I pulled Sophie into the room and threw her away from me, my shaking nerves causing my actions to be unintentionally violent.
"Toby, what are you doing?" She inquired, looking more curious than hurt. She always seemed to be curious about me, interested in everything I did. Asking.
I took a breath. "I... We... I want- I need to... To talk with y-you."
Her eyes lit up; she was hopeful. "Well, go on then."
And I tried. I really tried, but it was so damn difficult.
The thing was, I had a stutter. I really horrible stutter. It meant that whenever I was nervous, my speech was restricted to very short sentences, an unnecessary amount of repetition, and so much stammering that it was pretty much impossible to understand what I was trying to say anyway.
Sophie knew about it. She was always interested in me, and what I had to say. She'd ask me questions and wait patiently as I made an attempt to answer. I noticed that she was happy to help me, thank God. If she worked out what I meant, she's say it for me. If she didn't, she'd get me to explain it in a different way.
"... I..." I shook my head, giving up.
"No, no! Say it, it's all right. I don't mind listening."
"S-Sophie... I..." I shook my head again. It was pointless trying.
She shifted. "Is it long?" I managed a 'no'. "How many words?" I held up three fingers. A smile played on her lips as she realised what I was trying to say. "OK then. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Focus and think on it, concentrate. Then open your eyes and just say it.
Nodding, I did as she told me, staying silent for a good ten minutes as I sorted my thought and composed my sentence.
Then I was looking right into her bright eyes. "I love you."