Oil on Water

Not entirely sure, I'm sort of hoping a plot might evolve - I felt I should post something, and - after half an hour of deliberating - I've now decided on a title!
This can't end well... Enjoy anyway! :)
One spoiler (I decided this after writing it!): this line will be very important to the novel.
"The sky exploded. Reds, silvers, golds - smoke was everywhere, illuminated; everyone was coughing, shielding their eyes, covering their faces-"

The sky exploded. Reds, silvers, golds – smoke was everywhere, illuminated; everyone was coughing, shielding their eyes, covering their faces—

But they were smiling. This was new year’s eve (well, new year’s day now), and it was time to put the past behind them. Everyone was tired of this year – last year – and welcomed the scent of a fresh, young era. – the scent of fireworks, of sparklers, and of mulled wine (left over from Christmas). This was a time of celebration, whatever last year had brought. This year was going to be better. There was no doubt about that.

James stood wrapped up warm against the leaden cold, pressing down upon him, trying to get in. He was in too good a mood to let a little drizzle ruin the fun. He drew a deep breath in, and walked over to Katy. She was 16, just like him, and – though no-one knew it yet – they’d recently started going out.

“Do you want a drink?” He called, his voice dwarfed by the explosions just a few metres away.

“Okay,” Katy replied, having evidently heard. “It’s my first time by the river bank on New Year’s Eve.”

“I’ve only been once before,” James said, adding, “when I was very young. My dad brought me.”

As he carried the two glasses of wine through the cheering crowds, he hoped no-one would notice that he was underage. No-one did. He rejoined Katy, and they broke away from the chorus of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to lean on the balcony, overlooking the river. The fireworks had stopped abruptly, leaving just a thick smog in their place.

“You were lucky, weren’t you?”

“I still am, aren’t I? I’ve got you!” She smiled in reply, but James could tell that that wasn’t what she’d meant. Hastily, he asked, “did you spend much time with your family?”

No reply. Katy remained silent. As James took another breath to say something, she turned away. He thought it best to keep quiet.

After a pause, she turned back. “It’s weird, isn’t it? How peaceful it is over here. All over the world, there’s people celebrating, the dawn of a new era, a new beginning – they’re getting drunk behind us! But – don’t you feel distanced from it all?”

No, thought James. Never. How can I? But he thought best not to mention it.

“Yeah,” he managed to whisper. “Yeah, I do.” 

She smiled. “James William Hunter. The name of a hero.” 

He smiled. “Katherine Parker.—” 

She slapped him. “Don’t ever call me Katherine again.” Then, quite suddenly, she reached up and kissed him. James was taken by surprise, but soon relaxed.

And they stood, long into the small hours of the morning, looking out over the Thames. Barely a word exchanged between them, but they each knew what the other was thinking.

Soon, they were left in darkness. Katy had drifted off to sleep on a bench; James dared not, for fear of what he would see.  But when Katy awoke, he’d be right there waiting for her.—


The End

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