"What is meant to be together, stay together." This is the story of Celine and Liam.
|My name is Celine, and a few years back, I was in Australia, on a student exchange program. While there, I experienced something I never thought possible. It was a pipe dream come true. You know, every girl wants to fall in love with a captivating guy. Well, it happened to me, but the first impression wasn’t good.
I studied at the University of New South Wales. It was so big and awesome. Compared to the universities I saw back in my country, I liked this one better. The first time I entered the building, all I did was stand in awe.
Then, I looked for the first class I had to attend that day. I didn’t want to be late on my first day. After going around the area and paid careful attention to where I was going, I finally found the class. I entered it and sat in an empty seat.
There were only five or six students there. I glanced at my favorite blue wristwatch and realized that it was eight in the morning. Getting bored waiting, I left the seat and went out of the class. I took a walk around the campus, hoping to find something interesting.
I saw a group of loud students in the hallway and felt attracted to them, so I walked closer. I hesitated before getting too near them and tried to move out of sight before they noticed me, but I wasn't quick enough.
“Hey. Are you lost?" A girl yelled to me.
I turned to them and walked a little closer. “Yeah. It is my first day here,” I replied.
My gut told me there was something wrong. The wry smile she gave and the sharp stare from the other students convinced me to leave them as soon as possible. I wouldn't want to be a target of bullies. I could always fight back, but why should I have to?
“I-I’m sorry, I think I should go back to my class right now. I don’t want to miss it.” Without waiting for their response, I walked away.
A boy chuckled, ran after me then stopped me from walking. “It's only your first day, right? Of course, you can miss it. Come with us. Have fun!” he said sarcastically. “Don't be like a poor girl working so hard to be successful.”
I braced myself to look at him. “Well, at least I'm on my way to success and not just lazing around like a loser, enjoying my parents' money,” I said confidently right in front of his face. I couldn't help it. Honestly, I hated those people who looked down on others just because they thought they had money.
“What did you say?” He grabbed my shirt like a guy would to another guy, but luckily another guy stopped him.
“For God's sake, she’s just a newbie, Howard!” The taller guy told him. “And a girl!”
This Howard guy stared at his friend. “And who is she to you that now you're yelling at me, Liam?" he yelled back.
I didn't want to see fights, but I didn't have the gut or right to stop them from doing it. Eventually, I ended up saying, "Childish." Then I walked away.
At the same time, I was angry and worried. My first day shouldn't have been this terrible and I didn't want it to be even worse. The only thing I wanted to do was to forget this and not see them anymore.
I walked faster but this guy stopped me. I didn't know what he was intending to do, but I let him speak. "You have one minute," I said.
“On behalf of Howard, I'm sorry. He's actually a nice mate. He’s just having a family issue.”
“And he let out his anger to someone who has nothing to do with it! What an excuse,” I muttered.
He was smiling.
How dare him! I threw a sharp glance at him as a response.
"I believe you're a nice girl. So, I'll take him to you to apologize. You have my word." He sounded calm as if nothing had happened. “I’m Liam, anyway."
"I know. I heard it back there," I said and didn't introduce myself in return. "Well, if you have no more things to say, I'll take my leave." Without hesitating or waiting for his response, I left.
Nevertheless, I figured that he was coming after me even until I was in front of the class. I entered it and so did he.
“Stop following me. What do you want?” I snapped at him.
“I am not following you. It’s my class.” He walked past and sat in a seat that was right behind mine.
We were taking the same class, so I would see him frequently. Luckily there were empty seats, so I could sit far from him. I planned not to get myself involved in anything related to him and his friends. I wanted my six-month stay here to be positive and memorable.
Months went by and I successfully avoided Liam. Nonetheless, I never expected that this day would come. The professor wanted us to do a final project with a partner. But unfortunately, each student would be paired up with a random partner. I was praying earnestly to be paired up with anyone good but Liam.
