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She walks up to him, smiling and excited to see him.
“I missed you,” she says, and wraps her arms around him tight, giving him a quick kiss on the lips.
She grabs his hand and they walk into her house. He smiles half-heartedly, genuinely happy to see her. She is his girlfriend of eight months, and he loves her. He wants to enjoy his day with her, he has had her in his head all week. Well, the part of the week that he wasn’t hanging out with “the other one.”
It all started when he enrolled for a boarding school, one that was close enough he could come home every weekend. His girlfriend made sure that he would be able to. He knew it would put a strain on their relationship, but it was a great school- one that could push him to his full academic potential and also give him a spot on one of the best soccer leagues in the country. When he got in, his girlfriend was ecstatic, almost as much as he was. So, in September, he packed up his bags and drove the two hours upstate. His girlfriend came with him, and they cuddled and had meaningful conversations the whole drive, ignoring his family that had also come to see him off. When they arrived, she helped him unpack, and then his family left them alone for a couple minutes. They lay down on the bed, and wrapped themselves in each other.
“I’m going to miss you so much,” she said, a sadness choking her voice.
She pulled a package out of her pocket, and he opened it. Inside was a picture of them, taken last summer. They both had huge smiles plastered on their faces as they looked at each other with a kind of affection that astounded him. A tear came to his eye, and he wrapped his arms around her waist and gave her a hug.
“Thank you so much, this is amazing. I love you.” He said, and she kissed him slowly, squeezed him again, and darted out of the room before she changed her mind and stayed.
He hardly had time to miss her before he was handed a flyer by his new, extremely introverted roommate, informing all the students to get a good night’s sleep, then report to a welcome assembly in the morning. He collapsed on his bed, wishing he were at home with his girlfriend, doing their normal Sunday routine of “studying” and then watching a movie and eating all the junk food he could possibly imagine. The alarm clock started ringing like crazy at 7:00 A.M., surprising him as he shot up in the new bed, briefly confused at where he was. He was used to a good morning text message from his girlfriend waking him up, but cell phones were not permitted on campus. Pulling on his socks and shoes, he remembered that he was to report to the assembly. He walked, suddenly feeling very alone, toward the large building where a mass of students waited to get in.
Seeing a few empty seats, he took one, trying not to make eye contact as he scanned the crowd of his new classmates. A girl came and sat beside him, smiling and accidentally brushing his leg as she sat. He felt a tingle at the area of contact, something he hadn’t felt from anyone except his girlfriend for eight months.
“Hi,” she said.
Her big brown eyes seemed to sparkle and her long, brunette hair fell in large ringlets down her back. She was gorgeous, unlike anyone he had seen before. He stuck out his hand and introduced himself as she did the same. She told him that she was from New York, that she had played the violin at Juilliard, and was a track star at her previous, elite high school. His rural upbringing and attendance of a substandard public school seemed embarrassing, so he avoided any questions of himself. The meeting started, and food was passed around to the grumbling student’s bellies. He half listened to the rules and expectations, half watched her eat. She caught him staring and stuck out her tongue, beaming. When the meeting was over, they exchanged schedules. He was partly pleased, partly frightened, to learn they had all classes except for one together. The first class of the day happened to be the one they didn't have together, so they headed off their separate ways. 'Maybe she's just friendly to everyone. Maybe it's just because it's the first day,' he thought, but he knew that wasn't the case at all. There were plenty of other gorgeous girls around campus, but she was the only one that he gave any recognition. There was something about her he just couldn't put his finger on, besides her Juilliard and sprinting accomplishments, that was impressive. He sat through his geography class, hardly listening to the teacher, and responded with one-worded answers as his seatmate flirted with him to no end. The bell sounded, and he darted out, hurrying to his next class, where, against his will, he knew he needed to get a seat beside that girl.
