Opposite the Tear: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Beneath the Bells

A wonderful music hung about the air. There was a light to it... as if Church bells had replaced lamp posts in a quest to brighten the murky sky. The city's soul was awakening to the romance of a folk band playing in the mist. There, in the dusk above the bank of an urban shoreline, a man and woman stood within arms length of one each other. Darius wanted her. If only she knew the resistance he had managed, the control over the demanding desire to grab her and press her body against his with a force that would have swallowed her into his very being… A desire Mabel shared. It was still far too soon. The two stared into the crashing waves, hoping the cool sharp air would bring them to one another’s arms, but like the fog that embraced the skyline a shroud of doubt had kept them apart.
“I’m sorry.”  Maybel said, breaking a rather long pause in their silence.
“For what?”
“For not being more entertaining company.”
“Don’t be daft. The band is our entertainment. I didn’t expect you to be juggling or jumping through hoops or tight rope walking until I applauded your carnival skills.”
“Good. Because I have terrible balance and I’m an awful juggler.” She smiled.  
“Well what are you good at?”
“I’m pretty good at puzzles.” She said, thinking hard about her skills.“ Oh! I’m a master at Tetris.”
“Is that so?”
“Well, I have an old Nintendo at home with a Tetris cartridge that doesn’t believe you. Would you be up for a challenge and maybe a few glasses of wine.”
“Mmmm…  Yes to the challenge, no to the wine.”
“Oh… Okay. No wine.”
“Why do you sound disappointed?
“I’m not at all. Is it that you don’t like wine or…” he stopped chewing on his words before blurting out anymore than he had.
“I’m sorry. It’s non of my business. Nevermind.”
“Stop being ridiculous and say it. What were you going to ask me?”
“ Really it’s none of my business why you don’t drink. If you are religious or on some kind of program. I mean, it’s cool if you are. I mean, I get it.”
“ Darius, I’m not a recovering alcoholic if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“No… I mean… No judgment if you are… or were… or…”
“Just stop.” Maybel said with a chuckle, admiring the care and concern from which Darius was stumbling to be  understanding.  “I just don’t drink. My parents were pretty against drinking and by the time I was old enough to try it, it didn’t do anything for me."

"So your parent's were pretty strict then?"

"Not at all. It was the only thing they really ever kept me away from. Alcohol and boys. And then comes you, trying to make me disappoint my parents. Shame on you." Maybel teased.

"I'm hardly the boy your parents warned you about. I spent most of my time competing with my brothers than chasing girls. Do you have any siblings?"

"Umm... No."

"Haha.. Are you sure?"

"No. Of course. No. I meant no. It was just weird for a second. Like, when you asked, I pictured a sister, but I don't have a sister. I'm an only child."

"That makes a lot of sense. You being an only child. That's probably why they were so protective of you. I have an aunt and uncle like that who lost a child to leukemia before we were born. I guess ever since then they stretched themselves as thin as possible to make sure Erika had everything and anything, except a life. My parents were just happy that my brothers and I didn't burn he house down."

"Yeah, but that's completely different. My parents weren't bad at all. They just wanted to keep me from making mistakes. Which is fine. I don't have a desire to drink anyways. Except maybe a cup of coffee... if you’re still interested in a challenge.
“Challenge... Right. Yes. There is a really great coffee place on the way.”
“So what do I get when I win?”
“'When you win', huh? Maybe we should stop at a bakery to grab a slice of humble pie while we're at it. "

"Come on... what do I get?"

"I don't know but we have the whole way home to figure it out.”  Darius took Maybel’s hand as electricity sparked at their connecting touch with a tingle that ran through each of their arms. The mystery of a new romance had built to a swelling of chests as Maybel and Darius disappeared into the moving streets, letting the shoreline and the music fade away.