Sneak Peek of Eternal Starling, by Angela Corbett
Suddenly, I felt like I was falling into a dream. I watched as a girl not much older than me brushed chestnut colored ringlets off her face with a gloved hand. She was beautiful in a long scarlet ball gown with a deep lacy neck, and skirt that opened slightly in the front showing a ruffled petticoat underneath. A male figure stood about ten feet in front of her. They were outside, shrouded by darkness and trees. Though I could see the girl clearly, the male figure was too far away to make out any details—but I could hear him.
“This is your choice?” he asked, contempt obvious in his tone.
The girl nodded in response, the slight movement emitting a palpable sadness.
“Why him?” he asked. “Why now?”
“I can’t help what I feel,” the girl said. “I’m in love with him.”
“No,” he said through his teeth. He paused, then stalked to a tree and punched his fist against the trunk. “You’re in love with what he wants you to see, not who he is.” He exhaled in disbelief and shook his head. “I’ve done everything I can up to this point, and now you tell me you’re in love with him? Stabbing me in the heart would be no less painful.”
The girl moved toward him, her eyes downcast. “I’m sorry,” she said, coming up behind him and putting a hand on his shoulder. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
He tilted his head toward the spot her hand was resting and then without warning, he reached around her and grabbed her by the waist, pulling her with him into the darkness. She gasped before he leaned down and kissed her, hard at first, like he was trying to prove a point, then becoming gentler until he pulled back from her lips and rested his head against her forehead. In a husky voice, he asked, “Do you still think you love him?”
She didn’t move.
She didn’t look at him as she gave an almost imperceptible nod.
He dropped her from his embrace and stepped away, turning his back toward her. Minutes ticked by and the muscles in his shoulders tensed. He shifted his head to the side, his profile barely visible, and said, “He will disappoint you.” He stood for a few seconds more before he started walking away from her.
She ran her fingers lightly over her lips and looked up, eyes wide as she watched him leave. “Wait!” she yelled. “Where are you going?”
He stopped and pivoted on his heel, his legs apart and arms crossed over his chest. His face was shrouded by his shoulder length hair as he stared at her. Then he answered her question, “To prove which of us truly loves you more.”© 2011 by Angela Corbett
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