Authors: Amanda Day
By Amanda Day
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2013 Amanda Day
No part of this book may be
reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without
the prior written permission of the Author.
I saw you today.
You were in the indoor market, looking at cakes, and you were with her. Your
arm, which used to belong around my waist, was around her shoulders. You said
something to her, right up close to her ear, and she threw her head back to
laugh. I watched her blonde hair swish over her shoulders and across the skin
on your forearm. The same skin that I used to run my fingertips across. You
made her pretty skin flush. Your blue eyes sparkled and I felt like I couldn’t
I was better though, better than before. Better than when I
thought life without you meant nothing. Better than when I thought I would
never feel like myself again. Because I do. Finally.
This is the story of how I fell in love with you. How it
destroyed me. And how, when I had lost all hope, I came back.
This is our story.
The first time I heard your voice I
felt my skin flush. It made my cheeks rise and redden. It even made me start to
sweat. It was ridiculous; I didn’t even know you. I’d never seen you. My body reacted
of its own accord, without any sort of useful supporting information. It was
weird and confusing, and nice.
I was at work, taking the calls to Pizza Planet. Writing
down the orders whilst daydreaming about something else was practically my
speciality. Until you called and something about your voice snapped me to the
here and now. It wasn’t deep or soft, or any of those other corny clichés. It
was just normal. You had an accent; a smile in your voice. I liked it
instantly. I liked you instantly.
You talked to me about nothing in particular, the pizza,
what I recommended, my day, your night. You laughed and it made everything
inside my torso contract. That had never happened before. I was sorry to hang
up once you were gone. But life goes on.
You called again the next night. Then again a few nights
later. Every time you called, you said more and I wanted to hear you more. I
joked you must really like pizza. You said it was ‘something like that’. I thought
you meant talking to me. I hoped you meant me.
Soon you did call just for me. You waited until after one am
when the phones were quieter and you knew I would be sitting there, waiting for
something to do, an order to place, until my shift finished at three am. We
talked about films, music, hopes, dreams, our families and our lives.
Eventually you asked why I did it, why I worked at Pizza Planet of all the jobs.
I said I had to get through college somehow. That I was a night person; I
didn’t need much sleep. You said you were a day person and you liked to sleep
in. I should have known. I should have known then that although we had so much
in common that we could talk night after night for hours and still want more, we
were also very different. So different we could only be a disaster.
You know that saying, always listen to your heart? Well I
did, and look where it got me.
It was a Tuesday night, 1.30am. Or
Wednesday morning I suppose, depending on how you look at it. Nothing exciting
was happening. I was perched on my stool at work, doodling on my pad,
occasionally glancing at the phone, hoping it would ring and I would hear your
voice, when a rap knocked on the front window and I jumped, nearly right off my
stool. When I looked up I knew it was you. I just knew it. The way your blue
eyes looked at me like we were already connected. Your smile was exactly as I’d
imagined; sweet, cocky and beautiful. Like you. You grinned and I cringed; my
uniform is hardly a turn-on. No one looks good in a bright yellow and blue
striped shirt. You crooked your finger to beckon me outside, and like a puppet
already connected to your strings I danced at your whim.
“Surprise, Mina.” You grinned and it did something to my
soul. It changed it. I was instantly yours.
I looked at your face and I just knew you were a one off,
like lightning in a storm landing at my feet. I felt it in my bones.
“I can’t believe you came here,” I said, not sure what else
to say but trying to seem unflustered. Just standing near you filled my brain
with cotton wool. The air around you was intoxicating. You ran a hand through
your short dark hair and laughed. I’d heard it many times on the phone, but it
was so much better in real life. You shrugged with a shy half grin on your face
and said nothing. I looked at you properly in the yellow Pizza Planet light
that shone sickly behind me, drinking you in. I’d imagined us meeting one
hundred times over the month we’d talked and there you were, so much better
than I hoped, not that I would ever have given you the satisfaction of knowing
it. You just stood there with your hands thrust into your jean pockets. When
you moved, your leather jacket creaked, breaking the silence. I wished it had
been different. I wished it could have been somewhere else. I wished I looked
prettier. I wanted you to like me.
