Heartbreaks and First Love
Leah’s POV :
If we, for a time being, ignore the fact that Mr. Bearymore - the huge human sized snow white teddy bear that still to this day is my cuddling buddy - was my first love on the given basis that he is, well, a teddy, then my real human first love was Sean Cooper.
The guy I lost to my ex-best friend.
I had met Sean almost six years ago when I was just eleven, going twelve.
My dad, Freddie Joseph Carmen is chef - one of those high class delicious dish makers who are lucky enough to be rich and own a tv show where they teach commoners how to make some plain simple food into something delicious using the five star chef’s secret recipes.
Back then, he was not so famous but he was called and asked to go and cook for a bunch of few businessmen who were going on a cruise excursion for a week. It was big break for my father and that was also a turning point in his career. But I will come to that later. Anyway, so there was this one week cruise excursion and since it was like a once in a lifetime opportunity for us back then (not really but let’s suppose that it was), dad booked three extra tickets for Mom, Grant and me to join him.
I was super excited - as excited as an eleven year old could be - to go on the huge cruise ship and live on the ocean for a whole week. I had never expected or even wanted to meet anyone - someone who’d turn out to be a very important part of my life when I was giddily jumping all around the house as my mom packed for me as well. My goal was to run along the deck all day, convince mommy and daddy to let me go swimming with the whales and eat delicious food cooked by my father. That’s it. My wishes were really simple back then.
As soon as we had stepped foot on the cruise, Dad was called in to report and discuss plans and menus - or something like that while Mom found a group of few women who she thought would help her grow her fashion business line and ordered Grant to look after me.
Grant was turning sixteen back then and he going through a phase where he was was kinda embarrassed to babysit his eleven year old sister so I freed him from the responsibility and he went his way to impress girls that had come with their businessmen daddies. I, on the other hand, being the good girl and sister I was, sat quietly on the top deck admiring the beautiful view and swimming dolphins.
I don’t know for how long I sat there alone but my attention was only wavered when a cute boy almost my age if not older with glassy blue eyes and messy, sandy blonde hair came and sat beside me with a bored expression.
I blushed seeing him sit so close and whispered in a very low voice. “Hi.”
I must have scared him because he tried to stand up in panic but fell on his but. His eyes were wide with fear and I’m sure mine mirrored his as he screamed as if he had seen a ghost and not just a little girl his age.
“Holy shit! You’re alive. And I thought you were a statue.” He said as he placed his hand on his heart to calm his racing heartbeats.
I frowned. “You use bad words.”
He rolled his eyes and sat beside me again, this time, leaving a few inches between us but our arms still brushed against each other. “Everybody does when they grow old so why not practice it to perfection when we are young.”
I giggled at his stupid logic and opened my mouth to say something but I didn’t have any intelligent retort for him. My mood dimmed but then I remembered that he had called me a statue. I frowned again. “I’m not a statue.”
The cute boy rolled his eyes again. I noticed he did that a lot. “Of course you are not. But you have been sitting here for two hours without moving so how was I supposed to know that you’re alive.”
I pursed my lips in thin line. Two hours? I thought. Grant had left me alone for two hours? I didn’t even know my way around the ship. How am I supposed to get back to Mom?
Those thoughts, however, flew away when my eyes met a pair of curious blue ones. “So you came to sit beside a statue?” I asked instead.
His lips quivered as if suppressing a smile. “Yeah, I was bored and thought that I could give the statue some company.”
I laughed at that and noticed he was grinning too seeing me laugh. “You’re funny.” I said.
“No, I’m Sean.” He grinned.
“And I’m Leah.” I giggled.
“Nice to meet you, Leah.”
“Nice to meet you too, Sean.”
And like that, I found myself a friend on the very first day of being on the ship. And a cute one at that. Oh, and that too, a boy. I had been a little sad when I realized that Ronnie wouldn’t be accompanying us on this trip but my excitement to be floating on water dulled the sadness just a little bit. However, I had promised my best friend to bring her some souvenir, even if it was just a fish I caught myself to befriend her pet goldfish Daisy. But now, I had made a new friend to be my crime partner on the ship.
Sean and I talked for another two hours, if my calculation was correct. And the time we weren’t talking, we were pointing out things we found interesting to each other on the ship or in the vast ocean. When my stomach started growling, he chuckled and offered to show me my way back to the main area where all parents were.
“So who are you with? What is your father’s business?” He asked me as we climbed down the top deck and walked through the narrow balcony that led to the doors to the stairway.
I giggled. “My dad doesn’t do any business.”
He frowned. “He doesn’t? Then how are you here? This cruise excursion is only for boring businessmen to discuss boring business.”
“My dad is the chef.” I told him.
