Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Symposium of souls

So I was on and came across this guy,
and I was instantly pulled in.  He's fantastic and I love his stuff, and it sort of inspired me to do something a little more animalistic/darker than I normally do.  That, combined with my fascination of Plato's idea that man was originally created as a being with two heads, four arms, and four legs that was separated by the Gods and cursed to forever search for their perfect other half has spawned this story.  This is part one of... um, probably three, but I might stretch it out further.  It'll take a little bit to really get to the intention of this little short story/novella, but background is key when making something worth reading, so bear with me.  Here's my attempt, hope you enjoy:

          I'd spent almost every free moment I had waiting for him to return here.  I'd been let down day after day and I'd convinced myself that this was the last time I'd do this; I'd have to squash my hopes of crossing paths with him again.  I'd only seen him a few times, and only ever from a distance.  I don't know if you believe in soul mates, but the idea of a perfect match being created and then released into the world only for you to have a minimal chance of meeting them is so astounding that the second I laid eyes on him, I became a believer.  He was rough and unkempt, but made it look so intentional that I found it easy to believe that he wanted people to have the impression that he was a bum.  Of course, for what reason, I hadn't the slightest idea.  His backpack was held together by duct tape and years of dirt and scum, and it was obvious his clothing was vintage.  Real vintage, like the stuff you find in your parent's attic, not the pretend shit that you can buy at Goodwill or those crappy "thrift" stores; no, this was the kind that Mom and Pop stowed away years before they brought you into the world, knowing that they had to grow out of the old ways they loved so much, but hoping that in the future, when they wanted to reminisce, they could simply go upstairs and rummage through their things to spark a memory that was long buried inside them.  Of course, he had probably jumped the gun, and out of a rebellious attempt at sticking it to them, decided he was going to claim the long lost things of their past as his own and sport them with indignant pride.
          I wasn't close enough to catch a whiff of him, but I imagined he didn't take the hobo look so far that he smelled of mildew and rotting flesh.  He looked clean and I got the distinct impression that he would smell like one of those Abercrombie stores, maybe not so obvious though, or at least I hoped.  His super dark hair was definitely not natural and his attempt at bed-head made him look surprisingly like a Rob Pattinson wanna-be, but not so much so that it repulsed me.
          The first time I saw him, he was reading under a tree in the quad and I literally laughed out loud to myself because he exuded this typical cry for attention and was taking this feeble stab at making him look "so retro" and one of those misunderstood guys so in touch with his feelings.  I was hardly about to give him a second glance, but he must have heard me mocking him from afar and looked up, a determined and serious grin spreading across his face.  His gaze locked on mine, making me feel this uncontrollable shiver inside my soul, however corny that sounds.  We shared more than the normal few seconds contact before the sounds of our surroundings encroached on our moment, but that was enough to ignite this irrepressible yearn I had for him, one that I didn't even know existed until the moment I realized he knew exactly what he was doing.  Thinking back, it sort of creeped me out to think that he knew he could reel me in in such a way, even though I initially found him quite cliché.
          After that moment, though, he got up and I didn't see him again for a few days.  At first, I tried to tell myself I was only returning to that spot because I wanted to, but I had only been there at that time, on that day, in that spot, because of other unforeseen circumstances that I knew weren't normal occurrences, like class getting canceled because the room where we met was flooded.  When he finally returned, I found myself trying not to stare at him, but instead, giving him a reason to stare at me, and I was hit with the realization that I had been jonesing for him, like he was a drug I was addicted to and I had been unable to get the necessary fix.  I'd deliberately worn an exceptionally attractive and revealing shirt and had taken the moment when he first sat down to slowly strip off my light jacket.  I used my fantastic peripheral vision to see that I had snagged a second of his attention, but he quickly diverted his eyes back to whatever brooding bromance novella he was so engrossed in.  I had come prepared, however, and knew that anytime he flipped a page, his head would be turned just so that he could see me out of the corner of his eye.  I waited, calculating my next move, trying desperately not to make it so obvious, so when my small window appeared, I decided I had to reach into my bag of tricks and pull out the classic hair-fall move.  I reached up and pulled out the furiously chewed-on pencil that acted as the pin in my French-twist hair grenade, allowing my long locks to explode out of itself and fall perfectly down my back and over my bare shoulders.  In the past, my hair had always proved a valuable weapon for me; its long, dark sleekness seemed to draw the attention of everyone around, males and females alike, and I'd been told more times than I could count how similar it was to the cartoon girl, Emily the Strange.  It was something I took pride in, to say the least, and I'd perfected using it to my advantage.  And it certainly didn't let me down this time.
          This time, I didn't hide my obvious attempt at making sure he saw me.  This time, I took charge and stared him straight in his eyes.  This time, I wanted to make an impression that would make him want to come back again for another glimpse.  A small and inviting, yet eerily dark grin crept over his lips, and I found myself becoming slightly aroused by the unknown yet enticing meaning behind it.  Before he could break our locked gaze, I reached down and swept up my books in my slightly shaking arms and stood from my perch on the giant stone steps.  Without looking back, I slowly sashayed away from him and into a hopeful future.
          But when I returned the next day, he wasn't there.  Nor was he there the day after or for the rest of the week.  Naturally, I assumed I'd made too bold a move and began to overanalyze and break down every gesture that I made, finally deciding if he couldn't handle the amount of fancy I purposely radiated, he certainly wasn't worth any more of my wooing.  Like any girl with a crush, because let's face it, that's exactly what this was, I spent a few nights out of my week coming up with completely unrealistic scenarios where he'd sweep me off my independent feet and make me realize exactly what I'd been missing in my life.  But getting my hopes up wasn't going to make the impact of rejection any less harmful, even if there was really nothing put out there to reject in the first place.

