"So, what now?"
It was an understandable question, given the circumstance. The answer followed it like a well-trained dog, sincere and predictable in its actions. It trotted in and sat between them, watching with old, wise eyes.
"I don't know."
Bright gazes were cast downwards, only to reel in silence. The silence, too, was predictable. It was an old silence, one that always trailed at the end of hopeful uncertainty. Thus, it was also a pleasant silence, one that bubbled and bounced between the blushing duo as a playful faun. They savored it in secret, and were unwilling to let it escape into the brush. The silence stretched on into the dappled sunlight.
It was the girl that frightened the silence away. She looked up slowly, catching his eye. He floundered in her stare. The silence exploded, prancing around the air wildly.
"That was nice," she said. The silence bolted, vanishing into the yellow leaves.
He smiled, and nodded.
The trees rustled softly in the warm breeze. The duo turned to watch them, and the silence peeked its evasive head through the foliage. It stepped daintily around the clearing, keeping its dewy eyes fixed on them.
He felt the breeze touch his hand, sending an involuntary shiver down his back. He glanced down at the source, expecting a bright leaf to have fallen on his hand.
Instead was the gentle outline of delicate feminine fingers that encircled his own. He could just make out his own hand through hers. He looked up, intrigued by the way the light played in her translucent hair. He thought her quite pretty on a normal day, but today was anything but normal, and she was beautiful. He must have smiled, or blushed, for a grin spread across her face. The light glittered in her eyes, and he watched them with wonder for a moment, before she shifted to wrap her ghostly arms around him.
The silence strutted back on spindly legs, stilling every leaf and blade of grass. It settled among them, and lay its head on the ground. The duo sighed, leaned as close to each other as possible, and welcomed the silence. There would be no need for words any longer.
It had not been his intention to fall in love with the little ghost. Indeed, he had resisted it. There were many doubts that crawled into his head and sweated toxic thoughts, leaving him with fear of simply spending time with the girl. He had thought of the disgusted stares as he skulked by, holding hands with the air. He had thought of Salma's irritated monologue, outlining everything that was wrong with their relationship in agonizing detail. He had thought of his own regret at becoming so close to someone that was distantly related to him, even if so distantly it had no weight. Worst of all, he had thought of breaking her heart over these toxic thoughts, and watching the shattered pieces spark in time with her tears. Even with the silence settled warmly between them, the doubt clung desperately to the bottom of his ribcage, making him feel slightly ill. He glanced up, fearfully, at his ghost.
She stared back evenly. Her icy stare froze the poison doubt and it dropped like icicles to the ground, where it melted. The silence merely flipped an ear in acknowledgment, barely moved by the boy's emotional dilemma.
With her stare returned the cool breeze of positive memories he associated with the ghost. He remembered how much he missed her for the two years she was gone, and he remembered the elation both of them had experienced upon her return, and he remembered how it had felt when they embraced, and how they had laughed as Norman's arms passed right through her. He laughed even now at the lightness of the memory. Compared to now, though, that lightness was a flickering bulb.
His memories were interrupted as the silence stood up, regarded the duo for a moment, and then bolted. Both suddenly felt the need to speak, and out from their lungs spouted the same statements.
"So, what now?"
"I don't know," The boy paused, laughed lightly, and realized the deja vu of the situation. His eyes glinted up, catching sight of the silence through the trees and shooing it on. "Maybe it's okay to not know, though..."
The girl smiled at him. "I suppose you're right." Suddenly her eyes cast downwards once again, but now failed to even bring in silence. She wrung her hands, and laughed lightly. "I-It was a nice kiss, though." She looked back at him, questioningly, guiltily.
His grin reassured her, dispelling her fears and the last of his venomous doubt. Their hands brushed, their shoulders brushed, their noses brushed. He sighed.
"Yes, it was."