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The 18th Floor
By: Caitlin

Layla Sydney.
Layla Sydney. Layla Sydney. Layla Sydney. Such beauty in two short words, they taste so sweet as they roll off my tongue. 
Hearing a loud clambering and scrambling noise up the stair I gazed down the flights of stairs. That was the first time I saw that mess of a girl, floral suitcase in one hand, well loved guitar case in the other and an old record player stuffed under her arm. I watched her strawberry blonde hair messily pulled back into a plait with little wisps of hair flying everywhere. She gazed upwards, her eyes meeting mine for the first time. They were pure blue, like the real version of the photoshopped ones you see on the front cover girls in magazines; I didn’t think such purity existed until that moment. My breath was taken away. Quite literally, not in the soppy way you read in the Nicholas Sparks books, but she literally winded me; I felt like my entire chest just closed up in attempt to protect my vulnerable self.
The magnetic force between us drew me to her instantly. I distracted her from her key fiddling business as she slowly turned around, an infectious smile growing over her face as our noses aligned. Her beauty was unlike any I had ever experience, she had light dainty freckles, as if she had been kissed by dozens of fairies, her smile was the sort that made you feel warm & comforted; like she understood you. It was no shallow, fake smile; it made you feel as though everything was going to be okay for once.
“Hi there” she said with a rare combination of confidence & grace.
“I’m Layla, Layla Eve Sydney, but you can just call me Layla.”
Taken aback I stammered “Hi. Maxwell Beau Thomas, but you can call me Maxwell.”
“Well hi Maxwell,” she said putting down her suitcase & offering me her hand.
“It’s mighty nice to meet you.” And with that she slipped into her apartment.
Thinking I’d lost my chance I slumped back to my door, but what stopped me was the sound of the creaking door. I turned to see her peeking through the door with a mysterious smirk.
“Are you coming in or what?”
Ushering him into the apartment, a thousand thoughts ran through my mind, he was unlike any other human I had ever had the pleasure of meeting. The way his crooked half smile crept over his face when he looked at you could set off butterflies in your stomach. His soft & calming voice gave you so much warmth & comfort; like he understood you. It was no shallow or fake vocal comfort; it made you feel as though everything was going to be okay for once.
“Want to stay for dinner, we’re ordering Thai?”
“Ugh, yes! I mean, if you don’t mind that is…?”
“Well why else would I ask you stupid?”
He blushed a little & smiled.
“Come with me!” she said out of sudden excitement & I followed her out to the veranda. I heard her switch on a light & I was suddenly pulled into a wonderland. I’d always loved the city, but I’d never experienced it like this. Fairy lights filled the unlit veranda framing the magnificent view of the city, the glimmering lights & hectic sounds put shivers down my spine & made my hairs stand on end. Completely & utterly flabbergasted I look over at Layla, her beautiful face dimly lit by the fairy lights & the city as shadows dance over her soft features.  I could sit in this moment till the end of time.
The only thing that could make this moment would be a glass of wine & a cigarette. In the moment of the thought I pull out my lighter & spark flame, the first whiff of Tobacco instantly releases the stresses of my day. I turn to Maxwell offering him a drag, he seems unsure.
“I’ve never really smoked before. That probably sounds so lame to you…”
“No, no!” I say quickly & reassuringly
“You still have so much innocence, I like that. I think it’d be lamer if you had.” I say grinning.
“What’s it like?”
“What’s what like?”
“Taking a drag?”
“Oh, your first one will be awful you cough your guts out, so I swear I will not be the one to ruin your lungs.”
His innocence is such a rare quality to find in a boy these days. It’s beautiful. Knowing this I could, I would ruin him. My messed up life & habits would only ruin this beautiful boy. 
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