It turned out that fate didn't agree with me. The professor took two folded papers from inside the glass jar, mentioning my name and Liam's loudly. God, what's going on here? Why him?
Unwillingly, I paired up with Liam. We decided to meet at lunchtime at a cafe located ten minutes away from the uni by bus. When it was time, I left the campus and walked to the bus stop.
An unknown grey limo stopped in front of me. The window was opened and my very project partner appeared. "Hop in, Celine. Let's go there together," he invited.
I didn't trust him yet, but leaving with him would mean saving up a little more. Reluctantly I got into his car.
The faint sound of an upbeat song played through the speaker. It was the only thing making the situation between us less awkward. Unfortunately, my body couldn't not react to the song. My right hand's fingers were tapping against my thigh.
"Do you like this song? You can sing it out loud. Don't be shy." Liam broke the silence.
In an instant, I stopped tapping my fingers. I cleared my throat. "No, thanks," I said.
"Why?" He took a quick glance at me as far as I could see from the corner of my eye. "Ah! Silly me. I have to pay first to enjoy your voice. Right?"
Somehow what he said tickled me. However, I could manage to not laugh out loud, leaving just a smile. "Silly," I commented.
"You look beautiful when you smile, you know. Especially with that dimple."
"What's that? Are you flirting with me?" I snapped a little, but then I felt something strange inside my belly.
Liam shook his head. "Actually no. But maybe you want me to because you even think about it," he said.
Again, I cleared my throat, realizing I couldn't win. The rest of the trip was in silence, but became less awkward.
The car pulled over after two right turns. Liam parked it at the side of the road and we got out. The wind blew against my hair and I enjoyed it. We headed to the cafe with me walking first.
We entered the cafe and I saw there were not many people there. The table near the window was the place I chose and he followed me. A waiter came and we ordered what we wanted.
I took out my laptop from my backpack and turned it on. "Have you got any idea?" I asked, not wanting to waste time.
"You can't wait even for a minute, can you? We just got here." He chuckled. "Well, let me hear your idea first."
"Just simply say that you have no idea," I said.
Liam scratched the back of his head. "Celine, you're fully aware that we're working on a project called 'Connected' right?"
I slightly nodded.
"But you don't even try to get connected with me. How are we supposed to do this then?"
What he said completely got me. I didn't say a single word and took some time to think about it. "Okay. I'm giving you a chance. Our first meeting wasn't good so I may have prejudiced you. But, don't fail me," I stressed the last sentence to make him understand that I meant it.
Liam registered a wide smile on his face. "Thank you. Now let me begin with...." and he told me a lot about himself before it was my turn.
In just two weeks, everything I had thought about him completely changed. Meeting him almost every day was not all about the short film project anymore but about getting to know who he really was. It made me realize something important.
If I had kept holding on to my arrogance and prejudice, I wouldn't have known that he had a heart of gold. He might look like a bad boy on the outside, but he was kindhearted and warm on the inside. His friends whom I met on my first day were literally ex-thugs. At first, I couldn't believe it.
Liam won their hearts and somehow managed to lead them to the right path. Those ex-thugs went to college to actually study. The professors even confirmed this truth. Well, unfortunately, they not giving up some of the typical behavior such as teasing people had given me a terrible first impression. Nonetheless, it turned out to be of help in approaching other thugs and making them better people. Therefore, making Howard come to me, genuinely apologize, and even became my friend was a piece of cake.
Surprisingly enough, he had not been a thug when I asked him the reason why he was doing it. Liam had had a best friend who got killed for being misjudged by his look. There had been an incident involving real thugs and his best friend was a victim. He determined to 'convert' every thug he met into a good person.
From Liam, I had learned a lot of things. Personally as a friend —though we technically just became friends, I was very proud of him. He had successfully opened a wider horizon in my life.
I was amazed at him, so was everyone in the big room. His story, using my point of view, was made into a short film —our final project. We got a big round of applause and praise from both the professor and the other students.