To Be Continued...

Hope you'll come back next week to read part two!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wedding Poetry

Time ticks by
I sit and stare
So many things are there
I can't figure out why

I can't make myself get going
A list of things to do
Others misconstrue
None of them truly knowing

I'm ready and anxious
But unable to jump on it all
Not enough help (I'm not a catchall)
No motivation to finish

Not because I'm scared
Or because I'm changing my mind
I really want that new-name line signed
No more waiting, I need it declared.

Only a few more days
Just so ready for it to be finished
Not because I want things rushed
But because I want to say

"Hi I'm Mrs. Cain,
I'm married to this wonderful man.
Our wedding was grand
Our life will be anything but plain."

I'm not hesitating
I'm not trying to rush out of fear
I simply want the day here
So I can enjoy it, radiating and beaming.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

damsel part deux

                She looked down at their still-clasped hands as tears streamed down his face.  She wasn’t quite sure why she wasn’t crying.  After everything they’d been through that day, she should’ve had snot running out of her nose and down her chin.  He’d always been the strong one, and maybe that was all changing with the huge life-altering experience they just went through; they were still completely oblivious to what lie ahead of them.  Honestly, they’d already been through so much that there were many times she doubted they would make it.  They got through their last year of high school, all of the crazy and difficult college years, through the first five years of marriage, and through her entire pregnancy and they were still together and still very much in love.  Sometimes she wondered how this wonderful man practically fell into her lap; well, how she fell into his, actually.  Ever since he saved her from herself, their love and life had been a non-stop, down-hill snowball, falling faster and growing larger with every rotation.  It took her a long time to really fall in love with Damien, but from the moment he told her how great she was and how he’d been waiting for her, she knew they were meant to be in each others’ lives. 
He was the perfect man for her.  He doted on her in ways she’d never experienced before.  He was always protecting her, mostly from herself, but also from people who tried to encroach on what they had.  He gave her an unconditional love that took her years to reciprocate to the same degree he expressed.  He provided for her in any and every way he knew how.  He knew when to give her space and he knew when to push her to open up to him.  He was a gentle and enthusiastic lover and she longed for every moment when their bodies made contact, even if in such a simple way as holding hands.  Before he came along, she’d never believed in God, but simply by the way he looked at her, he helped instill faith in her, and it was something she’d never realized she was missing until it filled her from head to toe.  Her recently-found adoration and love for God had to yet to match what she felt for Damien, but she hoped someday she’d become comfortable with her belief  to say that they were equal, however inconceivable it happened to seem to her at this point in her life.
When it was finally time for them to move to the next level, she knew, without any questions that she had been one of the lucky few to find her soul mate.  Sure, it sounded corny, but Tiffany knew that he literally made her whole.  She said yes to marrying him before he even finished asking, and she’d never seen him smile so much in her life.  Things weren’t perfect by any means, they’d definitely hit snags and bumps along the way, but with him in her life, none of it affected her like it would if she had to endure on her own.
“Tiff, sweetie…” Damien said, pulling her out of her memories, “is everything okay?”
She titled her head a little and put a warm and loving smile on her face.  She reached up with her free hand and stroked his cheek, wiping away the lingering tear stains, and eventually pulling him towards her.  She closed her eyes as he leaned into her, and she inhaled him.  Though they’d been in the hospital room for hours, he smelled as he always did, fresh and manly, a deep mixture of herbal and seductive that gave her goose bumps.  She waited patiently as his lips found hers and when they finally made contact with one another, her stomach did a little flip; he was still able, after all this time, to give her butterflies.  His warm mouth enveloped hers and they melded together, fitting one another perfectly, as they had since the first time he kissed her so many years ago.  It wasn’t the same sort of crazed, sexually-driven excitement that had originally coated their touch, but had become familiar and wonderful and tender, something that occurred after years of experiencing that person in so many different ways that it hurt thinking of anything that might make it disappear.
She pulled away from the kiss and looked in his gorgeous blue eyes.  “I am fine, darling,” she finally said.
He smiled at her and cradled her cheek in his hands.
“I love you so very much,” he said, a hint of a tremble wavering over his bottom lip.  “I hope that everything turns out okay wi–”
“Sshhh,” she said, pulling him into her for a strong and soul-warming embrace, “she will be just fine.  There’s no need to worry.”
And she believed that.  She’d accepted that things were in God’s hands now, and all she could do was wait and see his plans for their life unfold as need be.
“I know, I know,” he mumbled into her shoulder as he clutched to her with all his strength.  It was rare for her to see him so vulnerable, but he’d helped her grow and build her own courage up for so long that she knew exactly what he needed of her right now, and she was more than willing to help him through this.
They suddenly heard the hospital room door creak open, and both their heads shot up, impatiently waiting for who or what came through it.  A metal cart with a large plastic container on top was wheeled to the foot of her bed.  She could see movement inside the tub and her heart swelled with anticipation.  The nurse reached down toward the movement and Damien was instantly hovering, gazing down as the nurse scooped up their newborn baby girl.

