The Valentines Day Writers Challenge
So this little drabble is a bit I've written for a Valentines day challenge. I had to conceive of it and write it today. It is, admittedly, too long for a drabble but I've thought about telling Willow and Julian's love story since finishing Catch a Falling Star, maybe this is the beginning of it. It's just a little glimpse into their story, there are no spoilers for the Falling Star story in it so don't worry if you're reading that. I hope you enjoy it! And if you want to know more about them and the other characters check out my story as I'm posting on FictionPress.
The Willow and Julian Collection
Willow was standing on the front steps watching Naomi, her shy friend, greet Julian, Jarrod, and another woman as if she'd known them all her life. She didn't know if she was more surprised by that or Julian's presence. Sure she had seen him at Naomi's housewarming and they'd talked briefly but she was still pretty sure he wasn't interested in her, and she was not interested in getting her heart broken.
She waved and said hi to Jarrod-sensei, smiling as she did, she hadn't seen him in years, since she stopped studying martial arts with him when she'd left for college. That was the last time she'd seen Julian also, at least on a regular basis. They'd run into each other since then but never often and they always just said hi and moved on. The last time had been just before she'd started med school.
Alistair had gotten it in his head to try to get them together again. He could be such a do-gooder sometimes. He'd just started dating Hanna, who was now his wife, and he'd asked Willow to join him and a friend for a ride out to the beach. He'd neglected to tell her that the friend was Julian. It was apparent from Julian's face that he'd also neglected to inform him.
The evening had been a disaster. Julian had brooded all night long even when Willow had tried to get him to talk about his work. He been working as a police officer for several years at that point and she'd figured that since it was what he'd always wanted he'd like to talk about it. His one word answers had told her otherwise. She'd been so relieved when the evening was over and she'd gotten home. She'd also cried herself to sleep that night.
He was the best looking man she'd ever laid eyes on. He was tall, maybe 7 or 8 inches taller than her. He had inky black hair, it had been a messy mop in high school but as an officer he'd had to keep it clean, apparently he'd returned to the messy mop since leaving to work for Sturman Security. She decided she liked the messy look on him. He was fit, he'd clearly kept up his workout schedule since leaving the force and she admired his broad shoulders and narrow hips, it made a nice picture, one she'd like to wrap her arms around.
They'd met in high school when they both joined the same martial arts class with their mutual friend Alistair, they'd been thirteen at the time. She knew Alistair from her neighborhood, and he knew Julian from the private school they both attended. She'd spent the first few years they knew each other grinning at him with a simple schoolgirl crush but at some point that crush had morphed into a full on desire to be his girlfriend. When he was kind to her he was the sweetest man in the world, but sometimes he just seemed to forget she existed. It wasn't that he'd ever been mean to her, just distracted. She'd asked him once why he didn't want a girlfriend when every girl he met practically fell at his feet. He'd huffed and said girlfriends were a distraction and that there was only one thing he wanted. He’d never told her what that one thing was.
Willow came out of her reverie realizing that Naomi had just accepted her neighbors invitation to join him and his friends on a ride out to the beach in celebration of Keiko's audition. Toby was suggesting who would ride with who, he took Naomi for himself, Willow thought there might a little interest there on his part and she hoped Naomi would give him a chance. Then he set Keiko with Julie since Keiko knew her best out of all of them.
Willow stood rooted to her spot, only Jarrod-sensei and Julian were left. The silence was deafening as no one knew what to say. Julian was staring at her with his dark, unreadable eyes. Her heart was screaming ask him but her brain was reminding her that he always broke her heart. Her world spun around her when he spoke.
“Willow, come ride with me.” His voice was soft and he beckoned her over to him with a nod of his head.
She moved towards him as if in a dream, smiling gently at him.
He smiled back at her and handed her a helmet. “Do you need a refresher on motorcycle etiquette? Or do you think you're ok?”
She looked into his eyes and saw that he was teasing her. “I think I'll manage.” She tightened the strap on her helmet and waited for him to start the bike. He'd gotten a new one and she admired it as she waited. When he nodded to her she climbed on and adjusted herself, tapping his shoulder when she was ready.
The hour long drive out to the beach was heavenly. She wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned her head on his shoulder. His spicy scent washed over her as the wind swept it off him, and his shoulder was pleasantly hard and warm. She knew she was in trouble again when she found herself wishing their ride would last all day.
Her heart fell when she realized they were pulling into a parking lot and parking. She hopped off the bike and removed her helmet moving to join Naomi and everyone else but he grabbed her wrist. “Willow, can we talk?”
She turned back to him. “Sure.”
He pulled her so close to him that if one of them had moved just a bit they'd have been touching. “I'm sorry.”
“For what?” She looked into his eyes trying to read him, he'd always been an enigma to her.
“For the past. I haven't always been a nice person.”
“You've been true to yourself, isn't that more important?”
“Not when it hurts those around you. And I'm not so sure I've been true to myself. I think I was being true to what others wanted me to be.” His dark eyes penetrated hers.
“Really.” He looked up and nodded at Toby and then looked back. “There were a lot of expectations put on me, and I was expected to keep up with Garrett. I sometimes allowed my goals to distract me from the important people standing right in front of me.”
Willow's eyes were wide with surprise. “Are you saying...” She trailed off afraid to put her thoughts to words.
He nodded and took her hand in his. “I am. I'd like another chance, unless you've found someone who deserves you.”
She looked at him in confusion and then realization hit her. “No, I'm not dating anyone. But look, there has to be some promises here. Every time I let you in you break my heart. I can't do that again, Julian.”
He nodded. “I know. I'm a different person now. More grown up. I promise I'll take it slow but I'd like to see you again, and soon. I don't want to wait another eight years. Lets see if we can work this out? I miss you.” He smiled at her and pulled her hand up to his lips to kiss it.
She wondered, was he saying he'd been waiting eight years to see her again? She smiled back at him and sighed. “I can't tell you no, Julian. I've loved you since I met you. I just hope you don't hurt me again.”
“I promise I'll be gentle.”
“Is that true?”
“Is what true?” He looked at her as they walked hand in hand to the beach.
“That you missed me?”
He nodded solemnly. “It is. You were always a bright spot in my life. You saw good in me even when I didn't. I'm hoping I can return that love now that I've found the good in me too.” He stopped and faced her. “You always believed in me, thank you.”
She sighed and leaned into his chest. “You're welcome.”