Romeo stood in a courtyard of the two-story apartment complex holding a bouquet of flowers. Scanning the rooms on the second floor, he had narrowed down the search for Valarie’s room by finding the ones with East facing windows that would allow for sunlight to shine in during the early morning.
Romeo never felt nervous. He had made a living off of killing and even in the worst of situations that he had been placed in, he always managed to keep a clear head and do whatever was asked of him. In that moment however, all he could do was stand in the courtyard and look around frozen in place. He needed to get up to the second floor but couldn’t bring himself to do it.
When he finally worked up the nerve to make his way up the stairs and begin knocking on random doors, he saw her. Valarie walked out onto the second-floor balcony of her apartment and stared out into courtyard. For Romeo, it was like he was seeing Valarie for the first time because in a way, this was the first time. The courage he had built up to get to the second floor of the building was now gone and all he could do was stare.
When she saw him, she shouted down,
“Your voice is just like I remember it.” He said back to her.
“What?” She asked.
“Your voice. I said it sounds just like I remember it. Like an angel.”
Silence. Valarie looked down at Romeo with a puzzled look. She was now leaning on the guardrail trying to get a better look at him.
“I’m sorry but, who are you?”
“Valarie!” Romeo shouted.
“Yeah, that’s me, who are you?”
“It’s me, Romeo.”
“Yes, Romeo! From the Cam website! Remember? You told me you love me, and I’m here because I love you.”
When he said this, Valarie looked around. Her neighbors we beginning to poke their heads out of their doors and windows to see what all the noise was about. Romeo looked at his watch and then back up at Valarie.
“I don’t have much time Valarie. I want you to run away with me.”
At this point, people in the complex were beginning to walk out of their rooms and shamelessly watch the spectacle occurring in the courtyard.
“I think we should have this conversation another time.” Valarie asked.
“There is no time my love.”
Romeo rushed up the stairs and ran to the outside of Valarie’s apartment. They argued back and forward about him going into her apartment while everyone in the complex looked on from their doorways.
“Listen dude, everyone is looking. I really think you should just go.” Said Valarie.
“Valarie, the other night was the greatest night of my life. In everything I’ve ever done, I’ve never asked for purpose. I wake up, I do whatever it is I do, and then, I fall asleep and do the same the next day. The other night though, I felt purpose. For the first time, something happened and after it happened, I had this sudden feeling that it happened because every single moment leading up to it made it happen.”
“I will give you everything. Everything that I have that I can give you I will give you.”
At this, Valarie paused. There was a moment of silence and in that moment of stillness Romeo made his way through Valarie’s doorway. Valarie looked around at all the other tenants and then looked into her apartment before reluctantly walking in.
Before long was sitting on the couch in Valarie’s apartment, his leg was shaking, and he was checking his watch periodically.
“Valarie, we need to leave.”
“I don’t know who you are Romeo.” Valarie said as she paced back and forth in the living room.
“You told me you loved me. And I knew from the moment that I saw you that I was in love. I knew that then and I know it now.”
“No, it’s not, that’s true love. Or love at first sight, whichever you want to call it.” Romeo looked down at his watch again.
“Neither. I want to call it neither because those things don’t exist. I don’t even know how you found me.” Valarie trailed off and began to speak more to herself than to Romeo.
“How is this happening? Why is this happening? This is unbelievable.”
“Valarie, a random set of occurrences has brought me to this place in time-“
“Romeo, you are very kind, but you need to shut up. This is not normal. Love at first sight is not a thing. This is not something that just happens, and this is not some fantastical love story where we meet and getting married 3 days later. That’s not real life. Oh my god this is insane.”
Romeo looked at his watch again. Then up at Valarie. Then, there was a very loud knock at the door. Romeo had left a man bloodied in a gas station parking lot wit ha cashier that saw everything. He knew exactly who was at the door and knew that at that point, there was nothing else he could do. Every decision leading up to that moment was one devoid of rationality, but he made them regardless. Every moment led to that one and in that moment, Romeo only thought to say one thing before accepting what would happen when the front door opened.
“Valarie,” Romeo said calmly.
Valarie stood with her arms crossed looking at Romeo.
“I love you.”