when they met

By @cecilyrise
when they met

There was him, and there was her. Both with seemingly average lives. Together, that was when it all changed. When they met.

Chapter 3

the rose

My home is just like every other average home in this city. Wood and glass. 

Unless you’re like super-rich or live in the follywood part of town which is basically fake Hollywood with all the kids who got rich from the internet and parents who got rich from their kids getting rich from the internet 

But that’s not me. I’m in a lavender-colored house, which quite frankly makes me feel a bit sick sometimes to look at for too long. It’s two story’s and a freezing cold basement

I live with my mom and dad and little sister Natasha. I’ve lived here for years and I know just about every inch of this neighborhood. With one exception. 

My family and I were never one of those overly excited, ‘let’s be best friends with the new neighbors by bringing them cake’ families. So a few months ago when a new family moved into the house next to ours, we kinda ignored it. 

My mom said if they want to be ‘those’ people and be friends with us, they can but she couldn’t be bothered. Can’t be friends with everyone. 

My dad claimed they were probably either grumpy old people or a snooty couple who thought they were better than everyone 

After calling them major pessimists, I went to interrogate my sister Natasha. 

Natasha said she didn’t care and to get out of her room

So that left me. And because I had social anxiety and my family’s support on my side, I left it alone. 

It was fine for a while, I never saw them, they never came over offering cake, and they left my mind. Neighbor who? 

But then there was that day. I was out at 7-Eleven, you know, at two in the morning getting my blue raspberry slushie, per usual. 

The weather was getting warmer. And the sun was getting hotter no doubt thanks to global warming 

As I’ve said, I know this town pretty well and everything was as it seems. Shops were bustling with people, frantic workers trying to not lose their heads in the morning chaos Reminding me of my need for a job, should be easy considering my zero work experience, and still being in high school. Easy 

Hobbies including, reading, writing, eating, sleeping, watching arrow, attempting to read minds. 

the normalcies of most days were lost today when I spotted a red dot on my doormat across the street. 

Now I don’t have great vision and I don’t like wearing my glasses because they give me a headache because I don’t wear them enough, but it made more sense and made me even more confused when I got closer and realized it wasn’t a red dot, but a red rose

Question marks popped up and covered my brain and I continued to stare at the flower. 

It was beautiful. Fresh. I absolutely loved it. But the question was, with three other people in the house, was it for me? 

I don’t know many people, my friends Taylor, Val, Shawn. They could have done it but I have no clue for what. There’s my family but they could have just given it to me. And again, why would they give me a rose? Who else.. oh yeah, there’s Mr grumpy pants Evan but I really don’t think he would come all the way here to give me a rose. Plus he has classes and is probably tired from all his late nights. I also don’t think he likes me very much. 

And that’s it. This rose is clearly not for me. So I leave it on the doorstep with a bit of a heavy heart and walk inside. 

I’ve always thought about having one of those romantic movie romances. Kissing in the rain, drinking from the same smoothie, watching the sunrise, all those silly things. That rose was my chance. 

The rose fuels the fire. The fire keeps me warm. Hence, I need the rose. 

I run back down the stairs and quickly pull the door open. I take a glance around to make sure no one saw me as I pick up the rose. 

It’s not like I’m committing a murder, it’s just a rose. I hope. 

Watch some mystery man come over and ask if my mom got the rose as thanks for the volunteer work she does. 

She really does do lots of volunteer work. Now I’m wondering if it really is her rose. 

It’s too late. I walk back inside and kick the door closed as I admire possibly my rose and I run upstairs to put in somewhere. 

I scan my terribly messy room for a vase or something. My eyes fall upon my Nalgene water bottle. A seconds contemplation and a big sigh, I fill it with water and place the rose inside. 

I’m so touched that someone would freshly pick me a rose! Not my dad, not my mom, not Natasha, me! I place a hand on my heart and make a happy noise. 

Now to get lost in my hopeless romantic of a mind. 

a call comes from downstairs “Rowan?!”

Well, that was short-lived. Maybe it was a sign. 

“”What?!” I yell back to my sister 

I hear loud footsteps coming up the stairs as if she’s stomping. Dramatic much? What did I do this time? 

She stands in the doorway, arms crossed, and of course the raised eyebrow. 

“Do you want to come in? Or did you at school get bitten by a vampire and now need permission to come in” 

She marches up to me and shoves a red leaf in my face. Is it fall already? We just started spring!

I look back at her and look back at the leaf. Only to see more clearly that it is not a leaf but a rose petal. 

