Katie:let out a sigh as she lowered the final box in her room against the hardwood floor. Standing upright with her hands fixed on her hips she surveyed her newfound bedroom, the four walls officially hers now that she and her family had moved back to Toronto. Life in St. Catharines had been decent enough but nothing could compare to the true comforts of being back home. It’d been years since Katie had been back in her old stomping grounds, having moved when she was only in grade school due to her father’s company. But now luck or perhaps fate itself had returned her to the only place she knew she’d be able to call home. The greatest reward of all was being reunited with her best friend whom she hadn’t seen since she was merely a kid. From their talks online Katie felt more assured that they would be able to fall right back into sync with one another. Her worries were foolish at best, finding herself wondering if too much time and space had been too much for them. She knew she had changed a lot over the years from how neurotic she used to be. She could recall being so organized and outright meticulous at a young age but life had changed her what with her interests altering overtime. At her schools back in St. Catharines she had more or less gained the title of school outcast, an art lover that always seemed to be on the fringes of social life with her peers. But that suited Katie perfectly fine. She had never been one to care much about the opinions of others, instead forging her own path based off the things she took a liking to. Her forte was art in all mediums whether it be painting, sculpting or any other category under the sun. Even within her own family she was a bit of a black sheep, the disconnect between her parents and sister becoming more pronounced as time went by. She followed her own rules, usually making them up as she went along without much regard for consequences. She knew that it got her into trouble more often than not but there wasn’t much that stood in her way. Moving once more was an adventure within itself, one she planned on meeting head on. She would be the new kid at the high school she figured she would attend when she was a kid before being uprooted and moving away. Now she was fulfilling that destiny but all her connections- aside from Eli- were rendered nonexistent. It was a wonder that the two were even friends what with how much they differed but somehow they were able to find some common ground with one another and remain friends through the years. In her eyes it was a true testament to how strong-willed they were as individuals, refusing to let their friendship be lost to time. The walls of her room were barren, like four large canvases just awaiting her personal touch. As she got lost in trying to figure out what designs she wanted to make, she was snapped from her reverie as the doorbell chimed. “I’ll get it!” she called, dashing out of her room. She knew exactly who the first official guest of the Matlin was and she didn’t plan on wasting another minute in seeing her friend. Making her way quickly down the stairs, she pulled open the door, an almost uncharacteristic wide smile on her face. “God, look at you,” she scoffed, her tone one of disbelief as she extended a hand and ruffled his hair a bit. “I can’t believe we’re actually together again."
Eli:exhaled slowly as he shut the trunk of his car, a small box tucked under his free arm. He wasn't sure when the surreal quality of the day would lift, if it would at all. The idea that he and Katie had managed to get an apartment, a little hideaway in their own little corner of the world was still unbelievable to him. Reaching into his pocket, he fumbled for a few minutes, attempting with little success to fish out the key to the apartment. Finally catching it on his finger, he opened the door, once more breathing out a sigh as he entered. Boxes littered the living room, both his and Katie's interspersed throughout the room. The packing of his belongings had been trying enough, Eli leaving the vast majority until the last minute. But now the larger task seemed to be how he'd go about unpacking the items, managing to make the place look more like a home and less like a storage space. He had no doubt that Katie would whip his ass into gear, making a point to get through the task in a speedy and efficient manner. As tightly wound as the girl could be, she never failed to keep him on task, a trait he greatly appreciated and knew would come in handy while they lived together. Fixing the cap on his head, he weaved through the boxes, following the narrow trail leading to the kitchen. Inside he found Katie, his face lighting up immediately at the sight. It still hadn't fully sunken in that he'd be seeing her on a daily basis from then on, getting to wake up to her each morning. "Hanging out in here while you make me do the work? I see how it is." he called out, shooting her a teasing smirk. Reaching for her, he slipped on arm around her waist, the other following shortly after, her back to his chest. Resting his chin on her shoulder, he sighed happily. Though they weren't official, it felt as though the two were a couple, having grown close in the recent weeks. "We're home." he whispered, peering up at her. "I just brought in the last box." Weaving his fingers through hers, Eli ran his thumb along the back of her hand, glancing around. "Don't tell me I have to let go of you. I deserve this as a prize for all that backbreaking work." he claimed, tightening his grip on her slightly.
