Short Story: The Face of Love

Heaven relished her husband’s touch at the end of the day. Between caring for their seven children and their respective careers, the couple often found that bedtime was the only time they could get together. Even so, they left tokens of their affections– notes, snacks, trinkets– for each other throughout the day.

Warren, the couple’s eldest son, was thrilled when he found out he would be sharing a dorm with Elizabeth, Juan, and Marsha– his childhood friends. Sure, he had imagined more sleepovers and less study sessions, but their presence helped him relax and enjoy every moment of his time away from home.

Elizabeth struggled to speak clearly through her sobs. “They said I was ugly. They left me. I was all alone. I could barely make friends.”

Juan attempted to brush away her tears, but her eyes were still filled with them. “Elizabeth… you’re beautiful. Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you aren’t.”

“Why should I believe you? That’s what every friend ever said before they left me.”

“How many of them watched you cry? And of them, how many tried to comfort your tears?” Juan whispered in her ear before kissing her on the cheek.

Warren only shook his head at his friend’s worries. “Juan, why don’t you just ask her to marry you already? You know she’ll say yes.”

Juan’s face hardened. “Stop telling me what to do with my love life when you don’t even have one.”

Contrary to his words, he accepted the challenge.

Juan and Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Juan. The fact that it was a weekday night turned the busy campus streets into their own world– one that they would soon face together, united by law, after graduation. Even though they had everything, the world still felt so… empty. Neither of them had bothered sending out graduation invitations– no one would attend just for their sake.

“As soon as we’re out of the dorms, let’s adopt a dog,” Juan whispered once again. Elizabeth’s discontent evolved into happiness.

Warren had her– his Rose– for both an eternity and absolutely no time at all. One minute, they were graduating college and vowing to stick together forever. The next, Rose was accusing him of cheating at his best friends’ wedding.

He left early, refusing to participate in the traditional toasts to the bride and groom. How could he, when he cheated on his Rose? How could he say that yes, they would stay together forever, while his relationship couldn’t even stay together a few months without him having to go and ruin everything? How could he say he believed in love when it clearly wasn’t enough?

Chloe lifted her glass out of nothing more than obligation. Ever the rebel, she had previously been warned by her parents that she needed to participate and be respectful, if not joyful. It seemed like everyone else in her life had found someone, so why couldn’t she? There must be something wrong with me.

Maybe the wedding went horribly. Warren’s mom peed herself after drinking too much, Juan had to wear a Santa suit when he ruined his tux, and the entire thing was rushed after they found that Elizabeth was pregnant. The couple didn’t care– they were happy.

The limo driver was only a college student, working on weekends like this one while many of his peers were flirting or hooking up with people they would make no effort to see again. He envied the young newlyweds and high schoolers on their way to their first formal that rode in the back of the vehicle. They had an actual life– so close, yet so far away.

Grimalkin, the family dog, sniffed at the fallen human, only to receive no response. His ears drooped as he began to whimper at the man who had kindly taken him in. There would be no more morning walks, sharing food, or cuddling in bed. He knew the female human loved him too, but that wouldn’t last after her pup was born. He was sure of it.

Later that night, a wolf emerged from the nearby forest. At first he was afraid– what if she attacked him? Then her beauty struck him as she howled at the moon, echoing his eternal agony. Grimalkin approached her cautiously, hoping to ease her pain. Alone, they would survive. Together, they could have more.

Kate interrupted her parents’ conversation. “What’s love?”

Author’s Note: This story was written for the July 2017 edition of the monthly short story competition on the Sims Forums. Entry titles were required to start with “The Face of” and fill in the blank with the story’s theme. 

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