Oh crap. Was it her rose? 

“Who are you marrying?” She demands with a Stoney face 

I’m completely taken aback. There’s someone who’s more of hopeless romantic than me? Impossible. 

Also, where did she get that idea? I would never marry someone who didn’t give me the whole floor of roses. 

Remember that one part in Taylor swifts ‘our song’ music video where she’s surrounded by roses? Yeah. I demand that before any sort of marriage 

She shakes the petal in my face waiting for an answer. 

“Ok, ok, you got me” I sigh putting my hands up 

She gasps as her eyes grow wide “w-what? Who? Are you going to tell mom and dad? When’s the wedding?” 

I smile a little “there’s this guy,” 

She nods urging me to continue 

“He’s just the most handsome man I have ever seen, super sweet. We’ve been having secret rendezvous to see each other, neither our parents know, so you cannot tell! Today, he gave me the most beautiful rose, got down on one knee, and right in the center of the rose was, well, the ring” I sigh dreamily and clasp my hands together 

Natasha looks ghostly “can I see it?” She whispers 

I shake my head “I can’t. He’s going to put it on my finger after everyone knows. No surprises yeah?” 

Then she giggles “oh! I cannot wait! We must tell them! I’m thinking big glittery banners, Rowan and, and- what’s his name?” 

I lean in close as if to tell a secret “bazinga!” 

She jumps a little from the loudness before standing angrily “are you serious?!” 

I laugh “are you serious? No, I’m not getting married, you idiot! I’m seventeen! I have had one boyfriend for a week in middle school and we didn’t talk, the entire time!” 

Throwing her hands up “then where is this **** rose petal from? Roses are the flower of love, I really thought..” 

I hold a finger up ” first off, watch your mouth. Second, I found it and claimed it as mine. As we all know very well in this household, anything without a name, is free, remember the cookies I wanted that you took? Well just know the Cheetos are mine now. I’ve invested in a sharpie” 

Her face falls “well that disappointing. Also makes more sense, I don’t peg you as the boyfriend type, especially a husband. I suggest investing in a cat” 

And with that, she turns away and walks out letting the petal fall to the ground. 

I sigh and lean back. I’m not going to be a lonely old cat lady right? I can get a boyfriend, I don’t think I have that many issues. Sure some things they may have to put up with, like midnight 7-Eleven trips and my weird love of British people but it’s doable, I do it, so it can’t be that hard right? I find everything hard to do

I glance over to the rose and after a period of staring like a creep, I slap my legs and push myself up. 

I need air. This house reeks of drama. Oh, it seems the smell is emitting from my lovely sister’s rooms. What a freaking drama queen. 

I love her. 

I leave my keys on the table because Natasha never leaves the house. 

I leave my phone because My friends have their own group chat which I wasn’t invited to. Rude. 

So I just leave empty-handed.

When I get to town I walk in a cute store filled with all sorts of little… and big… things. It has a lot

I look around, picking up, and examining all sorts of things like a scientist. Haha, I’m not a scientist. 

After looking at everything, I don’t really see anything I want so I start to leave. 

“Good evening young lady!” I turn and look at the nice older lady behind the counter 

“Did you not find anything you liked?” She asks in a sad voice 

Uh oh. The guilt tactic! 

“Oh um that’s not it miss, I just..” I don’t know what to say considering her assumptions were kinda correct. I did like the things, I just don’t want to keep them

“Nonsense!” She exclaims loudly “follow me young lady, I’m sure we can find something of interest!” 

Pressure!

“O-oh okay” I walk behind her nervously. I was never good at dealing with pressure or guilt, I guess I could practice? 

“Maybe another ti-” I start to say but again, I am cut off

“Nonsense! There is no time like the present!” 

Oh boy. Well that worked out 

She turns around and smiles widely holding a cord bracelet with stones and crystals stringed on. “The stones are made for courage, strength and I think one in here is for imagination or something” 

She pushes it closer to me and I take it carefully looking at it, of course before I could reject nicely she takes my arm 

She pulls me to the cash register. I look at her and she looks back at me expectantly, I fidget under her burning gaze and can feel myself giving in to the old lady and soon enough I finally crack under pressure. I quickly grab ten dollars from my pocket and place it on the counter, grab the bracelet and speed walk out of there, not before giving a small smile and saying a nice thank you. 

My face falls as I hear her mutter a “sucker” under her breath. What just happened? 

