:: previous – Fortune
Misa – One Year Later
Wait. Don’t get too excited. He could be lying.
“Mr. Paper… Are you lying to me?”
“I would never lie to you, Misa.”
My heart’s racing. He looks believable and handsome in his navy-blue sweater, fitted jeans, and white sneakers. The sprinkle of silver in his brown hair and neat beard makes me think he’s a little older than me.
“Your skills and a letter of recommendation from me are with the Black Mountain Library board of directors as we speak. As their cherished Fiction Advisor, my thoughts are valuable to them.”
His gray-blue eyes shimmer when he says that.
“We’ll connect when you return from your trip… But please know, Misa, we want you.”
“Wow!” I almost leap in the air. I could hug him right now. “I… I’m so honored. Thank you! You don’t know what this means to me.”
“Anything for my muse.”
“Oh, Mr. Paper, I, I’m just Misa.”
“Please, call me Mark. I insist… I’m not that old.”
His smile seems kind and honest.
We met a few weeks ago after Emilian forgot to put the fire out in our backyard. Mr. Paper noticed the flames burning late into the night and put it out for us. Of course, our security alarm went off and Emilian ran out to confront the danger. He’s been on high alert since his mother is still missing…
But there was no danger found. Instead, Emilian met a neighbor. A shirtless and fit Mr. Paper, in his boxers, extinguishing the flames with our garden hose.
They’ve gotten along ever since.
Including me, with our shared interest in words.
“So many pages have poured from my fingertips since you moved here.” Mr. Paper continues. His eye contact is deep. “How lucky I am… to have you as my neighbor. Such endless inspiration.” He inches closer. “May I share a secret with you, Misa?”
“At 3:33 this morning, I laid the last words to Redemption of the Accountant Part Two in ink.” He beams. “It is done.”
“Wah!” I leap back, covering my mouth in shock.
Mr. Paper writes under the pseudonym Beesbury to keep his personal life private, so I must keep quiet when we talk about his work. According to him, I am the sole keeper of his secret.
Not even Emilian knows.
“That’s amazing news.” I whisper low. “My goodness, I’m so happy for you, friend. Will there be a second movie?”
“Perhaps.” He stands tall, grinning from ear to ear.
The reading community has been waiting anxiously for the second part of ROTA. I can’t believe he finished it, let alone tell me about it.
“Misa!” Emilian calls. He’s waiting in the truck idling in our driveway. “You ready?”
“Time to go.” Mark whispers. He looks at Emilian and waves.
“Ah. It was nice speaking to you, Mr., uh Mark, I mean. Thank you again.”
“Goodbye Misa.” His eyes dance all over my face. “For now, of course.”
I blush and head for the truck.
“Hey.” Emilian smiles at me.
“Hi.” I hop inside and close the door. “Sorry. Mr. Paper told me a position opened at the Black Mountain Library and he said they want me. Can you believe it?”
“Hm.” Emilian mutters.
He stares at Mr. Paper standing on his immaculate wrap-around porch, watching us back.
“What do you think? Should I go for it? Ugh, that means I’d have to leave Grim Systems… Do you think your dad would be okay without me?”
Emilian snaps out of his gaze, waves to Mark, then drives away.
“He’ll just make a Synthetic Soul out of your likeness when you’re gone.”
“He’d miss me that much?” I giggle. “I could still help there sometimes. Your dad’s so sweet.”
“He’ll be okay. You’ve always wanted to work there. Go for it. It’s your dream.”
Ooh! I love this man.
“But what about our lunch breaks?” I hesitate. “The library isn’t far from Grim Systems. Can we meet up?”
“Of course. I never want to stop those.”
I reach across the seat and give Emilian’s muscular thigh a squeeze. He’s in black joggers and a white t-shirt. I’m in jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers myself. Nothing fancy for where we’re headed.
“How long until we get to Synestia?” I pout. My hand travels between his legs, gently massaging him.
“Three hours.” He chuckles and maintains impressive control of the wheel despite his growth. “Can you wait that long?”
“Maybe.” I whisper.
I feel so wild and mischievous. Since moving in together, we crave each other more than ever.
“I can’t.” Emilian says darkly.
He pulls over. It’s still early morning, sunny with a chilly breeze and quiet. A sea of wildflowers and looming black mountains surround us.
We look at each other. Grins bounce between us.
“We could visit our spot and still make it to Synestia in time.” Emilian suggests.
I bite my lip, nodding in agreement.
. . .
We walk along a paved path surrounded by a rainbow of wildflowers. I close my eyes, inhaling the citrus and honey scents. My hands stretch out wide, stroking the petals. Every flower known in existence grows in Black Mountain. Because of this, they earned the ‘wild’ in their name because of their mystery.
“This reminds me of class. Remember, Mili? We’d just stare out the window watching the flowers and the clouds.”
“Hm. I’m glad Inga let us sit together again. Finishing her class would’ve been difficult without you.”
“Same. I’m just happy we’re finished with school forever. It feels like we have lots of time now.”
I smile at him as we walk on, holding hands. I’m so thankful he’s in my life.
Our spot is a large patch of sunflowers Emilian grew with his hands beside a lone oak tree. Whenever we visit, the sunflowers bloom and fuse into a seamless bed of soft yellow petals and pillowy black seeds, large enough to fit four adults on and super cozy.
We climb on top and lie down, staring at the clouds.
On my wrist, my forever sunflower unravels and waves its tiny petal goodbye to go hang out with its friends. We laugh as it runs off with a striking blue rose.
“I love this spot.” I whisper, snuggling against Emilian. He wraps his arm around me tight.
Above us, we watch two birds sail across the sky together.
Emilian moves above me, pushing my hair behind my ears. The veins on his arms turn black, bulging beneath his light brown skin.
He’s so aroused…
“Will you have me forever?” He whispers, kissing me. I feel like we’re melting into each other.
“Yes.” I purr against his lips.
Our tongues twist. His taste drives me wild, the way he holds onto me like he can’t let go, his love…
Everything with him feels so good.
His kisses trail downward. Cool breezes splash over my belly as he lifts my t-shirt and unzips my jeans, nudging them down my thighs. His fingertips dance against my panties, massaging me slowly with a come-hither motion while he kisses my neck.
I moan aloud and turn to the side.
A man is watching us.
Mr. Paper? I squint.
He’s standing in the distance.
“We have everything we ever wanted.” Emilian whispers, turning my face to his. His gaze is serious. “And still so much more to come.”
He takes my hand in his, kisses it, then reveals a gold band glittering with a cluster of stunning diamonds.
He slides it on my finger.
Featured Image: Canva