Part One

What is your favorite color?  Do you like beer or soda when you watch a ball game?  Would you rather have breakfast in bed or breakfast for dinner?  Who do you look up to?  How many countries have you ventured?  When was the last time you smiled at a stranger?  There is so much I do not know, but I cannot stop thinking about you.  Two days. Forty-Eight hours.  That is all the time we spent together.  It was not even a full weekend, but I cannot get you out of my head!  Everyone teased me, because it was obvious that I had hearts in my eyes whenever I saw you or spoke to you.  I blushed more times than I care to remember, because you would smile at me for no reason.  I guess I know the answer to the last time that you smiled at a stranger.

“What are you smiling at?” I looked down at my sweaty palms, hoping that the perspiration would evaporate. 

            “I can’t just look at you and smile?” Your grin was disarming and jolting.

            “No. No you can’t.  It makes me nervous.”

            You began to laugh and shake your head, “You don’t ever let your guard down, do you?”

            I looked up and, with a blush spreading its way across my cheeks, said, “I have to keep my guard up when I’m with you.”

It is hard to believe that after meeting you for the first time three days ago and only spending forty-eight hours in your presence, you have such a strong hold on me.  It is said that first impressions either make or break a relationship, romantic or platonic, and my first impression of you was overwhelmingly positive.  I have so many questions for you; I want to know you better.  There was something sickeningly sweet about your face and voice.  The scruff of your beard did not make you look rough or older, but it gave you a subtle innocence.  I doubt that you want to be told that you look innocent or younger than you actually are, but that is what I felt when I looked at you.  I know that you are twenty-five, and I know that you graduated from college in 2011.  That is not information that I searched or google’d; your friends openly talked about you to me.

“What’s your deal, girl? How do you know Chad?” A man in his late twenties sat on the wood bench outside the hotel with me.  I had seen him last the previous night, but I could not remember his name.

            I stumbled through my reply, “I- uh.. I met him last night at the bar in the lobby.  He came through with Rich, and they sat down with me.”

            “Oh. So you’re friends with Rich?” His eyes were an alarmingly light green.

            I did not know if knowing Rich was a good thing or a bad thing, so I shrugged my shoulders, “I wouldn’t say that we’re friends; more like… acquaintances.  He seems like a nice guy, though.”

            “You don’t have to pretend like you don’t know him- he’s a good guy.  If you’re Stella, then he’s talked about you before.”

            I sat back against the bench and gave this green-eyed-all-knowing guy a thorough inspection.  His light green eyes were a stark contrast to the hair on his head.  His jet black hair was speckled with white, but not overpoweringly.  Although we were sitting, it was evident that he was at least six feet tall.  The bench seemed to be a bit too small for him, because his legs were stretched out in an almost uncomfortable manner.  He was sitting a few feet away from me, but his arm that was resting on the back of the bench came just past my shoulder.  This man could very easily become intimidating, yet he radiated a feeling of calmness and ease. 

            “Hello, earth to Stella,” he was waving his hand in front of my face with his eyes wide, “Are you in there? Are you not Stella?”

            “No, no. I am Stella. Sorry, I- uh… I zone out a lot.” I blinked several times before I looked back at his face. 

            He had an amused smile on his face, “It’s okay. We all have those moments.”

            I chuckled, “Yeah.”

            “So how do you know Rich?”

            “I actually met him here last year, but I’m sure that you knew that considering you know of me. May I ask your name since you know mine?”

            His smiled and stuck out his hand, “Yes, you may. I’m Brandon.  I’ve been friends with Rich since I was in grade school, and I’ve been buds with Chad since college.  All three of us went to the same college and graduated in 2011. But back to business,” his smile turned into a smirk, “How do you know Chad?”    

            My face turned towards the ground, “I told you. I met him last night at the bar when Rich came.”

            Brandon sat back against the bench and flicked my shoulder, “I know how you met him, but I want to know how you know him. You know, after the ‘hi’s’ and ‘hello’s’.”

            I leaned forward and twisted towards him, folding my legs under me to sit on the bench comfortably, “We talked for a while after Rich went up to get you and some of your other friends.  He seems like a good guy, ” I looked towards the hotel lobby, “We actually talked a lot about missing home.”  I turned back to Brandon and saw his lips had shaped into a grin again, “What?”

            “Oh, nothing.” His boyish grin never left his face.

            It was my turn to flick him on the shoulder, “What are you grinning at?”

            “Ow! You flicked me a hell of a lot harder than I flicked you. I’m just smiling because Chad got that dopey eyed look when we asked him about you.”

            I felt chills run up and down my body. “What? What does that mean?”
His grin softened into a gentle smile, “Girl, stop playing.  Not to seem immature, but you two like-like each other. We have only been here for one night, and it’s clear that you two are attracted to each other.”

—————–

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