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Between the Falling Cards
The elaborate swirling designs on the back of the cards are blue.
She just bought this new deck yesterday, so they are still glossy and pristine, a bit slippery to the touch. Running her fingers over them, she expertly shuffles them into a neat stack and places them in the middle of the table.
The boy laughs and she raises an eyebrow petulantly. She asks what’s so funny but the boy just grins wordlessly.
The game begins.
Card after card slap to the center, an irregular rhythm identical to that of her beating heart. Thump. Thump-thump.
King. Two. Five. Ace. Six. Six. Slap.
The boy apologizes profusely, eyes wide in surprise. She teases him, waving around her “injured” hand with a nonexistent wound, and he rolls his eyes in good humor. His eyes are the most lovely shade of blue, like the ocean on a windless day. Or maybe worn down sea glass smoothed over by years of stormy waves. She can’t really describe it.
The game continues.
She no longer focuses on the game, allowing her fingers to move automatically to their accustomed rhythm and letting her reflexes take over. Instead, her concentration drifts to his hands.
They move with a strong, willful purpose, reflective of his character. Confident and large, they slap card after card down, and win stack after stack as her mind drifts further and further, lost in the worn contours of his fingers.
The game pauses. She looks up in surprise to see him watching her quizzically, a strange flicker in his eyes. Warmth rises from somewhere deep inside of her, bubbling towards her cheeks, and she fights to keep it down. As a distraction, she offers a snarky comment, successfully receiving an equally witty response. But she is quick on her feet and excels in the subject of wit, so the next retort rolls easily off her tongue. He laughs.
She finds herself drowning in the thrilling sound. It is tinted with the deep rumblings of a man, but the youthful mirth in the laughter comes out stronger, followed by a small smirk. Biting her lip, she holds back her own laughter, but it spills out anyway. It sounds like a cacophony of bells, a high-pitched guffaw, no doubt unattractive. But his blue, blue eyes brighten at her laughter, and she feels better.
The game ends.
Slowly, unwilling to let this brief time of happiness end, she gathers the cards. He helps her, and his fingers graze hers lightly, sending a jolt of electricity down her spine. Their eyes meet and hold for far too long. Before the warmth bubbles up again, she lowers her gaze, quickly gathering the rest of the cards.
She shuffles briskly, reveling in the sharp smatter of card back against card back. It is a rapid rhythmic beat, a symbol of some sort of order in this world. Once, twice she shuffles. She can feel him watching her, and at this realization, her finger slips, and the cards fly out of her hands.
Everything seems to happen in slow motion as her hands reach out to grab the escaping cards, but to no avail. The cards fly up everywhere, and rain down in a shower of blue swirls.
And in between the falling cards, she sees those blue, blue eyes.