it was a temperate summer night in the quiet little town: a few windows were lit up, and the air was cool and humid. the faint light from the apartments cast lengthy shadows on the ground and illuminated the sidewalk just enough for chuck the young couple to see where they were going.
walking furthest from the road was a young man with charcoal brown hair and thick eyebrows. his skin was white and vampirish, with thin pale lips that turned up slightly at the corners. he was tall and thin, and handsome in that mysterious bad boy kind of way. he wore a pair of blue skinny jeans and adidas, and a black hoodie that smelled strongly of smoke and sweat. he walked with confidence in his stride, and a curious mystique in his eyes.
beside him, her hand in his, was a girl. she couldn’t be a day over 15, with untamed mousey brown hair and big, blue-green eyes framed behind thin wire glasses. she was about as average as one could get; a normal frame. a normal physique. she looked about how she was, quiet and reserved, and humble. her hemp satchel thumped against her hip with every step she took.
everyone in town knew who they were.
chuck letterman and frances flowers; quite the ironic pair.
they played together in a small cover band , occasionally performing gigs at the local pub, with their drummer, town grunge dreamboat, chester garfield.
frances played guitar and chuck sang. he had a rich tenor voice, slightly raspy after months of smoking cigarettes, a little strained. yet people loved that about him. they sang some covers, and some originals, and usually they’d go get food at the waffle place up the street, though recently chester had seemed to lose interest in that. he’d been getting so tired after shows nowadays.
so chuck and frances walked down the sidewalk hand in hand. they turned the corner at the old brick building on high street.
it was an abandoned elementary school, two stories high, and a chain link fence surrounding the playground in the back.
chuck stuck the toe of his sneaker through, jumping up over the fence and landing with a grunt. he offered the younger girl a hand for support as she followed suite.
the pair made their way over to the metal swing set, and sat down on the swings. they pushed against the worn down ground with their feet for leverage. the metal structure creaked and rusty chains dug into the palms of their hands as they swung higher.
it was quiet outside, with the exception of crickets and katydids chirping in the trees and the faint ‘swoosh’ of the occasional passing car in the distance. fireflies lit up as they floated around the empty playground, that chuck and frances had all to themselves at the moment.
after several minutes of swinging and laughing, the pair dragged their feet across the dirt to slow down and jump off.
chuck once again took her hand in his and they walked off together, making their way over to the pavement and sitting down side by side against the rough brick wall.
“i love you.” frances chuckled as she leaned up against chuck, taking in the smell and softness of his hoodie against her cheek. chuck smiled and dug around in his pocket for a moment. he pulled out a red plastic lighter and a pack of cigarettes.
he tore open the box, placed a cigarette delicately between his lips and lit it, breathing in deeply before exhaling, smoke swirling all around them. frances sighed.
she’d really grown to like the smell of the cigarettes chuck smoked. those marlboro reds. they were much different from the marlboro golds her mother smoked all the time. it was comforting to her; chuck and chester both smoked them. to her, they smelled like late saturday nights in the band van, driving with the windows down through the countryside, with rock and roll blaring on the stereo. the smell made her heat up a little on the inside.
of course, she’d never laid her lips on a cigarette, for she knew how dangerous that was. she would just admire from a distance, wisely, as she did with most things. like with rock and roll. as much she loved music, she could never see herself doing any more than her occasional gigs with chuck and chester. the industry was a dangerous place, full of sex and drugs and sadness. chuck had always talked about how he wanted to be a pop star, and frances supported him as to not make him upset. but she didn’t want him to subject himself to that. she didn’t want him to get hurt.
“cigarette?” chuck nudged her as he offered her the burning object between his pointer and middle fingers.
“no thanks...i don’t smoke...”