A cool breath grazed off of her lip as she twirled a single strand of auburn hair around her finger. Dazzling white teeth pinched down on her lower lip as she drew in a sharp breath, tears collecting at the edge of her eyes. They tipped down and across her eyelashes before splashing down onto her cheeks, bringing out the deep crimson of her cheeks. A crinkle entered her skin as her lips pulled up, not forced but in a shuttering breakaway. Nervous. She drew a finger across her cheek to collect the tears, but a single one dappled the edge of her lips. A longer finger brushed this tear away, closing in slowly. “Why must you cry, Sydney?” A nervous laugh bubbled up the girl’s throat as she pulled back slowly, “Why can’t you just let me cry in peace?” Her voice was soft and delicate, as fragile as a slice of ice freshly crystallized. A short silence separated them as the boy hovered in front of her, face straining as he seemed to jump between his options. Sydney could not help, but hope he would shuffle into a sweet side of soothing hugs and reassuring kisses. But no, his jaw set and his eyebrows drew in. She drew back, but not quick enough to remove herself from the space before the hand collided with her face. A gasp trickled from her lips as they wobbled with the gasp. “Learn to have a backbone, and I won’t do that...sweetheart.” Sydney backed up into the room as he stalked out of the doorway, the slam of a door announcing his disappearance. Once the door had shuttered to a silence, a fresh set of tears glided across her cheeks and tore at the crimson tint. An echo of a heart crackling whistled through the air as her body folded and her arms hugged her legs. Love is true, love is kind, love is the sheer bite of a whip wracking a spine.