(From time to time, I'm going to be writing snippets based on a list of abstract prompts These characters are from the short story that will be coming out in the Circlet Press anthology Like a Spell sometime this year.)
“Oh crumb! Stupid internet.” Callie slammed her laptop shut and tossed it onto the floor.
Ari peered over the top of her textbook. “Callie! Watch your language!” she scolded, suppressing a laugh.
“Ugh. Sorry. My parents were always preaching about bad language and how it shows a lack of creativity. Anyway, why can’t I get a decent wifi signal in your apartment?”
Marking her place with a (not terribly clean) napkin, Ari closed her book. “I think it’s probably all the magic. Interferes with things. If you wait long enough though, sometimes you can log into the network for the French national library!” She crossed the room to stand behind Callie, placing her hands on the other girl’s shoulders and gently kneading. “What were you trying to do, anyway?”
Callie felt the knots in her muscles slowly begin to untie themselves. Maybe, with Ari around, she wouldn’t go around with her shoulders scrunched up to her ears all the time. “Oh, it’s not a big deal. I was just trying to pull up a simulation of the birth of a star.”
Ari slid her fingers into Callie’s short, spiky hair and began to massage her scalp. “Huh. I thought you knew that kind of thing already.”
Callies eyelids fluttered shut and she drooped lower in her seat. “Mmm, that feels amazing. Um… yeah. I mean, I do know it. But I was just reading about it again and I wanted to see it in action. I wish we had a planetarium here.”
Ari smiled to herself, suddenly inspired. “Do you have a copy of what you were reading?”
“Mm-hmm.” Callie pointed to a magazine on her lap.
As she continued to read, she felt her voice filling the room, and heard the sharp intake of breath as the cosmic objects she described began to take shape in the darkness behind Callie’s eyes. She could feel them herself, a bit - a sense of slight vertigo as the gases and dust began to plummet towards their own gravitational center; light-headed elation as they whirled faster and faster and finally began to glow.
When she finished, she let the magazine fall to the floor and leaned down to breathe a wisp of a kiss into Callie’s hair. “See? No planetarium required.”