SUMMARY: Present situation: I slept through most of my first class, I had one possibly sprained ring finger, and when I slammed my phone against my nightstand in frustration, it snapped in half. Enter cute guy clad in jeans, a down jacket and a free hugs sign, and we've got ourselves an interesting day. ONESHOT.
by Unsure Chances
As Murphy's Law states, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This phrase, however trite it may be, defined my life. Let me start out by telling you that I've never been a firm believer in fate. Honestly, it all seemed too cliché, and I wasn't in the mood to believe happy endings existed. On the other hand, I'd always been completely and hopelessly doomed where luck was relevant.
fate (feit), n.
1. The ultimate agency that predetermines the course of events.
2. The inevitable fortune that befalls a person or thing; destiny.
3. The end or final result.
4. A calamitous or unfavorable outcome or result; death, destruction, or downfall.
luck (luk), n.
1. The chance happening of fortunate of adverse events; fortune.
2. Good fortune or prosperity; success.
3. One's personal fate or lot.
I was having a God awful, crumby day. In fact, it was at the point where all I wanted to do was crawl back under the dark blue covers of my twin-sized bed and sleep for the rest of my life. Instead, I was walking my way through my college campus to find something to eat before my second class of the day. Usually, when in desperate need of a shoulder to lean on, I had three options:
a) Charlie, my boyfriend.
b) Tess, my best friend.
c) Sarah, my sister.
Today, I only had one option.
d) None of the above.
"Why," you ask?
Conflict a) I broke up with Charlie two weeks ago. He was a lying, cheating, scumbag and I had no interest in laying eyes on him again. That was a year of my life down the drain.
Conflict b) Tess and I were currently no longer on a talking basis. After I broke it off with Charlie, she went into a fit about how he was the one and I shouldn't be so quick to judge. Yeah, well I wasn't interested in marrying a moronic cow. And as far as I was concerned, anyone that cheats is a moronic cow. End of story.
Conflict c) Sarah was off in Hawaii for her honeymoon. And damn it all to hell and back if I didn't admit I was happy for her. She was with the love of her life, having the time of her life, but all I could think about was how much I needed her. Was that selfish?
Present situation: I slept through most of my first class, I had one possibly sprained ring finger (from rushing out the door this morning), and when I slammed my phone against my nightstand in frustration, it snapped in half.
So there I was, watching the misty rain as I nursed my injured right hand deep inside the pocket of my jacket. In my other hand I held a warm cup of hot chocolate and an empty bag with only the few remaining crumbs of a blueberry muffin. I took in a deep breath and blew it out, watching the white puff of air exploding from my mouth. Another gulp of hot chocolate, and I was on my way to the library to waste time before my next class began.
"Excuse me?" A rough, male voice called out behind me. "Excuse me?" He said again, this time brushing my right arm lightly. I turned around, sighing. Of all the people rushing around campus, of course he needed to talk to me. Just. My. Luck.
"What?" I snapped, unintentionally. Let's just say talking was not on my repertoire for the morning.
"Sorry," The corner of his mouth hitched up, and it took all my strength not to punch him in the gut and run away. That's when I really looked at him. A dark grey beanie covered his short, curly brown hair, allowing ringlets to peak out underneath. He was bundled into a puffy jacket and some dark jeans, but his cheeks and the tip of his nose were tinted a light pink from the cold.
The most obvious piece of his ensemble, however, came to me last. In his hands sat a cardboard sign with the words FREE HUGS etched out in black marker. I could have cried.
Before I could turn around and head off, he nodded at my cup of hot chocolate. "When is chocolate ever better than sex?" He asked, his expression dead serious. I just stared back at him, contemplating whether or not to run away yelling "We've got a psychopathic creep on our hands!" He took my silence as encouragement. "You can have chocolate in front of your mother and she won't mind."
I looked down at the near-empty cup, and then back at his face. You have got to be kidding me.
My response came soon after, although I couldn't quite decide whether the bitterness that rolled off my tongue was related to my bad mood or my realizing that the guy was a creep. Probably both. "My mom's dead." I replied, before turning around and stomping off.
"Whoa… I wasn't expecting that. Wait up." The boy called after me, tugging at my hand. "Seriously?"
"No," I answered. "But you're really weird and I'm not sure I want to talk to you." I pulled my hand back and chucked the cup and empty bag into a nearby recycling bin. I wouldn't be able to finish the drink after that whole spiel, anyway.
