It was cold. Bone chilling cold. The wind was fierce and blustery whipping her hair back and forth, cruelly punishing her for all her past misdeeds. All she had was a thin shawl to fight back the cold. She was left to fend for herself. She sat huddled in the warmest corner of the street she could find trying to protect herself as best as she could from the cold. It was cold, so cold. She was cold and numb. She was dead to the world, dead to her own emotions, dead to her pain. She’d run, she’d run as soon as she had the chance, from that hell hole, as fast as her bruised legs would carry her. She ran and ran and she ran before she could go forward no longer and then collapsed in a heap. She was shivering. Shivering from the cold or the pain? One could only guess. Tears slowly made their way down her face. Before she knew it violent sobs were racking her body, the stress of the past few months finally catching up with her broken, fragile body.
He had ventured out only to visit the grocery store. He was pensive as he walked back home, lost in the thoughts of the girl at the small cafe. It was sheer luck that he chose to take the long way home. He had just wanted the quiet, enjoying the breeze licking at him, warm in his coat and cravat. The girl at the cafe intrigued him to no length. He found himself visiting the cafe daily just to catch a glimpse of her and if luck favoured him to exchange two words with her. Just that could put a smile on his face for the rest of his day. Yes, she certainly had him intrigued.
Walking along the cobbled street, he heard the gut wrenching sobs emanating from a dark alley. It made his hair stand on end. One part of his mind told him to just keep moving ahead, to not get involved but his values wouldn’t let him leave a woman sobbing this way, like she was being tortured. He trod forward carefully and peeked around the alley. Her knees brought up to her chest, her hand hugging them like they’re her life support, keeping her from collapsing. Her hair, bushy and tousled was covering her face. But he had spent hours studying her and there was no mistaking that vibrant shade of red.
“Jenny.” It was a strangled whisper lost in the wind.
He walked up to her and knelt down in front of her. She felt his presence and looked up. The fear present in her eyes almost stabbed him with pain but then recognition flickered in her eyes and he gathered her in his arms doing his best to keep her pain at bay. She was icy cold and he shrugged out of his jacket throwing it over her shoulders providing her with whatever little warmth he could offer. He rocked them both there for a few hours until her sobs reduced to just sniffing. He stood up with her and took her home, just round the corner. He made her a warm cup of cocoa, gave her some warm clothes and urged her to sleep in the warm, comfortable bed. He grabbed a pillow and a blanket and took up residence at the couch.
He didn’t judge her for anything but was just there for her if she needed him. This was love truly. Their acquaintance blossomed into a blooming friendship and slowly into love.
She had thought she was in love before. Before he had raised his hand to strike her. Once, twice, thrice, innumerable times. She had thought it was love. How mistaken was she. She realized now the trap he’d made her fall into.
But it was Luke who’d shown her what love is. It was Luke who made her feel so cherished, made her feel like the prettiest being on the planet. It was Luke who made her want to be a better person, who made her want to excel. It was Luke who taught her to dream again, it was Luke who was there every step of the way in the pursuit of these dreams. It was Luke who kept her grounded when she merged the thin lines between reality and fantasy. It was Luke whose one touch could help keep her calm. It was just that one touch which could give her comfort, just one touch which could make her tingle all the way till her toes; it was his words which could make her laugh, his words which could make her blush. It was his hug that makes her feel protected. It was his eyes that make her heart speed up. And it was he who made her feel wanted; it was he who made her feel like he couldn’t live without her, she was his oxygen. It was Luke who made her believe in love again. It was Luke who made her fall in love and it was Luke who loved her like no other.
Love comes with its own baggage; it comes with its own share of pain. But what doesn’t? The pain is a small price to pay for the joy, the happiness, the peace and the serenity that love brings with itself. All it takes is love. Love to change the world, to make it a better place for you and for me.