A Beautiful Beach Sunset

I was seven years old when I first met Zane Ryan. I instantly disliked him. He sat there and pulled on my hair the entire time we were watching my Mom's friend walk down the aisle. She was simply stunning, a heavenly angel walking towards me as she all but floated down the aisle. I then looked at the man she was about to marry and I knew that I wanted someone to look at me like that when I got older and wanted to get married and I knew I'd never settle. He looked at her like she was his salvation, like she was everything good in his life and like he would fall apart without her. We sat down when she finally reached the man she was in love with and we watched as they professed their love for one another on the beach with the sun setting behind them creating the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen, one cast with love. The husband and wife kissed each other and took off up the hill to the house where the party was to be held. I walked towards the house but was stopped when wouldn't you know it Zane came up behind me and pulled on my hair again. Naturally at seven I chased after him and we ran around laughing and running through people and under tables until we finally reached the water. I had my first kiss there, Zane and I rolling around in the sand and giggling, it was then I realized that I didn't dislike him per se, I didn't like his teasing but his smile, even at eight, was glorious.

It wasn't until the summer ended that I saw him again. We had just started third grade and he was in my class but naturally he spent the whole time teasing me again. I wasn't sure if he remembered our kiss but I then decided that it didn't matter, he was arrogant and I wanted someone to look at me like I was their world, not to treat me like I was the joke that was always funny. We spent all of elementary and middle school together, him constantly teasing me and making me feel close to worthless. I came home one day and asked my mother why he made me feel so bad, why did it hurt when he said mean things but it didn't bother me when others did? She told me only those that we have let close to us can truly hurt us. I didn't really understand what she told me, I never let him get to me he didn't really know me, so I decided to go to a different high school than him when the time came, then he could no longer be close to me. Those next three years were great I finally came into my own and started to see myself as smart and capable and beautiful, my stormy blue grey eyes and long blonde hair brought me a lot of attention. The night my high school caught on fire was the night that forever changed my life.

It was right before my senior year started and so they split up the students and put them into different schools. Just as fate would have it I was put into Zane's class, once again he would try to get to me but I was no longer that insecure little girl I was a beautiful, confident young woman who would not be pushed around. I walked into school that first day and all eyes were on me. I could hear them whisper "Who's the new girl?" "Why is she here?" The question only made me stronger, they let me know that they were intimidated and I was powerful. I spent the next couple of weeks ignoring Zane which I admit was a bit difficult because he was in all my classes, however it was it science that my life turned completely upside down for the first time. A project was assigned and naturally the teacher wanted to pick the partners, and just as my luck would have it guess who my partner was? You got it the devil himself, Zane. He walked over to me and being his cocky self gave me a crooked smile that had nothing compared to that smile he had given me on that beach when we were younger. We made plans to start the project that night at my house. That night once we were out of the watchful eye of high school he talked to me, like really talked to me like a human being and not something he tortured for years. He looked me in the eye and apologized for those years and I started to believe he had changed. He left that night and he left behind some very confusing feelings for me to sort through. The next couple of nights he would come over and he would be very sweet and charming and slowly that started to seep into school life too, we would occasionally talk in class and in the halls. I started to fall his arrogance starting to seem kind of sweet.

One day he came over, a Saturday morning, and handed me some flowers and asked me if I would go out with him. I couldn't believe that this was happening, this handsome young man, with curly blonde locks that I wanted to run my fingers through and bright blue eyes that reminded me of a bright, summer sky, really wanted to go out with me. I spent so much time finding myself that I had never been out on a date before and I was scared but he made me brave and I said yes. He smiled that same smile I got when we were younger and he pulled me close to him and kissed me once again. I felt so happy and joyous and we parted for breath and let our foreheads touch as we looked into each other's eyes and smiled.

We spent the next couple of months deeply in love, every minute of every day we thought about each other and planed how we could be together. We planned to go to college together and start a family once we graduated. However life had another plan for us. My parents were killed in a car crash one night and being seventeen I went to live with my grandmother across the country. We tried to make the long distance thing work but I got angry when he wasn't there to hold me as I cried and as I grieved. I knew it wasn't his fault but I felt like he should be there and so I ended it and started grieving not only for the loss of my parents but for the loss of the only boy I ever loved.

Slowly but surely things got better and I moved on, I went to college and got an education. I got a job doing what I loved and I thought I couldn't be happier but there was always something missing. I started to date and met some wonderful people but nothing worked out. One day I was sitting in a coffee shop reading a book when I hear my name. I looked up and I saw him, Zane was standing there smiling looking at me. I smiled back and he came over and sat down and we talked about nothing and everything for hours, my book completely forgotten. When I went home that night I realized that that feeling of emptiness was no longer there, I realized that what was missing was Zane.

I woke up that morning to a text from Zane asking to meet at the coffee shop where we met yesterday. I replied saying that I would be there, I was determined that I would tell him how I felt, that I never wanted to break up, that I still loved him. I got to the coffee shop and saw him sitting down and went over to him when this beautiful woman went up to him and kissed him hello, smiled and sat down. He smiled at her and my smile left my face as he introduced her as his fiancé. My world dropped from underneath me, the hole in my heart opened up and I felt like dying but I sat down anyway crying on the inside. I listened as he told me how they met and as they told me that the wedding was this weekend and that I should come. They gave me an invitation and I left. I went home that night and cried myself to sleep. I knew that I would go just to make sure that he was happy because he deserved to be happy even if it wasn't with me. I woke up that fateful Saturday morning and put on my make-up and my best dress and decided that I would make him wish he had me. I put the address into my GPS system and drove to the site. I looked up when I got there and I cursed him. It was the beach, our beach, the one where I had me first kiss all those years ago. I went inside and saw him standing there in his tux looking like a model and I stood there wishing it was me upstairs getting ready to marry this beautiful man.

I went up to him and hugged him and told him that his fiancé was a lucky woman. He told me that he had to go take care of some things and so I stood there waiting for the man of my dreams to get married to the wrong woman. As we were seated outside on the beach just before sunset I felt the tears I had been holding back start to pour out, I got up and ran down the beach and didn't stop until I reached the spot where my first kiss happened so long ago. It was then that I heard my name being called out from behind me. I turned around to see Zane running down the beach behind me.

"What are you doing here; you're supposed to be getting married?"

"I realized when I saw you today that she was never what I was looking for; she was just a place holder for the real thing, for you."

I stood there not believing what he was saying. Could he really just leave her like that, on their wedding day?

"What about Veronica you can't just leave her for me."

"She has been cheating on me for awhile but she wanted the power that came with the Ryan name."

I was quiet once more was he really doing this could he really just leave her for me?

"I want only you, ever since we met that day on this very beach, and shared that kiss on this very spot, it was then that I knew that I wanted you for the rest of my life, but I was too scared to admit it so I taunted and teased you and for that I am deeply sorry, but I never wanted to let you go but you asked and I could never deny you anything."

He gently cupped my face and looked me in the eyes and gave me that look the one that man gave to that woman on this beach all those years ago and I knew that I wanted him to be mine.

"I love you Alyssa Whitfield, always have always will."

We kissed there once again and I knew that we would always be together forever.

"And I love you Zane Ryan."

The sunset just behind us and this sunset was the one I had always been waiting for.