He should have never let her into the apartment. Adam groaned inwardly as Emma took the photo albums that lay on the desk. There were some embarrassing pictures of him – like the one taken when he was three and he dressed up as a girl and put his mum’s pink lipstick. There was also a picture he took when he went for a holiday in Saudi Arabia with his dad when he was five – in this picture he was hugging Lalitha tightly, an Indian girl, who was his first crush, with his dad and Lalitha’s dad in the background laughing.
As Emma saw these pictures, a smile crept over face and she seemed to relax. Adam sighed with relief. He wasn’t sure how to cheer her up. He had suggested they go out for a walk in the park where Emma likes to hang out all the time. But, Emma wanted to stay inside and talk. Not that Adam had a problem listening. It was just that he didn’t know how to cheer girls up. With guys, it’s a different story. You just have to offer them a solution. But, girls liked to analyze and discuss and criss-cross everything.
But, all his female friends told him he was such a good listener. And that they felt a heavy load lift off them after they talked to him. He liked that in himself. Even Lucy, his half-sister rang him whenever she had trouble with Luke, her husband.
Adam quietly sat beside Emma as she was still going through the old photo albums. Emma had just broken up with her two-timing boyfriend. Adam knew from the start that Stephen wasn’t a good guy. But, he never said anything to Emma. Mainly because there was just nothing to say. It was just this odd feeling he had when Emma first introduced him to Stephen in the university cafe. It wasn’t anything specific. It was a strong feeling about him, something that said this guy is trouble.
The funny thing is Adam had this feeling about Stephen whenever they met. After a few times of feeling this way, Adam knew it was his gut instinct telling him to back off and trying to warn him. So, when Emma had planned on numerous occasions to invite Adam along with her and her boyfriend, Adam made one excuse after another and didn’t go along with her. He felt bad for not being entirely honest with Emma. But, how could he explain to Emma what he was feeling?
Yesterday, in the town centre, Emma had seen Stephen kissing Azza, one of the University Student Ambassadors. Turns out, Stephen and Azza had been seeing each other behind Emma’s back for over 2 weeks now.
Poor Emma, Adam thought sadly. She deserved better. In a rom-com, this would be the ideal situation for him to show her his feelings. But, no. Adam, nice and sweet Adam decided against it. He didn’t want Emma to think he was taking advantage of her situation. He loved her, since the first day he met. Okay maybe not since the first day. But, there was something there – on the first day, a connection he felt towards Emma. Her innocent smile and laugh. How she laughs at every minute incident. How she has a smiling face. As the days went by, they became close friends and seemed to desire and enjoy each other’s company. He started noticing all the cute little Emma-details. How she wears matching scarves and jewelry. How she waits for him outside the lecture theater for them to go in together.
As he developed romantic feelings toward Emma, he wasn’t scared or doubtful of them. He felt comfortable about them and decided that if these feelings persisted till the end of the first year of University, he would tell her how he felt.
But, three months after the semester began, Emma had met Stephen. Oh how Adam’s spirit was crushed the day he was introduced to Stephen.
Well, it just wasn’t meant to be, Adam had consoled himself.
He had never admitted to anyone but he felt quite envious of Stephen. How lucky Stephen was to get someone good-hearted and innocent like Emma. But, Stephen didn’t deserve Emma. He was an idiot for cheating on such a wonderful girl.
Adam wondered whether Stephen cheated because Emma didn’t wear make-up. Emma was always neat and tidy, very presentable in her appearances. She wore the latest trends, but at the same time mixed her own unique sense of style into it, by wearing mismatched clothes, which Adam thought was very cute, clever and different. Emma straightened her hair everyday, but she never wore make-up. Azza on the other hand, wore tons of make-up. Adam had seen Azza once without make-up. Azza looked entirely different, no one would say it was the same girl.
As Emma put the photo albums back on the desk, she asked Adam what he was thinking about.
“Nothing, I was just thinking how Stephen didn’t deserve you,” Adam replied.
Emma smiled and said, “You know Adam, from the moment I met him I knew he wasn’t right for me. I don’t know how I knew that. I just knew. I had this bad feeling about him. But, I ignored it. I was so intent on finding a boyfriend.”
Adam was shocked, he wasn’t expecting that.
Emma looked up at Adam. They gazed at each other in silence.
“You know Adam, from the day I met you, I had a crush on you. I brushed those feelings away. I didn’t want to ruin a good friendship. I wanted to tell you so many times about how I felt. But, I was afraid I wasn’t good enough for you.” Emma’s voice cracked.
Adam couldn’t believe this. Was this really happening? Or was he dreaming? His mouth froze.
Emma mistook his silence and felt embarassed. “I am sorry Adam. I didn’t mean to tell you all that. It just came out. Don’t think I am looking for Boyfriend No.2.”
Adam didn’t know what to say. Would Emma believe if he told her that these were the words that Adam was aching to tell her? That every time he saw her with Stephen, he wanted nothing more than to punch Stephen in the face and make Emma his own?
Emma got up to leave and as she did so, she knocked over a KUONI travel magazine. As she bend down to pick it up, a few drawings slipped out from the magazine. Adam’s face froze. There was a drawing of Emma he did the night before, and he also has a habit of writing captions for each of his drawings.
As Emma’s eyes scanned her own beautiful portrait, her eyes widened at the writing below the portrait.
To Emma, when will you realize how much I love you?
“Adam?” She looked at him, confused.
Adam’s face was still frozen and he was tongue-tied. In a rom-com, he would have told her how he had feelings for her from the very beginning and how he was planning to confess his love towards the end of the first year of University.
But, this is real life. So, real life Adam stood up, his whole body shaking and took her face in his hands and kissed her.
Well maybe it wasn’t so bad, letting her into the apartment.