                She was just as beautiful and breathtaking as her mother was, and it took every ounce of his being not to burst into tears and shouts of joy at the same time.  She was wrapped up like a cocoon and all he could see was from her neck up.  Immediately, he longed to hold her, touch her, protect her.  She had a round little face with chubby cheeks and her eyes were shut, softly slumbering, taking quick breaths in and out.  She had little hair on her head, but what was there was dark brown and long. Her skin was a pale peach color and looked softer than anything he’d ever seen.  It shone with a newness and innocence that was almost indescribable.  Her nose was perfect and her lips pulled up into an involuntary grin.  Her bottom lip kept moving in and out in a sucking motion, anticipating her first meal.
                “Would you like to hold her?” the nurse asked as she gripped his little girl in her firm arms.
                He couldn’t form words, but shook his head yes as he suppressed the tears welling up in his eyes.  The moment she was placed in his cradling embrace, he looked up at his wife.  The love of his life.  His little girl’s mother.  She smiled at him and for the first time, he saw soft tears beginning to stream down her face.  She was radiant; even hours after going through child birth she could still make him crave every ounce of her.  She was the mother of his child and he wanted to run over to her and squeeze every ounce of their combined love and friendship into this new little being.  This woman, who he’d experienced so much with, had incubated and brought into this world an amazing tiny version of them.  Every time he looked at her in the past he always saw someone he loved and admired with every ounce of his being and he never imagined there being room for anyone or anything else on that same level of emotions.  But this child, their little baby girl, from the moment he laid eyes on her, had jumped from a previously unseen kick through his wife’s belly into a viewable, touchable, loveable mini-Tiffany, and immediately was welcomed in their bubble of love, life, joy, excitement, nervousness, and who knew what else was to come. 
                He’d involuntarily tightened his grip on his daughter and she squirmed in his arms.  A little frightened, he let up and looked down at what he’d helped to create.  This little nugget, a combination of him and Tiffany, ignited something within him that he couldn’t even put into words.  He felt different, not in any particular way he could describe, but it was as if he’d been given a new responsibility without having to be asked or told.  It was almost like a birthday; you turn one year older and nothing really changes physically, but mentally you know you’ve moved onto a new stage in life, something you just know and accept without any instructions or discussion.
                He slowly walked over to his wife’s bed and she sat up a little straighter, seemingly nervous and a little scared.  He knew exactly how she felt, but he also knew that they would get through this together, like they had everything else in their lives.
                She gripped his free hand tightly and he leaned down so she could see her daughter’s face for the first time.  Her other hand shot to her mouth as she tried to stifle a cry of pure, overwhelming pleasure.
                “Oh my goodness, Damien,” she whispered, “look at her.  She’s, oh my, she’s perfect.”
                “I know Tiff, I was thinking the exact same thing.”
                She finally dropped her hand and reached out to her daughter.  She softly stroked her cheek and the little being in his arms made a soft coo and nestled deeper into his warmth.  He instantly smiled at such an innocent movement and he felt the air around them begin to brighten from anxious and a little tense to eager and ready.
                He looked over at Tiffany who was smiling just as brightly as he was and asked, “Are you ready, babe?”
                “I think so,” she said softly as she readied her arms to cradle their child.
                Once she held their daughter, they stared at her for what seemed like hours.  They spoke softly to one another about every viewable surface of her and when they finally built up enough courage between the two of them, they gently unwrapped her to get a good look at the whole package.  They carefully examined her, making sure she had a full set of digits and when they found themselves looking down at a now-open eyed little girl, they could no longer suppress the overwhelming and bubbling-over ecstasy she instilled in them.
                “You know what this means, right?” his wife softly spoke while gazing down at their still unnamed baby girl.
                “No, what?” he asked, curiosity taking over him for a moment.
                “You can’t only look out for me anymore.”
                He slowly looked over and took in his wife fully.  There she sat, holding their child, looking angelic and dazzling, yet he knew deep down she was still the same fragile, damaged soul she’d always been.  He knew he’d helped her help herself repair over all these years, but he was sure a part of her worried that he would no longer be her protector or her warrior.  But she was wrong.  He was made to love, care for, and guard her.  He would always be that for her.  Now that they had a child, his job was just stretched wide enough to include his new little family, and he accepted that responsibility with open arms.
                He grinned at her, and when she returned his affection he knew at that moment that she understood.  She was part protector and warrior for their child too.  It wasn’t just him, and because of that, because she was longer just a helpless, scared damsel in distress, but instead a mother, a wife, a lover, a friend… they knew they could get through anything that life and God put in their path.  They would raise and nurture this baby girl together, as equals.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