“you just got played by Wilma, tricky lady she is” says a voice from behind me 

I whirl around and am met with a boy. A cute boy. Brown hair, soft green eyes, gentle features. He has a red shirt on and jeans where his hands are stuffed in the pockets. “Hi I’m Rowan” I offer my hand out to the boy 

He takes it and shakes firmly, succeeding in jolting my whole body up and down “Brayden” 

He looks over at the shop I was just in “what did she give you?” I huff slightly remembering being tricked into buying the bracelet 

I stick my hand out in front of him showing him the bracelet “she really got you to buy that?”

I nod “it’s really not my fault, she brought out the guilt card, I’m very bad under guilt, I panic!” 

“She’s a trickster, goes to bingo with my grandma, she comes back complaining how Wilma is a big old cheat” he rolls his eyes 

He then asks me “do you wanna walk with me a little? We can keep looking through the shops and I can teach you to dodge the tricky ones?” 

I’m excited to be making what seemed like a new friend. I really can’t pinpoint what would qualify as friend territory or what steps I had to take to get there but I had nothing against exploring with a nice guy. “Yeah, sure sounds good”

We fell into place side by side as he pointed out which restaurants are overpriced, which ones are trashy, which shops hold the coolest things, the popular hang out places, the more chill places. The library, the cafe. I knew a lot of this but I also learned a lot. I guess I know more from the outside while Brayden is more on the inside of town

“do you wanna get some coffee? Or a bagel or whatever is in a cafe?” I ask

“Yeah sure” he shrugs and smiles. 

A little bell rings announcing our presence as we open the door. The cafe is cute, the smell of coffee and baked goods surrounds the place as we walk in and seat ourselves. I pick up a menu and place one In front of me and hold out another for Brayden. 

I scan the list and my eyes fall upon a latte macchiato and the chocolate croissant. I’m in a chocolate mood. I’m always in a chocolate mood. 

“What are you getting?” I ask across the table to Brayden 

He gives me a sly smile, “the ham and cheese omelet. You? 

“Someone’s feeling the savory life am I right? Well unlike you, I am feeling the sweet life so I chose the chocolate croissant and the latte macchiato” my eyes fall into a dreamy state as I talk about food. I just love food. 

He chuckles quietly and once I snap out of my daydreaming space we talk for a while. He seems like a really nice guy, and even while we’re both eating with our mouths stuffed it’s still a good silence. 

Once finished with my croissant, I gulp down the rest of my macchiato and sit back happily. Brayden finished a few minutes ago and was watching me with a little smile and I smile along with him. “This was really nice Brayden, maybe we could do it again soon” 

“Of course, I had a really good time, you’re a cool girl, I like hanging out, so yes.. let’s do it again” 

After paying for our food, he walks me home and we say goodbye “thanks for walking me home that was very kind, one day I’ll repay the favor. We wouldn’t want you getting lost now would we” I tease him 

He scoffs “yeah right if anyone’s getting lost, it’s you” 

“Well then I guess I’ll have to have my trusty tour guide with me” I giggle a little 

“See you around Rowan” he smiles and starts to turn away

“Bye Brayden” I say softly 

I skip up the steps and go inside and just as I suspected I hear Natasha on the phone. 

I start rummaging through the fridge but it turns out we have nothing worth eating. 

Just then mom pulls into the driveway. I run outside and greet her. “Hey mom!”

“Hello Rowan” she struggles to hug me with all the bags in her arms

“Whatcha got there?” I peek inside and gaze over all the food “someone was hungry” I tease 

“It’s our groceries because Someone is quite the food monster” 

I whip my head around looking over each shoulder, “who?” 

“YOU, you silly goose, will you take these inside while I grab the rest?” 

“Of course my wonderful loving mother, I would be honored to take on such a task”

I take the groceries and the key from her hands and stumble over to the door considering the groceries are throwing off my balance but I make it through the door alive and well. 

Mom follows in shortly after carrying in more bags of food. “Mom, you act like we’re a house of a thousand soldiers” 

She starts putting the food away “I’m just stocking up” 

“For the next thousand years” I laugh 

“Do you want anything to eat? We certainly have enough” she looks over all the food

“No thanks, I ate a little while ago I’m just gonna head up to my room, I am quite..fatigued” 

“Not without a goodnight hug to your food supplying mother” she opens her waiting arms 

I pretend I think it over before finally saying “oh alright” and I squeeze my arms around her “I love you” 

“I love you too, now go while I put away food mountain before your father and Natasha come in here like starving bears” 

I walk upstairs and brush my hair and teeth and change, I wash up a bit before snuggling into my bed and immediately falling asleep.

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