I know I promised I'd write or call you as soon as I arrived in England. I also know you're concerned, because two weeks have passed since we have had contact, and when you called my hotel – as I don't have a cell phone – the hotel personnel stated there was no Jillian Wells in that room, or anywhere in the hotel for that matter.
This is because I never went to the hotel I told you about. Yes, I lied to you. I didn't stay in the hotel; I actually went to stay with a friend at her place.
The truth is, I'm not in London for a tour or anything like that. I lied, saying that I would be abroad for at most a year, so you wouldn't worry. I've thought about this for a really long time now, and I finally took the courage to leave – I talked to my parents about this, the only ones who knew about this, and they supported me thoroughly with my decision.
What decision? I will get to that in due time, but let me address some things first.
Having known you all my life, I've always known you were a romantic, though you always denied it vehemently saying you weren't simply because you were male. Being the romantic you are, you wanted to be at least engaged at twenty-two years old to the love of your life. Constantly made fun of because of your attachment to commitment, my sister and I constantly made fun of you for it. But in the end, you got what you wanted. You, as of last month, are engaged. To your best friend, me. So here you are, after me and you and my sister Angel being friends all our lives, engaged to one of your best friends as the other is my sister, obviously.
Though Angel was almost a year younger than us, I always wondered why you kept her close with us, making us a trio. I think it was because we were in the same grade and her and I were sisters, so why separate me from her when you could be both our friends and let us sisters keep our bond?
So half of your dream came true. You're engaged to your best friend at twenty-three. However, you're engaged to the wrong one, and you don't think I know, but I do. You aren't in love with me.
You love Angel. And I've always known you have loved her from the very start
I know she loves you, too. And I won't argue, you two will be a much better couple than you and I will ever be. You're extremely attractive, funny, and sensitive. She's vivacious, gorgeous, and kind… though it doesn't hurt that she has the mind to complement those characteristics.
Me, I've always been plain. Dull, boring, and extremely down-to-earth. I know you'll argue I am smarter than Angel will ever be, but intelligence in the end gets trumped by beauty.
As you very well know, I've always been the older sister. Between you and your older brother, you've always received less attention, and I know you are jealous of him because of it.
With Angel and I, you know it has never been like that. I get a statement of praise for all my achievements and she is then adored for her charisma, good looks, personality… and you've always known that. If you described me as a candle, she was a stunning chandelier. If I was a single rose, she was a bouquet. If I was a violin, she was an entire orchestra… anyway you get the point. If it was one thing you always understood about me, it was my horrible analogies.
I used to think the greatest thing in the world to have was to be with the love of my life. Recently, I realized this isn't true. You can't even begin to imagine how wrong I was. The greatest thing you could ever own, in fact, is the knowledge that he loves you back.
I was so stupid, thinking I was so lucky to have this… to have you. The truth is, I only have half, which makes this the worst thing in the world. I am with you, the one I am in love with, but I will forever be watching you yearn for someone else.
Did you never think I would be able to find out? You first asked me to be your girlfriend when we were fifteen, right after you saw Angel with her new boyfriend. I was your best friend, and though you loved me, you weren't in love with me and loved Angel more. I know you weren't planning on us staying together for so long, that you weren't going to marry me. By now, you had expected to be with Angel.
So what made you propose to me? Did you finally resign to the fact that she was never going to reciprocate your feelings? That she would never love you, and would forever be oblivious to the fact that you love her? Partly the charade of the relationship, I think, went on for so long was because you never hinted to ending it with me. In reality, you couldn't end our relationship, because it would only tell me you used me to get my sister. I never ended it because I was in love with you.
I still am. I love you still, so much. I had had a crush on you since the first time we met and while we grew, my crush grew too. Everything you did caused me to fall deeper for you. To me, you were always this amazing, sensitive boy who was there for me because you and I were each other's best friends more than Angel was to either of us. You made me laugh, beat up the few boys I had went out with before going out with you, and that never changed when we got together. Whenever Angel wasn't around, which wasn't very often, I felt like I was actually dating the you I had previously fallen in love with. When you started liking my sister, I felt like I had lost an important part of you. That part of you had always been reserved for me, but then you started to show it to Angel more often. The things you did for me, like buy ice cream when I was menstruating or break into my locker to leave silly notes or drive me to the mall even though I never asked you to do it? It no longer felt like a right for me only.
