Azalea Edit5

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    In my mind the beach wasnt exactly a special way to celebrate considering

    it was only ten minutes away, but it made him happy to go so I agreed. Little did I

    know that, that seemingly average trip to the beach would change my life forever.

    It was early July in little Brunswick County, North Carolina. It was perfect

    beach weather. The sun was shining, the water was calm, and everything was full

    of life. We lived in a tourist community, so the beach was packed with families. I

    watched children laugh and play, couples walk hand in hand; it was like looking at

    a postcard.

    Come on babe, lets hit the water.

    You go ahead sweetheart. Im gonna sunbathe a little and do some

    reading.

    Before I could even spread out my towel, he was running into the water

    splashing like a child. I had just started reading the Twilight Series. I know I was a

    couple of years behind the trend but I just had to know what the fascination was

    about. I was about half way through; just about the time where Bella and Edward

    really fall in love. As I was reading, all I could think about was the events that had

    taken place earlier that day. Was Cody really the love of my life? Was I ever going

    to have what Bella and Edward have? Was there any such thing as a deeply

    romantic relationship like that? Then he walked by.

    I knew I had seen him at school but I had never really noticed him. His name

    was Zach; at least thats how I knew him. He was beyond gorgeous. He had

    creamy pale skin, golden blond shoulder length hair, and piercing green eyes. All

    the girls at the beach were instantly attracted to him for his looks, but with me, it

    was something more. It was as if we were magnets being empathically drawn to

    each other. Our eyes met but only for a second as he walked past.

    Please turn around. Please come back!

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    I was calling after him in my mind. Yelling, screaming at him in my head. I

    didnt know why, but suddenly talking to him seemed very important. Then, all of

    a sudden, he turned around and started walking towards me, as though he had

    heard the pleas in my head.

    Hey he said confidently.His voice was just as I had imagined, perfect.

    Hey I replied trying to seem nonchalant, even though I felt almost faint in

    his presence.

    I stared at him for a second trying to recognize what about him was drawing me to

    him. I quickly continued the conversation, not wanting him to leave. I acted as

    though I didnt recognize him.

    Do we go to the same school? I asked still trying to keep my cool.

    If I recall correctly I believe we do.

    I was taken aback by his formal speech. No one our age spoke that way. I knew

    there was something a little off about him.

    Your name is Zach right?

    He just nodded and smiled. When he smiled, it was though I had forgotten to

    breath. I couldnt explain this reaction. Why did I feel this way? I already had

    someone I was in love with, so why did I feel so hypnotized by this guy I just met?

    And your name is

    I suddenly couldnt remember my name. It was as if I was under a spell. A second

    later, I came back to reality.

    Angel I blurted out. I hoped he wouldnt think I was crazy. We continued to talk

    for about half an hour. I was captivated by every word that came out of his perfect

    mouth. I could have talked to him forever. I decided to give him my cell phone

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    number. I figured at the very least we could be good friends and maybe I could

    figure out this connection between us. Then suddenly I felt a train wreck about to

    happen. Cody approached us, green with jealousy. I suddenly got nervous and

    didnt know what to do. I jumped up and kissed him trying to act normal. I

    introduce the two hoping it would cut the tension.

    Zach, this is my boyfrien -sorry, fianc, Cody.

    I felt a vibe of disappointment but I didnt know why. Was it coming from Zach?

    Hows it going dude?

    He was trying to be nice even though I could feel that he was disappointed. Cody

    didnt even recognize his greeting.

    What are you doing talking to other guys Angel?

    Part of me was shocked by his reaction. I knew Cody was going to be upset with

    me but I didnt think he would act this way in front of Zach. I could see in his face

    that he knew how shocked and embarrassed I was.

    Im sorry, Ill leave man. Im not trying to cause any problems here

    As he said this I felt a sudden wave of defensiveness, but it wasnt coming from

    me. Whose emotions was I feeling?

    Damn straight

    Cody snapped at him. I had seen him get jealous but Id never seen him lash out at

    anyone but me.

    CODY!

    I was infuriated! I couldnt believe he was so rude. I could feel my face flush with

    embarrassment and anger. Zach gave me a sympathetic look.

    Dont worry about it.

    He gave me a small wave and turned to walk away. A sudden depression came

    over me. I hated to watch him walk away, but I knew there was a bigger problem I

    had to deal with.

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    What the hell is wrong with you?

    Why the hell were you talking to other guys?

    I had never realized how controlling he was.

    I can talk to whoever I want. You dont own me!

    I saw you give him your number!

    So now I cant have guy friends?

    I didnt say that.

    I was so mad at him I couldnt even see straight. I just want this argument to be

    over so I tried to seem apologetic. I figured this was something I was going to have

    to get use to once we were married.

