The Color of Love
- Genre: Romance
- Age: 18+
- Status: Completed
- Language: English
- Author: Taylor Brooks
Aria straightened the creases on her beige woolen sweater, keeping to the sidewalks of the streets of Manhattan. The streets were almost empty, with the occasional car zipping past and sending a plume of smoke into the air. Branches of short trees groaned in the cold breeze that stung Aria’s face like a bed of needles.
Magnolias on the sidewalks swayed in the breeze, dancing to the tune of the wind as it blew. Buses honked at the bus stop, the shrill noises cleaving through the silence of the morning. Her stomach growled at the thought of food, and she sighed, briefly thinking about how she was going too much on the jam-filled bombolone that rested amongst all the other materials in her bag.
She took a brief turn and crossed the street, grateful for the whiff of clean air that filled her lungs with every breath. Surely, the air wasn’t going to be so clean when she got off work, so she cherished the mornings, grateful for the serenity that everyone provided. It gave her time to think and reflect on her past decisions. The good, the bad, and everything in between.
Her eyes still ached from lack of sleep, and she yawned as she walked, desperately in need of a cup of her favorite coffee to get her through the day. A cup of soy-vanilla latte with a dash of nutmeg.
It had been her favorite ever since she set foot in Manhattan. It vaguely reminded her of the days when she would drown herself in caffeine and feel it coursing through her body, filling her with unbridled energy. Sometimes, she wished for the good old days, but whenever she had the thoughts, she pushed them down into her bones, where she knew that they couldn’t get out, where they couldn’t hurt her.
Her demons haunted her with every thought, their sinewy fingers clawing through every thought and emotion, wanting to break down the walls that she had erected around herself. Building those walls had taken a great deal of effort, antidepressants, X****, tears, and a whole lot of therapy sessions with Doctor Abigail.
Four years ago, Aria had fallen in love.
Paul was the perfect person. He was handsome in a roguish way, yet charming. With dark hair and brown eyes the color of espresso, he whirled into her life like a hurricane. He warmed his way into her heart and everyone at the Soulful Misfits and became their manager later on.
He had connections with good people, increasing the band’s popularity and propelling them to even greater heights. Aria’s mother, Greta, had loved him since the first day she set her eyes on him.
“Nice to meet you, Mrs. Walker,” Paul had said in the most charming way when he met her mother for the first time, kissing her mother’s hand and sweeping her off her feet.
For a long time, Aria was happy with the progress she was finally making in her life. The band was now well known, traveling all over the states to perform at important functions. It was the life she had always dreamed of. Songs and Love.
But one day, Paul had suddenly changed. The band was asked to perform at a function just outside Berkeley. The transportation expenses were too high, and Aria had lost her voice the week before from a cold. With the lead vocalist down, the band unanimously canceled the whole trip. Paul had erupted like a volcano, all the anger bubbling up to the surface like magma.
And then, Paul had hit her.
He had been like an animal, his eyes glowering like red hot coals. Aria still winced as she recalled the belt whipping across her skin again and again. The pain traveled through every nerve ending, setting it on fire. She had cried until her voice became hoarse, the leather crashing against her skin like waves of fire. The tears had soaked into the Oriental rug in his living room, and she had run out to the patio.
Paul had pulled her back inside the living room and locked the door, dealing bouts of pain upon pain without remorse in his eyes. All Aria could see was just boiling anger and hatred simmering. Afterward, he had gone on his knees and begged her that he didn’t know what had come over him. Aria had flinched at his touch; every part of her skin was red and raw from Paul’s sudden abuse.
Aria still loved him, and the hint of tears in Paul’s eyes convinced her that he didn’t know what he was doing. The anger had left his eyes, now filled with remorse and empathy and deep sadness.
It all felt like a dream now, something she desperately wanted to forget. Aria shoved down the bile that was forcing itself up her throat as the tears threatened to spill. The day had just started, and remembering Paul was starting to look like her day was going to be a mess. A bad omen.
As Aria weaved through the streets of Manhattan, past the high-rise buildings and opening storefronts, she took a deep breath and forced back the tears in her eyes. Cleaning her face with a napkin, she straightened her sweater one more time and walked into Kevin’s for a cup of her favorite coffee.
The cafe was mostly empty, save for a man in a three-piece Italian suit at the farthest end of the room. His face was buried deep in files and a large tablet that sat on the table. He looked like he was wealthy, but she didn’t see any car at the storefront, so she just brushed the thoughts away.
The smell of coffee filled the cafe as Kevin poured the steaming coffee into a mug. He worked expertly like he had been doing for years. Warmth enveloped Aria, creating a fuzzy feeling in her stomach.
The aroma was thick in the air, and she greedily inhaled the smell. It worked its way through her body, lighting every nerve and making her come alive. Coffee was the only thing she loved in this world, alongside music and her family. It always had a way of jerking her to the present and making her focus on the task at hand.
“Miss Walker, the usual?” said Kevin as he prepared paper cups for the day’s sale.
“Yes, please,” Aria replied, hopping on a stool. She set her bag on the counter and started preparing her notes for the day’s class on Molecular Biology. This was how every day went: a cup of coffee and preparing her notes. Usually, she always made her notes the day before and then went over them at Kevin’s, but today was a different issue.
She had gone to the park the day before to watch the sunset, and she had gotten home pretty late. Kate had baked some muffins and bombolone filled with jam and mustard.
Aria had started the notes after multiple servings of sugary goodness, but her head had started to pound. Her body ached, and her eyes watered as her thoughts wandered. Thereafter, she had slipped into an X*****-induced sleep. Her notes had been thrown carelessly on the bedside table, and she had slept like a baby.
“Is everything okay?” Kevin asked, concerned about his favorite customer.
“Nah. Just a lot on my mind,” Aria replied and smiled.