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Two Words to Fall in Love

"You might be stubborn but I’m starting to understand exactly how to tear those walls down you put up so tightly around yourself.”

By Katie BurnsidePublished 6 months ago 8 min read
@ Pixabay

“Darling, I’m going to make you fall in love with me,” he says with so much confidence I’m almost falling at his feet.

I defiantly place my hands on my hips, pulling myself together. “You don’t stand a chance.” I turn with so much vigour I’m sure my hair swipes across his face.

“You sure about that?”

I don’t look back but I can feel his presence as he follows me. I can always feel his presence. Whenever he’s in my vicinity my body knows it before my mind does.

I head towards the women’s fiction section of the library. My favourite area in here. Not just because of the books but the women who sit here to read them.

This is where I met Nathan.

Three weeks ago.

I had a free hour between my yoga classes so I came to find something new to read. Something that wasn’t about how to teach yoga or ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.’ I needed a break from my course so I came here, to the women’s section. That’s when I saw him and it wasn’t his good looks or his bright blue eyes that caught my attention. It was the book he was reading. ‘Hello Beautiful’ by Anne Napolitano.

My favourite book.

I sat down next to him and placed a random book on the table so loud I thought it turned the heads of everyone in the library. He didn’t even flinch though. He continued to read the book as if I wasn’t there. That annoyed me so I sighed as loudly as I could and still, he didn’t move or look up at me. He knew I was there. I could see the slight upward turn of his lips at the corners. I’d seen him around campus but I’d never seen him in here before. I wanted to know why he was reading my favourite book. But more importantly, I wanted to know if he was enjoying it.

“Are you going to ignore me?” I asked him finally.

“You didn’t ask me anything,” he said while keeping his eyes firmly planted on the book.

He had a point.

“Fine. Why are you reading that?”

“Why not?” He retorted.

“I’m just surprised. I didn’t think it would be your thing,” I said but kept that slight smile playing on his lips.

He closed the book then and finally looked at me. I felt myself catch my breath. Looking at him properly for the first time did things to me that I didn’t even want to admit. His curly brown hair framed his forehead so perfectly. And his eyes were even more blue up close. They looked like the ocean.

“Why wouldn’t it be my thing? You don’t know me,” he said defensively.

I could tell he was finding this situation hilarious and that only made me angrier but I wasn’t sure what I was so angry about. I got up to leave because I needed to put distance between us. I couldn’t concentrate when I looked into those eyes that looked like they’d seen everything beautiful and everything painful in the world.

But as I got up he grabbed my hand to stop me from leaving. I looked down at him, feeling myself drown in him again.

“Please stay,” he pleaded. “Maybe we got off on the wrong foot. I’m Nathan.”

I sat back down beside him. “I’m Lucy.”

“That’s a pretty name.”

I could feel my cheeks heat up at his compliment. I didn’t know how to respond so I stayed silent.

“Why are you so interested in me reading this book?” He asked curiously.

“It’s my favourite.”

“Are you jealous of a book Lucy?”

It took me a moment to register what he was saying. “What? Why would you ask that?” But it was at that moment I realised he was right. That book was getting all his attention and I wanted it. I wanted his eyes on me. Because I liked him. But I didn’t want to admit that. “Of course I’m not jealous of a book,” I said unconvincingly.

His ability to keep eye contact with me the entire time was intimidating yet oddly satisfying.

“Would it make you feel any better if I said I’m only reading this book because I know it’s your favourite?”

I searched his face for the joke but it didn’t come. He was being serious. I felt even angrier then than I did before. He’d been playing me. That’s why he was finding it all so amusing. He wanted to get my attention and I fell for it. It was a trap. One I’m secretly glad he’d set.

“How did you know it was my favourite? You don’t know who I am,” I echoed his words back to him.

“Because I asked Olivia.”

“As in–”

“Your Olivia,” he cut me off.

Then I thought Olivia was my soon-to-be ex-flatmate.

“Why did you do that?” I asked.

“Because I wanted an excuse to talk to you.”

“Well that’s the last time I’m ever telling her anything.” I stood to leave but he got up too, leaving the book behind. A part of me was sad that he wasn’t reading it because he wanted to. That he wasn’t as captivated by the characters and their flaws as I was. I felt betrayed that he was pretending and that’s why I answered his next question the way I did.

“Will you go on a date with me?” He asked.

“No.” My response was easy. “You could have just asked me out in the first place. You didn’t need to trick me.”

“Would you have said yes then?”

I stopped walking to turn and look at him. “Probably not.” Then I resumed my walk to the exit. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of thinking he’d ever be lucky enough to go on a date with me. No matter how much I wanted to say yes. He’d have to work for it. I’d make him work for it if he was willing.

