I guess to get better acquainted with me and my tragic love life, I guess I should tell you about the one and only boyfriend I ever came close to completely and totally loving.
I left rinky dinky Appleby and went to college in Colorado and studied literature and journalism, I wanted to to be a writer or a big city editor. Scarlette and I and her at the time fiance Kevin, attended the same university and it was amazing! I'd finished my freshman year and the happy couple got married and returned for their second year. My sophomore year I mingled with people while my friends did married people type things, but it was never anything remotely serious. After awhile Scarlette pressured me to go on a date with some guy she'd met in her music history class. I guess I let her convince me-or bribe me- but I went on the stupid date, let me rephrase that a stupid blind date and that's when I met James Harris. Now I don't believe in "love at first sight" or "soul mates" but I was definitely attracted to this man. His dark brown partly covered his hazel eyes, and he was slim and tall, like a light post, not to be mean, but that was a good look for him. I remember to dinner at one of the college restaurants, and he was a complete gentleman. At the end of the night I was surprised that he asked for a second date and even more surprised that I agreed. So over the next few days we dated, then that turned into officially dating, and then weeks turned to months, months into years. By the time we finished college we were inseparable. My family was so convinced he was "the one" for me and that any day now he'd be popping the question.
I smirked at the thought but it never left my mind. I was getting ready to start my career and I didn't even know if James was planning to take our relationship to the next level. We never kissed, we only had side hugs, and only sometimes we would hold hands. I remembered I asked him rather bluntly if he was eve attracted to me. It was a week before Christmas the same year we had graduated from college, and we were watching TV at his place, he turned to me and looked very seriously and said,
"Why would you ask something like that?"
I was hurt and tried to hide it, "Just curious I suppose."
Sensing I was upset he continued, "Do you think I'm not?"
I glanced at my reflection on the glass coffee table trying to convince myself that he was not. I never thought I was pretty, I was a bit plump and had rather big hips. My green eyes made me look like I was in shock most of the time, and my curly brown hair was cut short and stuck to my head. (Back then, now its longer but back to the past.)
"I don't think you are." I admitted and turned away from him.
James turned his body and put a hand to my face so I could look at him. He then leaned forward and kissed me. It was a short kiss, but more than a peck and just as passionate. His lips were sweet like cinnamon, and when he pulled away I felt myself blushing and my brain was foggy.
"Honestly love," he said when my thoughts were collected, "I find you absolutely beautiful, inside and out. The only reason why I've not been the most affectionate, is because I want to save myself for our wedding day."
"What?" I asked only hearing the last three words.
James smiled and stood from the couch only to get down on one knee and pulled out a small red velvet jewel box. I sat up straighter and met his gaze.
"James, what are you-"
"Shh my love." he said smiling.
He opened the box and nestled inside was simple gold ring with little diamonds surrounding a very impressive ruby.
"Charlotte, can I see your left hand please?" he asked.
I extended my arm as he shifted his weight.
"Charlotte Lena Faye, will you do me the most amazing honor, of becoming my wife? Will you marry me ?"
I cried as I said yes and I cried as he slipped the ring the onto my finger and I cried as he embraced me.
I wish I could say that the next year we were married and lived happily ever after but that didn't happen. Shortly after New Year's James and I were walking down the street one night and I felt a strangeness about the place we were walking. It felt absolutely ominous, which was odd because this was normally the way we walked home. Suddenly from the corner of my eye I saw a large figure lurking in the shadows.
Before the woman could turn around I moved quickly to her blind spot. I tried to see what she was carrying. A simple purse, and nice ring on her finger, that would bring in some cash, just need to move-
"James did you see that?" I asked.
"Oh it was probably nothing then."
Did she see the figure too? I mustn't frighten her, that would only make things worse, all I have to do is get us out of this bloody alley.
"GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!" I shouted flinging my trusty knife towards the woman. She was quickly pulled from my view and the man stood in her place. He was her protector, this wasn't good. I teased him with the knife and demanded money again. He began emptying his pockets and handed me his cash. "The ring too." I growled. The woman gasped and said no. The man tried to get her to give it up but she refused. I was getting antsy and soon the commotion would cause people to come investigate. I tried one last time "GIVE ME THE RING NOW!" She darted tried to pull the man alongside. I tried to grab at her hand forgetting about my knife.
"Sweetheart, we can get another one just give the man the ring. Its alight everything is going to be fine." I said trying to calm Charlotte, she was scared and quite frankly so was I but I was not going to let this man see that. She however was refusing to give it up and tried to pull me away. That's when I saw the knife in his hand aimed at her, "NO!" I shouted then a sharp pain entered my chest as the man tried to pull out his knife, I tried to hide it from her but it was too late. She'd seen I'd been hurt and started on the man, "Sweetheart no!"
I knew I'd seen something, a mugger! He started for me and James stood to protect me, he handed the cruel man all his money and I thought we were in the clear until he demanded my engagement ring.
"Sweetheart just give him the ring, we'll get another one." James said.
"No he has our money I won't let him get this too." I insisted. I tried to pull James away but he was rooted to the spot I turned to face him when I saw the glint of silver in the street light. It never hit me and that was when I saw the pain in James' face as he tried to hide his wound from me. I looked around and picked up several stones and began to pelt the man with them.
"Sweetheart no!" James tried to say, his voice becoming raspy and soft.
The mugger darted from the scene and I turned to James who was falling to the ground I caught him in my arms before he struck his head.
"James, darling look at me. It's going to be fine, you'll be alright." I said tears forming at my eyes. I pushed his brown hair from his face as I cried for help.
"PLEASE SOMEONE HELP! ANYONE! PLEASE HELP US!"
I continued shouting until footsteps were heard down the alley.
"I'm so sorry James, I'm so sorry, this is all my fault." I said weeping.
"Charlotte, I love you, here..." he said trying to open his jacket.
He struggled and finally I just held his hand as his breathing began to become winded and raspy. I looked down and saw his eyes begin to close.
"James? Don't you dare close your eyes. Don't you dare close your eyes! NO! Please come back! Please! Don't you dare leave me! James don't you dare close your eyes!" I sobbed tears streaking my face as my love closed his eyes for the last time.
He laid there in my lap until people with the police came. I cried out for James as they carried him to the ambulance waiting outside the alley. At the hospital, the doctors told me he'd been struck in a main artery in his chest causing him to bleed internally. There was nothing they could do, they left him to die a slow and painful death. Finally his body stopped trying to protect him and he passed away. A nurse had come to give me his belongings in his pockets and his watch. Amongst them was a slightly wrinkled envelope with my name written across it, in James' most recognizable writing.My family had come to comfort me, but I turned away, there was nothing they could do either. The love of my life was gone I had nothing. Weeks later the mugger was caught found guilty and sentenced for life in prison. This did nothing for me, because it would not bring James back. I attended his funeral in England and watched his family bury him. I kept the letter he had for me, but I've never read it, the memory of that awful night was just to painful.
Slowly I began to rejoin the world, the dark and cold place it was. I moved from Colorado back to Appleby and began my work as a columnist for the Advice column at the Texas Tribune. Ask Andy was what they called it. As far as I'm concerned every one thinks its a man writing this column considering all the questions are on cars and taxes and other "manly" things, though here and there a few woman questions on cleaning and hair styles but since Ezra carried the finished works to the editors office, everyone assumed it was him answering, which was fine. I didn't want momma finding out that I was answering all these questions. Far as I know she thinks I write the cleaning column Cleaning Clara. Pure genius these editors, I tell ya.
I know it's not the best place for me, but slowly I grew happy and I love my job. I know James would have wanted me to pursue my dreams and go to New York or Los Angeles to find a publicist and write my own stories than answering people's problems, but I can't right now.
Well now you know my story and don't worry, it'll get better. Four years James has been gone but not forgotten.Mainly because I've never gotten rid of his ring , it's the one piece of him I have left I'm determined to keep it that way.