“I thought we could take a walk,” you said.
I wanted to go more than anything.
“I can’t. I still have some of my shift left,” I replied.
You knew it too.
“So pretend you’re ill.” That grin of yours came again and I
I shook my head. “I can’t, I need the money.” It was true,
but I would have blown it off for you. I just didn’t want you to know that. Not
I watched you look at me, really look at me. You scrutinised
my face and then slowly my body. Up and down, unashamed and open. Then you
It was the longest shift of my life.
Finally work ended. I brushed my
hair, put on some lip gloss, and hoped it would be enough.
At five minutes past three am, I walked into the Pizza
Planet car-park and found you sitting there, propped against a sleek black
motorbike, tapping at your phone. Typical, I thought. Hot and cool. Which you
definitely turned out to be, just not in the way I thought.
“Nice bike,” I said. “You never mentioned that you rode.”
You smiled. “You never said how good you looked in yellow
and blue, so we’re probably even.”
I blushed, glad it was dark. You stood up and held a hand
out to me.
I looked at it a moment, then reached out and took it. Your
fingers wrapped around mine tight, holding on like we had been together for
years. I was surprised because my hand fitted there perfectly and it felt right
to be against your warm skin.
We walked to the park, the path lit gently by the moon. It
was still sticky warm with barely a breeze, but I had goose-bumps and, despite
one being wrapped so tight in yours, my hands were cold and clammy. My heart
thundered in my chest and I was afraid you would notice.
“Am I what you imagined?” you asked as we walked.
I kept stealing glances at you and maybe you had noticed.
I pretended to think on it a minute, then shook my head.
“No. Not at all.” You were so much better.
You grinned; the moonlight glinted on your teeth and eyes
making you look a little manic.
“What did you expect?” you asked, maybe fishing for
I shrugged and played for time. I didn’t want to appease
your ego, which I knew you had the second I saw you. On the phone you had been
sweet and interested. Asking me about my family and the things I did or liked.
Always remembering little things I said and bringing them up again another
time. In person you were something else. When I saw you, leaning against your
bike, you looked like someone starring in a movie about their life. Like you
believed it was a movie everyone would want to see. You smirked often; I mean
who smirks apart from smug people? And your grin had an edge that seemed well
practiced and like it always won you your own way. You walked with a cocky
swagger; broad, long strides, controlling of the air around you. And your
clothes. No one wears all black with a leather jacket, and rides a bike like
that, unless they think they’re hot. And you were. I just didn’t want to say
“You’re paler than I thought,” was all I let you have.
You threw your head back and laughed as if I were ridiculous.
I shrugged. “What about me?”
You tugged on my hand. “You’re shorter than I expected.”
Then you did that grin, the one that said, two can play at this game.
I let it slide, not asking any more. Not probing. I didn’t
want to seem desperate for your assessment of me, but I wanted to know so badly.
Then you stopped by the gate and pulled me to lean against
the wooden barrier. You snaked an arm around my shoulders and pulled me close.
I could have stopped you; we barely knew each other unless you counted about
thirty one-hour telephone calls. But I never. I let you pull me to your side,
tucked against your jacket. I let you because the moment you extended your arm
I wanted to crawl inside and curl up there. For whatever reason that I don’t
understand, and may never, I felt like I belonged there. Next to you.
“You’re much prettier than I expected,” you said.
I wasn’t sure if it was actually meant to be a compliment
and squinted up at you, my face somewhere between shock and outrage.
You looked down at me and roared with laughter at my
expression, pulling me even tighter as you did.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” you spluttered, struggling to
I pushed you away lightly. “You’re a dick.” But I couldn’t
This time you grabbed my waist and picked me up, sitting me
on the gate.
