Pride Challenge 2019
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A collection of written works for the Pride Colors Challenge focusing on moments in the lives of some random characters.
Mateo stared at the bushel of apples before him. The smooth, crimson Braeburns were piled high, yet meticulously placed in a careful formation, each one nearly perfect. He picked one up and let it rest in the palm of his hand with tanned fingers curling around the base of the fruit.
“What if I don’t get accepted?” he asked aloud, quietly. A large hand gripped the brunette’s shoulder from behind and shook Mateo from his reverie. He turned to look behind him and up at Tapio. Despite his imposing figure, Tapio’s smile was warm and easy.
“You will,” Tapio assured the much shorter brunette. Confidence radiated from him in a way that almost made Mateo jealous. Even more jealous than he was of Tapio’s long, blonde locks.
“You don’t know that.” Mateo grimaced at his anxiety and pulled out his wallet to purchase a small peck of Braeburns.
“Well, it’s just college. There are many universities around.”
Mateo pulled his shoulder away from Tapio’s grip, turning suddenly on his heel to face the blonde giant properly. “It’s not just college, it’s…the rest of my life. It was a big decision, and I made it, and now I’m just…waiting.”
Tapio looked over Mateo, stoically taking in the anguish behind his soft-spoken words. The market began to crowd over from the slow trickle of people eager to escape the bitter cold snap outside. Silent and bundled up, the pair wandered out into the chilled evening air.
After a few minutes into their journey, Mateo broke the silence hanging thickly in the air around them. “I don’t want to go to another university,” he muttered. His stinging cheeks had taken on a rosy glow from exposure to the winter air.
A chuckle escaped from Tapio. “It wouldn’t be the end of the world, Teo.”
“I don’t want to be alone.” Mateo followed the road to Tapio’s place past several other shops and houses. The path had become more familiar to him over the past two years.
“You won’t be alone. You’ll have a roommate, and you’ll meet lots of people.”
Frustration boiled behind Mateo’s eyes, his cheeks raw against the chilling winds which confront him head-on. Tapio suddenly stepped in front of Mateo to face him and search his face with steel-grey eyes.
“I don’t want to be…” Mateo’s frustration has grown out of control. Despite Tapio’s interposition between Mateo and the fierce wind, Mateo’s cheeks remained flushed. He couldn’t find the will to finish his thought.
“Teo, what?” Tapio probed. Mateo could clearly see the worry in his friend’s face. His chest began to tighten as a queasy feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.
“I don’t want to be without you, Tapi.” The confession was sudden, yet barely above a whisper. Tapio’s face was as stoic as it ever is, even in the wake of such a revelation. Snowflakes drifted down to sting at their exposed hands in the moments of silent that followed.
In a swift, decisive motion, Tapio cupped the side of Mateo’s face and lifted his chin to bring their lips together. Mateo’s arms shook at the surprise kiss and finally went limp, spilling out a ripple of Braeburns to land with soft crunches in the snow.
“You won’t be alone,” Tapio repeated firmly. As Mateo remained stunned by his friend’s actions, his blonde companion crouched down to pluck the apples from the snow.
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