AR 1212-01-03 Blue and Green -or- Teenagers Have No Concept of Delayed Gratification
The ball was wonderful! The entire school gathered in the Great Hall for a winter celebration like none other. Every student was dressed in his or her best formal wear, splashing dashes of color – blue, pink, yellow, green – across the dance floor, as they mixed and mingled. To the sides and near the walls, the older family members, visiting their erstwhile scholars, sipped sparkling wine and chatted happily with each other, while their children danced and played.
By mutual consent, Yari and Verona arrived a few hours after the festivities officially started. It was a common tactic, known well to both children, used by courtiers to make themselves seem less available, and thus more desirable. It was common, because it worked. When they finally entered the hall, arm-in-arm, conversations stopped and all eyes were on them.
She was dressed in elegant green silks and velvets, pressed with elven patterns of vines and leaves. The gown was modestly cut, while still accentuating her young curves, making her seem mature beyond her years. Her hair was kept back with a thin, golden wire tiara, woven to resemble rose branches; it brought the forest motif together, while falling into obscurity itself.
Her lips were painted a deep red, striking a harsh contrast to the rest of her appearance. A part of Yari he wasn’t fully aware of found them exciting, alluring. Then, there were her eyes: Something about her makeup managed to highlight their already-natural emerald, making them seem as strikingly-green as Yari’s were strikingly-blue. A young boy could lose himself in the sea of colors that was the image of Verona Melinir that night.
He was dressed in crisp, black slacks, and a sapphire jacket of tweed wool. The suit had been cut for him before his recent growth spurt, and was a little ill-fitting; however, where the fabric pulled tight, it only served to highlight his own growing body. His hair, as though by some miracle, was neatly combed, parted just off to the side, and brushed across.
The two looked every bit the part of young nobility, and they managed to play the part too. All night long, Verona and Yari chatted, laughed, and flirted with everyone, making all feel appreciated and special for the privilege of associating with them. Yari’s friends saw through the act and gave him trouble for it, but with Verona’s help, he was able to politely shove them off and continue his performance.
Dividing to conquer, Yari made sure to ask every girl present for a dance, while Verona refused no one the same honor. It was while he whisked and twirled his younger sister about the dance floor that Yari was given a sobering thought. Little Siffles – not quite so little anymore! – looked her brother in his deep, blue eyes and said, without asking “You’re in love with her, aren’t you.”
Yari barely managed not to stumble, and he continued to lead Sif in their dance for a while before answering. “You are annoyingly direct, Sis.”
She smiled, and sarcastically said, “Gee, I wonder who I get that from?”
Rolling his eyes, Yari nonetheless felt a measure of familial pride in his sister. “Must be Rissa,” he said, and the two shared a brief laugh at their older sibling’s expense. At the end of the song, Yari escorted his sister off the floor. One of Zen’s younger brothers immediately asked for the next dance, and Siffles was swept away, leaving Yari alone for a moment to contemplate his sister’s words.
He was still contemplating them later, well after the celebrations concluded. He and Verona had snuck out a little before things began winding down, and Yari – mischievous grin in full form – took them up through the nearly-empty keep to the rookery. It was the only place he was allowed that he could see the sky, the only place where he could scratch the itch that had been in the back of his mind since the night under the stars with Sardi, months ago.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Yari asked his companion, leaning against the western sill and staring out, across the valley, and up.
Verona leaned close next to him – very close – and looked out, too. “I suppose,” she allowed, “but it’s rather cold.”
“Oh, right!” Like a proper gentleman, Yari removed his jacket and draped it around Verona. The young lady gathered it up and pulled it tight, then leaned into Yari, as though for more warmth. As if a beautiful girl, pressing herself against him wasn’t enough, a whiff of her perfume carried up into his nose, exciting his senses further.
Yari’s mouth was dry, and he chewed his lip for a moment, still gazing at the winter stars. “I come here a lot,” he said. “They’re teaching me how to handle the birds, and it’s a nice getaway.”
“Oh, is this your ‘special spot,’ Yari?” Verona asked, slightly more interested than before.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“It is a beautiful sight,” the princess finally agreed.
Yari wanted to say something charming, like, “Not as beautiful as you, Verona,” or, “You make it all the more special,” then lean in to kiss her. Instead, he clamped his jaw tight and kept his eyes forward. He already had a girlfriend, he reminded himself.
“I’m honored you wanted to share this place with me, Yari. Have you brought Sardi here?”
“Yeah, he helps me with the pigeons sometimes. Their cages get really messy.”
“I meant… oh, nevermind.”
They continued their vigil for short time, when a streak of light across the sky elicited a, “Look, Yari!” from Verona. “A shooting star! Make a wish.” It was superstitious and silly, and Yari’s expression said as much, but Verona insisted, “Go on!”
Yari wished for his friends and family to all be safe and happy. He wished to have the same kind of connection with his father that Rissa had, and to make his father proud. He wished all the bad things in the world would go away. He wished he knew if Siffles was right about his feelings for Verona. He suddenly wished Sardi was with them, so he wouldn’t get himself into trouble.
“Did you make a wish?” she asked. Yari smiled at her in acknowledgement. “Good, don’t tell me what it is, or it won’t come true!”
The wind picked up, and Verona shivered again. “It’s been a magical evening, Yari,” she expressed. “Perfect in every way. Except… one thing.”
He gave her an inquiring look, and she blushed. Each looked at the other for a long, intense moment, then both leaned close at the same time. Their lips met, and jolts of electricity raced through Yari’s body, igniting his passions into an uncontrollable blaze. He locked his arms around her waist, holding her against him. She wrapped her arms about his neck, returning his passion with her own.
From the back of the room, two large ravens cawed and flapped their wings in place. Whether in protest, or encouragement, Yari’s audience made their existence known loudly. A third raven, Mama Bird, sounded her own call and flew in noisy circles around the ceiling. Yari and Verona paid them no mind and continued their kiss.
A sneaking suspicion told Yari that Verona had been granted her wish. Too bad it meant things were now harder than ever for Yari to sort out. Any sorting he could do, though, would have to wait, as both boy and girl were lost, carried away in their desires.