"May I have your attention, please?" Without me knowing, Liam was standing in front of everyone and raised his hand.
The noises gradually faded. Everybody paid attention to him as asked. I was very curious about what he was going to do.
Liam took a glance at me and smiled before beginning to speak. "I have been through so much in life as you have seen a while back." He pointed at the screen behind him. "And I believe there will be much more waiting for me in the future. I'm grateful I have all of my friends who have been on my side."
I looked at Liam's ex-thug friends when they made noises as a response to what he'd just said. A smile stealthily appeared on my face. They were strangely cute in some way.
"But I'd like to choose one special friend to stay with me for the rest of my life." Liam's word made me turn to him as quickly as lightning flashed.
In all of a sudden, my heart beat faster. Then it went even faster when Liam gazed upon me with a charming smile. What's going with me? He's not talking about you, silly.
However, what happened was otherwise. Liam was walking toward me and stretched out his hand to me.
"W-what a-are yo-ou do-oing?" I stuttered naturally like I'd been born that way.
"I chose you," he said again.
All of the students went crazy. They made a thunderous noise, making me even more nervous. Then, Howard —I knew it was him because of his typical bass voice no one there had— started saying, "Say yes! Say yes!" and everybody followed him.
Taking advantage of the noises, I talked to Liam, "But you barely know who I am. I mean, it's only a few weeks and you already fell for me?"
Again, Howard spoke up but this time he told the others to be silent. "What did you say again, Celine? We'd like to hear it," he said.
Seriously, I wanted to throw my jacket at him. He made me almost lose myself in nervousness. I turned to him and made an annoyed face, asking him to stop.
"Celine said that I didn't know her enough to fall for her," Liam told everyone about what I'd said just then. "In fact, I've known her for almost half a year."
I raised my eyebrows and frowned. "Don't be kidding me. Technically, we just got closer at the beginning of this month," I said.
"Well yes, that's when we got closer. But I've known you better than you think I do."
I regularly wrote blogs as a hobby. And for a moment I doubted myself, thinking if I had accidentally written my name there or told him about it. However, I believed I had never done so. There was no way he or anybody else would ever find out that it was me.
"I have my ways." He answered my unspoken question. "My heart knows that it has found its significant half."
Everybody spontaneously teased me and Liam by whistling and clapping.
"So, now we're even. I am allowed to fall for you, aren't I?" He looked at me, deep into my eyes with a sweet smile.
I couldn't help smiling back at him.
For a while, time seemed to stop ticking. At the same time, adrenaline rushed through the blood, causing my heart to beat faster. I didn't know why but it just felt right. Am I falling for him, too?
"Celine, will you be my girlfriend?"
I was awestruck and out of my control, my mouth said, "Yes." Shoot. What did I just say? How could I—
Liam wrapped his warm arms around me and I smelt his aromatic muskiness. Now, I knew I made the right choice.
"That's how we ended up together," I finished telling my group of friends about my love story. "Oh boy, how I pulled my best effort to avoid him. But I know now, that what is meant to be together, stay together."
Liam came from behind and joined me on the couch. He wrapped his arms around me, like a clingy boy.
"Why are you here, babe? It's a girl-only party." I turned to him, smiling.
"I miss you." He kissed me on the cheek. "You girls are taking my baby too long. It's been two hours."
"Aw. Look at these love birds. Let's see if they would stay like this once the baby's due." One of the girls teased us and the others did the same thing.
Liam chuckled. "You only have one more hour, Lydia. Tell your friends. I want my baby back," he said teasingly, making everyone laugh. He was always this way and that was the thing I liked about him.
"Go, go. You're making them jealous of us," I added while patting his arms.
Liam got up and kissed me on the head. "Have fun," he said and left.
"Oh my. Why are you guys so cute?" The other girl commented.
I giggled only. From the bottom of my heart, there was this great gratitude I lifted up to God for having met Liam and married him. "Ah, enough about me. Where were we?"
~ The End ~