Written for ADoR's Star-Cross'd completion.
Prompt 1: Sleeping.
– Must be the specified story type (either multi-chaptered or one-shot).
– Reference to Romeo and Juliet (this does not have to be a MAJOR reference. For example, your narrator could walk past a poster advertising a nearby showing of R&J).
– Must have been written after the contest begun
The mirror that hung above my bedframe was old fashioned and pretty, like my mom was before she died. I myself am not a fan of the thing, but my mom was, and I figured that if she liked it, a little piece of her was still with me. So I slept with it hanging above me every night, reflecting the opposite wall in which my drawings were tacked. They were charcoaled pictures of a girl sleeping; the same girl in each picture. They helped me sleep at night.
I turned over in my bed to face the wall. The drawings weren't helping tonight. I was wide awake, like an owl before a hunt, and whenever I closed my eyes I felt like something was watching me. I now felt really stupid for watching that dumb horror movie before bed.
Sighing, I turned over once more and stared up at the Polaroid pictures surrounding the small mirror. They were memories of the past year and a half, most of them containing Josh, my best friend at the time. I tried to ignore them most of the time, but if I really wanted to ignore the hazel-eyed boy I'd just take the damn pictures down. And I knew I wasn't going to do that anytime soon.
On the bottom of each picture of Josh – in the empty white space – I'd always write something like: Josh – happy, or Josh – laughing. Josh had so many different expressions and emotions that I felt the need to write them down, simply to remember them. Josh never seemed to mind it.
I bit the inside of my cheek and squeezed my eyes shut, but then that creepy sensation came back and I opened them again. I tightened my soft, forest green blanket around my small frame and cuddled into my pillow. I was bored and suffering from minor insomnia. What to do, what to do…
I glanced at my phone resting on my bedside table. I could text someone, or call. But then again, who would be up at one AM on a school night? Right – no one. I grimaced internally and reached for it anyway, scrolling through my contacts.
Abbey? Asleep. She had a math test tomorrow.
Barbie? Pothead. Probably passed out on her boyfriend's couch.
Danny? Eric? The twins were probably playing videogames; or maybe they were actually sleeping.
I could text my cousin, Giovanni, because she was a natural born insomniac, but she normally spent the hours after midnight listening to sad music and painting her toenails black.
I sighed and continued scrolling. Hanna, Hayley, Ian, Joshy…
I paused. Joshy… I smiled slightly at the nickname I'd given him a few months ago – he'd hated it. I'd set it as his contact name just to irritate him. He was cute when he got frustrated.
I stiffened at my thoughts. Joshy always had trouble sleeping… Maybe he was awake. Not that he'd want to hear from me, of all people, but it was worth a shot.
With shaking hands, I typed out a text.
I stared at the one word. That word could mean a billion different things – Hey, what's up? Hey, wanna hang out? Hey, I haven't heard from you in a while and I'm wondering if you miss me as much as I miss you? No? Okay.
I growled at myself and then pressed send. I waited ten seconds to see if I regretted it.
Nope. Not one bit.
But then didn't mean I wouldn't soon.
My phone buzzed, waking me up from my doze. Groggily, I checked the text, blinking away the brightness and staring at the blurry name at the top of the message.
My heart beat started to thud erratically, jolting me awake. I rubbed my eyes and checked the time frame: 1:27 AM. It'd been about fifteen minutes since I texted him. I'd been asleep for only fifteen minutes. I rubbed my eyes again; I doubted I'd be able to get to sleep after this.
I was about to type out a reply but the period at the end of the single word made me hesitate. Was he mad? He seems mad. God, I should've never texted him!
My phone buzzed again and I held my breath as I checked the next message.
What's keeping you up, Lex?
Lex, Lex, he called me Lex! He hasn't called me that in weeks! But then again, we haven't exactly talked in weeks. Whatever. I'll take what I can get. I replied quickly, proofread the text about twenty times, and sent it.
Scary movie. You?
A minute later, he replied:
Thinking? Thinking about what?
I sent him that exact question.
It wasn't even two minutes later when he called me.
I stared at his smiling face on the collar ID for a good three buzzes before picking up, breathless. "Hello?"
"Hey, Lex," Josh said, his voice low and husky over the phone. His voice was so sweet and comforting; I could fall asleep to it right then and there.