    Im sorry. I didnt realize this would bother you so much.

    Well now you know. I better not see you talk to him again.

    Fine. Can we just leave?

    Cody started to pack up all of our stuff. We walked back to the car in silence. My

    mind was trying to justify how he had spoken to me.

    Well I would have gotten angry too if it situation was reversed. He probably wont

    be like that again. I mean he loves me, right?

    I tried relentlessly to forget about the whole thing but I couldnt stop thinking

    about Zach, or the strong connection we seemed to have. Why did I feel this way?

    And, most importantly why did I seem to feel all of his emotions as if they were

    my own?

    Cody parked about a block away from my house like he always did (so we didnt

    get caught kissing or doing anything that give my parents any clue that were in a

    relationship). He leaned in and started kissing me in a disgusting manner. It was

    far from sexy. I pushed him away trying to get his attention.

    CodCody, stop!

    WHAT?!

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    I just wanted to say Im sorry for what happened that the beach.

    He began kissing my neck.

    Oh yeah. Its ok. I forgive you and I know you wont do it again.

    He forgives me? That made me even angrier, but I knew I had to let it go. I had to

    marry this man.

    Ok time to get you home.

    So. What? Thats it? You dont have anything you want to say to me?

    I wasnt expecting much but maybe he could at least admit he was over reacting a

    little. I didnt want to end the day like that.

    Yeah, youre right. There is something I want to say.

    He smiled at me and brushed his hand against my face. I exhaled in relief, thinking

    he was going to say something sweet and apologetic. I thought wrong.

    I dont want you to talk to him.

    Wait, What?

    I dont want you to talk to him, at all.

    My heart sank. It was totally unfair but I didnt want to fight again.

    Whatever you say sweetheart.

    I gave him a half-hearted smile. He started his car back up and drove to the front of

    my house.

    I love you. I whispered before I got out of the car.

    Yeah. I love you too. He said as I opened the door. He seemed to only say it for

    two reasons: When he had to respond to me, or When he had stuck his foot in his

    mouth and he needed it to be his get out of jail free card. I went inside and

    quickly changed out of my beach clothes. My mom was waiting for me in my

    bedroom.

    So, how was the beach? Mom always loved girl talk even though I was never too

    forthcoming.

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    It was ok. A bit crowded but not too bad. I started to brush my hair.

    Did you meet any cute boys? she had a devilish grin on.

    My mind flashed straight to Zach.

    Not really. I said trying to hide what I was really thinking.

    Cody knows you guys are just friends right? That you can flirt with other guys?

    Yes mom, he does. I could feel a lecture coming on. I tried to end the

    conversation as quickly as possible.

    Mom, Im exhausted. I think Im gonna go to bed.

    Ok honey. Ill go. Goodnight. She gave me a quick kiss on the forehead and left.

    I put my hair up in a bun and grabbed my laptop. The first thing I did was change

    my facebook status to engaged. Neither of my parents knew I had a facebook so I

    knew they wouldnt find out there. Then I looked down at my phone. Everything in

    me wanted to text Zach. I stared at my phone for what seemed like forever, trying

    to justify a reason to talk to him.I should apologize for this afternoon. Cody wont

    mind thator what he doesnt know wont hurt him right? I finally broke down

    and sent him a text.I just wanted you to know that I might be hopelessly in love

    with you, even though I just met you this afternoon and Im engaged to be married.

    Thats what I wanted to say at least. But, of course, I played it cool and casual.

    Hey is this Zach? I asked just in case I had the wrong number.

    My phone buzzed and my heart skipped a beat. I checked the message

    immediately.

    Yeah hey whats up ? This is Angel right? I could hear his perfect voice in my

    head. It was like beautiful music. I tried to wait a minute before I replied back, so I

    wouldnt seem so desperate and needy, but it was the longest minute of my life. I

    finally text him back, not being able to wait any longer.

    Not much what about you? Im sorry about what Cody did today.

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    I didnt know what to say to keep the conversation going so I went straight to

    apologizing. I didnt want him to be offended by Codys big mouth.

    Its quite fine dear. If I knew you were taken I wouldnt have been flirting with

    you. He replied.

    He called me dear. I found that strange but at the same time I found myself

    swooning over him. There was something romantic about his formal speech. It was

    almost as if he was transported from the early Victorian era. I wanted to say

    something clever back but I had no idea what to say. I decided to try and give him

    a causal comment, nothing too flirty.

    Well I had fun talking to you today you seem to be an interesting person.

    I was kind of nervous about this text. I didnt want him to get the wrong idea and

    think Im being too forward with him, but on the other hand, part of me liked

    flirting with him.

