By Syntax 2005
Time stood still for just a moment, when all of a sudden, the universe was perfect. The Earth was green and wet from the downpour of rain from the heavens, washing away the grime of man and technology. If only for a short while. She stood outside, completely drenched, her eyes closed to just let herself drift away.
The other people had run for cover, huddling in shops for shelter until the worst subsided. The park was completely empty for once, just a calm quiet she wished there was more of. It reminded her of the silence of uninhabited planets far across the galaxy. Yet there was always a sense of danger about the unknown. On Earth she could afford to be careless.
It was how he found her that day, standing in the rain, blonde hair clinging to her skull, clothes drenched through and hugging her form. It was one of the most beautiful sights he had ever seen, even if he would never have admitted it at the time.
"Enjoying yourself?" He called out through the loud pattering of rainfall, his voice almost lost. Surprisingly, she didn't open her eyes, only tilted her face slightly in acknowledgment with a grin forming on her face. A very fetching grin, he thought.
Her eyes opened after a moment or two of silence, locking onto his own. An eyebrow rose at his own lack of covering as he stood quickly becoming as soaked as she was. "Aren't you?"
He smiled slightly. "How couldn't I? Of course, I might not be enjoying it much when I have the cold from hell. But that’s to come."
Her grin turned to a full formed smile, and he thought maybe he should sit down for a moment.
"Why think of the future when you can enjoy the present?" She yelled back to him.
Why indeed. He wiped at his face, squinting through the fall of rain, but wasn't able to see any clearer than he could before. He had a very odd suspicion he might be dreaming all of this. These things didn't happen.
"Think you might want to get out of the rain anytime soon?"
She laughed, light and airy. Something he almost felt she never did, though who was he to know. He had no idea who this woman was. "No. I quite like it here." She gave him a level look, an edge of mischief in her expression.
"Oh yea. Me too. Lots of fun." It was kind of pathetic, but he shrugged more to himself than to her and she laughed again. He went closer, hesitant that maybe if he got to close she’d disappear. "Everyone else doesn't know what they’re missing." He was starting to babble, and knew it, but she only smiled amused.
"No. They don’t." Her grin stayed put and he was now close enough to realize she was even more breathtaking than he had first thought. Tall, almost as tall as he was, sharp elegant features and a strength about her he could almost feel.
He felt he should say something then, but only managed to let out a mash of words that sounded like "Whutchonum?" She seemed to consider the question while he tried to figure out what it was he said.
"...yes?" her answer veered into a question, and after a moment both of them laughed and he felt something tighten further at his chest. "You look a bit cold." And he was, shivering slightly in the thin shirt he wore, plastered with rain. Her head tilted again and keen blue eyes studied him while he looked everywhere but her. "You’re right... maybe we should get out of the rain."
He nodded and they jogged together to the diner across the street, completely full of soggy pedestrians. A number of eyes followed her and he fought the urge to glare at them. She either ignored the looks or didn’t notice, sitting with a damp slap of cloth against plastic in a booth by the glass wall overlooking the wet pavement. The two of them dripped in unison, forming puddles on the floor while getting an annoyed look from the waitress.
Cars hovered past now and then, but as he joined her looking out at whatever it was that caught her interest, he realized everything looked different now. Almost ancient.
When he glanced back at his companion, he found her studying him again and he cleared his throat slightly. "Coffee?" She nodded, and he waved over the tired waitress who seemed less than enthusiastic to carry out the order.
"Does life ever bother you?" Her eyes were focused on nothing but him.
"It bothers me. A lot of the time, I wonder what would happen if I decided to say fuck all and just ignore anyone who needed me."
"Wouldn’t be very nice." The moment he said it, he laughed at how dumb that sounded.
She smiled. "Yeah, wouldn't be. Guess I'm stuck playing hero."
"Can't be all bad though, can it?"
"No, not really." Her eyes were far away again.
"But its nice to stand in the rain every once in a while."
She laughed. "Exactly."
There were a million questions all fighting to come out, but in the end silence won as they sipped the hot coffee brought to them. He wondered if he should ask her name, but felt like he didn’t want to break this quiet between them. "I think..." he started, staring down at the swirling black depths of the cup, pausing as he considered what he was going to say. He only ended up trailing off, not finishing the thought.
She quirked an eyebrow, amused at the lack of coherence, but didn't bother asking him to continue. It was as if she understood, and he laughed, sudden and without reason. At this point it seemed as if he were going to burst. She smiled, but glanced out to the window and her expression faded as the rain had become a steady drizzle, soon pattering out. The people let out murmurs of relief as they noticed the same, returning to their busy lives, and he watched them leave the diner, squeaking shoes and water in their wake. Both of them stayed seated, silently sipping at their coffee until there was no more reason to linger.
When his companion stood, he felt his eyes widen. Trying to think of something, anything to make her stay, he stood himself as she looked towards the door.
"My name is Arthur."
She nodded, and suddenly as the rain faded and sunlight broke through the clouds, her eyes seemed sad at the brightness outside. He had the urge to grab her, to not let her go, maybe cling to her feet and beg that she stay. He had a feeling she wouldn't have liked that too much, so he let her go as she turned and walked to the diner door.
"Bye..." and before he could say anything else, she turned back and pushed through the door, leaving him to drip alone on the linoleum floor. The waitress with the tired eyes walked past him, tossing the bill on the counter and he riffled around in his pockets for some change, eyes drifting again to the window as he saw her form disappear around the corner.
He wished it would rain.
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