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Published by: api-85014987 on Feb 12, 2013
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Jordan MeehanFebruary 6, 2013
“I love you,” she whispered.
 Her voice was soft and hushed, but her words carried a quiet intensity that filledthe dark room. While simple and short, her words were heavy and lingered in the air likesmoke, begging to be noticed, to be answered, lest they become stagnant andembarrassing. Like a young debutante awaiting a suitor, her quiet admission waited for aresponse. It was the first time Lyla had told Sam that she loved him.Lyla had always found comfort in darkness. The purity of night was a welcomehaven from the prejudice of daylight. In the dark she could admit to herself things thatwould otherwise seem perverse when exposed to the light: her secrets, desires, fantasies,and emotions could be revealed only when she herself could barely see them. Rarely didshe ever verbalize these things to herself, let alone someone else. Her open admission of love to Sam both terrified and excited her; it was a secret she had kept hidden for a longtime, even from herself, and now she waited for the response from him that she haddreamed of for weeks.
Sam looked into Lyla’s eyes, seeing a look of longing and affection he had never 
before seen. A dim light from the streetlights outside spilled into the room through thewindow, illuminating her face. To him, she was a beacon, glowing like a star that leads aweary traveler home. He brushed a few strands of hair that had fallen onto her face andsmiled at her reassuringly, but her words had shaken him to the core, making him callinto question everything he felt for her. Sam had never been in love, and the very idea
sent chills through him and made him uneasy. He desperately sought assurance for hisfeelings and reflected on the time they had spent together.They had met about nine months ago at a house party in Brooklyn. It was a chilly,clear September night and Sam arrived at the party with a friend, Will, around eleven
o’clock. He had no idea who was throwing the party, but Will had assured him that i
t wasa friend of a friend who always threw the best parties. Sam hated house parties; they werealways too crowded, overheated, and, without fail, had insufficient amounts of alcohol.He had always preferred going to bars or staying in with a few close friends; however,Will told him that he needed to be more social, meet more people, find a girlfriend,anything, really, to get him out of the house more. This is not to say that Sam was anti-social, just shy. Too shy.Sam and Will stepped into the party and, as he had predicted on the way over, itwas extremely crowded. The two mingled for a few minutes and Will introduced Sam toa few friends and acquaintances. Someone handed them both two red cups of what Samcould only assume was jungle juice. He took a sip and was taken aback by the strength of 
the drink. “Tastes like college,” he thought. Sam looked next to him to see that Will had
gone somewhere, probably to go chat up a friend he had spotted. If there was one thingSam disliked more than house parties, it was being alone at a house party. He needed acigarette.Pushing his way through the herds of people, Sam found a door to the smallbalcony and stepped outside. He reached inside the pocket of his flannel shirt and pull out
a cigarette. He placed it between his lips and searched his pockets for a lighter, but to noavail.
“Shit,” he mumbled to himself.
“Need a light?” A woman turned around and flicked her lighter until it offered upa flame. Sam had wanted a cigarette so badly he hadn’t even realiz
ed there was someone
else on the balcony. He leaned over and lit his cigarette and met the woman’s eyes for the
first time. He stood like that for about half a minute, momentary lost and caught off guard. She was beautiful.
“Thanks,” he managed to croak o
ut. He cracked a dopey smile and laughed a littlenervously, as if acknowledging the fact that he had been staring.She smiled back and quickly ran a few fingers through her hair. Her hair was
long, wavy, and black. Sam couldn’t help but notice the way it
caught the moonlight,
giving it an almost silver tinge. Although he couldn’t be sure if it was moonlight or thestreetlights, but he didn’t care. Her lips were full and painted red with lipstick, which
stained her cigarette, and her fingernails were painted black, with her ring finger nailspainted electric blue. She was wearing a faded black denim jacket over a tight black dressand heels. It was a simple look, but it was accentuated by her natural radiance.
“Look at everyone down there,” she said, lean
ing on the railing and looking at the
 people on the sidewalk below, “makes you feel big, doesn’t it? Being so high up here?”“I don’t know,” Sam replied, moving next to her, “the world around us has alwaysmade me feel pretty small. Kinda lonely.” Sam ha
d always had a thing for admittingsecrets to strangers. It was much easier than opening up to his friends; talking to someone
he didn’t know felt like writing something down in a diary. It was therapeutic.

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