    I sat there staring at my phone waiting for his reply. Five minutes passed, still no

    reply. The clock slowly ticked and ten minutes passed. I was getting very

    impatient; Im not very patient by nature.

    Finally, my phone buzzed and grabbed it as fast as I could. I had never been so

    excited to read anyone elses texts before.

    You are quite interesting yourself darling.

    That sentence alone made me swoon.

    I couldnt stop smiling and giggling. I loved that he had called me darling. Cody

    never did that. He sometimes called me babe, but other than that, pet names just

    seemed awkward when he said them. Suddenly I panicked. Had he noticed that he

    wrote that? What did he mean by it? I didnt know what to say. The only thing I

    could think to do was to confirm it in a cute way.

    Hehehe you called me darling.

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    I knew that Cody would be furious if he knew I was talking to Zach, but I couldnt

    help that I wanted to try to get Zacks attention. I turned on the TV and tried to

    find something to watch before I fell asleep. I finally settled on an episode of The

    Nanny on Nick-at-Night. I got settled in and started to doze off. Suddenly, I heard

    a tap at my window. I looked out to see if there was someone trying to get my

    attention. I immediately hoped it was Zach, even though I didnt want him to see

    me with no make-up on. There wasnt anyone there, so I just got back in bed. Just

    as I was falling asleep, I felt a sudden sense of security and warmth, like someone

    was looking out for me. With one last wonderful thought of him, I fell asleep.

    I had the strangest dreams that night. They were full of anger and doubt.

    Why did I let Cody speak to me the way he always did? Was this really the man I

    want to spend the rest of my life with? The anger soon turned to violence.

    I dreamt about smashing things and hurting someone. Nothing in my dreams

    was very specific. I just saw red, and heard the squeals of twisting metal and the

    crashing of broken glass. I knew something was wrong. I had never had a dream

    like that. I wasnt a naturally violent or hateful person, so why the sudden violent

    dreams?

    My phone startled me awake. I answered immediately; hoping it might it

    might be Zach.

    Hello. I said in a groggy voice.

    MY CAR IS TRASHED! I heard a voice scream on the other end of the phone.

    Cody?

    Who the hell else would it be?!

    What? Whats wrong?

    Someone or something completely destroyed my car in the middle of the night!!

    WHAT?! What happened?!

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    I dont know! I just got up, got ready for work, came outside and saw my

    beautiful car destroyed!

    How bad is it?

    Maybe he was just being melodramatic.

    It doesnt even look like a car anymore.

    I didnt know what to say. Who would do this? I flashed back to my dream. I

    remembered the anger and the violence, the sounds of the crashing glass and the

    twisting metal. I knew I couldnt have done this but why did I feel like I did?

    Is there anything I can do to help? Do you need a ride to work or something?

    No, Ill take my moms car.

    Well if you need anything, let me know.

    Mhm.

    There was a long pause. I didnt know what to say.

    SoI guess Ill talk to you later?

    Yeah. Bye. He hung up.

    YeahI love you too. I said into the already disconnected phone.

    I tried to convince myself that he was just mad about his car and thats why he

    hadnt told me he loved me. In the back of my mind, I couldnt help but think

    about how attentive Zach had been towards me the night before.

    The rest of the summer was pretty uneventful. Cody got a new car, the

    same silver Ford focus. We both worked and hung out whenever we could. We had

    started to make wedding plans. Not really important ones, but just something to

    keep my mind occupied. I tried not to think about Zach the way I did that fateful

    day in July, but it was really difficult. I would text him on the sneak every once in

    a while, Cody never knew, but I wanted more. I wanted to really be his close friend

    not just a sometimes friend. I knew there was a reason that this was important, I

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    just couldnt figure out what it was. I always knew what he was going to say and

    he was always sweet to me. I liked the connection we had, even if I couldnt

    explain it.

    I couldnt wait for school to start. This was going to be my best year ever, I could

    feel it. It was my first year of being a full college student. North Carolina has a

    program called duel enrollment, high school students can attend both high school

    and the local community college at the same time. I had been part of this program

    for two years and now that I had finally graduated high school, I would be

    considered a real college student.

    The first order of business this year, cheerleading. The try-outs started on the

    second day of school and I was nervous. I had been a cheerleader the year before,

    but this year was serious. We had a new coach, Stefanie. She didnt stand for any

    crap. She was determined to make us the best squad in the area. Of course I made

    the squad with no problems. I thought this would be a sign that this year was going

    to be perfect; then all hell broke loose.

    I had been trying to get used to the idea of being married to Cody. I kept

    writing my name with his, not in the day-dreamy fashion, but to force myself to

    accept it.

