I put my cell in my pocket and wondered why I didn’t wear a sweater with a hood. I was annoyed that I couldn’t completely hide from the world but I was running late that morning and had to grab the first thing out of the closet. My jean’s pockets would have to do today. I’d forgotten my hat too so my hair was in a messy ponytail. Thank goodness the weather was calm and there was no wind freezing my ears to a lovely shade of reddish purple. I reached the parking garage and pressed 3 on the elevator. When the elevator hit the second floor, I began feeling nervous. Seconds before the doors opened, I was overcome with a very unfamiliar feeling. The doors opened and there he was.
“Marcus” I said as I walked out of the elevators, smiling. He put his arms around me and time seemed to stop.
“Hi Lily” he whispered in my hair. I don’t know how long we stood there in that embrace but I never wanted to let go. I pulled myself away and looked up at him.
“Hi. How are you?”
“Good.” His eyes didn’t leave mine. “I’m just really glad to finally meet you.” He had a gorgeous smile.
“I know. It’s about time right?! You want to go grab some coffee?”
We got in the elevator. I was suddenly so nervous with him next to me and I couldn’t understand why. I put my hands in my jeans as we talked and walked to Starbucks. I couldn’t focus on our words, only our voices mixing together like music. Words became insignificant as I tried to figure out what it was that I was feeling. This man was my best friend so why was I so nervous yet safe with him at the same time? We had talked for months so the conversation was nothing new. There was something in the air and it was no longer oxygen. I was breathing in air that changed the entire foundation of my being. I knew that as of this moment, I was no longer the same.
When we reached the coffee shop, he held the door open for me. I blushed but blamed on the weather. Our words now filled the shop and floated above the heads of those who were huddled on the couches, studying for their midterms. I nodded to my friend D behind the counter and we took a seat. Our legs touched under the table and I shifted.
“Why can’t you look me in the eye?” he joked.
“What, I can look at you!” I replied, even though I was still concentrating on the white cup in front of me as if the answer to world peace was about to appear.
“No…you can’t” he said gently as he brushed his hand against mine.
“Yes, I can. See!” I said defiantly as I looked straight in his eyes and we both laughed. There was something in his eyes that was so intense that it left me breathless. He took my hand and brought it up to his lips.
“Marcus” I whispered, unable to pull it back.
“I just can’t believe how beautiful you are” he said as I pulled my hand down and held onto my coffee cup for dear life.
“Yeah, whatever” I tried to laugh but it didn’t come out right. “You’ve seen my pictures before..and no, I am not beautiful” I argued, as I always did when someone tried to pay me a compliment. Didn’t people know that I knew the truth about myself? I was nowhere near beautiful and it made me uncomfortable hearing it from other people.
“Yes, you are” he said as he took my chin and made me face him.
“No, I’m not…but anyway! You were saying?” I tried to get him back into the conversation. I knew that he had to go soon and I didn’t want to spend the rest of our time arguing about beauty.
We talked a few more minutes. His knee brushing against mine. His eyes piercing mine with emotion whenever I was able to look up. I didn’t understand what was going on. This was Marcus. I shouldn’t have been feeling this nervous around him but the way he looked at me made it impossible to feel normal. I tucked a strand of loose hair behind my ear and looked at my phone.
“What time do you have to pick up Stephanie?” He was going to pick up a mutual friend of ours before they headed out to karaoke.
“I have to actually leave very soon,” he said with a heavy sigh.
“Want to start walking back?”
I focused on the snow on the ground. I knew that he was focusing on me. Words flowed freely between us but there was a charge in the air that was indescribable. It overwhelmed and confused me. We reached the parking garage and got in the elevator. The doors opened on the 3rd floor and the next thing I knew, I was being lifted off the ground. Marcus had picked me up and I had to hold on to his neck so that I wouldn’t fall off.
“Marcus” I squealed. “Come on, put me down!” I was giggling so hard that it was hard to catch my breath
He carried me to his car and then put me down. He gave me a hug, his arms holding me tight. His lips brushed my cheek and without letting me go, his lips touched mine.
“Marcus” I tried to protest but my heart was overriding my brain. There was a battle breaking out inside me and on the outside, I was having the most passionate kiss of my life. Time stopped as our lips met again and again with such a need that it was almost too much to handle. I managed to push him away and told him we couldn’t do it. It was almost like I was watching us from the outside.
“I know. I know” he was saying. I was pushed against his car and our bodies were touching everywhere, as if we were two magnets, unable to pull apart.
“We can’t do this” I said again, my voice shaking.
“I know” he said as he leaned in again.
“No” I pushed him away further now. “I have to go. We can’t do this”
“Lily..I’m sorry. I shouldn’t but I can’t help it. I love you.”
“I have to go,” I repeated and walked away before I changed my mind.