          He watched her longingly as she happily made her way around the party, much like he had since the first time he laid eyes on her in fourth grade.  She'd been short and chubby then, clutching to her pet gerbil.  It was the second day of school and Tiffany barged into the classroom in tears.  She explained to a roomful of watching classmates that her mom had gotten a cat and she was petrified that she'd come home to a mangled and ultimately dead gerbil if she left him alone and defenseless.  She pleaded with their teacher to make Gerb, as she'd named him, the class pet as the only means of keeping him alive.  Even then, her practiced skills of reasoning and logic were ones to be pitted against used car salesmen.  It'd only taken her ten minutes to convince their teacher that the classroom, up until then, hadn't been whole, and that the gerbil was the key to making the atmosphere more welcoming.
          He blinked away the memory and focused on the now.  He'd loved her for years, though she didn't have a clue.  He'd watched from afar as she grew older and became a beautiful young woman.  He'd been lingering on the outskirts of their shared clique as she'd finally gotten boobs, the ones that eventually helped deem her "the class whore."  All he could do was stand by idly, afraid if he stepped in that she would banish him from her life altogether.  So he just accepted her for the girl she'd chosen to become.  But she was very unlike the typical stereotype, because she also doubled as their class valedictorian, something that kept him remaining hopeful for the eventual realization that she was worth so much more than what she gave herself credit for.  She wasn't one to tolerate labels or generalizations, and had made it her life mission to push every boundary she encountered.  Aside from being known for her perfect 4.0, everyone in their school knew she'd sleep with any guy who gave her the time of day, something that made her smile when those who accused her of being too sexually advanced for her age also realized it was a difficult task to accomplish.
          "Hey Damien," Tiffany said as she plopped into his best friend Dylan's lap, who was sitting directly beside him.
          "Hey," he responded, immediately chomping down on his back teeth as Tiffany leaned into Dylan and whispered something in his ear.  Dylan's eyes widened and he let his hand rub further up her thigh, getting dangerously close to slipping under the hem of her mini skirt.
          She jumped up suddenly, leaving Dylan's mouth agape in confusion as she made her way through the french doors into the exposed living room, laying her charm on another hopeful and willing victim.
          "Damn, she makes me crazy," Dylan spoke softly, more to himself than Damien.
          He quickly arose and followed after her, leaving Damien by himself to smoother in his own silent rage.  He watched as Dylan approached Tiffany, who was now splayed out on the poker table that was surrounded by six serious male players who were gladly accepting the interruption.
          He could hear a few cheers of "Strip!  Strip!  Strip!" beginning to echo through the room, and he felt his muscles tighten in sickening bitterness as he struggled to control the fury aching to burst out of him.  He couldn't allow her to expose herself so openly to a roomful of pathetic and drooling strangers.  Sure, they were classmates, many of which she'd been with intimately, but if she did this, she was coming face-to-face with a whole new level of embarrassment and shame, a level that only God knew how it would affect her.
           She stood upright on the table and taunted the crowd, encouraging their enveloping chant.  Even Dylan had taken a front row seat and looked up, licking his lips in anticipation.  She began to reach around herself, pulling her already transparent lace shirt up over her head to allow an unobstructed view of her gorgeous upper body.  He'd often fantasized about that body, and although the sexually-driven male inside him longed to see more, the moral, sympathetic side of him pushed out of the chair and sprinted inside.  It wasn't about being a hero or her savior; he cared for her, loved her, even with all her baggage and her sordid past.  When he reached her, she was beginning to unzip her skirt, though its smallness didn't leave much to the imagination while it still remained on her.
          "Tiffany!" Damien shouted over the loud, bumping bass driving the music that circled around the room.
          She looked down and winked at him, thinking he was egging her on.  "Hey there!  Liking the show?" she teased.  She started to tug her skirt down and Damien felt his pulse quicken, knowing he had to act now or everyone was going to get a full-on view of Tiffany's goods.
          "Stop!" he yelled at her, pleading in his eyes for her to just get down and away from here.
          A couple guys, Dylan included, shot him hateful glares, and Tiffany yanked her skirt down to the ground with a mischievous grin, unveiling her matching lace panties.  Without thinking, his instincts took over and he reached up and grabbed hold of her calves.  With all his might, he yanked her downwards, and she stumbled forward, right into his arms.
           "What the fuck are you doing?!" she yelled, as the crowd booed and the music changed to something more dancey.  She struggled against his stronghold, but he situated and pinned her under his left arm as he snatched up her clothes.  He fought against the still-angry crowd and her almost naked body as he dragged her through the party into a more secluded room.