Eli:tried to shake the chill out of his bones as he entered the apartment complex, quickly locking the door to keep the bitter weather outside where it belonged. At this point, he was used to leaving in the morning for his classes when it was dark, and returning back home when it was equally as pitch black in the evening. Eli was never the type to wither without sunlight though, instead taking in the early morning and late night hours to be at his most productive. Though rehearsals were a bit of a challenge, what with Jake constantly around the area working on the set, Eli was beginning to find it easier to tune him out. Katie had made a valid point in saying his presence was serving as a benefit to the team. For that reason and that reason alone, he could swallow his pride and ignore his bitterness for the time being. Shuffling up the stairs, he slid in the key and unlocked the door, letting himself inside. At first he couldn't hear anything from within the apartment, assuming he'd arrived home before Katie until muffled voices sounded from inside her room. At once, his eyes shut in frustration, quickly disrobing himself of his scarf and hat as he made his way to his room. The last thing he needed was a repeat of the night he'd overheard them being intimate, the sounds and feeling that settled in his stomach from it still fresh as ever. He didn't think twice about hurrying off to his room, eager to drown it all out with music until he heard the pair speaking louder. Stopping in his tracks near Katie's door, he couldn't help eavesdropping out of curiosity. It didn't take long for him to realize that what he was hearing had absolutely nothing to do with sex, but instead happened to be an argument escalating. Before he could think to knock and make sure she was okay, he backed up as the door swung open, watching in silence while Katie demanded Jake leave. Letting a beat or two of silence pass between them once he left, Eli looked to her, taking a small step closer. "What happened? He didn't hurt you, right?" he asked, unfailingly overprotective when it came to her.
Eli stared at his computer screen, wasting three of the ten minutes he had to get ready and walk to the park in shock. What was he doing? He didn’t care what Katie thought of anything he wrote, so why did he ask her to read the rough draft of his novel? He should know better than to trust that he could actually be in the company of Katie for more than five minutes without wanting to rip himself to shreds. But even with the thought, he found himself getting ready. Elijah groaned and muttered under his breath as he changed into jeans and a random band tee, pulling his leather jacket over it.
Eli grabbed his copy of the notes he’d managed to convince Adam to send his way and a manila envelope, nearly jogging to the park. He’d taken so long contemplating why he’d even demand she meet him that he nearly wasted all of his minutes and being late would just be another reason for Katie to criticize him. Elijah let out a long breath of relief as he leaned against the tree with two minutes to spare. He took a seat, shutting his eyes and leaning his head back against the trunk of the tree. He’d never let anyone read his book; not even Clare. He couldn’t trust anyone to not be biased. Eli let out a long breath and gripped the envelope tightly in his hands, wringing it nervously and sighing.
Eli:could feel the distinct quietness resting within the walls of the apartment, no rustling from a nearby room or music playing from another part of the home to indicate Katie's presence. He wasn't about to admit it to her- and he could just barely admit it to himself- but it never took long for him to miss the girl. Even the hours between going to work or attending classes was enough to leave him wistful, so completely used to her company that going without made him feel sincerely deprived. It wasn't a shared emotion, that much he knew. As of late, Katie had been busier than she'd been in years, her attention scattered between her own duties and a certain man by the name of Jake Martin. Even the mere mention of him was enough to leave a sour taste in Eli's mouth for hours, his disposition one that was obviously green with envy. He didn't like being so blatant about his disdain, but the fact of the matter was that Katie didn't seem to give a damn. Not once had she caught onto the nature of his bitterness, his grudge extending far past that of a common, platonic concern of being replaced. There was no sense of competition- at least not logically- but that didn't stop him from feeling as though there was a necessity to somehow prove his worth. He knew all too well that to Katie, there was no one but Jake currently in her life. A nearly lifelong crush held no weight when his affections went entirely unrequited, hushed and buried for the entirety of their friendship. To say he was left angry after their argument would be a massive understatement, his blood still boiling from the heated exchange. Poised on the couch in their living room, he tried in vain to focus on the last portion of his history paper, though he was mostly staring at the final paragraph blankly. His attention was simply too occupied with everything surrounding Katie to place his focus on it.. Just as he was about to take a break, he heard the door open and then shut again, indicating Katie's arrival. He refused to spare a glance in her direction, instead feigning great interest in his essay to avoid interacting with her. There wasn't much else to say, and in all honesty, arguing with the girl was an exhausting experience. For the sake of pissing her off and evading a more heated debate, he chose to bite his tongue.