"Okay, I'm sorry. You're right that was weird. Usually I'm better at this kind of stuff, but you just look really sad." I stopped and turned to him. His expression was soft, and he pushed aside the few curls that peaked out from under his hat.
"Aren't you cold?" I asked, hesitantly.
He shrugged. "I can deal with it. I have to, anyway. My New Year's resolution requires it."
"I'm going to guess your New Year's resolution is somehow related to free hugs," I assumed, pulling some gloves from my purse, careful not to slam my finger.
"I don't have any classes on Thursdays," He eyed my warm gloves as I put them on. "so I give out free hugs for most of the day."
"So why have I never seen you here before?" Don't get me wrong; I was still in a pissy mood. But I was beginning to realize that talking to someone actually helped. Besides, I was killing time and that was my original goal, wasn't it?
"The campus is huge." He looked around, as if to justify his point. "If I stayed in one spot, I'd be missing a large portion of the student body."
"That makes sense," I almost smiled just thinking about it. Free hugs. You can't tell me that's not funny, or odd at the least.
"Who doesn't need a hug, right?" He added.
I looked down at the phone in my hand. Well, at least, the phone I thought I had in my hand. "You just sit out here all day?" Then I realized that my phone was on my desk broken in half, and no longer possessed the ability to function correctly, much less the ability to tell me the time. I frowned again, the reason for my bad mood crashing right back into me. "Do you have the time?" I asked before he answered my previous question.
"Actually, I've already hugged more than eighty people. I lost count a couple back, but that's pretty good isn't it?" He smiled triumphantly and I nodded in agreement. He then pulled his phone from his pocket, "It's 10:53."
"Already? Crap," I started, sticking a thumb over my shoulder. "I have to get going. I already missed my first class of the day."
He smiled, "Okay, yeah. Hopefully I'll see you soon."
I waved and headed off in the other direction.
I was too far away to hear his voice calling after me, telling me I forgot my hug.
Tess was leaning against the wall across from my classroom when I left.
Her long auburn hair was pulled into a low ponytail, cascading over her left shoulder. I sighed, turning around the corner.
"Alyssa?" I grimaced, turning around to face her.
"Hi." I pulled my purse higher on my shoulder.
"Um, look. I know you're upset. But I really miss you." She glanced at a passer by and then looked back at me. "And I'm really sorry. You were right. He's an ass."
I shook my head, closing my eyes. "Why the sudden change of heart?" I asked.
She shrugged, "I just really want you back in my life. And I realized you were right. He cheated on you, I shouldn't be supporting him." She looked down at her feet, a telltale sign that I knew meant that she was struggling not to cry. When she looked back up, her eyes were watering. "You were right. I don't know what I was thinking."
For some idiotic reason, the only thing that I could think of was the FREE HUGS boy I met earlier that morning. I smiled lightly.
"Plus, I miss my roommate. You've been avoiding me and I can't handle it anymore," Her voice cracked. "Chinese Food Monday isn't the same without you."
Then, I nodded, tears threatening to stream down my cheek. I pulled her in for a much-needed hug, digging my head into her shoulder. "Your hair smells really good."
She smirked, "I got a new shampoo and conditioner. Glad you noticed." She chuckled, because it was a long-running joke between us. A while back, we had been sitting at home with nothing to do when she decided it was only fit to play truth or dare. Which, as petty as it sounded, ended up really interesting when Tess was at the concocting end. She had dared me to go outside and run up to the first guy I saw -in only some girls boxers and a bra- sniff his hair and tell him it smelled like my grandma's rose garden. Turned out that was how I met Charlie, but that was really beside the point.
She grinned, and I turned away.
"I'll see you at home." She formed a heart with her hands and then pointed at me.
"I love you, too." For the first time that day, I was happy.
On my way back to my apartment, I made a quick stop at the college bookstore.
"I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't think you can measure life in terms of years. I think longevity doesn't necessarily have anything to do with happiness. I mean happiness comes from facing challenges and going out on a limb and taking risks. If you're not willing to take a risk for something you really care about, you might as well be dead."
- Andrew Schneider
I spotted him across the courtyard giving a girl with short brown hair a bear hug. I smiled, breaking away from the path and walking over to him.
"Hey," I greeted as he turned to face me.
"Hi," He smiled, and his green eyes twinkled.
Without thinking twice, I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him in for a hug. When he responded, wrapping his own arms around the small of my back, my entire body warmed up.
Well, I had to hand it to him. He was a good hugger.
