So the story goes: Julia Gallo meets Daniel Summer. They glare. They flirt. They hate. They love. They marry. They make babies, bringing poor unsuspecting souls into the world.
Now, Julia Gallo had a best friend named Claire Manser. Claire Manser happened to approve of Daniel Summer; his best friend, Ale Anderson however, she did not like. She didn't bother hiding that certain fact either, no matter how charming and suave he seemed to be. Fortunately, he did not cease his incessant badgering of flowers, chocolates, or anything equally expensive he sent her way.
Eventually, Claire Manser lowered her guard and cautiously allowed Ale Anderson into her world. Julia Gallo could not have been anymore gleeful for the both of them.
Then you know how the story ends. They're both happily married with healthy doses of arguments every now and then. Excitement was shared between the two couples when the now Claire Anderson received news of her first child. Julia became the godmother of the newborn. Jared Anderson, Ale Anderson announced in a proud voice of a new father.
Okay. Now you'd think the story was really over, right? Wrong. They had to keep going.
Claire and Ale Anderson thought, would it not be exciting if Jared had a baby brother or sister? Claire happily replied, I hope it's a girl. I've always wanted a little girl.
She got a little boy instead.
In the Summer residence, Julia and Daniel were having similar thoughts. It was time to expand their family. I hope it's a boy, Julia thought contentedly, looking at Daniel. He'd have your smile and eyes.
She got a little girl instead.
All right. So when they say the story is over, it's a lie.
It just keeps going.
I've known him all of my life, and that fact will stay true until the day I die. Imagining a life without him was hard, and you can all blame my parents for that little vital piece of information.
It's difficult to explain the history of our relationship. You can say we were best friends when we were little kids, but come on. Does that really count? Can you really tell who your real friends are especially when you'd forget by the time playtime rolled around?
My answer to that is yeah. You can. We knew we were best friends; we knew that we got each other's backs. He'd beat up any guy who made fun of me and I'd return the favour by doing the same. Our relationship just grew as years went by, our knowledge and awareness strengthening our bond instead of weakening it.
But one day it changed. He came to my birthday. I'll never forget that cold look in his eyes, as if I'm a menace in his life and he wanted me out. I didn't know what it meant back then, but looking at it now, I'd remember the numb hurt spreading throughout my ten-year-old body.
"I don't need anyone like you in my life anymore."
I knew those words, but I didn't under the context. He didn't want me? But weren't we friends? I could hardly choke the word out. Holding his gaze was next to impossible with the way he was staring at me. His eyes held no warmth. The familiar gleam that made me smile was gone. He told me I was useless.
The hurt I felt was ridiculously unexpected. I don't know how long I was staring at him. I don't know how long he was standing there. But I started as he turned his back and walked away from me.
The hurt swirled within me, forming something dangerous. I did not allow myself to cry; even back then, I was too proud. Instead, I focused on the tortuous betrayal. Other friendships obliterated I could deal with. But his…. No. I just couldn't.
That was how the beginnings of contempt formed. That day on my birthday, I opted for staring at him hard, rather than talking to him. Disbelief was still tinkling throughout my system—maybe he was just joking? He walked out that door without a goodbye that night. And I knew he was for real.
Pining for him was absurdly out of the question so I didn't bother demanding an answer the next time I saw his hard demeanour. Granted, by the next confrontation, I managed to calm down a few octaves and I was still hoping that he realized his mistake and we would be friends again.
God, I was wrong.
He laughed in my face. Can you believe that? He had the strangest expression before it turned into disgust. He pushed passed me, passed my shocked face, and passed the scrapbook I made for him.
Yeah. It was on.
I carefully locked any feelings remotely close of friendship I had ever felt for him. It was tricky. I slipped up the first few months whenever we got the pleasure to see each other again. The cold vibe from him was still there, but he didn't bother hiding his contempt anymore. He'd glare at me whenever we caught each other's eyes, and soon the dirty glares turned into verbal assaults.
I would be lying if I said it was all him. I had my share of verbal bashing. But oh, what always got to me was that smirk of his. One side of his lips would lift into that crooked smile whenever he saw me. The action would seem harmless, except for the arrogance radiating from him. He knew that smile bothered me, which was why he kept doing it.
Somehow, our verbal attacks entered the physical arena. Unlike our friendship era, nothing was playful about the way we handled ourselves. All actions rotated around aggression. But really, now that I look back at it, I figure the hostility was mostly coming from me. His scorn was still there, but he seemed to find everything between us amusing, if nothing else.
Naturally, once I realized this, I was pissed off. That's the bluntest way to put it. We were entering puberty, my hormone level was increasing, I hated my period, and he did nothing to make my life any easier.
In fact, it was quite the opposite with the way his arrogance managed to triple. Suddenly he thought he was the hottest piece of ass that ever walked on the planet, with his whole 'strutting his stuff like he owned the place' bit. It didn't help that every girl he passed by gaped. I could almost see his head growing with every pair of eyes that turn to his direction. I shudder every time I think of it.
Our arguments turned even more dangerous as we delved deeper into puberty and toward teenage years. His teasing mockery distorted into insults based disgustingly close to the truth. Sometimes I find myself unable to respond due to my disbelief that he actually had the audacity use our old friendship and turn it into a big fat joke. Despite my cold hatred for him, I would never toss around our memories as children as if it meant nothing. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it, because I do.
