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I love this so much
The Origin of Love. Beautifully illustrated.
I really can’t wait to find you.
Flame, Part One
Most of the people in this fairly new town were just like me. Hotel hopping or renting summer cabins for the two week period that spring break usually ran. The town had a large lake next to city hall to learn how to skip rocks or make wishes from dimes. On the other side of the town, there were cabins overlooking the ocean. The temperature never went below 75 degrees until October. It was the perfect place to be, even for a short period of time.
I guess that was why she was a native. Who would ever want to leave this place?
The natives included the council, senators, some older couples, and a redheaded girl named Fire. A girl who could burn your heart to ashes with just one look from her emerald eyes. She’d walk past and you’d get high off of her midnight perfume. Yes, Fire was like a statue in the center of town handcrafted from the envy of every other woman in the world.
I visited the quaint town of Coldgrove in May with my blonde beauty of a girlfriend named Jennifer. She was one of the hottest girls in my university. She played on the school soccer team, was very fit and athletic, and wore red lipstick every night. We were dating for four months when I asked her to come with me on my first spring break vacation and she nonchalantly said yes.
We were staying in one of Coldgrove’s cheapest hotels, but with a town so magnificent, it’s only expected that it be as grand as any other town’s best hotel. We shared a canopy bed and made breakfast in a country style eat-in kitchen. Since when do hotel rooms have kitchens?
Our first vacation adventure was surfing lessons on the oceanside. We walked into a beachfront surf shop to buy surfboards for the class when in the corner of my eye, I saw her.
A flush of flowing, red hair brushed against my shoulder. I breathed in only to get dizzy off of an unfamiliar—but pleasant—scent. I whipped my head around to see the backside of a girl with auburn locks that danced side to side as she walked. She wore a blue dress with anchors littering it all over. She walked up to the counter and the clerk didn’t seemed to be phased by her perfection. He rang up her bracelets and she walked out the door.
“Ahem. Ethan!” I heard a feminine voice from somewhere else.
“ETHAN!” It got louder. I turned my head back to Jennifer. She glared at me.
“Ugh. Can you be any more obvious? I could see you staring at that slut.” She was clearly angry. I couldn’t answer. I just stared at her until she got so angry that she stormed out of the store. I was still staring into space. Eventually, a surfboard with blue anchors designed onto it broke my trance. I took it up to the clerk who gave me the same dull response as he gave the beauty from before. As he handed me my change, I couldn’t help but inquire.
“Excuse me sir, but do you live around here?”
“Indeed I do.” He said without looking at me.
“The redhead you just rang up before…do you know her? Does she live around here?” I asked. He slammed his register drawer shut and looked me in the eye. I started to regret asking.
“You better watch yourself or your girlfriend will have your head on a plate.” He laughed at his own joke. I didn’t find it to be that funny.
“I just want to know who she is. I’m not going to try anything.” His laughter subsided and he sighed.
“Her name is Fire, and yeah, she lives around here. Don’t know where exactly, but she goes surfing on the ocean an awful lot.” He said, no longer amused by my questions.
“What kind of a name is ‘Fire’?” I said, furrowing my brow.
When I got back to my hotel, Jennifer was angrier than ever at me. She was typically a very jealous person. Any time a girl would walk by us, she would comment to me about how ugly they looked in comparison to her, and that I’m lucky to have her. I knew that when I stared at Fire today, that was going to set her off the deep end.
She sat on the bed with her arms crossed, a Cosmopolitan magazine laying next to her on my side.
“You better have not been chasing after that ugly ginger.” She snapped. I sighed and rolled my eyes.
“Do you have to be so negative? You don’t know anything about her and neither do I.”
“You were chasing after her!” Here’s where the accusations began. We’ve had the same fight about several girls before in the past. The others, however, I thought nothing of. She was right to be jealous of Fire.
“That’s it! I’m tired of this!” Jennifer yelled. “You’re sleeping on the couch tonight!”
And so I did. I slept on a surprisingly comfortable but narrow sofa, wrapped up in a too-small blanket, dreaming about auburn hair.
