They say love is for shmucks. I have no idea who they are, but I disagree. Okay, a few years back, I would have totally been in the same boat. But things change. People change. And people grow.
I still remember that day vividly even after more than three years and I most certainly didn't forget the way she looked that hot afternoon.
It was sweltering in the van and sweat ran freely down my back, the airconditioning system didn't work, and to top it all off, it was right smack in the middle of high noon. Despite the searing heat, it was windy outside. I wouldn't know it because I was safely tucked inside the van, but my eyes were glued to her the second I saw her.
My brothers beside me grumbled about having to spend three whole weeks in mountain wilderness far from civilization, and with girls as companions. One word: cooties. I was only half-listening to them though, my attention solely on the raven-haired girl with the perfect smile. When she took off her sunglasses, I reveled in the rich warmth of her dark brown eyes. I feigned indifference as she was introduced to my brothers and I, but I caught every word she said the whole ride long.
She was roughly the same age as my older brother and proved to be marginally stronger than him when she won an arm-wrestling match between them, which my brother claimed he rigged so she would win. But no one believed that story, my brother was about as altruistic as Mr. Scrooge before he got all mushy and all. I took every chance I got to look at her, stolen glances here and there, and a few accidental touches just to be close to her.
To my dismay, she and my brother struck off an easy friendship while I was cast aside. I don't totally blame my brother though. Next to him, I was practically invisible. He may be just a year older than me but he attracts more girls no matter what I do to get their attention, it's a fact. With him around, it's easy to overlook me, even if I make as much noise as humanly possible.
It's not completely my brother's fault, he can't help it. He was born with his head stuck in his arse, and I was born the younger brother. In school, people first knew me as his younger brother. When the teachers called me in class, they didn't bother with my name. No, they said "The younger brother of so and so".
It's tough getting girls mainly because my brother already got to the ones worth knowing, in the social sense at least. He was invited to all the hottest parties, talked to the hottest girls, went to the hottest places. It was just part of his so-called charm.
I thought it would be the same way with her, that she'd ignore me for my brother, but surprisingly she didn't. She was nice, and she actually cared about what happened to me for a change. She'd include me in conversations and on some occasions, even smile at me.
I'd feel a lump in my throat every time she caught my eye. My younger brother noticed a big change in my behavior over that space of time and I had to give him my life's collection of gaming cards to keep him quiet. Her younger cousins also managed to notice, although I don't know how they managed it with the little attention span girls seem to have. I was forced to buy their silence in the way of twin bracelets at the souvenir shop. At least she thought it was sweet and thoughtful for buying those two brats a pair of cheap bracelets.
I was almost sad to have to leave the old house we were staying at for the duration of our short vacation. Living with her, even if it was such a fleeting moment in time, was kind of fun. I most definitely enjoyed seeing her in her skimpy night clothes when we'd all pile up into the big bed and watch movies until late at night. Even if we only stayed in that old manor for a few weeks, we amused ourselves with watching horror movies all night long and that was more than enough to keep us occupied in the day. We'd talk about the key parts in the movies, tease each other about how everyone else screamed and almost wet themselves, and laugh about the various slip-ups in the film.
But it was just too good to last, and I was right.
When classes resumed, she and my brother kept up a frequent correspondence online, seeing as how it made so much more sense for them to get to know each other better since he was such a dick and she was the sweetest, smartest, sexiest girl I've ever met. Okay, maybe I was a little bit bitter, but can you blame me? My brother was getting it on with the love of my life, who wouldn't be pissed?
So naturally, I was shocked beyond words when an unidentified number texted me, and it turned out to be her. Of course, being the idiot I was, I told her my brother got a new phone and I inherited his old one. I didn't even think to lie and pretend to be him. Stupid, I know. But hey, I was in love.
Instead of a quick rebuff as I usually got and expected, our chats grew more frequent as the days, weeks, months passed. I got to know her better than I ever hoped I would, got to ingratiate myself in some small nook in her life and, I hoped, in her heart, and I got to sneak a glimpse or two of her brilliant and beautiful mind.
I don't know where our friendship will go, or if it's even going anywhere. Maybe I'm just deluding myself into thinking that this could be something more. But I don't really care. Being her friend was more than I bargained for and I got so much more than I every hoped to expect. Maybe, just maybe, I don't always have to be "the younger brother".