She's hard to love.
You know and understand that, but you love her anyways. Regardless of anything else you love her because she's had your back from day one.
It started during your creative writing class when she read a story you had posted online and had anonymously slipped a positive note about it on your desk. You'd found it in the morning, and thanks to the fact that you had read one of her written stories before, her handwriting style betrayed her identity.
She was the best science fiction writer in the class, and she knew it. The style just seemed to come naturally to her, and she made it look easy… your clumsy attempt to build a science fiction universe seemed like a child playing with blocks while she was designing skyscrapers.
The story you had posted was a space battle between several custom alien races you had designed, and although it was rough, because fantasy was your forte, you thought it was good.
Just not the style and length of the review she had given you good.
Words of thanks bubbled up in your throat the second you had finished reading the review, and you still remember the crushing feeling that had killed those words as you turned to see her at her desk.
She was chatting with a few friends, completely obvious to your gaze as you were reminded why you'd never spoken to her before.
Not only was she popular, she was hot.
Just looking at the back of her head was making your nerves lock up, and you doubted you could handle the full force of those brown eyes staring into yours… chocolate eyes framing the perfect face and her hair surrounding her with the scent of strawberries.
Simply walking up and chatting was out of the question, unless you wanted to look like a tongue tied idiot. So your brain amply decided to do something easier for you.
You managed to find one of her stories on the same website you posted your stories on, and after reading it you wrote a handwritten review and slipped it onto her desk. Your handwriting was recognizable as well, so what you were hoping was that she would come to you.
Just like in a videogame, if an enemy was too hard to beat on its own turf, you lured it onto yours.
So you waited with baited breath as she found the note, managing to catch her reading the review with a light smile on her face. Every moment of the class was held up with you waiting for her to thank you for your kind words, and that would be the gateway to a conversation.
You took your time putting your things away as the class ended, looking away as she walked by you. Her hand shot out to causally drop a note on your desk as she left, and your heart skipped a beat as you read it.
Thanks for the kind words! I think we should keep this going. Shall we do a review exchange? You review me, and I'll do the same for you.
You smiled then, happy that you have a way to connect with her, as well as get some feedback on your science fiction writing from the self-proclaimed queen of Science fiction.
As the months went on you found yourself passing notes more and more to her, pouring over her stories like an addict as you wrote your reviews.
Having the freedom to 'speak' to her without the awkwardness of face to face interaction made it easy. You were able to put some real positive words and emotions into each review, and not have any fear about stumbling over those words.
Hand cramps were the only thing that could stem your enthusiasm as you wrote paragraphs for her, depositing them on her desk every couple of days. The gift of being able to read and review her work not only helped you with your own universes and gave you tips on how to succeed in writing but it was also a lot of fun in itself.
What you never expected was the reviews you got in return.
Being the world's best writer wasn't the plan when you decided to upload your stories, and you had about eight or so dedicated reviewers at the start. However, once she began to review your work… everything changed.
She returned every single paragraph long review with one of her own, matching and then exceeding your giving with words of her own. She complimented your work and you could tell she had passion when she lamented about your characters who didn't fall in love even though an opportunity was right in front of them, she loved your heroes and had several choice words to say to your villains. Her handwriting got more erratic as she let her passion grow, even going as far to rewrite key scenes to her liking.
Then she posted them online.
She copied and pasted everything she wrote into reviews on your stories, giving you not only personal handwritten copies, but also public copies that attracted new readers, giving you new reviews from others as your stories became more popular.
You did the exact same thing on her stories, until all your reviews became online ones.
Which made it so surprising when she approached you.
That day is still burned in your memory, when she approached your desk and coughed. "Hey, can I talk to you for a second?"
You looked up at her, seeing sweat forming on her brow as her hands shook, and you stood "Sure Tina, what do you need?"
"Could we, do you think- Would you like to get a coffee and talk about writing sometime?"
Her words tumble from her mouth as she blushes deeply, and you bite back a chuckle. You would have never thought that the 'Queen of Sci-Fi' would be stumbling over her words like you so often do. Still you nod "Sure I'd love too, I don't drink coffee myself but if I can buy a doughnut or twelve I'm in."
"Don't drink coffee?" She chuckled, her eyes as wide as saucers "I practically live on the stuff myself." She then placed an electrifying hand on your arm as if you were old friends as she smirked "So shall we meet at the campus Starbucks this afternoon?"
You remember nodding as she pressed a note into your hands with a simple "call me!" before she left.
That coffee meeting was life changing, as you got to know the girl behind the author.
You learned of her almost fanatic love of coffee, her obsession with looking at cute pictures of animals on the internet, that she loved writing just as much as you did, and that she was mother to three dogs. Over that meeting and the several others that followed, you learned more about Tina, and every single fact made her less of the 'popular girl' and more of 'a best friend.'
Soon you were both meeting everywhere you could, discussing your writing and anything else that popped into your heads… until you began to become inseparable. You began sitting together and hanging out, even managing to sneak in hugs when no one was looking.
The best part was, there was no one else. No other guys vied for her affection, she always made time for you, and she was always a constant. Her understanding was almost godlike in itself, it was almost as if she knew every single thing that made you feel happy and went out of her way to do those things every day.
If a girl could be perfect, Tina was it.
Which is what made today so terrifying.
The anniversary of the first review that started the best friendship you've ever had was today, and you had a gift suitable for the occasion.
You'd written your friendship into a story. Everything that you valued about her, everything you loved, was in a mere 1500 words and you hoped it would finally crack her defenses.
She was a woman that was hard to love, but you had fallen head over heels for her over the year. She was closed off, elusive, and attractive all the same… and despite your causal flirts and hugs, she always seemed confident in keeping you at arm's length.
Still, if blushes, occasional hand holding, and lingering hugs weren't symbols that she was cracking on her end… you had no idea what was.
You didn't want to be too forward or make her uncomfortable, but you really wanted to see where this could all go. You wanted to prove you could take the harder road to love the unlovable girl.
So you stood by her doorstep, hand trembling over the doorbell as you looked at the story you held in your bag, hoping and praying it was good enough as the memories of the past year faded.
As you ring the bell, you hear the barking of her puppies as she navigates around them, and the door opens to reveal her.
Even in sweatpants and without makeup, she was still very pretty, and you forced your brain to keep working as she invited you in.
Her three Pomeranian pups, one brown and two white puffballs with legs, dance around your legs as you walk inside.
"Well this is a surprise my friend, what brings you here?" She asks with that charming smile that could knock out a herd of elephants.
Your mouth instantly goes dry as you close your eyes, struggling to remember just why you came here in the first place. Thankfully your hand does the work by slipping into your pack and touching the story.
"Oh, Do-do you remember what today is?" you choke out as you fumble for the story.
Her adorable face scrunches up in thought as her three puppies hop onto the couch and instantly claim your lap as their own. "Well it's a Wednesday, it's sunny, umm... It's the middle of March. It's not your birthday is it?" She asked, her eyes shining with panic.
You shake your head and decide to put her out of her misery. "No my friend, today is the one year anniversary of our friendship. We started a review exchange exactly one year ago today and it's changed my life and my writing for the better. So as a thank you, I wrote this."
Her puppies stand on their hind legs to watch as the story changed hands, their eyes following your hand as it retracts and gets back to its real job… which is giving pets to them.
A smile fills her face as she lifts the first page and begins to read, and you smile back as you await her reaction.