Prompt: Write a story involving a scarf, a poorly wrapped present and a kiss.
On the 20th day of winter, Enzo came to realize that he might end up dying alone.
At first, he wasn’t that concerned about it, often avoiding the topic of romance and relationships. However, it seemed that said topic tended to chase after him. Enzo was perplexed over the situation, wondering what the most logical solution would be and how to dodge it in the quickest, swiftest way possible.
The thing was…his own mother was the one speaking to him about it.
There was no escape this time.
It wasn’t that he hated the thought of it. Sure, he’d thought of the topic at times, but he never imagined himself actually pursuing a romantic relationship. Whoa, the thought sent chills down his spine just thinking about it! Enzo shrugged it off, looking around the safe haven, the apartment. This time, he wasn’t alone. His mother’s strong presence was currently in the kitchen, preparing him a meal, despite with the smallest of things, his mother swatted his hand away and mumbled that instead of helping, he would just make it a mess. Even he, himself knew she was right. However, Enzo insisted that he could do it himself.
He was also known to be quite stubborn
“Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do?” He questioned once more, watching as his mother prepared the salad, not bothering to turn around to look at him. For a moment, she didn’t answer, which led to him leaning against the doorway while repeating his question. She soon surrendered, answering coldly, “Fine. Take out the trash.” Enzo nodded, walking towards the garbage can, quickly emptying it out. Before stepping out of the apartment, Enzo snatched his keys off the kitchen countertop.
Walking along the narrow hallway while stuffing his keys into his pocket, Enzo noticed how they finally repainted the hallway with a fresh coat of dizzying white and black. Some doors were left open, wide enough to give Enzo a glimpse into the apartment. Though Enzo preferred to avoid his neighbors without reason whatsoever, he was still interested in their lives. He heard disembodied voices of a male calling for someone, raising his voice louder and louder. Enzo finally reached the lobby, reaching the end of the maze as he noticed the impending dusk…
He hastily dumped the trash into the garbage bin, hearing the familiar sounds of the city and its restless atmosphere. Letting out a sigh, he looked down the street for a split second but paused at the sight of a figure. Furrowing his brows, he watched as the figure came into clear view, realizing that it was his neighbor, Addilyn. It was like seeing a ghost, feeling his palms sweat and his heartbeat quicken its pace. Despite having a few conversations with her, he wasn’t stable enough to talk to her outside of the building.
Now that was just crossing the line.
Instead of running away, he decided to simply duck behind a trash bin, holding his breath while he heard her footsteps becoming louder by every second. It reminded him of those horror films that may or may not have kept him up all night. Enzo began to pick at the skin around his fingernails, wishing to bleed long enough for him to pass out. For a second, he felt the floor begin to sway under his feet, warning him to calm down enough to ease his breathing. Enzo felt like he was in a horror movie, waiting for the reason of his death to approach, to emerge from the shadows. Once her familiar red combat boots came into vision, he looked up at her, rising from his spot behind a trash bin.
“Enzo? Is that you?” She asked, still maintaining a distance due to the other times he panicked when she approached him. Enzo’s hiding place had been discovered. What on Earth was he going to do now? Enzo gulped loudly, wiping his sweaty palms with his jeans.
“No Addilyn, it’s not me. You’re mistaken.” He replied hastily, clutching the hem of his sweatshirt to the point his knuckles turned ghostly white. Addilyn arched a brow as she went even closer, knowing exactly where that line was from. Under her layers of clothing was something Enzo detected almost immediately, watching as she held it under her jacket. For a second, he predicted she would roll her eyes at him, but that was completely false when she flashed him a bright smile.
“Very funny, Enzo. Anyway, where were you during the Christmas party? I was sort of um…looking for you,” She explained shyly, watching as Enzo tugged nervously on a strand of his raven black hair. He prayed that she couldn’t detect his nervousness, making him flush crimson. It was strange. Out of all the human interactions Enzo’s had, this was the one that made him nervous, even sweating. Was it an allergic reaction? Maybe it was his body’s way of telling him to run away or to hate her. However, there wasn’t anything that he could find that could lead to him hating her. “I had a last minute invite to a family event. Sorry, I didn’t tell you guys,” he apologized while scratching the back of his head.
“Such a shame. I…sort of wanted you to be there.” She admitted while staring at the ground in embarrassment, flushing red. Enzo’s head was spinning, wondering what that truly meant. Was it a bad thing? He attempted to wipe his sweaty palms on his jeans once more, trying to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible. He could already hear his mother’s taunting laughter from outside the building, was he hearing things?
