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A Love Story
As I looked up from my spot on the couch I noticed that he was watching me. He caught my eye, and smiled from the kitchen table. I felt myself blush and look away. Waiting was something I had always hated in my past, but with him it was effortless. I knew he was worth it.
I turned back to my book as the steady sound of his pencil against the paper resumed. While I let my eyes scan the page in front of me I realized I couldn't focus. All my body was on alert, but it wasn't because of the story in front of me- it was the story that could be.
Shutting my book I leaned back against the cushion and closed my eyes. Instantly I saw him, smirking, frowning, laughing, and just being completely... Perfect. Without realizing it I sighed, putting all my longing into one audible breath. I wondered if he noticed and strained to hear him, but my own breathing was the only sound in the room.
Disappointed that he had left without saying goodbye, I finally opened my eyes.
I turned to get my bag when I noticed it wasn't on the couch next to me. In its place was him, in all his perfectness. Feeling the shock on my face I blushed for what had to have been the twentieth time that day and ducked my head.
Hesitantly he reached out, and gently took my hair in his fingers. He slowly tucked the stray pieces behind my ear. His brown eyes were sparkling with some deep held emotion. Looking into them, I felt my heart speed up and willed myself not to blush. I saw something very similar to hope in his face, and yet there was a certain kind of sadness in him.
Quietly, with his beautiful eyes staring holes into me, he said "You have a very nice face you know. It shouldn't be hidden behind anything, even something as pretty as your hair."
I could feel the heat on my cheeks, and felt like this moment could last forever. Suddenly I was more sure of the spark than I had ever been. There was something in him that I wanted, and in this moment I realized it wanted me too.
Taking my hair out of the messy bun I had slept in, I let my thoughts wander as the curls fell to my waist. I didn't usually go to parties, let alone dress up for them. So why was I making an effort? What was with this sudden excitement I felt?
I barely even thought this as my heart pounded out the answer. Him.
Even after being told that he probably wouldn't be there, something in me screamed the words "He could be". And with him as my motivation, I knew I would do anything.
I took my time getting ready and was examining my reflection in the mirror when I heard my ride blaring her horn. Smiling to myself, I realized that today could be absolutely wonderful. The sun was shining, I felt great, and he could be there.
Skipping down the stairs I kissed my mother goodbye and danced out the door.
Arriving at the beach was simple enough. Drive around until you find a spot to park, lay on the horn when necessary, then jump out as fast as possible. I sat back and let myself be amused at all the frustrated people. But deep in my mind I knew why I was so happy, so positive.
I walked towards my classmates with a smile on my face. I felt radiant, light as air, like I was living a dream.
Surrounded by my friends, I easily found opportunities to look through the crowd. I'd laugh when expected to, whip out a comeback when possible, and just be the center of their attention.
This was a side of me I was proud of. This was who I wanted him to see.
After an hour and no sign of him, I decided to take a break from my giddiness and find the refreshments. Backing out of the circle I had attached myself to, I began to drift with the crowd. My mind started wandering, thinking of a hundred reasons why he might just be late.
I was jolted out of my thoughts when I ran into something solid. Two steel trap arms grasped my shoulders as I swayed back and forth.
A clear voice stood out from the crowd's murmuring, and I looked up to see where it was coming from.
Worried blue eyes gazed down at me, and I heard him say "Hey, are you okay?"
I gazed out across the water as my fingers faintly brushed its surface. Tear after tear left small ripples beneath me, but being far enough away from the crowd left me not caring.
My stomach felt tight, as if I'd had all the wind knocked out of me. I wanted to get up and run. To just leave, never come back, and let the memories trail along behind me.
I pulled my knees up and rested my chin on my hands. Closing my eyes I replayed the moment over and over, cringing each time I felt his icy gaze lock onto mine.
The warm tears trickled down my cheeks, leaving my hands cold and numb. I didn't bother to brush them away. The pain was far too important.
After spending almost ten minutes lost in the past, I came to a sober revelation-
I would never be able to move on. My heart was torn into so many pieces that it was impossible to repair. On top of that, I didn't deserve to be fixed. I had put this curse upon myself, and now I was stuck with the consequences.
I sniffled once again and tried to open my crusty eyes. Finding them fixedly shut, I stubbornly clawed at them with my fingernails. Who cared if I scratched my face? Certainly not me. I wasn't worth caring over.
A firm hand grabbed my wrists and gently held them away from my face.
Another wiped delicately at my eyes, callused fingers brushing what remained of my tears.