    Mrs.Hickman

    Mrs.Angel Lee Hickman.

    I finally started to adapt to the idea, but unfortunately, I forgot to destroy the

    evidence. It was about the third week of school. I came home, and without

    thinking, I threw my books on the dining room table. I went to my room to change

    and put up my hair. I was right in the middle of finding a hairband when my door

    slammed open.

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    Whats this? My mom held up a piece of notebook paper with the name

    combinations written on it. I didnt know how to react.

    Oh, that was just a joke between me and some friends mom.

    I chuckled nervously, hoping she would buy my lame excuse.

    Do you have romantic feelings for him?

    NO! Of course not!

    I could feel the nervousness come up to the surface of my skin.

    Tell me the truth Angel! I could feel her eyes piercing through me.

    Well maybe I have a little crush on him

    She cut me off.

    How could you?! He doesnt believe in the same things we do. You know you

    cant be with him!

    I felt the anger bubbling up inside of me. It wasnt really defensive anger. I was

    angry because I didnt like being told what to do. I didnt care if he believed in

    God, Buddha, or the freaking Tin man, it was my choice to date him.

    But mom, he treats me better than any guy Ive ever been with.

    A sad, but true fact.

    I dont care! We told you, you knew couldnt date this boy and you went behind

    our backs and did it anyway.

    I couldnt scream and yell so I just ran. I ran out the front door and down the street,

    as far and as fast as I could with no shoes. I knew I had nowhere to go, no one to

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    run to. All I could do was sit by the side of the road till I was picked up and taken

    home to my punishment.

    I did go home ready to fight some more. I argued until I was blue in the face. I had

    won a couple of battle but I knew I had lost the war.

    I want you to break up with him now!

    She handed me the phone.

    You cant do that! Im 18!

    You still live under your father and Is roof. You will obey our rules.

    I had no money and nowhere to go, so I obeyed. Tears filled my eyes as I dialed

    his number. Each ring felt like an eternity.

    Hello I heard his voice and the tears began to stream down my face. We might

    not have had the best relationship but I did love him, even though it was only a

    little. My heart broke as I thought about what I had to tell him.

    Were busted. My voice cracked a bit as I spoke.

    What are you talking about? What happened?

    My mom found a paper I had scribbled our names on and freaked out, which

    leads me to what Im about to say I bit my lip trying to find the right words to

    say.

    Cody, you know I love you but my family wont allow this to go on. We have to

    break up.

    He was furious.

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    What? NO! This isnt happening! I wont allow this! Im coming to pick you up.

    I panicked. I knew if he came anywhere near my house my parents would flip.

    No Cody! Dont! I need you to trust me and just walk away.

    The hot tears started to flow faster and fasterdown my face. I hated that I was

    losing the one thing in my life that made me somewhat happy, not completely, but

    enough to keep me from going crazy. I just wanted to die.

    I cant believe you! Youre just going to let your family control you like this?

    Youre such a bitch!

    His words cut through me like a knife. I had just told him that this was my familys

    doing not mine, and he still found a way to blame me for it.

    Im sorry. I whispered through my tears.

    Fine, you can do whatever you want. Just know, I still have hope for us. I love

    you. We WILL be together in the end, no matter what.

    With that, the phone went dead.

    I fell to my knees and wept. I felt like my heart was pounding out of my chest and I

    couldnt breathe. I thought I was going to die right there on the floor of my room.

    My mom knelt beside me and wrapped her arm around my shoulders as I

    continued to sob.

    Under normal circumstances I would punish you

    I looked up at her as she spoke but I couldnt see her through my tears.

    But seeing what this is putting you throughthis is punishment enough.

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    I threw my arms around her and continued to weep. My life was over. There was

    no reason to be happy again.

    I went to bed and cried myself to sleep. My dreams were sad but also oddly

    hopeful. I woke up dazed and confused, trying to make sense of my dream. It was

    as though the feeling of hope were coming from an outside source. I cleared my

    mind and got ready for school. I had no time to think about the previous nights

    unpleasantness. It was September 7th

    , our first game.

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    The first game; our chance to shine. A chance to show the school that we werent

    the same rag-tag team we were last year. I hoped this game would distract me

    enough that I wouldnt remember to be sad. I refused to be dragged into the

    darkness of depression. I got through the school day by focusing solely on

    cheerleading. I worked through all the routines, all the dance moves, all the cheers,

    anything to keep me from dwelling on the fact that I had just lost my fianc. Of

    course, all that compartmentalizing got me in a bit of trouble. I was late for the

    game. I waltzed into the gym about 15 minutes late. I decided that instead of being

    embarrassed, I would play it off diva style. I tried to put a protective shield up

    around my emotions. I plastered my fake cheerleading smile and acted as if life

    was great. I acted cool and calm, until I saw him.

