Home > Kisses in Heartache

Kisses in Heartache
Author: Vanessa Luisa

Seven Years Prior.

London and Tate are ten.


Thundery pearl-sized raindrops have always been my escape whenever I want to run away from the world as I know it. Daddy and Mommy say nothing good can ever come of it, but for me, it’s hope, and after every wintery storm, the kaleidoscope of colored rainbows warms my soul.

They’re my favorite parts of every Manhattan storm.

The rainbows.

Every time, I run up to the window so fast, I slam my nose against the cold glass, fogging it up with my every breath. My little hands spread against the glass as I stare out. I love the way my baby-blue eyes sparkle back at me through the reflection as I look out at the wonderland of colors.

Violet is my favorite, but I do desperately wish there were pink.

Or soft rose.

Or magenta.

Or anything other than blue.

I hate blue.

It reminds me of the blotches of the dark blue marks my daddy leaves on my skin whenever he drinks too much. They hurt and make salty tears rush down my cheeks. But Mommy never stops him. Never stops him from hitting me.

He says he’s not happy. Not happy with me.

That it’s all my mom’s fault. That it’s all mine.

But I don’t know why.

I don’t know why they don’t love me. Why they never hold my hands like the other kids’ parents do. They never tell me they love me. They never rock me to sleep.

Mommy says it’s because I’m a bad girl even though I eat all of my vegetables, brush my hair every night before bed, and never ask questions when I have nightmares and run out of my bedroom to find strange men in suits kissing my mommy.

Nothing makes sense.

I’m all confused.

But my teddies make it better.

Teddies and storms and rainbows.

Except for tonight. Right now. Here on this bench in Central Park.

Because there are no beautiful colors. Just nothingness. Just me, midnight, and heavy rain the size of golf balls. It’s just dark, black, and depressing. Bleak and empty.


Lonely like my heart.

As I clutch my fluffy teddy closer to my chest, a ruffle in the bushes behind me has me shutting my eyes. Who is it?

Who’s there?

I do my best to ignore the strings tightening around my heart and focus ahead. On the gorgeous observation point at this park. At the silvery moonlight grazing over the lake behind the barbed wire. Then the lit-up city skyline a few hundred feet away that looks so pretty.

“You stole my spot, blondie.” A boy’s deep, defeated voice who sounds my age echoes behind me.

And then my heart stops.

Everything does.

Truly, I don’t care who it is. Boogieman or some daydream. All I care is that it’s somebody. Anybody. Because suddenly, I’m not alone… not anymore.

While part of me wants to turn around to put a name to the face, I know I’m not brave enough to glance over my shoulder and stare at him. Wherever he is.

I tighten my grip on my fluffy teddy bear, holding it closer to my chest while heat gushes across the back of my head at the stare I feel. It takes everything within me to block out whoever’s watching and the way my teddy shivers in my grip because my ice-cold hands tremble with callous nervousness.

It’s a habit I hate.

A habit my parents always pick on me for.

But I can’t help it.

Staring down at my teddy, I do everything to swallow down the large knot at the back of my throat, which only thickens with every awkward passing second.

“Blondie, I said you’re sitting in my spot.”

“My name isn’t blondie.”

“Then what is it?”

Curiosity itches up my spine, but I don’t dare look over.

Grazing the pad of my thumb over the teddy’s ruined button eye, which is hanging on by a bare thread, I shrug. “Mama says I shouldn’t say my name to strangers.”

“Mine says I shouldn’t sneak out the window at night, but I still do.”

I let his words sink in.


He shouldn’t be here, either.

I can’t help it. My agitation wins, and I glance at my mystery shadow boy and… wow. He looks like a wonderland. The perfect dream for a fated Disney princess like me. The moonlight creeps down, glazing over his baby-blue eyes, which are so bright and mesmerizing. They stare through me like lasers.

I know boys don’t like the term cute, so I’ll use something more fitting instead—beautiful. He is beautiful with that boyish smirk that brings heat to my cheeks, thick long lashes, and a sadness to his gaze that has me questioning if his reasons for being here are as sufficient as mine.

To escape.

I decide I hate him for it. Hate he’s hiding in Central Park at midnight because this was supposed to be my place.

My escape.

My safe haven.

Not his.

The second reason I hate him is that his smirk slips, and without reason, a slight frown takes its place. He dives his hand into his dark rain jacket and slowly slides into the seat beside me.

He’s close now.

Real close.

And it gives me the chance to study him without any barriers as the twinkling stars skim the part of his beautifully tousled hair sticking out from his jacket’s hood. It’s the mix between a dark sandy brown and ultra-light toffee. The kind of color that reminds me of gingerbread and all things him.

I hate how he’s staring out at the water, giving me the most perfect perspective of his straight nose and full lips.

I hate how hot my entire body feels in the Manhattan winter and how wildly my stomach floods with bad kind of butterflies at the sight of him. Or how his minty, sandalwood blend becomes all I breathe.

But most importantly, I hate that I know exactly who he is. And although we’ve never met before, my parents have crucified his family since the beginning of time and vice versa, conditioning me to believe that this boy is complete and utter sin.

Just like his last name.


Tate Meadows.

The boy with the cold heart that I’ve spent many nights thinking about. Wondering if he could really be the troubled boy my parents brainwashed me to believe he was just because of their feud with his father.

In my ten years, I’ve never seen a boy so up close before. Seen the softness of their skin. Been witness to the lightening heat surrounding my heartstrings.

“I know who you are,” I whisper into the night, wishing he could just get up and leave me alone. “I know who you are, Tate.”

Tate stares and stares and stares until I’m sure my stomach is eating itself alive. I’ve never stared at a boy this long without getting that inevitable itch to look away… until tonight.

As much as I know I shouldn’t like him, I can’t look away from him. From his mesmerizing eyes. From his steady stare that aches for me to drown in his oceans and forget all else. Until he speaks, and gosh, his voice becomes my escape instead.

“That makes two of us,” he says, and when he turns to me, there’s a melancholic strain in his eyes that tells me he regrets his words. “Your voice is so much softer than I thought… London.”

Chewing on my bottom lip, all I’m left to do is stare with a tightness lacing my entire body. I hate to admit he looks exactly how I imagined him—an angel’s dream. Only because I’ve searched him up one too many times online.

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