I am tired of being second to Angel. I think everyone started out fussing over her more because they didn't want me to overshadow her. That never happened. Angel was just born to be more popular than I was, and for a while, I was okay with that. Angel never stayed in the spotlight alone because she always dragged me into it. It was kind of like pancakes and chocolate syrup, you know? You couldn't have one without the other and Angel made sure it stayed like that. We were both part of the package, and if someone was okay with Angel and not me, Angel made it clear that it was both of us, or none of us.
With people, you were always the last to be picked – with friends, projects, sports teams… because Angel is always first and I am always readily second. But being second is always worse than being picked last because that just means you were good enough to be first, but someone was just better. Picked second is a feeling you just can't ever get used to, because you're always reminded of that fact.
We spent our engagement party at a bar. I remember because I left early. I didn't feel like partying with our friends, and though I left early, I know what you and Angel did later. I didn't want to party because by then, I had finally accepted that you will never love me. Though I was in your heart, Angel would always be first and foremost and if you were issued an ultimatum, you would pick Angel your best friend, and not Jillian your fiancée.
Did you think I wouldn't notice that the only times you use the word "beautiful" is to describe Angel? There were just some things you did with me, just because of Angel. My first kiss – and not just with you – was in front of her; before that we had been dating for a week and we hadn't kissed on the lips. Right before you kissed me, Angel had been describing her first kiss, with her first boyfriend. I remember that clearly. It was May and it was a sunny Sunday. We had been sitting on the steps of your house, the three of us just talking. Right when Angel and I were about to leave and we were all standing up, you leaned forward and pressed your lips to mine. My eyes had been closed, yours were open, but you hadn't been looking at me. You were looking at Angel, trying to gauge her reaction. You didn't get one, and that was the beginning of many firsts you had with me, just to make my sister do anything – it didn't matter what she did, as long as it was something.
We had sex for the first time because of Angel, too. She was talking about how her boyfriend at the time wanted to sleep with her maybe two years later, and once you were sure you weren't going to be her first, you became mine.
In a way, I was a replacement Angel in your eyes. Though you acknowledged that I was my own person and was smart enough to not think of me as another Angel, I can still count off the few times you nearly said her name instead of mine – whether it was in a conversation or in the bedroom. I pretended not to notice, because I was so happy that you had stated you had feelings for me and that you were dating me, and not Angel. I also know, though you didn't show it, that you were mad to discover that she was still a virgin and we both weren't, because that meant your first time (and not just with me) had been in vain.
I look like Angel, which I think is why you chose me to be your "pretend" girlfriend. You are usually a clever guy, but anything about Angel you became desperate and impulsive. In private, we never just made out or went on dates for just the sake of a couple being together – there was always a purpose and that purpose always had Angel in the mix. First kiss, first time we held hands, hell – even your first "I love you" to me was in front of her! You only told me that a number of times I can count on one hand, and they were all when Angel was within hearing range.
You were the first I ever had sex with; no doubt you were hers too, the night of that party. You can blame it on the alcohol, but I know one of you was sober. I can't even begin to decide which hurts more – if you were sober and she was drunk… or vice versa. Either way, you got what you wanted – you were her first. The only thing you most likely regret is not having her as your first. That's almost the only leverage I have – I was the first you had sex with, and she wasn't.
All through my life, people have always noticed Angel first. The only person ever to know me before my sister was that girl Kathleen in kindergarten. Remember her? She's the one who moved away to London in eighth grade, though I still keep in touch with her. I actually hadn't meant to move in with her upon arriving in London – I had decided that after she saw me in the airport's café.
Though I hadn't seen her since she moved, we both recognized each other right away. We bought coffee, and then talked. She knew I was engaged, and without much beating around the bush, she asked me what I was doing without my fiancé. I could tell she didn't need to, though. As soon as she asked that, she knew.
