At first, everything's exciting.

The way his eyes linger on yours in class

The positive comments he writes on your work

The smiles he gives when you answer correctly

The moments he walks a little closer than normal

The accidental touches at lesson change over

The note asking you to stay after the bell

The beautiful flutter of anticipation inside

Next, everything's forbidden.

The first time you hold his hand

The beginning of loving whispers

The new development of embracing after school

The (1) notification button

The friend request he sends you on Facebook

The messages you send to each other

The soft kisses before the others get to registration

The gaps you leave in conversations with friends

The three little words you've wanted to hear

Then, everything's spiralling.

The day you think your parents suspect something

The concerned teacher who pulls him aside in the staffroom

The fear in his whisper as he tells you

The follow-up serious warning the headmaster gives him

The strangers who stare openly in the corridor

The friends who warn you off

The weighty wheels set in motion

The post-it note delivered to your classroom

The need to escape their judgements

The plea for you to run away with him

The night you pack your suitcase

After that, everything's crumbling.

The way you shake as you hold hands in his car

The tremor in his voice as he tells you the plan

The falling feeling in your stomach when you're on the ferry

The anxious manner in which you try and remember your French lessons

The secret worry you've made the wrong decision

The time you lie to yourself that everything will be fine

The desperate kisses of reassurance

The blank, whitewashed, vacant hotel room

The denials in bottles of hair dye

The numbness of cutting it short and seeing strands float to the floor

The frozen shock when you don't recognise your reflection

The disbelief at how much your life has changed in a few short hours

Finally, everything's broken.

The first time you see your parents appealing for your return

The tears falling down your best friends' faces

The newspapers with your faces splashed across the front

The endless TV reports salivating for news

The tired whisper that they'll leave you in peace soon

The way your initial dream fades like early morning mist

The moment you realise there's nowhere safe to hide

The heavy feel of your head in your hands

The longing to go home

The minute you suspect this isn't what you want

The lengthy days that pass without going outside

The skittish frown when he deduces what you're thinking

The rant he has about how he's ruined his life for you

The look of betrayal all over his face

The hunched shape of his shoulders as he collapses on the bed afterwards

The wish you could be any real comfort

The growing hopelessness

The first rejection of a hug

The empty feeling inside

The knowledge of what you have to do

The point of no return

The silent sobbing as you walk to a police station alone

The conversation with an officer in faltering French

The entrance of the suit-clad member of your country's Consulate

The torturous interviews about intentions, actions and feelings

The beginnings of arrangements made to get you home

The hurried phone call you make to your reassured family

The tea with two sugars you gratefully receive

The communications made in hushed tones

The apprehensive, knowing glances in my direction

The sight on the French news of him being arrested

The pain in his eyes that translates into any language

The wish it had not come to this

The headline the world sees:


Thanks for reading :-)