Which reminds me…
"By the way," I started when I pulled back. His hands had started to turn a light shade of purple, and he shoved them back into his pockets. Taking the gloves from my purse, I handed them to him. "I figured if you're going to stand outside when it's about to snow, you might as well try to keep warm."
He looked down at the gloves and smiled brightly.
"I couldn't take them," He shook his head. "Do you know how expensive these are?" I held the gloves out to him. They were dark grey with the letters CU (for Columbia University) sewn in the top. The joys of a college bookstore.
"I did buy them," I pointed out and shrugged. "Let's call it even."
"How so?" He grabbed the gloves from my hands, ripped the tag off and pulled them on. "Oh, God. This is better than-" He stopped, biting back his words. "I mean, these are so warm. I've been meaning to buy gloves but never got around to it."
"What are they better than?" I teased, laughing for the first time that day.
"I made you laugh, I made you laugh!" He called out in a sing-song voice. "Everyone, I made the most beautiful girl laugh!" He announced, followed by some catcalls and applauding. Did I mention that I hate college?
"Oh, my God." I looked down at my hands, a flush creeping up my neck. "That is so embarrassing."
"Nuh uh…" He hugged me again, and my cheeks heated even more. Then, a melody began to hum from his pants pocket, and he looked at me.
"Go for it," I smiled, partially relieved that the attention shifted for a few seconds.
"Y'ello?" He answered after flipping the phone open. "Oh, hi Tess. Yeah, here she is," He handed me the phone, "It's for you."
I looked at it in confusion before bringing it up to my ear. "Tess?"
"I called your phone but you didn't answer. I was walking through the courtyard back home and I hear this guy say something about making a beautiful girl laugh and I smiled because it was sweet and then I saw that it was Adam and I thought 'Aww, what a cutie' and then I saw that it was you and what have I MISSED?" She screeched into the phone, babbling off incoherently, before sucking in a long breath.
I pulled the device away from my ear, "How do you know Tess?" I asked, cocking my head to the side.
He smiled, folding the corner of his sign back and forth. "She's in my Sociology class. We completed a project together."
"Tess, my phone's broken, but I'll see you at home, okay?"
"What? No!" Then, after a moment, "Fine, I'll let you two lovebirds get back to talking."
"Love you." I grumbled.
"You better fill me in later-" She started, and I hung up, handing the phone back to Adam.
He chuckled, dropping it back into his pocket.
"Adam Lawrence." He stuck out his gloved hand, the corner of his mouth hitching up.
I shook it, "Alyssa Henderson."
He stopped mid-shake and his eyes widened.
"No way." He sputtered before repeating, "No way!"
I didn't understand. "What?"
"Not Charlie's Alyssa Henderson?" He adjusted the FREE HUGS sign in his hand, before looking back up at me.
"Oh, boy." I shook my head. "Well, not anymore." I sighed.
"It's a small world, isn't it?" He laughed out of spite. "He's in my friend's Chem class." He started to pull something out of his pocket. "Personally, I'm not into that kind of stuff." He looked up at me again, "I'm majoring in screenwriting," He added, almost as a side note. "But somehow he found out I was doing this whole free hugs thing and gave my friend a note to give to you." He sucked in a breath. "He told me to set up shop here because you pass by every day. He said to give the letter to a blonde girl with blue eyes. I wish I had told him then that his description was a bit vague. I've asked about twenty girls if they were you." He handed me a folded piece of white printing paper. "I just didn't think Alyssa Henderson would be so goddamn gorgeous."
I looked down at the paper in my hand, and pushed it back into his. "Well, you can give it back to him. Maybe even tell him to shove it, if you're in the mood."
"Why?" His eyebrows knit together.
"Nothing he can say will change anything," I shrugged. "So why even bother?"
"I don't know," He scratched the back of his head, averting his eyes. "I'm not gonna lie, this stuff is pretty impressive."
"Adam, I promise-" I broke off, "You read it? Isn't that invasion of privacy or something?" My shoulders shook as I tried to hold my laughter back.
"Well, I- it's like putting candy on a counter and telling a little kid not to eat it. It's not my fault." He defended himself, crumpling the paper in his hands.
"And what?" He sighed. He knew what was coming.
"What did it say?" He ruffled the paper, "Don't read it. What did it say?"
"Um," He coughed into the elbow of his jacket, "Something about mistakes and how you're the love of his life."
"Aw, come on. You can be more specific than that." I persisted. His cheeks tinted a rosy pink.
