The woman wore a pink gown and a pair of matching gauze fairy wings. Her black hair was tied back in a ponytail. The outfit lessened the startling effect of the pallor of her ivory skin but her hair contrasted starkly with it.
She was returning from a party. After greeting her parents and telling them briefly about the good time she’d had, she walked up the staircase to her room.
When she arrived at the open door she could not believe her eyes.
Standing with his body at an angle to the single window, his face illuminated by afternoon sunlight, was a handsome young man with hair like burnished copper, dressed in a dark grey suit with no tie, top button of his shirt undone.
Hearing her arrival the man turned. He smiled and deep green eyes like fir trees perceptibly lightened. His skin tone was warm and healthy, his face clean shaven though not really flattered by his suit.
“Wh-who are you?” the woman stammered.
“It doesn’t matter,” the man murmured, turning to reveal that he had deep green eyes which at this moment seemed to be twinkling.
“Sh,” he said walking towards her. He took her hands and suddenly her mind went blank.
“You’re very beautiful,” he murmured.
She couldn’t answer - her breath had been taken away.
Out of nowhere Johann Strauss II’s ‘Blue Danube Waltz’ began playing. Trapped in this strange unreality, the woman followed the man’s lead as he performed the steps of a waltz.
Captivated by the intensity of his gaze, she didn’t look where she was putting her feet and ended up tripping over them. The man caught her and took her over to her bed. They sat and the music stopped.
“What’s your name?” the woman asked, utterly confused.
“Is it really?”
Copper smiled in amusement, nodding.
“Do you know my name?” the woman wondered. He had taken her hands and begun to dance with her - she didn’t expect she was a total stranger to him, even though he was to her.
“Tanya,” he replied.
“Who are you?” Tanya whispered, suddenly afraid.
“An astral friend,” Copper said serenely.
“Astral... Isn’t that to do with the stars?”
“You’re a friend in the stars?” she asked dubiously.
Copper winked. “Precisely.”
“I don’t believe that,” she said crossly.
“Never asked you to,” Copper said.
“Okay,” Tanya said scornfully. “Why are you here, astral person?”
Copper leant in and whispered in her ear “Je suis tombé amoureux de toi.” [I've fallen in love with you.]
Tanya shoved him.
Copper’s expression mocked surprise.
“Wow, didn’t expect you to be so rough.”
“Why don’t you believe me, Tanya?” Copper asked, making his tone sad and childlike.
“Because I’m sane.”
“That must mean I’m not,” Copper said brightly.
“Then go get help,” Tanya growled.
“You are my help,” he said softly. He took a hand and stroked the back of it. For some reason, Tanya couldn’t pull it out of his grasp, even though he didn’t hold very tightly.
“What are you doing in my room?” she asked him.
“Visiting you.” Copper sighed, and something about it made Tanya feel terribly sad. “If you really want me to go, I will. I just wanted to see you. Just once. Too see your face and touch your skin and give you one memory of me to keep forever.”
So romantic... Tanya chided herself. Stop it. This guy was being freaky and weird, and it didn’t matter that he was beautiful and it didn’t matter that his words were making her heart melt. Hardening herself, she said, “How did you know where I live?”
“I’ve been watching over you,” he whispered. “A star-child’s life is long - so long - but it felt like I was always waiting. And one night you came into the world and everything became as bright as moonlight. And no one else has ever made me want to come to Earth like you. Your dreams are star-shine, Tanya.”
“Stop it,” she said weakly. “Stop being so ... crazy.”
“I am not crazy,” Copper murmured, “but if I am upsetting you, I can only apologise.”
“It’s not real - fairytales are not real,” Tanya insisted, but deep down she knew she was only stating this because her beliefs were beginning to change.
“You were born on the 21st December. You’re 18 years old. You used to have a dog and in your dreams you can hear him barking.”
And then Tanya knew. A stalker could find out her birthday but no one could look inside her head unless they had supernatural powers. Helplessly she looked into Copper’s eyes and asked, “How can I accept this?”
“Pretend that it’s a dream,” he whispered.
Tanya found herself leaning in towards Copper and Copper was leaning in towards her, and time seemed to slow before their mouths met in between them in the sweetest kiss.
Tanya felt herself being swept out of her body and sensed Copper ... around her. She ought to have been scared - if Copper was supernatural, he could be doing evil things to her. But she was dazed in the pleasure of the kiss and it was all she could do to hold onto her thoughts at all.
Something like a whirlwind began in this dimension, in Tanya’s mind, making her and Copper’s spirits spin around and around at dizzying speeds, though instead of hurting them at all chasing away all the fear and the doubt and leaving them with the certainty that this was right. Belatedly Tanya realised she was feeling Copper’s emotions too and she wondered if he could feel hers.
The whirlwind spun and spun, and suddenly there was an image of a rectangle of pink silk and it was buffeting her, and buffeting and buffeting, leaving Tanya breathless as she spun and spun and spun.
Copper withdrew and she crashed back to Earth ... totally painlessly. Gasping she looked around her and was astounded to see that her bedroom was not ruined one bit. The whirlwind had felt so real - it must have been real - but when she looked questioningly into Copper’s eyes, she believed that a fantasy could feel as real as life.
Copper smiled and it set Tanya’s sorry heart pounding.
“I love you,” he whispered.
“You’re amazing,” she replied.