Six months after Leon had told Alice about this mystery girl ‘Seven,’ she still didn’t know her proper name. Leon had turned eighteen just a month ago but he didn’t have a party because he only really had two friends, and all they would do is probably get drunk and shack up together. But at least now that he was eighteen whenever he felt despair over Alice he could have a drink and numb his thoughts. He sat at his computer all weekend, only leaving his room for food and the occasional drink. Usually Leon used his computer for work, but he predominantly used it to look at photos of Alice. He wasn’t sure if this was creepy or romantic, but he didn’t care. Nobody would ever know, right?
It was Saturday, at about 4:15 when Leon finally picked up the phone and opened the Messages application. He tapped on his messages with Alice and began typing.
“Hey, Alice. Listen, I’m just sitting at home and I was thinking about you and I would like to hang out tomorrow if you’re free. We could hang out at the park. What do you say?”
He checked his text over and over and over again, deciding if it was good for Alice to read. After about a minute he hesitantly hit send. He decided to get back to his computer work – his actual computer work, not looking at photos of Alice – to pass some time.
Half hours had passed and still no reply. Another fifteen minutes and still no reply. Then that hour became two hours which became four hours which became six. It was now almost twenty past ten when finally, his phone played a tone alert. He rushed and picked up his phone. Sure enough, it was from Alice.
“Sure! That sounds great. I’m really looking forward to talking to you. ;) “
Leon’s heart leapt out of his chest with excitement! She couldn’t wait to talk to him? He wasn’t sure what that meant but surely it was great! Leon was so happy that he could hardly sleep that night. Although he was extremely tired he still got showered, applied his best-scented deodorant, brushed his hair carefully and dressed nicely but casually all the same.
“Back soon, mum!” Leon yelled as he closed the door behind him. He walked towards his car but then quickly pocketed his keys. What would happen if Alice wanted someone to walk home with? It would be more romantic to walk with her, and plus it would last longer.
He arrived at the park and saw Alice on the swing by herself. Leon broke into a sprint. He finally reached her and said, “Hey! Sorry to make you wait. I tried to plan to get here before you so you wouldn’t have to wait.”
She laughed, “That’s okay, sweetie. I don’t mind. So what is up?”
“Oh, I just wanted to talk to you. I wanted to just hang out; just us two.”
“Oh, okay. Then we will do just that. And we can go get some food if you like, or anything.”
Leon was so excited to spend the day with Alice. He spent ages just talking to her in the park. They talked about music, politics, video games, Leon explained basic coding, and many other things. Then they went to McDonald’s and grabbed some food where they talked and laughed, and then they just decided to walk around town. Good thing Leon didn’t take his car!
They were walking past the football grounds when the sentimental talk started.
“…and yeah, I’ve been pretty upset since my father passed away. I know it was like nine months ago, but it still affects me.”
“Of course it does,” Leon replied, “he was your father. I can’t even imagine—Sorry.”
“No, it’s okay really. I just miss him so much.” Alice looked up at Leon who appeared to be out of words, and realising they had exhausted this topic of conversation, “Oh, so is there anything noteworthy happening in your life? You haven’t really opened up to me in six months, since—“
“Yeah, yeah I know. Nah, nothing really important.”
Leon sat in silence for ten seconds. He had this feeling of energy: a feeling of pure adrenaline. He was ready to confess now; he was prepared for it.
“Actually, Alice there is something I have to tell you.” He stopped walking, and Alice stopped too and faced toward him.
“What is it?”
Leon hesitated for a moment. But then the moment had finally come – the moment he had wanted to seize ever since the beginning of last year.
“Promise me you won’t freak out?”
Leon took a deep breath. “You’re Seven.”
She chuckled, “No, silly. I’m seventeen. Not seven! I’ll be eighteen next month just like you so you don’t have to—“
“No, Alice. I mean you’re THE seven.”
“The girl, Seven.”
The two just stared dead into each others’ eyes. Alice stood there not saying anything.
“I love you.” Leon continued.
“You… You love—me, seven? Why—Why me?” I mean—“
Leon felt heartbroken. “I knew it. Forget it.” Leon turned around and began walking home.
“No, no, wait!” Alice grabbed Leon with an outstretched arm. “Listen, I kind of had feelings for you too last year when we first met. But the way Desmond explained it was that you would never want a relationship. I didn’t want to be hurt. So when Desmond showed interest in me I went for him. I had no idea…”
Leon stood there, listening.
“It all makes sense now – why you kept yelling at Des last year.”
“I’m sorry about all of this, Alice. I’m a fucking idiot, I know. And I shouldn’t feel this way. I don’t have the right to feel this way.”
“You met me first. Of course you have the right to feel that way. I do care about you, Leon, but I can’t just leave Desmond.”
“It’s good that you’ve told me now, lee. I bet you feel lighter”
Leon nodded. “Well then, it’s getting kind of late, Lee. Maybe you can have just a bit of romance with me. Care to walk me home?”
“Of course I will.”
When they arrived at Alice’s house, Leon said “Well, I had fun today.”
“Yeah, me too. It was great.” Alice smiled.
“Well then, I’ll see you tomorrow at school?”
“Yeah, you sure will!” Alice began skipping towards the front door.
“Oh, and Alice?” She turned around. “Yes?”
Alice walked back to Leon, gave him a kiss on the cheek and said:
“Don’t be sorry.”