I rolled over in my bed, finding in hard to sleep. My mind was restless, peace hard to discover when I was so full of thought.

Almost frustrated at myself, I tossed aside my sheets and threw my silken night robe over my shoulders, moving to the balcony in hopes of getting fresh air to clear my head. I shivered as my bare feet touched the cool, hard floor, as the chilled night air brushed against my bare skin. Despite the cooling feeling on the outside, my gut churned with the emotion of anxiety which had become constant, a burning, ulcerating deep inside me. Why was I so nervous? Why was I so…confused about how I felt? Why did he make me feel so strange?…a feeling I had never felt before.

A noise in the shadows made me jump, made me scream in fright. A soft, warm hand slipped over my mouth, and I met his eyes, dark, deep, and…incredible. I almost didn‘t hear what he said in his sly, casual way as he moved his fingers over my cheek. He charmed me in the most alarming manner.

I jerked myself away, panicked for almost appearing to give myself in, to loosen my unwavering façade. “Why are you here?” I demanded roughly, stepping clear from him, keeping a cautious, wary gaze upon him like that of a cornered animal.

He made his approaching step, answering undeterred, “For a visit.”

I colored warmly, averting my eyes from his own. Swallowing past an uncomfortable lump, I found I could still not make my reply, neither trusting my voice or the words that would come out, if I had any to reply to him in any sort of dignified manner.

He reached for me again. I tensed. “Do…not touch me,” I said through gritted teeth, though I could not help but shrink in size, pressing against the balcony railing, and seeming to melt, second by passing second. I was unnerved by the way he made me feel so…vulnerable….to him.

I lost my balance, nearly tipping out of my perch to the detrimental fall below. Quicker then I could have ever imagined he snatched my arm, firmly holding me in his grasp and stabilizing me. It too forced me to stare directly into his face, his eyes, which hung directly over mine. He smiled. “Careful there. Long way down.”

For a brief moment in time, I did stare, quite captured by his…certain beauty…in the most masculine sense of the word. In this half-light, cast silver by the brilliant stars above, it not only cast a wonderfully romantic scene around but a romantic, almost magical, aspect to him which both soften and sharpened certain features and expressions of his face.

And he stared back, seeming for a certain moment himself to be trapped in a half awestricken way, his eyes deepening to become extraordinarily intense, while too a light almost seeming to go off inside of them as if he just discovered something or came up with the greatest idea. So close, such an intimate moment where my own heart stopped beating, and everything appeared to hold its breath.

“Thank you,” I murmured cutting off the gaze we exchanged, that certain moment, by turning my eyes away with the slightest inclination and almost brushed him gently away. He moved off slightly, but still close enough where he stood just beside me. But too in this time it appeared he paused, as if unsure of what to do, like I had put him in a place or situation in which he had never dealt before.

In his awkward state, in such an awkward pause, I felt somewhat empowered, that for the brief time his captivating façade, his practiced, smooth manner had been pushed aside to be made into something far more approachable and real. That he never had been put in such a situation before appeared to my favor, that I could keep everything in control and not lose my sense of self, and if anything, make him leave. I swallowed, something in the back of my mind detesting the final thought, almost wanting to believe that I could love him, and, more so, he me.

Though it appeared, from what I had heard and experienced, highly improbable.

In this stretch of pause he seemed to be observing me with the utmost care, not very much caring that I noticed in return. I then decided to have a try at speaking to him, unsure of how else to continue at this time. I turned to him and faced him full on, keeping my eyes and voice steady upon him. “I do not yet fully understand why I am in…such favor of yours.” I stopped for a brief time, yet I did not let him answer, as much as I would have liked to hear him say something, yet I presumed it would lead the conversation in the direction I did not want. I went on, continuing almost in a warning tone, “I am not like the other girls. I am not charmed by your practiced motions, your glances, your words. I am different.” With this, I an air of bold confidence entered my voice, “If you simply see me as a challenge, a challenge, which, if you reaped the rewards, it would be all the sweeter then any other you have before, then I shall tell you just at this moment that I will certainly see it and have been guessing at it, and will not stand for it. I shall not be won so easily. I am not a prize to be won.” Now I advanced closer to him, keeping my voice low and soft, attempting to have a certain affect that would take a hold on him and make him listen seriously. “If you do love me…harbor any feeling in which may be different from my previous suspicions….” I swallowed, watching something flicker in his eye which I could not identify. “You have much convincing to do. And let me say it will not be by gallant swagger and sugared words.”

He was silent, staring at me with that emotion that I did not know. I held my breath but I held my ground and my gaze. I blinked, my resolve wavering for a moment. My eyes flitted about his features. “Who are you?” I breathed.

He half smiled, but it was not the least bit malicious, it was almost sad….or rather, serious, if there was ever a way to describe a smile of all things. “Who are you?” Julio murmured in reply, taking my cheek in his hand. He appeared to be deep in thought, almost lost….”You are so different…beautifully, wonderfully different….I am feeling…in a way that I have never felt before.”

Oh, he was so horrendously captivating! I had the least idea whether he was doing such a thing into teasing me or tricking me into falling for him, or if he was true, but his words sounded so genuinely lovely.

“I should….get some sleep,” I whispered. I looked straight into his face. “Good night.”

For a moment, I shifted on my feet, uncertain. Reaching up, I lightly kissed him upon the cheek, dashing away to the door and hurriedly shutting it behind me. I threw myself on the bed in a great rush, hiding my head in the pillow. My heart still felt caught in my throat.

Beautifully, wonderfully different….

I would get no sleep tonight. Of all things I was confused over, it seemed that was all I was certain about.

The End

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