Never thought I'd be here. Did I dare? It was definitely in my reach. I glanced at her; SHE was definitely within my reach I should be saying. She slept very peacefully, I sat by her side. The fact that her skin glimmered in the pale moonlight didn't help me resist my natural urges.
It's funny, only five years ago I was just the guy who stared across at her in class. Six years ago my only thought about her was, "hey, she's good eye candy". seven years ago, I didn't even know who she was. One of the worst things about leaving school was the thought that I might never see her again. How wrong I was, a chance reunion in public turned into a friendship. We were casual acquaintances in school but now I can safely call her a friend.
She was of course Miss Popular in back then. But for all her looks, friends and money, she was always kind to me. I was just a guy in the background in school. Luckily I was able to show her my charm and wit. And now, five years later, we're young adults and I'm still in love with her. And I find her sleeping in nought but a robe in my bed.
My hand hovered over her shapely waist. I just wanted a touch. But as quickly as the thought popped into my head, I withdrew my hand immediately. I could hear her breathing softly. Her robe was wide open but she slept on her side with her back to me, her womanly features not shown to my eyes. The moonlight provided an eerie glow in the room and teased me with the stunning image of her silhouetted against the white sheets.
Her lithe body was curled up. Her long brown hair fell straight down to the sheets as the water slowly dripped from between each strand. Her ample breasts heaved with every breath she took. They were not huge but were a perfect fit for her lithe toned body. To me she was perfect.
My life was always so peaceful. I never partied, got drunk, or even tasted alcohol for that matter. That was until I left school. It was all to get one girl's attention, the same girl that lay in front of me, her name is Amber. This is our story, albeit the abridged version.
Graduation Night- 4 years Ago
I remember the night clearly. It had always been in my head that I might've never seen Amber again after this night. But for the majority of the evening, it didn't even occur to me. I hadn't even caught a glimpse of her until halfway through the proceedings when she was called up on stage to accept her package. I looked on as if I were her father, but my feelings were that of a lover and they welled up inside me. In that moment, I wanted nothing but to embrace her.
Up to this point, it was just general chatting here and there. A smile from her usually made my day. I sat through the rest of the evening looking at her from behind. She was always beautiful, whether she dressed up or whether she just threw something together quickly.
Her long brown hair was almost always loose. It was always straight and flowed down past her shoulders. She always drew attention from the boys and I suspect from several of the male teachers as well. But I loved her for her kind, gentle and fun loving personality more so than her dazzling looks. These qualities were always on my mind and much more than normal that night. After it was over, I was sure to get what I believed then was one last word in.
Through the throng of parents, teachers and students, I did what I always did; time it so that Amber and I were at the door at the same time. She flashed me the smile as she did so often.
'Hey Nate,' she said loudly over the rumbling crowd.
I remember smiling to myself as she rarely ever spoke my name.
'School's out for good,' I replied.
'Finally,' she said relieved.
We both smiled at each other. We were outside the hall at this point and standing in the lobby watching as everyone was coming out. She opened up her package and brought out a fresh copy of the year book.
'Wanna be the first to sign?'
I let out a nervous laugh. 'Ditto to you.'
We both smiled once more and grabbed each others year books. We flipped to the back and I sign my name before writing.
"Seeya when I seeya."
A simple message; a simple message which I'm pretty sure I stole from a movie. Amber had barely finished writing when one of her friends called out her name. She looked at them and then at me and was about to say sorry when I interrupted.
We traded year books and she ran off to join her friends. I watched her leave before opening the year book to see her autograph. It read.
"Rememba me always Nate!"
I looked up but she was already gone. In that moment, I was the saddest person in the entire building.
I placed the year book back on the shelf and looked back at her sleeping figure. I had successfully resisted the urge not touched her. My heart was racing non- stop as if I had just run a marathon. In truth, I couldn't even run 30 metres before I was on the ground sweating and out of breath.
The air conditioner in the room kept running. She was still slightly burning up. I grabbed the wet hand towel by my side and patted down her forehead. As I did so, she stirred slightly and turned to face me. I caught a brief glimpse of her breasts before I covered her nakedness by closing her robe and draping the sheets over her.
