The Cycle of Love

"Please don't ever stop loving me."

"Never, not even when I take my last breath."

Cover Photo Curtesy of: Rebecca Botin

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 Reynold's Pub - 11 September 2015

We met in my place of employment, surrounded by the smells of stale beer, potent cologne, and wood cleaner. Despite the dilapidated setting, we found love in that place.

When he walked in, laughter in his airspace and an abundance of friends by his side, everything just stopped moving, frozen in time. My heart had begun to thump dangerously hard in sync with every step he took. He walked closer and closer to my position behind the bar.

His jeans hugged his legs, they seemed restricting. I didn't know how they could possibly be comfortable. My skinnies were tight too, but not tourniquet tight like his. He wore a button-up with the top two buttons undone, showcasing a few dark, coarse strands of hair. The lustful side of me wanted nothing more than to rip the buttons from his shirt and run my fingertips along his fuzzy skin.

Who knew that by the end of the year these thoughts would be more than just a fantasy.

As he got an arm's length away, I grew hyper-aware of my own appearance. A slightly messy ponytail hung from high atop my head, my makeup was minimal, and my simple tee was dotted with specks of drying alcohols. I looked like a proper mess; I don't know what he saw in me honestly.

"Can I get a pint?" I was still startled by his sultry voice. Absolutely no words came out of my mouth, so I simply nodded as he turned towards one of his friends to say something.

Now that he was close to me, I noticed the colour of his eyes. I only got a few seconds to look at them, but they were beautiful. They were the colour of the ocean's surface in the midst of a summer holiday with the sun shining down on the waves. I picked up an accent on his tongue too, but with only a few words I couldn't analyze it completely.

What my boss liked best about me was my friendliness and slight flirtiness, which kept the customers coming back for more. Though that night, all of those traits were no longer something that applied to me and I had reverted to the introvert I was outside of work. That being said, few words, aside from him ordering and paying for his, and his friends', drinks were spoken between the two of us throughout the rest of my shift. Despite him being slightly too hyperactive and a bit annoying when it came to hanging around his friends, I couldn't help but feel some kind of pull towards him.

I thought then and there, as I was making my way out of the pub, that I would never see him again and never have the chance to speak with him. I knew nothing about him, yet he made me so nervous. It hurt that I didn't have the courage to speak to him, my heart was weighed down in my chest.

"I've not seen you around before."

When I heard his voice for the first time since being within those stuffy pub walls I thought I was dreaming. I figured that once I turned to look back in the direction of the voice, no one would be standing there and I'd look like a fool. When I did turn I was pleasantly surprised.

I should have been scared that a total stranger followed me out of the building and into the the darkness of the night, but he had a harmless aura. I knew no harm would come to me.

"I could say the same for you."

London is a big place. It's not as loud or big as New York City, but it's just as busy. To put London into perspective for an outsider, I live right down the street from my best mate and still I don't see her for weeks on end if we don't make plans. That being said, it's not impossible that myself and this attractive stranger have never crossed paths before.

"I've been to this pub a handful of times and never have I seen you." My brain finally registers the accent... Irish. He's a bit far from home, but usually people in London aren't true Londoners.

"Yes, well, my life isn't completely devoted to this place, Mr...."

"James Quinn."

"James." I drew his name out in a long drawl, tasting the way his name felt on my tongue. I decided I liked it.

I remember him smiling after his name left my lips, giving me a subtle nod of approval, as if he liked the way his name sounded coming from my lips. "Well, James, I've worked here for over a year and never have we crossed paths before."

"Hm, it appears the universe wanted us to meet." In that moment, I agreed with him.

"I'm sure it did."

Inside I was buzzing. I hadn't had much male attention in the past, aside from the occasional creepy flirt from a middle-aged pub-goer, so this was a foreign feeling to me. In general, I was great at putting up a front to bar goers, flirting a little here and there for better tips, but in my personal life I was never great with men. I would always get this overly giddy feeling deep within my stomach and before I knew it I would be a rambling mess in front of a completely calm and collected individual of the opposite gender. So despite the urge to start rambling in front of this attraction of a human being, I kept it cool and decided to play coy.

"Do you have a name?" He asked, sending me a flirtatious smile.

"I don't know, maybe." I don't know why I didn't just tell him my name that night, but perhaps if I had we never would have become as close as we did. Maybe the suspense of my name kept his interest for a while longer.

"I guess I'll just have to figure it out." He eyed me up and down in a subtle manner, but I noticed.

"Guess so."

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