Summary: "I was going to meet someone I've been texting with, but he never showed," she said to the boy behind the counter, her brown eyes big and sad. She was beautiful, he thought. He wanted to tell her who he really was, but he was afraid it would ruin things if she found out who he was...
"I'm just curious," Her thumbs were hovering over her cell phone. She felt her chest tightening anxiously. She finished her text message and, before hesitating a second, she pressed 'send': "Would you ever consider meeting me in person?"
The answer came two minutes later, two very long minutes later. "Of course I would. You're amazing. What about you? Would you like to meet me?"
She smiled. Her heart felt warm. She eagerly started typing back, thumbs fervently hitting the keys. "Definitely! And you're pretty amazing yourself...."
She had first met him on a music forum online. They had started discussing different kinds of music with each other, and the meanings behind lyrics. They were talking online for a week, when suddenly, she noticed that she had received a new PM in her inbox. He had asked her for her cell phone number. Apparently, he enjoyed talking to her.
At first, she had been dubious to the situation. What was the rule her mother had always taught her?
Do not talk to strangers. Don't give out your personal information online.
But somehow, she knew he wasn't a phony, even though she had no idea who his real identity was. They promised each other they wouldn't ever try to look up the other one. They never sent pictures, and they had never mentioned their real names; only going by their online usernames: Dancingbulldogs7 and NotoriousW.
It could be so easy to find out their real identities – if they wanted to. But they had promised each other.
"So... what do you think? Should we meet?"
Her heart started beating loudly. What am I doing? She didn't think this boy could ever like the real version of herself... She was not the prettiest, nor the funniest...
However, she really liked him, and she told herself to take a chance for once in her life. "Yeah... that would actually be great. Where do you live, though? Where would we go?"
She only knew they lived in the same city due to his profile information – but there was a lot of people in Brooklyn who liked the Notorious B.I.G..
"Perhaps we could meet at a coffee shop?"
She knew just the perfect one. "How about Red Horse Café? I go there all the time."
"Brilliant!" came the instant reply.
She smiled to herself.
He was pacing back and forth, hand raking through his blonde locks while contemplating wether this was really such a great idea after all. He might hate her. She might be a completely different person. She might be a horrible girl.
Ignorance is bliss – perhaps it's a convenient truth.
Nevertheless, he still had to get down there for work in just twenty minutes.
The subway was crowded, just like every other Thursday afternoon. He sat next to an old lady with an abominable breath that reeked of alcohol.
He liked going through old text messages from her, they made him smile, although some of them made him sad at the same time...
"You know what? Maybe your dreams will come through, or maybe they won't. But maybe you'll be living a life that's just the perfect one for you. And while it might not be the exact one you have dreamt to be living in your thirties, it'll be just as good, maybe even better.
That's what I tell myself whenever I'm about to lose hope, when things don't go my way... I'll simply be able to create new goals, dreams, – and I'll eventually find some kind of happiness."
"Maybe we need ignorance to be able to live life, you know? If we're too aware of all the bad and cruel things – only focusing on them – how are we going to survive in this world?"
The lady next to him smiled at him, teeth missing, and fluttered her eyelashes. He stood up, leaving the subway at the next stop. He walked up to the streets; making his way to the coffee shop by foot. The winter breeze tousled his hair, and stung his cheeks rudely, leaving them rosy and cold.
He entered the familiar shop on 497 Sixth Avenue.
She flipped through her messages on her phone. She giggled at a specific one: "I know this will sound lame, but your texts are the highlight of my day. Every day.. I'm like a five-year old on Christmas."
She distantly heard her friend talking in the background.
"I know your smile is beautiful. No doubt."
That one had made her blush. She knew that if she had been watching something like this on a movie, she presumably would have thrown up on the television.
"You're reading those text messages again, aren't you?" her friend remarked once she noticed she wasn't listening to anything she had said.
"Hmm, no, I'm not..." she repudiated dazedly when she was pulled out from her reverie by her friend's observations.
"No, that's right." Her friend sighed, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips mischievously. "You know them all by heart. You don't need to read them."
It was a statement, and it left no room for argument.
She didn't plan on opposing, though – she knew it was the truth.
"I'm nervous..." She had sent the message right before she was about to go to sleep.
She had had to wait several minutes for the reply: "I am too."
"You have to promise to tell me if you hate me!" She had not meant to whine, but her thumb had pressed 'send' before she had even had time to rethink it.
This time, the alert for her text messages was heard only a few seconds later.
"I'm certain I won't hate you. That would be impossible... ;) You'll have to tell me too, though!" Was his reply. He had been completely honest when he said he didn't think he could hate her. Although the thought of her disliking him... it made his chest tighten.
He was acting really corny – he was well aware of it – but he honestly didn't care.
"No way I'll hate you. Btw, we have to wear some kind of sign so we know what to look for! Hmm... I'd really prefer not to wear a rose. How about a musical note?"
He loved the idea. "That's awesome! Hey, you should go to sleep now, you have a big test tomorrow, remember? Sleep tight, my dancing bulldog xx."
"Right, I forgot... :( Night, NotoriousW. xx."
He had trouble concentrating while he worked. He kept giving the customers wrong orders. His boss was beginning to regret hiring the new boy, but he had been doing so good for the whole week... Maybe he just had a bad day?
He was so nervous it was inconceivable. He actually never thought that one message would lead to all this.
He spilled diet coke on a table with some girls. One of them stroked his arm flirtatiously.