“I meant,” you said, your face serious, “that I knew you
were going to be pretty, but I wasn’t prepared for you to be
I had nothing to say to that. I just looked at you, taking
in the stranger you were, but feeling like I had known you a thousand years at
the same time.
You stroked a piece of stray hair away from my face as if it
was the most normal thing to do in the world and said, “I’ve never had this
before. Wanting to meet someone just because I spoke to them on the phone. But
I’m not mad, am I? We have something, right?”
Yours eyes were somewhere between sincere and worried, with
maybe the tiniest hint of being lost. I felt like I needed to say something to
help you feel found. I wanted to reassure you.
I nodded. “I think so.”
You smiled and pulled me in close, holding me against your
chest. I questioned myself whether it was normal to accept such intimate
gestures despite not really knowing you. For all I knew, you could have been a
stalker or a murderer. But I couldn’t deny you were right, there was something
there. It was there the second I heard your voice for the first time. So I let
you hold me tight and said nothing else.
This is one of the hard parts to
tell. This is the part when I cringe as I explain it because I know that this
was the day I should have gotten up and walked away, and not looked back. If I
had been smart enough to do that, it would have saved me so much time and
But I didn’t.
We were sitting on the grass in the park on a Tuesday
afternoon. You had taken the day off work and I had skipped college for you. It
was three weeks after the day you first showed up at my work, and the twelfth
time that we had met. Each time I saw you, you held my hand and kept me close.
We laughed and talked. We argued over your poor taste in music and my awesome
taste in movies. We drank coffees and walked for miles. We met before you went
to work and after I finished my shifts at Pizza Planet. Sometimes between. It
was addictive, time spent with you. We never did more than cuddle or hold
hands. I wanted you to kiss me so badly, but never had the courage to make the
first move. I wasn’t entirely sure how you felt about me because you never
said. You were sweet and interested and affectionate, but you never made it
clear what we were. I tried to read your body, your words, over and over for a
hint of a clue, but it got me nowhere.
I, however, was in serious trouble. I was falling for you,
and I was falling horribly fast. Like someone had thrown me out of a plane
without a parachute and I was tumbling towards the earth at five hundred miles
an hour. I didn’t know how to stop myself; and even if I did, I can’t say I
would have tried.
We were sitting on the grass, sharing a bag of popcorn and
some orange juice, you were asking me about college.
“Sometimes I wonder if I missed out,” you said. “I’m not
really into education, but I don’t want a shit job.”
I threw popcorn at your pretty face. A piece stuck to your
hair and I reached over to take it out. “It’s never too late to go back, Drew.”
You shook your head. “Nah. I’ve chosen my path now. When I
make up my mind about something, I can be pretty stubborn about changing it
I lay back on the grass. Instinctively, or so it seemed, you
mirrored me and offered an arm to lie in. I snuggled up close, relishing your
t-shirt against my thin dress, and letting the sun warm my legs. Our shoes sat
next to us, discarded on the grass, and I wiggled my toes in the summer breeze.
“Being an apprentice is just as good as being in college.
You’re going to get a skill and a good career at the end, so it’s just as
valid,” I said. “Being a mechanic is something you can do all over the world.
It’s always going to be needed.”
You rolled over so our noses were almost touching.
“I’m not going to be
You rubbed your nose against mine like an eskimo. My heart
skipped a beat.
“What are you going to be?” I asked, trying to ignore the
fact my heart was practically in my throat, choking me.
“I’m going to open a chain of garages and work on supercars.
Maybe even racing cars, I don’t know yet. Either way I am going to be very
I giggled. “Good luck with that then, petrol-head.”
