Turn Around, Bright Eyes

Submitted into Contest #245 in response to: Set your story during a total eclipse — either natural, or man-made.... view prompt


LGBTQ+ Romance

Today was the day. Today was the day Nora Elizabeth Grant would finally screw up the courage to tell Imani how she felt. What better opportunity than the solar eclipse, the last total one in North America for the next twenty years? It was perfect. Imani had been raving about it for the last month, the NASA posters on her wall seeming to glow just a bit in her excitement. She had already made posts on all of her socials. Nora smiled down at a post that showed Imani with sun-and-moon inspired eyeshadow. 

There was no question about it. Nora had been granted a perfect chance. All she had to do was not lose her nerve. 

“Are you excited?”

Imani came bounding over. Her eyeshadow was even more radiant in the natural light, and she had added sparkly highlighter over her dark cheeks. Nora pretended to cough so she could disguise her sudden need to swallow.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” said Nora.

Pretty cool? Ugh, she really had no game. But Imani, scanning the sky, didn’t notice. Pointing to a few clouds, Imani glanced back at Nora. 

“Look,” she said, “Doesn’t the sky look like it’s getting darker?”

“Huh, I guess it does.”

Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes until the moon would pass over the sun, and Nora would tell Imani all the things she’d been holding inside. Taking advantage of Imani’s gaze firmly locked upwards, Nora wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans. Her heart had started to beat just a bit faster. She’d found a NASA shirt on the clearance rack at Target and had put it on for the occasion. Hopefully she wasn’t about to start sweating through it. It was a cool day with a gentle breeze, but Nora’s face was warm. 

“I can’t believe we’re actually gonna witness this!” Imani squealed, bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet. 

Nora couldn’t help but smile. Imani always sent her messages about whatever the latest lunar news was, whether it was Mars being visible that night, or a new satellite they were launching into orbit. But a total solar eclipse? That was something special. Something Imani would rhapsodize about while gazing at the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to her ceiling. Wasn’t it so cool that the moon and the sun and the earth all worked together to create such a unique phenomenon? 

“I didn’t know if it would ever happen,” said Nora.

“I know! I thought we’d have to travel so far away! Your phone is charged, right? We need to get as many pictures as possible.”

“Yes, my phone is charged, just like it was when you asked me this morning.”

Nora nudged Imani with her shoulder, and Imani swatted back, her nose crinkling in that way that really made Nora want to kiss it. 

“I’m ready, I promise,” Nora said.

She was ready to take pictures, but was she ready to take the plunge? Imani had replied with nearly every heart emoji her keyboard had to offer when Nora complimented her makeup on one of her many posts. Did that mean something? When Becca had left a similar comment, Imani hadn’t used nearly as many emojis to reply. So that had to count for something. Right?



Lost in her thoughts, Nora hadn’t realized that Imani was asking a question. Imani stuck her tongue out and chided her to pay attention.

“I asked you if you wanted to take a selfie, silly!”

“Oh, sure!”

Imani held up the phone and gestured for Nora to get closer. Nora kept what she felt was a friendly distance, but Imani pressed their cheeks together. Heart suddenly thumping, Nora hoped Imani would assume her warm face was just from excitement about the eclipse. They took multiple shots, both mugging for the camera and laughing. 

Imani gasped.

“It’s almost time!”

Nora’s stomach dropped to the ground. It couldn’t be time. She wasn’t ready. How could she be? Imani was all light and glitter and stars, and Nora was just that. Boring old Nora. What was she thinking, believing someone as radiant as Imani could see anything in her? This whole idea was a mistake. Maybe she should just let Imani enjoy this moment.

“Here!” said Imani, shoving the eclipse glasses, specially bought from NASA, into Nora’s hands. Imani had also sent Nora several articles about the dangers of staring directly at an eclipse and had insisted on buying glasses for both of them. 

Eyes protected, Imani squeezed Nora’s hand, and the physical contact made Nora’s stomach do a series of acrobatic routines. 

The sky had grown darker. There was a charge in the air, standing Nora’s hair on end. As they looked up, slowly, it began. A darkness passed over the sun, obscuring it from view. One moment, it looked the same as usual, and the next, it was gone, the moon shielding it from view of everyone down on the ground.

Imani gasped. Nora snapped some photos, realizing Imani was too enraptured to take any of her own. 

“It’s amazing!” Imani cried.

Even through the weird quarter-view afforded by the special lenses, Nora could tell why so many people had made up stories to explain such a thing. How could something as constant as the sun suddenly disappear for a moment? Generations and generations had marveled at the same thing. 

And just like that, it was over. The moon continued its dance, and the sun beamed once more. 

“I didn’t take any pictures!” Imani gasped.

“I got you covered,” Nora replied, waving her phone back and forth.

“Oh, you’re the best!”

Imani launched herself, flinging her arms around Nora’s neck and squeezing tight. Was this the moment?

“I’m so glad you got to see this with me,” said Imani, taking one of Nora’s hands in her own. 

“So am I.”

They stared at each other for a moment, Nora taking in every gleam in Imani’s big brown eyes. 

“So,” said Imani, “Are you gonna ask me out or what?”

April 12, 2024 18:44

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Cheyenne Raley
12:41 Apr 18, 2024

I thought this was such a cute story! I’m normally not a huge romance person, but even in the short amount of time that I knew the characters I was really rooting for Nora. The internal guessing game of “am I reading too much into this or does she actually like me” is so relatable and very well portrayed.


Kayleigh Ficarra
14:30 Apr 18, 2024

Thank you very much! It's always such a compliment when someone who's not big on a genre enjoys your work in that genre :)


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Kaelynne Duke
14:27 Apr 17, 2024

This is awesome and it help me have some thoughts to my story!


Kayleigh Ficarra
18:25 Apr 17, 2024

Thank you so much! Best of luck with your story :)


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