His eyes brightened and he grinned widely. “That means he will cook delicious food for us?”
I nodded with as much enthusiasm as him.
“Then can you ask him to make some pumpkin pie for me?” He asked with that cute pout on his lips that I could never resist.
I grinned. “Okay.” After a moment, I realized that I hadn’t asked him how he was here. Was his dad a boring businessman like he said earlier or something cool like my dad? Another chef? Or sailor maybe. There was a confused frown adorning my lips and I didn’t like not knowing what his father did. So instead of wondering, I asked him. “What does your father do? Who are you here with?”
He looked at me from beside me and brushed his hair back a little. “I’m here with my mom and step father. My mom is a fashion model and my step father owns an oil plant and he was the one who sponsored and organized this cruise excursion. It’s his ship.”
I nodded. Step father he had said. I wanted to ask him where was his real father but before I could utter another word, he held my wrist and started tugging me behind him. “Come on, Leah. Let’s go and ask your father to make some pumpkin pie for us before it’s late.”
He ran like wind, too fast for me to catch up and I tried very hard to not fall. I stumbled a bit but his hand on my wrist was what kept me from falling. I wanted to tell him to slow down but I was feeling giddy and blushing because Sean was holding my hand. A cute boy with cute blue eyes and soft hair was holding my hand!
So I ran behind him, with him. We ran until Sean led us through the huge spiral staircases into a large lobby with reception and another hallways that led to a huge kitchen and then I guided us to where my Dad was working on something which I knew would be tasty when cooked completely, as always.
“Dad!” I exclaimed as I hugged him from behind.
“Princess!” He imitated my tone as he always did and turned around to hug me back. And then he frowned. “What are you doing here, princess? Where is Grant?” He asked.
“Grant is with some friends.” I stressed on friends and dad gave me a knowing look. “And I came to see you.” I sang. “I wanted to know what you are making for dinner tonight.”
He grinned at me and started giving me weird names of the dishes he and other two chefs were planning to prepare. From the corner of my eyes, I saw Sean frowning too and heaved a sigh when I realized that I wasn’t the only stupid one when it came to knowing foods with weird names.
“And what are you making for dessert?” I asked after he finished listing weird things which I didn’t understand. Not even one.
“Well, I with the other two chefs have decided on chocolate mousse or tiramisu or both.” He told me.
I turned to see Sean frowning, a cute but sad pout adorning his lips. I then turned back to my father. “Dad, can’t you make pumpkin pie instead of chocolate mousse or whatever other thing you said you were making?”
Dad chuckled knowing my mispronunciations in the food world. “Pumpkin pie? But isn’t chocolate mousse your favorite?”
I nodded slowly. “Yeah, but I want to eat pumpkin pie tonight. Please dad, please?” I pouted, giving him my puppy dog eyes. From the corner of my eyes, I saw Sean smiling as his eyes glinted with excitement which I was sure was because of the possibility of getting some pumpkin pie.
I don’t know that if Dad noticed my eyes movement and noticed Sean or he just did but he turned to me with amused looks in his eyes. “Are you sure it’s you who wants to eat pumpkin pie and not your friend over here?”
I turned around to see Sean smiling shyly behind me as he stepped forward to introduced himself. “Hello, Sir. I’m Sean, Leah’s friend.” He said extending his hand for a shake.
My dad took his small hands in his own large ones and respected his gentlemanly gesture. “Nice to meet you, Sean. I’m Freddie, Leah’s father.”
“Please Dad.” I said again, bringing his attention back to me. “We really want to have pumpkin pie tonight. Can’t you do that for me?” I begged.
He sighed. “It will not be easy to convince the other chefs to make such a plain dessert of this business meeting, Princess.” He said and Sean and my mood dimmed but then he smirked. “But I can make two servings for you guys and you can have a date later, okay?”
I blushed at my Dad’s suggestions, even more when I saw Sean grinning seeing me blush.
“Dad!” I whined, hitting him playfully.
He laughed. “Okay, okay. I’m sorry. But you guys will have to keep it a secret, okay? Just between us.”
“Just between us.” Sean and I repeated, grinning widely.
“Great. Now meet me here after dinner and I will give you your pumpkin pies. No go and play outside.” Dad chuckled at our enthusiasm.
I waved my hand for him to crouch up to my height and when he did, I kissed his cheeks and whispered, “Thank You, Dad.” Only loud enough for him to hear.
He ruffled my hair. “Anytime Princess.” He said in the same voice, imitating me.
After the moment with my dad, Sean again grabbed my hand and dragged me outside to the main lobby. We saw both our mothers sitting together and talking about the what I knew was the only common thing between them - fashion. We introduced each other to our mothers and they told us that they have planned to collaborate together for my mother’s new fashion line where my mom would be the designer and Sean’s mom would model for mine.