You started to tickle me and soon I was wriggling around
trying to escape your grasp, but not really wanting to back away. Before I knew
it, you had me pinned and was smiling down at me, sitting across my lap. The
sun was behind you and I wished I had a camera because yet again you managed to
look like a film star. A beautiful film star. Not for the first time I wondered
why you were bothering with me. I’m not saying I am completely horrendous; I’m
not. But next to you sometimes I felt like a troll that belonged under a
bridge. You were so handsome and cool. Always calm and unflappable. Intelligent
and funny. You had it all. I didn’t understand what you thought I could bring
to the table. I suppose part of me always knew eventually you’d realise it too.
Then you leaned down and the sun shone into my eyes,
blinding me. I squeezed them tight, about to protest, when I felt your lips
brush mine. It was soft and light. My words died in my chest and I froze; a
rabbit in the headlights. If my heart had been in my throat before, it
practically jumped into my brain at your kiss.
Then you sat back, pulled me up to sit, wrapped one arm
around my waist, wound your other hand into my hair, and kissed me again.
Deeper. Harder. Gentle, but urgent, and I swear for ten seconds straight I
couldn’t breathe. I wrapped my arms around you and pulled you even closer,
trying to absorb every tiny atom of you and your kiss.
It pisses me off now that it was the best kiss of my life.
After, we lay back down, me back in the crook of your arm,
and you said, “So I know you’re studying art, but what do you want to actually
“Do?” I questioned, frowning at the clear blue sky. “I don’t
anything. I want to
You looked down at me and half smiled, your ocean blue eyes
searching my face.
“OK, Miss Mina. Beautiful girl. Amazing Kisser.”
“Who,” you continued, “do you want to be?”
I huffed out dramatically. “That’s a big question. It also
has a big answer which is multi levelled you know.”
You laughed and trailed a finger absently down the bare skin
of my arm. It distracted me for a second and I lost my thought.
“Well?” you prompted.
“Oh. Well. I want to be free. I never want to stay still or
become someone only worried about cleaning her house or paying her bills. I
never want to be a corporate person. I want to be the girl that travels and
sees the world with all of the colour it has to offer. I want to make art from
colours and tastes and feelings of the places I go. I want to always be
learning and evolving. I want to be clever and wise, but reckless and
spontaneous. I want to walk places barefoot and not care what people think. I
want to dance in the rain and grow old having fun every day. And eventually,
when I am probably like one hundred years old, I don’t want to die in a
hospital bed with everyone around me crying, I want to fade to dust and blow
away on the wind to somewhere new. Maybe to be someone new.”
You watched me and my words as if I were a documentary on a
foreign species. A slight frown creased your head.
“What art are you going to make?”
I shrugged as best I could tucked so close to you.
“I am either going to make clay sculptures of things.
Massive things. Or paper models. Tiny models. Big or tiny. I haven’t decided
which I prefer yet.”
You burst into laughter. Proper belly laughter that shook us
You leaned over and kissed the top of my head. “Pan would
struggle to understand you.”
“Who’s Pan,” I asked, smiling. Your sister? Aunt? Mum? You
were exactly the right amount of cool to be one of those people who call their
parents by their first names.
“My girlfriend. You would spin her out over the edge.”
I think my blood froze in my veins. Literally froze and
stopped reaching my heart, because for a second I couldn’t move.
“Girlfriend?” My voice sounded tiny and far away.
You shrugged and stroked my arm again, but this time I
didn’t feel it. I was briefly numb.
I sat up. Maybe the movement kick started my heart because
everything rushed back at once. My head pounded, my cheeks burnt, my stomach
“You have a girlfriend?”
You looked at me oddly. “Yeah.”
I stared at you, confused as to why you didn’t seem to
understand the significance of this news. “You never told me that. Not once.”
“It’s not a big deal, babe. Me and her aren’t close.”
You said it so easily.
“But she’s still your girlfriend. Don’t you think that
should have come up in our, I don’t know, one thousand conversations? Or the
fifty something times we have met?”
You shrugged again and sat up, tilting your head to one
side, eyes squinted.
