"And then I saw you", Scott said with his voice breaking, "and I fell in love at that very moment."
Hope blinked, watching him approach.
"You're lying", she murmured.
“Why would I?”, the two were now so close that the man could touch her face with just the lift of an arm.
"I'm not the kind of person who makes others fall in love with."
Scott laughed, raising his arm to touch her delicate face, running his fingers through the freckles on her cheek. Hope leaned into the touch.
"Well, I think you're the one lying here."
After a second, he bent, linking his lips to hers in a kiss that they waited long to exchange. Scott pulled the woman’s body closer to him with his free hand as she raised her arms to his neck, pressing her thin fingers there. A couple of seconds later, the kiss was over. Their eyes met and they smiled in a silent promise about the future.
“And... Cut!”, said the director, before the bell rang and everyone in the room shouted in celebration.
They seemed to be in a trance. It was as if a mute button has been pressed and the rest of the world lost their sounds. Their orbs were connected to each other, talking to each other, making the absence of words not important at the moment; it was if they knew a language of their own. Scott's hands still touched Hope's skin and the warmth emanating from them made the woman feel comfortable. It was so good. But she couldn't feel that way, not with the man in front of her.
The feelings that affected them at that moment bordered the extremes. However, they were still interconnected by the same spark generated by that first contact between their lips. Hope was confused. After all, it was supposed to be a scene like any other except for that kiss. Her heart seemed to want to jump out of her chest and explode into millions of pieces, such was the excitement that her core faced.
She could spend hours staring at his iris. It was amazing. And crazy. And made her even more confused. She wanted her feet to take the initiative to get out of there, to get away from that flood of feelings, but it seemed they didn't want to obey her either. Up close, she could see all his features and he seemed to be doing the same thing as her. Memorizing all of her details.
Unlike Hope, Scott knew how he felt. He knew that his heart was destined to the woman in front of him, and the kiss they shared only confirmed his feelings. He just wanted to stop time. He wanted to have the woman in his arms and kiss her lips whenever he felt like it. However, that was not a reality for him.
Hope had a boyfriend, and even if his heart screamed to say everything he felt, he didn't want to disrespect her or her relationship; neither ends their beautiful friendship. So he just contented himself to watch her from afar, silently wishing her to be his.
For both of them, that moment had lasted forever, but it hadn't been more than a few seconds. And they soon realized that when Ava appeared pulling Hope into a hug, taking her away from all trance.
“You did it, I'm so happy!”, the other woman said, hugging her friend as tightly as she could.
"We did it", Hope corrected, glancing between Ava and Scott after leaving the hug.
As if it were a wordless mutual agreement, as they faced each other again, both decided to ignore the event of seconds ago and pretend that nothing had happened. And for Scott, it was like sticking a stake in his beating heart, but he was already used to it.
"Nah", Ava shrugged mockingly. "We both did more than this idiot standing there."
Scott laughed nasal, shaking his head. The woman in front of him did everything to annoy him, but he wouldn't trade that friendship for anything.
"I love you too, Ava", the man winked at her, listening to his other friend chuckle.
After that, the director approached the three, congratulating them on the scene and explaining what would happen next. Hope and Scott had filmed their last scene together, but there were still a few more to complete the movie, so they would rarely see each other around the studio. When the director said those words, the actor felt something in his heart, like a tug that made his chest hurt.
Scott was so used to acting with Hope every day, seeing her every day, hugging her when they arrived in the morning, hearing her laugh over lunch and feeling her head against his shoulder as they rested in between the scenes, that for a moment he forgot that all of these would be over one day.
They were friends and would keep seeing each other, but it wouldn't be the same. All Scott wanted was to rewind a few hours just to make the most of his last day with this woman.
“Anybody want a ride home? I'm leaving now”, Ava said, and only then did the man realize that the director was gone and left the three of them alone again.
"Uhh, no. I came in my car, thanks", he replied, putting his hands in his pockets.
"And you, Hope?"
The actress started to say, but something behind Ava caught her eye and she lost her words. Scott shifted his gaze and found what the woman was looking at. His throat dried up and he instantly felt uncomfortable.
“Darren?”, Hope said, coming out of her friends to greet her boyfriend. “ What are you doing here? I thought you were at the company.”
“I left early, I thought I'd come to see you and ask you a question…”
From where he was, Scott could hear the conversation and watch the woman frown at the question.
Darren moved closer, reaching up to touch the woman's face and tucking her short hair behind her ear.
"I've been thinking about this for a few days. We've been together for some time now and the next step is a marriage proposal…” he said, putting his free hand in his pocket and pulling out a ring with a diamond on top. Scott felt his heart race. "Hope Van Dyne, will you marry me?"
And for a second time that day, the world seemed to stop. Only now it was different. Scott wasn't looking into Hope's eyes, touching her, trying to react to a kiss he always wanted to give. Now it was different because the woman he loved was in the arms of another man, being proposed, making even more impossible a dream that he wanted to fulfill.
Darren smiled as Hope stared at the ring. Oh, God. How it all seemed wrong. Cross was not kneeling, nor was he concerned about it. This was not a minimally romantic moment and everyone present was watching the scene unfold, waiting for an answer from the woman. Scott could guess what she was feeling since he knew her well. Hope would be much more comfortable if the proposal was made privately and not with a dozen people around.
Scott knew how to treat her. Darren didn’t.
First, he would take her to relax, to forget about the stressful hours they spent filming. They would take a day for them to do whatever they wanted and have fun. Then at night, he would take her to the restaurant she loved, where they would talk about everything and nothing, with their hands together on the table and their fingers entwined.
Later in their apartment and after one or two glasses of wine, Scott would kneel down, take the ring out of his pocket, and say how much he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Hope would laugh tearfully before saying a euphoric yes, letting him put the ring her left hand finger.
But that was nowhere near happening, simply because he wasn’t the person to whom her heart belonged.
"So..." Darren's voice broke out Scott's thoughts, waking him up from a life he would never have. “What do you say?”
The actor wanted Hope to turn around, to look at him, as if somehow that little action could stop the next events, but she didn't. Instead, she gave her boyfriend a small smile and said:
“Yes. I'll marry you.”
Beside him Ava celebrated, clapping her hands and laughing. The only thing Scott could do was walk backward, moving slowly away from the spectacle until it was safe to turn and run away to where he could cry.
Running into a reality where the woman he loved wasn’t in someone else's arms.