“What happened all those years ago, you left me cause ‘it wouldn’t work out’, I quoted him.
“Vanessa,” I corrected, didn’t want my ex to use my nickname he’d used when we were together years ago.
“Vanessa,” He pronounced shyly, keeping his head low.
“I’ve changed, and so have you… it’s almost Christmas… why don’t we make it memorable?”
“So am I just a toy you use whenever and throw?” I questioned, flickering my honey golden eyes to stare at his blank expression.
“Stop Jared, we’re done… I’m sorry to disappoint you but I… I can’t,” I shuttered to tell him ‘no’, it was hard to ignore his luscious blue eyes drop in frustration. He had kneeled down, wearing his best suit… his coffee brown hair combed with perfection. His eager eyes awaited for my ‘yes’.
Unfolding his chosen ring in a velvet box, the sapphire shore like the moon, I had shed a tear or two in the process. It was beautiful, extraordinary… I so wanted to feel it's cold metal on my ring finger, smiling back to look at the man of my dreams… yet that wasn’t the way it went.
I’d denied his proposal, shunning him away from my life. I wasn’t one of those girls who fell for looks and money.
I had a spine, I didn’t want to be used. Sucked for my money and fame. Jared’s face fell in dismay. His ears turned bright red as he shrugged, walking off before I said anything else.
“You’ll be sorry,” He murmured, giving me the stink eye before throwing the ring; that precious piece of jewel into the trash. I saw a lady who had been the witness of his failure faint in surprise.
I rolled my eyes, walking away from his annoying presence.
Guys are all over me ever since I’d become a backup dancer. Yes, I’m just a ‘backup’ but I was extremely popular, making millions of dollars every year. I didn’t have a relationship with anyone or seeing anyone I was interested in so guys always crowd over me, invaliding my personal space. Trying to forcefully talk to me, to see if I found them mesmerizing.
I tried to avoid my ‘fans’ as much as possible, staying indoors… not going out unless there is some emergency.
I have always loved dancing, it was my… speciality. Dance and me were like peanut butter and jelly. They were meant to be together.
My mom had been a dancer, so had my grandmother. Guess it runs in the family, yet I’d always been the best one. I exceeded them in bounds they didn’t think was possible. My footwork was always in rhythm. I’d never fallen down due to my clumsiness. Mom would remark that I walked like a cat, light and in sync.
Why was I a backup then? My dance teacher has insisted that I be the main lead but I contradicted. I’d had enough people all over me, didn’t need more bothering me.
My cousin was the lead, she wasn’t as good as me but she was amazing, if I say so myself. Her pirouette was graceful, her foot tucked in as she spun. Her teasels would lift up, she was like a blur to naked eyes. Spinning like a ballerina from the nutcracker.
“Tucker! What a pleasant surprise,” Tucker was my ex’s best friend, he’d been a great friend to me as well. Supporting me during high school when Jared and I broke up.
“I followed Jared, tried to put some sense into him but he’s egoistic… you know.”
“Of course, thanks for trying though, all he got was a broken heart,” I said, smiling. Tucker’s brown eyes reminded me of hot cocoa. He wore a plaid t-shirt. His muscle showed off from the thin shirt. He was stunning, reminded me of my little brother. The chocolate brown eyes glanced back to meet my auburn iris.
He shyly invited me over for coffee at his house. I agreed, overjoyed to spend some time with a friend. I deserved some break.
“So… what are you looking for?” He blankly asked, his hands searching for mine. I rubbed the cup against my skin, warming it up from the cold sensation. The aroma of coffee flowed into my nose, I took a quiet sip.
“Looking for what?”
“In… a guy,” He blushed, I uncomfortably shifted in my seat, was it getting warmer in the room.
“Well… I’m not really… looking yet,” I confronted. He seemed thoughtful, keeping a safe distance so I could be comfortable.
“Not really… I just wrapped up college this year, I want to focus more on my career.”
“Oh… I see,” He spoke so silently I had to strain my ears closer to make out his words.
We exchanged random conversations, keeping it lighthearted.
“I… I wanted to ask you something,” He locked eyes with me, “Never mind.”
I took a deep breath, holding his hand. He froze in shock, but didn’t show any chance of wanting to let go.
“Tell me,” I insisted.
“Promise you won’t be mad?”
“Yes, I’m sure it can’t be that bad,” He read my light expression, leading me towards the living room. An enchanting Christmas tree was decorated with every possible color, lights flickered in every direction, the ornaments seemed to have so much history behind them. An Angel adorned the top.
“Beautiful display,” I murmured.
