Till There Was You © 2012 Choi Ji-hye. All Rights Reserved.


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 come across a girl like her. She is the one I've been searching for and I am sure of it. If only I'd realized it sooner . . .

"So, you're finally going to say it, huh?" a familiar voice calls out.

Peering into the mirror before me, I see 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, no really."

Claire isn't the type of person to allow such a plain response keep her at bay though, and instead of letting the entire thing slide, she just does what she always does: she tries to make me see things her way. "Think about it, Jay," she says, her dark irises trained 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 jump off the deep end and break 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, it's just—" She pauses. "It's just 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, 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."

Her head rears back, almost as if my words have 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 this fazes her. She just rolls her eyes in return and diverts her gaze elsewhere. "I'm just looking out for you," she then mutters softly, her hands clasping together and her fingers interlacing amongst each other. "You know that."

"I do," I tell her, "and I appreciate it. Truly, I do. But you've got to respect my decisions as much as I do yours. Trust me when I say this, Claire, I've never been surer in my life. 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 cherry-red lips are parted ever so slightly. "Wow," she then utters in complete disbelief. "You really are serious about this."