          As the bedroom door banged shut behind them, he finally released his grip on her and she flung herself away from him.  He dropped her clothes on the ground beside her, but she wasn't about to give into him and do what he wanted her to.  She was livid.  She was boiling over and was so afraid to turn around and confront him, unsure if she'd be able to control her anger with him.  She liked Damien, a lot, and although he'd been one of the few guys who she'd yet to get with, this was making her think failing at her goal all because of him was almost worth it.
          "Tiffany, what were you thinking?"
          She spun around, knowing she'd yet to compose herself, but unwilling to let him speak to her as if she were a child.
          "I was thinking I wanted to liven up the damn party!  I was thinking I'm a grown ass woman and can do what I damn well please!  I was THINKING how is any of this your fucking business?"
          Her chest was heaving up and down and she fought to catch her breath.  Damien had taken a few steps backward, palms out in a sign of apology and surrender, but it didn't matter to her.  She knew it'd be very difficult to accept any apology he might offer.
          "Look," he spoke slowly, licking his dry lips, "I wasn't saying it's my business what you do.  I just," he paused, seemingly searching for the right words to say, "I didn't want all those people looking at you like some dirty skank!  I was trying to help you maintain some dignity."
          "It's not your place to decide that!" she yelled back.  "And who gives a shit what people think of me or how they perceive me?"
          "I do," he whispered, pain written all over his face.
          For some unknown reason, his response shocked her, and she found herself stepping toward him, being drawn to him unlike she'd ever been to anyone before.  In the past, her attention was captivated simply by physical attraction.  It wasn't like Damien wasn't a handsome guy, he just never expressed any interest in the attention that she was ready and willing to give.  But at this moment, she was seeing him in an entirely new way, and she couldn't quite understand what had suddenly clicked within her.
          It was true, Tiffany had been with almost every guy in her graduating class, and she'd always viewed it as an accomplishment.  Her family knew she was promiscuous, and she was always safe, so what real threat did her actions pose?  Many thought she'd made a name for herself, but labels didn't mean jack shit to her.  Along with being a slut, as so many people referred to her, she was also the smartest person in her small-town school's history.  She'd had a perfect 4.0 since kindergarten, never failing a single assignment in her entire life.  She wasn't a genius or anything, but school was something that came easily to her.  So when she hit high school, she needed a challenge, something to keep her occupied and sure to enjoy every minute of the time set out before her.  She told herself she'd get with every guy in her grade by graduation.  In what way, it didn't matter.  The only rule she had was that she'd never be with a guy who was already spoken for, and she kept true to that 100%.  To many, and especially those who knew why she did what she did, she was immoral and deemed a sex addict.  But she knew that this was yet another thing she was good at.  She did love sex, who the hell didn't, but she also loved accomplishing her goals and pushing people's buttons.  This was just another way for her to stick out as the success she was.
          Damien watched as she got closer to him and he looked nervous.  Tiffany was hoping to put a little fear in him, but all she really wanted was to understand why he looked at her so much differently than everyone else.
          "Why?" she finally asked, as she stopped only inches from him.
          "Um, why what?  Why do I care?"
