For Starcrossed: Battle of the One Shots over on A Drop of Romeo
Three rules: Must be multi chaptered unless battle of the one shots, must make a reference to Romeo and Juliet AND must be started AFTER the competition has begun.
Seeing the happy couples dancing and talking with other content couples made her feel sick, especially now that she was back in her childhood home which she had never truly liked. Everyone expected her to be married and pregnant for about the fourth time by now and she hated the uncaring disappointment etched on her mother's face when she had to tell her acquaintances of the situation. There had been a few men over the decade and a bit since she had moved away from the stately house but none had made a huge impact upon her life, no matter how much she wished for it from time to time.
Scarlett had tried to make up countless excuses to get out of the five or so torturous hours of her parents' annual house party which had worked in previous years but not this one so she had put maximum effort in to looking good and as though she enjoyed her marital status. Her job as an advertising executive had provided her with enough of an income to buy the nicest dress she had seen with matching heels but even her job was not as fulfilling as she had wanted it to be. She decided she needed some fresh air from the huddle of guests so went out to the only place in the grounds where she felt at peace which was next to an ancient fountain in the maze that took pride of place in the back of the house.
The fountain was the only thing she could make out in the garden. It was illuminated by green and blue lights – unlike most things decorated in this way it was so tastefully done that it enhanced the beauty of the entire statue. Sitting down on the edge she attempted to reach around her back to loosen the laces that were holding the corset tightly in place. The hedges were far taller than any person which was the reason she had no idea where she was until she hit the fountain. Although it was the most breath-taking piece in the grounds if not the estate itself it was not in the middle of the maze, instead there was a wishing well in the centre that people threw loose change into Currently she was sat in the right hand corner of the far side away from the house there had not been a drop of water released from it since she was a small child and there was a danger of drowning but she had always preferred the silence of the dry stone.
Her mind took her back several years to when she and a local boy who was a year older than herself – Greg - used to meet there and just speak for hours in the fountains corner when they were in their late teens until her father found out and threatened him if he chose to come back. After that Scarlett barely saw him unless they bumped into each other in the street and then she went to university and he stayed at home to work as a landscape designer.
Every once in a while she would search his name on the internet and had found out he was actually becoming very successful. She smiled as she remembered the small examples of his tree topiary that he used to shape and leave dotted around the maze for her birthdays and Christmases – she would collect them before anyone else had the chance and planted them in in a meadow in the woods on the other side of the surrounding wall, eventually building their own miniature forest. But they stopped appearing on her 19th birthday as well as everything else they had between them. He had the tendency to call her Flame because he thought Scarlett made her sound like a prostitute and he could think of a lot more things to add to the end of Flame or Flaming than with her real name. Unsurprisingly he was still the only person to do so but it was so him that she never batted an eyelid when he did.
It was completely silent as she breathed deeply in, her back facing the entrances to this square of land until she heard a voice, "My little Flame, is that you?" Her eyes instinctively narrowed as her lips curled in a smile.
"What are you doing here?"
"Your father finally let me in through the front doors to hell."
"You remember my name for the old place? By the way looking dapper as always Greg." He had his hands in his trouser pockets with his thumbs in the belt loops, gently rocking back and forth on the heels of his shiny leather shoes. The footwear alone looked smarter than anything she had ever seen Greg in before. He gave a little twirl on the spot before perching next to her.
"You look as radiant as ever." Moonlight made the blue satin sparkle while he glanced down at it and it complimented her long, deep red natural hair – another reason behind her nickname, "And I should inform you that your dear dad is now calling me Gregory. True, it is better than 'that stupid, good for nothing, little prick' which had become a term of affection in my opinion, but it seems that now I have money he actually wants me to redesign the garden including the maze - he wanted to impress his friends by inviting me here tonight. Has he told you of his hideous idea to dig up the fountain?" Greg still wondered why her father let her work there but the options were either that he had forgot all about ruining his daughter's dearest friendship or because Scarlett never came home any more. But this was the proof certain events were destined to occur, such as them meeting again.
Scarlett's mouth dropped open as she turned to face him, "That will not be happening. I don't care if I don't live here, that will not go ahead!"
"Well of course it's not! I managed to persuade him that he should make it a feature piece of this section if he really wants my help."
He still managed to pull off the scruffy attractive look he simply woke up like – she was unsure if his hair had ever met a brush – but it worked on him. It was freezing cold but they were too pleased to be near each other once more that they didn't care at all. She was first to break the silence, "We didn't even get a chance, did we?"
Greg knew exactly what she was referring to and wished for nothing else than for his Flame to be happy because she certainly was not sounding as though her life was as perfect as she had dreamed of. "Not once your dad found out that his naïve, innocent nineteen year old princess was wasting hours with the local hoodlum who liked to wreck pretty grass areas with silly flowers."
