I really hate to do this, but I kind of need an opinion.
Here’s the first bit of the Tweedles angst I’ve been working on— it’s relatively short thus far, don’t worry. I’m just afraid that the narrative and perspective don’t mesh.
So, I’m just going to leave this here and ask for opinions. Absolutely no pressure to read it, I was just hoping to gather opinions on whether it’s okay to continue.
Here we go.
It rains, the day you meet her.
Both of you are outside some little Parisian cafe, contemplating whether the day would be better spent sight-seeing as planned or curled up inside the vacation house watching movies you favored as children. You’re actually about to agree on the latter when something in his eyes shifts, a miniscule play of light that no one but you would notice. For a fraction of a second he freezes, and in that immeasurably small crystallization of time you can feel yourself drop.
“Actually,” he says suddenly, gaze falling to the ground, “I wouldn’t be adverse to getting some shopping done today. We’ve got the next four days to get everything done— perhaps if we ambled around for a bit, we’d know where to go tomorrow…?” His grip on the iron-wrought fence he’s been leaning against tightens, and you can hear the ruffle of his clothes as he shifts in discomfort. “If that’s okay with you, of course.”
It’s not okay with you, actually, because anything that makes him look away from you like that is immediately not okay, but of course you don’t tell him that. You just smile and agree, absently catching his wrist in your hand as you slide through the gate, because it’s him, and there’s something so irrevocably wrong about denying him anything that you’re not even sure you know how to do so anymore.
You understand the subtle urgency in his step the second you walk through the door of the little flower shop. She’s pretty enough, you think, fair curls spilling over a white dress, but she’s nothing to get worked up about. The instant disapproval that blossoms in your chest actually surprises you— you’ve never once thought something bad about a talking flower based on appearance alone. These things don’t matter, after all.
But then, he’s never looked at a talking flower quite like that before.
He chooses two roses from an arrangement nearby— the first as a decision, the second as an afterthought— and slips over to the counter to pay, your hand still brushing his as he glances at you and smiles. It’s not the usual smile, you notice, the coyly devilish smirk that mirrors yours so well, or even the genuine one that’s reserved quite pointedly for you (and only you); rather, it’s an entirely new expression, something shaky and frightened and altogether uncertain of himself.
You have to physically restrain yourself from holding him right in the middle of the store.
“Flowers,” he says sweetly as you both present the roses threaded through your fingertips, dashing grin in place, “for a talking flower.”
Of course, the first one she looks at is him. The surprise in her eyes and the smile at her mouth are hardly things you aren’t used to, but he still perks up the second he hears her say, “Alice in Wonderland?”
The asymmetry of the entire situation makes you incredibly uneasy, but he looks absolutely thrilled, so you smile and do your part. “Indeed!” you enthuse brightly, hoping the effect isn’t ruined by the way your eyes flicker towards him every two seconds. “We take it you’re a fan, as well..?”
She pulls back a tendril of gold to reveal a Chesire Cat earring dangling almost to her neck. “I am,” she replies with a smile, letting her hair fall back into place. “And I suppose that makes you the Tweedles, then?”
You’ve never felt such a disdain for the nickname in your entire life.
She’s actually quite nice.
You spend the day with her, taking her to lunch and dinner, shopping at every other store on the streets of Paris. Your initial misgivings are almost entirely put to rest; there’s no reason for you to worry, of course. In honesty, you’re not even entirely sure what you were worried about.
He talks to her as often as you do, but she seems to gravitate towards him. His hand is the first she grabs, his gaze is the first she meets with her own. You know you’re being ridiculous— after all, it’s not as though she can tell the two of you apart. Any preference she seems to have is completely coincidental…
But just as she’s about to return to her hotel room, she turns, kissing each of you on the cheek and calling you by name. When you realize she’s pegged each of your identities correctly, you swallow and wonder if this means you just aren’t good enough for her.
You force a smile as you hail a taxi back to the suite; you’re being ridiculous. It’s a coincidence.
“But…” you protest softly, curling up closer to him in a vain attempt to make him stay. “It’s our last day.”
“Exactly.” He smiles, but any comfort the expression might have drawn evaporates the second he shifts his gaze from you to the ceiling. “It’s our last day, so we should spend it in the city.”
With her. He doesn’t have to say it. He’s as taken with her as she is with him, as taken with her as you—
“Actually,” you begin hesitantly, further burrowing yourself into the shock-white comforter, “I’m afraid I’m feeling a bit under the weather. Why don’t you go?” It’s honestly not that; you just don’t feel up to being second best again today.
That captures his attention. Looking down in surprise, he turns fully towards you, his fingers threading through your own. “You’re sick? Do you need a doctor? Should I—?”
The distress on his face is too much to bear, so you shake your head and try for a smile. “I’ll be okay— go. Have fun.” When he doesn’t move, you add, “You wouldn’t want to keep her waiting.”
He bites his lip, looking down at you through silver-blond eyelashes, then brushes your cheek and slips out of bed. You watch him go, and when he’s beyond your line of sight you simply listen, memorizing the scattered irregularities of water sluicing against the bathroom tile and the sound of his voice singing through the walls and steam.
When he’s finally ready to leave, you pretend to be asleep, cheek resting against the pillow and comforter at your chin. You can feel him linger at your side for a moment, pressing a kiss to your forehead before slipping out the door.
The morning doesn’t mark the first time you’ve lied to him, but it does mark the first time he believes you.