Just like a star across my sky,
just like an angel off the page,
you have appeared to my life,
feel like I'll never be the same
Corinne Bailey Rae – Just like a star
I remember seeing him for the first time at that store where he works two years ago. He works at a professional photo shoot place right across the street from my bus stop. It was on Christmas Day. I was rushing to the bus stop praying that I hadn't missed the bus when something caught my eye. I looked across the road to see a man about two years older than me carrying a little boy on his back. The boy was crying as if today was his last day on earth. Before I knew what he was doing, he ran towards me.
"Hey, did you lose a child?" he asked me.
Aah, I see, so the boy had lost his mum. I shook my head.
"Ah, well, thanks for your time," he gave me a small smile. That was it. That was the moment that I knew that I had fallen in love with him. Not purely because he was gorgeous or anything (not that he isn't), but because of the good act that he had did for the child. Every day after that, I had always stole glances just to look at him from across the street whenever I was waiting for the bus. Pathetic, I know.
I stared across from the bus stop into the store for the billionth time in thirty minutes. He was still playing with the photo shots in the album. What was I expecting? That, somehow, miraculously, the guy I was in love with for two years would suddenly fall head over heels over me ? It sounded even more stupid when I put it that way. I didn't doubt that he even knew I existed. Something happened that made my heart tear. A young woman had just entered the store. I was sure she had spotted him because she kept staring at him flirtatiously. Before I knew what was happening, she touched his forearm which drove me absolutely insane. My mouth dropped open. He wrote something on a piece of paper and passed it to her with a grin on his face. I turned the other way, facing the wall, trying not to let tears run down my face.
"Hello? Earth to Victoria. Anyone there?"
Everyone else at the table was staring at me.
I didn't realize that I had not been listening to a single word anyone at my table was saying to me at lunch. I snapped back to reality the moment I heard my name. "Sorry?"
Helen. My best friend. She's very pretty, even prettier than me. She would be the one who'd get all the guys' attention at parties etc, while no one paid any attention to me. And I was fine with that. I love her because I know I can trust her with anything in my whole life. The only person who knows about my secret love was Victoria. However, I had not filled her in on this yesterday's encounter I had witnessed.
"I asked you, what's with you? You seem so out of it today." Her voice was full of concern.
"Oh, well … nothing." I avoided looking at her eyes. I swear, best friends have a secret radar stuck somewhere in their brain that can tell when you're lying. Everyone went back to their own conversations.
"It's not nothing, what is it?" I could feel her eyes boring holes in my head.
"It's just.. that.." Oh well, I decided to tell her. I needed comfort anyway. "Well, you remember, the photography guy I had a crush on?"
She slowly nodded, unsure where I was going.
I told her everything. I didn't even realize that tears were running down my face. I wiped them stubbornly, angry at them that they were giving me away at how weak I was feeling. I looked up at Helen. Her expression was unreadable.
"Where did you say this guy works again?" she asked, cocking her head to one side.
"Oh, um, on Ann Street, opposite the bus stop." I was confused. Why did she need to know? I was about to ask her why but the look on her face froze my insides. I turned around. Oh, great. It was Kelly Anderson. More commonly known as the schools' most popular girl. Every guy has either slept with her or has fantasized sleeping with her.
The sneer on her face told me that she had heard everything I said. And surely, if I knew her well enough, she was definitely going to be doing something. She walked up to me and whispered in my ear.
"Ann Street, hey?" My heart dropped. She gave me a fake smile and walked off.
"Oh, God, Helen, do you think she'll do anything?" I asked, already knowing the answer anyway.
"No, of course not. Well I'm off now, I have to .. go to the library to fix things on my assignment" she hurried off without looking back. Great. Even my best friend wasn't comforting. I stabbed my food for the rest of lunch.
It was the last period for the day. I looked outside, not concentrating on my work. It was raining pretty hard. I was not looking forward to waiting at my bus stop. One thing was for sure. Kelly would definitely be making a move on him. And I was almost certain that he would love her back. I mean, she was perfect physically. No guy could resist her. Tears threatened to come back up again, I bit my tongue to stop it.
I made my way to the bus stop. I could feel my heart breaking apart, bit by bit. It was raining even harder now, and of course, silly me, I didn't bring an umbrella. It was good for me though, because I would be able to cry to my hearts content without anyone noticing. I stood there at the bus stop, afraid to look into the store to discover what I would uncover. I couldn't stand it any longer, I stole a glance. He wasn't there. He was obviously with Kelly, probably taking her to some fancy dinner date. Any fragile strands that had been desperately trying to keep my heart together fell apart effortlessly. I couldn't hold it anymore. The tears slid down by itself without me even noticing. It suddenly stopped raining. No wait, no it didn't. I looked up to see an umbrella covering me. He was holding it for me. My heart skipped a beat.
"Hi," he smiled the exact same smile on the first day I saw him.
"Hey?" I was shocked to say the least. Wasn't he supposed to be with Kelly? What happened?
"I don't believe I've introduced myself, my name's James, yours?" he held out a hand.
Still confused, I slowly took it.
"Victoria," I answered back.
"So Victoria, I talked to your friend Kelly today" His eyes glittered hinting that he was amused. What was so funny about this?
Oh, God, did he want more information about her? I couldn't possibly do that. If he asked me to do that, I don't how I would survive the rest of my life. Kelly had won. I didn't care anymore; my heart was numb with anguish and hurt.
Trying to make the pain short, I said hurriedly, "Oh well, she's really pretty and nice and you'll love her. I know you guys will make a great couple. Well, I have to go now" I turned around, intending on just roaming the streets for another couple of hours. I saw the umbrella drop and felt hands wrapping themselves around me. I was dumbfounded. What. Just. Happened? I turned around, and ended up facing James' chest.
"How could she and I make a great couple if I don't like her?"
My mouth dropped open for the second time today. "Sorry?"
"Don't you get it? I've loved you very much since the first time I saw you two years ago. And every single day, you just stand there at the bus stop, never looking at me. I always wonder if you ever think about me or not. I always try pushing myself to go talk to you, but every time I do summon up the courage, another voice in my head tells me that you will never ever like me."
"But .. why would you like me?"
He looked at me as if I was insane. "From the very first day I saw you when I was giving that child that piggy back, you just looked so innocent and beautiful. I knew that you weren't like other girls. You were different. I knew you were the one."
"But – but, what about Kelly and the girl this morning?"
"The lady this morning? Oh! That was my sister. She kept bugging me to give her my best friends' number because she's interested in him. And Kelly did come to my work, trying unsuccessfully to ask me on a date. But, someone else also came before her, today, it was Helen."
"Helen? My best friend Helen?"
He nodded. "And oh my, did she give me some attitude. She came in and started yelling at me for mistreating you and calling me an ignorant bastard. She told me that you had loved me since the start." His voice suddenly became a whisper and his eyes became serious. "I want to hear from you though, is it true?"
I looked straight into his eyes and before I could change my mind, I tiptoed on my toes and crashed my lips onto his. The kiss seemed to go on forever; I managed to pull myself away from him to whisper "yes, I do love you."
It was still raining very hard but I didn't care, I didn't know how long it was that we stood in the rain, just hugging each other. Not another word exchanged between us. But I knew that my heart wasn't broken anymore. That I'm the happiest girl on the planet right now. And it was all because of James.