I loved him more fervently, more ardently, more obsessively than I had ever loved anything or anyone. And I was stupid, naive and downright ignorant enough to believe that that would be enough; that somehow, I could make him feel it too. Because a love so strong, well, it couldn't possibly be unrequited, could it?
Oh, indeed. I was beginning to discover that life was never quite so easy as my books had made it seem.

I first met Johnny when he supported my brother's drunken form down my front garden path. Our eyes locked over Ben's slumped shoulders, and he winked at me as we tried our best to drag him quietly. It didn't even cross my mind that the inebriated state of my older brother had anything to do with him- he was a year younger than Ben, after all. I only thought he looked a little dangerous, and hey, to a sixteen year old virgin, danger had never looked better.

Our next meeting was in the daytime, and that, I guess, was the beginning of everything. Because, when he walked into the bookstore and waved at me, looking totally comfortable with being spotted there, I almost couldn't believe it. He walked straight over to the poetry section, selecting some by Edgar Allen Poe with the careful hands of a kindred spirit, caressing the book's spine in a way reminiscent of Gollum and the ring. At my burning gaze, he looked up; a smirk present on his face that I was fairly certain was seen there on a regular basis.

"I'm off to a book burning, and my original is too loved and annotated to sacrifice," he said wryly, by means of an explanation. My heart was his.

It wasn't just that he was sinfully attractive. I mean, he certainly wasn't perfect and he was not conventionally 'hot', because really his lips were a little too thin and his face a little too cruel to be kind- it was his eyes that were magnetic. They were the kind of pretty that should look wrong on a boy, and I couldn't see how someone so hard looking could be blessed with such ridiculously long eyelashes, but he was, and he definitely knew how to use his looks to his advantage.

He was a brilliant public speaker, too, eloquent, witty and persuasive. I knew that I could never quite trust him for it, he was silver-tongued and golden-eyed, and manipulation was an art he had long ago mastered. They say that you have to learn to trust someone to fall in love with them, but that was not true, not for me, at least. I just learned to play his game.

My first date with Johnny was on a snowy November morning. Imagine ruins, covered in a blanket of whiteness; a lake, iced over and thick enough to skate on. He came over unexpectedly, and finding Ben still nursing his hangover (yes, the drinking routine had become a Friday night ritual) he asked me to come for a ride on the back of his bike. Of course, I said yes, because let's face it; I was powerless to resist a gorgeous boy who behaved so badly.

Naturally, we found ourselves testing out the ice- with me showing off the few figure skating moves I'd managed to achieve before we couldn't afford the lessons anymore, and him appreciating the shape of my chest in my favourite red sweater as he skated circles around me. I agreed to race him around, just the once, and inevitably, I was winning, so he grabbed my arm and pulled until we both stumbled.



"I don't like losing," he murmured, and I began to protest my indignation. But then, well, you know what came next. He kissed me, and all of a sudden, it didn't feel cold at all.

We 'saw each other' for three months after that, and boy, did I hate that term. I used to complain to my friends that seeing each other for more than a month or two was ridiculous, because everyone knew that any longer than that meant you'd probably never get serious. And Johnny had started making comments about my inhibitions, and it was obvious he wanted to know when we'd have sex, and I'm sorry, but maybe I just didn't want to sleep with someone who wasn't even my boyfriend! When I told Johnny that, I expected more of a reaction than the smirk I got. That night, he wrote the words 'be my girlfriend' in the steamed up windows of his car.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with Johnny, but I know that it was soon after that. And it was totally nonsensical, because he never called me, ever, and he changed our plans a lot, and he smoked even thought he knew I hated it, but still...I found myself slowly making him my everything. Like, my whole life revolved around loving him, like he was some sort of addiction that I didn't want to shake. Knowing him like I do, I can't believe I ever thought the feeling would be mutual.

For our six month anniversary, he took me back to the ruins on his bike, and gave me a Polaroid picture of the two of us, with a poem written on the back in silver gel pen. It is what I would later describe as a lust poem, because Johnny had written it, and Johnny never knew anything else. And it was full of innuendos and irony and acerbic wit, and I had not really allowed myself to admit until then just how sharp his intellect really was. I had sex with him for the first time that day, at four in the afternoon, hidden by the crumbling walls and summer flowers.

Johnny was the type of boyfriend who gave you the thrill of disappointing your parents. For me, it was the first time they'd ever looked at me with disapproval, and I loved it, because knowing that they thought he was wrong made him all the more right. To hell with their notions of society and dreams of me marrying an accountant/lawyer/doctor (to provide me with what they could no longer give). Johnny was none of those things, although he could easily have risen to the top of any profession he set his mind to. He was seventeen years old, he was a poet, he was a musician, he was extraordinary and brilliant- he was like no other.

I loved everything about him; I catalogued every facial gesture, every variation on his smirk and every nuance of expression. In fact, I am pretty sure that in my seventeenth year I could probably spend two hours extolling the virtues of his rare smiles- I only wish I had such extensive knowledge of my schoolwork. Part of me wonders how I, the girl voted most likely to succeed, managed to go from being an Oxbridge candidate to being in the verge of dropping out that year- however, the rational part of my brain told me that love had been my downfall. I skipped so many classes that year that I'm not even sure that my literature teacher knew my name. I couldn't help it though, and if I could have I doubt I would, because in my eyes he was just so wonderful.
An hour with him made any sacrifice worthwhile.

I was blissfully happy at the time, but have you ever heard the saying ignorance is bliss? I never thought it'd actually be the truth, not for me, because never in life had I been anything near ignorant. However, love blinded me, and his egregious flaws were left unremarked upon, because they were what made him perfect. He was ridiculously mysterious when it came to his family, but 

when drunk he would tell stories about fishing trips with his father and visits to his grandparents' ancestral country home- stories that made me wonder what kind of cloth he was really cut from. And he seemed fiercely protective of his little sister, whom I had met early on in our relationship, at which point I noticed their intense bond. He refused to talk about her after that, though, telling me not to get too attached, in his aloof way. I never brought her up for fear of upsetting him, because I loved him, and I wanted him to be happy.
I thought he loved me with a similar intensity.
Imagine finding out that he did not.