Three Little Words

March 25, 2010
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It was a summer day, but we were still in school. It was so hot it felt wrong to be sitting in a classroom. Every window was open wide, but that had no effect on the stifling heat. I could not wait to get out on the track. The one thing that made me forget about the uncomfortable heat was seeing him. We were still in that beginning stage where we lightly danced around each other, not exactly settled in. I got sweaty palms when I saw him and felt like my stomach was twisting itself into a knot. I had to think about what to say so I wouldn't blurt out something completely embarrassing. We were getting to know each other in those first few weeks. I knew he was different.

On that day I was genuinely excited for practice. I put in my best effort and was exhausted afterward. His practice ended shortly after mine so I figured I would wait to call for a ride so that I could spend time with him. I went back to the locker room to try and make myself look presentable. With my wet bangs plastered to my forehead, and dried sweat that made my arms and legs sticky, I was not a pretty sight. I washed my face off and changed my clothes peeling off my drenched socks and slipping on a worn out pair of flip flops. Most importantly, I applied another coat of deodorant. The last thing anyone wants is a smelly girlfriend. I lugged my backpack and track bag out in front of the school and plopped down under the shade of a tree. It was nice to be out of the sun. I felt my face emanating heat and could tell I was going to be sun burned the next day. I was so tired I decided to stretch out my legs and recline as I waited to hear his familiar voice.

“Hey you” I heard him say before I had the chance to open my eyes.

“Hey,” I responded, trying to sound casual, when I was about to bubble over with excitement. He dropped his huge bag down next to mine and leaned his beautifully tanned face down to kiss me on the forehead. His lips were slightly cracked but still warm and soft. I felt less self conscious about my sweaty appearance when I noticed his forehead slightly glistening with sweat and the smell of body odor almost hidden by a delicious deodorant.

“How was practice?” I continued as he sat down next to me, our legs barely touching. His strong arms supporting him as he leaned back.

“It was alright, you?”

“Eh, you know, the usual track stuff. It was wicked hot today.” I did not want to run out of topics now. What to say? The awkward silences were horrendous. I was saved when he pulled out ipod and started flipping through his songs. When he picked one, it was a rap song I had never heard before. I am completely inept in the world of rap music. He unplugged his head phones and turned up the volume so I could hear as well.

“Baby you my everything, you all I ever wanted. We could do it real big, bigger than you ever done it.” That's how it went. He turned to me placing his hand over mine and looked me in the eye.

“I think this should be our song” He said.

“Really? What's it called?” I didn't know how I felt about it. Sure the lyrics were sweet, but I had never imagined that we would have a 'song'. It was such a cliche.

“Best I Ever Had, by Drake.” Yep, never heard of him, I thought. It was cute though. I thought about whether he really meant it. I'm the best he's ever had, whatever 'had' meant. I knew he had dated many girls. This fact intimidated me.

“Okay” I agreed, smiling. We lay there under the tree, listening to the music. As a soft breeze blew I let my mind wander. I thought about how amazing it was for me to feel so strongly for someone in such a short amount of time. The attraction was incredible. I felt like every time he was near me we ought to be holding hands, having some form of physical connection. I put my dirty, bare feet on his feeling a tension ease and comfort set in. I turned my head and looked at him. His eyes were closed as he mouthed the words to the song that was currently playing. He traced the veins on my arm, playfully scratching at my freckles. I thought to myself, I think I love this boy. I couldn't say it though. What if he doesn't feel the same way? If I said it I could ruin everything. Or maybe not. I do not take the term I love you lightly. I had said once before to someone not sure of my real feelings. I did not want that to happen again. This time was different though. I opened my mouth, then closed it. I was torn. He turned to me and asked,

“What is it?” I couldn't say it.

“Nothing. I'm just,” I paused.

“Tell me” he said smiling, the green of his eyes catching my attention.

“I'm just really happy.” I settled with that.

“Really? Me too.” He looked so adorable. I wanted to say it so badly. He knew I was hiding something. He asked me again “What is it?” I just rolled back and said,

“Nothing.” He was persistent.

“No, please tell me.” He knew something was on my mind. I had no way of knowing how he would react. Would he think that I'm some crazy girl?

“Guess,” I said, hoping that maybe that would change the topic.

“How many words is it?” Damn it. It was too easy to guess what three little words meant.

“Three,” I responded reluctantly. I tried to read his face. I felt unbearably nervous.

“Hmmm,” was his response. What does that mean? Good 'hmmm' or bad 'hmmm'?

“Yeah..” I said, waiting for him to end this guessing game.

“Is it about us?” He asked.

“Maybe.” I wished that I hadn't brought it up. I couldn't even look at him afraid that he had already figured it out. I felt my hands were cold and I breathed in slowly.

“And it's three words. Will you please tell me?” Squeezing my hand he looked at me intently.
I waited. And then I barely whispered,“I love you,” So quietly I could barely hear it.

“What, do you really?” he asked, wrapping his arms around my waist pulling me closer to him.
I nodded. He leaned in closely to my ear, his warm breath against my neck.

“I love you too,” he whispered in response.

If the 'fire crackers exploding' scenario was actually real, that was what happened. I held onto him tightly our bodies like a tangle of limbs. I never wanted to let go.

“Really? Your not just saying it because I did?” I asked.

“No. I really do Audrey.”

“I really do too.”

I buried my face in my hands trying to hide the enormous grin that was spreading across my face. I looked at him knowing this time I meant it. This time I really was in love.





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