Brushing her fingers against his cheek all she can think was... 'I choose you'.
"Sage," he breathes, his eyes like shadowed ice and wholly on her "please. Can I...?"
He was the one- he was the one! It wasn't her handsome, sweet, considerate tutor. Though a part of her will always love Louis. After all, he was her first love (okay, fine. Feeling were still there.) The first one to break her heart. He will always have a claim on some corner of her heart. But at this moment, with Trydez, superhero to the city, so close...it felt right.
And he loved her! He said so, she remembers the night vividly.
"Sage, do you fear rejection?"
Sage fiddles with her fingers, guilt in her gut. She rejected him and for that, he was so heartbroken. Well... Sage, herself, didn't reject him. Her alter-ego, Avica, did.
She just... she didn't see him that way!
Yes, Trydez was funny and cool and easy on the eyes but...her heart belonged to another!
To her dashing prince in jeans and neat t-shirts! To the sweetheart with glasses and a crooked smile! To the most beautiful and eligible bachelor in her class-no, in the whole school! Louis Allen! With his serious grey eyes and gorgeous richly tanned skin-
She just...couldn’t love Trydez the way he did her.
“Very much,” Sage answered, “so much that I would rather watch the love of my life pass me by than risk it.”
“I don’t,” Trydez snorts “I fear losing my chance.”
“Were you rejected?” she asks, though she already knew.
“Yes,” he sighs, looking at the city around.
She said, “me too,” before she can stop herself.
“Really?” He whirls to face her, his messy pale silver hair ruffling in the wind. His eyes squinted at her analytically from underneath frosty lashes. “But you’re beautiful! And kind. And amazing!”
She blushes, “I wasn’t rejected rejected...I was friend-zoned.”
“Oh,” he deflates, looking at her sadly “Yeah, that sucks.”
“You...you look really sad.”
He laughs humourlessly, “Heartbreak isn’t fun, and yeah- don’t look at me like that.”
She averts her gaze guiltily, “Like what?”
“Like you don’t think I can love her because I’m too young-”
“I don't know your age,” she interrupts meekly.
“Or because we have only known each other for a few months-”
“But isn’t it crazy!” she explodes, arms crossed. “That-that- that you are so sure you love her after only knowing her, fighting crime with her for a few weeks? Aren’t you being hasty?”
He looks at her silently, and for the first time, her partner looked serious. Not annoyed, or goofy, or flirty but...simply serious.
“You don’t even know who she is behind her mask!”
He tilts his head, “How would you know that?”
“W-well, I just assumed, b-because in a-all the comics! But then I’m right!”
“You are, but nonetheless” he pins her with his serious eyes again “I know whoever is under that mask….I love that girl.”
Exhaling, she rubbed her face “Would you like a warm drink?” she offers. “It’s cold out-you can come in.”
She moves from her balcony to her room, knowing that Trydez- the broken-hearted hero- would follow.
After all, it was the night where Trydez met Sage, the civilian, and it was the start of daily night-visits.
He bugged her at first, to give him advice on how to woo Avica. To tell him more about her ‘mystery lover boy’, to ‘stop working and pay him attention!’.
She was an artist, she drew a lot. Commissions from her blog usually, asking for her to bring out a comic from a specific fandom. She loved it- drawing those characters. But recently, she has started drawing real-life humans, mostly of Louis and most recently of Trydez.
Sage had posted a drawing of him winking as a joke and soon enough commissions of him doing different poses are flying in from everywhere.
Which made sense, he had unique coloring, frostbitten cheeks tinging his high cheekbones blue, and pristine snow pale skin. Silver silk hair and a slim, cut tall physique.
Initially, he used that as an excuse to come daily. But...most nights they played cards rather than have him model. And that’s how it happened, she fell in love with her partner, Trydez.
She had plenty of time to admire his beauty, sketching the hard planes of his stomach and muscles. The slope and curve of his cheekbones and jaw. She had plenty of time to appreciate his humor. Plenty of time to notice the way he laughed (with a quirk, then a wobbly smile, and then the open raucous laughter). Plenty of- and she means a lot of- time to fall in love.
It wasn’t that she loved Lois any less, in fact if it were possible she loved them both the same. It’s just that now, she wanted the boy who wanted her back.
He wanted her- he wanted Avica.