I froze in shock, my breath stopped dead in its tracks, refusing to go in or out.
"Take it easy now. It's just me."
It's just me. I looked up at him, once again feeling the tears building, and saw those sad eyes gazing down at me.
He smiled timidly, and brushed his thumb down my cheek where the tear stains were. I choked out a small sob and laid my head in my hands. Quietly he sat there, watching over me for what felt like hours.
When the moon was out and I had cried all my tears, I felt myself shivering in the night air. After what seemed an eternity, he slowly stood up and stretched. I ached to turn and watch him, but I stubbornly sat and stared blankly at the water, punishing myself for being so weak. So pathetic.
But suddenly his hand was in front of my face, reaching for me. Looking up, I saw the determined light in his eyes.
"Come on," he said. "Let's go home."
I stared at him then, shocked at his words. How could someone like him be helping someone like me?
Slowly I accepted his hand and let myself be pulled up. When I reached my full four feet and eleven inches, I stared down at the planks of the pier.
I could feel him watching me, gauging how I would react to him. Emotion after emotion swept through me, making me feel like a hurricane. I was so unstable. So unsure. Yet here he was, this strong, perfect man. Helping and caring about someone like me.
I glanced up to his soulful eyes, his beautiful brown eyes, and saw how much those two words meant to him. And in that moment, I felt myself glowing again.
When the bell had finally rung and I had flown from my seat, I reached the front of the school in what had to have been a record time. I paused for a moment and cleared myself, then slowly opened the doors and stepped out.
Not even twenty feet away was a small blue car jam-packed with people.
As the window rolled down and his face appeared, I tried not to panic as I realized he expected me to get inside.
He called for me and gestured that there was plenty of room.
Feeling my hands and legs trembling, I tried not to show the nervousness building up inside.
Not even glancing at the other people in the car, I quietly asked where I was supposed to sit. I heard a quiet snicker as he told me there was room on his lap.
Feeling my face turn bright red I looked away. I didn't want him to realize how impossible that would be for me. So I started to give an excuse, some reason that it just wouldn't work out today.
But even as the words left my lips I hoped he would ask.
I wanted to know that he was okay with it, not just showing twisted pity on a messed up girl like me.
Suddenly a smooth voice interrupted my stammerings. I became ultra aware of the pretty brunette seated next to him, plastered to his side. There wasn't a centimeter of space between them, and after realizing this I could hardly focus on what she was trying to say.
I glanced at him, trying to see if there were any feelings for her inside of him.
I could feel tears coming as my imagination started pounding out story after story, and I slowly allowed myself to feel betrayed.
He looked up at me, and I could feel my eyes screaming out a hundred different questions.
With his gaze locked on me, he mouthed a silent word which crushed and yet lifted me at the same time- Please.
I held him for a moment, realizing that he was depending on me for something. It was my turn to do something for him.
So I silently nodded ascent to whatever she had suggested, and numbly watched as she made space for me.
I slid into the car with plenty of room.
With his arms around the girl he turned to me with sparkling eyes. I tried so hard to smile, but it just wasn't possible.
I had played into love's game once more, and yet again I was left hanging by a thread.
The wall had become quite familiar in the two hours I had spent staring at it.
I could feel the tension in my legs, my back, from being curled up for so long. And yet, I didn't care enough to get up.
The waves of memories were still crashing into me, one after another. I felt pathetic, naive, like I was unbelievably immature. Closing my eyes, I shook my head. It seemed like it could somehow help clear my mind.
But knowing the torture wouldn't just go away at this point, I sighed and decided to let the moments come back to me.
I was swept away in a whirlwind, feeling a sharp sting in my chest as I let go.
We were sitting in McDonald's the day after we made it official. He had just finished a game, and my heart was pounding like a drum. I would glance up at him every once in a while, wondering what he was thinking. His mom laughed next to me, asking if he smelled bad. I loved the way he blushed.
I felt my hands clench into fists as the first memory faded, seeming to watch it blow away. The tears started to come as I stubbornly shoved them away.
We were sitting by the Christmas tree at Grandma and Grandpa's. I listened to the clock ticking, and felt so incredibly content. Slowly tilting my head, I felt the butterflies leaping in my stomach as I rested on his shoulder. He stiffened, and glanced down at me. Sighing, I pulled away, feeling the first pang of rejection.
Warm, salty tears were leaking out of my tightly shut eyes. I was so weak.
