She was lying on her back, strawberry-gold hair fanned out on the dark, moonbeam-streaked grass beneath her. Her sundress no longer keeping her warm, the cool late-spring breeze causing her to shiver. She was wrapped in the faintly warm embrace of champagne, however; the alcohol warmed her a little, an unseen flush on her cheeks.
One arm was resting on her stomach, the other outstretched, a limp grip on the heavy, green bottle of champagne. She had it bought by an older friend she rarely talked to, but she felt that she deserved a drink. She didn't want a lot of alcohol, just...enough. Enough to make everything a little fuzzy, a lot warmer, and much more friendly than it actually was.
She started humming, watching the stars race in the black night above her, twinkle at her, burn for her. Everything that had made her upset seemed to fall away as she thought about how many wonderful stars wanted to dance just for her. She liked the thought of something so far away and tantalizing wanting her to be happy. And then she took another drink of her champagne and let the bubbles flow through her, felt the glow of artificial content seep into her veins.
Only a few blocks from home, she knew that there could be anyone to see her in the park, but thinking of the late hour - she thought it must be two in the morning - she wasn't worried about being found. She only worried about the moon leaving her, of the stars fading. But she knew she still had a few hours left with her dazzling friends; she wished she could fly with them, the billions and billions of miles away that they were not mattering to her.
And the next thing she knew, she heard the sound, a bit muffled, of a car pulling into the parking lot a little over a hundred yards away. She paid no mind, knowing that no one knew where she was, that no one could find her if they weren't looking. She smiled, a sensation of joy filling her as she watched the waxing moon float above her, singing her a lullaby. She wished she could sing back to the moon, but she had no idea as to what it wanted to hear.
She had always had a wonderful, strange relationship with the moon. When she was born, the moon was there to greet her. When she was sad, the moon was always large and sympathetic, lighting the path to the back garden where she could lay among the flowers and let the lunar orb sing her to sleep. When her head ached, the moon was there, watching, unintentionally causing the pain, but she knew that the earth's natural satellite only wanted to help; it was only there to try to comfort her while she held her eyes shut tight against the blinding, burning pain.
"Tonia..." a voice called to her from somewhere in the distance.
She took another quick drink before calling back, her voice lilting a bit with the effects of champagne, "Oh moon! Is that you?"
She heard a low laugh that got closer. She continued to stare in awe at the laughing moon above, wishing it wouldn't mock her; it made her realize how pathetic she truly was in this moment. She didn't like the image that laugh created in her mind's eye. That of a girl in a bright blue dress and green shoes and guady beads, holding onto a bottle of liquid she certainly should not posess. She made a noise caught between mirth and disgust.
"No, just me," a voice crawled to her through the darkness.
"Oh. Graham?" she inquired, as if asking a question in a classroom; innocent, desirous only of knowledge.
"Yes. You're light wasn't on when i drove by on my way home. I decided to find you and get you back there. I had a feeling that you'd go off and - "
"Drink myself silly?" she supplied, as if tentatively giving a teacher an answer. If only life were formulaic like school was, but she knew better than to wish that.
"If that's what you like to call it," she was still staring dazedly at the stars. Antonia knew that he was laying next to her, talking at her. He never talked to her, just in her direction. He was the instructor, the one with the answers and processes; she just tagged along for the ride, collecting bits and pieces of things she found as they went.
He reached out and laid his hand on hers, the one that rested on her stomach. She was surprised by the gesture, and looked over at him, "Did you need something? Is that why you came to get me? It seems that's all you do lately: find me when you need something of me."
She didn't mean for it to sound rude, didn't mean for her words to tip out and splash all over the night, broken and a bit angry. She didn't plan on telling him off, only to ask if he was going to take her home.
Graham used to talk at her constantly, always showing her how to do things, teaching her new bits of different subjects, showing her a variety of what life had for inquisitive, bookish people like themselves, but over the past few months, he had drifted away. He had left her to flail in the metaphorical sea while he went off on his own adventures. And throughout that period of estrangement, he only sought her out when he needed advice or food or money. She always helped him no matter what, he always returned the favor with something material. And maybe that is what drove her to drink; all that time alone and some bizarre semblance of what once had been.
She knew the cause too; it was a girl named Sylvia. A slight, pretty girl with watery grey eyes and straight brown hair. Sylvia enchanted him, caught him by the throat, jaded him, and quite recently, deposited him on the side of the road after riding off into the distance with an older man. And by an older man, Antonia meant a grad student from a university three or four hours away; she really wasn't sure about the details, nor did she really care.
She took another pull from the bottle, pulling herself back to the present. She wondered how long she'd been gone, but then she heard the moon say that she needn't worry about that, he'd left her for months, he could wait a few moments.
"Are you paying attention now?" he asked, his voice low in her ear. She felt him turn toward her, willing her to look back at him, but she was too engrossed in the moon.
He sighed and turned to her dear friend Luna, wanting Antonia to fixate on him the way she was fixating on the blue moon tonight, "Tonia, please. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to..."
The words grew cold, dead in the air around them. He wanted her to understand that he only wanted her, that Sylvia was gone and would stay gone. But at the same time, he knew that Antonia was disenchanted and nothing he could do would bring him back to the pre-Sylvia Thatcher era.
She finally turned her head to look at his silhouette, his long nose and small mouth, round cheeks and closed eyes, "Yes, you are sorry aren't you?"
He heard her words, sickly sweet with champagne and something that couldn't acheive proper malice. He just wanted her back with him, teaching her how the world worked, sheltering her, holding her hand and catching her if she stumbled even a little. He wanted the security of her, the familiarity. Especially after the Sylvia incident, he wanted Antonia's moodiness back, her messy strawberry hair. Without thinking, he pressed his mouth to hers, only to feel her hands struggle to find purchase and finally push him back.
He laid back in the now-damp grass as he watched her rise shakily to her feet, brush bits of grass clumsily from her skirt, and stagger slightly as she quickly found her way home. As he watched familiarity and childhood both leave him after clinging so closely for nearly eighteen years.