He drew a deep breath and looked into her eyes. He saw love in her eyes. He drew back his head, and the magic was gone. He had always thought he was a romantic, but when things had started to heat up, he realised he was not fit. Fear covered him like sweat, and the tremor behind his heart made him conclude he was going to screw everything up anyway.

“What’s wrong?” She asked him.

“Nothing. I was just . . .” His voice trailed off.

“You were just what?” She drew closer to him on the bench, using curiosity as an excuse to move closer. He could here the small palpitations of her heart.

“I was just . . . nothing.” He said. But he could not look into her eyes. He simply stared into the blank night, squinting, like he could see through the darkness if he really tried.

She didn’t say anything. She just sighed, and drifted away from him on the bench. She wanted to be drawn out, just like him. She wanted someone who could take a bold plunge and sweep her off her feet. She wanted her Harlequin hero. Not that she was a fantasy girl. She didn’t desire perfection. All she wanted was someone who could dare to hold her in his hands, look deeply into her eyes, and say sweet things.

But he didn’t fit that description. He was one of those stupid boys who wouldn’t touch a girl for fear of having an erection. He would understand, much later, that the erection was not the problem (in fact it was a strength). The problem was with the fear. Always the fear.

Fear’s not good for romance.

Not good.