Emily’s a brave girl. She could fend for herself and didn’t need to be the damsel in distress. She’s funny, smart, bubbly, and cheerful. Her smile lit up a room. She was beautiful, as if that even mattered. No matter what she looked like, I would love her anyway. I love Emily, in case you didn’t notice.

What was not to love about her? Pretty, smart, cheerful. It was all I would ever want. She had these quirks too. She said she hated them, but I thought they were cute. Sometimes she’d make this little squeak type of noise when she was surprised.

Other times, if she was caught off guard her eyes would widen and she’d be ten times as more beautiful as before. It was adorable. She looked so innocent like that. She had two solid best friends but she wasn’t afraid to make new ones. She was confident, but modest. She was always nice to anyone she met.

Anyway, Emily was pretty brave during the day… But night is when I realized how vulnerable she actually is. Emily loved reading, just like me, and when it got really late she’d sometimes sneak into the living room and read a book with only the light from her cell phone. Don’t ask me why she did it, it was strange, but the only part I cared about, was when she went into the hallway.

She’d go into the hallway, and it’d be pitch black. Sure the phone would help a little but… Not really. At that weird time of night I bet so many monsters must run through Emily’s head. Grabbing her and dragging her away from her family forever.

So she runs, all the way down the hall and into her bed. She giggles a little bit when she gets under the bed, probably scolding herself for being so scared. She turns on her iPod and sleeps through the night calmly, probably forgetting ever being scared in the first place.

While Emily sleeps peacefully, I stay awake. Emily thinks monsters would attack her in plain sight, but she’s wrong. Emily thinks it’s her imagination, but she’s wrong again. When she falls asleep I carefully climb over her and lay down beside her. She doesn’t stir when I turn on my side to stare at her. I wonder, at these times, what it would be like to grow old with Emily.

I stare at her for what seems like forever. Then I lean in closer, so close I can see her whole face in perfect clarity. My god she really is beautiful. Then I kiss her. She doesn’t wake up, she doesn’t jump away. All she does is lay limp. I close my eyes, feeling her lips warm mine. For a fleeting moment, I almost feel… Well… Alive.

But it’s only for a moment, and when I open my eyes and back away my heart sinks. I’ll never know what it is to sit with Emily in the summer, holding her soft hand. Her scent lingers on my fingertips, but only for a brief second. It never lasts long enough. It never will.

I get out of her bed, readjust her covers, and look down at her. She really is beautiful.

I will always love Emily. Even when she jumps away from my shadow, even when she pretends not to see me day in and day out, even when she lies about dreaming of me, even when she opens her eyes to see me.

And even when she screams.