Three things had gone horribly wrong that day.
Three things that she wished she could have foreseen and prevented.
It had started when she had been making her way to class and had noticed the looks she had been getting in the hall, they were almost fearful pity. She wouldn't know the reasoning of these looks until much later. In that moment, she had brushed it off and had gone to her civll rights class, walking alongside Bill again.
They had taken their usual seats at the back, having moved their desks closer so they could be as near to each other as possible.
“Everyday you get more lovely. I always think you’ve reached your peak and then you become more beautiful,” he had said.
"Thank you, Billy," she had replied while blushing. In that moment she had wanted to be kind with him. Things had been so wonderful between them since their playful mood at the bowling alley the previous night.
"So pretty," he had mumbled as he had bounced her curls, since she had worn her hair natural that day.
He had been wearing a cream colored button up shirt and she had loved how he had worn the sleeves rolled up at the elbows. If only she had known what was to come of that shirt.
Then class had started, and they had listened to the lecture. All the while, they had continued stealing looks at each other, just as they had done before. She again had also observed his handsome sight.
It had been almost excruciating to not be able to touch him during class. She had studied his defined jaw, framed by brunette-red stubble. Then there had been his hands. They were delicate and elegant and still masculine. The buttons at the top of his shirt had been open and she had gotten a glimpse of his lean torso underneath. She had desperately wanted to kiss that exposed skin.
He hadn't made it easy for her either, often gazing back with his clear eyes; it was almost sensual. When class had ended, they had both stood up packing away their things.
"Do you want to do something, you know since we both have a free period?" He had asked almost shyly. She had nodded since unlike the day before, she had now been free of plans. "Okay? Like what?" She had asked. He had looked at her still so tenderly and for a moment the whole room had disappeared.
"I was thinking I could show you some of my paintings," he had said.
That had intrigued her very much.
So she had found herself in a downtown art studio with him where he had taken his painting classes.
"Here's one that I did of you," he had said and gone to take off a sheet from a canvas to reveal a painting.
She had gasped because it had been so beautiful and realistic.
He had painted her so wonderfully and the colors had been so vivid.
The painting had been a full body portrait of her. Her hair in the painting had been curly and each wisp had only added more dimension to the allure of the painting. A natural but not too overpowering glare had been on the glasses he had adorned her with in the art work. She had been dressed in the bootcut jeans and neutral colored sweater she had been wearing when they had first met in the library.
"It's beautiful," she had said in awe. It truly had been. It had seemed professional and he had painted her delicately, lips curved up in a soft pink smile.
"That's what you look like. You truly are so beautiful to me," he had said his hand grazing the back of her neck. She had turned around to once again be overwhelmed by his beautiful eyes. Again she had wanted to kiss him terribly and she had stared at his lips. He had been experiencing
that same longing, she had been able to tell by the way he had seemed to be gravitating towards her.
She had whimpered.
He had been about to kiss her, when she had moved away.
As much as she had wanted his lips on hers, she hadn't been able to give in. Take things slow, she had thought to herself. Little did she know then that taking it slow would be one of her later regrets.
"I want to kiss you so badly why won't you let me?" He had asked his voice confused and full of despair. She had felt terrible, but she had known that if she had kissed him she would have never stopped.
"I'm sorry, not yet," she had said not being able to look at him. He had seemed so sad and he had turned his back to her.
"Then when? I told you I can't keep doing this. It hurts. I miss you so much," he had said his voice cracking as he had ran a hand over his face.
She had felt bad because she had missed him too, and all that had been keeping them apart was her confusion. She had hated how his shoulders had hunched forward in a melancholy way, so she had hugged him from behind. She had squeezed him gently, trying to show without saying how much she loved him.
"I'm right here," she had said then had pressed a soft kiss at the nape of his neck. This much she had been able to give him, this much was slow enough. They had stood there for a while, and after a heavy sigh he had turned around so she was then the one in his arms.
He had stroked her hair lovingly.
"I'll always wait for you. As much as it hurts I'll wait," he had said.
His words had meant so much to her, and she had nuzzled her face into his touch.
"So let's look at more paintings okay?" He had said pulling back to look at her. She had nodded, she had been very intrigued in his work. He had led her to another canvas and had again removed the sheet.
"It's a replication of that painting you liked the first time we went to the museum remember?"
She had remembered.
The painting had been of roses floating in a stream of water, but having seen Bill's replication, she had loved his more.
"It's so wonderful. You're so talented and good at this," she had said gazing at the magnificence of the portrait.
He had captured the light of the stream perfectly.
"You know the day after I yelled at you and the day we were going to hang out? I intended on giving you a drawing I drew of that painting you loved as an I'm sorry present," he had said watching her.
That had touched her heart, because he had remembered how much she loved it.
"You never gave me it though."
"No," he had said sheepishly, "I threw it away after you ditched me. You were breaking my heart even then."
They had observed the painting for a while longer, then she had taken his hand in hers.