    Zach was sitting there in the bleachers. My heart skipped a beat. Part of me was so

    happy to see him. I hadnt spoken to him since school started and I thought maybe

    I could find out what the reason behind the connection I felt between me and him.

    I smiled at him and gave him a quick little wave, and then I noticed, he wasnt

    looking at me. He didnt seem to even notice I was there. His eyes were intently

    focused on one of the other cheerleaders, Leanna. My heart had sunk into my

    stomach. Had he already forgotten me? Was the connection I felt only in my

    head? Had I missed my chance with him? I felt so hurt. I didnt even think Leanna

    was available I thought she was with some other guy, Robert something.I guess I

    thought wrong.

    I got through the rest of the game with my fake smile and my phony

    cheerfulness. The last buzzer finally sounded. I was so relieved, I just wanted to go

    home and get away from the atmosphere of defeat. Our team might have won the

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    game, but I felt as though I had lost an even more important game, a chance at

    happiness.

    I sulked back home. I tried my best not to think about Cody, or Zach, or anything

    that would bring me down into the darkness. I wanted to let my mind go numb.

    I decided to hop on Facebook before I went to bed. I looked for pictures of the

    game and maybe a video of the halftime show, when I heard my IM beep.

    Hey

    It was Zach! I felt my heart start to flutter in my chest. I was being given a second

    chance.

    Hello ;) I said trying to be flirty. I thought the wink might have been over doing

    it but I was in no position to be subtle. I didnt think I would have this chance

    again.

    How are you? he asked. He was trying to start a conversation, which gave me the

    green light.

    Im doing ok, just kinda sleepy. I hit the enter button and panicked. Was that too

    much information? Is he going to think Im weird for sharing that? Or

    worsewould he think I didnt want to talk to him and that I was trying to find an

    excuse to get off of Facebook? I wished I could have taken it back but it was too

    late.

    Would you like to go to sleep? His response kind of confused me. Was he

    changing his mind or was he really that sweet and considerate?

    Honestly, Im fine for right now.

    Are you sure?

    I was not letting him go that easy.

    Promise. I replied.

    He took a while to send another message. I started to get a bit anxious. I wanted to

    tell him how I felt, about what had just happened to me and how I knew he was the

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    one to make it all better. I also wanted to know if he had an explanation for the

    strange empathic connection we seem to have. Then that wonderful ring came from

    my IM window.

    You know, I find you quite attractive.

    I thought I was having a stroke. It was like he read my mind! He was so forward

    that I didnt know how to respond. I sat there in shock for a second, trying to

    remember how to breath. I thought it would take months to get to this, not hours. I

    decided that if he was going to be forward I might as well be equally as forward.

    Thank you. Youre not so bad yourself. ;-)

    I could almost feel the joy I knew he was feeling.

    So darling, may I walk you to class tomorrow?

    DarlingSo sweet!!

    Sure sounds like fun.

    How could I turn down an offer like that.

    Are you sure you arent sleepy?

    I loved how concerned he was for me.

    No I lied. I was really falling asleep at the keyboard but I wasnt ready to tear

    myself away.

    Well maybe you should get some sleep darling.

    The way he said things made it impossible to say no.

    Youre so sweet. I guess I will get some sleep.

    Ill text you in the morning.

    Ok Good Night.

    Good night

    My head was spinning. I didnt know what to say. He did care about me! Suddenly

    all of the emotions I felt that hot July day at the beach flooded back. It was like the

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    dam I had built around my feelings had completely busted. This rush of emotion

    made me lightheaded. I finally decided to go to bed and sort it out in the morning.

    I had the most wonderful, yet confusing, dreams that night. I was being

    loved for real, treated the way I should be treated. But there was one emotion I

    couldnt identify. It wasnt quite fear, but more like the fear of knowing I should be

    afraid.

    Buzz Buzz

    My phone startled me awake. I hated to wake up from my wonderful dreams, but I

    had something even better waiting for me, a text from Zach!

    Good Morning Beautiful ;-)

    I felt an electric pulse flow through my body. His tenderness always took me by

    surprise. I was so happy I wanted to scream, but I knew it would wake everyone

    else in the house. It was then that I realized what time it was. 6:30am? Why was

    he up this early? He couldnt possibly have classes this early. No one really had

    classes before 9:30 except for nursing students and I knew he wasnt in the nursing

    program. This brought many questions to my mind but I decided to ignore them

    and focus on the positive things. I was about to walk to class with the boy who

    could potentially fix this hole in my life and solve this mystery of our sudden

    empathic connection. No matter where this afternoon lead I knew Zach would play

    a very important role in my life.