Katie:It was quite simply the kind of September morning that unabashedly induced giddy excitement and a foreign surge of nervous energy that made the ferns droop submissively, as if they were preparing themselves for an early retirement. In an attempt to prevent herself from falling off of her own mental precipice, every jittery tic that had previously been subjected to severe chastisement overtook each segment of her body. Foot tapping, knuckle cracking, gulps that were teetering on the edge of becoming audible. Katie Matlin was nervous; there was just no other way around it. Flitting from one table to the next, she mentally counted each gift that had been wrapped with painstaking effort purely because the idea of presenting half-heartedly packed gifts seemed like an appalling way to start off the school year. The courtyard was starting to teem with exhausted parents and overexcited kids whose eyes darted every so often towards the table of presents. However, there was nothing, not even the timid introductions of her students, that could appease the knot that had permanently conquered her insides ever since he had come back into her life. A plethora of incoherent questions continuously plagued her mind, none of which she could prompt herself to ask him—about him, his life, the family he'd created. At one juncture, she had become a slave to space and time and irreversible embarrassment. The summer after they had both graduated high school was the only one that she vividly remembered spending without him—without having aimless arguments or intellectual discussions about literature. The years that followed revolved around new relationships, new expectations, new beginnings, and a whole new set of anxieties. None of it was incomparable without him; that was too much of an overstatement for her liking. It just felt like life's bad imitation of a fill-in-the-blanks exercise. More than anything else, Eli Goldsworthy had been her best friend at a significant point in her life. As a teenager, he had been incredibly infuriating, self-assured, and overly sarcastic—all qualities that constantly drove her up the wall and sparked a strong interest within her to hit him over the head as an outlet for her frustration. At the same time, he'd had the potential to be charismatic in ways that had made her 17-year-old self analyze his actions in a manner that'd assuredly end well for her, in a manner that made her feel special, no matter how fleeting it was. But that was all in the past, she repeatedly rationalized with herself. Over the course of ten years, they'd both managed to build up their lives while deliberately avoiding each other even when avenues seemed to open up for possible interaction during high school alumni associations that Katie never bothered to attend or keep track of. The conversation that they'd managed to strike up recently, on the other hand, had been entirely unprecedented and for reasons that she couldn't begin to comprehend, they'd both kept the conversation going if only to discuss his son and issues related to starting school. Smoothing her hand over the front of her skirt, she turned, her grip on her clipboard becoming instinctively tighter. It was him. Far too many years had passed them by, but the only tangible proof that something had changed was the fact that he now walked hand-in-hand with a miniature doppelgänger of himself. Uncertainty ladening each successive step that she took, Katie slowly walked towards them, her heart pounding wildly at the prospect of not being able to ignore his existence any longer, not when he had come to a halt a few feet away from her. Unable to string together words to say to him right off the bat, she looked at him briefly before hastily averting her gaze, and kneeling down before the dark-haired boy so that they were almost up to eye level. "You must be Aiden. Your father's told me all about you," said Katie, smiling to the apprehensive little boy who looked like he was seconds away from taking cover behind Eli. "I'm Katie. Katie Matlin. I'm going to be your teacher for the two years," she continued, stretching her hand to gently touch his shoulder. "Don't tell the other kids," she began, dropping her voice to a conspiratorial whisper, "but I can promise you that you're going to get the best gift out of all them." Laughing to herself at the delighted expression that immediately lit up his features, she brought herself back to a standing position, finally finding the courage to look Eli in the eyes. "Hi," she mustered with an unusual hint of shyness coloring her voice. "You were right, by the way," she added, peering over to him with a small smile. "You look just like the Eli I remember."
The delicate, irrevocable bodythat was her carefully-timed pangs of laughter illuminated every curled endeavor of his fingers against the modest patches of skin that the current disorientation of her shirt allowed, each laugh quickly becoming much louder than the receding against the orifice of his perked ears, his hands never too far from every bubbly burst he had provoked. Elijah merely grinned against the chorus of her protests, Katie never able to completely voice them aloud as he hooked his leg around her calf somewhat securely, the shift in position only encouraging his tickling fingers against her blushing skin. Still wrestling her for her gracious bouts of laughter in exchange, Eli couldn’t help to contain the smile that had been plaguing his every facial feature and hurried movement for what seemed like hours now, begging and determined to override any hints of the more negative spectrum upon his face.