His hand had been very warm and looking back, she wished she had cherished that warmth more. In that moment, however she had simply thought about the painting and him. Then she had remembered something.
"Why did you like that painting of snow on the Statue of Liberty?" She had asked leaning against his shoulder. She had looked up at him, he had always been so tall and she had always imagined that no one could hurt him.
She had been so wrong.
"It reminded me of you. You're my lady liberty," he had said and kissed the side of her head. He had still seemed somewhat sad and she had hated that.
She had hated how she hadn't been able to give him more. She hadn't felt guilty because she had known that her feelings were also apart of this, and that she needed to take into account what she wanted.
After a while, he had suggested that they go for a walk down town like they had before, and she had agreed not knowing that she had already made her first mistake.
They had walked arm in arm, and she had looked at up at him as they strolled through the down town area.
He had seemed radiant and shining, she had hoped he would always stay that way.
They had talked more.
They had talked about the bowling competition the day before and about how they had changed. She had learned that he had also taken to exercising more in her absence and she had told of him of how she had tried her first alcoholic drink. Again like they had been at the bowling alley, they had been playful. He had often bumped his shoulder with hers when he had found something she had said to be funny.
After a while they had sat down outside a small shop where they had just purchased a fruit bowl from. They had shared it, and Bill had fork fed her all the strawberries.
“I really like being here with you,” he had said after having fed her the last strawberry. She had felt elated at his words because the fact that he took joy in her presence bought her joy as well.
“So do I. I like hanging out with you again,” She had replied. At that point in time, she had thought that they had been making good progress and that she was starting to be whole again.
“Do you want to do something later too? Like I don’t know actually go somewhere nice. I feel like I’ve never actually taken you somewhere nice before,” he had said while finishing the last of the watermelon slices. Her heart had fluttered at that. He had basically been asking to take her out on a date. It had seemed like a lovely idea.
“I want to, but I have work,” she had said. He had frowned a bit but then had brightened up.
“Can I come to work with you? I have the day off again because my boss is training some newbies,” he had said. She had thought about it. In her mind, it would have been great to have him there, but at the same time she had felt that it would also rush things. Besides what if things didn’t work out between them and then the children started asking about him like they had before?
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Bill,” she had said slowly. His face had seemed to fall a bit, and he had only nodded. Again, she had felt bad for her confusion having caused this strain on him.
“I get off at around four, so we can go out and do something after that like you were saying,” she had said. She had then taken his hand in hers from across the table and had kissed it like he had done to her before.
“I really do care about you, Bill. I like spending time with you and I want to continue to spend time with you,” she had went on, trying to reassure him that despite how difficult she was being, she really did care about him. He had only sighed and gave her hand a squeeze.
“So dress nice and I’ll meet you at your dorm at four thirty, if that works,” he had said ignoring her earlier statement. She hadn’t been able to read him and she hadn’t been able to tell if he was upset or frustrated with her.
So she had just nodded and agreed that she would meet him at her dorm room at four thirty. Mistake two had been made.
After they had returned back to campus for the remainder of class, she had hugged Bill tightly then she had kissed his cheek before heading to her next class.
Everything had seemed so normal then, and looking back, it was hard to see how a normal day could have gone so wrong. Still, in her classes, she had taken notes and had participated in discussions as always.
Then she had gone to work.
The children had seemed to notice how much brighter her spirits had been, and she had enjoyed herself with them. She had once again felt that glow, that aura, that May had brought up the other day.
After work, she had gone back to her dorm room to dress nice as he had told her to. She had
decided on wearing a black maxi dress she had bought. Looking back now, she wished she had chosen a different color.
She had once again painted her lips red as she had noticed he had liked them that way the other day. Red, not a good color now in hindsight.
She had finished getting ready and had sat waiting for him to show up while reading a book. Soon, she had noticed that he had been taking too long to show up.
That had been strange, but she had decided to wait for fifteen more minutes until she did anything about it.
Once those fifteen minutes had been up, she had thought about what to do. She hadn’t wanted to seem clingy, but he was running extremely late which was not the usual for him. She had never gotten the number to his dorm room telephone, but somehow she had known he wasn’t there. She had called their old house phone, but the number had been disconnected apparently as it had sent her to an operator.
Then she had remembered how he had made her memorize his work number and she had decided to call that. A man answered the phone.
“Hi is Bill Clinton there?’ She had asked.
“Yes, who is this calling?” the man had asked, but she had only hung up. She hadn’t felt like staying on the phone for too long and she had decided she would just go meet him there and see what had held him up. She had known where the mechanic shop was since he had described it once and New Haven wasn’t especially big.
So, she had gotten in her car to go see him. All the way there, she thought about how everything between them had seem to be coming together perfectly. When she had at last arrived, she had gotten out of the car to look for him. In a way, she had felt like a stalker but he had told her wherever he was she was invited to.