"I don't feel comfortable… It's a bit…" He pushed the note back into my hands. "detailed." I grabbed the poem from his hand and chucked it into a nearby trashcan. "That's Charlie for you." I shivered, but only out of disgust. How could I have possibly gone out with a guy like that?
"Why did you break up?" Adam asked, picking at the gloves.
I shrugged, deciding on whether or not I should actually tell the truth. "I just don't fare well with lying, cheating, pigs." In other words, you better not be a lying, cheating, pig.
Adam laughed light-heartedly, and put the sign under his arm.
"I got the feeling he wasn't the most genuine guy." He nodded. "Hey, at least you got out of it in time, right?"
"Sure, I guess." I shrugged, looking up at him, "Anyway, I just thought I'd say thank you. You were like my angel, or something. Not in a creepy way." I quickly added, running my left hand across my leg.
"It's a long story. Maybe I'll tell you about it sometime." I suggested, hoping this didn't come off too abruptly. Meanwhile I was trying to convince myself that kissing him was a bad idea. It wasn't something Alyssa Henderson did, kissing random guys the same day they meet. Especially kissing him first. It wasn't Alyssa's style. She took her time. And as I kept telling myself that, my eyes kept wandering down to his full bottom lip.
He smiled, a big, bright smile. "Looking forward to it." His reply was almost too quick.
As I turned around and started back toward my apartment, my lips turned upward.
Adam pulled my arm back, to face him.
"Can I try something?" He asked, averting his gaze for less than a second. It was only after that I realized how completely corny this line was. Well, I was 100% okay with corny.
I nodded, "Sure." My heart sped up and my head spun.
Then, before I could react, his lips were pressed against mine. Somewhere in the process, he dropped the FREE HUGS sign to the floor, and his hands were on my hips, pulling me closer.
Well, I had to hand it to him.
Adam Lawrence may have been a good hugger, but there were no words to describe how he kissed me.
When I pulled back, I muttered, "Should I assume you go around kissing unsuspecting girls like this all the time?"
"Only the lucky ones," He chuckled, his eyes sparkling. "Should I assume you go around kissing random guys like this all the time?"
I rolled my eyes. "First the sex joke and now this? Maybe you should look into being a comedian."
He laughed, a real, breathtaking laugh. As the sound rumbled from deep in his throat, I thought about how much I didn't want that to be the last time I heard it. "You'll get used to it."
"Oh, yeah?" The smile plastered to my face wouldn't budge, no matter how hard I tried.
"Oh, yeah." He nodded, pulling me a centimeter closer. I felt my foot skid across the cold cement, and began to wonder why my sprained finger no longer hurt. "In other words, can I see you tonight?"
"Well, considering my phone is currently out of order-" I started, my heart beating faster as the seconds went on. Pretty soon, I was sure it would be pumping so quickly the momentum would pull it straight out of my chest.
"That's okay, I can meet you at your place and we can go from there." He arranged, pulling out his phone. As I rattled off my address, I began to think about how the day had started, and how it would end.
So, maybe I didn't believe in fate. Maybe I was actually one of the least fortunate people. But as long as I kept taking risks, as long as I followed my heart, I knew I would be happy. Because, well, what else got me into this situation? It sure as hell wasn't planning.
Adam wrapped his arms around me once more, landing a light kiss on my lips, before picking up his sign. "I'll see you at six." He grinned, watching as I turned and headed back to my apartment. I looked back over my shoulder and, after noticing his gaze stood steady on me, I waved. And however impossible I originally thought this to be, the corners of his plump lips lifted even higher.
I just found out that this story was added into the ONE-SHOT category on http://adropofromeo(.)webs(.)com
Thank you so much to whoever suggested my story. Or, perhaps, to Juliet herself. Being added to A Drop of Romeo is quite the honor.
If you've never heard of it, check it out. :)
Okay, well I've been working on that for far too long. Yes, I know. I haven't added a new chapter to Let It Happen for months. Now, I also know excuses are the worst but I must say I have my reasons. I had finals, and then one week of summer before physics started (6 hours a day) so I haven't had much time to write. When I did write, it would always be on this story. I can't wait to get back to Hayden and Wes, it's been so long.
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ:
Anyway, I hope you liked this little one-shot. I was thinking I might make this a series, FREE HUGS, and interpret all these different ideas surround free hugs. I'm actually really excited for that. It would be a side project if anything, but it all depends on your responses.
So, REVIEW :)
Your responses help me so much. I need them to continue!