the willowy girl and the secret keeper

“I think there were skeletons? Yeah, they were dancing around a fire. And there were weird demon things with horns. And it smelled like smoke and trees and spices.”


“You can smell things in your dreams?”


“Of course.” She tilted her head, frowning at him. “You can’t?”


“I don’t think anyone can. I don’t think that’s even possible.”


“It is. It definitely is.”


“You might be crazy.”


She exhaled sharply, her face twisting into a terrible imitation of anger. “I think you’re just jealous.”


“Is that so?”


“Mmhm,” she nodded, confident in her assessment. “Because I get these intricate, beautiful dreams, and yours are just boring. Boring, boring, boring.”


He stared at her, a secret smile playing on his lips. He wanted to tell her that she was the most beautiful person he’d ever seen; that she made his blood feel electric; that if his dreams were as intricate as hers, he’d smell her lilac perfume, stare into her stormy eyes, take her on dreamland adventures. He wanted to tell her that her lips were too red for her face, and her eyelashes were too long for her eyes, and her slender nose was too crooked to be as adorable as it was.


He wanted to tell her that she didn’t make sense. He wanted to tell her that sometimes he ached for her. He wanted to tell her that maybe his nightdreams weren’t as beautiful as hers, but his daydreams certainly were.


“What are you staring at?” she asked through a mouthful of sandwich.


He grinned a secret-keeper’s grin. “Just thinking how crazy you are.”


She threw an empty juice box at him, but he continued unfazed. “Schizophrenic, maybe. Do you hear voices?”


“Shut up.” But she was laughing, and he laughed too, and then he asked her to tell him the rest of her dreams, thinking that maybe, someday, he would tell her his.


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