She was Avica! And yes, right now he was looking at Page like she hung the moon- but he couldn’t date a civilian. The stress for him would be too high, better let him date Avica. He loves Avica.
Raising a finger, she stopped his lips before they can reach her. His eyes which were fluttering shut flew open and he backed away, arms raised like he was surrendering.
She followed him, his eyes tracked her, and stopped with only inches between their beings.
“I think you should ask Avica out,” she grins, excitement coursing through her veins.
His teasing smile and curious head tilt froze, his snow skin and grey-ice eyes all seemed to whiten, like thin paper. But then he was laughing, turning away from her, his cool blue suit seemed to glow a colder timbre of blue. The temperature around her chilled.
She waited for him to ask her, excitedly, if she noticed Avica show any signs of changing her mind.
“...you think I should what?”
He held his breath, not sure what to expect. He-he thought she liked him. He was so sure, like- yes, she still got dreamy-eyed over her ‘prince’ but… he thought...how stupid. How could he-
“I think you should ask Avica out,” she repeated. Jeez, hearing it the second time didn’t hurt any less. She sounded so excited. Ecstatic. “I think she’ll say ‘yes’. I think she likes you back.”
‘You’re the one I like!’ he wanted to shake her. Frost spread under his fingers, all along her plants. Yes, he was still smitten with Avica and he felt terrible for having feelings for two people but… he wanted her.
At first, it was terribly platonic in both his civilian form, Louis, and as his alter ego, King of Cold- Trydez. But then as he got to know her in the vulnerability of the night...he liked her. More than liked her even.
The same things he loved in Avica he found in her, her kindness, bravery, intelligence… everything.
Her beauty was there with her big hazel eyes and thick slightly frizzy hair. Her short sweetly freckled nose and smirking pouty lips. He noticed this stuff when he tutored her but it never sunk in until they were laughing too hard, late at night and she was wearing flannel pajamas and a scrunchie that kept slipping and- and it hit him.
It hit him when on a weird impulse he mentioned the boy she liked, and her eyes went soft behind her glasses and she blushed- just at the thought of him… the slow churn of aching jealousy.
He liked her and he has for a while.
(He would have asked her out as Lois if it wasn’t for how uncomfortable she always looked, stuttering or rushing away from him. She was never like that with Trydez.)
And here they were, his heart breaking as she practically bounced from excitement at the thought of him dating someone else.
“You think she likes me back,” he repeats, throat painfully dry.
“Yes,” she reaches out to touch his arm “I really do!”
He evades her touch. He’s heard enough. Clearly, she doesn't- wait, she stopped his kiss. She brought up Avica as soon as she rejected his advances...she- Page was rejecting him by implying that someone else was better suited for him.
“You think if I asked her out,” he ventures- praying he was wrong “she’ll say ‘yes’?”
Shouldn’t he be ecstatic?
He liked Avica, a lot. But the burst of happiness that the girl he loved since sight returned his feeling was dwarfed terribly by the pain of being so bluntly rejected.
She cocked her hip, “I’m positive.”
He left, trying to hold back stupid tears, without a goodbye or a single glance back.
Maybe he really did fear rejection.
Louis has been avoiding her, she was sure.
At first, he said he wasn’t up for their usual tutoring sessions. Then he leaves as soon as she walks in his direction. And currently, he was hiding out in the boy's bathroom. Blatantly and obviously hoping she’ll leave.
She has been waiting 30 minutes when something in her snapped.
“Louis Allen!” she roared, pushing into the boy's bathroom. Thank the heavens it was nearly empty. Probably because no one in their right mind would stay after school and go to the most obscure bathroom in the whole school. “Are you alive?”
“Are you mad at me?”
“Are you okay?”
She pressed a hand to her lips to muffle cries. She shouldn’t cry for something so stupid, she spent a few minutes trying to fix her breathing. Anxiety, she decided, should be evicted from the planet.
“I don’t know what I did,” she admits, voice wobbling “but please tell me. So I can fix it.”
She tries to use her anger, “You can’t avoid me forever,” she tells the stall door “you are my friggin math tutor.”
“Text me,” she orders, it felt like someone had wrapped their fingers around her heart and squeezed “please.”
She hurried out of the bathroom, trying to control her breathing.
Unknown Number: Hi! This is Alexa! I’m your new tutor! Please text me and save to your contacts! We can discuss best dates to study together- this is Page Willows, right?
