Love is...I don't know. In my family love wasn't a word that held any sort of power. Well, I mean, it did, but I never had a problem throwing it at people. Hell, I used to tell the goldfish that spent a few days in my room--hiding from Aunt Olive's cat--that I loved it before I went to bed. I suppose all of my brother's did go through that phase where they hated, absolutely hated, being told someone "L-worded" them. So I said it a lot then. But other then that it was just a word. I said it to all my friends growing up, and to all the pets and a few inanimate objects.

I did figure out, well, not so much figure out as just have a very weird hesitancy to use the term with boyfriends though. Mainly because it wasn't just 'love' there. I could love their personality, love them like a friend or what have you, but as soon as you uttered the word love people thought you were in love with them and had some hope of them being your one and only. And that's just a bit odd to me. So, I vowed, or rather, simply decided, to not say it until I actually thought I might be in love with the boy. Makes sense, right? Yeah, but I figured out later that it's hard as hell to hear someone say they love you and not say it back--Mainly because you start feeling vaguely guilty for it. See, I had a boyfriend at some point who, after a few weeks of dating, told me he loved me. And you can only respond to "I love you" with jokes so many times before it just gets horribly awkward. So I ended up telling him I returned the sentiment when I really didn't. Felt kind of guilty for that too. Never did really fall in love with him either. But that's in the past now.

There have been a few times in my life when I've known I might be in love with a boy. Not that I was, but that I probably could love them with some time. A few times after realizing that I broke up with them, other times it just continued as normal until we split normally. But still, after spending a certain amount of time with someone you can just get the feeling that in that moment you're compatible. That can change.

Sometimes it'll change even if you don't want it to. Sometimes it'll come when you don't want it to. It's just life. And love too I guess.

But really, the point I'm getting at is that the moment you realize something may come of it all, you're always surprised somehow.

When I first realized I could probably love Cam I wasn't even talking to him. It was Christmas. We'd been together for about five months. We were at the Henderson's. My family never manages to celebrate Christmas on the day of, so we were heading over there the next day. Anyways, Cam was in front of the tree, stubbornly refusing to give Marcus his gift until Marcus admitted that Cam was smarter then him. Ethan had taken the opportunity to climb on Cam's back. I was sitting back, laughing at them. Cam glanced my way at the laughter and shot me a look--Which only made me giggle more. Marcus took advantage of the distraction and tried to tackle his brother. Cam rocked back, Ethan just barely managed to keep balanced, and after a moment Cam managed to stand, holding on to Marcus. All three were laughing at that point, and that's when I realized it. I can't even explain why. But I just...Knew. I didn't love him yet. Well, I did love him. I wasn't in love with him yet. But I could be. I just had to decide if I wanted to be. If I didn't then I had to get out now. I just had to make my choice.

It ended up that I didn't really get a choice. Well, I guess I got a little bit of a choice, but not much of one. I suppose I should explain. I was still considering what I wanted to do when, well, I'm not really sure what happened. I think it was a combination of the fact that both of our schedules in the new semester was horrible, the fact that one of my ex-boyfriends had a complete breakdown, and I was a friend to him, not just an ex, so I had to break a date with Cam to attend to him. I don't think he liked that much, especially considering I had to do it two more times. I think the final straw--but I might be assuming to much--was that he didn't want to have a serious girlfriend.

So, I kind of lost my choice. I suppose I could've fought harder, but if someone--especially an asshole--is giving you that 'this isn't working' talk, you don't argue. I mean, you try to talk it through, but if the other person is set on it, it would be kind of stupid to try to argue it. I mean, who wants to be with someone who doesn't want to be with them? So, we broke up. And I tried to tell myself it didn't matter. Wasn't in love with him yet, right?

Yeah. Well, I might've been a bit peeved. And he was an asshole and whenever we saw each other we argued. Which, admittedly, we did when we were together, but it got a hell of a lot nastier when we weren't. And I think a lot of that was my fault because I was still coming to terms with the whole thing. There was one fight that went a bit over the top. I'd rather not think about it really. But in any case, he ended up storming away, driving off and getting into a car crash. He was hospitalized. I visited him of course. It was about two weeks of visiting when I told him.

It's not exactly a happy memory. As soon as I found out he was hospitalized and in a coma I was pretty devastated. Marcus was the one who called and told me. I didn't believe him at first, but he was pretty broken up on the phone, and he's not one to let emotions show, even at eleven he wasn't. I didn't actually visit him that night. I couldn't deal with it. I did go over to his apartment--I still had a key from when we were dating, he still had one to my apartment as well--and broke down. I'd rather not--Right. Anyways. The day after I started visiting him. Couldn't stay for long, but I tried to talk to him a little. It was one of those rumors that talking to coma patients helped them, I don't think I was very coherent, but I like to think it helped some. And then one day I just said it.