Sitting on the love seat together, I whispered in his ear. Yes, I'd had boyfriends before. What did we do? I blushed, thinking about how little we had had in common. Well, we held hands... I grinned cheekily, feeling his pulse rise at such an open dare. Looking down, he nudged his incredibly rough hand against my thumb... And suddenly we were connected.
I WAS CRYING...
He traced the path of my tears, silently wiping them away. It was pitch black all around us, with only the distant porch light as our chaperone. I was torn in two, not knowing what I wanted in life. As I tried to speak, he leaned down and crushed our lips with my first kiss.
I could hear myself moaning quietly, remembering all the promises he had whispered. The flowers and candies that never truly mattered. Simple games, to him.
Our hands swung as we walked down the road. I missed you I whispered. He missed me too. The sun was shining through the marshmallow clouds, and I could feel the warmth all the way to my toes. Closing my eyes for a moment, I was suddenly swung into his arms and held like a bride. He pressed a firm kiss against my lips as I laughed in delight. I was safe with him.
Standing outside, I looked up at the moon. I have a confession to make I said. He glanced at me, and I tried hard to keep a straight face. I'm in love with the moon, I'm afraid... He smiled softly and wrapped his arms around me. I knew that already. It's the one thing that reminds me of you, no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing."
My body tossed and turned on its own accord- I was lost in the dreams of the past.
We sat on the tree branch, his arms around me. Looking out across the water, we spoke quietly of anything and everything. I asked him if he truly loved me, and he sat quietly for a moment. My heart dropped, and I felt a deep cold inside...
AND SUDDENLY I WAS OUT OF BREATH...
I was sobbing, screaming into the phone. I felt his coldness, the way he had no emotion. "I'm sorry." His voice said. But his heart and his head were disconnected somewhere down the line, and I felt my love plummeting into the abyss...
As I looked in the mirror, I barely recognized myself.
I saw my hands, my face, my body... Everything appeared to be the same. And yet in some way, every part of me felt completely changed-
My hair now had a brush of color in it, a light blue and silver;
Eyes staring back at me with an icy cold.
There were no longer smile lines on my face, but wrinkles where my brow often furrowed.
And deep inside where I couldn't see, there was a quiet fire brewing, glowing with a faint passion.
So many differences, yet I still had the audacity to call myself "me".
Shutting my eyes, I slowly took a breath in.
I was about to walk out the door a new person, even if no one else could see her. She was stronger, more determined than I ever thought I could be. Her physical appearance whispered of bold confidence, daring someone to test her.
I softly blew out, opening my eyes.
Glancing at the clock, I watched the seconds tick by. It was amazing how time flew by when you wanted to savor it and froze when you needed it to pass by.
The butterflies fluttered as I pulled back the curtain, looking to step towards my new life.
Before I did though, I glanced behind me...
And looked up, seeing myself in front of a mirror.
I gently shook my head to clear it, then turned.
Without thinking twice I left it there and never looked back.
I stood in front of the mall with a group of people, gazing up at the sky while they talked. The sunset was absolutely wonderful with breathtaking purples and oranges I had never seen before. A deep blue sky made a brief appearance, contrasting with the brilliant dying of the day.
Slowly spinning in a circle, I saw the moon peeking over the opposite horizon. It was faded, washed out, almost tired looking. I smiled to myself as a pleasant memory came to mind.
Shaking my head, I reached up to fix my hair and turned my attention to the crowd I was engulfed in. No one had noticed my mind's departure, which was both a blessing and a curse.
It seemed as if no one paid attention to me anymore, like I was... nothing.
When my emotions went out of control I found myself hiding away in my mind. There was no longer a hope, an interest in life anymore.
Glancing to my right, I eyed the previous object of my affection.
His short blonde hair was mussed slightly, gently framing his open face. Soulful eyes were flitting from one person to the next, and his lips were stamped in his signature smirk. Khaki shorts hung on his hips and a brown sweater set loosely across his shoulders.
Everything about him was perfect. His laugh, his smile, his view of the world- It all mesmerized me so deeply. I had thought I would never again find someone who clicked with me, a punishment for my mistakes. And yet it seemed like this was worse, finding someone wonderful and not being able to have them.
Yes, I desired everything he had... Everything but the brunette under his arm.
I felt my eyes linger on her for a moment, slowly taking in her happiness. She was constantly touching him, always in contact with his body. His finger traced little circles on her shoulder, absentmindedly offering a promise of comfort.
What did she have that I didn't?
Once again I found myself shaking my head and tore away from her. Without thinking I glanced at him, and discovered brown eyes watching me.
In stunned silence I stared back at him. His forehead creased, and he mouthed a silent question.
