Character/Pairing: Colonello, Lal Mirch, 5666
Story Summary: I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way that this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
Date Written: 21/03/2011
It was… the third week of May.
Shuffling through the mail in her hands, Lal Mirch tossed her car keys into the designated bowl. Upon seeing what she carried was nothing more then the fliers she had threatened multiple times to never receive again, she deposited the paper in the nearest trash bin. Her work shoes having been kicked off at the door were now replaced with a comfortable pair of slippers, feet padding across the familiar tile floor.
The house was plain. It was how she’d always preferred it. The windows were covered by dark blinds; forever pulled shut and have likely collected dust since she had first moved in. A picture or two littered the walls; memories she rarely glanced at anymore but were there for the sole purpose of satisfying her more frequent visitors.
“Your place doesn’t reflect anything personal,” they’d complained. The pictures, positioning and even the action of hanging them up had been entirely theirs. Lal saw no reason to move them; she saw no reason why they should be that big of an issue. So she left them to become just another portion of the wallpaper.
Running a finger across dry lips, the woman couldn’t help a glance to the clock stationed perfectly over her lone kitchen chair.
The curtains that were pulled lamely around the window to its left had a glow about their edges. The familiar light of dawn was starting to trace the curves of the cloth. It was something she had grown used to watching.
It was also the only window in the house that wasn’t protected by a layer of monochrome plastic.
The curtains were cut purposefully short; a rather lame excuse that she was constantly reminded of whenever it came time for her to look out past the pane of glass.
Under the soft glow of morning, the world outside appeared quiet and restful. A hush was all that first entered her home when her fingers finally itched too much. With the window opened wide, she set her forearms against the window pane and took in a slow, deep breath.
Only to find exactly what she’d been hoping for.
The third week of May.
In May, he painted.
Poking her head out a bit more, following the sour scent of paint fumes, her mild curiosity twisted her neck about until–
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you a nosy neighbor, kora.”
Wrinkling her nose just a bit, annoyed at being caught before she could get in the first word, she finally caught a pair of bright blue eyes peering over at her through a gap in the fence. Lal often wondered about that gap. August, the month he always did his fence repairs, had come and gone several times already and yet that gap still remained. Big enough to fit a hand through but never enough to attempt anything more.
But the years had taken its toll of looking through the fence so perhaps it was just wishful thinking…
“Don’t flatter yourself too much. I have far more interesting neighbors then you.” She replied, her voice even as always.
“Anyone ever tell you that you’re a bad liar?” The man chuckled, a soft slap of paint being splashed across the wood.
That brought forth a small smile. “You. On several occasions. You certainly seem to think you know me well enough. Maybe I’mnot the nosy neighbor.”
A hand appeared on top of the fence, the fingers long and definitely masculine before a heave occurred and soon even his shoulders were visible. The work t-shirt she’d seen him in a dozen times before had collected all matters of tears, frays and stains. Yet she couldn’t imagine seeing him in anything else in these early hours.
With his paintbrush still in hand, the blond folded his arms over the top of the fence and gave her a smile that she would never admit rivaled those early morning glows on her kitchen curtains.
“Colonello.” She acknowledged with a soft nod. “So, painting again? What colour are you going with this year?”
Glancing down at his paintbrush and then back up, he looked thoughtful. “Well, I am just priming it first but I’m thinking…. maybe brown this year.”
“How… plain.” Lal replied, perfectly masking her surprise.
His face fell a bit. “What? Not good enough, kora?”
“I never said that.” She brushed her fingers lightly over her wrist. “I said it was plain.”
“Two years ago, you called my garden arrangement plain and spent the remainder of the year criticizing how my carrots would have grown better had I not planted them next to my corn. You’re a terrible liar, Lal Mirch.”
She still wasn’t sure if she hated it when he used her full name.
“That’s because you asked for my opinion; not my expertise.” She spoke, a ghost of a smirk playing across her lips.
Colonello caught it. He always caught them. “Alright, smart-ass neighbor of mine: what’s wrong with brown, kora? Am I going to scare off the birds or something?”
“Maybe not the birds…”
It was his turn to smirk and there was never any point on hiding it. He’d been expressive from the time he’d waved to her when she first came home early from work.
“That’s a pity. Here I was hoping brown might suit your tastes better.”
There it was: that little prickle that started at the base of her neck and then quickly shot into her stomach. It’d have been painful if she wasn’t so distracted with making a reply. “Now why would you think brown of all colours would suit my tastes?”
“Because I’ve been running out of colours to impress you with, kora.” He motioned his paintbrush along the fence, his eyes not leaving her face. There was a moment where she thought he would say something else… until she realized he hadn’t really given her any reason to think that.
She followed the paintbrush with her eyes. “I’m afraid something as dull as brown isn’t going to get you what you want.”
A quiet look passed through his eyes but he looked oddly content. “Does that mean I have no chance of seeing you on my side of the fence this year?”
“How long does priming usually take?” She knew; from the years of watching him in his home improvements, she knew all too well.
However, Colonello looked a bit caught off guard by the question, looking around his yard a moment before his lips moved in silent calculation. “Maybe…. three days? If the weather permits, kora.”
The sun finally rose that extra inch to peak over the roof of his house, the sun now beaming down on her window. A smile broke out on her lips, the look as rare of a treat as a third week of the month routine.
“Then I suppose you still have three days to find a colour that impresses me.” Reaching up, fingers began to feel for the edges of the glass. “I suppose this year I can give you a hint.”
Unfolding his arms, Colonello stretched out his arms slightly with a grin. “I’m wide open to suggestion.”
Straining against the sun reflected into her eyes, she made a point to peer into his eager eyes. There was a pause, a deep breath of sunlight before, “I like blue.”
Down came the window, cutting off the hush that was the morning air. The light once warming her skin was set to warm the edges of her curtains. In that last moment before she pulled herself away from the window void of all protective covering, Lal watched Colonello burn far more luminous then that sun could ever hope to accomplish.
FIN ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!