His name is Mark Tyler.
He has dark brown that’s shaved at the sides and effortless in its messy curls at the top of his head. His tanned skin, from both his lifestyle and parents, naturally glows. And his green eyes startle you when you come too close.
He wears jeans and t-shirts like expensive brands, never spending too long on his appearance. He’s kind and generous, easy to give to those he saw on the street, and dedicated to finding the perfect present for his sister Jasmine every year.
He is confident, and outgoing, and easily pulls people into conversations by barely trying.
He is absolutely perfect.
He is Mark Tyler.
He was my middle school crush.
When I first met Mark Tyler it wasn't necessarily a meeting per se, but a single glance,
A single moment that changed everything.
I was in the playground at school like every other kid that day, playing tag with my group of friends.
"I'm gonna catch ya'!" I had yelled tauntingly to the other kids I was chasing after.
"No, you aren't!" One of the girls, Genevieve, had screamed back. "We're too fast!"
My eyes had lit up at the challenge, thoughts of how I would be proving them wrong with my amazing speed running through my mind.
"Oh yeah?" I teased again, suddenly surging forward to chase after the kids who giggled and laughed once I was almost in arm's length.
My hand was reaching out to try and touch a particular boy on the shoulder when I was suddenly bumping into someone. In a matter of moments, I was taken from sprinting at top speed after another eight-year-old boy to falling flat on my ass. Flat on the concrete.
And it hurt like hell.
"Ow," I mumbled, my lower lip wobbling slightly.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to bump into you!" The young eight-year-old boy had said, but my eyes were already starting to tear up.
I was about to cry on the concrete ground when I noticed someone. He was across the playground, too far for me to properly make out his face but close enough for me to see him,
Close enough for me to notice.
He wasn't doing anything amazing. He and his friends, which consisted primarily of girls, were just playing a simple game of Ninja, taking turns "slicing" off each other's body parts. But something made me continue to stare.
I didn't pay much attention to my friends and the other boy picking me up, nor did I really care when they asked me if I was alright, instead nodding absentmindedly to their questions. The only thing I had cared about at that moment was the boy,
And his cheesy little fauxhawk.
So I continued to stare.
I walked away from my friends, not giving them a single explanation, and leaning on one of the fences. Close enough so I could see his pale green eyes and faint dimple but not close enough to look like a creep. And, I continued to stare for the rest of recess.
In the couple of years that followed, I grew a slight interest in the green-eyed boy,
If you were to water it down.
Truthfully, I was kind of obsessed with him.
What he liked, what he disliked, his favorite color, teacher, and Pokemon. But I never got close to him. I think I had it in my brain somewhere that if I got too close to him I would either expose my odd obsession to the boy of my playground dreams and he would shun me forever or I would go into Mark Tyler overload and explode into tiny little Mason pieces.
Either way, I avoided any and all conversations with the child.
But I did get pretty close to all of his friends.
It was pretty much just for information purposes but they were fun to hang out with sometimes and I ended up really liking Jasmine Tyler, his twin sister.
Though they tried to act like they weren't, Jasmine and Tyler were basically best friends.
Sure they hung out away from their sibling sometimes but their friend groups were always intertwined so they could be together as much as possible. It was probably the twin and sibling bond but they got along really well and it always made me smile as it reminded me of my older brother.
But because of that, no matter how hard I tried, I still ended up near Mark.
He was always cool and funny though and accepted the distance I was consciously putting between us like a real gentleman. By the time I was in fourth grade I accepted the fact that I might be into guys, and what I felt for Mark was probably my attraction to the same sex showing through.
And by fifth grade, I accepted the full truth that I had a crush on Mark Tyler.
The time I was forced to spend with him when he was invited along with most of his siblings and some of my brother Aiden's friends at one of our favorite resorts, Dearherst, further pushed me to the realization of my feelings. And by the time Fall and sixth grade rolled around not only did I realize my young innocent love for Mark but I was in a further complicated situation because we were basically almost as close as he and his sister were.
That's when my third realization came.
I had just secured myself a nice comfy seat in the friend zone.
Though I became even more prone to some blushing and shy smiles sent Mark's way, I actually hid my feelings pretty well.
At least I hid them from Mark. Aiden had been sending me looks since the Deerhurst trip and Meaghan was joining him every single time.
Jasmine figured it out soon after and was completely ecstatic.
"Omg! Omg! Omg!" She had screeched while I frantically tried to shut her up. "You and Mark, Mark and you, DATING?! You would make the cutest couple!" She suddenly gasped, her eyes growing wide before a gigantic grin split up her face once more. "WE'RE GONNA BE SISTERS!"
I lunged forward, slapping both of my hands over her mouth as we both fell back onto my bed.
"First of all, would you please, for the love of God and all things holy and good and kind, Shut. Up?" I had asked her. Rhetorically, of course, she couldn't speak. "Second of all, I'm not a girl. I would be your brother, we would be siblings. And third of all, Mark and I are not getting married, not now and probably not ever. I have accepted the fact that he is straight and my feelings will probably fade as I get older. I'm only eleven Jasmine and sure I feel mature now but feelings change. If high schoolers break up with people they say they love almost all the time then what chance would Mark and I have? We have to face reality."
