Chapter 23:

A confession marked by blossoms

Your Heart has Meaning.

Sat upon the stone wall that overlooked the rushing river of blackened soot, Cassea swung her feet softly in mistimed, desynchronised motion. Her expression sat slightly downtrodden, as if rainfall sat upon her brain.

“I don’t think you get it still. You’re deriving greater meaning from something I meant solely for you.” Cassea muttered. “I’m not telling you how to deal with your heiress.”

“Then what are you saying?”

“Fuck, you’re an idiot…” She shook her head, her hands falling against her forehead as she spoke.

There was silence between us in that moment, the rushing of the creek slapping against the rocks below apparent in the quiet warmth of the air.

Having collected her own thoughts, she opened her eyes anew as if only to serve as a gateway to the self-steeled heart of her separate personage.

December did not mince his words. He only spoke plainly. When she could act like him, she could say whatever she wanted to without hesitation.

“Agreste, I’m giving you permission to allow yourself to be happy.” Cassea spoke softly as she turned towards me.


My face twisted with confusion, as if I couldn’t wrap my head around the words she spoke in that moment.

“Honestly, what the hell are you doing?” She muttered. “You know full well the emotions you harbour. What good does it do you to keep it all in?”

“Then what should I do, when my heart feels such an ache...?”

“Go tell her.” She spoke in an annoyed tone of voice. “The Baron wouldn’t allow his words to sit unspoken, so why should Agreste?”

I found myself standing simply within the quiet nature of the theatre’s atmosphere. Theresia alone had cultivated such a peace. It was her space, and it held her heart within the chipped paint of its walls.

I did not move a muscle, despite my eyes which quickly upturnt my gaze towards the rafters of the theatre’s ceiling. In the sky of glittering starlight above me, stood the woman who just like the stars, I had grown to admire wholly.

In that moment, I couldn’t move a fraction of a millimeter, fearful of tearing my gaze away from the woman bathed in blue light. She was a mesmerising sight.

I let my sighs fall heavy against the quiet air, and steeled my gaze as I stepped forward.

A singular breath separated me from my inhibitions. At the edge of the corridor that was exhalation, I emerged a version of me that could not bear to look backwards.

“Theresia!” I called out.

My voice echoed through the large theatre hall, bouncing off of the walls who held the cries of time, and settled upon the cold wooden floor in peace.

When she sat the sole head that turned to greet my voice, I knew it was the two of us alone within the theatre.

It was the two of us alone within the moment.

She stared down upon me with softened eyes. Even from afar, I could see clearly that she was a canvas by which splashes of paint decorated her being with quaint indiscretion, as the edges of her button-up shirt sat stained the same as her sienna-blushed cheeks.

“I was correcting this sky of stars which has become dulled!” Theresia called out in response. “Wait a moment, I’ll come down to meet you!”

“No!” I shook my head in response, smiling in the sole presence of the glimmering woman. “I think it would be nicer to speak amidst the stars, so I’ll come to you!”

She simply nodded her head, and there was wonder lacing her expression.

A ladder sat softly at the edge of the theatre, aged in its aesthetic demeanor, worn and cracked upon its surface. Underneath the weight of my step, it creaked loudly. The wood of the rungs dug desperately into the flesh of my fingertips, trying desperately to leave behind the memory of its being in form of a splinter. Still, despite the ladder’s inappreciative attitude towards my use of itself, I continued to climb.

After what felt like ages upon the surface of the ladder’s face, I stood directly underneath a woman made of stars and paint. She knelt down upon the surface of the rafters, looking down at me with a gentle smile.

“Hello once again, my dearest-“ My words were cut short, and I could feel my expression sink into cold nature in an instant.

The ladder collapsed underneath me, and I began to fall towards the wooden surface of the theatre’s floor. As I stared upon the woman who grasped towards my being desperately, I smiled softly. She clutched at my hand, her tight grip upon my wrist holding me suspended dozens of feet from the ground.

I was stuck in freefall against her touch in literal terms.

Against that strange poetic thought, I felt slightly amused.

“Ah, I guess I owe you my life now too, don’t I?” I let out a gentle laugh.

“Is now really the time to joke?” She grimaced.

Her knuckles were white in indignance, her other hand holding tight to the railing of the rafters as she attempted to pull me up.

“Theresia.” I spoke simply.

“Yes?” She muttered apart from her worries, her focus entirely separated from our conversation as she continued to lift me up towards the rafters.

“I’m in love with you.”

Her face flushed a bright-carnellian in an instant, and she looked around the room as if searching for the answer her fluster-caught tongue could not conjure.

Suddenly, my hand slipped from hers. I felt the entirety of my weight fall towards gravity, and I begun to descend towards the ground of the theatre once again. In her surprise, Theresia had let go of my hand.

“You idiot!” She yelled, holding an annoyed, blushing expression. “Why now, of all times…!?”

She had lurched forth, her legs wrapped around the railing of the rafters as she used both hands to grasp at my cloak.

