The Forgotten Portrait:

Chapter 1: A Tempest of Emotions

There was something about that picture—something she just couldn't quite place. He looked familiar. Those wavy purple locks with a darker shaded tuft set weirdly atop his head, his bands covering half his face. She couldn't quite remember where…or when. He looked so peaceful, sleeping in his bed of roses, no matter how much she thought it uncomfortable for how the thorns wrapped around him. And yet, she couldn't help but feel a strange melancholy of remorse and sadness from it, as if telling her there was something…something about it that just seemed so… so… desolate… so lonely… Or… was it that she felt as if she wanted to cry but couldn't do so regardless?

A beautiful young adult male, resting peacefully in a bed of thorned, vine-like roses… She couldn't help but feel that instead of resting, he was actually trapped.

Eve stood in front of 'The Forgotten Portrait,' her crimson red eyes fixed onto the painting, mesmerized as always, coming here to see it for quite a while—an understatement to say the least, however… she just couldn't help but be drawn continually to the gallery to view this particular piece.

Now at the age of fifteen, six years since her ninth birthday, viewing the Guertana exhibit with her family, she still kept coming here… if not everyday, then when she has time—only, she made sure to make time. Regardless of school, homework, friends, and family. She didn't know why but she felt she should come. Come and see him. See if he was finally going to wake up and open those gentle blue eyes and return to keep his promi—what?

She blinked, feeling a strange wetness in her eyes threatening to pour, catching herself reaching out towards the portrait, and froze, wondering why she did so, more so… why there was something that had screamed in her head, telling her not to touch him—a brimming fear that he wasn't just sleeping. And she couldn't help but notice that she didn't want to believe that.

He was alive. Alive and well. Just resting so that he could catch up… But… catch up to what… or who?

Sadness… Overwhelming sadness engulfed her though on the outside, she remained perhaps seeming almost stoic and composed.

"Eve?" A voice called out hesitantly, making the said brunette turn to see one of her peers from school approaching. "Ah. So you were here. Don't you ever get tired of visiting sleeping beauty?" The other girl teased, black hair tied in pigtails tousling as she tipped her head to the side and gave the brunette a cheery grin. "Maybe he'll wake up if you kiss him~" The girl added as an afterthought, blinking eyes wide when she saw an uncharacteristic blush on the other girl's face, making her go silent. Errr?

"It's not like that. He's—" She stopped, realizing what she was about to say and paused that thought, looking back at the painting and how strange it had felt… She had considered the possibility though she wondered why she felt certain warmth spread across her as well.

"Eve has to get a real boyfriend soon~ It's time for her to realize pictures are just pictures~" The girl laughed, mostly trying to ease the weird tension though was surprised when the other girl suddenly blurted out, "He's real. He's not a fake. He's just—" Though even Eve had to stop, realizing she was being weird though now, she couldn't understand why but warm droplets of water trickled down her cheeks.

She retracted her hand from the other girl, backing away, not knowing why but she felt she had to do something other than stay here as she turned around to run, passing by several works of art, mannequins in different colored clothing, and a large painting called 'The Fabricated World.'

It's real. It's real. It's real! Something in her kept insisting and then the lights flickered on and off until everything went dark.

She stopped.

This was familiar…. She couldn't place why.