I shakily nodded and started studying the ground with fervor, shocked by the feelings overtaking my body.
In a single moment I had been torn apart and put back together. I felt wanted, yet discouraged. Rich, though poor.
Knowing that a small part of his mind, his heart, worried for me, had made me complete... But broken.
I stared angrily into a pair of bright blue eyes, determined not to break his gaze.
He looked hungrily down at me- daring me to make a move.
I could feel myself shaking, but I fought desperately not to let my emotion show through. He had been the cause of my misery for the past six months, and I didn't want him to realize how affected I was.
Affected by his betrayal, his lies, his games, his cowardice...
Without even realizing it my eyes had started searching, trying so hard to find a bit of truth in him. Any bit of the emotions that had been gone for so long.
But all I could see was ice inside of him, ice that had frozen my heart in place, barely able to function. And of course, now that I had begun to move on he was back. Now, of all times.
“Elise…” The name shocked me from the cavern of my thoughts, bringing my focus back to sharply land on him.
The longing in that simple name reminded me cruely of what we once had. Memories started flowing over me, one after the other.
I found him worriedly watching me, his brows slightly creased.
Slowly he came closer, and even more slowly I backed away from him until I was cornered. I hadn’t felt anything more than anger and pain until then, but I realized how serious he was. And I realized how scared that made me.
His rough, scarred hand reached out and gently ran down my cheek.
My breath started quickening, my eyes were filling, and I felt myself drop towards the floor.
And for the first time that I’ve ever fallen for him…
He caught me.
I didn’t have to worry about hitting rock bottom, about hurting from the impact. His arms were wrapped around me as he gently sat on the ground.
At that very moment I began to hyperventilate.
He rocked back and forth, running his fingers through my hair and murmuring quietly. My body was locked in the fetal position, quickly becoming tense and achy. I longed to run for miles, to let go of all these feelings.
But instead I was being held by a man I thought would never desire me again. The one person who I had given up on, who I had accepted was not to be a part of my life.
Looking up at him, I felt myself calm slightly as hiccups replaced my wracking sobs.
In that moment where he had caught me, something had changed in him. He was no longer detached.
His eyes bore into mine, begging me silently to realize it was all true.
After a moment of consideration, I found myself needing him more than ever. I decided that losing this chance, this moment, would hurt more than our break up ever had.
And without another thought I forced my fire and his ice to collide.
I opened my eyes the next morning to an icy blue gaze looking down at me.
Quickly I snapped them shut, determined not to accept the lie in front of me. I knew that it was just another illusion, just another dream- It couldn’t be real.
His soft voice was right next to my ear, a warm breath tickling my neck. Still, I refused to try and glimpse his face. It was an evil trick of the mind.
“Elise. Look at me.”
I groaned inwardly, and felt the longing pulse through me.
My hand slowly made its way towards my bedside table, reaching for my phone. If I connected with the outside world I knew the spell would be broken.
A rough grip had suddenly grabbed my hand, shocking my eyes to open.
And there he was, lying inches away, watching me with a steely anger in his face. He was completely focused on me.
A shudder ripped through me-
It was real.
He was real.
I shot up from the bed quicker than a gun, feeling my eyes open wide.
He smiled at me, and I searched his face for the emotion I had found there last night. But there he was, closed off completely.
I finally understood that he had changed. He was no longer the carefree boy I had fallen in love with- Here he was, an angry frustrated man.
My stomach clenched, thinking of what a mistake this had all been.
“Baby. Calm down.”
At those words I felt myself tense.
And with a burst of adrenaline, I leaped off the bed. Emotion after emotion pounding through me- Longing, pain, regret… Anger.
I pulled a typical black t-shirt on, desperate to get out of that room.
I could feel him following me, and I heard the annoyance in his voice.
When he grabbed my wrist and spun me around, I knew that we were on the brink of exploding again. One of us would win, the other would be torn into tiny pieces.
I wouldn’t lose again.
His eyes glittered dangerously, but I could feel mine do the same.
I was tired of crying, tired of missing this loser. He wasn’t worth my time. All he did was tear me down and leave me for someone else to fix.
“Don’t you dare walk away from me.”
My mouth curled up into a bitter smirk, and I could feel the fire race through my veins.
“I’m not walking, Ray. I’m running as far away from you as possible.”
And as I turned around, I felt higher than air. I had won. I was leaving, and he didn’t matter to me one bit.
I felt free.
Opening the door, I was ready to face the world…
And then I heard a loud slap, the floor racing towards me.