Samantha Lee’s Picture Choice: One
Title: Puppy Love
He thought giving her a puppy would be a good idea. He'd seen it in movies, read about it in books, heard about it in coffee shops; it seemed like the right sort of thing to do. He knew she wanted a normal, traditional relationship - the kind that came with surprise flowers, romantic gestures, and deep emotions. She said she didn't want to be Penelope, stuck waiting for something that was on indefinite pause, or Ariadne, doomed to love a man who'd only abandon her when her use expired, or Echo, swept up in a one sided romance fated to be her undoing. She wanted something real, something true, something enduring. In short, she wanted the fairy tale.
Unfortunately, he wasn't a prince or a knight or even a farm boy with high aspirations. No, he was the villain, irredeemable and unrepentant. This wasn't going to be the story of a fish in love with a bird or the sun in love with the moon; he wished his problems were as simple as biology and geography. What he was was a mole in love with a star; the object of his affection was so far out of his league she was already gone and he didn't even realize it.
The obvious solution to this problem was to overcompensate. Thus, the puppy. Well, he called it a puppy. He'd thought about getting her an actual puppy - her sister had all those hounds, after all, so it wasn't an unheard of concept - but he'd thought a pet with more...versatility would suit her best. Technically, the puppy was a morphling - a rare quirk-of-nature creature that was able to shift into any other creature it had ever seen. Or maybe it was any creature it had ever touched. He never could keep that part straight. Point being - the creature changed form.
But it started off as a puppy. A fluffy black and white wolf-like puppy with triangular ears and bright blue eyes. He meant it as a birthday present and so he tied a big pink bow around its neck and put it in a big pink hat box (pink was her favourite colour). The morning of her birthday, he had his minions slip into her bed chamber before she woke and leave the gift atop her desk. One minion remained behind, concealed in shadows, so that he might witness her reaction. From his lair, leagues away, he watched her rise, saw the surprise fill her face when she noticed the hat box. She lifted the lid slowly, carefully, as though she was afraid what could be inside. Given who she was related to, it was a wise precaution on her part.
He knew the exact moment she realized what was inside; her whole being seemed to light up with joy. She lifted the squirming puppy from the box, laughing as it licked madly at her face. She looked happy, something that was far too rare an occurrence, and her happiness took her beauty and magnified it, making her practically sparkle and glow. It made him swell with pride for having caused it and wonder for having seen it. For a few moments more, he watched her play with her new pet, stroking its fur, conjuring it toys, and laughing in delight as it changed form.
Sighing, he finally, reluctantly looked away. There was no point to see more; no more would come of that moment than the joy he'd already witnessed and the satisfaction he had in knowing she'd no longer be alone.
It would help, he supposed however, if she was aware of his feelings or even his existence. But then villains didn't get happily ever afters.
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