    I didnt have any morning classes, so I decided to get up and work on my

    project for my afternoon art class. I wanted it to look a little impressive incaseZach wanted to look at it. It was a drawing of two black silhouettes, one of a lion

    and one of a lamb, separated by a bright red heart. It had a thick black frame and a

    bright white background. Originally, this had been nothing more than my personal

    nod to Twilight, but now it seemed as though it held a deeper meaning. Why didnt

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    the lamb fear the lion? How did the lamb and the lion come to be so close in the

    first place? What drew them to each other? The depth of these questions frightened

    me for a minute. This was just a project for the art show, not a philosophical

    masterpiece. I wasnt a shallow person but I never thought about things that deeply

    unless the situation called for it. I snapped out of this quickly when I realized it

    was time for me to get ready for school. I took a quick shower so I would have

    plenty of time to decide what to wear. I stood in front of my closet for what

    seemed like forever. I wanted to look perfect but I had no idea what he would find

    attractive. I tried to remember everything I had ever seen him wear. There wasnt

    anything that would point to any particular style of clothing; just torn up jeans, t-

    shirts with obscure bands that I had never heard of on them and a strange fedora

    that I never saw him without. Another series of questions came to my mind but I

    had to focus. I tried on six outfits before finally settling on my blue jeans and a

    Hello Kitty shirt that was cut off right at my midsection, exposing my favorite red

    tank top. I figured if this was going to be a turning point in my life I might as well

    take it all the way, starting with not molding myself to what I thought guys wanted

    me to be. For the first time I would be myself.

    As I drove to school, I started to feel I strange mixture of excitement and

    nervousness. We had seen each other the night before at the game, but what if I

    wasnt as pretty as he remembered. Cheerleading uniforms do strange things to

    men. I tried to push away the negative thoughts but just as I was pulling into the

    parking at school, a face flashed in my mind, Zachs gorgeous roommateMarlene.

    Everyone at school knew she was seeing his other roommate, Warren, but I saw

    the way she looked at Zach. How could he live with a girl as beautiful as her and

    find a plain girl like me pretty. At that moment, I wanted to turn around and go

    home but then I looked up and saw him waiting for me.

    I took a deep breath as I turned off my car and grabbed my bag.

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    Make him like me for me. Make him like me for me. I chanted to myself. I didnt

    want to make another mistake. I walked over to him and his face lit up in a way Id

    never seen before. You would have thought he had just won the lottery, not that it

    would matter to him, everyone knew him and his roommates were wealthy.

    Hey Zach. I smiled. I didnt want him to see how nervous I was.

    Hello He gave me a little nod and a confident smile. Every time he smiled, I

    melted a little inside. I turned towards the building where my art class was held.

    May I carry your books? He held out his hand reaching for my bag. I tuned the

    shoulder with my bag away from him. I didnt want him doing anything for me,

    not yet. I wasnt ready to feel like I owed him anything.

    Umits ok. Ill just drop them off at my classroom and then well go for a little

    walk.

    He pulled his hand away. I could feel that he was disappointed and a bit surprised.

    I hoped I hadnt hurt his feelings.

    Im kind of the strong, independent woman type. Plus its really not that heavy. I

    quickly explained. A strange emotion that I didnt recognize flashed across his

    face. Then I felt it, a wave of arrogance mixed with understanding. What an odd

    way to feel.

    Shall we? he gave me a polite smile and turned towards my building.

    Ohumyeah.

    His formal speech always caught me off guard. I wished I could sound as eloquent

    as he did instead of a babbling idiot. I guess when your heart is involved it all

    comes out in moron.

    We walked in silence for a little while, both of us too nervous to speak. He finally

    broke the ice.

    So is that youre project? he pointed at the rolled up paper sticking out of my

    bag. I knew he would notice it but I didnt really think he would say anything.

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    Oh yeah. Its for the art show in May.

    May I see it?

    I pulled it out of my bag cautiously and started to unroll it. He held it at the other

    end. He examined it for a moment and then said something that I would have never

    expected from him.

    So the Lion fell in love with the Lamb.

    Youre familiar with Twilight? I stared at him in complete shock.

    More than youd think. He laughed a little to himself, like there was some kind

    of inside joke that I wasnt getting.

    Im a bit of a Twilight nerd. It seemed appropriate thatIwould submit this into

    the art show.

    He smiled as if he was suppressing a laugh. I blushed with embarrassment. He

    seemed to have an odd reaction to this. I saw a sudden tension in his eyes but it

    faded fast as he changed the subject.

    Whats that on your neck? He pointed at a mark left by a mosquito bite. He was

    a little too observant for my comfort, but considering the way I felt about him now

    I didnt mind.

