Chapter 1 : Can't Help Myself
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This has been bouncing around in my head for awhile now though. It was originally supposed to be a one-shot, but things - er - got out of hand. Oops?
The title of the chapter, as well as the quote below, was taken from "Everything I Do" by Bryan Adams.
You will see what you mean to me
Hey Lucy, do you remember me? I remember you. I remember lying next to you in a sea of gold underneath a blue canopy in the warmth of summer time. You smelled like summer, ripe peaches and warm breezes. I couldn’t think of anything else except the scent of you, drifting across the lazy air to my nose. With each breath I breathed you in and held it, hoping to hold that smell forever. But of course I had to breathe again, and with each breath out I lamented the loss of you, until I breathed in again. I’d like to think I captured that scent, for it certainly lingers now in my memory.
I remember the feel of your hair, finer than silk and softer than the hair of a kitten. Sometimes it would drape across my outstretched arm and you would not notice so I would not move. My muscles might cramp and scream from want of movement, but I would freeze them for fear of losing that tickle on my skin. Inevitably you would shift position and I would lose it, but no matter the pins and needles in my limbs I felt the loss each time. There were afternoons where I spent all my time moving in as tiny of movements as I could manage in the hope that I would feel the brush of that long hair against my skin without your noticing. Surely you’d find me mad for it, but there it is.
Just like any sixteen year old boy, I craved all the hours of sleep I could manage to get in. Far more than are ever allotted any normal human being, but that is the way we boys are made. I remember, though, your racing up the stairs into my room, laughing like sunshine to rouse me from my snoring and drag me out of doors. I never protested very strongly. I just pulled on my clothes and shoes to follow you. Through the grass, over the hill, to an empty, overgrown field neglected by an owner we never identified. You’d take me to the very centre and there we’d lay, side by side, or sometimes with our heads next to each other and our feet stretching in opposite directions. Your chatter, like a calm babbling brook would flow over and around me as you pointed to the sky and described the shapes you saw in the clouds. I always just agreed, hearing your voice and not always your words as I breathed and willed you not to move, no matter the pain in my awkwardly twisted arm.
Most of all I remember just you. Your hair streaming out behind you like a banner of pearly silk as you skipped through the day, most days barefoot. Skin, soft as rose petals, turned golden by the sun you outshone. In a dress of pale yellow, like a buttercup, petals folded all around like some fairy dancing attendance on a Summer Queen. Yellow was always your favourite colour, and certainly one of mine. But my favourite colour, the one I loved best of all, was blue: the blue of a babbling brook or a deep, deep ocean; a blue far clearer and sparkling brighter than the sky above on a cloudless day. And when you’d turn those blue eyes to look at me my heart would stop and I knew, with the wisdom of a sixteen year old in love, with startling clarity that only the young possess, that I would die happily gazing into your eyes.
Oh Lucy, can you have forgotten? I lived that summer for you. The first morning you burst into my bedroom, clad in yellow and smiling down at me, was the first time I looked at you and saw you. You weren’t the gangly, awkward girl I’d always thought I’d known. You no longer blushed when you were teased, you just teased back and laughed with abandon, never knowing what you were doing to my heart. Without a sword, without a word, you conquered my heart and crowned yourself with daisies.
Too many seasons have passed since then for even my infatuated mind to remember all that was. But I remember what mattered to me, and to you as well I’ve always hoped. For years I wished I’d have had the courage to tell you what I felt, how you’d shattered every notion I’d ever had and replaced them all with you. Now I think I have that chance, to tell you everything and see how you respond. Years have changed everything of course, and I’m not the boy I was then, nor are you the same girl. But perhaps you’re that same person and maybe the man isn’t so different than the boy. So I wait and hope and wonder. Waiting for my turn to say hello to the girl that’s now a woman.
He clutched nervously at the hem of his jacket, feeling as if every eye in the room was on him, watching him and knowing what he was thinking. Surely there was sweat coming from every pore that they would see. His eyes were locked on the one person not looking at him. Not that anyone else was anyway, really, but hell, it sure felt like it. She hadn’t looked at him all that afternoon. He hadn’t been able to look away from her. She was resplendent and he felt jealous heat shoot through him each time he saw another man looking at her.
Everyone in the receiving line was taking their damn sweet time greeting the bride in his opinion. Just say hello and get on with it! He saw his brother shoot him a questioning look his way and realized he’d mumbled that one aloud. Oops. Ignoring the glances he strained forward. They were nearly there.
His brother gave his greetings to everyone in the wedding party and his sister-in-law cooed over the affair. They moved on down the line after taking entirely too much time and finally it was his turn. He couldn’t help the nervous twitch of his littlest finger on his left hand. Shoving that hand in his pocket, he turned up on corner of his mouth and stepped forward.
“Hey, Lucy. Remember me?”
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