"Ghost of love past, yet it's ever-present."
Maybe there is just something about firsts that makes them so precious to us. Our first job, first car, first house – we can hardly forget them. In the same way, your first love is something that you always remember.
But what happens when it goes away? When you're left alone, trying to make your way out of the dark? And is it possible that it actually happen? Can you ever truly get over your first love?
He walks in and as soon as he sees me, his whole face lights up. His smile turns up the corners of his eyes and his eyebrows, which are naturally arched so that he always looks surprised, curve up even more. If it was anybody else, that face would be downright comical. And yet, I'm grinning from ear to ear for a completely different reason. He ironically extends his hand for me to shake and I give him a look of sheer irritation, which gets to him. He sits down right next to me, so close that our legs are touching, and puts an arm around my shoulder, pulling me closer. I'm leaning on him and I'm so pleased to find that his heart is pounding, if not more, then at least as much as mine. He gives my shoulder a tight squeeze and grips it more firmly.
"You're so thin." He remarks gleefully.
I burst into laughter and turn to find him smiling, dark eyes twinkling with amusement.
God, even his eyes smile.
"You're one to talk!" I say sarcastically and he immediately turns his gaze to the floor in mock embarrassment. He's still smiling and I rest my head on his chest. I could certainly get used to this.
Being the sneak that I am, I choose this precise moment to check Dan's reaction and his mouth is set in a firm line, jaw rigid, narrowed eyes watching Sean and me. I should be delighted, but instead I feel nervous and uneasy. I snuggle closer.
Dan strums his guitar, eyes focused on the strings with an intensity that could set the guitar on fire, fingers moving deftly, and I sit up straight. Sean loosens his hold on me but I don't care. Dan starts to hum softly and bam! All the work I did, all the time I spent trying to forget him, all the effort I put in- bam, one split second, and it's all gone to waste. I'm hooked to his voice and I can feel my face going crimson.
Ghost of love past, yet it's ever-present.
Moments like these make me realize how and why I fell in love with him in the first place. And then I never want to forget that feeling.
I feel Sean look towards me several times during the song but I cannot look at anything that isn't Dan Reynolds. He flips his head thrice- and yes, I'm keeping count- to look my way and I want to crawl into a hole. Or get struck by lightning, because being caught gawking at him while I'm trying to make him jealous? Trust me, it’s not very elevating.
But because he's Dan and because he's the only one with that kind of power, he's got me captivated by one look, one strum of the guitar strings, one word from his mouth and I realize that he can see right through my pretence. He knows I'm doing this on purpose to make him resentful, it's right there in his eyes. And it must be in mine too, because Sean has moved his arm to the back of the bench, away from my shoulders.
When he's finished singing, he looks straight into my eyes, burning me with his gaze. I look away first.
"Sean, why don't you sing something?" I try to sound casual but a fun fact? I sound nothing like myself when I'm tense. My voice is strangely high-pitched, shrill and a clear indication of how I'm feeling. Or it is to Dan, anyway.
Sean says something like he couldn't follow up that or he isn't that good, but when Dan hands him the guitar, rather forcefully, I should point out, he doesn't hesitate and shifts so that his hands are in that perfect, guitar-playing position, neck lowered to look at the strings.
Sean is in stark contrast to Dan when it comes to playing and singing. Dan can make anybody fall into his music, and then scald them with his passion while Sean loses himself, and it's a joy to watch, the way he closes his eyes and moves his long, thin fingers methodically, every move perfected by years of practising.
He starts to sing and Oh. My. God. He takes my breath away. Every fiber of me is tingling with awareness, and I've got goose bumps on my skin. I'm unable to move, lost in the trance created by his voice, eyes flickering from his face to his fingers and then back again, unable to decide where I want to look. I rest my chin on my fist, unconsciously biting my lip. I'm staring at him, not even blinking because I'm afraid to miss any move he makes. I want this version of him to always be etched in my memory. As he's about to finish, his eyes find mine and my hands go numb. I have to remind myself to inhale and then exhale because this guy has made my brain and my heart forget even that. He's left me totally breathless.
He concludes and while I'm still staring shamelessly, he's got an almost shy smile on his face. In all the time I've known Sean, I don't remember him being shy even once. He looks at me, expecting a reaction probably, but I don't think I can give him one. He's made me incapable of forming coherent thoughts.
Then after what could be anything between split seconds to several hours, he reaches out and tugs on my chin, pulling my bottom lip free from my teeth.
I didn't even realize I was still biting my lip and I'm pretty sure I gasp. But maybe I don't because he gives my cheek a light, teasing punch. His eyes are shining, full of emotions that I can't read, except for that unmistakable smile.
I'm not sure if I'm exaggerating his effects on me to get over Dan, or if they really are that profound, but either way, Sean Anderson has bowled me over.
We sit there staring at each other, stunned hazel eyes to mystifying dark, dark brown. A smile is still playing on his lips though, I know it because his smiles always begin at his eyes, and he's presumably trying not to erupt into a full-out beam. In a few moments though, he gives in. But it's not his toothy grin that I'm rewarded with. This little smile seems to be an extension of the shy version of Sean I met earlier.
Before I can dwell on it, Dan clears his throat, pulling us both out of our reverie. I reflexively turn towards him and when I notice the look on his face, I forget the guy sitting centimeters away from me.
Dan's eyes are squinting, eyebrows furrowed at me as if he doesn't recognize the person he's seeing.
And then I'm no longer daydreaming.
I'm drowning in guilt and shame.