd come back.

He'd waltz back into her life with that same sullen smirk. And she'd take him back. Just like that.

She remembered the first time she saw him.

She was sitting in a café on her supposed 'first date'. The boy had stood her up. Imagine her surprise when another boy, with limpid, badly dyed black hair, pale blue eyes and paler skin slid into the seat across from hers.

Grinning widely, he'd reached a hand across the table and introduced himself as 'Io'. Since then he'd always been Io.

He'd done crazy things. Eccentric things. Freed her from oppression. For three months, she danced upon clouds. He was her first kiss. Sometimes she'd get out of school, and he'd be there, waiting. And he'd make her day.

Then he was gone.

Two years later, a week after her fifteenth birthday, she heard a voice say, « Hello. »

And she knew. She knew it was him. She wanted to scream at him. To yell at him. To ask him why. Why'd he'd left her. But she couldn't. All she could do was hold him close to her, and bury her face into his chest, and inhale his musky male scent.

And she stood there, in the flittering sunlight.

And she'd thought that maybe, this time, he wouldn't go.

He taught her how to drive. Though she wasn't supposed to. He taught her a bit more than kissing. But never took her very far.

He taught her french.


'la bouche'

'l'amour' whenever he said this they shared a smile. Like it was a special secret. I secret between Io and Ganymede.

And then he was gone.

By some sort of odd twist of fate, Ganymede, through the gifted program, graduated one year early.

By way of art, she won a scholarship to a boarding school on the islands.

She met friends. Started dating someone again. A very kind, very sweet manga nerd named 'Peter'.

She began to perfect her art.

And one night, he was there. Silhouetted against the window. His hair was longer, his eyes were darker, his lips more sullen. His face was narrower. His eyes were more haunted. And his grin whenm she turned her eyes on him and fell into a deep pit of shock.

Slowly, she slid it open.

Even as he climbed in she was backing up to her bed.

« What are you doing here ? » she asked softly.

He didn't answer, didn't even smile. He picked up her sketchbook, rifled through the pages. Set it down on the counter again.

« What is this ? » he asked angrily.

He'd never been angry before. « What is what ? » she asked.

Furiously, jerkily, he swept his arm across the room. « All this. »

« My life. » she said. It hurt her a little, that he obviously did not approve of.

He scoffed. « This is your life ? »

« Who are you to judge it. » she snapped. « You aren't even a part of it. »

He laughed at her then. « Of course I'm a part of this. I spawned this. You wouldn't have been driven to do this tol yoursef if I'd never come along. »

« Shut up. » she snapped, « Leave, I don't want you here. »

« Yes you do. »

« No. » she whispered. « I don't. »

« You would pick this life over me ? » he asked. Hurt flashed into his eyes, then faded into smouldering disgust. « Are you so sure of that ? » he asked. He took a step towards her.

And though it would have been wisest for her to back away, pure pride left her standing stock still, chin lifted.

« Please. All I ask is for you to tell me that you don't need me. Tell me to go away forever. » he said. He traced her lip with his rough, calloused thumb.

« Stop. »

He touched her lips to hers, for scarcely a second, and as he lifted away from her she could feel the rough scrape of stubble again the soft skin of her cheek.

« Don't. »

« Say it, then. » he pleaded. « Tell me. »

But she couldn't tell him. Because once again her words were trapped in her throat. He touched his lips to hers again. It was such an odd contrast, to her. His skin was rough, but his lips were warm and soft and moist.

He took her, fell into her, in that very bed, that night.

And when the sun slanted through the shades, he was gone.

And when she rose, wearing nothing but a thin sheen of sweat, she sat and drew his face.

After that, he'd appear every few months. Usually on a full moon. He'd take her, or she'd take him. They'd disappear in each other for night.

But in the morning he'd be gone, always gone. Leaving nothing but his lingering scent and the remaining feeling of a whisper of his breath upon her ear.

He came one night, on her twentieth birthday. Then he stopped coming at all. She told herself she didn''t care. She told herself she didn't mind. She decided she was to forget him, and go on with her life.

Io didn't exist.

All the same, to her, he was more real than you or I.