Background Smiles

Background Smiles

A Story by Kiki-K
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A short story inspired by a writing prompt from Max Kirin.

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Background Smiles



“Don’t forget the ingredients for the cake!” Lucy heard her sister yell from the other side of the aisle. She hummed while reaching to flip the boxes in front of her, which held cake mixes in them in order to read the back. Looking for the chocolate raspberry cake mix, she could hear her elder sister talking with their roommate a bit further from her. 


“Ah, milk, milk as well!” Jessica, her sister, told Alexandra, who had moved in with them after the pair’s mother had passed away. The latter scurried of, looking for said ingredient, whereas the brunette stayed behind to look at the meat section.

Just as Lucy was about to sigh out of frustration, her eyes caught the glimpse of a pink box on the highest shelf. Raising her chin, she managed to make out the writing on the packaging.

‘Chocolate Raspberry Cake Mix.’ 


“Found you,” the blonde sang whilst tip-toeing to the corner of the shelf, her hands reaching up to grab the mix. However, her height failed her miserably, as she wasn’t even close to reaching the top shelf. “Just a bit more,” she grunted, trying to jump up in order to get the box.

Feeling warmth against her back, she twisted her head just in time as another arm reached behind her, easily grabbing the package and taking it down.


Lucy turned around to face the young man, who was now holding the box in front of her, motioning for her to take it. Taken aback by how handsome the man was, Lucy couldn’t help but gaze at him as she subconsciously took the cake mix from his hands. Flinching a bit at how cold they were, she muttered a silent ‘thanks’.


His thick lips curled into a contagious smile, his teeth revealed bare with his emerald eyes glistening. The man was easily two heads taller than Lucy, which had made it rather easy for him to reach the top shelf. His frail hand went up to muddle his curly copper hair. He was about to say something, when Jessica had peeked in her head,


“What is taking you so long, Luce?” The brunette walked up to her younger sister and took the box, throwing it inside the cart. Her eyes found the top shelf and she whistled audibly, “How did you manage to reach so high, shrimpy?”


“I- I didn’t,” Lucy said dejectedly, feeling her cheeks heat up in embarassment, “This man here helped me out- “ she stopped abruptly, when she noticed that the man was no where to be found. 


“Huh? He’s not here anymore. He left already…”


“Yeah, yeah, whatever, come on, we gotta go. This cake needs to be ready by tonight! We’ll have soooo many guests tonight- “


“I told you not to invite so many people, I don’t even like celebrating my birthday.” She pouted, letting herself get dragged out of the aisle and towards the checkout with their friend following suit.



*** 



“Oh, look! This was when Luce turned five! We had the entire family over! It was such a feast!” Jessica told excitedly, pointing her finger at each person on the picture and explaining to Alexandra who they were. 


When they had arrived to their shared apartment, Lucy had gone straight into the kitchen to prepare the cake, whereas Jessica had pulled out one of their family photo albums to reminisce about her younger sister’s past birthdays.


“Isn’t something off here?” Lucy asked loudly with sarcasm lacing her voice. “You know, me doing all the baking and cooking on my birthday for the party you organized?”


“Ah, got it, got it,” Jessica faked annoyance before pushing the blonde out of the kitchen, “I’ll take it from here, you go and continue where I left off.” The latter only rolled her eyes with a smile before nestling down next to the ravenhaired girl.


Taking the photo album into her hands, she couldn’t help but feel warmth spreading through her stomach and chest upon seeing their deceased mother’s smile on the pictures. It had only been a year since the woman had passed due to cancer. 


Flipping through the album, she stopped abruptly, her eyes settling on a familiar figure. Her brows furrowed in confusion as she took the picture out of the foil, turning it around to see the date the picture was taken.


“10 years ago… But… How…?” She asked aloud, rubbing her eyes before taking a good look at the picture once more to confirm what she had just seen. Placing the photograph on her lap, she flipped through the booklet once more, retrieving all photos from the past years that were taken on her birthday, when all of her relatives had gathered to celebrate it with her.