She was standing outside the door, looking flustered as an overly-friendly girl tried to befriend her. He came up behind her and found himself grabbing her lower waist, making her squeal and turn around. She smiled, and grabbed one of his fingers, leading him to an empty two-seat desk. They sat down, and began talking like old friends, their knees touching as they turned toward each other. 'Woah, this is definitely not just her being nice to everyone,' he thought cautiously, 'You have a girlfriend, man.' He turned away and took out his notebook, staring straight ahead at the teacher. Luckily, she came in and started instructing right away, and he wasn't given any temptations until the bell rang. He spent the entire day with her, walking from class to class. One teacher commented on their friendship, very close for the first day, and asked if they had known each other previously. She said no, and then poked him in the leg, a smile on her face. Her hand lingered there, and she squeezed his leg. At that moment, he knew that he was falling, and falling hard, for this New York girl. That night, he thought back to his girlfriend and looked at the picture she had given him just a little over twenty-four hours ago. He knew that he loved her to the moon and back, and didn't want to break up with her. She was his life, and while she wasn't gorgeous, she had the prettiness that took a little while to appreciate, and he most certainly appreciated it. She knew everything from who invented the camera to how to cook a seven-course dinner, and could make him laugh with a single glance. He fell asleep with his amazing girlfriend on his mind, but thoughts of the Juilliard girl filled every single one of his dreams.
The next day passed very similarly to the first day, he made some new friends but talked almost exclusively to Juilliard girl. She told him stories of her life in New York, doing things he had only dreamed of, like partying at a club with the rich and famous, and attending private concerts for her and her friends by their favorite bands. He listened intently, and decided she was the most traveled and interesting person he had ever met. She asked him about his life, and he told her everything. Well, except for the part about his girlfriend. He didn't lie, but he also didn't tell the truth- he just didn't tell her. He told her about being the star on his school's soccer team, and leading them to state championships. He told her about the Christian camp he had worked for the entire summer, and how much it had changed his life. He felt at ease talking to her, but wanted to be sitting as close as her to possible when they were conversing, smelling her hair and stopping for an occasional makeout session. He had to put his hands in his pockets most of the time to stop himself, staying as far away as possible from her while they talked, all the while chanting his girlfriend's name in his head. At dinner, the headmaster announced the school would be having a bonfire that night to better get to know each other. Juilliard girl smiled at him, and before he knew it he was smiling back. He went back to his room before the gathering, and sprayed on some cologne without thinking and grabbed a sweatshirt, one that his girlfriend had given him, and one that he hoped would help him to control himself around Juilliard girl. He headed off to the event, not sure what the night had in store, but with uncontrollable butterflies dangerously fluttering around in his stomach.
Juilliard girl flounced over as soon as she laid eyes on him. She had changed into an extremely soft looking sweater and tight leather pants, perfect for the chill of the autumn night. She gave him a quick hug, and grabbed his hand and headed to the hot chocolate stand. On the way, he recognized a few people from his classes, but couldn’t really focus on anything except Juilliard girl. He picked up a cup for both of them, and sat down on an isolated bench beside the fire, the perfect size for just the two of them. Their legs and bodies were touching, and he felt tingly and shaky, almost spilling the warm chocolaty drink. They talked for awhile about how much they liked this school, and she abruptly stopped and looked in the fire.
“I guess I probably should’ve asked you this before," she said slowly, “But you don’t have a girlfriend, do you?”
His stomach dropped, this was the question he had been mentally preparing himself for, the question he knew he had to tell the truth to. He looked in her eyes, her hopeful, pretty eyes, and looked at their bodies, conformed together on the small bench, and at his other classmates, all with envy and curiosity in their eyes as they stared at them and the bond they had already.
Before he could stop himself, he replied, “No.”
She smiled, looking relieved, and put her head on his shoulder, fitting her hand into the bend in his arm as if it was created to go there.
“I really like you, you know. You’re different than other guys I’ve met. You have this thing about you, I don’t know what it is, but it makes you stand out of the crowd. Even though I’ve known you for less than 48 hours, I’m already falling in love with you,” she said softly, almost whispering the last sentence.