“What can I do for a chance with you?”

I turned to look at him once again. He looked so determined. So eager. I almost felt sad for him. Almost. “Read that book.”

“What?” He looked confused.

“Read that book and then come find me. And don’t try to cheat by reading the first and last chapters. I’ll know,” I warned him, then walked out the door.

He read that book in two days. And I’ve secretly been obsessed with him ever since. But I refuse to say yes to his date requests. I’m not ready to give in yet. Besides, I like this game of cat and mouse we seem to be playing.

I sit down and pull out my notebooks and textbooks. Nathan sits down next to me but I notice he doesn’t have any books with him. He must have come here specifically to see me. That thought gives me butterflies.

“Anyone would think you’re stalking me Nate,” I say and start flicking through my notes from my latest class. In the past week, I’ve seen him more than I’ve seen Olivia and that’s saying something considering I live with her.

“I like how that sounds.”

“What?” I ask looking up at him.

“Nate. The way you said it. I liked it. It sounds good on your tongue.” He tucks my hair behind my ear. It’s something he does quite regularly now. And I like it. A lot. His comment makes my heart rate speed up. Sometimes I worry he might be able to hear it. Hear the effect he has on it. On me.

“I need to study,” I gesticulate towards my books.

“I know. I just wanted to see you.” He gets up to leave but something inside of me gives in because of how defeated he looks. The fact he came all this way just to see me makes me feel special. He makes me feel special.

“Fine,” I say. He turns around so fast that I worry he’s given himself whiplash.

“What do you mean fine?” He sits back down beside me and takes my hands in his.

“I’ll go on a date with you.”

“YES,” he screams so loudly that loads of students in the library start shushing us. I have to use my hand to hide my giggle.

“I knew I’d wear you down eventually,” he admits with not much conviction.

“No, you didn’t.”

“No, I didn’t.” We both laugh at that. “I’ll pick you up at seven.”

Nathan knows where I live.

The truth is, he knows a lot about me. Every day since that day in the library he’s walked me to and from my classes. Asking me questions about my life and what I want to do with it. He’s never just asked surface questions either. A lot of them were deeper than that. And I admire that about him. He’s not afraid of a tricky conversation. The fact he told me he loved ‘Hello Beautiful’ was enough to make me go weak at the knees. He would let me talk in detail about the characters I loved so much and why. He’d even join in and offer real inputs into the conversation.

That meant a lot to me.

When I get back to my flat I try to find something to wear for our date. I didn’t ask him where he was taking me so I’m not sure what the dress code is. I decide to call him and he picks up on the second ring.

“You better not be cancelling on me,” he warns.

“You have such little faith.”

“That’s because I know you.”

“Where are we going? I’m trying to decide what to wear.” I can hear movement in the background. It sounds like he’s sitting up.

“Do you want to FaceTime so you can show me the options?”

“If you were here I’d slap you for that.” I pull a red dress out of my wardrobe. It’s my favourite. It makes my legs look great but if I know Nathan as well as I think I do. This date will require jeans.

“You wouldn’t dare ruin this pretty face.”

“I never said I’d hit you in the face, Nate.”

“Woah, is Lucy Morgan flirting with me?” I hear him whistle down the phone and I can picture his smug look.

“Don’t flatter yourself.”

“Just wear jeans,” he steers the conversation back on track. “You look hot in anything though.” I know it’s a throwaway comment but hearing it means a lot.

“Nathan.”

“Lucy,” he says my name back in the exact same tone I used.

“Thank you for not giving up on me.” I hear him swallow hard.

“You’re not the ice queen you think you are. You might be stubborn but I’m starting to understand exactly how to tear those walls down you put up so tightly around yourself.”

I drop to my mattress and take in the words he just said to me. He makes me feel like I’m living inside a romance novel sometimes. And that’s one of my favourite things about him. It took me two weeks to finally get him to tell me what he was studying. English literature. Because he wants to be a writer, and when he says things like that, I know he’s got talent.

“But I’ve already told you I’m going to make you fall in love with me,” he continues. “I wasn’t lying about that. So put your sexy ass jeans on and I’ll see you outside in thirty.”

I don’t feel nervous when it’s time to go outside. Nathan has always made me feel comfortable. But when I see him leaning against the lamppost looking all sexy in his blue shirt and Converse the nerves kick in.

I head over as he reaches out a hand so he can press it against my back to pull me closer into him.

“Hello beautiful,” he says taking my breath away.

RomanceYoung AdultFiction

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    Katie BurnsideWritten by Katie Burnside

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