Life—the existence of truly living—doesn’t begin until you close the door on the past.
My post-high school goals had been right on track—literally. But when the doctors said that I could no longer run, I was faced with two choices—give up or change direction.
Unexpectedly, singing became my new passion—a passion fueled by the most gorgeous guy I had ever met.
I can’t say that I believe in love at first sight, but after meeting Gavin, I can now say with certainty that I believe in recognition at first meeting.
He was unquestionably my soulmate.
Only one obstacle stood in our way.
He was a ghost.
“Hi,” I said shyly.
“Hi.” He offered a hesitant smile. No doubt he was wondering how I would react to his presence.
This time, I had the keen observation to note that he was dry despite the fact that he had been standing outside for God knows how long in a torrential downpour.
My hand itched to reach out and touch him, but I knew that would result in all kinds of disappointment and weirdness. So, instead, I refrained by holding my hands together behind my back as I nervously gnawed on my lower lip. What was I supposed to say? I wanted to scream at him and tell him how much I adored him all at the same time.
I somehow managed to break myself from my speechless state and said tentatively, “You don’t have to worry. No one else is here. My mom’s at work for the day, and Aunt Mae and Malik are both down at the motel. I was getting ready to make lunch. You can join me if you want.” I immediately realized the stupidity behind my words and promptly followed up with, “I mean, I know you don’t want lunch. I mean, you can’t…” I sighed and shook my head. “What I’m trying to say is that I was getting ready to head to the kitchen to make myself a sandwich. You are welcome to keep me company if you’d like.”
Gavin smiled. The familiar twinkle in his eyes hinted that he was trying not to laugh as I awkwardly stumbled over my words.
“It’s good to see you, Noelle.”
I couldn’t lie. I was ecstatic to see him too—scared but ecstatic. “I’m really happy to see you, too. I’m…I’m sorry—”
“Stop.” He took a step forward but stopped short when I inhaled sharply and my body grew stiff. “Are you scared of me?”
“Gavin, no. That’s not it at all. Of course I’m not scared of you. I… I’m scared of falling for you more than I already have.” God, did I really just say that out loud? Since I had that out in the open, I continued. “I mean, you and I… It’s not like we could have a future together. I just can’t help but think that it would be better for me if I stayed away from you.”
“That’s not what you really want, though, is it?
“No,” I replied immediately, shaking my head. “No. What I want is to spend my days getting to know you and singing out in the woods and laughing together as we watch dumb movies. I want to spend more time with you because, God help me, I can’t stop thinking about you. And I know I’m probably crazy to have even invited you in and allowed myself to admit it, but the truth is, as much as my mind wants to pretend that liking you is a stupid idea, my heart has already decided that we belong together.”
He stepped forward until a mere inch or two separated us. “Does that mean you aren’t mad at me anymore?”
It was the closest I had ever been to him. We were about the same height so I had a direct view of the speckles in his hazel eyes and his adorable dimples. I sadly realized that there was no trace of body heat radiating off him.
“Mmm. I bet you would smell good.”
“What?” He turned his head sideways and chuckled under his breath.
Oh my God! Did I seriously just say that out loud? I thought, completely mortified.
“I’m sorry,” I said, laughing. “I was just thinking… I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m sorry. It just kind of flew out of my mouth.”
He grinned—that beautiful model grin—and I couldn’t help but smile in return.
“You think I would smell good?” he asked.
“Well, yeah. I’ll bet you were the kind of guy who always wore some sort of sexy body spray. Am I right?”
“You mean the kind that’s advertised in commercials that’s supposed to make guys irresistible?”