This was a story I wrote for a contest on Figment. "Write a story in which love is dangerous." I'd love to hear some feedback!
Landon was a special boy. He didn't look any different from the other people in his school, but there was something about him that set him apart from everybody else.
He didn't love.
It wasn't that he didn't want to. It was that he couldn't. His body rejected love and his heart would shatter the day that he felt it and realized it for what it was.
When he roamed the hallways, he looked over at the other teenagers and saw the happy couples holding hands and kissing in the hallways. He longed for what they had, but knew that he could never have it.
Landon never had parents. His father never loved his mother, leaving her after discovering that she was pregnant. His mother had never loved his father either. She and Landon shared the same condition, after all. When Landon was born, she loved her child and that killed her, so he lived alone.
While he couldn't love, he liked things well enough. He enjoyed reading, entering worlds where creatures could speak, where 'happily ever after"s existed. He practically lived in the library, reading in silence and burying himself in the stories of love and horror, drama and magic, monsters and fae, everything that he could get his hands on. He found dying for love rather ridiculous though.
It could be told that his life was the most tragic love story ever to happen. The only problem was, Landon didn't know what love felt like, so he asked.
"It's when you feel happy just being with them and spending time together."
"You feel this flame in your chest and it's wonderful."
"It's special, but you just have to find the right person."
"You'll know it when you feel it."
Now Landon was determined to never find the right person. He stayed away from people, trying to never get close to them or feel that special connection or attachment that would lead to love.
It terrified him.
Nestled in a fairly large and comfortable couch was a teenager with a petite stature, legs tucked in and head buried in a thick tome. His shaggy light brown hair framed his pale face, strands draping over his shoulder and the chair he sat on.
Landon was reading a dark historical adventure when he felt a hand tap at his shoulder. He looked up from the story and his hazel eyes met a bright and piercing blue. Another teenager stood before him, kind and hesitant smile on his lips.
"Hey," he began, pausing awkwardly for a second before continuing again, cheeks tinged pink. "I'm Dennis. I've seen you around here often, so I wanted to talk to you, seeing as how apparently we both frequent this establishment and you always seem to be alone, so I was wondering if you'd like some company, but if I'm bothering you, I'll leave, if that's what you want, and-"
Stunned, Landon's mouth opened and closed multiple times before he found his voice. "No, it's fine. If you stay, I mean. Hi. I'm Landon," he mumbled softly. There was a slight pain in his chest that had blossomed the second their eyes met, but he had attributed it to his unnatural sitting position.
Dennis grinned, blush growing fiercer. "Cool!" So..." he continued awkwardly, "Would it be okay to be your friend?" Dennis groaned. "That was way too sudden, wasn't it? I mean, we could just start out hanging out a bit or something..."
"Friend..." Landon murmured. There was a warm feeling in that word, and the pain in his chest escalated. He hid the wince by burying himself in the book again. Raising his hand, he touched his face, finding it warm to the touch. What...? Was this... Landon berated himself for even thinking of such a possibility. He extended his hand, which Dennis grasped cheerfully. "Yeah, that'd be nice. Friends."
"Awesome!" With a grin, Dennis seated himself on the couch next to Landon, leaning in so he could see what he was reading. He let out an impressed whistle. "That's some intense reading! Isn't this supposed to be extremely difficult?"
Landon felt his face heat up once again and bashfully hid his behind the pages of his book. "N-Not really. If I don't understand anything, then I can ask the librarian or consult the dictionary. You get the hang of it after a while..."
"Oh... Well, until I can reach your level, I guess I'm stuck with this!" Dennis laughed sheepishly as he held up a book he had picked up from the table sitting before them.
"That's a good book too! It was riveting and the characters were all really interesting to read about!" Landon spontaneously proclaimed. Suddenly hyper-aware of his outburst, he shrunk back further into the couch.
Dennis smirked with amusement. "Wow, you've really read a lot of books, haven't you?"
"Yeah..." Landon acknowledged. "Just about all of the books in this branch..."
Dennis let out a low whistle, flipping open to the first page of his book. "Well, I guess I'll check it out then. I want to see what my opinion of this book is, if it lives up to the praise you showered it with." Dennis turned to concentrate on the text before him.
Landon slowly nodded, focusing on the story that he held in his hands. He could still feel the warmth in his face, accompanied by an odd stabbing feeling in his chest. Dismissing it as over-excitement, he turned back to his book and read.
The two boys hadn't even noticed that time had flown by so quickly until the librarian came over to their couch and gently reminded them that it was almost time for the library to close and that they could always borrow the books if they really wanted to continue.
Flustered, Landon stuttered for an apology while Dennis merely smiled and nodded. As the librarian walked back to her station, Dennis turned towards the other teen with a smile. "You were right! That was a really good read. Is it okay if I ask you for some recommendations?"
"Yeah, that's fine. I'd be happy to help." Landon replied with a rare quirk of his lips.
Dennis's smile suddenly wavered and it sent Landon's stomach twisting. Was there something he had done wrong? He didn't want to lose his first friend so soon! "Uh, so, Landon."
Landon glanced over with a questioning expression, trying to quell his rising anxiety. "What is it?"
"You know how I said that I had noticed you here often before...?"
"Yes..." Landon nodded slowly. Exactly where was Dennis getting with this conversation? And why was the piercing feeling gradually becoming more and more fierce?
Dennis awkwardly rubbed his arms, eyes darting everywhere. "Well, the thing is, while I was watching you, I kind of..."
Landon cocked his head in confusion. "What?"
Much to Landon's surprise, Dennis let out a groan of frustration before shouting, "Agh, I'm horrible at expressing emotions!" What happened next was even more startling.
Dennis leaned in close suddenly and pressed his lips against Landon's. Time seemed to stop and all Landon could concentrate on was the feel of Dennis's mouth on his. It was tingling and he could feel his toes curling as Dennis leaning in closer, molding their bodies together. Landon closed his eyes and opened his mouth to gasp for air, prompting Dennis to insert his tongue into the mash-up of mouths.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity in heaven, Dennis pulled away. Landon lifted his hand to touch his lips. His face was burning and he ached for the warmth that had been his only moments ago. His eyes found Dennis's and they locked.
OH. Oh. So that's why Dennis had been blushing before... And that was why... So this was...
Suddenly there were a million needles slamming into his heart. The pain was an avalanche, suddenly cutting off his air supply and crushing his chest. Landon let out a surprised gasp. It was, wasn't it...
Everything turned black in an instant and there was nothing.
In the distance, he could hear Dennis's shouts, could feel large and warm hands gripping his shoulders, but all Landon could do was close his eyes and smile. They were right. Love was wonderful. It was beautiful and dangerous, like fire.
Soon he couldn't feel the pain anymore, couldn't hear Dennis's voice, couldn't feel his hands, couldn't feel anything but a strange calmness. Despite knowing that he had died, he was just glad that the last thing that he was left with was the sensation of warmth flooding his body.
It was absolutely terrifying and perfect all at once.
Landon was a boy who couldn't love and died when he did.
Landon loved for the first and last time when he was 16.
He met Dennis, and that changed everything.
Did 'happily ever after's exist when you died?
Landon liked to think that they did.