"I love you." It was between murmured "I'm sorry"s, "Get better"s, and "What were you thinking?"s. Ethan probably heard me, but I really didn't care much. I think I probably said it every following time I visited. Just once every time, and when the room was as empty as it could be. Which meant Ethan was still there because he didn't leave that room.

The second time I told him I was completely smashed. I know, underaged drinking and all that bad stuff. But, I wasn't driving. I got a cab to Cam's house. There was no reason I went to his house and not home, well, other then the fact that I just wanted to. Oh, and he was out of his coma by this point. He actually wasn't there when I showed up. And I decided since he wasn't around I would tell his hat rack I loved it. I was practicing for him. Or at least I think I was. Because I'd decided I needed to tell him. So I told his hat rack. His wall. Most of his doors. His pictures, and was in the middle of telling his couch when he came in. And of course he eyed me, and asked how much I'd had to drink, and I just threw myself at him and told him I loved him. Then I caught sight of the coat rack and told it I loved it again too. And it was about that time when he started taking me less seriously. Especially when I told the couch I loved it again.

He put me to bed, after asking why I loved the couch, and being amused by my answer that it was keeping the floor from attacking me, and after warning me I'd have a horrid hangover. Which I did. Woke up curled up with him, which was nice. Would've been nicer if it didn't feel like someone was trying to drill a tunnel through my head. He questioned why I'd said it a few times, but after it became clear that I wasn't thinking very well though my headache, and my point that I obviously hadn't been thinking clearly the night before, he dropped it. I didn't feel right about denying it since it was true, but he obviously figured I meant that it wasn't true, which was what I was going for anyways. Considering we weren't going out, I didn't exactly want him to think I meant it. My head was still pounding, so I went home and went back to sleep. And managed to avoid doing that again, which I thought was a very good thing.

Did end up telling him again though. And again I'd like to point out that it was all in the circumstances. Basically I was crashing at his place because my own was covered with study material. I hadn't seen my bed in about two weeks. Had fallen asleep among the books and papers a few times. But mostly I just hadn't slept. At all. I was actually wearing a shirt I'd stolen from Cam's closet when he'd been in his coma. I'd actually forgotten I'd stolen it until he asked about it. And I did actually admit it, and actually with an explanation for why--Which I wouldn't have mentioned if I hadn't been as sleep deprived as I was. The explanation? That when I wore it I could close my eyes and pretend he was actually there and okay--and holding me. And at the time I assumed he had to be fairly sleep deprived himself when he had me come sit next to me and, well, basically cuddle. So, in such a position it was no surprise that I just muttered that I loved him when I fell asleep. I kind of figured he was asleep, but when he asked, "What?" a few moments after, I realized he wasn't. Of course, I just pretended to be asleep at that point, so it hardly mattered anyways.

The next morning he brought it up again. Both about me saying it the night before and the fact that Ethan said I'd said it while he was unconscious. And I apologized. I don't think I can really explain the whole thing. So, give me some slack if this comes out bad or hard to understand or anything.

This is what I remember happening, though I'm sure he'd give you a slightly different version of it. When I woke up I'd actually forgotten what I'd said the night before, so when he mentioned both the fact that I said it the night before and that Ethan had apparently over heard me saying it in the hospital, I was a bit taken aback and didn't give much more then a blink and a murmured "Oh..." in response. He waited a bit for more, then just asked if I did, and I sucked it up and admitted that it was. Now I was feeling a little cornered, but he was looking a little confused. Said he didn't understand why I would. And that's about the point I started rambling. Told him I just did, apologized, said I knew it was something no one wanted an ex to say, assured him I wouldn't be chasing him or anything and that he didn't have to worry about it. He told me not to apologize, as always, then stumbled through explaining that he didn't hate hearing it. I suppose that should've been a clue, but I just steadily continued on and told him he really didn't have to worry about it, and he just shook his head, said he wasn't worried, just wondering why we broke up. Now I was really surprised, but not in a unpleasant way. I explained what I thought the reasons were, he nodded at them then just said, "I wish we hadn't." Which was really nice to hear.

And really, I'm not going to hash out the rest of that for you. Needless to say we got back together. Yes, then. And no, he didn't say that he loved me then, in fact, he lasted longer against saying it then I did against my ex. And he sounded awkward enough about it that I knew he meant it. He's not a guy who does things like that just for the hell of it. He's arrogant enough to not feel too guilty about not saying things like that.

We were both reading, and he'd just gotten up to get something and had grabbed me a glass of water, so I absentmindedly told him I loved him. And it must've been at least two minutes later when I heard him say it back. And it was soft, and kind of hesitant. I stared at him for a moment. I half didn't believe that he'd actually said it. But he was looking at me and he had said it. So, I basically put my book down, grabbed his book and put it down, and kissed him.

And that, as you say, is that.