I stopped still in my tracks when I saw her. She had a light smile on her lips as she plugged the music into her ears and set off again to wherever her destination would be. She was beautiful. She always was. Effortlessly. Not like these fake, plastered girls I seemed to find myself talking to at clubs nowadays.
And then I realised she was walking towards me. Had she noticed me? Shit. I looked disgusting. I’d only come out to get a juice before I went home to my parents yet again.
Shit. Say something Simon.
“Hey” I croak as she walks past and evidently sees me staring.
She takes out her earphone and looks up to me, “sorry, did you say something?”
“Um I said hey” I scratch the back of my neck.
“Hey” She raises her brows, “Will that be all?”
Damn. She still really was hurt.
“No no of course not” I shake my head, “Come on (y/n) I haven’t seen you in what? 3 years?”
“Almost, yes” She nods, folding her arms.
The harsh tone. The cold look in her eyes. It was the look she gave to people that were dicks at school. I found it hilarious. I guess i wasn’t laughing now I was on the other side.
“At least come for a drink with me” I sigh.
“And why would that be?” She questions.
“You know where I’ll be. 4pm?” I nod, avoiding her question.
She looks into my eyes for a second before reaching up to return her earphone to her ear and walking off. 4pm.
Let’s give you some background shall we? From when I was 16 to when I left home at 21, I was in a relationship with (y/n). We weren’t one of those innocent, young couples that happened all the time in Berko. We were genuinely in love. Yes, it sounds fucking cheesy but it was true. Everyone knew it. When I first met the guys, they were adamant I would marry her. And so was I really. Her and my family got on well, they loved us together. And then, in early 2014, before I moved in with the guys, something happened. I was doing good on YouTube and I was starting to get a bit overwhelmed by the sudden popularity. Being in a committed relationship with a home town girl from Berko didn’t seem like a good idea for me. So, classic-scared-of-commitment Simon decided to call things off before I left for London. But not in the fashion of a civilised break up, I simply left and said things weren’t working. The worst mistake of my life.
And so here I’m sat, at our stalls in the corner of Zero Juice Sushi with the hope that she’d come through those doors.
I’d ordered both of us our favourite drinks and even some popcorn chicken for her because she claimed there was ‘nothing better’
I felt anxious. Worried. If she didn’t, I knew I’d truly fucked things up. Forever.
Since I’d left her, I’d tried to go with other girls. Tried to replace her. But it never worked. They were never her. They didn’t make me laugh like she did or know how to instantly make me smile like she would.
“Well, if this isn’t the right flavour I won’t be happy” I hear her familiar voice beside me as she sits down in the next stall.
“Of course it is!” I grin, “Our first date. I took you out for your birthday. We came here because there’s nowhere better to go around Berko and you had that exact drink. And no matter what, you’ve never changed your order” I recite the memory.
I see her smile slightly as she sips the juice.
“And I figured to keep you here you could have some chicken too” I smile, pushing the box over to her, “How have you been?”
“Simon, look this is nostalgic and all and you’re right with the juice and the chicken and whatever but-“ She sighs, “Where does this lead after the pleasantries?”
My smile falters.
“You’re back home for the weekend at the same time I am and suddenly it means we have to spend time together? I’ve been back home here plenty of times when I can. Why now?” She raises her brows.
“You moved?!” I pick up on her mention. She was always the girl to stay in this town.
“Yeah I live in London” She nods, “When I’m over here. Tend to travel with my job”
“Photographer” I smile, “You made it”
It was the dream she always had. To travel and take incredible shots. She wanted to capture a culture in a matter of pixels. She was so passionate.
“Yeah well i-” She starts, “No stop. This is what I mean. You can’t just meet up with me and buy me a drink and suddenly think that we can just talk like everything’s normal Simon. You broke my heart”
There it was. The four words that killed me. Firstly because I hated the thought of her ever being hurt that much and secondly because I hated myself for being the cause of that pain.
“I-” I start, knowing there were a million words I could’ve said but none of them were deemed good enough.
“I think I should go. Its good to know you’re well and by the sounds of things, you’re doing incredible on YouTube. But to be honest, I think that’s how it should stay” She comments, standing up.
“August 2nd 2010” I burst out, standing up too as she begins to walk out, “I took you up to the roof of school and it had taken me all that time to finally tell you that I loved you. I called you babygirl and you found it hilarious and I guess it just stuck after that. We spent the whole night up there listening to music on that tiny IPod thing that I got with my first pay. They had a massive go at us the morning after and I told them it was all me. I spent the next two weeks in detention and every single morning I walked you to your class even if it meant I was late every time. I’m not saying i want to walk you to class again or take you back to the rooftop of that school but that doesn’t mean i don’t feel exactly the same way about you now as i did when i was a lanky teenager”
She looks down, clearly knowing she’d get emotional if she looked me in the eyes for too long.
“I’ve been openly in love with you since I was 17 years old (y/n) (y/l/n) and I was lucky enough to spend 5 years of my life trying to make you feel exactly the same way. Because every single morning I was happy, every time I held your hand I still felt that immature electricity that everyone felt with their first kiss, my cheeks still flushed pink every time your lips met mine and I spent everyday of those 5 years completely fascinated by why you would ever choose to be with me” My voice cracks then, “And ever since the day I left you, I’ve regretted it more than anything. Its the worst decision I’ve ever made and hell, you know I’ve made a lot of mistakes.”
She stops and looks up and everything is still flooding back. Seeing her with wavy hair in our school uniform that she seemed to look good in. Spending hours and hours together until the nights fell across the sky and the cold wind got too harsh. Bailing her out of detention whenever I could until she eventually won the fight and got me out of it instead. She got me into a world of trouble and I loved every second. Why YouTube ever became my priority over her I will never know.
“So you can walk out that door now and you don’t ever have to see me again but just remember that for five years of your life you loved me and I know you well enough to know that there’s still a part of you that hasn’t changed. You’re still that teenage girl that was happy with a kick around in the park in battered football boots that didn’t care what people thought. You made me a better man (y/n). So what will it be?” I sigh, tears filling the bottoms of my eyes and threatening to fall over the edge.