    Oh that I unconsciously covered it with my hand. its just an old mosquito

    bite. I get them a lot. My mom said its because I have sweet blood. I giggled

    nervously at my own joke but he didnt seem to find any humor in it.

    Ok, well this is my classroom here. Ill leave my stuff at my desk and we can

    walk around campus if you want.Anything you want dear. He gave me an endearing smile.

    Dear...swoon.

    I walked into my classroom smiling from ear to ear. I dumped my stuff

    haphazardly on my desk and rushed back out the door.

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    So I began as we started to walk out the back door of the building.

    I guess you heard what happenedwith Cody and me I mean

    He gave me a sympathetic look. Not the same pathetic look everyone else gave me,

    he seemed to really empathize with me.

    I had heard the rumors and Im very sorry.

    Another small wave of understanding with a touch of arrogance rolled off him.

    This time it made me giggle.

    Care to let me in on the joke? he said with a teasing smile.

    Its nothing really, its just that youre really sweet and understanding, but I know

    part of you is happy. He stared at me with complete shock.

    Youre very observant. He looked a bit embarrassed. I didnt want him to be

    offended so quickly amended the thought.

    But the funniest part is that Im just as happy as you are, if not more so. I looked

    away with embarrassment. I felt the deep blush return to my face. As the blush

    returned so did the tension in his eyes. I looked around and realized we were at the

    front of the building again. He started to move closer to me. I leaned against the

    wall next to the front door. My heart was pounding in my chest. He leaned on his

    hand on the wall next to my head bringing him even closer.

    There is no way you could be half as happy as I am.

    He leaned in even closer.

    Are you nervous? He gave me a devious smile.

    No. I whispered. I suddenly had trouble breathing. So many emotions ran

    through me at once. Then he leaned even closer, our faces just an inch apart.

    How about now? I knew where he was going.

    Umm I closed my eyes as our lips met. It felt as though time was standing still

    just for us. His lips were smooth and cool pressed against mine. I could feel him

    gently place his fingers under my chin pulling me deeper into the kiss. His fingers

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    felt like ice against my face, but it wasnt unpleasant in the least. I never wanted

    this moment to end. He slowly pulled away from me. I refused to open my eyes,

    knowing that if I did it would mean the kiss was really over. I opened one eye to

    see if he was still there. There he was, the man of my dreams, smiling at me with

    the same indulging smile an adult would give a cute little girl.

    Iumwowumwe shouldum I couldnt make my brain form

    sentences. He had me completely under his spell. I finally formed a half-coherent

    sentence.

    We shouldumlike get toumget to know each other betterright?

    If thats how you wish to proceed then Im fine with it darling.

    Why is he completely coherent and I sound like a moron? Oh and he called me

    darling again, Swoon

    O-Ok then. I said trying to pull myself back together.

    He still held his indulging smile; you could see in his eyes how much he really

    cared for me. He stroked my cheek with the back of his hand, still cold as ice.

    Youre going to be late for class dear.

    This snapped me back into reality.

    Oh my god youre right. Um, text me, ok?

    Of course. He gave me one more smile and pressed his cool lips to my forehead.

    He turned to walk away.

    I love you.

    I turned to walk into my classroom. I was in a complete daze. I sat down and tried

    to sort out what I had just thought.I love you? How could I love him already? I

    knew this couldnt be right. These had to be rebound feelings, right?

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    Holy crap on a cracker. I whispered to myself. Everything was going so fast;It

    was difficult to process it all. I spent most of class thinking about it. It was a good

    thing I was mostly finished with my project because I was too preoccupied to give

    it any real attention. Class finally ended and I rushed back to my car. I was so

    happy it felt like I was dancing. I got in my car and drove home still in a euphoric

    daze.

    I was so happy when I walked through the door that I frightened my mother.

    Um so honey how was school?

    Simply wonderful mother! I exclaimed dancing my way to the kitchen to grab a

    water bottle.

    Why are you so happy? Is everything ok? She gave me a concerned look. I

    didnt know how to answer her. I didnt want to lie, but I wasnt quite ready to tell

    her about Zach.

    Yeah mom, everything is fine. I just had a great day at school today.

    She gave me a confused look and walked out of the room.

    I went to my room and put my phone on my desk. I wanted to be able to hear it if

    Zach did text me but I knew if I left it there while I studied on my bed then I

    wouldnt be tempted to text him first.

    I sat on my bed and opened my computer to download my political science notes.

    The clock said 6:45. I didnt feel like studying and I knew dinner wouldnt be

    ready for a while so I decided to call my best friend in the entire world, Noelle.