The next day, Jennifer was still mad at me, so I went to the beach without her. I scanned the waves, searching for Fire. The clerk told me she surfed here all the time, yet she was nowhere to be found. I felt the sand sink next to me, but I didn’t feel like talking to Jennifer right now. I continued to fixate my gaze on the ocean.
“Yoo-hoo.” A light voice from beside me spoke. I turned my head and I was met with gleaming, emerald eyes. I gulped.
“I heard you were looking for me.” She said, smiling. Her teeth were a bright white. Just another thing about her that exceeded perfection. Her accent was like no other, but she spoke perfect english. I let out a nervous laugh.
“Uh, who told you that?” I asked.
“Bob.” She said. The clerk. I knew I shouldn’t have inquired. Yet there I was, sitting face-to-face and having a conversation with Fire. Maybe it was a good thing after all. Embarrassing, but in the end, rewarding.
“Oh, um, yeah. I guess I did ask about you.” I felt like my voice was barely audible, but Fire understood me clearly.
“What’s your name?” She asked softly.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Goodrow. May I call you Ethan?” She smirked.
“Of course. That’s my name.” I could barely speak and I was clearly making a fool out of myself. She chuckled at my idiocy.
“My name is Sapphire Maclure, but you can call me Fire.” Sapphire. What a beautiful name. The name seemed so fitting as her emerald eyes sparkled like faceted diamonds in the sunlight. Everything about this woman was like a rare gem.
“N-nice to meet you, Fire.” I stuttered. My voice broke like a teenage boy breaking puberty. I felt humiliated. Fire chuckled again.
“My friends and I are having a bonfire at the other end of the beach. Would you like to walk over and join me?” I could feel my face lighting up.
“Yeah. Sure, I’d love to.”
My flip flops clapped at my heels as we walked toward a large flame with people dancing and laughing around it. I watched Fire’s bare feet sift through the dry sand like it was nothing. I tried not to let my gaze drift to anything but her feet, but I failed several times.
A tall, brunette woman in the shortest pair of shorts I’ve ever seen ran over to us and greeted Fire with a bright smile. Her long hair was tied back in a ponytail. Her skin was dark enough that it was obvious she spent a lot of time in the sun. She was basically the depiction of summer.
“Hey, you’re back!” She said.
“Yep. Just went to go get something.” Fire said.
Until the sun started to set, Fire and I sat around the bonfire talking about everything. Her friends kept trying to get her to come see them, but she kept brushing them off with “In a minute!“‘s and then continuing her conversation with me.
“So, where are you from?” I asked after a short silence.
“Colorado.” She said.
“You are not.” I said. Her lips curved into a smile as she took a sip of a wine cooler.
“How dare you question my heritage!” She gave me a playful smack on the shoulder. I laughed.
“You have an accent that is definitely not from Colorado!”
“You never know.” She took another sip of her wine cooler, then crashed the empty bottle into pieces on the side of the log we were sitting on. We shared a comfortable silence for a little while, the flames from the bonfire dancing in the reflections of our eyes. We glanced at each other every once in a short while, smiling and blushing like kids when our gaze would meet. After a while, she scooted closer to me and looked into my eyes.
“Ethan, will you kiss me?” She asked. I blinked.
“I, um…what?” I stuttered, wondering if I heard her correctly. She chuckled, but her playful expression quickly faded to serious. Her pupils grew larger.
“Ethan…” She spoke slower this time. “Will you kiss me?” I gulped.
“I have a girlfriend…I’m not a cheater.” Her expression didn’t change. I waited for her to storm off, angry and displeased. I promised myself I would never cheat on a girl, even if she mistreated me in the way Jennifer had lately, or if I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime sitting here inches away from Fire’s wanting lips. Even so, I considered myself honest. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel a sinking feeling in my stomach as I realized who I had just rejected. Yet, a moment went by and her serious, demanding expression turned into a delighted smile.
“You passed. You’re a good man.” She said. She stood up and brushed the sand off her skirt.
“However, I hope your answer will be different next time.” She winked at me before walking away to finally meet up with her begging friends.