TITLE: NO MORE BLUES
GENRE: YA Magical Realism
Teenage artist Mercedes and her best friend Victoria have sneaked in to the strange hotel Mercedes uses as her studio. There's music from the floor above.
The song flows into a different one with the same beat, and Victoria tilts her head upward, as though the musicians are sending a message down to her. “I thought I recognized that. It's a bossa nova."
“I like it.” I tighten my grip on her hand, which is getting warmer.
“Does this always happen here?” she says, looking at our hands, and then at my face.
“No. You make everything here better.”
And it is true, isn’t it? It is the truest thing I have said all night. The music is brilliant, and I have almost finished painting the red, and I can dance a little bit, and the floors are still and solid and are holding us, and Victoria is my best friend and I love her. Her hair is falling out of its silver clips, and I think it is the first time I have ever seen her dance with a curtain of dark brown alternately hiding and revealing her face. Her eyes are shining, and her mouth is not caught in its usual stage-ready smile, but instead lazy and heart-shaped, the way it's looked all those times I have slept in her bed or she in mine, both of us being and breathing but not touching. And this—this. Her tired satin dress and the step forward and together and back and her falling hair—is this my best chance, my only chance?
Step forward, step together.
Our lips meet.
She leans in to me, and with the hand that is not holding her hand, I touch her side, gently, the way you touch something you weren’t allowed to for a long time. And her lips move against mine. She is kissing me back. She is kissing me back.
I think I could live here.