At first, he isn't that noticeable. You come to wonder how this can be, as he comes to be the first thought on your mind in the morning, and the last before you fall asleep. In the beginning, he fills an empty desk and only a moment's notice in your busy day. Now over a year has passed since you first took notice of him and he occupies a good portion of your mind. It's not that he does anything extraordinary, but having the chance to work in close quarters with him has given you the opportunity to observe how he interacts with others, and you have been given a bit of insight into his background and past.
The reality of it all is that, regardless of how hard you dig your heels in, he attracts you. To employ an overused metaphor, you are like a moth drawn to his flame. It's nothing at first, but bit by bit you begin to seek him out, and even miss his presence when he isn't around. You realize that this attraction is every bit as obvious to others as it is to him, despite the fact that he acts like nothing has changed in your hesitant friendship.
This realization is horrifying and comforting in the same measure, as others have only good things to say about him, and those he talks to give you tidbits of his life. From what you can puzzle together, his coldly overbearing father died when he was a teenager, leaving him to move from his beloved San Francisco to this frozen city with his mother and grandmother. This information alone gives you pause to consider some of the stolen moments you've had watching him when he thinks no one else is around. Was that sadness on his face? What other hurts does he hide? You begin to wish you could offer him some comfort, despite the fact that he clearly wants nothing to do with you.
It hurts, because your own childhood has been mostly a happy one and you want nothing better than to share some of that love with those who need it. But you can't, because no matter how much you care, he does not feel the same way.
All these thoughts roll constantly around in your head as you watch him, day after day. A small part of you rages at the injustice of his life, and your own inability to accept his decision and move on with your own life. Mainly though, you just want to be near him and make him happy. He comes so close every day to leaving, and you can say nothing. He has matured over a matter of months in your eyes, and all of his personal struggles have made him something more in your eyes.
A new girl enters the picture, one who is to him as he is to you. This is not news to you, however much you try to look the other way and say you wish for him to be happy. Some might call it a lie, but you feel there is some element of truth to it, despite the fact that you wish to be the one to make him happy. The day you hear that he will give up on this other girl within a month, you rejoice a little, and then feel guilty. Maybe now you have a chance...?
It almost doesn't matter. The times you have invited him to spend time with you and your friends have turned awkward as your friends cannot see the gentle, lonely figure behind his social ineptitude. You want them to accept him as you have, but they can't because they don't know him. Your loyalties lie with both parties, but it is stronger with your friends as they have known you for longer, and claim that your judgment is impaired. Who are you to say it isn't? They don't know him, but they know you. For a while, you accept their words and try to let things blow over. But you can't ignore how you feel, and the fact that he is always so close doesn't help either.
What to do? You assume he knows how you feel, so a bold declaration is not something you want or need to exclaim to the world. This whole hide-and-seek game has become too much - none of this was ever in your plans, and for a while you forcefully remind yourself that his happiness is more important, and for all intents and purposes, he is the property of some other girl.
But that is another lie. You choke on it every time your brain tries to remind you. This can't be happening, you think to yourself. Why do I always do this to myself? The answer is simple: you want to be happy, even with all the trouble and pain love can be. Oh yes, it is possible. But do you really want to do this to yourself again? The fear of rejection still lingers from your first miserable failure of a relationship - it isn't something you want to repeat, but you can't get the comparison off your mind. Finally, one day you sit down and try to put the pieces together. Nothing works. And so you continue on, one day at a time.