I could only laugh in the face of her image, which seemed too silly in that moment to match the tense mood.

“It seemed like the right time, did it not!?” I called out, a smile apparent upon my face.

Almost in a sense of mischief, I took her by the hands, and pulled her close towards me. Her grasp upon the railing faltered, and within my embrace, we began to fall towards the floor of the theatre. Amidst Theresia’s cries of surprise towards me, I spoke out gently.

“Help me as I have helped you, Demon Prince of Moonlight.” I whispered softly.

As if in immediate response, I heard clearly a reply from one whose voice sounded out like still midnight. I felt an eerie, intense calm wrap around my heart in that moment, and began to feel as if everything would be alright.

“You ask for the strangest things sometimes, my dearest Baron.”

Rather than the crunch of bones one would have expected to experience as they cascade towards the ground that would sit dozens of meters below them, I found myself within the warmth of what felt a cloud. Buried deep into its flesh, I saw then that me and Theresia had fallen flat against a bed of light, forged specifically in its aspects by one who sought to balance the scale of favour between us.

“Thank you, Solis.” I winked towards the emptied sky, as if speaking to no one in particular.

I looked towards Theresia, who I still held tight in my arms. She looked up towards me in response. Her expression was an intense mixture of emotions, for so much had been piled onto her in a singular moment.

“You’re quite strong.” I noted with surprise lacing my tone.

“And you’re quite heavy.” She chided in response, an exasperated sigh escaping her quieted lips. “You’re an idiot…”

“And you’re terrible with your craftsmanship. That ladder was too shoddy.” I laughed.

“And you’re…” Her voice trailed off with embarrassment in an instant.

She buried her head into my chest, allowing her breath to fall heavy as she let out a sigh. Theresia’s face was still red-hot, recalling what had been spoken to her previously.

“Are you really in love with me…?” She whispered softly towards me. “Why…? All I do is write, and all I’ve ever done is write… when have I ever displayed any loveable traits?”

“I think you have many faults...” I spoke softly. “But, when I am with you... I never feel as if I am stuck in a small room. The world around you is wide and beautiful, Theresia Hayes.”

“Then, for me it is the same. I think you have many things lying within you that hold you back, Agreste.” Theresia spoke softly, her head still buried against my chest as she looked up towards me. “Yet despite that, I’ve come to know of all the points of you that one would admire, points that I myself admire.”

She took a deep breath, pushing me away from her as she met my gaze.

“It is in that way, that I too have grown to love you.” She smiled softly. “If my heart has been turned in distraction away from my writing, then it could only be this way, I think. These days… I would rather gaze upon you than parchment.”

I laughed in response.

“I would not be so quick as to dismiss your writing as unloveable, my dearest playwright.” I smiled. “Too is your passion something I have grown to admire.”

We sat then opposed to each other atop the wooden floor of the theatre, for the golden cloud of light had sunk away. The only warmth left within the room was the blood that rushed through my body as my heart beat furiously-fast in Theresia’s presence.

“When did you realise that you loved me?” She asked of me.

“When you kissed me.” I responded as quickly as she had asked.

“Eh?” She exclaimed suddenly, her face growing red in an instant. “Did I do such a thing?”

“I think you were too deep within drunken stupor to remember such a thing...” I spoke softly, knowing full-well that my face too held a blush in that moment. “But I remember it clearly...”

I touched a finger to my lips, as if to recall the feeling of hers against mine.

“Then… perhaps we should make many more memories to remember.” She spoke quietly in turn.

Placing her hand against my chest, she pushed me down gently towards the ground. Hovering over me, all I could seem to see was her light-blue gaze amidst the curtain of her midnight-hair that fell down towards the ground.

“Can I kiss you, Agreste?” She asked of me, with obvious want lacing her tone.

“No.” I spoke in turn.

I placed a hand against the back of her neck, pulling her in closer as I smiled softly.

“This time, I will kiss you.”

When my lips graced hers, it conjured a feeling I couldn’t have anticipated in the slightest. Warmth sat light upon my shoulders like a perched pigeon, and the still-beating of my heart quickened like the coupling-rods of a train’s wheels. As steam found its way into my cluttered mind, I too felt like an engine within a mechanical world, for my heart would not stop its piston-mechanisms in her presence.

Astute emptiness sat in my chest, but not in a way in which I would have felt like a hollowed doll. Rather, it felt as if all my worries, my apprehensions, and my guilt had melted away.

In the face of a star whose gaze focused on me alone, I felt special and wanted.

She sunk her head against my chest, and in turn I held her softly within my arms.

“I want your mind to always hold thoughts of me.” Theresia spoke in a hushed tone. “That’s one simple greed I’ve held in recent days. Do you think it strange?”

I didn’t even need to process the idea, as it was a simple truth. A smile crossed over my lips, for I knew that the thought of her was that which quieted my endless imagination.

“No, not at all.”

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