“Arthur, could you please tell me where put those damn sunglasses?” [Name] sighed, tired of searching through her huge bag.
“I... I think they're in that pocket, right there, along with the white dress,” the boy next to her replied, tucking a couple of jackets into another of her bags.
“Oh yes, you're right,” she smiled. “Thank you for helping me, by the way!”
“I already told you this was the last thing I wanted to do today, I'm only helping you because I don't want to feel guilty.”
“Hehe, I know” she chuckled.
But you don't know why I didn't want to help you... Arthur thought with a sigh. And knowing me, you never will.
Arthur had loved his roommate since she moved into his house in London. He loved her more than anyone else, but he’d never considered telling her. And now she had to go. She was flying to America tomorrow morning, and she'd never know that the boy she met in Britain would think of her and sigh every night. He wanted to tell her... and he would, he decided. He just didn't know how to do it.
“When have you got to go tomorrow?” he asked, faking nonchalance.
“At five p.m. I must be at the airport” [Name] replied cheerfully. In actuality, she was a bit disappointed to leaving that house. Scott and Sion, Arthur's brothers, were funny; she liked to spend whole days with them. Their little brother Peter was adorable too, if a bit odd. Alfred didn't live there, but he often visited them and Francis, their neighbour, was always ready to help her when she had problems. He was so cheerful and lovely that she could forgive him for his flirty behaviour.
And then Arthur. At first she didn't like him, believing him to be too short-tempered, too sarcastic, too much of an egoist. After a while, though, [Name] changed her mind: Arthur was sweet, caring, kind and deep, as well as a true gentleman– and damn, he was so handsome. He had the cutest smile ever and yet managed to be hot as hell when he chuckled. But of course, she had to go... and come on, why would someone like him fancy an ordinary girl like her? It was just an impossible dream.
“What time is it, Artie?” [Name] asked, trying to push away her sad thoughts.
“It's... listen, [Name], I have to tell you something important.”
The girl stared at him, curious. “What is it?”
Arthur took a big breath. “I... err, I... I mean... no, I... I'll tell you after lunch.”
“Why not now?”
“Shut up. I said after lunch.”
But he didn't tell her anything after lunch. He avoided her gaze while friends arrived to wish her goodbye, ignoring him; only Francis noticed his sadness and sat next to him.
“Sometimes honesty is the best way to tell them, you know,” he advised. Arthur frowned.
“Wha-what the hell are you babbling about?”
“You don't have much time either, so I guess you should just let your heart speak instead of you.”
“Try to contain yourself, though. We don't want to hurt her, do we?” And with that, Francis left with a wink.
Arthur sighed, mentally thanking Francis for his intelligence. Yet, even with the Frenchman's advice, he had only just found the courage to speak to [Name] by midnight. He entered her bedroom and sat on the bed's corner, mumbling: “Hello, [Name].”
She smiled, looking a bit relieved. “I thought you were mad at me! You were avoiding me...”
“No... No, of course I'm not mad at you, why would I be?”
“Maybe because I'm leaving?”
“It's not your fault! Ah, err... Speaking about that... I have something for you, [Name].” The girl looked at him curiously as he pulled out a little box. She opened it to see a tiny, shining thing inside: it was a ring, the most beautiful one she had ever seen. [Name] touched it lightly, amazed.
“For me?” she whispered.
“Ye-yes, it's yours... I bought it some time ago, but I never had the, uh, occasion to give it to you. Anyways, this means nothing. I didn't buy you a present because... you know... I like you.”
Both of them shivered hearing those words, and Arthur soon understood why: due (or perhaps thanks) to that last pause, the latter three words seemed a confession. Arthur was a smart boy; it didn't take more than five seconds for him to understand that he had found the perfect way to tell [Name] about his feelings without actually telling her anything at all.
“[Name]” he exclaimed. “There's something you need to know. You're... not... the cutest and most intelligent girl I ever met and I... don't... love you more than I have ever loved anyone in my life, so I'm... not... going to miss you with all my heart when you leave.”
The poor girl felt offended and hurt, at first. What did that mean? Did Arthur find out about her interest in him? Was he making fun of her? That was unfair, and she’d expected him to be way more mature; maybe she was wrong and he was only a stupid bastard.
But she was smart, too, and after overcoming her initial irritation she began to understand that Arthur's words meant something else. She managed to think of something to say as Arthur was already opening the door to leave.
“I don't love you either,” she whispered.
The next morning, Arthur was much happier than usual while he was making his tea.
“Well, maybe she didn't understand, but at least I told her. She'll understand, some day... I just hope I didn't hurt her,” he said to himself, sighing as he grabbed the teapot. “Now she's surely going to think I'm bloody rude. She won't even want to look at me today... she didn't seem very shocked when I left, though. Maybe she also said something... But I don't remember what.” Arthur wrinkled his forehead, trying to remember. “I... I don't... love... Oh yes, I don't love you either, she sa–,”
Arthur's tea soaked the ground as the cup fell from his hand. He didn't even notice it; he was too busy thinking of what to do. He quickly decided not to think at all, and simply ran out of the kitchen.
“[Name]!” he shouted, waking the entire house with his excitement. “[Name], come here now!”
[Name] came down the stairs quickly. “What's happening?” she exclaimed, worried.
