There are two types of people, the people you fall in love with. And the people you don’t.
People you fall in love with are usually kind and humorous. Intelligent and good-looking. Good-natured. They had the boy/girl next door looks and were protective without being obsessive. They weren’t judgemental and dismissive, and they truly believed in humanity. They made you believe in humanity.
You don’t fall in love with selfish pricks. Self-absorbed moody assholes. You don’t fall in love with the brainiac in a leather jacket. Not truly. Only in the stories.
Only there did people really fall in love with the ‘grumpy jerk’.
Or the ‘sensitive player’.
Or whatever. At least as immediately as people do.
People just don’t do that in real life.
Still...all throughout high school, I had the biggest crush on Jeremy Winters.
Jeremy Winters, you guessed it, was not the boy people fell in love with. He is a loner in all black, always reading a thick book, in the corner of the library. He is living off of his pops’ money...he is incredibly rude.
Many kids don’t bother to notice him because really… he never seemed to have anything to offer.
No winning personality.
No exceptional good looks.
Only a big brain. And not many knew that because he seemed to not care much for the plebes in school.
But I knew. I knew a lot from the 4 years of seeing him at the library. I knew because he read Kurt Vonnegut and Canon of Sherlock Holmes. I knew because he was in all advanced classes. I knew because the few classes he shared with me were the advanced ones.
It wasn’t an all-consuming crush. It was a passing crush. A tiny steady crush, the kind of crush that was inconsequential. The kind of thing that didn’t matter, didn’t change my way of living.
Except that before I would settle into my usual sofa spot at the library I’d check to make sure he was already reading. And I’d make a point to check what series he was reading and if I haven’t read it...well I would soon after he checks it in.
I saw him rebuke all attempts of friendship made by the few kids who tried.
Giving the friendly dude the cold shoulder.
Or the sweet girl a glacial glare.
He was standoffish in a way that screamed ‘I’m better than you’.
Still… my tiny crush lingered. 4 years through high school, even as I dated and fell in love with others. (Okay, I dated like one boy and flirted a bit with one girl but to me that was plenty.) My crush on him was not unlike the crush I had on my book heroes. Not unlike the way I would wish to be able to marry the protagonist in my stories.
It was a fun thing to have. A crush on someone so untouchable.
And yet...here he was. Right in front of me, he matured a lot. His face was neutral instead of cold. His used to be shaggy hair cut in a professional haircut, square jaw well-muscled, and brown eyes alert.
He was wearing a nice crisp expensive-looking suit...of course, he was. He clearly just left the office and apparently was ...my boss’ business associate.
Is it sad that I recognized him immediately?
The wind was rough and cold and blowing my short hair into my face. Jeremy stared at me, unimpressed.
I’ve watched this boy from afar for 4 years...only talked to him once. On the last day of school. Never have I tried to befriend him. Always content to watch and admire from afar.
But he wasn’t far anymore, was he? He was right here.
“Hi Jeremy,” I smiled at him, tucking my hair behind my ear.
His frown softens, that was enough to spur me onward, “It’s been a while...how have you been?”
He steps out of the elevator as I move aside, we walk to the stoplight together. Where we can cross the street to the parking lot.
“We should catch up,” I babble excitedly, “there’s a coffee place across the street with-”
“Do I know you?”
It shouldn’t have hurt as much as it did. It wasn’t a slap to the face...no, more like a punch to the gut. Like someone squeezed my lungs, making it hard to breathe.
He doesn’t remember me.
My eyes heat and my nose tingles. I duck my head to hide my tears, I think the tears surprised me more than my hurt.
Of course, he doesn't. We shared the same high school but I was the one to notice him. I'm a stranger to him...and we only ever talked once.
Last day of senior year. Where I asked him to sign my yearbook and asked if I could sign his...and of course he couldn't remember that.
He may have been an immortalized god in my head but to him...I was nothing. He didn’t know I existed. Duh...
Jeremy was fixing his scarf, clearly anxious for the walking sign to light up, clearing him from this conversation.
It’s not even a conversation.
“Uhm, no one, I guess,” he looks at me sharply, clearly surprised that I was still talking, “but we used to go to the same library. At school. And we sort of talked on the last day.”
