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Romance Happy Creative Nonfiction

“The most beautiful part is, I wasn’t even looking when I found you.” - Atticus

~~~

The heat of the day still clings to the air, radiating off the pavement below. The sun has slowly made its way throughout the sky, only a couple more hours of sunlight left. The harsh winds changed to a gentle breeze, allowing the sweet smell of nature to flow around us. The harmonious melody of birds chirping filled my ears as I leaned back in my chair, and glanced at my husband, Blake. His hazel brown eyes, golden like whiskey in the light, twinkled as he smiled, his big handsome grin caused me to smile too. 

 “I could stare at that smile forever,” I thought to myself. 

There must be something magical about this time of day, at this time of year. The sweet smells of Summer, the beauty of the sun inching closer to setting, the birds chirping their familiar tunes; It always takes my mind back to that day. I remember it so clearly, as if I decided in that very moment that I needed to remember. Many summers ago, in a small little town, fate unexpectedly intervened in our lives. The relentless winds that evening must have shifted every so slightly, allowing our two souls to blow towards each other; lighting brightly, burning fires of passion in our hearts. 

~~~

The scorching heat of the Summer sun was unbearable that day, which isn’t abnormal for late July here. I wore a pink and silver tank top that criss-crossed in the front, requiring an undershirt to be worn, and light-blue jean shorts. I watched my shadow dance in front of me as I swiftly walked by the brick buildings, the sound of my flip-flops echoed. The warmth of the sun covered my back, as the heat from the day radiated from the pavement and bricks. 

My hands clenched in fists, anger trembled through my body, I just wanted to scream. I’ve cried too much, too often because of him; now, all that is left is rage. Owen betrayed my trust for the last time, I had finally gotten the courage to end our toxic relationship that day. I had spent a whole year believing that I loved him but I know now, that was no love. 

I managed to walk the three blocks to my friend Avery’s apartment building in record time, she had not made it outside yet. Frustrated, I approached the small wooden gazebo. The screen surrounding it made it difficult to see in, but I could see the silhouette of an elderly man and a young man. I tried not to seem so irritated in front of the strangers there; although I felt like I might implode, I needed to vent to someone badly.


“He looked at her the way she needed to be looked at. Like the whole world could crumble and he wouldn’t blink.” - Atticus


As soon as I walked in, I could feel his eyes on me.

 “Oh, What now?” I remember thinking, angrily. 

I’ve always been very shy and have never been fond of men flirting with me, especially when I’m in a bad mood. I awkwardly walked to the empty side of the gazebo, and finally looked up at him. I locked eyes with a very handsome young man, he was wearing a red and black tank top and matching shorts, which made his muscular build noticeable immediately. His short, brown hair matched his kind, hazel brown eyes that twinkled as he looked at me with adoration. His short, dark goatee showed off his strong jawline, and his full pink lips were upturned in such an irresistible smile causing dimples to show on his cheeks. He was smiling at me, the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. 

He looked at me like I was a shooting star, as if nothing could compare to my beauty, as if nothing else in the world mattered at all in this moment; no one has ever looked at me like that, not even close. I’ve never considered myself to be pretty enough to have someone look at me in that way. In my eyes, I’ve always been very average looking; pale skin, shoulder-length wavy blonde hair with side-swept bangs, high cheekbones with rosy cheeks, a long nose that's slightly too large for my face, slightly full pink lips, crooked teeth and big deep blue eyes that always seem squinted as they hid behind my square, purple glasses. 

My cheeks began to flush, I glanced down at my feet attempting to hide my awkward, blush face. His smile never wavered, but not wanting to stare at me, he looked away as well. It felt as if I were melting, as the tension from the anger in my body eased, butterflies fluttered in my belly and I could feel my heart trying to escape from my chest, trying to reach him. We both attempted to steal glances at each other without the other one noticing but kept accidentally making eye contact. It seemed as if we were stuck in a trance, as if we couldn’t keep our eyes off of each other. 


“The kind of smile that would be cruel not to kiss.” - Atticus


Something about his smile made me want to kiss him immediately, and from the look in his eyes, I could tell that he felt the same way. My cheeks began to flush again. I've never wanted to kiss someone so badly. We silently longed to know one another yet neither of us said a word.

“Hey, Sophia!” Avery said, breaking me from my trance and bringing me back to reality. We began walking to her car, I kept looking back as we walked away, wondering if I’ll ever see him again. 

~~~

Blake leaned towards me, gently brushed my hair out of my face and rested his hands on my cheeks. I gaze into his hazel brown eyes as I slowly allow mine to close, inching our faces closer to kiss. I opened my eyes and my heart started melting all over again. After all these years, he is still looking at me, and he’s still smiling.

There must’ve been something magical about this time of day, at this time of year. The sweet smells of Summer, the beauty of the sun inching closer to setting, the birds chirping their familiar tunes; It always takes my mind back to that day. 


June 26, 2021 00:51

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8 comments

Shea West
21:33 Jun 30, 2021

Hi Shannon, While I read your story I wanted to hear more backstory about the man she thought she loved? What leads her to that coffee shop in a huff? You mentioned he betrayed her, that the relationship was toxic? How? I bet you could add some layers there that would make it so the reader thinks the MC will no way in hell want any man that glances at her. I think we need more convincing of that. She feels that connection with Blake right away, but from what you've told us she's not ready for it. Could you make it so that Blake has another...

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Shannon McCumber
22:50 Jun 30, 2021

Thank you for the constructive criticism, Shea!(: You have a lot of good suggestions. I agree that I should've written more of the backstory between Owen and Sophia. That would've strengthened the story, and the tone. I'm glad that you still picked up on the "i want nothing to do with no man" attitude. I also should've added more of what led Blake and Sophia to being together as well. The story is based on true events, so I didn't want it to be too long or boring. I will write a little bit longer version of the story now, to have all those q...

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Shea West
23:00 Jun 30, 2021

I think I accidentally imposed a coffee shop into your story, and I feel so embarrassed by that. I edited my comment to remove that mistake on my part. If I was on my phone I'd insert one of those embarrassed monkey emojis where I cover my face LOL If it's based on true events I think you could add so much richness to it! Please don't apologize for the tenses! I mess up in my stories a million times over, it keeps me humble anyway. (Again, sorry about the coffee shop!)

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Kat Wallberg
16:54 Dec 31, 2023

WAAAAA this is so beautiful! 🥺😭 I love how you described the feelings between Blake and Sophia when they first saw each other, and the smile!!!! And the contrast between the hurt and hard feelings with Owen transitioning to hope and finding acceptance with Blake is so heartwarming.

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Andrea Magee
10:39 Jul 05, 2021

A really nice read...well done.

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Shannon McCumber
13:12 Jul 05, 2021

Thank you! I'm glad you liked it (:

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03:31 Jun 29, 2021

I love this story!! So well written with such detailed descriptions. I also thought the quotes included between passages were very clever and added to the feeling of the story. Keep writing :)

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Shannon McCumber
13:43 Jun 29, 2021

Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words (: I'm glad the quotes helped with the feeling in the story, I was worried they'd be confusing. I just see those quotes often and they remind me of my husband, so I decided to finally write that day down the way I remember. You've made my day, I hope you have a good day as well!

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