Arthur didn't answer her question, opting instead to grab her shoulders, push her against the wall, and kiss her ferociously. The girl didn't have time to understand what the hell was happening; she only felt Arthur's lips pressed on hers and, a few moments later, some shouts. Sion and Scott pulled Arthur away from and held him firmly, despite his struggling; his face was red and his green eyes full of emotion.
“What's happening?” Francis asked as he pushed his way through their front door.
“Arthur's drunk again, and he's trying to rape [Name],” Sion explained with a sigh, as if this was a commonplace occurrence. The Frenchman pulled [Name] into a hug.
“Don't worry, mon trésor, you're safe with us,” he said firmly, but [Name] was finally beginning to understand.
“No, you have to let him go!” she begged.
“What are you saying, sweetie?” Francis asked. [Name] tried to explain, but before she even opened her mouth Francis laughed. “Ahh, that's it! He never listens to advice, that damn punk. Guys,” he said, “just let him go!”
“Why?” Scott asked, but Francis just repeated the order, so they shrugged and let Arthur go. The boy fell to his knees, panting.
[Name] slipped closer and murmured: “Arthur, if you understood what I meant yesterday... don't stand up.”
Arthur stood up and looked right in her eyes. “I’m sorry.”
“I know,” she replied, nodding. He obviously didn’t understand that she had forgiven him, because he continued apologizing.
“It’s just that… I didn’t know what to do when I realized that you realized what I meant, so I did the first thing which came to mind.” He blushed, hastily adding, “I-I didn’t mean that my first thought was… we-well, that! I just tho–”
“Arthur, shut up please,” Francis sighed. Arthur closed his mouth instantly. “We know you’re stupid. I’m sure that now you know the proper thing to do, don’t you?”
“Err… ask her to marry me?”
“That comes later. First you have to…?”
“Cry tears of joy and beg her to stay with me forever?”
“Take everyone to the fair?”
Francis looked to [Name], exasperated. “[Name], s'il te plait, show him the right way.”
[Name] smiled and kissed Arthur gently. He responded just as carefully, trying to not hurt her again.
“I think I’ve got it,” Arthur said with a chuckle.
Arthur stared at [Name], worried. She was so nervous, which was quite strange for a cheerful girl like her. She looked thoughtful and avoided the Englishman’s eyes. When he asked her what the problem was, she never replied.
Maybe she isn’t sure about my feelings or hers, Arthur thought. I should do something to cheer her up.
“[Name],” he asked, “Do you like cakes?”
“Cakes?” the girl replied, barely listening.
“Mmm. Yes. Cakes are good, I suppose.”
Arthur smiled brightly. “Great! Wait for me, I’m going to buy some!”
“Err… Arthur, I don’t think a cake will solve her problems,” Sion objected.
“But it could help,” Arthur replied. “It won’t take more than a minute to buy one.”
The blonde couldn’t have been more wrong; he returned over a half-hour later, tired, but with the cake in his hands. “Damn London traffic,” he sighed. “Anyways, I have the cake!” He looked around, but [Name] wasn’t where he’d left her. “[Name], where are you?” he shouted, but he received no answer.
“Arthur…” his little brother called. “[Name] isn’t here!”
“Did you forget? She’s at the airport. The plane leaves in ten minutes.”
Arthur stared. “Oh Jesus, I forgot about the plane!” He drove as fast as he could to the airport, using the motorbike to avoid traffic, but when he arrived at the airport the plane had already left.
Oh, fantastic. I’ll never see her again and I didn’t even say goodbye to her. She’ll hate me now. Feeling a fit of rage coming on, Arthur clenched his fists, trying to not cry.
“Shut up, please. I’m not in the mood.”
“Arthur, turn around.”
“Trust me. You’ll be surprised.”
Arthur turned to face the nuisance. “Why don’t you just shut up and lea… oh. Oh my God.”
[Name] laughed, brushing some hair away from her face. “Why are you looking at me like that?” she demanded, almost playfully.
“We-weren’t you going to America?”
“I changed my mind. I much prefer being here with you all, you know,” she smiled.
“But… why did you come all the way to the airport, then?!”
“I had to cancel everything. But…” [Name] stared at him anxiously. “You don’t seem so happy. Did you want me to leave?”
“Nonononono!” Arthur exclaimed. “I’m the happiest person in Britain! I just can’t believe you... I mean, all your family is in America!”
She laughed again and kissed Arthur on the cheek. “About that, I have to tell you something… don’t hate me, please,” she added, between giggles.
“Okay...” Arthur replied suspiciously.
“I… I invited my parents here next Sunday.”
“Your parents?! Why?”
“They want to meet you, you know!” [Name] exclaimed.
“Oh, great,” the boy sighed. “We’re not even married and I already have to deal with American parents-in-law. I’m done.”
The girl hugged him tightly. “Come on, I know they’ll like you!”
Arthur shocked his head tired. “I don’t know… is it really necessary?”
“Of course it’s not, love.”
He stared at her doubtfully. “You’re playing that again, aren’t you?” he asked. “And don’t call me that.”
“Gosh, aren’t you boring!” [Name] sighed, crossing her arms. “There’s no having fun with you.”
Arthur grabbed her hand and gave her a little smile. “Well, don’t come with me. Let’s not have fun then.”
“What do you mean by ‘having fun’?”
“I don’t have a clue!” he laughed, ruffling her hair.
“I’m not your little sister!” [Name] exclaimed, smoothing her hair back down.
“You’re right. You’re not my little sister at all.”