“Hayden,” he whispered, his smooth breath making my heart shudder as the scent of tobacco filled the air around me. It was mid-February, and even though the snow wasn’t falling, I could still taste its bitter presence in the air, could still feel it cutting little marks into my flesh as the wind blew by. My fingers had been aching and throbbing since we had first started walking, but the warmth of his hand in mine seemed to numb every little pain the winter had brought me.

“What is it?” I giggled, trying my hardest to avoid looking into those beautiful almond-shaped eyes. They were the one thing about him that I couldn’t resist, just one flinch of those gorgeous, dark eyelashes and I was lost. He put a finger under my chin, beckoning that I turn to face him.

“Hayden,” he repeated, his voice hanging on the very last syllable, as if he were waiting for my approval to continue on with his sentence.

“I just realized something,” I said, smiling gently, “you’ve got brown eyes.” He chuckled lightly and looked at the ground, giving me a much-needed break from his wonderfully distracting stare.

I had always loved him, always. There was no question about it, I had been heart over logic in love with Charlie since the eighth grade, when he held my hand in back of the school and kissed my cheek on the last school day that year, and then didn’t call me for three months. I liked it when he ignored me, even though I’d deny it every time he asked.

Days when Charlie actually acknowledged my existence were few and far between, but they were truly what I lived for. Moments like this, when he and I were walking across the baseball field beside the school, were the epitome of our relationship. Any time else, it was simply a question of whether or not Charlie could find some other girl to hook up with that night. But really, there was no question about it.

If you had asked Charlie this morning if he’d be getting laid tonight, he would’ve cocked his head to the side and given you an offhand, puzzled look before giving a hearty laugh and simply walking away. There wasn’t a girl on the face of the planet that would deny a chance with him.

“Hayden,” he said, once again, still laughing lightly, “I love you.” I sighed, focusing on my shoes and the grassy field beneath them.

“I would love you more if your eyes were blue.” I could feel him looking at me, glaring at me, but I continued keeping my sights set on the ground. He let go of my hand for the first time since we’d left school, pulled out his cigarette pack and lighter, and began smoking.