“How long have you been together?” I asked.
“Two years, on and off.”
“Two years?” I was nearly shouting now. Furious, I grabbed
my shoes and got up, stomping across the grass and away from you.
I heard the grass crushing behind me as you ran to catch up.
I ignored you.
“Mina.” Louder this time.
Then you grabbed my wrist and spun me to face you.
“Just stop will you.”
Your eyes had that weird lost look in them again. They might
even have been a bit sad, I wasn’t entirely sure. Whatever it was, it was enough
to make me stop and listen.
“When I met Pan, I was lonely. She was pretty, she’s not
bright and doesn’t talk that much. It’s easy to be around her, but not really
have to get involved with her, you know?”
I shook my head. “Not really.”
“She’s company when I’m lonely. She cooks nice dinners. She
cleans the flat. She looks after me and she cares about me. It’s nice. It’s
nice to know someone is going to be there when I get home. She’s more like a friend
or a sister than anything else. Besides, her family live in Canada and she’d
have nowhere else to go if I threw her out. What am I supposed to do? She’s
been good to me. I’m used to her.”
I couldn’t entirely believe the actual words coming out of
your mouth. Your face told me that you thought your skewed logic was completely
“Do you sleep with her?” I heard myself asking. I didn’t
even know I was going to, the words just sort of fell out of my face. I
probably didn’t even have the right to ask.
You watched me for a second and I knew you were contemplating
lying. I knew if you said no I would definitely walk away.
“Sometimes,” you replied. “Not like we used to. But
I nodded and rubbed my arms; I felt a chill even though the
sun was bright.
I dropped my shoes and wriggled my feet into them. “I should
You caught my hand and held it against your chest, over your
“Please stay a little longer. I don’t want you to go yet. I
hate it when we say goodbye.”
My stomach ached at your words and tears heated up behind my
eyes. I felt so betrayed.
“You should have told me, Drew.” As I said the words, I felt
myself faltering. Despite everything you had just told me, I didn’t want to go.
Not really. I wanted to go back ten minutes and be blissfully ignorant again.
Ignorance can be underrated it seems. I wanted to be close to you. I didn’t
want to walk away.
“You never asked, you know, babe,” you said softly.
“If I had girlfriend. If you had asked, I would have told
you. Straight up.”
I chewed my bottom lip and found myself wondering if you had
a point. I never had asked. I just assumed that you, like I, were single. The
way you spoke to me. The way you flirted on the phone and, once we’d met, held
me so openly. I’d assumed taken men didn’t do that. Apart from you, apparently.
And, I supposed to myself, you said you didn’t love her. Not
really. Not properly.
What a dickhead I was.
But that’s the thing; love really does make you blind. You
can be so utterly consumed by someone that you just don’t think straight. You
don’t see properly. Even when something literally punches you in the face, you
can still miss it.
“How would she feel about us?” I asked, taking a step closer
to you. I just wanted you to hug me and pretend like it was all fine.
You shrugged. “Who knows. Maybe she wouldn’t care.”
And I believed you. I think I let myself believe you because
I wanted it to be true.
Like a sister,
was all I repeated to myself. It
became my mantra:
Doesn’t love her. Like his sister
“Want a coffee?” you asked, your forehead crinkled and your
eyes hopeful. You clutched my hand like a lifeline.
I closed my eyes and nodded. I was disappointed in myself
for not being stronger. For not being better. For betraying the sisterhood. My
sisterhood. I also felt powerless to stop it.
When I opened them, you wore your cocky smirk, like you’d known
I would crumble all along.
You led me to a Starbucks, talking about nothing and
everything, as if five minutes before had never happened. Every so often I
would speak, but really I was stuck in my own head, churning it all over.
Wishing it away. By the time I had ordered my cappuccino I had decided if I
ignored it, perhaps it didn’t really exist.
Like I said, love makes you blind. And a fucking idiot.