These Five Words
Petal stared at May, who stared back. The words, spoken for the first time, demanded action. “I think I love you.”
Before the incantation, they met that night for their date at a potion demonstration in Peyroux’s village square. After, holding hands and sipping from glowing glass skulls, they idly wandered into Autumn’s Lost Wood to enjoy the crisp, honeyed air.
I think I love you. It was building on May’s tongue, deep within her mind. I think I love you. I think I love you.
“I love the will-o-wisps, don’t you?” Petal asked. She held her hand open and one of the fey lights settled into her palm.
A storm building. I think I– An unstoppable force. A spell forming.
“They seem to take to you,” May said with a thick tongue, the words camping together in close quarters.
“Do you come here a lot on your adventuring campaigns?” Petal asked. She raised her hand to better observe the wisp. I love —
Will-o-wisps not only cast light, they draw it in from the atmosphere. They become a central point of focus, a lure to prey and a beacon to monsters. — love you. Will-o-wisps concentrate magic. And emotion.
Petal looked up from the wisp in her hand. Cast in the creature’s light, shadowed by its eldritch power, she looked like a lunar goddess cloaked in a midnight of her own making. Powerful and knowing.
“I think I love you.” May’s hands flew up and covered her mouth, but it was too late to stuff the words back into her brain. They were spoken, they demanded action. Petal stared at May, who stared back. The will-o-wisp silently flew away, unwilling or unable to witness.
“Y-you t-think? B-but… do-do-do y-you?”
Time is fluid, especially in the magic rich Netherworld. In this unexpected conversation break, a dragon could live its entire lifetime. It could stretch from snout to tail and yawn with room to build a dozen hoards and eventually die from old age and turn to dust in the space of this wretchedly long awkward pause.
Petal’s eyes began to water in hurt and fear. Her legs began to ache at the frozen posture. “Do you?” the demand was soft but insistent. Reasonable but difficult. She began preparing to run away.
May stared back. Her mind went blank and she felt sick, her tongue felt like an iron bar. She wanted to crawl into a hole and die and take it back. She also wanted to press forward, to build and conquer this fear. Because — “Petal. I love you.” — it felt amazing to say.
Petal began to cry and May followed suit. Petal then cried harder and wrapped her arms around her girlfriend’s neck. “I lov-love you t-too,” she sobbed happily. The will-o-wisps returned and filled the forest clearing with their magical, haunted glow. The pair kiss.