So when she hadn’t met anyone at the front desk, she had gone back to the garage. What she had seen had made her blood boil. Bill had obviously been under the car fixing something, but under the car as well was a woman who also seemed to be working on something. She had felt her jealously come on and she intended on leaving quietly, but instead she had tripped over a toolbox,making her presence known. Then both Bill and the woman, a girl really around Hillary’s age, had come up from the bottom of the car.
“Hey!” Bill had said excitedly upon seeing her, “How did you know I was here? I was gonna meet you back at your dorm remember?”
He had seemed so carefree, but she herself had still been annoyed at having waited for so long.
“Have you checked the time? I waited for you for an hour, but I guess now I know why,” she had said angrily. She had known in a small part of the back of her mind, that she should calm down, but she had been angry.
She had been putting herself out there and now he went and did this and made things more confusing! She would have had no problem with it if he had just told her that he had been working, but by not telling her he made things seem suspicious. Seeming to get her thought process he had rushed to explain.
“I came to help out with the newbies because you wouldn’t let me come to work with you. This is my friend Luna, she’s my boss’s daughter and I was showing her how to fix a problem with her car.”
It had seemed innocent enough, but she had still been furious and she had hated feeling that anger and she had hated feeling like a psycho ex-girlfriend.
“I don’t give a goddamn. Where are these newbies then? I saw no one out front,” she had said. The girl named Luna had excused herself, leaving the two of them alone.
“They went out with the boss, he was showing them the route we use to test cars. Why are you so mad, Hillary?’ he had asked wiping the soot stains from the car off his hands with a rag.
“Because I waited for you for an hour! Then I come here and I see this and you go confusing me more!” She had yelled. A small rational part of her had known that her own confusion wasn’t his fault, but she hadn’t been thinking with the rational part.
“You’re one to talk about confusing! You keep throwing mixed signals my way!” He had retorted, growing mad as well.
They had never really fought.
She had yelled at him that once, but now he had been yelling back, and that had infuriated her although she had known there was some validity to what he was saying.
“So is that why you’re doing this then? Since I won’t make a decision you have someone in the backseat as a replacement!”
He had seemed offended.
“Is that really how you think of me? What do I have to do to earn your trust back? Tell me Hillary what do I have to fucking do!” His face had grown red with frustration.
She had ignored his question.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if you did have someone to fall back on. Luna looked like the innocent type, how I used to be. I’m not that Hillary anymore and that’s probably why you don’t want me huh? I’m not innocent and prudish and all that anymore!” She had yelled finally having voiced one of her fears.
Because in her mind she had doubts about whether they could work together because the Hillary he had fallen in love with was gone.
“Where the hell is this all coming from? I want you. Even when you’re pissing me off right now I still want you!”
“Didn’t seem like it earlier,” she had said and she knew she should have stopped talking, but it had seemed like the floodgates had broken loose. He had dropped the rag and his fists were tight. She hadn’t known what had come over her, but she felt like anyone else who had been in a situation similar to hers would understand. Again, she had wanted to yell at him and make him mad, make him as frustrated as she was.
“I should have gone to New York,” she had said. Behind the rage in his eyes, she had seen a flicker of hurt.
“Then fucking go! I’m not stopping you. Just go and live your life without me if you want that so goddamn much!” He had yelled.
It had been ridiculous since she had wanted him to get mad, but now that he was she hated it.
“I guess I fucking will. Bye Bill,” she had said and had walked out of the garage leaving him there.
That had been mistake number three, the most fatal.
After leaving him, she had gone back to campus. She had gone to the library with the intention of finding a good book to take her mind off things. She had tried to keep her thoughts off of how she had met him in this library, and to focus on the books instead.
“You should read something Shakespearian, they help get the mind off things.”
She had turned around to find herself face to face with Peter, it had seemed like he was also looking for a book to read as well.
“Speaking from experience?” She had asked back. She had been too tired to try to argue with him having used all her yelling on someone else. Plus, she hadn’t liked how they had argued, he was her friend.
“Yeah, I have a lot on my mind right now,” he had answered. She had only nodded.
“Hillary I’m sorry for what I said yesterday, it was wrong,” he had said simply and genuinely. She had nodded again, it had been wrong but she had been wrong as well. He was her friend after all. “I’m sorry too.”
And for a moment, a fleeting moment she had wished that she could love Peter. Not because she was attracted to him, because she wasn’t. No, it was because she wanted this simpleness. Why couldn’t she love what was right for her? Why couldn’t she have a plain boring love where no arguments, bets, and deceptions happened?
Suddenly, May had come running into the hospital and her face had been too pale.
“Hillary you need to come with me it’s urgent,” she had said grabbing her arm and practically dragging her, they had left Peter behind looking on in surprise.
“What's going on?” She had asked.
She hadn’t expected May’s answer, if she had known she would have covered her ears so she wouldn’t have heard those words.
“It’s Bill, he’s been shot.”