"Hey," I said, trying to keep the smile out of my tone. "What's up?"
"About?" I prompted. He sounded so serious.
Whoa. Wasn't expecting that. My body stilled and I wondered if he could hear my heart practically beating out of my chest. I was silent for a long time before choking out the only word I could manage: "Me?"
"Yeah, you," he replied. "I've got something to tell you."
"Oh really?" I licked my lips. "And what's that?"
"Open your window and you'll see."
I couldn't stifle the gasp before it escaped my lips. I shot up in my bed and stared at my window in shock. The curtain's blocked me from seeing out of it, so I went over to it and pushed the red things aside. And there, sitting outside in the tree right next to my window, was Josh.
I smiled, both stunned and happy to see him out there, watching me with those hazel eyes of his while he pressed his phone to his ear. "Well?" he said, smirking slightly through the window. "You gonna let me in or what?"
I nodded wordlessly, dropping my phone on my bed and pulling the window open. I grabbed Josh's hand and helped him inside. He grunted as his feet hit the floor, and I hit him softly in the arm.
"Shh," I scolded. "My parents are asleep."
"Yeah," he said, smiling, "I know."
I stared at him a while, basking in his presence. He was really here. All I wanted to do right then was throw my arms around him and pull him into a hug, but I held myself back.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, closing the window. "How did you get here? Your car is…you know."
He grinned, despite my mentioning of his car. "It's about a fifteen minute walk from my house, and it only took me like a minute to climb the tree."
"You were always the more athletic one." I smiled ruefully. Fifteen minute walk. So that's why it took him a while to text me back.
It was worth the wait.
We stared at each other a while before Josh stretched and then found himself a place on my bed. I crawled on after him and sat leaning against the wall a good distance away from him. I watched as he flipped his light brown hair out of his eyes and stared up at the ceiling.
He always did this when he came over. He'd choose a spot on the bed, lie on his back, and stare at the ceiling. I often thought about what went through his head during those times. I never asked; just watched. His expression never changed but his eyes would always roam over every inch of the ceiling, as if he saw something different than I did. And knowing him, he probably did.
"Those stars," he said quietly, jerking me out of my reverie. "The ones on the ceiling. You never told me why they were there."
I glanced up at the stars he was talking about. They were those little plastic ones you could get for a dollar at the general store that glowed in the dark and stuck to walls. I smiled, remembering when I first got them. "When I was about nine or ten," I said, "I used to be obsessed with stars. I'd look at them all the time out in the country – where I lived before I moved here – and when we did move, I remember being so sad because I missed the stars a lot, so my mom went out and bought me some of my own. They glowed and everything. I was so happy then."
Josh was silent. He looked up at the little glowing, star-shaped pieces of plastic stuck to the ceiling and the way he was looking at them made me think he saw more than what they were. Something told me he saw a whole galaxy of memories.
"Are you happy now?" Josh asked, breaking the silence.
I shrugged, hugging my knees and burying my toes in the sheets. "Yeah, I guess. I mean, I've got nothing to be sad about. It's been about five years since the accident. I should be over it by now."
Josh shook his head, finally looking at me since he'd got on the bed. "You'll never be over it, Lexie. And it's okay to never be over it. That's just a part of being human. And we're all just humans, missing the people we're supposed to miss. Like I've missed you for the past three weeks."
I opened my mouth to reply, but no words came out. He watched me, half expectant and half amused. I finally got something out. "You mean you're not mad anymore?"
"Of course not, Lex. You think I'd be here if I was still mad?" Josh smiled and his eyes smiled and that made me smile. He sat up and held out his arms. "Come 'ere."
I did as told and he wrapped his arms around me in a hug. His arms were around my waist and mine were around his neck, my face buried in his shoulder. He breathed in the scent of my shampoo and he made a sound like a growl. "You smell so good."
I giggled and pulled back. "Now, now, Joshy. Keep it in your pants."
He grinned good-naturedly pushed my shoulders down so that I was lying next to him on the bed. He pulled the blanket over the both of us and pulled me close to him.
"I've missed you, Lex," he said wistfully. "The pain Romeo and Juliet felt for losing each other does not compare to the pain I felt watching you go on living life without me."
