His father looked at him coldly, "Are these grades a joke?" Adam broke out in a cold sweat, from the moment he heard the heavy footsteps on the stairs he knew it would happen. Albert Meyers was a professor of geophysics at some prestigious university, he was a genius, a perfectionist; some mishaps he could tolerate, but if anything got him going it was his son's grades.
"Don't bother coming back until you've found it within yourself to appreciate the efforts of those around you." Adam's father slammed the door in his face. It wasn't the first time such a thing had happened, they got into arguments frequently and sporadically; it always began with Adam's grades and escalated until he told his father off for leaving him home alone with his ailing mother.
"Doesn't matter anyways," he muttered "Not like I can tell either way."
He kicked a nearby stone aggressively, only to find a sharp pain shoot up his leg, "Shit! Ouch, stupid masquerade boulder." He kicked it again, lightly, in retaliation. Satisfied with his efforts in terrorizing the boulder, he walked for a bit, wondering where he should go. "It's a Saturday night in late October; the old man could've picked a better day to throw me out. I wonder what I should do, the only people awake at this hour are the wannabe gangsters… what's that?"
There were sounds coming from a nearby house; someone was singing and he crept closer to listen. It didn't occur to him that his actions were creepy, but rather that they were fulfilling some innate desire in him to solve a mystery.
She was sitting cross-legged on the balcony, he noted. The soft notes she sang were broken, but full of some deep emotion that he could empathize with. He sat in silence, listening to her carefully. Eventually, the melody tapered off and she leaned forward to address him calmly, "Do you usually display such stalker-like tendencies, Adam?"
He was grinning; she could hear it in his voice, "Only for you, Cereus." She cringed, "Must you use my full name?" "Of course," He looked up at her, amused to see her frown at her given name, "It's beautiful."
She regarded him silently, and climbed down to sit with him, "Did your father get angry again?" He clenched his fists, "You always seem to know." She laughed lightly, "You only ever visit when you both argue, it's not hard to guess." They stopped talking for a while, and looked up at the stars.
"Why don't you like your name?"
"Besides the fact that I sound like some Greek god's holy steed?"
He chuckled, "Yes."
"Because the Selenicereus grandiflorus, my namesake, only blooms one night a year. How positively demeaning is that? It's so fragile that it can't survive for more than a night?"
"I disagree," Adam whispered softly, "it's a cactus bloom that grows in a desolate environment where life struggles, but somehow it finds the strength to become the most beautiful flower on Earth, even if it's for just one night. It suits you."
Cereus blushed, "Adam Meyers, you sound like a hopeless romantic. Who knew that someone with a failing grade in English could be so poetic?"
He shrugged, "I'm unappreciated in my time. Besides, my mom's a botanist; I just end up knowing these things."
"How is she?"
"Still sick, still obsessed with Linnaeus and still asking me if we're going to get together."
She laughed, "She's still on about that? It's been 18 years."
"I say we should give the woman some solace, don't you?"
She gaped at him, "Adam—what?"
His eyes twinkled mischievously, "Don't over think it, Cere."
"I—I'm not," Cereus narrowed her eyes at him, "You're teasing me! Jerk."
After a while she turned to him, eyes soft, "I wouldn't exactly be adverse to it though."
Adam looked at her in disbelief, a smile slowly spreading across his features. He reached out to grip her hand, "Cere?" She leaned her head on his shoulder, "Hm?"
"Your voice is lovely, but don't try out for American Idol."