Her arm draped over the sheets at her side. As if by instinct, I reached for her hand and held it in my own. For the first time in hours, I smile very slightly to myself. I was planning to clean the place up but in that moment, I never wanted to leave.
Most men would've probably taken advantage of her right now. But I loved her so much that I was willing to torture myself so that she may retain her dignity. And so I sat by her side, leaning against the headboard and didn't reach for what could've been mine. My mind wandered once more as I tried to stay awake as if to protect her.
Reunion- 1 year ago
It had been 3 years since we had left school. Much had happened. We entered the world and went about our lives. I for one still built on my education when I entered University. But on this particular day, I was just wandering around in town trying to look for shoelaces of all things.
'Excuse me sir. But might I suggest you just get new shoes,' the store attendant said.
'I know you wanna make a decent sale but all I want are some new shoelaces.'
He rolled his eyes and pointed to the corner of the shop. 'Over there.'
'Thankyou,' I said politely before muttering to myself. 'Asshole.'
I looked at the vast array of shoelaces available to me and mumbled. 'What the fuck is the difference between $3 shoelaces and $10 ones?'
'They're just trying to rip you off,' a woman said melodiously as she passed by.
I chuckled and turned to the source of the voice. I was almost speechless when I saw who it was. In that moment, all my confidence disappeared. She had her back to me as she continued looking at the shoes on display but I was sure it was her. I would recognise her anywhere, the way she walked, her sense of fashion, it was definitely her.
'Amber?' I said in almost a whisper.
She slowly turned around and like she had done on so many occasions, she flashed me her beautiful smile.
'I can't believe after 3 years you recognise me from a fleeting glimpse like that.'
I opened my mouth but words didn't come out. I just stood there, encapsulated by her beauty with a stupid grin on my face.
'How are you Nate?'
'To be honest, a little bit sleepy.'
Amber laughed quietly at the comment. She dressed as casually as ever in jeans and an orange shirt but it was enough to get my full and undivided attention.
'In that case, let's get some caffeine into you.'
I was rather surprised when she offered coffee. After all, back in our school days, we had just chatted when we had a spare moment or when no one else was around. I obviously accepted her offer. I forgot about shoelaces and we walked out the store together. We bought coffee from a stall and walked and talked.
'Here alone?' I asked.
I was happy with her answer. Many times we had had our conversations cut short because one of her friends had come along. And each time it happened, I pretended I had something better to do such as fidgeting around with my phone. Some of her friends didn't exactly know me and weren't eager to strike up a conversation. I probably wouldn't have talked to Amber if it wasn't for a friend of mine who was already friends with her striking up a conversation in my presence. But that was quite a while ago.
'You know Amber. You haven't really changed since high school,' I said.
'Is that a good thing?'
'Good? It's a fantastic thing. You look great.'
I realised how overly excited and eager I must've sounded and curbed my enthusiasm. She obviously noticed but being the darling she was; she didn't say anything.
'What do you have going on at the moment?' she asked
'School and a tiny bit of work.'
'So much for "school's out" huh?'
I laughed as I realised she had remembered what I had said at our graduation. My love for her welled up once more. She continued talking and I was all ears. I clung onto her every word and watched as they escaped from between her lips.
'Still catch up with anyone from high school?' she asked.
'Some. But not as much as I'd like too. How about you?'
'Yeah, I still do for the most part. I make an effort to meet up with them every once in a while. I'm glad I met you again.'
'Really? Why?' I said with genuine surprised.
'I kinda felt a bit bad just leaving you after the graduation. After all, it was mid- conversation. I'm sorry. You forgive me?'
'Nothing to forgive. I wouldn't have stayed to chat with me either.'
'Don't put yourself down like that. You're a good person. I was just a bit caught up in the moment that night.'
'Happens to the best of us.'
The slight awkwardness passed and we continued talking like old friends. In reality, I think this was the longest conversation I'd ever had with Amber. And I can confidently say that I did make a complete ass of myself.
It was one of the best moments in my life. And that's despite the fact I didn't even pick up the shoelaces I came for.