I grinned. "You're being way too dramatic right now."
He chuckled. "Yeah, I know. But you love it."
"Yeah, I know," I mimicked. He grinned at me.
We stayed like that for a while, just lying there in comfortable silence, both of us listening to the other's heartbeat. Mine was beating faster than his, I could tell. I lifted my head up after a moment to look him in the eyes. I guess my expression gave me away and he raised an eyebrow questioningly.
"I'm sorry," I said. "For, um, you know – wrecking your car."
He smiled softly. "Don't worry about it."
"It was an expensive car, Josh," I said, sitting up slightly. He propped himself up on his elbow and watched me ramble. "I was so stupid; I totaled it just because I wanted you to teach me how to drive."
Josh chuckled. "You're a really crappy driver."
"Obviously!" He laughed and I hit him on the shoulder. "Stop, it's not funny! I really am sorry!"
"I know you are," he said, grinning at me. "And it's cute."
I stared at him, surprised, and then cleared my throat. Averting my eyes I said, "Josh, you're flirting with me."
His grin widened. "So what if I am, Lex?"
I rolled my eyes. "You suck."
"Oh." I sighed and then climbed off the bed, padding barefoot across the room to my vanity. I grabbed my silver hairbrush and started raking it through my hair, looking at my reflection in the mirror. I didn't realize how tangled my hair had become during my fifteen minute slumber.
"What are you doing?" Josh asked. Through the mirror I could see him watching me with half closed eyes. His hair was now messy and it gave him a sort of sexy look that made me flush and keep my eyes on my reflection.
"What does it look like?" I replied. I set the brush down, letting my wavy dark hair settle around my shoulders. I glanced at Josh in the mirror and met his eyes. He smiled wryly and said, "It looks like you're trying to impress me."
I scoffed, whirling around. "Oh, please," I said, hands on my hips in defiance. "Why on earth would I try to impress you?"
The banter was playful but he seemed to respond seriously. "Well, I'd think it'd have something to do with the fact that you're in love with me."
I faltered, and he gazed at me so steadily it was almost unnerving. I quickly regained my composure and choked out a laugh. "You're crazy, Joshy." I forced an amused smile on my face and went over to my nightstand, opening one of the drawers. I pulled out my little black Polaroid camera. I lifted it to my face and turned to Josh, my finger on the shutter. "Smile!"
I caught him off-guard as he was running a hand through his hair. He stared at me and I stared back, slowly lowering the camera. The picture slid out and I broke our eye contact, taking the picture and holding it up to my face.
Josh was sitting up on the bed, his hand running through his brown hair. His eyes were on me – on the camera – and his lips were parted slightly. He looked lost. His shirt had risen up and he looked both equal parts sexy and adorable.
I swallowed a lump in my throat and then cleared it. I set the camera down and then held up the picture for Josh to see. I smiled. "You look a little lost there, Joshy."
He took the picture from me and looked at it. His lips twitched in a smile and he looked back up at me. "Got a sharpie?"
I nodded and dug a black one out of the drawer and tossed it to him. He uncapped it with his mouth and quickly scrawled something down on the bottom of the picture. When he was finished, he capped the sharpie and handed the Polaroid back to me.
It read: Josh – in love.
My breath hitched and I nearly dropped the picture all together. Josh was looking at me apprehensively and I sat down beside him on the bed. I stared at the picture, reading and rereading Josh's caption. Before I could say anything, or even attempt to say anything, he took the picture from me, grabbed a tack from the nightstand, and tacked it to the wall above my bed.
"Josh…," I said, trailing off. He looked at me with a raised eyebrow, urging me to continue. I shook my head at a loss for words.
He smiled softly. "Sorry, Lex, but it had to be said."
I snorted, despite the situation. "Well you didn't exactly say it."
He paused, and I could feel his eyes on me as I stared down at my bare feet. My toes were painted blue.
"Do you want me to say it?" he asked carefully.
I shook my head. "No, you can't possibly mean it. I mean, we're just friends, right? You meant it in a friend way."
"No, I –"
I stood up abruptly, cutting him off. "I have to, uh – go to the bathroom."
"Lexie –" he said, but I was already rushing down the hallway and shutting the bathroom door behind me with a click.