He smirked, “Thanks, my mom’s big on holidays.”
“So… tell me,” I watched his face flush, he grabbed a box from under the tree, securing it in his hands. Keeping a straight face he faced me again.
“Open it,” He instructed, handing the box to me.
Speechlessly I opened the box, ripping out the colorful wrapping paper. I watched for glimpses as I uncovered it. Yet, I seemed totally lost when I took out a thin necklace. It was garnished with diamonds and pearls. It was charming.
He smiled. I looked deeper into the box. There seemed to be a piece of paper. Throwing back a quick glance at him I opened the letter.
I’ve always thought you were an amazing girl. Your laughing auburn eyes brightened my day, your shiny hazel hair always in perfection. Your laughter is like the tingling of bells.
I have admired you since I laid eyes on your personality. I hope you feel the same way.
Your best friend/admirer
I was trying to search for the right words as Tucker seemed edgy.
“Tucker, I… I didn’t know you felt that way,” I tried to keep calm.
“I know it’s stupid, don’t bother…”
“Is that… a ring?” I noted the small silver box on top of the coffee table.
I narrowed my eyes.
I smiled, hugging him. He returned my friendly hug.
“Tucker… I’m deeply sorry, you know that's not possible for me,” I politely broke down my refusal.
“You’re like my little brother,” I added, trying to ease his pain.
I grabbed my coat, kissing his cheek one last time before setting out.
He waved, I could understand his agony.
It was only the afternoon. I wanted to sleep badly, take a break from reality for a change. Can’t wait for Christmas, just hours away.
“Vanessa, I was hoping you’ll be here,” I turned around to see who had disrupted my thoughts.
“Yup, the one and only Dave,” I ran over to give a comforting hug.
“Haven’t seen you in a while.”
“Ya, been busy.”
Dave had been my first dance partner back in college. He was a great break dancer now. His dreamy black eyes still imprinted in my head when we first met. He shook the snow off his coal black hair.
“Mind if we take a walk?” He asked, reaching for my hand.
We chattered about life after we separated, he made me laugh so often.
“So hear your famous now.”
“Ugh, not you too,” I preferred to not talk about fame when I wasn’t on tour.
“Sorry… didn’t know you’re still touchy on that.”
We reached the park, he seemed to know where to go, leading me to our unknown destination.
“Vanessa… I wanted to speak with you about something,” I felt uneasy, my stomach indicated that I felt restless.
Dave came closer, something I wasn’t very comfortable with. I could smell his peppermint scent as he covered my eyes with his hands; blinding me.
“Open your eyes,” He instructed after leading me through obstacles.
The light flowed back, I grasped at my surroundings. A banner hung from the park gates. My eyes lit with tears reading the words.
Will you marry me Vanessa?
“Dave…” I couldn’t describe how I felt.
“So… yes?” He looked hopeful.
I couldn’t help but feel guilty, I’d let down two guys already, how hard could one more be? Dave was one of my best friends, I couldn’t imagine living with him. But… I couldn’t. I didn’t feel that spark between us.
“I… I’m sorry Dave, I hate to say it but… no,” I whispered. He nodded, as if he knew my answer ahead of time.
“It’s cool, I get it.”
“I’m so sorry,” I mouthed back.
He left me alone.
I walked back home, mom must be worried over where I was at. Checking the time on my phone just in case; 6:12. It was such a long day today. What was up with these guys? All proposing to me on the same day.
“Vanessa, finally your home!”
“Mom,” I nodded, taking one of the freshly baked cookies. The heat burned my tongue but the flavor replaced the burn.
“Oh and Ken called earlier, said something about having a surprise for you.”
“Oh goodness,” I whispered unaudibly, I hoped this surprise would have nothing to do with… breaking his heart.
Ken was my childhood friend, his mom and mine are really close. He wasn’t a bad dancer either, sometimes we’d mess around as kids. He was such a sweet guy. I’d hate to break his heart.
“Kenny!” I exclaimed, embracing my old friend. His toasty brown hair was a mess; as usual. I laughed seeing that Ken hadn't changed a bit. His greenish brown eyes were mellow as he returned my hug.
“Vi-Vi, glad you came.”
I rolled my eyes at the nickname. Ken always called me Vi-Vi since we were toddlers. He couldn’t say my full name so he shortened it; Vi-Vi was a hit.
“Shall we?” He took my elbow in his, we laughed. This was like the old times, walking together; hand in hand as we’d spend time together. Ken always helped me… live a real life.
I noticed his eyebrows furrow multiple times. He seemed tense about something, Ken wasn’t much of a worrier; it must be something big.
