“I need to tell you something,” Fiona said, her turquoise eyes shimmering in the faint moonlight streaming in through the window. “Something I’ve never told anyone before.”
God, but she was pretty. Curly blonde hair, soft cheeks, a delicate, curvy frame and those impossible to resist puppy dog eyes. She was sitting at the end of my bed in her pyjamas, hands between her thighs, legs bent at the knee, a serious expression set on her adorable face.
“You can tell me anything, Fi,” I said, my voice gentle and soothing.
I’ve been in love with Fi for as long as I can remember. We’ve been best friends since the day we met, and I can’t imagine my life without her. Love is a double-edged sword, though. Exactly because I can’t imagine my life without her, I’ve never been able to tell her how I feel.
Fiona has never dated a women before. So far as I know, she’s never even met a lesbian. Chances are, if I told her how I felt, she wouldn’t be able to return those feelings. Worse, it might damage or even ruin our friendship, and that’s the one thing I could never do.
Encouraged by my warm smile, Fiona took a deep breath, her face turning a little red. Then she blurted out the last thing I’d ever expected to hear her say.
Those two words sucked all of the air out of my lungs. Surely that wasn’t real, right? I was just hearing what I wanted to hear, right?
Crap, what was I supposed to say to that? ‘Me too, let’s get married!’? ‘I’m in love with you’? I couldn’t say that!
She looked so vulnerable, and it was obvious she was scared. I wanted so badly to just lean forward and kiss her, but that was getting way ahead of myself.
“You’re gay, huh? Is that right?”
Ugh, what was that? What the hell kind of response did I just give her?
“Sorry, I know it’s a lot to drop on you all of a sudden, especially when I’m in your bed like this. I hope it doesn’t make you uncomfortable…”
“N-no, of course not!” I said, rushing to reassure her. That was the last thing I wanted her to think. “I was just surprised, that’s all.”
“To be honest, I’ve known for quite a while. I’m just not really attracted to men anymore, and when I look at women, I just feel like, that’s who I want to be with, you know? That’s who I can picture myself with.”
Oh, I knew. I knew exactly how that felt, because I felt exactly that way about her, and it was killing me that I couldn’t just say that to her. Who knew how she’d react to that?
Her being gay didn’t automatically mean she’d be attracted to me. Actually, we’d been friends for so long, it probably made it less likely, since if she knew me before she realised she was gay, she probably never even thought of me that way.
“That makes sense! ”I said, a little too eager to agree with her. “So, um, what made you decide to tell me now?”
“Oh, um…well, I didn’t say anything sooner because I was kind of…kind of scared. I mean, you’re my best friend, and I don’t know what I’d do without you, and the thought of you hating me, or being uncomfortable around me…I thought that maybe, if I didn’t say anything, nothing would have to change.”
What, was she reading my mind now? She was thinking the exact same things as me! Everything seemed so frustratingly perfect, right up until she opened her mouth to continue.
“I guess the reason I’m telling you now is that…I got asked out the other day. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I think I wanted to go out with her, and see if it really is right, you know? But I know I couldn’t keep something like that a secret from you, so I…I felt like I had to tell you.”
All of a sudden, I felt like I was in free-fall. What had just happened? She was going out with somebody? I’d missed my chance?
There was only one thing that I could do. I had to put on a straight face, be brave, and tell her that I supported her. If nothing else, I had keep her in my life. Even if I couldn’t be with her, I didn’t want to lose her completely.
“Was it somebody that I know?” I asked, trying to sound nonchalant about it, even though my entire body felt like a battle zone.
“Oh, no, I don’t think so,” Fiona said. “I think you’d like her, though. She’s very sweet.”
I already hated her. She was stealing away the love of my life from me, after all. How could I not hate her?
“Really? I’d love to meet her some time,” I said, as I fought back the feeling of nausea.
“I’d really like that.”
My head felt like it was going to split apart. My heart was pounding so hard I was certain she could hear it. My hands were shaking under the blanket. I felt like I was going to throw up.
“I’m really glad you told me,” I said, lying through my teeth.
“This… isn’t going to change anything between us, is it?”
How could it not? Some girl is taking you away from me! I couldn’t say that, though.
I never minded when she didn’t look at me that way before. After all, I’m not a guy. I never expected her to see me that way. For her to look at other women that way though…it was almost too much to bear.
“It doesn’t change the way I feel about you,” I said. It was the closest I could get to the truth without blurting out something I’d regret.
“Thanks, April,” she said, a reserved smile on her face. “I’m really happy to hear you say that.”
“You’re my best friend. Nothing can ever change that,” I told her. “I’ll always be here for you, no matter who you love.”
“Heh, you’re the only person I love, April,” she said. “Oh, not like that, though.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean.”
Smiling like a kid, she crawled under the covers beside me. Just like she always had. Just like normal. There was nothing normal about the way I felt, though.
“Goodnight, April,” she whispered.
She was out like a light in a matter of minutes, same as ever. Nothing could keep her awake. I was a little envious of that, especially on nights like this.
When I was completely sure she was asleep, I finally let go of everything I was holding in. Tears stung my eyes, and my chest heaved with every sob.
I tried to keep it as restrained as possible, and I moved as far away from her as I could. The last thing I needed was for her to wake up to me crying like a baby.
Eventually, the sobbing stopped. The tears hung around for a while longer, but after a while I think I just ran out of fluid. I lay in bed, feeling more alone than I ever had before.
Don’t cry, I told myself. You did the right thing. It didn’t exactly go the way you wanted it to, but at least it’s over now.
For a long time now, I’ve been in love with my best friend. We spend all our time together, sleep over at each other’s places all the time, share all of our secrets with one another. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her.
