The Epilogue To A Long Story

Written in response to: Start your story with a character quitting their job, or getting fired.... view prompt

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Romance Crime

1024 words

Rated PG; some mature themes

Author's note: I know I just wrote Last-Minute Revelations, another hero/villain story, but I've been reading so many of the prompts I had to write another one.


I’m sitting at the end of the boardwalk. My running shoes sit next to me. My bare feet are making circles in the water. The moon reflects off the lake, making shimmering streaks. The stars are clear out here--away from the busy city--so they also shine down upon the water, making it look like galaxy soup. I feel like I’m stirring it with my toes. 


The wooden planks of the boardwalk to my right creak. I whip my head around, taken out of the relaxed trance I’ve maintained for about an hour. My shoulders tense up, my pulse gets quicker, and I instinctively put my arms in a fighting position.


When I see who it is, my heart is beating wildly for a different reason. 


It’s The Shade. With the ability to literally become one with shadows, they’ve single-handedly caused enough destruction to get assigned a hero--me. They’re the most feared villain in the city.


Or, at least, they were. After the latest assignment, I prefer to call them by their real name, Asini. They’re wearing a maroon sweater, pushed up to the elbows, and a pair of ripped jean shorts. Their straight, black hair is in a low bun. Asini’s face, which I’m still getting used to seeing, is breathtaking. It’s beautiful, even without the brown eyeshadow and smudged eyeliner they’re wearing. It’s stunning, even with the worried expression currently on it.


“The mission’s over, Asini.” I say.


Asini blinks quickly a few times.


“Huh?”


I bite my lip to stop myself from sighing.


“You don’t have to be my friend anymore. We’ve defeated her, so we can go back to being enemies.”


Asini comes closer to me, plopping themself down next to me. They wrap their arms around their knees, staring at the galaxy soup.


“Why would you want that?” They ask, in a barely audible voice.


“Well, we’re supposed to. Just because we saw each other -” I gesture to our civilian clothes. “-like this doesn’t mean we can’t keep fighting. It doesn’t mean we’re friends. ”


“I don’t want to fight you. Not anymore.” Asini says.


Panic spread through my body. My heart’s going to escape from my chest. My palms are slippery. My face is burning. My eyes dart around before landing on Asini, who’s wearing a small smile.


“What?”


Asini nods. “We did it. We were able to stop her from mind-controlling the city. We prevented the death of thousands of people. We cooperated. We saw each other-” she mocks the gesture I did. “-like this. So, why can’t we be friends?”


I would love to be friends with Asini. I would love for them to hold my hand and for us to get ice cream together and to take walks along the beach. Those can be friend things too, right?


“So we just are ‘normal’ teenagers, then?” I use air quotes because the word means nothing to me.


Asinin clicks their tongue. “I guess so.”


“Want to go take our insecurities out on our parents, who will deny our needing help?”


Asini laughs. It’s the loudest sound I’ve ever heard them make. Louder than when the whirring of helicopter blades tried to drown out their voice. Louder than the scream that erupted from their mouth as we fell down the shaft leading to her workshop. Louder than their cry of horror when they found my dying body, soaked in blood, bruised, and coughing. 


The laugh breaks something in me. Not my ribs. Those were cracked in the aforementioned almost dying. I scooch closer to her. 


Their laugh is caught in their throat. Their eyes widen.


“Uh, what-”


I lean my head on their shoulder and close my eyes. They’re so warm. It makes me want to touch their waist, their back, their face, just to feel the heat.


“I loved you before I saw you-” I once again gesture to our attire. “-like this. I had for months. I’m just really good at tamping down my emotions.”


I keep my eyes closed so I don’t see their reaction. 


“I thought, if I only saw you when you were punching me in the face, it would be fine, and I would get over it. Eventually.”


I put a hand over their bare knee using my newfound confidence. They shiver.


“Of course, then she had to go and start destroying everything. We had to team up. I had to see your pretty face. I almost had a panic attack.”


“I-”


“No,” I cut Asini off. “Let me finish, please.”


They stop talking.


“So, I wanted you to know that it’s been hard for me, to have such confusing emotions. So annoying. But I’ve finally figured it out. I love you, and I have for some time now.”


I open my eyes. The lake is the same as it was before my confession. The water is unaffected by it. 


“Can I talk now?” Asini asks.


“I suppose.” 


Asini takes my chin in their hand and turns it upwards, toward their face. They lean down and press their lips against mine. The heat has spread to my body without my having to press against her. It took but a single brush of contact.


When we separate, Asini puts a hand on my arm.  


“That was sweet.”


“The kiss? I am using this strawberry chapstick-”


“No, silly.” Asini grins. “The part where you confessed your love to me.” 


“That’s not a real teenager thing, though. It mostly happens in books and movies.” I say. “I’ve already failed.”


“I’m glad.” Asini kisses me again. “I would never have fallen for a normal teenager.”


“Oh, lucky me.”


“Yes, very lucky.” Asini lets their head rest in my lap. “I always wanted someone who could beat the crap out of me.”


I smile down at them. My heart begins to settle down. I look out at the calm lake, and feel at peace for the first time in. . .my life. Asini’s hair has come loose, and I absentmindedly fiddle with it.


“So, I guess we have her to thank for getting us together. We should send a card to her in prison.” I say.


“Oh, be quiet.”


August 28, 2021 14:55

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