Romance Fiction

 “Thanks, Rose,” the words shiver down my tongue, like they never expected to come out.

  My sister smiles at me. “Don’t thank me. It was nothing.”

  You don’t know what you mean to me. You’ve taken care of me since you were old enough to walk, and you’re still taking care of me now.

  “I’m going to miss my car,” I tell her. “And you...”

  She laughs as I run out the door, waving. “Bye, queen!”

  I don’t look back. I need this break. It will not start and end with me not being able to leave her.

  “Jennifer, is that correct?”

  I nod, barely able to cover up the excitement of having a - supposedly - beautiful view from my hotel room window. I try my best not to snatch the keycard and fly to my room. “Thanks,” I whisper, “Rose.”

  The room is as pretty as I had imagined. It’s sunset, and the sky outside looks like a painting, impossible colors bleeding into the clouds and covering the ocean below. The blue is Rose, her relaxing presence and kind attitude. The purple is me, because even though I’m calming like she is, I’m more complex, I have a spark. The red is my best friend since middle school, Ellie, who will easily flame and is just as cold as she is hot. The orange is my ex, Kyle, who is like Ellie - hot on the outside, cold on the inside, but unlike Ellie this was all the time. I didn’t figure that out until it was too late. The yellow is everyone I know. Soft and sweet but emotional and complex.

  I study the room. It has a big glass door that leads to a balcony, on which is a wooden chess set. There’s a bed in the middle, with a small bedside table on one side and a desk on the other.

  On the opposite side of the balcony is another door, the entrance one. There’s a closet next to the desk and a bathroom door next to that. I open the closet. There’s a pole on which are coat hangers, and in the very back is another door. I reach out hesitantly. I pull my hand back. It’s probably a storage closet, I reassure myself, reaching out again. The knob turns with a whine, and the door creaks as I open it.

  “What the hell!”

  Crap, I think. There’s another person right there? Rose didn’t tell me this!

  “Can’t a guy play chess in peace?” Says the person. I peek around the door. His room is pretty much symmetrical to mine, with the exception of clothes covering practically everything. He’s playing chess with himself, and he seems to be winning.

  “What the hell yourself,” I reply, not exactly knowing what I’m doing. “What is with this hotel and chess?”

  He tells me chess is awesome and challenges me to a game. I accept. While he’s making his move, I take my time to look at him. He’s handsome, with dark brown hair, brown eyes, and freckles. He looks like he could be biracial. I change my mind, he’s not handsome, he’s hot.

  Over the next few days I develop a crush on him - his name is James - and became the first person to beat him at chess. I beat him eight times, which isn’t very much to his record of thirty-two. I don’t care; he’s everything. He’s perfect.

  We eat together a couple of times, and he introduces me to his friends. One of them adores him, calls him a “chess god”. At first I think it’s cute, but then I remember that James is hardly even an expert. He’s advanced, sure, but not as good as the grandmasters. They are experts.

  I try not to love this boy but every time I try I end up being pulled deeper into this void.

  Sometimes I wish James had never come into my life. Sometimes I wish that people would recognize me, too, and not just him, for being good at chess. Sometimes I think that he didn’t remember I’m the first person to beat him when another friend beat him. Sometimes I wish I weren’t so selfish.

  Even though James is the one who introduced me to the thing I love most, he is also the one person I love, and hate.

  He is the King, and I am the Queen. He is everything to everyone, he is the heart of the game for us - for me and his friends - and I am powerful but not as powerful as he is. I am the Queen in the fairytale, the one whom no one knows the name of, the one who did just as much as the King, and yet the King is remembered. The King is cherished and as precious as one’s life. I need them to notice me.

Tonight I have dinner with him and the others. I can’t say I’m excited to tell him how I feel.

  “Jennifer, you okay?”  I look up from my food to see his eyes peering, concerned, down at me. We are alone, it’s nearly night, and I know this is my chance.

  I open my mouth to say no. He presses a finger to my lips before I can say anything, before I can even make a sound. Then he leans foreword, his hand moving to the back of my neck. My heart beats faster, his fingers warm but cooling with the air.

  He’s an inch away from me. I can’t move. How can I tell him to stop, that he is looking at someone who doesn’t deserve him?

  “Do you mind..?” The unfinished question lingers in the air. His hand is trembling now. I have to remember that he is only human, too, I think. It’s not fair to judge him like this.

  “I’m sorry.” I push him away gently.

  “I thought…”

  “I like you like that,” I inform him, scared to see his reaction, “but I’m not the one for you. I dislike your friends, for one.”

  “She’s hot and she’s cold,” he mutters, surprised.

  “I’m sorry, but that’s the nicest way I could say it,” I protest. “They only have eyes for you.” I’m such a hypocrite.

  When he walks away from me, not saying another word, I know I have lost an amazing opportunity. The last thing I see of him are tears being held back. I don’t watch him leave. I wouldn’t be able to bear it.

March 04, 2021 05:34

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Eddie Thawne
19:29 Mar 11, 2021

I liked the way you started with a conversation. It caught my attention and held it until the last line. This is a beautiful story. I totally enjoyed every bit of it. Well done!


Cassia Savage
03:57 Mar 12, 2021

Thank you so much!!


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