June 28, 2016
The object seem to hang in the air for a moment, the sun caught it fully, sending red bangles of light in all directions. Ella's fingers actually brushed it, but moments too late.
The heart hit the stone floor and shattered. Jagged shards skittered across the floor, making an enormous mess of razor-edged splinters. She watched as a large portion slid under the fridge. The other hearts in the bowl clattered together as she came to an abrupt halt, chiming like bells as they jostled.
"Again, El?" said Brent, popping his head in from the next room. "What's that, number four this week?"
"Shut up," she snapped, crouching down to pick up the bigger pieces gingerly between her finger. The chunks were pretty easy, their edges catching the sunlight that was streaming into the kitchen window.
"At this rate, you'll never get enough to graduate," he said. He put his own bowl on the counter and crouched down to help her clean up.
She pinched a smaller piece, and squeezed too hard, and it sank deep into the pad of her thumb and she hissed in pain.
Brant took her hand and squinted at the tiny wound, brought her thumb to his mouth, and she could feel his teeth grazed over the fleshy part on her thumb and catch the ruby shard. It hardly hurt at all when he pulled it out. He spat it into the palm of his hand and grinned at her.
"They sting like a bitch if you leave them in. Don't feel too bad, my first year, I broke the Academy record smashing these motherfuckers," he said. And Ella felt herself blush.
"I bet you did," she said, squeezing a fat drop of blood out of her thumb.
They finished cleaning up the mess. Ella swept up the smaller pieces, and Brent got an old bar of soap to help nab the microscopic slivers that you would only find the next day when you wanked barefoot looking to get a cup of coffee.
"It doesn't seem right that they're so easy to break," said Ella, dumping out the remains into the dustbin.
"Nature of the business, El. If we didn't break them, someone else would. Some of them do make it," he said.
"Any make it all the way?" she asked.
"More than you'd think. Well, I got to get back to the kiln," he said. "Don't let Master Jiin give you too much shit. I'll have to tell you about the time he upended an entire pallet."
Ella giggled feeling remarkably better than she had just minutes ago, and she smiled at Brent. His breath caught for just a second.
"Thanks, Brent," she said.
"Don't mention it."