Contemplate the way he looks at you when he thinks you can't see. Catch the look out of the corner of your eye, smile to yourself and pretend that you haven't seen it. Try to convince yourself it means nothing to you. Refuse to let it mean anything to you.

Close your eyes as he accelerates down the highway, ten – fifteen – twenty over the speed limit. Let your hair blow around in the breeze from all the open windows. Feel the speed in every inch of your body, but shut down the fear. Shut it down and lock it out and all there will be is freedom, sweet freedom, unlike anything you have ever known. Treasure this moment with him, because at the end of the day it may be all you have.

Don't hurt him. Don't get hurt.

And for heaven's sake, don't fall in love.

Don't sit next to him on the train, don't get too close, and try to pretend you don't know he's wishing you would. Look out the window and admire the view, the ancient trees and art-like graffiti on the whitewashed sides of abandoned buildings. Don't laugh, don't smile so much. Don't let him see how happy you are to be with him today. Be his friend, and nothing more. Ignore the way he's looking at you; just pretend to be engrossed by everything flitting by your window.

Don't hurt him. Don't get hurt.

And if you know what's good for you, don't fall in love.

Step out into the sunshine, spread your arms and spin around, nearly bursting with joy, so much you could sing. Spot the bridge and run to it. Look over the edge, and you can see the river, the water running over the rocks in the way you like. Walk with him. Revel in the smell of carnival food, laugh off the carnies who mistake you for his girlfriend, or even his wife. Catch his hand as the two of you struggle through a crowded area; pretend you don't want to never let go of him. Answer your phone and, as you stand in the quiet corner he has led you to, pretend you don't want to stand close to him, to lean your head on his shoulder. Don't let him see that you are failing yourself and the rules you only just made for your own heart. Walk with him in the street, in the sun, don't fail to notice the way he looks at you, the way he looks for little things to make you smile. Feel as if, on the top of the ferris wheel, you're on top of the world. Shut your eyes tight – you're a bird – open your eyes and there he is, looking out at the trees and the clouds, he has never looked so beautiful before.

Don't hurt him. Don't get hurt.

Don't you dare fall in love.

Sit next to him on the train, abandoning your convictions not to get too close. When you get to feeling sleepy, lean your head on his shoulder and don't protest when he puts his arm around your shoulders. Drink in the scent of him, the warmth of him, the feel of his fingers against the bare skin of your arm. Realize that it's too late, that there's a feeling here that you just can't force yourself to face. Talk quietly with him about inconsequential things, watch the world go by the window, with that realization in the back of your mind. Nestle closer to him, whether in affection for him or defiance of yourself or both, it doesn't really matter anymore. Treasure this moment with him, because at the end of the way it may be all you have.

Don't hurt him. Don't get hurt.

Hold his hand when you get off the train; admire the bright sunshine and soak it in. Walk close together, slowly, reluctant to get to the point when he has to drive you home. When he turns to kiss you, let him – for godssake, let him kiss you – and completely give up on that last shred of resolve you had to not give away your heart. Rest your head on his shoulder, let him put his arms around you, and stand there in the sunshine. Surrender. Don't beat yourself up about it; how were you to know he would be so wonderful?

Hold him close. Breathe. Memorize the way he feels, with him holding you. Memorize this moment, because at the end of the day, it may be all you have.

Don't hurt him. Be sensible, you know nothing else matters at this point. Love him as much as he deserves, if you can manage it. Forget about your own fears, for you were brought up to be tough, to be brave, and you can prove it. Remember, though, that he may not be as tough as you. Love him, but don't hurt him.

Don't hurt him.