To begin with, he could never tell her that the way the sunlight glinted off of her hair and danced in her laughing eyes made him catch his breath in awe of its beauty.
He could never tell her that when he thought of her, he always said her first and middle name – Bridgette Anne – and that really, when he thought of those two names together, he was saying, “I love you.”
He could never tell her that she was the reason that he finally understood his deceased mother’s words to him – to wait for the girl that inspired him to be a better man – that every day, he woke up with a fire in his heart to prove himself to be a man that was worthy of her.
He could never tell her because their roles had been firmly cemented from the day she and the other girls had arrived – and he had overheard that she was taken by someone back in her hometown. They were supposed to be just friends – and clearly great friends based on their animated conversations to and from their classes every day.
She trusted him as her friend, and because of that sometimes even would tell him of her beau, Christian, back home. He would listen supportively, hoping and praying that his face betrayed none of the inner agitation it caused him to hear of this other young man. Even more so when he’d hear from some of the other girls what a cad this Christian seemed to be.
Bridgette never spoke ill of her beau, which testified even more to her charm and respectability. Yet Hayden could easily read between the lines of times when Christian seemed to ask too much of her – or seemed unreasonably overprotective or irritated.
Hayden’s favorite times – however twisted it might have been – were when Christian seemed to be forgotten, put in the past like the rest of the life everyone left behind when they came to Caviliery. When the two of them would walk and talk, sometimes for an hour or more, about all types of topics that peaked their interest. At those times, their friendship seemed so beautiful it made Hayden’s heart ache – and he longed more than anything to articulate what he truly felt.
But no – he could never tell her. Because she was off-limits. She was a taken girl, one who didn’t see him “like that,” one who was committed to someone who came to her long before Hayden had. And no matter how hard he wished and dreamed and prayed, he knew that there was no changing the mind of a girl like that. She was the epitome of faithfulness and commitment – which is exactly how he would have wanted it – only to himself and not to some other misfit in a faraway town.