He looks at me flatly, clearly uninterested in what I'm saying.
He didn't even bother to pretend to look interested.
But, it doesn't matter, untouchable bastard or not...I was still talking to him, no?
I press a cold hand to my hot left cheek, then the other one “I-if you still have your senior high school yearbook...I signed yours, on the last page, top, in purple pen. I signed it as ‘Veronica Heinz’. I don’t remember what I wrote. But you laughed, so I think it’s funny.”
It wasn't cold enough for my breath to take shape but I already felt my ears becoming cold. Uncomfortably so.
The streetlights changed, we should cross the street now. But we stood there. Just staring at each other as people rushed around us.
He still hasn't said anything.
“If you find it and if you remember me then...if we see each other again. Let me treat you to some coffee. If only to apologize for hassling you.”
He opened his mouth but I was already stumbling on the street, head ducked down to avoid the wind. Cheeks burning and smile growing.
I did it.
I talked to him.
Jeremy didn’t know the short hazel-eyed girl who talked to him.
He’d remember talking to someone. He barely did any of that in high school. Nevermind laughing.
But still, he asked his mom to dig around for his highschool yearbook and turn to the last page. Asked her to take a picture of the last page.
He thanked his mom, reassuring her he’ll be back for the holidays.
Zooms in on the top, there in neat handwriting was the name; Veronica Heinz, under there name she wrote in quotation marks;
‘As stupid and vicious men are, this is a lovely day.’
- If you recognize the book I wouldn't be surprised, this seems to be your life motto.
He chuckles, not quite getting what she meant by that. He looks at the rest of the signed names, most just initially some kids scribbled in. Then he finds something else, another note in the same ink as handwriting as Veronica’s. On the bottom corner of the page. Written so small it was hard to read, zooming in only made it blurry.
Jeremy rolled his eyes.
It didn’t matter.
Yet still..he had his mom send him the yearbook. He got it a week later.
The tiny passage read.;
Maybe I'm being bold, after all, I've only spoken to you once. And from afar you look like a dickwad, but I don’t think anyone who reads Little Women with such a giddy smile can be a true jerk. I think you gave up on humanity. But...I don’t think you gave up on good. That’s why you read, right? Because it’s so much better? Well… I think you can make the world a better place if you want to. Or not. I don’t know you.
Her hair was longer back then.
She looks up at him, wide-eyed “I didn't think you’d be back.”
He didn't either.
He was not the type. The type of girl people would stop in the street, to ask her for her number. Not the type of girl he thought he'd go to coffee with. Her hair was short and he liked long hair. Her eyes es were hazel green-brown and he liked blue.
She seemed timid but her note on the yearbook was anything but.
She wasn't the type of girl people fell in love with. At least not immediately.
But what the hell did they know?
And to be honest, neither did he.
But, for the first time in a very long time, he wanted to know more.
He averts his eyes, “I just wanna make it clear,” said Jeremy, following her into a coffee shop “I wasn’t smiling giddily.”
She raises an eyebrow, “I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.”
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Don't knock yourself on the typos. Just edit more next time. The story content is great and you should be proud of that!
thank you, Kerrie. I appreciate it. though I think I'll need a second pair of eyes, mine skip past all misspellings.
I LOVED THIS. Haha the typos are nothing - I read it in one go and I just loved it. I have nothing to say - it was a great read. Did you use any archetype to build the characters? Because funnily enough I wanted to use a character like Jeremy in my short story for this week (but I had to ditch the backstory, so those traits don't show in him). Your story was genuine and the emotion came through very clearly with so little words. I liked how the writing was neat and so was the formatting which made it all very fluid. I was surprised tha...
Typo's will always be my Achilles heel. No matter how many times I read it over. I based Jeremy off of someone I used to see in my school library back when there was a school to go to. He wore dark neat clothing (not black but dark shades of blue and green). I never had a crush on him. But I noticed how he was always seemingly alone (don't worry eh ahs friends) and I guess I just thought bout that sort of persona. I'm glad you liked the story. I liked writing it. If you are willing to take suggestions i suggest ' 10 Reasons I fell f...
UGHHH TYPO'S KILL ME- I MENAT *SHE, she was not the type.... I disappoint myself. I'm sorry for being like this.