I never allowed myself to venture to that forbidden topic, but his heartless jeering tore open the closed wounds I desperately stitched to keep myself from hurting.
Nauseatingly, I realized why it hurt so much whenever he said I never meant anything to him, especially then, when he told me upfront. I didn't know whether he was putting on a show for his friends that he brought over from Spain, but I was speechless.
God. It's so messed up, now that I think about it. Even when I loathed his existence, just the reminder of him sending me into a tumult, I managed to—stupidly—gain a crush on him.
Yeah, you read right. I—the girl betrayed by her best friend-turned-enemy—managed to feel flustered in his presence. It was disgusting. I literally counted the seconds to my departure. It was like having two people inside of me. The rational and much more logical side of me wanted to get at him just to see that damn smirk slip from his lips. The dumber and hormone-influenced split of me was blushing, stuttering, and felt the need to know how his arms around me felt.
I told you it was absurd. I had to beg my parents to let me leave or else I would have gone mad. I felt his eyes on every inch of my body and I wanted to die. That's how intense his existence was for me. Without him saying anything, my body would respond automatically, as if—
All right. I'm going to stop there before I regret anything.
After I became conscious of the fact that I actually felt something else for him other than detestation—it is twisted, I know—arguments happened infrequently; and on some reunions, I even escaped the night without having to say anything to him besides the obvious hello. Even then my words were clipped and detached.
Of course, he noticed this. He had the guts to confront me about it. Can you believe that he actually asked why the hell I was being such a cold bitch? I would never forget the hostility in his voice; his eyes were unemotional and the swirling mockery and hate I was so used to seeing was nonexistent. He pulled me to the side, his face utterly serious for once, and he wouldn't let me go until I answered him properly.
How am I supposed to answer a question I didn't know the answer to myself?
I told him to let me go. He refused heatedly. So I socked him in the face.
Wait! Before you go off about that unnecessary action—I admit, that was childish of me—you have to know that I was desperate. I was cornered and I could not think. I couldn't even breathe because he was so close. He surrounded me and that was not good.
Being near him prevents me from forming any coherent thought. In fact, my mind rids itself of any rational thought I've ever had in my life. Wouldn't you have done the same to stay sane when you're on the brink of insanity? Exactly.
Predictably, Mom saw me in action and told Dad. They both tag teamed me and I was grounded for a month. I had to apologize, even when they had no idea why I punched him in the first place. Straining those words out was a punishment enough, but no. Apparently his face was too precious to be touched by the likes of me and I had to cater to him all night since he claimed he couldn't see with his right eye. He lied. So I punched his other eye when no one was conveniently looking.
It was a good thing that he lived all the way in Europe; I never saw him more than ten times a year. I skipped through life happily because life was beautiful. I'd say that I'm not a bad teenager once you think about it. Compared to other kids my age, I am an angel.
So why, why, why did he have to come?
I nearly passed out when I heard his voice. I spent one glorious year without seeing his face because his family was far too busy to book a flight and fly over, or vice versa. Honestly, my initial reaction was just plain disbelief. But then came the confusion . What… was supposed to happen now? I waited for him to set the bar.
I wasn't disappointed. The subtle arrogant mockery I was familiar with laced with his tone whenever he spoke to me. It was just me; it always has and I'm sure it always will be. Instinctively, my temper flared and the old hate came rushing back. A year without seeing his face did me good. I got rid of every speck of my supposed 'like' for him; I don't even know why I thought I lo… liked him. It was ridiculous; I should have known that he never meant a word he said to me. He used me like a dirty rag, and I unconsciously let him.
The dull, almost nonexistent ache was deep within my chest, but I was able to ignore it successfully. His reappearance in my life triggered the memory box I so carefully pushed to the back of my mind. You would think that after a year I would have just forgotten about everything and moved on in life. The thing is, I can't move on. It was as if a strange force always brought us back to each other—no matter how resistant or reluctant we are—reminding us—me—that he meant more to me than anything.
That's the wretched part. I've convinced myself that I didn't harbour any feelings for him other than "hatred", but would that be right when a part of me—a stronger part of me—wished for something else?
Yeah, I didn't think so.
If only he just kept on hating me. I'm not even asking for a lot. I wouldn't ask for our long ago youth friendship, because that's just next to impossible. If he stuck with his murderous glares and stabbing insults instead of slowly treating me differently, then I wouldn't have the need to kneel over and grab my chest in a futile attempt to hold myself together.
This was worse than anything he ever caused intentionally. It's frightening how the thought of someone taken away from you forever can do to a person. It was like a critical void that needed filling—and he was the only one that can.
That thought scares me, because what if he can't satiate that empty space. What will happen if he never tells me that I'm a hot-tempered girl anymore? What would I do if I never get to hear him say my Belle ever again?
God, this is a mess. A boy I'm apparently keen on hating somehow turns into the boy I need to function in life. But who knows, maybe it's always been this way. Sometimes it takes something bad to realize what you can't live without.
All right, I'm stopping with the angst and all that depressing tone. How about we start from the beginning?