“You know,” Eli began in a shallow tone very similar to Katie’s own at the moment; as matter of factly as he could muster, but he lacked the power to steady his first words due to the laughter that was streaming out of his own mouth. Quieting himself to the best of his abilities upon realization as he hooked his chin over the curved plane of her shoulder, the vast area that his grin claimed only seeming to expand in size against the dark curls of her hair brushing the canvas of his face, Elijah pressed a minute kiss to the crook of her neck where he could reach as the only apologetic gesture that he was wiling to offer her at that time. “This would be a lot easier if you stopped resisting,” he finished, still wary of her attempts to untangle herself from their joint mess of limbs and layers of clothing in disarray, but his reluctance to part from their mesh of figures would only prove that futile.
Though the two, in all probability, shouldn’t have been on the best terms at the time, taking into account the content of their most recent conversations and the initial proposal of a break-up still lingering over their heads and seeping into every thought that they expressed to one another, silent but nonetheless present, they had found yet another way to disregard the past slipping from beneath their feet to recapture the constant bliss they found in each other’s companionship. The close proximity in which they were lingering about only served as a reminder among many others to Elijah of those quiet moments shared, the fleeting suggestions of a possible love that they were infatuated with, but had yet to rightfully acknowledge in their own minds. The more artistic details of that conversation had dissipated from his mind, leaving him with only a vague recollection of seemingly impulsive confessions that he had no intentions of coming to a conclusion with anytime soon, his reluctance stemmed for recognizing any truth in the orientation of the couple from Katie’s own reaction to his first suggestion of growing affections.
Eli:stared blankly at the legal pad placed before him, the sheet empty as he toyed absentmindedly with the pen in his hand. There wasn’t anything particularly special about this day, the monotonous routine of his life making it so virtually all the days of the week ran identically to one another. To say he’d found himself in a rut would have been an understatement but without much of a reason to pull himself out of it, Eli continued going through the motions of life. Growing up, he never would have seen his path leading to this point, working nine to five at a job that he wasn’t truly passionate about. Like anyone else, he had his hopes for himself, dreams of grandeur in film and directing but those aspirations amounted to nothing in the end. Thinking on it for too long didn’t bode well though the constant reminder of his failures presented themselves to him each day he showed up at work. Getting into advertisement was a last ditch effort to keep himself afloat. On the surface, he was doing well for himself, having the essentials under his belt like a roof over his head, a steady job and car. From the outside looking in, he was successful enough but within Eli laid a constant void that didn’t seem too likely to lessen. Try as he might have, something felt out of touch, a bit of a disconnect between him and the rest of the world. It all went back to the life he’d foreseen for himself but was now missing out on. The perpetual state of merely existing gnawed at him but he’d reached a point where he could tolerate his circumstance. He knew all too well that things could be much worse, that he could have fallen on hard times and not be able to take care of himself. Taking stock, he knew he had a lot to be proud of but all the same, something was missing, a piece to the puzzle that kept him back from having a whole picture. His attention span had been waning since the start of the staff meeting and now that it was set to come to an end soon, Eli couldn’t find it within himself to even keep up the pretense that he cared. His thoughts were far off now as he willed himself to look up, his eyes automatically flickering to the analog clock above the door. The hands seemed frozen though Eli chalked it up to his impatience. Clenching his jaw, he exhaled sharply through his nose, his impatience growing just as the door opened. All at once Eli’s demeanor changed, his once sluggish stance now straightened as he sat up in his seat. The arrival of the room’s newest addition caught his attention, his eyes watching a young woman he’d certainly never seen before. It was an instantaneous attraction, something he’d never experienced in his entire life. He watched as she went over to his boss, apparently passing on a message before leaving just as quickly as she’d come. Seemingly transfixed, Eli didn’t waste any time in rising from his seat as soon as the meeting wrapped up, grabbing his legal pad and entering the office. Automatically he searched for her, surprising himself by marching over to where she sat at her desk. “Hi,” he started out, suddenly unsure of himself now that he was looking at her. “Stating the obvious but you must be new. I’m Eli, welcome to the fast paced life of advertising,” he mused, extending his hand for her to shake.
Every now and then, the stars align, and boy and girl meet by great design.
