That Same Fucking Smile

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This was the first draft for an assigment that I did in my first semester of college, and it is also a smaller piece to a larger story (in the same universe as Black Hands). It's a short piece about finding something to smile about every day, even in the worst of times.

Submitted: August 24, 2016

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Submitted: August 24, 2016

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He watches her. Eyes narrowed, not in suspicion but in confusion. He doesn’t understand how, despite everything, she can keep turning to him with that same damn smile, so bright and full of hope. Like she just fucking knows that everything will be alright.

His gaze follows her every move. He analyzes her, because logic is all he knows. There has to be something, some reason that she keeps going. Faith can’t be enough, not even for the likes of her.

He knows what she’s been through. The fire. The war. Watching everyone she loves get torn away from her. Not even blind faith could protect this innocence and warm heart that she’s always maintained.

He wants to know her secret.

It’s while he’s watching her that he realizes. She watches him, too. She’s not subtle about it, like he tries to be. But he doesn’t think she realizes that she’s even doing it. And yet every time his gaze sweeps over to her, he’s stunned to see that her eyes are already on him.

Finally, he asks her.

“What are you staring at?”

She blinks at him as though being woken from a dream. And then she smiles. That same fucking smile. The one that makes him think, not for the first time, that she had to lie about her age, that there’s no way she’s any older than maybe seventeen instead of twenty.

“There’s something on your face,” she tells him with a laugh. She reaches out and points to his forehead. “There.”

He wipes at the spot and his hand comes away, caked in dirt. Well, that’s no surprise. He hasn’t had a proper shower in weeks, since this whole thing started.

Still, he gives her a smile of her own, his usual charming smile that he’s surprised to find isn’t as forced as it normally is.

“Yeah, you’ve got something on your face, too.”

Her brows furrow and she gives him a look of pure innocence and confusion that makes his chest ache.

He smudges mud onto her nose suddenly in one smooth swipe, and the look is quickly replaced by one of indignation and anger.

“Hey! You ass!” she cries, wiping futilely at the brown muck. But then suddenly she’s laughing, and its like her giggles are fucking contagious because he’s laughing too, and for just one brief moment he forgets that everything isn’t completely fucked up.

It doesn’t last long for him, but she carries on the rest of the day with her head held high and her shoulders relaxed, as if she doesn’t have twenty years of horror weighing down on her. And every so often she’ll smile at him. That same fucking smile.

He manages the courage a few days later, the day after they’ve nearly died a few hundred times, to ask her the next question, because no amount of observation is providing him with a valid hypothesis.

“How do you do it? Stay so positive, and act like everything's alright?”

She doesn’t seem too surprised by his question, but then again he’s sure he isn’t the only who has asked it.

“It’s not easy,” she confesses. “Before, when I was alone, I used to cry every night. And my nightmares were even worse than they are now.” He couldn’t forget about her nightmares. He’d been awoken a number of times by her crying and screaming. But the moment she realized she was awake, she would just spring back to normal again.

“So what’s different?” he asks her.

She grins, then. That same fucking smile.

“I’ve got something to be happy about, now. And as long as I’ve got that, I don’t want to waste my energy on being sad. Not anymore.”

He stared at her in confusion for several moments.

“And what is there possibly to be happy about in the world?”

She shrugs and chews on her lip, a blush suddenly rising on her cheeks.

“It takes time to figure it out, but there’s always something. Every night, before I go to bed, I like to look up at the stars and think of as many good things as I can. And if there’s just one good thing that I can think of, I know I’ll be alright. It’s cheesy, I know. But it works.”

Later, he catches her watching him again.

“What did you think of last night?” he asks. “That’s good.”

“Well,” she says. “Last night was a hard one. But I always have at least one thing in my life these days.”

“And it’s good?”

And there’s the smile. She meets his gaze and nods, and he’s sure that she’s trying to tell him something with that look.

“The best.”

He wants to ask what it is. He really can’t stand not knowing. But then he looks at her, really looks at her.

Her bright eyes, the way she’s always watching him. The way she seems to gravitate towards him wherever they go.

And suddenly he knows.

 


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