Till There Was You | 01

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Till There Was You © 2012 Veradis. All Rights Reserved.


PART ONE  THE CONFESSION


Three words. Eight letters.

It was the day I would finally say it. I love you.

Never in my twenty-one years had I ever come across a girl like 'her'. 'She' was the one I'd been waiting for, and I was sure of it.

"So," my best friend, Claire, voiced from where she sat at the foot of my bed. "You're finally going to say it, huh?"

I peered into the mirror and, meeting her gaze, I felt a small smile curve the edges of my lips. "Yeah." It really was as simple as that. I, James Montoya, was in love and 'she' was finally going to know it.

"It's all so surreal. Wouldn't you agree?"

One of my brows arched. "Surreal?" I repeated, and she nodded. "No," I went on, "not really."

But of course, she didn't let that get to her. It wasn't in her nature to give up so easily. "Think about it, Jay," she started. "You've managed to go twenty-one years without saying those words to anyone, but somehow, out of the blue, some girl—who, by the way, you have yet to introduce me to—happens to come along and sweep you off your feet in such a profound way that you're willing to profess your undying love for her?"

Well, when she put it like that . . . "Yeah."

"Wow," she whispered in disbelief, her head rearing back. "You really are whipped!"

I never liked that term, but oddly enough, when it came to 'her', it didn't seem to bother me all that much. "Do you think she'll like it?" I asked. A couple of days ago, I shared my plans with Claire. She had a vague idea of what I was going to do, but that was the extent of her knowledge.

"No," she said – a bit too quick for my taste.

"What, why not?" I asked, stunned. I was already on edge in regards to that evening's special occasion that the slightest doubt that 'she' might not like it did nothing but make me want to give up and cut my losses.

Pushing herself off my bed, Claire made her way over to where I stood in front of the mirror, her petite five-foot-four frame instantly dwarfed by my six-foot-two presence. "She'll love it," she explained, placing a reassuring hand on my shoulder. Hmm. She must've sensed how taken aback I was.

Claire was a good friend like that. Whenever I was down, she never failed to be there for me with comforting hugs, encouraging words, quick pecks on the cheek, or—uh, you know—the occasional box of tissues when no one was around to witness my vulnerability. In all seriousness, I was beyond blessed to have a person like her in my life. I mean, someone 'up there' must have loved me a lot because I truly didn't deserve her.

"Oh, Claire," I cooed, tugging her to me and disheveling her hair with my other hand, "you're so sweet, you're going to give me cavities."

Claire struggled to break free, but eventually she gathered enough strength to shove me away. Her hand quickly flew to her hair, patting down the tousled light brown strands. "You ruined my hair, you ass!" She wasn't pissed though, contrary to appearances. In fact, she was fighting a smile the entire time – from the moment she freed herself from my hold to the second she fished out the mini-comb from her purse.

"I'm going to get you back for that," she added, shooting me a mock glare as she attempted to repair the damage inflicted.