I woke up startled. I didn't know why immediately. Amber was still beside me, her hand clutching mine. It was still night time. The clock read 3: 10 am, I had only slept for little under an hour. It took me several moments to realise why I had woken up. Amber's grip on my hand strengthened by the second, her palms were sweaty and hot.
I quickly wiped the sleep from my eyes and placed a hand on her forehead. She was burning up once more. I grabbed the hand towel and raced to the bathroom. The place was a mess, her dress was still on the wet floor. I soaked the towel in cold water and rushed back to her side.
I worked quickly and wiped down her forehead and neck. I panicked once more and assessed my options. Hospital? No. I dismissed that quickly. She wouldn't want this to get out. Maybe she has a family doctor who can come. I took one long look at her before racing through the house. I jumped over furniture and grabbed her purse in the lounge room.
I found the usual; lipstick, photos and cash. I opened one of the side pockets to see a bunch of business cards. I cycled through them until I found what I needed, Dr Matthew Harper. There was however no home phone number. I jumped over the couch and grabbed her handbag and brought out her phone. I flipped it open and cycled through her many contacts. Dr. Harper was listed among the last of the Ds.
'Thank God,' I muttered to myself.
There was a home phone number. I dialled. A metallic voice came through.
'I'm sorry. Your call can not be connected as you are out of credit. To recharge your prepaid account, press 1.'
I kicked the table in frustration and grabbed the house phone and dialled. Harper picked up surprisingly fast. He didn't sound happy.
'Mrs Sanders, I've done all I can, now can you stop calling. Little Natalie will be fine,' said Harper in a croaky voice.
'What?! Is this Dr Matthew Harper?'
'Yes. Who's this?'
'This is Nate Bishop calling on behalf of Amber Lane.'
I gave him the low- down on what had happened.
School Class Room- 6 years ago
'You like any of the girls in the school?' asked Lauren suddenly.
Lauren was a very straight forward kind of person. She always said what was on her mind and asked awkward questions. We were still in the middle of high school at this point. I hadn't got to know Amber yet. Hell, I just realised she existed.
'I like a few. But none of them really appeal to me,' I said casually.
'Oh come on Nate. None?'
'What about June?'
Lauren laughed and then asked. 'Cassandra?'
'She's like my little sister. I've known her since kindergarten.'
'Way to vain for my liking.'
'Can't argue with that,' Lauren smiled.
Lauren looked around the room and then leaned in close to me and said.
I turned around before asking. 'She the brunette or the blonde?'
I turned around once more and summed her up. She was busy laughing with her friends and didn't see Lauren and me staring at her.
'She's alright. Cute, sexy.'
I shrugged. 'A tiny bit. But I wouldn't have a chance with her. Besides, the people she hangs out with, I wouldn't be surprised if she's a real idiot.'
Lauren chuckled once more. We went back to work before she continued.
'Still; you know half the guys in the school are keen on her.'
'I can see why. She's definitely one of the hottest girls in school but I'm simply not interested.'
'Setting high standards aren't you?'
I shrugged. Lauren went about sketching pictures in her book which as she always did. I held up my text book pretending to read it. It took us 2 whole minutes before we said another word.
'What type of girl are you into if not Amber?' Lauren asked.
I smiled. 'You just can't keep off this topic can you?'
'Obviously she has to be slightly attractive. I don't wanna be caught dating a leper. Smart, funny, good personality, you know, the usual.'
'Guess that means 90% of girls are out of the equation.'
'Come on. Those standards aren't that high.'
'Beggars can be choosers. And besides, Amber's pretty smart.'
I simply rolled my eyes. 'I doubt it.'
I started reading again. I looked up from the book after several moments and asked.
'What the hell does "esoteric" mean?'
Lauren opened her mouth to answer but as if on cue. Amber walked past and said.
'Means appeals to a certain group.'
Amber just kept walking past. Lauren grinned at me.
'Smart enough for you?' she smirked.
'Probably just looked it up in the dictionary,' I grumbled.
The clock read exactly 4 am. Early by anyone's standards. But nevertheless, Dr Harper made amazing time. I ran to the front door and greeted him. He was an elderly man, I guessed about 50 years old. We spoke very fast.