"No need to be nervous around us, Handsome..." she smiled and pushed out her ample bosom teasingly.
He prayed she would be nothing like those girls. She couldn't be.
He shook his head, dismissing the girl, and walked away.
"Five P.M. sound good to you?"
It was five minutes to five now – she would be walking into the shop in five minutes. His moist hands was starting to shake from nervousness. He had a hard time perceiving he was actually being this nervous over a girl.
"Morning, my bulldog! Sleep good?"
His morning texts always made her smile. Although truthfully, they all made her smile.
"Good luck on the test today! You'll ace it." Was his second, and last, text that day.
She didn't ace it. All she had been able to think about was the meeting later on.
She took a deep breath and then left the house. Heavy snowflakes had begun to fall down from the sky. She wasn't very fond of the winter; it was too cold for her taste. But she had to admit, at least the snow was pretty.
She left footprints behind on the white ground as she made her way towards the coffee shop on 497 Sixth Avenue.
She kept telling herself that this wasn't a big deal. NotoriousW was a nice boy. If he wasn't, she would simply just leave the place – and never look back.
The idea of meeting with someone from the Internet was strange. Especially when this one person had been texting with him for over four months. Especially when that particular one could be lying about everything they had said.
But the idea of developing feelings for a girl he had never met, or seen, well... that idea was scary, horrifying, and also kind of, intriguing – in a weird way.
She stopped just outside the door, closing her eyes, she waited. She inhaled the fresh air, snowflakes were falling onto her hazel brown hair, embellishing her like unique diamonds. The sound of the traffic from the street behind her was faint, sounding far away.
She opened her eyes.
Five minutes past five, the familiar sound of a door opening was heard, traffic noise momentarily suffusing the shop.
He diverted his gaze to the noise, body tensing in anticipation. This was it, he knew it.
She stepped inside, hair tousled and messy from the wind. Her eyes were darting through the shop, scanning it for a tiny sign, a symbol for the two friends – or whatever they were.
His heart jumped when he saw her, breath hitching.
He felt warm and relaxed, watching her. But his heart contradicted with an increasing of the rhythm. He felt as if the whole room could hear the beating of his heart, every thump echoing against the walls, reverberating to her ears, and reaching her own cadence.
Her eyes met his for a split second, only to move on just as rapidly.
He didn't wear his note. He was too... scared.
She felt dread sipping through her body, comprehension, that maybe he wasn't here. She could be a fool, naive.
Maybe, she thought, this is for the best.
She walked up to the counter, feeling disappointed, and ordered her coffee anyway. People were occupied with other things, in reality; barely acknowledging her, but she felt as though every pair of eyes were watching her. Scanning through her thoughts. Feeling the blood pumping through her veins.
He thought she was beautiful.
He was in a daze when she asked for a coffee, the words slipping off her tongue in a delicate accent.
He knew he was staring when she sat down on one of the brown bar stools, padding already breaking through torn seams.
Inside the boy, feelings of guilt and shame erupted. He was a coward.
She looked so disappointed as she removed the musical note pinned onto her coat. Shoulders slumping while sipping on her hot coffee.
"Something wrong?" he asked. Although, he had a feeling the question was needless.
She looked up at him, her brown eyes big and sad. Waves of brown hair was framing her soft face delectably. "I was going to meet someone I've been texting with, but he never showed... I guess, truthfully, I'm a little hurt."
She was so beautiful.
His green eyes crashed into hers, searching them intensely. Sentences and confessions itched to spill off his tongue, but he clenched his jaw and broke the eye contact. Suddenly, he was very busy studying his hands.
"I'm sorry about that."
She shrugged. "It's alright. Thanks."
The whisper of a smile grazed her face.
He was afraid he would ruin everything they had by revealing himself. She was an intelligent girl, she couldn't be interested in someone like him.
By many, he was loved as a stranger – only adored for the looks.
She paid for her coffee and left.
It was cold outside, but when she exited, somehow, it was even colder inside.
The air hit her face hard as she exited the shop, but the corners of her lips curled upward in a content smile as she started her walk down the street.
When she had stood up to pay, she had spotted an elegant emblem in the shape of a note, discarded behind the counter, close to his hands.
Perhaps she should have been offended that he stood her up, but the way he looked at her; it made her think differently.
The next time he saw her was five days later, on Monday after school.
She came into the shop, looking just as beautiful as before. She was wearing her hair up in a messy bun, a few strands of hair escaping from its hold, elegant ringlets covering parts of her face.
He gulped when she walked straight towards the counter, eyes locked on him.
She ordered a coffee and sat down on the same bar stool like before.
He couldn't ignore her, he felt it was impossible. It was like his feelings travelled with the molecules in the air – to her – but he couldn't stop them from moving.
"Coffee tastes good?" he asked her, attempting a suave grin, but he surmised it probably looked tense and feigned.
She reckoned he seemed nervous, the imposed smile didn't fail to look adorable on his face though.
"Yeah, it's perfect."
He nodded. His blonde locks were in a messy state, and his turquoise green eyes flicked to her petite figure every ten seconds, while he prepared orders for customers.
"I love your... um, music note," he suddenly said, eyes falling down to the emblem on her coat briefly.
She smiled knowingly. "Thanks."
She queried when, or if, he would tell her who he was.
It took three more visits to 497 Sixth Avenue before he gathered enough courage to tell her.
And when he did, he also asked her out.
His phone beeped.
"I was wondering when you'd ask."