“Meet me at the tree before soccer practice,” she’d told me. All day, I could not shake the thought that this would be the first time that I would be alone with her. It excited me and frightened me, to be honest.
The tree was a great distance away from the school; it bordered on the property line. It also crossed my mind that this was the very spot where students came to kiss. I would not be so lucky, however.
She hated me. Why would she not after the years of suffering I caused her? I hated me for it, too.
She would never want to kiss me, and that thought crushed me.
I wasn’t so sure I could keep up this feigned hatred for her any longer. Inside, I felt quite the opposite. Since I was a little kid, I thought she was, hands down, the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. But it wasn’t just about that- she was the sweetest, smartest, wittiest, funniest, strongest person I’d met at my age. As she grew up, my feelings for her grew stronger. To say I had been admiring her would be a major understatement.
Fighting with myself about what to do and what to say, I decided to skip my last period gym class by excusing myself to the nurse. At the right moment, I carefully escaped through the back door of the building, and I made my way to the tree.
Here, I sat and thought more. But I could not think of what to say to her. I had no idea what she’d say to me. After several minutes, I decided: I would let her talk first. I would decide what I would say in the moment.
“Hey.” Her voice, velvety soft brought me back to reality. Is the school day over? I had not heard the bell ring.
“Hey.” I responded casually, yet harshly. It was the way I knew best when it came to her.
“You are for once going to listen to me and answer some questions for me, do you understand.” She told me standing tall and with grace. Just one of the reasons she is perfection in my eyes. After everything I’d done to her, she still spoke to me politely and with class.
I nodded and tried to lessen the harshness in my stare.
“Don’t tell me you have no idea what I’m talking about… what is seriously your problem with me? Why are you bothering me? Why have you done this for years? I don’t understand why you don’t like me.”
That last part tore at my heart. She was trying to figure out why I didn’t like her when in truth, there was nothing that I didn’t like about her.
“It’s not that.” I told her honestly.
“It’s not that I don’t like you.”
She laughed louder than I’ve ever heard her laugh. She seemed about ready to crack.
“Don’t you lie to me! It’s obvious you don’t like me!”
Now, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. If she only knew how I truly felt for her. How I stayed up at night thinking about her. How I woke up hopeful that today, I’d be fortunate to meet her eyes, see her smile, or hear her laugh.
I couldn’t help but laugh on and on at this whole messed up situation I’d created. Why couldn’t I have been the boy who shared his pen with her? Who held doors for her? Who made friends with her? I do not know, but this was where we were now.
Suddenly, I became silent as my world stopped.
Because she was crying. Not the kind of crying like when I’d pull her hair or shoot spitballs at her.
She looked like she was drained of all hope. She’d given up the fight. No longer did I see the confidence or determination in her eyes.
With her eyes watering and lips quivering, she was a fallen angel.
It felt like a knee to my ribs to watch.
Abruptly, I had this horrible taste in my mouth… except I didn’t. I was disgusted, but only with myself. How could I make her feel like this? I am a monster, I told myself.
She turned away.
But I had to do something to make this right. I had to try.
Without a second thought, I put my hand on her arm, she looked up at me with her big, doe eyes. That was my unraveling.
Pulling her to me, I felt every curve of her against my own body. She was small and petite, and I wrapped her up in me.
She didn’t push me away, so I took this as a good sign. However, I would not ignore the fact that she was vulnerable- so I was determined to not go further unless she gave me another sign.
A little confused on what to do next, I kept my arms around her in the hopes that I was comforting her. To my surprise, her tears stopped and her breathing stabilized.
God, was she beautiful. I’d never seen her this close before. Now I could see little freckles dotting on her nose. Immediately, I loved them. I wondered how many people were fortunate enough to be this close to notice them. I wished I could be this close to her always.
My eyes drifted to her mouth. I couldn’t help it. Her lips looked so soft, plump, and smelled of strawberries.
I heard a ‘thump’ and realized her back had hit against the tree. Her eyes were open wide, and her pupils dilated. She was either liking being close to me as much as I liked being close to her or she was frightened.
Eagerly, I hoped for another sign.
I stared in to her eyes, almost begging for a sign that she wanted me how I wanted her.
My heart stopped beating when she looked at my lips. I could feel the wheels turning. Her gaze lingered there before hesitantly meeting my eyes. When she did though, I knew that I saw desire in hers.
I took her face in my hands. Leaning down, I pressed my lips to hers for the first time.
I swear it was magic.
Her lips were soft and sweet against mine. Strawberries were my new favorite food.
I hoped this would not be the last time I’d kiss her. But for now, I lived in the moment. And I knew, I had found my own version of heaven.
Overwhelmed with new emotions, I lifted her body off the tree and picked her up into my arms. Sliding down against the tree, she sat in my lap as I cradled her and kissed her more.
Breaking the kiss, I looked deeply into her eyes. We were both fighting for breath.
“It’s not that I don’t like you.” I said seriously.
She watched me carefully. I swallowed as I got ready to admit the next part.
“It’s that I’m in love with you.”
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