    Hello. I heard her rough, strong voice answer. Noelle isnt your average teenage

    girl. She is a tomboy to the extreme. We are exact opposites, thats why weve

    been best friends since 5th

    grade. She was the ying to my yang.

    Oh-em-freakity-freakin-gee!! I have big news!

    Angelbreathe She laughed her gruff chuckle.

    Whats his name? This time she tried to suppress her laughter.

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    What makes you think its about a guy? I accused her teasingly.

    Honey, as long as long as Ive known you, whenever you start a phone call like

    that, you either have a new guy or you found a shoe sale.

    I sighed. She was right, as always.

    Well, remember that guy Zach? The one that I talked to at the beach back in July;

    that I felt weird and happy around?

    Um yeah maybe I knew she had no idea what I was talking about but I

    continued anyway.

    Well last night he IMed me on Facebook and told me that he liked me!

    Thats great honey! I knew how happy she really was for me. She had been

    worried about me after the break down of Cody and Is relationship. She hated to

    see me torn up like that.

    But wait it gets better! He walked me to class today and we took a little walk

    around the building and we talked and he kissed me!

    Gee, you guys are moving fast. So, how was it? I spent the next hour gushing

    about every word, every look, and every touch. I told her about his oddly formal

    speech and his cool lips. I described how his icy fingers felt against my warm face.

    She listened carefully and added her input when she thought it necessary. I finally

    took a deep breath, indicating that I was finished with my crazy rant.

    Angel, Im so happy for you but will you promise me two things? She had her

    Big sister voice on. I sighed and braced myself for whatever she was going to

    say.

    Go ahead. I said rolling my eyes. I knew she couldnt see it but I knew she could

    feel it.

    She chuckled again.

    Well first promise me that youll be careful. He seems like a great guy but theres

    obviously something off about him. I just dont want you to get hurt again.

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    I knew she was right, but I couldnt quite put my finger on what it was. There was

    something familiar about him, like I knew him from another life. I promised

    myself that I would spend the next day really observing everything about him.

    Even if the mystery of our empathic connection had gone unsolved, I would figure

    out this mystery.

    I tried to study for a little while, but my eyes kept glancing up at my phone. I

    wanted to know what he was doing and if he was thinking about me. I replayed

    everything from today. I had never been that happy. I laid back on my pillow, a

    little sleepy but I didnt want to go to sleep without hearing from him. Just as I

    picked up my phone , about to give in to temptation and send him a text, my

    phone vibrated. It was him!

    Hello sweetheart, sorry I have been studying. How has your day been?

    I loved it when he called me sweetheart. I didnt want him to think I was mad so I

    started to talk about our wonderful afternoon.

    Its ok. I have been having a great day ever since this afternoon, how about you?

    I smiled to myself, wrapping myself in all the strange but wonderful feelings as ifthey were a warm blanket.

    You contributed to the absolute most perfect day of my life.

    This made me so happy I wanted to cry. I didnt know what to say. I almost didnt

    believe him. I needed conformation.

    Do you really think that?

    I threw my arm over my eyes and replayed every moment of our kiss while I

    waited for his reply.

    I know without a shadow of a doubt. He replied.

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    This was the moment I knew my life was complete. I was starting to fall asleep

    between texts but I didnt want to stop talking to him.

    Youre such a sweet guy. I texted him. I couldnt think of anything more clever

    to say. I looked at the clock that now flashed that it was 12:30am. I couldnt

    believe how late it had gotten. Time flies when youre in love I guess. I was just

    about to reluctantly tell him I had to go to bed but he interrupted my thought.

    Thank you darling I am so very glad you believe I am. It is late you need to get

    your sleep for tomorrow.

    I couldnt believe it. He always knew what to say and how I was feeling. No guy

    had ever cared about me like this before. I decided he was right. I need to sleep so I

    could be fully alert to observe him tomorrow.

    You are the first guy to care about whether or not I slept. Good night darling I

    will text you when I wake up

    He replied with a simple Good night my darling.

    I opened a new message and wrote I love you. I knew we were nowhere near that

    stage. I couldnt let my rebound emotions get the best of me. I knew I couldnt

    love him right now, but maybe I would someday. I saved the message in my drafts

    for when that moment did come.

    My dreams were all about Zach that night. I dreamed about our kiss. It was the

    best kiss I had ever experienced in my entire life. I dreamed about how our lives

    would be together. I also thought about how it would be if he told me he loved me.

    I wanted to know everything about him. I wanted to know for sure that I really

    loved him and that he was my soul mate.

    My alarm interrupted my wonderful dreams. It was 7:30am ; time to get up and get

    ready to see that man who had turned my world upside-down in just a few days. I

    immediately grabbed my phone