          She nodded her head in acknowledgment and tried to make her face less harsh, more open to listening to the puzzling answer she was sure to come.  She expected some sort of stalker-ish answer like, "I want you all to myself," or "I've been secretly watching for you months and want you to become my girlfriend."  The thoughts repulsed her, any idea of a relationship, being tied down, not something that had ever appealed to her.
          "I care because you're a person, not some sex bot.  I can get how maybe you like sleeping with all those guys.  Trust me, if I had girls throwing themselves at me like guys do to you, I probably couldn't resist it either, but..." he trailed off, relaxing and taking a small step forward, immediately putting her back on-guard, "I don't think that's really the person you are inside.  I'm sure you have some reason for why you've done what you have, not that any of it is a bad thing.  I mean, you should be allowed to live your life however you want.  I'm just saying, you are more than just sex and a slutty attitude."
          "Says who... you?  You don't know me."
          "O-of course I do," he stuttered.  "You're that girl in fourth grade who saved her gerbil from an untimely death.  You're that chic from seventh grade who picketed in front of the school cafeteria for a week because they refused to provide an additional vegetarian menu for students who didn't eat meat.  You're that girl from ninth grade who helped me with my biology homework every Thursday after school for the entire semester because I couldn't understand that teacher's German accent."
          She laughed out loud and then clamped her hand over her mouth, trying desperately to show no emotion towards the memories he ignited within her.
          He looked down for a moment and then softly said, "You're the girl who scraped me up off the ground outside school our junior year, after I got into a huge fight with my best friend Jared.  You walked with me to my house and told me that everything would be okay."
          She fought back tears as she remembered how much their lives had intersected for so long.  But instead of allowing herself to get lost in the girl she used to be, she spat at him, "Yeah, and what have you done for me?  Where were you when I needed someone to save me from myself."
          As she spoke the words aloud, something within her snapped and she realized that what she had been doing wasn't something to be proud of.  Challenging oneself to a contest where the winner has the most notches on their bedpost wasn't something she would proudly put on a resume or offer up as a prideful time in her life to her future children.  Before she could think any deeper, he spoke to her again.
          "You're right... I haven't been there in the way you probably needed.  But I've always been here, waiting for the day when maybe you'd stop this foolishness and realize that you are worth more than a few one-night stands or crazy stripping sessions.  You're an amazing person, Tiffany, and I've never known how to tell you before.  I've been scared that you'd reject me and push me away.  I've been unsure of how to approach you because I didn't want you to think I was just another one of those people judging you.  I've just been waiting in the background until you noticed me."   He paused and she looked at him, really looked at him, and saw the boy who used to share their seat on the bus during elementary school.  She saw the boy who stood up to bullies for her during their first year of middle school.  She glimpsed the boy who hit puberty and began growing and changing into a cute guy during their freshman year, but who she knew would never take her up on her inappropriate advances, so she'd always just written him off.  She finally really saw the guy he was now, the one who had become her hero to her helpless damsel in distress.

Part Two to come next week!!