The Crush

The Crush

A Valentine's Romance by Melanie E.

This is just a little vignette I worked up as a starter, if your will, for my mini contest. Hope everyone enjoys!

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I saw her every day, almost. Sometimes it would be in passing, a quick glimpse when I hadn't expected it, and sometimes it would only be when I went out of the way to find her. Those were the times she was most glamorous, but it was the times I would find her without meaning to that always meant the most to me, because the girl I was always looking for... was me.

I knew I wasn't the only person in the world who felt the pain of being... wrong. Being broken. Being one person on the outside, when inside everything told me I was someone else. Knowing that was never enough to take away the pain though. It was only those times I saw her, the me inside, the person I hoped to one day be, that helped to dull the ache, at least for a while.

That, and Ben.

We'd been friends for years. In high school he was one of my links to a social life, and in college he was the only reason I ever left the dorm at all. Together we shared ownership of our small book store, and it was because of him that it all felt worthwhile to keep pressing on, even when it was because of him that I had delayed seeking help for so long.

Ben was more than just my friend, more than my business partner. He was everything to me, and I was too scared of losing him to ever consider risking our relationship with transition.

This went on for years. Days spent together in the book store, nights spent either hanging out or on our own, him never learning my own feelings. Girlfriends came and went for him, while I always insisted that I was too busy, or too focused on making our shoestring-budget stretch to worry about dating. It was a system I hated, but I'd learned to accept, finding as much solace as I could being myself at home and lamenting my own cowardice.

When I found the note in my inbox at work, I was confused at first. Valentine's day was still a few days away, and who would send me anything in the first place? But there it was, an envelope with my name on it, and inside a simple card. It was pink, with flowers around the edge, and some meaningless bit of nothing written on it, the typical type of thing you get around the time, but what stood out to me most was the message inside:

"For the most beautiful girl I've never seen."

The note floored me, but just as surprising was what was taped beneath; a gift card to one of the nicest salons in town.

I felt a lot of things. Worry that someone knew my secret. Anger that this all might be some trick. The obvious surprise, of course, that I would get anything at all. And last, something I hadn't realized I'd been missing for some time.

For just a moment, I felt happy.

-==-

Ben was careful to keep his posture as nonchalant as he could. He had hidden the envelope earlier in the day with the hopes that he would be there when Des found it, and sure enough his patience had been rewarded.
It took supreme effort to keep his eyes on his nonexistent computer work while watching out the corner of his eye as his best friend and partner opened his gift. For the briefest of moments after the card was opened he was afraid he had made some kind of mistake, until the change he had seen before came.

There she was, the girl he had so rarely seen, but came out every time Des smiled.

Maybe, Ben hoped, this time she would stick around.

-=End=-

NOTES: This is the first bit of stuff I've written since, golly... October? Whenever I last posted here.

Okay, not the FIRST, since I've made a little progress on my books, but still. I hope everyone enjoys this. And be sure to leave a comment and let me know what ya think!



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