“What… “ Lucy wheezed, her heart beating erratically against her small chest with her palms starting to sweat profusely. Flipping each picture to confirm the year it was taken, she tried to make sense of what was unfolding in front of her ebony eyes.


On each picture, right at the back, stood the handsome man from the convenience store with his smile so bright and infectious, Lucy wondered how she couldn’t remember him from her past parties. She traced over his features with her thumb, noticing how on every picture he looked exactly the same. The same hairstyle. The same clothing. The same age


The blonde girl started to have a bad feeling about all of this as she called out to her sister. Was this really the same man she had met earlier on? Why didn’t she remember him and why did he always look the same?



“Yeah, what’s up?” Jessica asked with her head peeking out from the door.


“Dunno, she’s been acting weird,” Alexander responded, pointing at the mess Lucy had created by pulling out all the pictures from the booklet, “She’s been staring at these for a while now.”


“Luce?” The brunette asked tentatively, mistaking the younger’s silence for mourning. ‘Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to pull out pictures from mom? It hasn’t been that long since she passed…’


“Hey, Jess, do you know this man?” Lucy handed her the picture, frantically turning over the pages to find more pictures, “That’s the guy I saw at the market!”


“What man are you talking about? Why didn’t you tell me you saw our relative in the- “


“No, he’s not our relative. At least not that I know of. It’s just so weird, he’s on every picture- “ Lucy gave her sister several other pictures, “But I just can’t figure out who he is.”


“Who exactly do you mean?” Jessica asked with Alexandra craning her neck to take a look at it as well.


“The readhead with the bright green eyes. He’s wearing formal attire in each picture, always the same suit. It kind of looks like the men’s fashion from 1920. Shirt is blue and pants are black with-“


“I don’t know who you’re talking about, Luce, can you show me?” The brunette looked thoroughly confused with their friend nodding her head as a sign of agreement.


“What do you mean by that? How can you not notice someone as handsome as him?” The blonde stood up from her spot, pointing at the man’s face on the picture, “This guy! The one who helped me back at the- “


“Are you trying to crack a joke?” Jessica snorted before placing the pictures back inside the booklet, “’Cause if you are, then your humor is kind of messed up, honey.”

 

Lucy’s brows furrowed, her head tilting to the side to showcase her confusion, “What do you mean? I’m being serious! I really did see him at the- “


“Lucy. There is no such man on these pictures.” Jessica deadpanned. A long pause followed afterwards, silence engulfing the girls as the youngest of the three was trying to make sense of what her sister had just said.


“What do you mean there is no such man on the pictures? I’m telling you, he’s on every single one, plus I met him at the- “



“Lucy stop! You’re starting to scare me,” The brunette whispered, her wide eyes staring at a frantic looking Lucy, who looked like she had just seen a ghost, “You’re taking your joke too far.”


“But… But I-“ 


“Um… Not to sound like I’m not believing you, but… there also was no such man at the store earlier. At least not that I saw one from the aisle I came from. I’m sure we would’ve noticed if someone dressed like that passed us.” 

Alexandra said while rubbing the back of her neck. She looked thoroughly amused, thinking of this as a joke.


“Yeah, I didn’t see one either from where I was at- “


“But I saw him!” Lucy interrupted her sister by raising her voice hysterically, trying to prove her point. Stopping herself after witnessing how both girls looked at her as if she had lost her mind, the blonde stood up to grab her coat and scarf. “I’m gonna go catch some fresh air-“


“Where are you going?” Jessica yelled after her, trying to stop her but ended up colliding face first with the door. “She’s not angry with us, is she?” Turning her head, she asked her best friend.


“Nah, she’ll be back before the others arrive, I’m sure of it.” The ravenhaired girl concluded, cleaning up the mess the younger had left behind, “It’s not like it’d be the first time that she’s pulling a prank on us. Or the first time for her to leave angrily before her birthday party.”

Chuckling at her roommate’s words, Jessica remembered that this happended each year and resumed her activities in the kitchen, turning on the radio to distract her scattered thoughts.




