A/N: Yet another one-shot a bit different from the rest. It's alot more sentimental and emotional. But after two drafts with different styles, this is the way i like it best!
Lyrics are from Jesse McCartney's 'Beautiful Soul', Dukes are from England's Peerage
I don't want another pretty face
I don't want just anyone to hold
He put on dull brown colored contact lenses and combed a nerdy center parting down his dyed head of boring dirty blonde hair. Atop his nose, he placed a thick pair of degreeless round spectacles. He smoothed his shirt and pulled his jeans just a bit higher. He swiped his heavy backpack off the floor and pulled his hands through the straps, hitching it right up to his shoulders. Looking at his own reflection in the mirror, he could not recognize himself.
Gone was the handsome and enigmatic eldest son of the Duke of Somerset. In his place, stood a nerdy, unimpressive and entirely normal teenager.
I stood in the corner of the darkening room, silently observing the many couples swaying slowly to the slow song. It is perhaps, on Valentine's Day, that the loneliness haunts more acutely. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to keep out this reminder of lost happiness, trying to keep out the hurt of remembrance, trying to keep out the pain of firsts.
All our firsts.
I don't want my love to go to waste
I want you and your beautiful soul.
The first time we met…
I stuffed some of my books into my locker and rested my back against it to rearrange those left in my arms. When I looked up, a figure leaning against the wall, not far to my left caught my eye.
He was alone and he looked unfamiliar to me. His eyes were fixed on his schedule, and his eyebrows creased together in thought and confusion. Feeling my eyes on him, he looked up and regarded me.
So, sue me. I like staring.
Feeling slightly embarrassed at being caught staring, I swiftly averted my eyes and pretended to be busy arranging my books. When I ventured a look at him again, he lifted his head at the same time to look at me. It was not so much at being caught a second time, but his raised eyebrow and amused smirk did it. Flustered, I turned my head too quickly and received a smash in the face when the locker beside me flew open.
Talk about perfect timing.
Dropping my books onto the floor and lifting a hand to nurse my bruised nose, I heard a distinct snicker in front of me. With the distraction of a stinging nose, I failed to see him approach.
When I cracked my eyes open, he stood beside me innocently and gave me a big smile showing nearly every single stretch of his braces.
"So…how about you show me round the school."
"Yeah, yeah…my nose is so bright, just follow it."
You're the one I wanna chase
You're the one I wanna hold.
The first time he asked me out…
I lugged my books through the emptying corridor and finally made the last turn round the corner to the lockers. He stood there, waiting beside my locker. Deep in thought, he did not notice me arrive. He scratched his head frustrated, and slapped his forehead repeatedly.
It was too much 'angst' for me to take in silence, and I burst out laughing.
He jumped and glared at me.
"You gave me a scare!"
Still sniggering, I towed my bag pack to my locker and proceeded to shove the books in. After his exclamation, he was strangely silent. I turned to look at him and found him biting his lips and wringing his hands nervously.
"Hey! Calm down…you look like a nervous pre-pubescent boy about to ask his crush out! Wait…bad imagery…"
I smiled to myself and shook my head at him.
"Seriously, what's up?"
He drawled his words out.
"Well…as a matter of fact, you are the crush the quote, unquote, nervous pre-pubescent boy, is about to ask out. Though I severely disagree with the pre-pubescent part…"
He rambled on, but my mind was still stuck on his first statement. He noticed my face turning a slight shade of red and started to blush himself, ending off with a very lame, "So…yeah."
Deciding to make this very hard for him, I tried to quell my flush and put on a puzzled look and tapped a finger against my chin.
"What are you asking exactly?"
He squirmed and closed his eyes for a moment and I know that he had just asked the higher powers for help in dealing with this…temperamental female.
I smirked at his lack of better words and released a dramatic and exasperated sigh.
"I didn't know that boys these days have such poor social skills as to ask girls out in third person and charm them with vocab like er and hmm."
"Hey! So you knew what I was talking about!"
I rolled my eyes at him and gave him a smack on the head, ruffling his hair up.
"Stop it! You're messing up my center parting! So…is it a yes or no?"
"YES! You idiot!"
Then, under my breath, I muttered, "I've been waiting for you to ask for a month!"
