Till There Was You © 2012 Choi Ji-hye. All Rights Reserved.
PART ONE ❤ THE CONFESSION
Three words. Eight letters.
Today is the day I will finally say it: I love you.
Never in my twenty-one years have I ever stumbled across a girl like her. She is the one I have been searching for and I am sure of it. Sigh. If only I had realized it sooner . . .
"So, you're finally going to say it, huh?" a familiar voice calls out.
Peering into the mirror before me, I spot my best friend, Claire, sitting at the edge of my bed. "Yeah," I tell her, a faint smile curving at my lips. My answer is beyond simple, sure, but in my defense, the reality of the situation is just as straightforward. I, James Montoya, am in love and she is finally going to know it.
"It's kind of weird, don't you think?"
Meeting Claire's gaze in the reflection, I raise a brow at her. "Weird?" I repeat. She nods with a swift bob of her head and I go on, "No, not really."
Claire, however, isn't the type of person to allow such a plain response keep her curiosity at bay, and rather than let the entire thing slide, she ends up doing what she always does: She tries to make me see things her way. "Think about it, Jay," she says as her dark irises train solely on me. "You've managed to go your entire life without saying those words to anyone, but now, for some odd reason, after meeting some chick —who, BTW, you have yet to introduce me to— you've decided to completely jump off the deep end and totally shatter your twenty-one year streak by publicly professing your love for her."
I laugh. "You say that like it's a bad thing."
"I'm not saying it's bad per se, it's just—" She pauses. "It's just very, uh—very out of character for you."
I shrug. "People change."
"Yeah, but c'mon, you honestly want me to believe that none of it is in the least bit strange? I mean, like, given your track record, you telling a girl you love her is pretty bizarre."
Well, when she puts it like that . . . "I suppose it is."
Through the mirror's reflection, I see Claire's head rear back, almost as if my words had offended her. "You suppose?" she repeats. "Jay . . . telling someone you love them is a big fucking deal. You can't just confess out of the blue and expect them to take it lightly. Before you take the next step, you have to be sure. And I mean sure sure."
I whirl around, and with a mock-displeased look on my face, I place a hand on my chest. "Your lack of confidence in me hurts, Claire."
But of course, none of it fazes her. She just rolls her eyes in return and diverts her gaze elsewhere. "I'm just looking out for you," she mutters softly, her hands clasping together and her fingers interlacing amongst one another. "You know that."
"I do," I tell her, "and I appreciate it. Truly, I do. But you've got to respect my decisions as I do yours. Trust me when I say this, Claire, I have never been surer in my life. I'm . . . I'm over the moon for this girl."
Claire immediately whips her head back to me, stunned. Her dark, almond-shaped eyes are wide and her red-stained lips are parted ever so slightly. "Wow," she then utters in complete disbelief. "You really are serious about this."