I watched Talia as she effortlessly dealt with Angelina. She walked towards me, full of confidence and happiness. As she took my hand in hers, I felt a compelling urge to kiss her. I stopped myself. I had already promised myself I would do everything slowly, filled with emotion, a complete contrast to my previous relationship.
It was going to be tough. Many ideas raced through me as she touched my hand. She gazed into my eyes, smiled, then leant her head upon my shoulder as we passed through the school gates.
I knew from watching other relationships crumble that individual space was key in a healthy relationship but, for today at least, it was just Talia and me. We weren't going anywhere fancy either. Unless my house was viewed as fancy. It wasn't a long walk to the bus stop; the bus drew up, coming to a wheezing halt.
Casually, we wandered through the aisle to a pair of window seats and took them. As we sat down, a group of boys laughed among themselves, thrusting back and forth into the empty space and muttering,
"Get in there, Erik Jasper Mulligan."
"He's with his gash."
"What about Angelina? She had much bigger -"
I gave them the middle finger from where I sat, before draping my arm around Talia and letting her spend the journey home relaxed, eyes closed and smiling.
I soon discovered another thing about Talia - she had a wicked sense of humour. As we watched 'Vampires Suck' with a bowl of popcorn, curled up on the sofa, a running commentary of laughter accompanied the viewing. Some of this laughter was mine. It led me to an inward confession. Talia was even more beautiful when she smiled. As long as she was in my presence, I promised myself she would never stop smiling. She sealed my silent promise as she snuggled her way into my shirt. Accepting the fact that she would be laughing into me, I gently stroked her head.
Life is good, I thought, then shaking my head, I said,
"Life is perfect."