Katie inattentively drummed her colored nails similar to the azure specks in her eyes on the steering wheel before her in an irregular beat before she restlessly traced the contours of her mouth with the edge of her nail, her soft lips forming a crescent shape as she waited patiently for the stoplight. The melodious waves of music that innocuously resonated from the speakers of the car established a mellow atmosphere as the brunette eased her foot on the gas pedal as hues of green indicated it was safe to proceed. She idly nodded her head to the beat of the song, her brunette waves cascading down the sides of her face and down her back as she did so, her fingers still momentarily drumming in unison to the song as her mind wandered to the events that were to unfold from her date with Eli. She rolled her cerulean eyes in spite of herself as she was reminded of what type of protests her boyfriend would conjure up as she insisted on picking him up—surely him lacking a license would be enough to silence him, but knowing the dark-haired raven boy she’d grown so fond of over the last month, it was predicted that the car ride to the movie theater would be longer than she anticipated. Exhaling a weary sigh, though the smile that teased on her glossy lips said otherwise, her foot eased on the brake once again, though the road was relatively vacant for an afternoon in Toronto, with the exception of a few other cars on the other lanes, there was an ache in her chest that longed for the touch only Eli could have satisfied. Katie’s lithe fingers instinctively gripped the curve of the steering wheel at the thought of the unaccompanied couple in the dark, shed of all other momentary distractions (other than the movie—but she vaguely remembered him telling her that her movie choice wouldn’t matter anyway), and bit her lip mischievously, the apples of her cheeks a faint pink as she took a left, a few streets away from her boyfriend’s house.
Katie indolently mouthed the words to the new song that bustled in the car, her fingers capably turning down the volume by a few notches before diverting her attention to the road. The brilliant trees that hovered above the houses as Katie drove by, she had noticed, had their branches snake around its sterile outskirts like infected veins that wove in immediate revolutions, with no seeming beginning or end. As if realizing it was December, the brunette observed that the trees had lacked the brilliant presence of multihued leaves that decorated the boughs, the naked limbs barren as she advanced down the road, the even purr of the car’s engine audible as the song played via the car speakers had taken a momentary pause to transition to the next song. Katie pursed her lips idly, slouching in the driver’s seat as she approached a final stop sign, the subsequent street signifying she had progressed on the Goldsworthy house, the outsized russet and cream-colored edifice already visible. The brunette maneuvered neared Eli’s house and she dexterously parked alongside the street facing the structure, her head craning behind her as to make sure she had parked the vehicle properly. With her free left hand on the headrest of the passenger seat and her mouth slightly open, she blinked her cerulean orbs as a final gesture as she directed her attention to the heart of the car, situating the car in ‘park’ as she twisted the metal keys in the ignition, the vibrations of the car spent.
Katie idly tugged on the hem of her floral pink dress, noting that it accomplished a first-rate job of accentuating the contours of her legs, and quickly dismissed the thought with a nonchalant expression, her right hand searching for her bag behind her for her cell phone. Scrolling quickly through her contacts, Katie sent a text to Eli that read: ‘Hi, princess. Your carriage awaits: I’m outside.’ Enable to muffle the amused laughter that bubbled from her lips, she placed the glossy cellular device back in her bag and waited patiently. Katie bit her bottom lip as another short chuckle filled the silent confines of the car, both her arms resting undamagingly on the contours of the steering wheel as she glanced outside the passenger window for a few moments, expecting a familiar dark-haired boy to exit within the new few moments. The brunette lifted a single, lone eyebrow as her expectations were quickly met as Eli, dressed in burgundy pants and a salt and pepper jacket exited the house swiftly, the recognizable features of his face painted in a playfully irritated gesture (or so she had hoped) as he approached the car. Katie had deliberated exiting the vehicle and opening the door for him to further tease his situation of him being the one driven, as opposed to being the driver, but decided against it—she didn’t want to upset him and figured the teasing text would have been enough for him to protest. Biting the inside of her cheeks in mute animation as she finally was able to spend time with the boy who had been equally as eager to be with her, Katie grinned, the frame of her lips pulling into a teasing smile as he entered the car, her presence immediately beaming as he did so. She noted the familiar jade orbs that sheltered hers as he wordlessly adjusted to her presence, his gaze trailing her frame with a curious fixation.
Narrowing her eyes so that it bore a resemblance to a cat’s, she articulated playfully, “If you’re going to comment on the text—don’t,” she began, her lips curling into another bout that threatened laughter, “I’ve already been smug enough about it,” she mused. Angling her head to the side and intuitively pushing a lock of dark hair (she had noticed it had been significantly darker, even in the poor lighting of the car—she made a mental note to tease him about it alter) with her lithe fingers out of his eyes, she murmured, “Missed you,” her voice unknowingly subordinate by a few octaves than it was prior.