*** 




Breathing out a cloud of fume, Lucy closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, trying to clear her mind. What was all of this supposed to mean? Why was her sister acting that way? Why was Alexandra joining her? ‘I’m sure I saw him.’ Groaning loudly, the blonde kicked the nearest pile of snow to let out her anger.


“Easy there, wouldn’t want you slipping on the ice and falling down, now would we?” A familiar voice chirped, catching the girl off guard, causing her to trip and almost fall over, if it wasn’t for the owner of the voice, who jumped forward and shielded her fall with his arms.


Raising her head, Lucy stared up at the emerald eyes she was faced with. Her own dark ones doubled in size as she staggered back, pointing her gloved finger at his direction.


“Y-You!” 


Breathing in sharply, the blonde recognized the redhaired man from the pictures immediately. Scanning his appearance, she noticed that he was once again wearing the same suit from the pictures and his smile still was heartwearming and catching, deep dimples nestling in the center of his cheeks.


“Hey Lucy.” His deep voice rumbled, his hand going up to play with his hair again, his anxiety evident. “I see you finally became aware of me?”




Taking a few more steps back, Lucy extended her arm with her palm facing the stranger, motioning him not to get any closer. Her arms were tingling where his fingers had touched when he had caught her fall.


“It’s only natural for you to be cautious… After all, you have no idea who I am.” 


“Then tell me… Who are you? How come you’re on every family picture I own and why are Jess and Alex saying they can’t see you? Is this some kind of birthday prank- “


“Lucy, I need you to calm down,” the man took tentative steps towards Lucy, his strong arms grabbing her shoulders gently as he gazed into her eyes longingly, “You’re the only one who can see me.”


“Wh-What?” the girl laughed humorlessly, trying to shake the man off but to no avail, “Stop messing around- “



“I am not. Messing. Around.” His brows furrowed in aggravation, his shoulders slumping weakly, wheels turning ins his brain, trying to think of a way to convince the girl, “You are the only one who can see me, touch me and talk to me. Please believe me.”


It took Lucy a moment to calm her racing heart and to collect her thoughts. There was no way her sister would pull such a stunt on her and there was also no way for her to be able to put him in every family picture. She stared into his bright green eyes, trying to understand what was going on and found herself mesmerized with the intense way he was looking at her. His touch felt comforting and she closed her eyes momentarily, the tingling beneath her skin intensifying.


“Who are you?” Lucy whispered, opening her eyes to be greeted with a surprised expression.


“Y-You believe me?” Relief was written all over his youthful face as he sighed exasperatedly, “I’m Eddie! Edward! Edward Teach!”


“Edward?” Not coming up with someone she knew who had a name like that, she continued, “Mind telling me what exactly is going on? Why is it that only I can see you? What exactly are you?” The blonde asked in a hushed tone, trying to tame her pounding heart. 


She watched his smile falter, his bright expression falling as his eyes were looking everywhere but in her direction. He looked heartbroken, his orbs turning lifeless for an instant. His voice dropped a few octaves, his enthusiasm no longer present.


“I am…” His voice was drowned out by the hammering of Lucy’s heart, whose eyes widened in  horror as she read his lips for the following words he uttered were completely silent. Her lips quivered and she couldn’t help but tear up at the revelation. She found herself engulfed by his strong arms subconsciously, feeling warmth shoot through her body once more, unable to control her oncoming tears.


 


 





© 2017 Kiki-K



Author's Note

Kiki-K
Thank you so much for reading!
Please let me know in the comments what you liked about this short story and what you think who/ what Edward is ;)

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Added on November 7, 2017
Last Updated on November 7, 2017
Tags: fantasy, shortstory, story, mystery, writing, nanowrimo, fiction, ya, youngadult, writingprompt

Author

Kiki-K
Kiki-K

Germany



About
Just a weirdo, who is bathing in her imaginary thoughts and loves telling stories. Don't be shy, read my stuff, message me! I'd love to meet and talk to you :) more..

Writing
One Life Down One Life Down

A Story by Kiki-K