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The Color Red

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Lucas was still trying to think of a word to describe it as he walked along side Dorothy. He'd forgotten the word for the color, but she had reminded him that it was called “red”. He had no words to describe the way Dorothy looked in it, but he'd all but stopped breathing when he'd first seen her. The way the dress clung to her body. The way the color of it matched her lips. He had no words. As they walked in stride, his eyes still examined her, stealing glances at her until they lingered long enough for her to notice.
“What!” she exclaimed and abruptly stopped to face him.
A corner of his mouth curved upwards as he took-in her annoyed expression.
“I was just thinking about the color red.” he confessed and then walked passed her.
Dorothy's foot steps hurried after him until she caught-up with his long strides.
“What about it?”she asked, sounding curious, “Do you remember something?”
His jaw clenched at the question. Lucas would be lying if he said there was nothing familiar about the color. The way the red had seeped from the wound in his side. The way the red had dripped from the blade of his sword as he pulled it from that woman's chest. It scared him just how familiar it all was.
“I'm not sure I like the color is all.” he said as he glanced over at Dorothy.
She smiled at that, but then winced. Dorothy uttered a curse under her breath—the likes of which Lucas had never heard—and she hopped on one foot. She grabbed hold of his shoulder and reached down to her foot.
“You know what I don't like,” she growled as her hand fidgeted with the strap around her ankle, “These damn heels!”
Dorothy flung one the offending shoes at Lucas and he fumbled to catch it as she gripped his shoulder to steady herself. The other shoe quickly followed and suddenly he found himself holding the pair of red, strappy shoes along with her bag that hung over his shoulder.
“We should really find a place to stop so I can get out of this dress.” she complained as tugged at fabric around her chest.
Lucas swallowed as he imagined holding that red dress in his arms along with the shoes, leaving Dorothy in nothing else but that scant two-piece garment he'd caught a glimpse of one night. His eyes raked up the skirt of her dress to her waist to her chest and finally to her face. Dorothy glared at him.
“So you don't like red, huh.” she said as she walked passed him, “What's your favorite color, then?”
Lucas lowered his eyebrows in confusion as he followed on after her.
“Do people have those?” he asked, “Favorite colors?”
Dorothy laughed. “Most people do. Red is mine, actually. Do you remember the other colors?”
Dorothy looked up at him and Lucas shook his head.
“Well,” she began as she stopped to drag her toes through the pollen that was below her bare feet, “This is yellow. And up there is blue...”
Lucas watched as she pointed a finger up towards the sky, but his eyes didn't follow it. He watched her face as she continued to point out all the colors that surrounded them. He noticed how the dark color of her hair matched the dark color of her eyes and his hand reached-out to touch a strand of it.
“What about this?” he asked as he rub the soft strand between his fingers, “What color is this?”
Dorothy gave him a look and pulled her hair behind her neck and out of his grasp.
“It's brown,” she told him as she walked away, “But your favorite color can't be brown.”
“Why not?”
Dorothy gave him that look again. That look that silently accused him of having no brains in his head.
“Because no ones favorite color is brown!”
“Oh.” he replied, deciding not to push the topic any further, although he felt that he liked brown very much.
They walked in silence for a while with little other noise but the wind, the birds and Toto when he'd bark and go chasing after some small creature. As they walked down the path that was supposed to lead them to the wizard, Lucas thought of many things. He wondered about his past. He wondered how useful the wizard really would be. He wondered what he'd do if Dorothy really did find her way home. Lucas watched her as she walked ahead of him. His eyes got lost in the brown of her hair and the red of her dress and the way she moved. He selfishly hoped she didn't find a way home.
“Great.” Dorothy exclaimed as she stopped abruptly with her hands on her hips.
Lucas came to a stop at her side.
“I can't walk barefoot over this.” she said as she looked down at the thorn-covered vines that intruded across their path, “Will you please hand me the shoes from the bag?”
Lucas examined the path and then glanced at the hand that was being held towards him. In one swift movement, he ducked under her stretched out hand and clasped an arm behind her knees, lifting her off the ground. The sound of Dorothy's breath catching in her throat as he cradled her close to his chest made him swallow. Lucas tried to steel his emotions as if the feeling of her one hand on his neck and the other pressed to his chest meant nothing. He was simply trying to save her from putting those damn shoes on again! Lucas spared a glance at her face as he strode over the thorn-covered ground. Dorothy's lips were parted and her face was flushed as if he'd stolen the wind from her lungs and she was still trying to catch her breath. He watched how prettily her chest heaved and how the color in her cheeks had nearly turned the color of her dress. Lucas looked away as he focused on crossing over the thorns.
“Here,” he said once the path was clear and the thorn-covered vines had thinned-out to nothing, “Your feet should be safe now.”
He gently set her back down and Dorothy slowly removed her hands from his chest.
“Thank you.” she said as she stood much too close to him and her eyes lingered on his in a way that made him ache—in the same way he ached at the thought of her going home.
Lucas forced himself to smile.
“Any time.” he replied as he walked on ahead of her, “Perhaps you'll allow me to help you out of your dress when the time comes.”
Lucas grunted as a small object hit him hard in the back of the head. He rubbed at the spot as he cut a glance over his shoulder at Dorothy. She held her chin up proudly and smiled unabashedly at him.
Lucas turned away, smiling. And as he walked along the path with Dorothy trailing behind, he thought of how red her cheeks had turned as he had carried her in his arms. He decided that the color had more merit than fault. Red was there in the color of Dorothy's cheeks, her dress, her shoes and her lips. And if Lucas was to choose a favorite color, he decided it would have to be red.