The problem is, she can never feel the same way about me. I know everything about her, so I know that she isn’t gay.. I’m a girl, so that means she can never love me the way that I love her. I had hoped she would say something after I did, but it just seemed to make her uncomfortable.
So there I was, lying in bed next to the girl I loved, feeling more alone than I’d ever thought was possible. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t think, I just kept replaying our conversation over and over in my head.
“Hey, April… are you still awake?”
I couldn’t help myself. I had to at least try talking to her, even if it just made things worse. I thought I heard her breathing change, but she didn’t say anything. Still, I had to get what I was feeling off my chest.
“I really am selfish, aren’t I? Treating you like this, pretending that everything is okay… I wish things didn’t have to change.”
It was too late for that, though. Now that I was out of the closet, things could never be the same. I’d seen that on her face, plain as day.
“I don’t even want to date this girl,” I said, my voice wavering a little. “Isn’t that horrible? I only said yes because I’m lonely. And I know I shouldn’t be. I have you, after all. But it’s not the same.”
She rolled over to face me. Her eyes were glistening, wet with tears, and her lips were quivering. She didn’t say anything, but reached over and grabbed my hand. It felt like an anchor, keeping me from floating away.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “You must think I’m so pathetic right now. I just… I don’t know what to do.”
“Stay with me,” she whispered. “I might not be what you want, but I’ll do whatever I can to make you not feel lonely anymore.”
That’s all I ever wanted. I wished I could tell her that. She was such a good person, but I couldn’t do that to her.
“I wish I could. I wish we could stay together forever, but I can’t stop thinking about the day you get a boyfriend, and fall in love, and leave me all alone. God, I’m so selfish.”
“I’m not going to get a boyfriend, Fi,” she told me. “The truth is… I’m gay, too.”
For a second, I felt sure I must have misheard. It was just the last possible thing I ever expected her to say.
“Wh-what? Why didn’t you say anything when I told you…?”
A part of me already understood. Her being gay didn’t have anything to do with me. That’s why she hadn’t said anything. To me, it was the worst possible situation. Instead of losing her to a man, one day I was going to lose her to another woman.
“I didn’t know what to say. I never expected you to… Besides, what was I supposed to do, come out right after you? I didn’t want to make it all about me.”
“When were you going to tell me?” I asked.
“I wasn’t,” she confessed. “I didn’t want it to come between us. I was scared of losing you.” A sad smile drifted onto her lips, and she squeezed my hand a little. “What a couple of fraidy-cats we are,” she mused. “As if something like this could ever ruin our friendship.”
Friendship… At least we had that. At least she didn’t hate me for being a lesbian. That was all I’d really wanted, was to be able to stay close to her. So why did my chest still hurt so much?
The two of us laid side by side, staring at the ceiling, connected by our hands. I was terrified to let go, certain that if I did, we would never be this close again.
“Fi… I’m no good at sharing,” she said. “I know I can’t ask you never to fall in love, but…”
“Actually, I’m already in love,” I said, suddenly annoyed. What gave her the right to say that?
“Oh,” she said, sounding surprised. “Not the girl who asked you out?”
“No, not her.”
“Then why did you agree to go out with her, if you already have someone you love?”
“Because the person I love doesn’t feel the same way about me,” I said, as my heart twisted itself into a knot.
She didn’t say anything about that. No words of comfort or condolence, just empty silence. Her hand squeezed mine, then slipped away. I closed my eyes, and started to cry.
I felt a soft, tickling sensation on my face, like a bug or a spider. My eyes snapped open with that image in my mind, only to find April’s face floating above mine, her hair dangling down and brushing against my sin.
“You’re crying,” she said, her own eyes looking just as wet and red as mine probably did. What did she have to cry about?
“It’s nothing,” I said. “It’s just hard, knowing that things won’t be the same in the morning, even if we say they will.”
“You’re right. After tonight, things are going to be different. Which is why… if things are going to be different, I’d rather it be because of the things I did say, instead of the things that I didn’t. So… I love you, Fi.”
Her words cut me deeper than I’d expected. Those words that should have made me happy only served to remind me of how far apart we really were.
“I love you too, April. You know I do. That won’t ever change.”
April shook her head, the ends of her hair trailing across my skin.
“Not like that,” she said. “I’m in love with you, and I don’t want to lose you to anyone else.”
My heart leapt into my throat. Was she trying to trick me? Maybe I’d already fallen asleep, and this was just a dream.
Dream or no dream, I wasn’t going to lose the chance to say how I felt. If I didn’t say it now, I probably never would again.
“How could you lose me to anyone else? You’re the only one that I love, April. In every possible way.”
She blushed, turning away for just a second. When she looked back, her nervousness was plastered all across her face, but her lips were curled into an undeniable smile.
“Then… can I kiss you?”
With my heart pounding in my chest, and my face burning so hot it threatened to start a fire, I nodded. April lowered her head gently, and I pushed my head up impatiently. There was no way I could wait even a second longer than I had to for that kiss.
Our hands entwined beside our heads as we kissed for the first time, our mouths desperately pressing against one another. I arched my back up, my chest lightly touching hers, the gentle friction of it driving me wild.
I was so swept up by the sensation I forgot to breathe, and stars were beginning to form in front of my eyes. April must have been in the same situation, because she pulled back suddenly, breathing in deeply.
“Why on earth didn’t you do that sooner?” I asked breathlessly.
“No idea,” she replied, just as breathlessly. “We have five hours until we need to get up, though. I vote we use it to make up for lost time.”
“I think that’s gonna take a lot more than five hours,” I told her.
“Then why are we still wasting time talking?” she asked, before practically diving into another kiss, not even giving me time to respond.