As his mother was quite famous already, Mom was sure that her brand would get recognized and famous outside our little city too.
Then we searched for Grant together and found him in the game room playing GTA5 on X-Box. I introduced them too. My brother hit it off with Sean immediately albeit being four years older than him as they had the same taste in video games and they even played a few rounds together which made me really jealous as Sean forgot about me.
After a few round, when Sean got bored and Grant found a few boys his age to play with him, we left again and went back to the top deck.
There we sat until dinner time and talked about everything two eleven year old’s could. We talked about our dreams and future, though we were too young, we talked about our schools, families, friends and favorite subjects and everything we thought was interesting.
During dinner, we were separated to sit near our families but after that, we again united and went to the kitchen as Dad had asked us to for our pumpkin pies. We the had our ‘date’ again at the top of the deck and only went back down when we were too sleepy to continue.
The next six days on the cruise were spent with Sean doing weird and most random things we could and nights were spent on the top deck as ‘date nights’ with a special kind of dessert for each night that dad made only for the two of us. It was safe to say that he and I were attached to each other unless we were separated for dinner or sleep.
In that one week, we opened up to each other too much which was weird. I told him secrets about me which nobody knew, not even my best friend Ronnie. He told me about how his father had died two years ago and his mother had remarried. He told me that his step father was a great guy but he was not his real father which always made him sad.
Before leaving, we gave each other a part of our souls unknowingly and we knew we were never getting it back again. The stupid kids that we were, we spent so much time together that we even forgot to exchange phone numbers or anything that could keep us in touch.
The next five months that I spent without Sean were bad - oh no, they were terrible. The first few weeks, I had stopped eating, eating only pumpkin pies that dad made for me in stretch of missing him. Then few weeks later, those pies reminded me too much of Sean that I stopped eating them and started eating simple and plain food - if we count cereal and granola bars as food.
I grew a little distant from Ronnie too and I felt really bad about not telling her about my new friend but whenever I wanted too, I missed him so bad that I ended up crying. I also didn’t want her to know about the boy that I was positive, I would never see again, which I knew but I wasn’t ready to accept. Then after moping around some more, I finally accepted the fact that I would not get to meet Sean, not until my and his mom’s collaboration took place, that is. That was also a maybe.
Finally, when I had come to terms with my life without him, I met him again.
Five months after the cruise trip, I saw him at my school again and it was as if I had stopped breathing. Coincidentally, it was the day of my twelfth birthday too.
I stood there rooted in the hallways when my eyes met his and before I realized that it was real, that he was really there, he ran towards me. The closer he got, the more I noticed the mess he had become - his eyes dark and baggy, his complexion pale and his blonde hair - my favorite feature of him - a mess of sandy locks. And before I had the time to wonder if his appearance was because of being away from me like I had been all those months, I was tackled into a warm hug but strong, protective and tight.
It wasn’t until I was in his arms that I realized how much I needed that. How much I needed him. How much I missed him.
In his arms was where I actually breathed for the first time in those five months.
After our too emotional encounter where I obviously ended up crying, we both escaped into the library for the rest of the day where he held me close and told me how excruciating his last five months had been.
He told me how much he had missed me initially and how much he had wanted to see me. I sighed when I realized I wasn’t the only insane person obsessing over a boy I had known only for one week.
He then told me how painful and terrible his later months were. How his mother had died in a car accident while returning from a fashion show in Paris. He told me how miserable he was after losing both real parents and although his step father was an amazing person, he still felt alone.
He told me that he had remembered me telling him about the town I lived in and had begged his step father to send him here - to send him to me.
Nobody can imagine the happiness and warmth I felt when he told me that he had come all the way here to this small town for me - to be with me. That he seeked my isolation in his miserable days.
I had held him and let him cry and let go of all his pain and that day, I had promised myself to take care of him and to take every ounce of pain the boy in my arms had to suffer.
I had also realized on my twelfth birthday - in that secluded corner of the school library that I loved him.
I loved Sean.
I was in loved with him.
Leah Carmen loved Sean Cooper and nothing could ever change the fact if five month separation after just a week of knowing each other hadn’t.
Thinking about that day - I always used to smile at the beautiful memory I had created with him but now, sitting here in this washroom cubicle, I can’t help but cry harder because it hurt. It pained me so much that the boy who once held me in his vulnerability has now left me so vulnerable and miserable without anyone to hold me from falling.
Back then, I gave him every inch of my soul, piece by piece to mend his broken one and today, he tore me open and left me shattered - too far gone and broken to be mended or even replaced again.