I stopped, turning my head around.
“I heard you let down Jared.”
“Yes,” I hissed, not wanting to talk about it.
“Any specific reason why?”
“I’m not into him I guess,” I could only think of one logical explanation.
“Anyone else you have in mind?” We continued to walk, yet the awkwardness surrounded us.
He blushed, hiding beneath his loose curly hair.
I heard the faint whisper that set me off again.
“Me?” He locked eyes with me, knowing that I’d heard him.
My face felt hot as I looked away.
“Ken,” I stared into his gorgeous eyes. The same eyes I’d seen as a child.
“Vanessa… won’t you stay with me?” His eyes were warm, he smiled slightly. His hand gripped on mine as he closed the gap between us.
I felt him brush his lips against mine, not letting go. I couldn’t feel my senses. My breathing stopped altogether. I pushed his face from mine, my cheeks were hot.
“Sorry,” He mouthed.
I nodded, embarrassed.
“So?” He was waiting for my answer.
“Ken,” I looked back at him, I knew he’d keep me safe, I wished we were meant to be together. But… I didn’t feel chemistry. He wasn’t the one for me.
“I’m sorry Ken… I... can’t,” My voice broke as silent tears rolled down my cheeks.
“I… it’s ok, I’ll always love you,” He cupped my face, bringing his face closer. “Good luck on finding your true love,” With that he left, talking the warmth away. Leaving me alone.
“Oh Ken,” I murmured, shaking my head.
Feeling awkward as I reached home, mom had already decorated the tree, she wore a ugly Christmas sweater that lightened my mood rapidly.
“Honey… how'd go?”
“Bad,” Apparently my mom was in on this matter.
“Oh,” She seemed sorrowful about my decision but she managed a weak smile.
Mom and I settled into the couch, watching the old Christmas movies we watched every year.
Abruptly the doorbell rang during the best part of Home Alone. Groaning, I opened the door.
“Oh Mr. Diaz!”
“No formalities needed Vanessa, just call me Justin,” He corrected, smiling.
“Justin it is.”
Justin was my dance instructor although he wasn’t much older than me, only two years difference but he was much more graceful. I’ve known him since college so we’ve known each other for a while.
“Mrs. Alm… what a wonderful honor to finally meet you,” He bent down, taking to my mothers hand and placing a kiss on her hand. Mom nodded in approval.
“Justin, I’ve heard so much about you, I hear you're going on a tour tomorrow?”
“Yes, in fact I was hoping Vanessa would join me,” He gave me a curious look.
“It’s Christmas though…” Mom trailed off, “Well… tours wait for no one.”
“Sure,” I grinned sarcastically. I didn’t want to go on tour already, but… it was my job. Oh but the fame… I despised it. People crowding over me. Asking for autographs. Wanting my number. Why this hassle?
“Can we talk?”
I nodded, biting my lip again. We went out to the porch. Without waiting for an invitation he sat on the swinging chair, patting the seat beside him.
I sat at the very end, he scooted over. I felt hot all of a sudden, he put his arms around me. Coming closer with every blink of my eyes. My throat felt dry, my lips trembled as he brought his face closer to mine. I closed my eyes, trying to push away but I couldn’t find the strength.
Were we meant for each other? Justin and me?
He was just inches away from me, he held my face. Locking it in place as we glanced at each other in silence.
“Justin… stop,” I hesitated to upset him, he’d helped me so much in achieving my dreams of becoming a dancer. But… this was my life.
Justin’s face turned red as he quickly released me.
We didn’t face each other, we were too embarrassed to talk.
“Vanessa,” He called for my attention again.
“What?” I snapped, he seemed surprised over my outburst.
“I’m sorry… I don’t know what came over me.”
“Hey, don’t blame yourself,” He chided, smiling slightly.
“Whatever,” I mumbled. Still felt an awkward vibe between us.
“Will you marry me?” He blurted out, his ears going red.
“What?” I stood up.
“Please?” He added.
“I… I’m not ready.”
“Oh, will you be ready soon?”
“Justin… I can’t, we can’t be together.”
He nodded, standing up and handing me a card.
“I understand, meet me in the airport tomorrow,” He smiled bitterly and turned away. Jumping into his car and dashing off.
I felt heated up as I threw myself into the bed. Closing my damp eyes. Today had been such a coincidence. Five guys that meant so much to me had proposed to me but… none of them won my heart.
“I’ll find him… soon,” I mumbled as I dozed off. Tomorrow was a fresh day, I hoped it would be a fresh start in life for me.
Christmas miracles can happen...