“The Stars Within Us” by Scout

She was looking up at the stars, the moon illuminating her cheekbones. He was the one who had asked her there that night. He wished that she would fall in love with him. What he didn’t know was that he was falling in love with her. With her firey red hair and her dimples. With her soft fingers and endless long legs. He was in love with the way she smiled when he told her a dumb joke and with the way she tucked her hair behind her ear when she was nervous.

He was looking at her, she knew that much. She could feel his eyes picking her apart, discovering features on her face that he’d never seen before. She feared that he’d find an embellishment that he didn’t like, find something wrong with her and look the other way.

“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?” she said, referring to the stars.

“Absolutely gorgeous,” he said, referring to her. She grinned, still looking up into the night sky.

“Do you think there are others out there?” She always pondered this question in her free time. There must be; with such a vast thing as space, how could there not?

“Probably.” He had stopped staring at her and instead looked towards his dirty blue sneakers in the dirt. “Do you care?”

“What?”

“I mean, does it matter if there are others out there?” She let a silence rest over them before answering, unsure if she should answer the question how she truly wanted to or not.

“I think it’d be terrifying to live in such a big universe with no one else. Humans are a lonely species, we don’t like to admit it, but we are. We crave connection.” He was surprised by this. He didn’t expect her to be so honest with him. He assumed she would just giggle, like she usually does, and mutter the words ‘I don’t know.’

“Do we really crave connection? We’ve fought wars against each other and ravaged other societies. It seems as though we aren’t the lonely ones, but the broken ones.” She grinned. She had known he would question her statement.

“We are just lonely,” she turned to him, her eyes meeting his jawline. “We are just lost.” He turned to look towards her now, their eyes meeting in a blur of green and blue. “Maybe we are just looking for someone to share that loneliness with.” Her eyes flicked down to his lips and back up to his eyes. They were blue and reflected the dark sky. She found herself falling in love with them, with the stars within him.

It wasn’t necessarily the moment that their lips met that felt like an explosion, like fireworks going off in the sky and planets exploding nearby. It was the moment right after, as their eyes stayed locked to each other and they smiled.

“Are you lonely?” he asked her. Her dark green eyes reminded him of the childhood home where he had spent his life growing up. It was in the forest, made of wood that creaked with the wind. They reminded him of the games he would play in the woods with his brother. However, he felt as if he was only looking at the surface of her. Looking deeper into her eyes, into her starry soul, reminded him of when they found his brother’s body cracked against the ground, beaten to the point that he was almost unrecognizable.

“Not anymore.” But what he didn’t know was that although she was no longer lonely, she was still broken, as was he.

It was the moment after they kissed and their lips pulled apart that felt as though the world was imploding on itself and the stars were singing along to it. That was the moment where two broken souls, one hating himself for the death of another and the other hating herself for her desire to die, came together like the universe did at the beginning of time, fitting like the stars in the sky connecting to create a constellation.