'I'm very sorry to disturb you so early,' I apologised.
'Don't worry about it. I was already up. Hypochondriac parents thinking chicken pox is some kind of cancer,' he explained. 'How is she?'
'You get it out of her system?'
'Made her puke it up.'
'Charming image,' he mumbled.
We made our way to the bedroom. Amber was right where I had left her. Dr Harper seemed cool, calm and collected.
'So you didn't consult any doctors apart from me?'
'No. I told you before. She wouldn't want her parents finding out or anything.'
'The girl is young but she is an adult. It's not like the hospital would've been under any orders to tell her parents.'
I thought about that for a moment and realised he was right. Sometimes it's easy to forget you're an adult simply because you just don't act you age. Harper went about the usual, checking her temperature, her heart rate etc.
'I cooled her down earlier but I think her temperature has just risen back up.'
'Don't worry. She's hot but well below danger levels. You did the right thing. How'd you get her temperature down anyway?'
Harper smirked very slightly. 'Bet you enjoyed that,' he muttered under his breath.
Somehow I don't think he wanted me to hear that so I just ignored it. He placed several pills on the bedside table.
'I think you were right. It was probably ecstasy. You did everything right son but next time consult a professional. You're not Doctor House or anything. When she wakes up, make sure she takes these. If she starts burning up again than it's back to the shower but you can expect her to be sweating, tossing and turning in her sleep.'
I don't know if he was actually done or if he just wanted sleep but Dr Harper was out of the house pretty quickly. I took my place back at her side and continued my vigil.
McDonalds- Last Week
Charlie and I sat as we always did in McDonalds and continued our childish game of stealing each other's fries. Charlie was one of the few people from high school I still hung out with.
'So what's this I hear about you and Amber from high school?' Charlie said between taking tiny bites into his burger.
'Number 1; don't make it sound so sleazy. Number 2; how the hell did you find out about this?'
'Jacob saw you two at some restaurant in town last week.'
'No shit. How is Jacob? Haven't seen him since we left school.'
'He's the same as always. But let's not get off topic. You and Amber? What the hell man?'
'I met her in town several months back. We chatted and have kept in touch ever since. We were just meeting up for lunch. And Jacob that fat bastard should've come over and said hello.'
'I don't remember you and Amber being that friendly.'
'We weren't to be honest but we had some good times together.'
'You should invite her to my party next week.'
I put down my food and asked. 'Since when were you having a party?'
'It's a small get together with folk from school days. A lot of people whom you never liked but with Amber there, everyone will be eager to chat to her and they'll do it via you.'
I laughed. 'You just want Amber Lane at your party don't you? Make you look cool, maybe make a move.'
He shrugged. 'She's not your girl right? You're just friends.'
'She has a boyfriend. Anyway, concerning the party, I'll ask her next time I see her.'
'And when's that?'
My phone vibrated in my pocket. I flicked it open. It was a text message from Amber. It read.
"Can u meet me @ my place?"
I looked up at Charlie who had taken the opportunity to snag four more of my fries.
'Looks like I'll be asking Amber right now.'
I simply replied "20 minutes". I wondered why she was calling. After all, Amber and I were friends but us meeting up more that twice a week was rare at best. I was eager to get to her place; I knew where it was but had never been inside.
Amber lived in a small apartment complex in the city. Nothing fancy but it had this charming appeal that I quite liked. When I arrived there, I found the front door wide open. I approached slowly. I paused at the door not wanting to come in.
'Amber? You in there?'
I heard a small ruckus before I heard her reply. 'Yeah, just come on in.'
I walked in warily and closed the door behind me. Amber appeared from the bedroom and almost ran up to me and gave me a big hug. Even though I barely saw her face, I could tell she had been crying. Her eyes were red and I could still see the faint marks of tears on her cheeks.
I held her there for what seemed like an eternity. I begun to realise she was silently sobbing in my arms as the tears slowly seeped through the thin fabric of my shirt. I hadn't ever seen Amber like this. Part of me was really sad but another sick twisted part of my brain loved that she came to me for comfort.