For a moment I just stared at the black and white striped wallpaper across from me, my eyes searching for possible creases without reason. Eventually I turned and looked at my reflection, and I looked how I felt, to say the least.
I gritted my teeth and turned on the faucet, gathering water in my hands and splashing it in my face. I dried myself with a towel and turned the water off.
I dreaded exiting this small room and facing Josh. He didn't love me; he couldn't. I was just the friend who crashed his birthday present into a fountain. Nothing more.
I was about to splash more water on my face when the door opened and in came Josh, making me gasp as I pressed myself back against the opposite wall. As soon as he closed the bathroom door he was in front of me and pressing his lips to mine.
I didn't react at first, but that didn't seem to faze him. One of his hands went to my waist while the other to my neck. He tilted his head to the left, and I felt compelled to close my eyes. So I did. A chill ran down my spine and I circled my arms around his neck, playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. I kissed him back with as much force as he kissed me. Our mouths were frantic, and the bathroom was startlingly hot.
But that didn't make my want to stop any more than I already didn't.
He pulled back for a breath and then came right back, and I could feel him smiling against my lips. My back was pressed uncomfortably against the wall, but I didn't care.
I didn't know how much time we'd spent kissing in the bathroom – minutes, hours, it felt like – but eventually he pulled back. He let his lips linger on mine for a couple seconds and then rested his forehead against mine, our uneven breath mingling. I kept glancing between his lips and his oh-so hazel eyes, and I didn't know what to say next.
Josh smiled and let out a breathy laugh. "Believe me now?"
I jerked my head up, making him lift his as he stared down at me. "What?"
"Lexie May Thompson, I am in love with you," he said, and if we weren't seventeen I'd say he was proposing. "Do you believe me?"
I paused, blinking. "Uh, y – yeah."
He laughed. "Fantastic." He gave me one last lingering, dizzying kiss and then turned to open the door. I caught my reflection in the mirror as we left and I cringed – my cheeks were flushed, my hair was mussed, and my shirt was rising up. I quickly tried to tame my appearance as I followed Josh back to my room, where he leisurely walked over to the window and opened it. I instantly deflated.
"Where are you going?" I asked, frowning.
He turned back to me with that infectious grin of his. "Lex, it's two-thirty in the morning and we have school in a few hours. I think I need to get home."
I was surprised that an hour had already passed. But then again, I kind of lost track of time several times when Josh looked at me. My shoulders sagged, and then I glanced toward my bed. "You could stay…?" I trailed off, biting my lip in anticipation.
He raised a suggestive eyebrow and my eyes widened. "No! No, no, no, I didn't mean it like that, I just –"
I stop talking when Josh started laughing. He came over to me and grabbed my face in his hands. "I know what you meant, Lex, I'm just messing with you."
I flushed. "Oh."
He chuckled and kissed my forehead. "I'd love to stay, babe, but I wouldn't want your dad walking in on me cuddling with his only daughter."
My eyes widened at the pet name and I wondered what it made us. Josh smirked tauntingly. I cleared my throat and stepped back. "All right then."
"All right then," he repeated quietly. He turned to leave, climbing over the pane of the window. Just as he was stretching his foot out toward the tree, I stopped him. "Wait!"
He turned and looked at me expectantly and maybe even a little hopefully. I rushed over to him and leaned well out over the window pane and pressed my lips to his. Once I pulled back, I whispered, "I love you too, Joshy."
He stared at me, a slow smile taking over his face. He winked at me once before ducking under a branch and making his way down the tree. I watched him maneuver his way to the bottom and then turn around to give me a cute, two-fingered a salute. I grinned and watched him jog down the street until he was out of my sight.
I sighed, licking my lips. I could still taste him, which was unbelievably comforting. I regretted letting him leave. Ugh.
I finally went to sleep, curled up in my large green blanket, knowing waking up was gonna be hell in a few hours. But it'd be worth it.
This was written, as previously stated, for ADoR's Star-Cross'd competition. I don'tthink I followed the prompt too well; knowing me, I got off track or something and totally ignored the prompt altogether. I don't see how what I just wrote has anything to do with sleeping, aside from the irrelevant drawings Lex drew, and the bed. But whatever; I had fun writing it.
Okay, so, um. Hope you enjoyed! Wish me luck in the comp. and thanks for reading! :)