“Why?” He asked curiously, noticing how Addilyn kept trying to cover something in her green coat. Perhaps Enzo could fake an allergic reaction in order to escape the conversation. Yeah, maybe that would work. Just a few more minutes of embarrassment, then he was free to go. “I wanted to give you your present. I’m your Secret Santa…surprise?” She flashed a sheepish smile, letting her eyes turn to crescents. He furrowed his brows, scrunching his nose in confusion at what she meant by that. Was he over analyzing things?
Of course! That’s why his neighbor, Fred kept bugging him after the event. He would interrogate him in the hallway, laundry room, lobby, even at his apartment. Enzo still had emotional scars, remembering all the panic, suspense, and sweat. Wait, who did he get for Secret Santa? He recalled it was a female and he bought gloves for said girl. Now that he thought of it, he was wearing the same jacket he was wearing when he was given the name. However, he couldn’t picture the name due to being in a conversation with Addilyn.
“Oh, really? I should’ve known. No one dropped by to give me a…a present.” Oh no! He stuttered. Enzo wanted to walk away in shame, go anywhere but face her. Addilyn parted her lips, close to saying something before deciding to reveal the thing she was hiding first. It took a second for Enzo to recognize the thing she was holding tightly, widening his eyes in utter shock. Slowly, his eyes trailed up to meet her soft gaze. “I got this for you. Remember when you first moved in and told me how you lost your scarf on the way here? I know you probably replaced it, but I still wanted to get you another one, just in case you lose another scarf.” She explained, shakily handing it to him with a fond expression. Enzo couldn’t believe it! She still remembered that story?
“Th..thank you, Addilyn. I don’t have your gift right now…sorry.” He whispered the last bit, hanging his head in utter shame. She let out a soft giggle, assuring him that he can give it to her another time. His thumb traced over the stitching, feeling the soft material of the red scarf and hoping it will last long enough. However, he wasn’t a huge fan of the fact that she attempted to wrap it, arching a brow at the ripped wrapping paper and a ribbon to top it off. Enzo decided not to say anything about it, remembering how offended some people get when he points out flaws.
“How did you know you were going to run into me though?” He questioned, looking up at her chocolate orbs. Addilyn shrugged sheepishly, stuffing her hands into her pockets while she tried to seek warmth. This time, Enzo wasn’t oblivious. He quickly wrapped the scarf around her neck, protecting her neck from the unbearable wind. Addilyn quietly thanked him, continuing to answer this question. “I just got a feeling, y’know?”
He knows that feeling.
“I have to go. Thanks again for the present, Addilyn.” She nodded, waving him goodbye as watched him walk away. He couldn’t believe it. She really remembered the story he told her all those years ago and used that in order to give him a gift. Sure, he already had scarves, but he could use another. Enzo let out a sigh, staring at the cold pavement. What was this weird feeling bubbling inside him? Was it an illness? Had he been contaminated? No, it was probably the allergic reaction. That has to be it! That would be the only reason why he can’t stop playing that moment over and over-
“Wait, Enzo!” He spun towards the source of her voice, trying to initiate a small smile, making the ends of his lips tug upwards slightly. Addilyn approached him cautiously, giving him an unreadable expression as she mumbled something before suddenly grabbing at his collar, yanking him forward. He didn’t have any time to react as she slammed her lips against his, surprising him to the maximum. Enzo didn’t know how to act in this scenario. Was he supposed to do something? How long does it have to last before it becomes awkward?
Addilyn soon let go, trying to look at his reaction, realizing how shocked he was. The two stayed quiet for a moment before he spoke,
“Why did you do that?”
For a second, he thought he chose the wrong words with Addilyn’s furrowed brows and pursed lips. However, his worries faded away as she laughed at his question, showing him a smile Enzo immediately loved. Wait, there’s that feeling again. It’s hitting him like a wave, but…
it’s more intense now.
“Isn’t it obvious? I sort of…well, I sort of have feelings for you. Also, you left your scarf.” She quickly reminded, giving the scarf to him with a hopeful expression. That still didn’t answer his question. Scratch that. It did answer his question.
So that means…
No…can it? Now it makes sense!
“I…I have feelings for you, too.” He came to a realization. Addilyn’s grin grew even wider, parting her lips to react to his confession before-
His mother appeared into view, unfortunately.
“Enzo, where were you? You’ve been gone for 30 minutes. I thought you fell down the stairs again or something.” Enzo screamed internally at his mother’s last sentence, hoping Addilyn wasn’t judging him, especially in this moment. His mother soon stared at the two of them, giving him a questioning look. “So, you finally caught on to my advice?”
“Mother, now’s not the time…” he grumbled, clenching his jaw in annoyance as he ran his hand through his hair.
“25 years! It took you 25 years for you to find someone!” She reminded as Addilyn giggled in the background.