| Chloe made her way to her friend's door, excited about seeing her after a long week apart.
Rita's wedding plans kept them both too busy to spend five minutes together. But today, Rita's fiancee, Craig, would work, and they would finally get to be alone.
Rita's face lit up as she opened the door and pulled Chloe into a bear hug. "I missed you!"
Chloe felt content as she hugged Rita back.
The two girls met in college, bonding instantly, but it seemed they never spent time together anymore.
Rita led Chloe into her living room. When Chloe turned to sit on Rita's large couch, her eyes stopped on a figure standing in the kitchen doorway. The light from the kitchen flowed out behind the man, leaving him a shadow. But Chloe didn't have to see his face to know who he was. She spent all her time in college memorizing that outline.
Rita saw where Chloe's eyes landed and turned to her brother with a smile. "Oh, yeah. Hope you don't mind if Landon's here."
Chloe shook her head. God, she hadn't seen Landon since graduation. But that didn't keep her from spending all her time thinking about him.
He stepped forward so she could see him, and her breath caught. Had she really forgotten how handsome he was? His eyes met hers, and there was so much depth in that look she almost stumbled onto the couch.
Finally, Landon smiled. "Hey, Chloe."
Chloe's mouth went dry. "Hi, Landon." She shifted her gaze back to Rita who looked back and forth between them.
"Landon agreed to be Craig's best man," she told Chloe with a smile. "Isn't that great?"
Chloe smiled. "Yeah."
Landon stepped closer, not taking his eyes off her.
"Have a seat," Rita said. "I'll go finish lunch really quick. It's almost done." Then she slipped into the kitchen, leaving Chloe and Landon alone.
She sat on the couch, shocked at the situation she found herself in- alone with Landon- the love of her life since the day they met.
"So, how's life?" he asked.
What was that look in his eyes? Like he knew the truth- that her life was pathetic.
"Good," she lied.
One of his eyebrows perked up. "Have anyone special? Someone to bring to my sister's wedding? Someone to share Valentine's Day with?"
She looked down at her feet, embarrassed. "Not exactly." She looked up at him. "What about you?"
His know-it-all look faded. "Kinda. Her name is Monique. It's a casual thing."
Why did he look embarrassed? Like he knew that he just broke her heart.
"Lunch is ready!" Rita called from the kitchen, and it seemed that Landon couldn't get out of his seat fast enough.
Landon stood at the front of the church beside Craig, waiting for the ceremony to begin. As the people settled down, and the music began, his heart sped up.
Chloe walked down the aisle toward him, and he couldn't take his eyes off her. He had never seen anyone so beautiful. She looked amazing in her Maid of Honor dress. But then, she looked amazing, no matter what. She always had, ever since college, when he first met her- and fell in love with her.
Her eyes met his for a second, and he smiled. He noticed her blush and felt proud.
He waited impatiently for the ceremony to end, and then slipped into the reception hall to have a word with the band director before the party started.
After the couple's first dance, and a few swing dances, the music slowed.
Landon looked over to where Chloe sat. She'd turned down a few men and now sat alone in a far corner. Her face showed her surprise as she recognized her favorite song. Her eyes slid to his, as he knew they would. He was the only one who knew how much she loved that song. She'd told him in college.
He stood, his legs shaking, and went to her. When he reached her table, he didn't even have to issue the invitation to dance. She stood and accepted his outstretched hand.
She felt good in his arms as he pulled her close on the dance floor and held her hand in his.
"I've missed you," he said quietly in her ear. To his relief, she didn't stiffen at the words, but stepped closer.
"I've missed you, too."
They had been so close in college, almost as close as she and Rita. And then they weren't anymore. They'd gone their separate ways and had yet to run into each other since graduation.
"Rita talks about you all the time."
Chloe took a step back at his words, looking him right in the eye. "Really?" she asked.
He nodded. "She's told me all about your successful career, and how you're gonna be big someday- a rich and famous journalist."
She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck, pushing closer to him.
"I'm so proud," he whispered, trying to keep himself from turning to mush in her embrace.
She gave him a squeeze and he continued. "I always have been. I always knew you'd be great." She was quiet for a moment, so Landon rambled on. "But you know, when you're rich and famous and have money coming out your ears, you better remember that BMW you promised me back in school."
She threw her head back and laughed. Landon would have laughed with her, but he was too busy admiring her. She seemed to glow in the lights in the room, and he wanted to keep her there, in his arms, forever.
When she brought her head back down to face him, her smile disappeared quickly. "What?" she asked.
He couldn't seem to stop himself. There was a reason he had never made a move in college- she was his sister's best friend, and she was too good for him. But she looked so wonderful, so gorgeous, and he just couldn't stop himself. He leaned toward her, ready to throw away the years he'd spent resisiting her, and he knew she would respond.
There was barely a breath between their lips when he felt an odd sensation in the pocket of his coat. He pulled back from her, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his phone, which vibrated in his hand.
Chloe looked down at it, a curious expression crosing her face.
He didn't want her to see the name across the screen, but she must have because she asked, "Monique?"
He nodded and hit the silent button. Monique was the last person he wanted to talk to. But the one person he did want to talk to was pulling away from him. "I should probably go anyway," Chloe told him. "I have a lot of work to do and it looks like Rita and Craig are gonna be heading out soon."
Before he had a chance to even answer, she had walked away from him.
Chloe sat in her office the next day, Valentine's Day. But she couldn't get any work done. She just stared out the window, down at the cars and people passing by below, and thought about Landon. He had been so close to kissing her at Rita's wedding. So close. And then Monique had called. How serious was he about her? She would never know.
She turned away from the window and attempted to focus on her work. There was a reason they were never meant to be together. She just wasn't good enough for him.
On the streets below, Landon wandered in circles around the building where he knew Chloe worked. He'd just come from Monique's apartment, telling her that he loved someone else, and now didn't have the courage to go up and say the same to Chloe. Couples passed him in the cold park, holding hands and kissing, and all he thought about was how that could be them.
But would she want him?
He froze and looked back at the skyscraper. God, the least he could do was try.
He turned and sprinted toward the building, stopping only to ask where he could find her office. People stared at him as he rushed through the halls, searching for her name on a wooden door. When he found it, he stopped, but didn't bother to knock before opening the door.
Chloe turned away from the window at the sound of her door being thrown open and turned to find Landon standing in the doorway. She stepped around her desk to ask him what was going on, but didn't get a chance before he rushed toward her, pulled her into his arms, and kissed her hard, bending her back over her desk with the force of it.
When he let her breathe, she didn't know what to say. What were the right words? "I love you. I always have."
He grinned. Apparently, those were the right words. "Me, too."