She knew. She had always known. She knew that you and Angel liked each other and adding on the fact that I was engaged to you, she knew. The incredulity I had felt when she answered her own question overwhelmed me, because she had known all along that though you and I had implied we were in it for the long haul, we wouldn't work out because of Angel. Maybe if Angel wasn't around, she had said, you and I would have been able to be the couple I had always wanted us to be. She knew you had never been in love with me, and have been using me to either make Angel jealous, or simply pretend I was Angel. She knew I was in love with you and that all along I had known you loved Angel. I just simply refused to believe it until now.
Ironically, I had always pushed Kathleen aside in favor for you two. And she knows that. She knows that if I hadn't chosen them over her, we would've been the best friends she had wanted us to be, and only now have I realized it. She doesn't complain though, because she was waiting for me to realize that she'd always be there for me, like the older sister of a destructive young teenager, I guess. The whole time she was explaining that she knew that I would finally acknowledge she would always be there for me, I realized she always said if and not when – meaning it wasn't a yes or no matter of if I would realize she'd be there for me, it was a matter of time… basically a 'yes, but when' kind of thing. You and Angel did the same, choosing me over the rest of the kids because you knew how sensitive I was about being chosen over.
It doesn't matter anymore, because I am calling off our engagement. Now that I am out of the picture, you and Angel can be together. I just hope you realize that the quicker you two are together, the faster and more violent our circle of friends will tear you apart. I had always been their pet – them also knowing of my sensitivity and all – and now that I've left, they will soon put together the picture and know what happened. Technically, our circle of friends was really mine, because when you two were off together alone, I made friends who really chose you two first, but came to regret not knowing me first. They all, after discovering I love you and you love her, don't really like you, as I am fairly certain you have noticed. I've always told them to be nice to you because we all can't really blame you for loving her, but now that I'm in England and you all are still in New York City, they won't have any scruples as to trying to tear you two apart.
If you two really love each other as I am sure you two do, you'll stay together despite all the things they'll hurl at you. You'll also hopefully realize where they are all coming from. They never thought that you were good enough for me, because to them, I have wasted eight years of my life in a relationship where my partner loves my sister while I still love my partner.
Angel… she's shy, but I'm sure once you tell her you love her, she won't be as reluctant to let you know she reciprocates. If you're there to help her, she'll be less hesitant to betray her sister, and she won't feel as guilty. I don't know about my parents' reactions, but I think they always knew that Angel, and not me, was really the one you should be engaged to.
In retrospect, I really can't blame Angel. My sister has never done anything to let you know of her feelings, and in a way, that was how I was able to live throughout the years we were together. You were never able to get her to react until that party, and because of that, I love her more. I will forever be grateful to her for never showing any interest in you while you played your games with me, because she had chosen to keep me naïve over you being happy. She and I were close, but we've only talked once about ultimatums. I think we were about seven and doing homework. The assignment had been, "If you were stuck on an island, who would you like to be stuck with?" and she had written about me. After finishing the homework, I asked her who she picked and she said me. Then I asked, "Are you sure?" and she cut me off with an "I'll never change my choice, ever."
I don't think she ever realized I considered her my competition. She was just always better than me at everything excluding academics, but I had long realized having high scores on examinations wasn't as important as going out to do something. I had realized the only reason she was accepted into the various colleges I had been accepted to because she had many volunteering hours mentioned in her applications. All I really had were my grades, though there were the few hours those occasions I had been pushed by Angel to tutor little kids. I never went without her, because I had been so scared of the kids, but I shouldn't have. They were young and they had generally liked me, though I had scarcely talked to them, except to help them with their work.
And I can't hate you either. I still love you as much as I ever have, but it is over between both of us. You can apologize all you want, but truthfully you knew we were over before we began. I don't know what compelled you to ask me to be your girlfriend, because you knew we weren't going to work out because you love her. I had been purely happy to accept that you liked me, but the fact that you love her… it shatters me inside every time I think about how I used to be so sure I would be able to continue to love you even if you didn't love me.
