overlapping lives | closed | aceomalley



Summer carefully pretended that she didn’t notice the way Ace’s expression changed, briefly, while she sang. It was faintly amusing that the way to get him to open up was to wait; it was foreign to her nature but it seemed to be working. Finishing that pattern, she dug out the box of larger beads with larger holes, putting it by his knee, and the spindle of tigertail wire.

And then the next song began, and her heart twisted. She thought she’d deleted all the copies of that song, but apparently she’d missed one, and she lurched to her feet, scrabbling at the computer. She tripped, trying not to step on Helios, and reeled hard into Ace’s shoulder.

Ace lifted his knee after cocking his eyebrow to observe what she set just beyond it.

He never felt comfortable trying new things in front of strangers and acquaintances. The way he nervously stumbled, fingers shook, how he leant in and held it up for them to see, asking them for confirmation that he’s doing it right.

The lad’s every move just screamed God damn it, stop making me feel so inadequate!

When the song changed, as did her demeanor, a different strand of guarded curiosity rose in the deep bits of Ace that didn’t want to be reserved and passive.

Whatever memories it triggered, it seemed painful, so painful to the point where the lass scrambled to change it, only to end up barreling into Ace.

He used one hand to attempt at steadying her easily by the waist, falling back with an ‘oomph!‘ as both hands flew to keep him from ramming into the floor beneath them, staring up at her, eyes wide with shock.

“What’s so bad about this song?” he inquired stiffly.

“It’s — I — ” She put her hands over her face, feeling hot and upset, and that song was still playing, bringing back memories she didn’t want to face. She forced herself to take a deep breath. “I don’t want to remember that relationship,” she replied, equally stiffly. Steadying herself with one hand on the desk, she finally turned the music off, and sagged a bit with relief.

It took another few deep breaths before she no longer felt like she might cry in the next minute. “It was /our/ song. The one that — ” Her throat closed up again. After another minute, she managed gruffly, “I don’t want to be reminded that he hates me now.”

Leave a Reply