Page: Yes, that’s me.
As she texted the reply she shoved a fist into her mouth to keep from screaming. He truly hates her.
She waits, all throughout the night, for Trydez to come knocking on her balcony.
Spoiler: He never does.
Avica was brilliant, as always. She strategized flawlessly and executed her part smoothly. Nothing out of the ordinary but when she turned to him, expectantly. Clearly waiting for him to ask her out and for her to teasingly refuse him like they did every time before.
Except, according to Page, she’ll say yes this time.
He opens his mouth because he still really likes Avica but her green-tinted visors were reflecting the sunset behind him and-
“Don’t you love sunsets?” Page asked him, color pencils moving quickly “no matter how many times you see one they’re never the same. I can never draw them right, never catch their full glory.”
Smiling, he toys with her braid “Isn’t that frustrating?”
She didn’t tear her eyes from the sinking sun didn’t stop her hand's moving arcs and streaks but somehow when he smiled it felt like she was smiling correctly at him, “Do I look frustrated?”
He can’t do it. He can’t ask her out, instead, he blurts, “I know.”
He looks away, “your secret.”
Her electricity sizzles, running through her hair and then disappearing into the atmosphere “Oh? Are you disappointed?”
You can run away from Page but not from Avica. You have to remain on good terms with her. They fought crime together. For the sake of the city...
“No, of course not. But…” he trails off. How can he say this? Her suit was a stormy night, lighting her features in no specific pattern.
“I can’t return your feelings, not anymore. Things changed, I’m sorry.”
The sky crackled with rain, and it slid off her metal suit and stuck to her hair “I thought you liked me.”
“I-it’s different now.” She opened her mouth, forehead creased but he was already backing away “I got to go.”
She nodded mutely but he was already leaving.
The night sky cackled and the rain poured harder.
She had turned to him, anxious for him to ask the question she has been waiting for him to ask all day. The only highlight in what was a terrible terrible day.
He opened his mouth but then snapped it shut, “I know,” he finally blurted.
Wow, mister smooth isn’t being very smooth, “You know...what?”
She searched his face, covered with a mask and frost she couldn't see much of his features. His features came to light more when he hung out with her as Page, he ducked his head “I know your secret.”
She didn’t have any- oh, obviously. Her secret identity. But...how did he find out? Was she too obvious? Was he...
“Oh,” she needs to ask, “are you disappointed?”
“No, of course not. But…”
But? BUT? Panic stirred her insides and she felt the wind pick up around her. She needs to calm down.
“I can’t return your feelings, not anymore. Things changed, I’m sorry.”
Of course things changed! He- he knew her secret identity. He- he was disappointed. Or at least he couldn’t love both of them if they are the same person. Or maybe he never liked Page. Of course, strong confident smart Avica shouldn't be the alter ego to awkward, scatter-brained, clutz Page. That night on the balcony was just a fluke. A hormone rush. He didn't like Page, not like that.
He was disappointed, just too polite to say so…
Rain fell around her, “I thought you liked me,” she tried. Tried to fix this because Trydex- he wouldn’t-.
“I-it’s different now.” She tried to argue, (because she was still the same person!) but nothing escaped, he was right. Of course, it was different now. “I got to go.”
She nods, holding back screams because in the span of two days she’s been heartbroken three times.
Sitting on a roof, surrounded by cracked ice a hero brooded. His heart being torn by two loves.
Lying on her back, on her bed, she listened to the storm happening outside. The only thing that resembled the storm in her insides.
Fear of rejection, insecurities, and torn between two loves. Neither teenager had a wink of sleep that night. And it'll be a while before the truth will come to light.
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Hey, Reedsy sent me an email recommending your story for me. I also wrote a story for the same prompt you did. The name of mine is Ex Machina. Just wanted to say that I'm not really big for superheroes stories, and I kind of got confused, partly because English is not my main language, and partly because I think some names changed in during the story (not talking about alter egos). But I'm kind of a sucker for love stories and yours got me hooked till the end. The heart crushing end. I would like to know if there is any sequel to this tale...
If a prompt suits these two then I'll definitely write a sequel (and let you know). and I saw what you meant about the names, I wish I could edit :(. Jaja, I want to thank you for writing such a sweet and honest review of my work and I'll be sure to check out your story 'Ex Machina'. I'm guessing your native tongue is Spanish?