You also taught me some things, when you weren't obsessing over my sister. You taught me how to blindly trust someone, just on the certainty that they loved you. You helped me realize I was my own person, and helped me find myself when I was lost and didn't realize I had my own purpose like everyone else did. You helped me grow more confident in myself and in doing all those things for Angel while leaving me, you helped me make friends and that made it okay for me that people chose me second. It isn't as big a deal as I used to make it, and I have you to thank for it.
In case you were curious, my decision was to end our engagement as well as simultaneously move to England permanently. I can't live with seeing you and my sister together, because between the fact that I love you so much and that she can still love you more than I will ever, I can't take it. It's too much for me to think about and I would rather not live with seeing you two together because it will just remind me of what you and I could have been if she didn't exist. I sound jealous, and I probably am. But you were never mine, and I had always wanted to be yours, but what difference does it make? I never had you, so I really don't have a right to be jealous. If I see you two together though, I'll just feel that she's showing you off to me. I can take you two being together quietly without me knowing at all – as ignorance is bliss – but I can't take it if you two are out in the open because it'll just remind me of how foolish I was to fall for you when everyone else could tell that our relationship was one-sided.
I know it was pretty cowardly of me to break up with you through a letter, but you know I have always been cowardly. Though I was growing more confident, I wasn't strong enough to be with you in the same room to break my own heart and take the weight off your chest. With me having moved to England, I hope we don't cross paths ever again.
I can't see you and not remember that Angel and you are together, and you and I are not. I still want to be able to see you, but I know this is right. I don't want to see you again, because I'll just continue to die my slow death, watching you be happy with her. It would also remind me of the one time you cheated on me with my sister, because though my mind had never fully accepted you didn't love me, it had been prepared to accept that you would cheat on me. It saddens me that I was ready to accept that you would cheat on me, but not because you didn't love me, but because of circumstances – an 'I know this will happen, but not because of this' kind of thing, I guess.
Now that I am in England, our worlds hopefully will not collide. I don't know how everyone else will react to my departure once it gets out, but I know they surely will put the blame on you and Angel. If we do ever meet again, I hope you will just treat me as any other acquaintance. We can't be best friends anymore, so please don't contact me after this letter. I hope you understand where I am coming from. I really do love you, but if I continue to allow you into my life, I'll just continue to hurt myself even more. Do you understand? Without you in my life as a constant, I'll be able to live a little easier. If I see you all the time, and with my sister, I'll just constantly be reminding myself that I'd still be engaged to you if I hadn't called it off.
I can't take it anymore. You persistently talking to Angel, regardless of if I was around, you and I never talking about where our relationship was going (more specifically, before the engagement we should've talked about taking another step), you and I never even talking like we were best friends anymore… The man I was going to marry felt like a stranger. You were so obsessed with Angel, and it sounds so sad, but it's true. You were obsessed, and you were obsessed with my sister so much that you no longer cared about anyone else getting hurt in the process.
It makes you sound pathetic, and I guess that's what you are. I mean, the whole time, you were using me to get my sister, even though you knew that Angel and I didn't take each other's leftovers because that would be betrayal. You were extremely desperate that you only thought about what you were going to do and not what would happen next, and that was what made my final decision concrete. You didn't care at all about me; you only cared that you were going to get what you wanted.
But like I said, I can't hate you or Angel. You two are just two people in love. It's just that Angel had more morals than you and didn't succumb to the games you played like I did. You jerked me around, Ian. And you know that's the other thing I hate, right below being chosen second. I didn't like being your puppet before, and I don't like it now – the only difference is that I've finally become conscious to it, and that is the reason why I am ending not just the engagement, but us.
A/N: There are a few possible songs to be listening to while you were reading --
Where I Stood, Missy Higgins: most mirrors the story
Boy in a Magazine, Socratic: mostly "I'll mean nothing to you / You'll mean nothing to me"
Winner at a Losing Game, Rascal Flatts: mostly "Have you ever had to love someone / That just don't feel the same / Tryin' to make somebody care for you / The way I do / Is like tryin' to catch the rain / And if love is really forever / I'm a winner at a losin' game"
Thank you for reading, and please review!