"Apart from the whole not having a suicide pact and all that our story is very Romeo and Juliet-esque, isn't it?"
"I see you still have to ask me to confirm your every opinion, but yeah, except we never got to the kissing stage; nowhere near eloping as fourteen year olds."
"I don't think we had spoken to each other when we were fourteen, it was only after you broke in to here and I found you that we started our friendship." They laughed, remembering how shocked they both were to find somebody else intruding on their secret fountain.
As they looked around the trees and up to the moonlit sky he decided to take them down memory lane even more. "Our mini meadow looks wonderful these days. I don't suppose you have had a chance to wander up there recently?"
"It still exists?!" Other than by the fountain they had found a nearby forest and a clearing that they had split their time into also.
"Of course, remember it was my first project. I kept an eye on it carefully for a while after you went then let nature take control and I didn't go back for a little bit," he paused as thoughts of the number of years in which he could not stand to be in their sanctuary flashed through his brain, "Have you got time to come and see the change in it now? We both don't want to go back to the party I'm sure."
The old oak gate that separated the gardens from the wood was even more rusted that they could remember, evidence that nobody had cared about the connection since. It took a bit of effort on Greg's part to yank it open and the found all sorts of vegetation had woven its way over the door and arch which made it so much harder to pull away from the frame. It was so worth it when it finally released its grip. Before they even reached the meadow she saw differences in the area she used to know perfectly, mostly that the path they had worn down ten years prior was gone but the trees still kept the outline of where it once had been.
"Are you sure you want to spoil the end of that lovely dress?"
"Yes, I only bought it to make myself feel better about this infuriating party but you have more than made up for that."
"What if people ask questions when we go back?"
Scarlett shrugged in response, "We tell the truth, we have nothing to hide at our age. I might try to wind my dad's memory back to the day he discovered the future-wonder-designer's work in his maze."
When they were closer to the clearing's entrance she saw trees which were shorter than the others and realised that would be the ones he had given to her, Greg pointed to one of them at the same time, "This was the first one we had and she is the most beautiful by a mile."
She ran her fingers over the leaves of the one he motioned to, "I can't believe how it looks now! Or that you know which one of the dozens I planted was the beginning of them all – I wouldn't have even been able to take a guess. You make the trees sound as though they are people and could be mistaken to be your children… I didn't even ask if you have any kids?"
It was a change of direction in their conversation but he was fine speaking about his life, "No, I was married though but we divorced after three years and that was almost five years ago. Yourself?"
"Nothing on any of those sorts of fronts." He had an incline as to this being the reason behind her obvious depression. He knew there was no reason to push any more on this subject so stayed quiet.
In the past there had been a few rocks and logs to climb on to before entering the clearing but they seemed to have vanished so there was only a flat edge which she knew would be impossible to get up on in her current attire. It was not a huge change in level but a boost of some sort was necessary. Greg however had simply leapt up and hoped that there was no marshland on the surface which would ruin the shoes that had cost him practically his soul. Luckily the ground was solid and he laughed at the woman below him as she glared at his ease before he reached out his hand to pull her up. For some reason out of their control neither of them let go and they looked to the other person's face, trying to read if they were both feeling their connection was stronger than ever. The trees were in a large circle surrounding them with only a small hole to let the light encapsulate them from the solar system above.
There was no other place that held such significance for them than this clearing, so it was destiny that this was where their relationship would move to the level they had secretly desired for far too many years. He leaned in very slightly, closing the gap between their bodies and she instinctively allowed her eyelids to flutter shut as their mouths joined.
It was unlike any first kiss she had experienced before. His lips against hers moved naturally together in flawless motions and she was sure the only parts of her body she could feel was where they were in contact.
They had no idea how long they spent simply kissing and occasionally giggling but when they could no longer see the branches above them it was obviously a lot later and they silently agreed that they should head back to the house. When they entered back into the grand hall she glanced down and internally winced at the thin layer of dirt that was covering the hem at the base of the material. Not that she was truly bothered about wrecking the dress; it was just that if there were any pictures taken from this point on then she would look a state compared to Greg whom she would be next to in said photographs. Scarlett could sense her mother's eyes trying to attract her attention to question her outfit and the man on the end of her arm but she ignored it.
Later on that evening Greg pulled on Scarlett's hand until they were standing on the balcony of the first floor, looking down across the lawns, maze, wall and their forest – the tiny fairy lights and proper garden lamps that had been in place since she was a little girl were all on and making it more spectacular. His arms wrapped around her waist and over her stomach as he stood behind her, gently kissing along her collarbone and up her neck as she leaned further back to be as close to him as was physically possible.
It sounded a little ridiculous but she was positive that at some point during her teenage years she had fallen hook, line and sinker for Greg and there was nobody who could match him afterwards. It almost felt like returning home after those years away, only so much better.
Authors Note: I really feel like writing more about this couple...