Kate had violet eyes. Deep, dark, violet eyes. Set in creamy soft skin the color of snow, below unsweetened chocolate locks that were straight, like the parallels of the blades of grass of the field where she lay day after day, staring up at the faded blue jean sky. The field was behind the high school, which she rarely graced with her presence. She just lay there, gazing upwards next to the boy.
The boy was Nick. Quick Nick, some people called him throughout his life. Nicky, he was known to Kate. Simply Nicky. Nicky, my love. Nicky, Nicky, won't you hold me close and sing me your song. He was Kate's Nicky. Just Nicky.
His eyes were the color of Kate's hair, swirled softly with gold like Jupiter. They moved slowly, peacefully, gliding casually over things not deemed important. His hair was a violently-bright shade of blue. He stood just as high as Kate, no more, no less. Their eyes were level, their shoulders too. As were their hands, which were never joined.
It was hot the day they met. Nicky was lying on his back amongst the washed out green blades, his knees bent, his eyes trained on the sky above him. He was in a t-shirt and jeans and she saw him from far away. Kate was laughing, her mouth open as she laughed at the story her friend was telling. There were four of them there, including Kate, but soon there were only three. Her eyes were snagged by the blue of his hair as he lay in the field, nearly a hundred yards away. Without a word to her friends, she turned and found herself standing over him.
"What are you doing?" she inquired, looking down at him.
His eyes stayed closed, letting her voice smooth over his body. The voice was enough, he decided, and he was fine with only it and nothing more. A lazy smile curled onto his face. "What does it look like I'm doing?"
She cocked her head to the side, her eyes on him and waiting for his own to open. "I don't know."
"I," he proclaimed in a slow voice, "am doing everything in the world."
And then Kate had laid down right beside him. Not a day had passed that they didn't lay out on the grass. It had taken only a day or two for them to become acquainted, talking quietly back and forth about their lives, their families, their fears, their loves, their friends.
Sometimes Nicky would sing. Quietly, of course, like everything he did, but singing none-the-less. Sometimes Kate knew the words, sometimes she didn't. The words she did know often belonged to Nicky's own songs, which made her wonder. Not him. He knew there was something special about Kate, something other than her violet eyes.
When Nicky would stop singing, Kate would sometimes come in and recite poetry or Shakespeare that she'd memorized back when she would go to school. Her voice was soft, rising and falling delicately like doves. Nicky loved her voice, the way it ran over him. The first time her heard it, he knew he wanted it surrounding him forever.
It was their second week in the grass – or maybe their third, neither could remember – when he first touched her. There had been a silence over them and his hand had been near hers. Softly, with only a few of his fingertips, he ran over the skin of her hand, up to her wrist and back down again. And she'd shivered at his touch, his beautiful touch.
Nicky and Kate both had lives away from their time in the grass. After hours on the field, Kate would go to work and then home to her elderly grandmother, with whom she lived. Nicky would walk Kate to work – or home, if her boss didn't need her – and then he'd go home. His parents were rich, though there was never anything more than a simple mention of this. When the sun was gone from the sky, Nicky would be in one bar or another, his lips caressing the bodies of different women in the bathroom, his hands moving roughly over their skin.
It started simply, really, Nicky's arrivals at Kate's window. First he'd had something to tell her. The next night, he wanted to ask her a question. The third, he couldn't sleep. He was at her window, calling quietly through the curtains. Soon, she knew to wait up for him. Nicky would pull her through the window and they'd go to the field and look at the stars.
Kate wondered if Nicky loved her.
Nicky wondered if he loved Kate.
He kissed her only once. They'd been staring up at the late afternoon clouds and Nicky had looked over at Kate. She felt him looking at her so she looked at him too, their gaze warming each other.
"Quick Nicky," she said with a smile. "My Nicky. Will you be here forever?"
And then he kissed her, lightly.
Nicky had his words of the day. He'd utter the word the moment Kate laid down next to him and, that night, after he was done with his strange ladies who smelled like smoke and sweat, he would ask her if she remembered. Contentment and nefarious and ostentatious. One day he'd said arduous and Kate forgot. That was their first day of the words. After that, Kate never forgot.
Once, Kate had sighed and said that, because she was always with him outside, she'd never graduate and then she'd be nothing.
"I'll take care of you," Nicky had replied. And then he'd closed his eyes and began humming quietly.
Kate wondered if he really would.
Nicky couldn't live without her. He spent less and less time with the strangers and climbed through her window instead. Her sheets were soft and smelled sweetly of her and Nicky would crawl in next to her. And she'd smile and they'd talk until they fell asleep. Nicky never left until she did and they'd walk to the field together.
His hair was soft, like his hands as they casually rested on her skin. Kate's hands were often in his hair, weaving it through her fingers. He always smelled like cedar and reminded her of the past, when she'd put her stuffed animals in the cedar chest to make them fragrant. Her stuffed animals had been her best friends, her only friends. She'd told Nicky this shortly after their first meeting, about how she used to speak to them and take them to the park with her. Tea parties and sunbathing on deserted islands, treasure hunts and Amazonian expeditions had brightened the days of Kate and her stuffed animals. All of this, Nicky knew. All of this, Nicky loved. Kate imagined taking him on such adventures with her. But she liked being with him under the sun on the field, feeling the warmth coursing through her body and smelling his bouquet of cedar, just like that of her stuffed animals.
"Nicky, my Nicky," Kate said one day.
Nicky didn't answer.
Kate faced him but the grass where he'd been – where he was supposed to be – was bare. Only the pale blades remained, parallel like her unsweetened chocolate locks.