I sighed just thinking about the reasonable side of things.
Being mature is hard. I had thought at the time.
And of course, I did. I was just a kid.
I remember waiting until Jasmine seemed to calm down before I lifted my hands off her mouth, waiting for her to say something.
‘Cause being Jasmine she definitely would.
"Ok, first of all, all of my siblings are my sisters, you can ask Mark and Aaron, that's just how it is." She argued, further proving the point by sassily shaking her head around. "And second of all, you and Mark could get married, someday." Her voice softened, a comforting smile gracing her lips as she gazed at me. "You don't always have to be mature and reasonable. Sometimes you can just do what feels right, and just live in the moment." She took my right hand and gently brought it up to my chest. "Follow your heart."
The last words were left out in a whisper, as she had hoped to gently urge me on.
It didn't work.
I shook my head, taking my hand away from her grasp, away from my heart.
"We could never work out Jasmine, it's not gonna happen," I told her, firm in my logic as I spoke. "It isn't meant to be."
She shook her head in disagreement but hadn't said anything else to change my mind.
"Fine," she had sighed, sending me a disappointed smile. "If that's what you want."
Though I did say that to Jasmine all that time ago I never truly gave up.
From when Mark was short and slightly chubby, to when he started following Six Pack Shortcuts and Bradley Martyn, working out and trading in his cheesy fauxhawk for a trendy quiff, I still liked him.
Yes, I tried to logically give up and take my mind off of my feelings for my close friend. But it was impossible when my mind would conjure up scenarios. Dreams where he would suddenly come to me, whether it be soaked by the rain outside or soaked with sweat from running up to see me, he would confess his undying love, explaining the feelings he was harboring while I had denied our relationship its sunlight to grow. Then he would pull me into his strong, loving arms and connect our lips in a fiery, electric, toe-curling kiss, that we poured our pure boundless love into.
And these dreams still ran strong until our freshman year of high school, when I found him pressing Julia Rivera against my locker as they eagerly exchanged their saliva.
At that moment the same tongue that I had imagined countless times exploring my mouth and swirling with my own was instead being shoved down Julia's throat.
It was heartbreaking, to say the least.
Not only was the boy I had liked for seven years currently in a lip-lock with someone I barely knew, but he had also decided to commit this heart-wrenching act upon my locker.
So instead of running away so I would only have to deal with the mental image as I sobbed in heartbreak, I had to move closer, letting the terrible image marinate my brain cells so its disgusting flavor would never be forgotten. After the worst minute of my life where I had to watch the two of them continue their groundbreaking expedition, I was finally in front of them.
I could finally make it stop.
I cleared my throat loudly, which was actually convenient since my voice would probably be hoarse if I tried to immediately speak, and they luckily parted. Unfortunately though, instead of jumping apart as I'd hoped, they had slowly disconnected their mouths, almost as if to savor the flavor of each other's lips when they would be apart.
I felt like throwing up.
"Oh," Mark let out once he had realized who had interrupted them. He quickly jumped away from Julia, removing his hands from where they were previously holding and squeezing her hip and side. "Shit, I didn't see you there, Mason." But it seemed that the reaction that I was trying to get came too late and I wanted to finally let the tears fall when I took in his mussed hair and red, swollen lips.
"I need to get to my locker." I had stated coldly. It was too much of a struggle to keep any pleasant emotion on my face when all I had wanted to do at that point was fall to my knees and cry, so I opted instead for none at all. "Please move."
Mark had seemed surprised since even in sorrow or anger I had never regarded him with such a cold demeanor.
"Uh, yeah." Mark had stuttered, stumbling over his words in surprise. "S-sure sorry." Mark had then proceeded to grab Julia's hand pulling her back the way I had come.
At that point, it seemed as if every move Mark did further broke whatever was left of me and I barely spoke to him for weeks after that.
It was tense between us and it had seemed as if Mark didn't understand why. But of course, he still gave me space and tried to be understanding like the perfect amazing guy that he was.
God how I wanted to smack him.
Eventually, though, I decided that the incident was the slap in the face I needed to give up.
And it was.
I slowly added Mark back into my life as well as his crush-turned-girlfriend Julia. And though sometimes it was hard, I was still able to overcome my pain and build a polite relationship with the girl. Of course, I was still ecstatic when they broke up seven months later but by that time any hope of Mark and I having a future was crushed, pounded, and ground until it was dust discarded in the wind.
Mark had proven that there was no chance for us to ever be.
Or so I thought.
We love a good flashback! Thank you for meeting my babies, Mason and Mark. This is one of my favorite books so I hope you guys enjoyed it. The next chapter will be up in an hour so stay tuned. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe to the story or leave a like and a comment. Or you can click the banner below to go to my link tree. Bye!!!