He stopped jumping up and down and his smile faded as he started to gape. His eyes were frozen in an open stare and he was silent for a long while. I started to squirm under the awkward silence and squeaked out.
"You know what…I'll just leav…"
My words were cut short as he pulled me in and hugged me tightly, crushing me against him. He lowered his lips to my right ear and brushed gently against it before whispering.
"I've been waiting to ask you for two months."
I won't let another minute go to waste.
I want you and your beautiful soul.
The first time he told me 'I love you'…
He led me away from the restaurant and brought me to the edge of the hilltop. In the darkness of the night, the city sprawled beneath us was but a sea of blinking distant lights. In the dark, I could feel his warmth next to me and smell his cologne. He released my hand and when I turned to look at him, he was gone.
A second later, his arms wrapped around me from behind and he tugged me in closer into his embrace. I snuggled in and smiled contentedly as he rested his chin on top of my head.
"I love you."
I froze, barely registering what he had just said. His arms tightened around me as he tensed up at my lack of response. Then, I turned towards him and hugged him right back. My words were muffled by his sweatshirt but I knew he had heard me clearly when his heart started to beat faster.
"I love you too."
Out of the blue, he asked.
"What if I am not who I truly am?"
I shook my head and said, "I'll love you no matter who you are."
After a pause, I continued.
"Especially when you turn into a pig, you know I love bacon."
My attempted humour was lost on him and if I had looked up at that moment, I would have seen a sad smile on his face.
I know that you are something special
To you I'd be always faithful.
The first time he broke my heart…
I tried to call his cell phone again. He was not in school today and he did not answer any of my calls. Distractedly, I sat Indian-style on the couch and switched on the television, switching to the news channel.
"The missing eldest son of the Duke of Somerset, Lord Edward Beaufort, is reported to have been found. Investigators traced him to America where he resided with his retired nanny for three months in East Lansing, Michigan and reportedly attended public school at East Side High School. With Lord Edward's return, his engagement is set to take place soon with his betrothed, the Duke of Richmond's daughter…"
I felt like I slammed into a brick wall. The pain, confusion, shock striking through every nerve in my body.
He could not be my Edward.
But denial can only last so long. Faced with the facts and blatant truth that left no space for contradictions, I closed my eyes.
And I closed my heart.
I want to be what you always needed
I opened my eyes, and felt a single tear slide down my face. Looking back at the crowd, I felt my heart tear itself apart just a little more. Through the hazy layer quivering on my eyes, I took in the loving couples before me, I took in the scent of sweet love and I took in the sound of romance.
So that I can use them as a lock, use the cold absence of them to guard my heart. So that every time I feel my heart opening slightly, I can shut it even tighter. So that when I yearn for love, I will remember that it hurts.
Lost in my own thoughts, I did not hear the little commotion in the crowd. Brushing my tears away with the back of my hand, I turned to walk away from the corner. I rubbed my nose and made my way a little blindly. I walked into someone and mumbling a choked apology, I made to move to the right.
The person moved accordingly and blocked my path. I frowned and tried to move to the left. He blocked me again and I looked up to glare at him. Through the sheen of tears, I could make out a strangely familiar face. His eye and hair colours were different and he did not have a center parting or glasses.
He looked at me strangely as though he himself was suppressing tears. At my gasp, he knew that I recognized him. I turned away and tried to walk away but he grabbed me by the elbow and pulled me to him. I struggled against him but he only hugged me to his chest tighter.
"Let me explain!"
I shook my head fiercely and started to beat his chest with my fists.
"Let me go!"
I was about to step on his foot when he snuggled his face to my neck and I heard him sob. I froze in shock and stopped all struggles. He lifted his face and leaned his forehead against mine. Looking into his now cerulean blue eyes, I could see his sadness and the many words he wanted to say.
"Do you remember that you said you love me no matter who I am?"
I broke contact with his eyes and glancing down at my shoes, I nodded. He tipped my chin back up with his finger and brushed his lips gently across mine.
"Do you still love me?"
In a voice choked with unshed tears, I whispered.
"I love you."
Staring back into his eyes, I saw not tears and words anymore. Instead, I saw his heart.
And I felt my heart open again.
Then I hope you'll see the heart in me.