Pushing any thought of his girlfriend out of his mind, he leaned in and kissed her, not caring about anything but her and her soft lips. Later that night, as he lay in his bed, he took the picture of him and his girlfriend from his nightstand to under the bed. All he could think of was that night by the fire, and his terribly mixed up feelings. His heart felt torn in to, everything about his girlfriend was so perfect, and she was his first kiss, first love. On the other hand, Juilliard girl had everything- she was so smart, talented, and beautiful. He had only known her for a day, but he was falling madly in love with her, and couldn’t control what he said and did when he was around her. He tried to go to sleep for a little while, but his nerves were too bent up to even consider sleeping. Grabbing the forbidden cell phone he had snuck into his bag, he walked out of his dorm building to one of the trails he had been hearing about but hadn’t had the time to test out. He held the phone up, searching for signal. It was eleven o’clock, but he knew his girlfriend wouldn’t mind if he woke her up. He dialed the memorized number, and almost died from happiness when she picked up on the first ring. They ended up talking for two entire hours, and when he finally got off he knew that he missed her and loved her like crazy, but it also didn’t change the way he felt about Juilliard girl. He remembered everyone was assigned a mentor, sort of like a guidance counselor, that students could talk to about anything. He resolved to talk to him tomorrow, and collapsed into his soft bed, so tired he didn’t bother to take his shoes off.
The next day, he headed straight to the mentor’s office, ignoring the rumbling in his belly. The mentor looked tired, but also happy at the fact a student actually had come to talk to him. He started right up, relaying the whole story with every embarrassing detail.
The mentor looked puzzled, and said, “Now, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just date both of these girls? Unfortunately, you can’t. You need to make a list of the pros and cons of each girl. I already have a hunch which one you will choose, but we will see. Go make your list, and come back to me tonight and we will review it together. Thanks for talking to me, my door is always open!”
He walked to breakfast, right into the trap of Juilliard girl, who tempted him to behave the way he had last night. They walked to all of their classes together, hands intertwined. All of their classmates had just started to assume they were a couple. He realized he was just digging himself a hole that would keep getting deeper, but he didn't care. He almost forgot to write the list his mentor had told him to write, but he remembered about an hour before their session. He quickly jotted down random things, not putting any effort into it like he should so that he could go hang out with Juilliard girl a little more. When the clock turned to five minutes before eight, he kissed her on the lips, in front of everyone, and sprinted across campus to the mentor's office. He had made up his mind, not matter what the mentor said he was going to have a school girlfriend and a home girlfriend- it was so much easier, and he liked them both so much. He wondered why he had even gone to see the mentor in the first place, and answered with one word answers the entire meeting. He knew the mentor was frustrated, but he didn't care. Nothing was going to change his mind at this point, Juilliard girl and his girlfriend were both just too important to him already.
The next day went the same as the day before, and so did the next. Before he knew it, it was Friday, time to go home. Juilliard girl and him spent about an hour together, and he was grateful she left before he did so there was no chance of her and his family meeting. She saw her aunt, who lived near the school, drive up the long road to the school, and pulled him behind the dorm where they were waiting. First, she gave him a folded up piece of paper with her number on it, and then a kiss, soft and slow. She turned and practically skipped to her car, while he was left with the same feeling of happy shock he always got when they kissed. Luckily, he saw his parent's car coming up the drive, and happily hopped in, not even wanting to be at school anymore if Juilliard girl wasn't. No, he was ready to go see his girlfriend.
He sleeps the night in his own bed, texting Juilliard girl and his girlfriend. He has plans to spend the entire weekend with his girlfriend, and he is genuinely looking forward to seeing her pretty, smiling face, and to how glad she would be when she saw him after the long week. He had bought her a sweatshirt from the school in one of the spare moments he had without Juilliard girl, and jots a quick, but meaningful note to put on the wrapped gift. After carefully dressing in clothes she had given him for his birthday, he sprays his favorite cologne on. He packs an overnight bag, and heads over. She walks up to him, smiling and excited to see him.
“I missed you,” she says, and wraps her arms around him tight, giving him a quick kiss on the lips.
She grabs his hand and they walk into her house. He smiles half-heartedly, genuinely happy to see her. She is his girlfriend of eight months, and he loves her. He wants to enjoy his day with her, he has had her in his head all week. And the second he saw her, he knew that it was her he loved. He still like Juilliard girl a lot, but his girlfriend was the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. They sit down on her bed, he wraps her in his arms, and she breezily starts interrogating him about his whole week.
"Did you make any friends?" she asks.
He thinks for a little while, realizing he didn't really make any. The Juilliard girl, while amazing, was way too high maintenance and not his type. The girl on his lap, staring up at him with humongous blue eyes, was his type, and he was in love with her. Not wanting to talk anymore about the eye-opening first week, he leaned in and kissed her passionately.