He falls in love with her in the autumn.
The train jostles down the tracks and he writes her name in the fog of the window. She arrives in his compartment in a blur of laughter and coloured cheeks. They smoke cigarettes that he had pilfered from his father and breathe in the autumn air with smoke scratched throats and hope buoyed in their chests.
He falls in love with her slowly.
Green seeping from leaves until they’re a brittle brown hue, wilting and falling, falling, falling to the pavement.
Because the edges of her mouth are perpetually tilted into a smile when she sees him, because his name is soft in her mouth and her eyes remind him of the still of a lake, everything below the surface, crystallised figments of glass that distort reality when you look through them.
Her wrist is satin soft beneath his fingers as he shows her how to correctly swing the bat.
Her name is written like a love letter along the inside of bones.
He loves her and he doesn’t quite realise it until he sees her at the top of the staircase, snowflakes falling, falling, falling just beyond the manor walls and frost clinging to the bitter edges of his conscience.
He kisses her in the winter.
She keeps a firm grasp on his shoulder as he whisks her across the ballroom floor, the ceiling of the hall a mosaic of snow and stars above them. Her eyelashes flutter like a butterfly’s wings. Head tilts so it’s rested on his shoulder and heart beats so it matches his thud for thud.
He leads her out to the courtyard. Gazes as she melds with the night and her breath hangs in the chilly air.
The summer, autumn, winter is whirring between them like the orbit of the moon, sun, planets; the moment aligned and carved into the marble columns of history.
He’s Midas and he touches her neck, watches as she turns to gold, gold, gold.
He kisses her, moulds his hands to her waist and pulls her close until he can feel her teeth catch against his and his name in her mouth and her fingers in his hair.
It’s divine. Glittering like crystals on a chandelier and diamonds at her neck.
He holds her close and can’t quite remember to feel the cold.