I love you.
"So, yeah. I guess what I'm trying to say is…"
"Maybe it's for the best…"
Stop. I can't.
"That we don't hang out so much anymore."
You heartless monster.
The girl smiles apologetically. Like that's supposed to change things. Like she's trying to save my feelings. But it's too late for that now.
I knew the moment she stiffened when I touched her hand during the movie, the instant we looked away from the credits and our eyes met, the second I leant in to kiss her – I knew.
It was too late. Too late. Too late.
Too late, fool. She doesn't like you that way. She wants boys.
Why would she want you?
Stupid, stupid fool. You know nothing.
I'd sat too close to her on the couch. I realise that now. Parents out, I thought maybe I could make my move. Finally tell her how I feel. Show her the colours of my heart. It beats for her, even now, when it's so broken and bitter and rotting.
And it all blew up in your stupid, ugly, girly face. She never loved you. All these years you've been fooling yourself. Puberty? That was hell for you, wasn't it? Those breasts and curves made it so much harder to forget.
I shudder, but hold back the urge to scream and shake her. She's my best friend, I have to remind myself. I couldn't be mad at her even if I so desperately want to. She's just scared. I came on too strong and now she's scared. Of me. Bitch.
"Sam, it's not that I don't want to be your friend or anything. It's just…"
"It's okay, Amy."
She stops fiddling nervously with her dress, a hopeful glimmer in her green eyes. "It is? You're not, like, angry at me?"
I shake my head. But I want to be. You horrible, cruel person. You have no idea how much I want to be.
"Even though I said no?"
She sighs. Her face is so red. She looks absolutely relieved that I'm not some screaming, sobbing mess on the floor. "Oh, you are such a darling. I was scared that you'd hate me for sure."
I remain silent. If I open my mouth, I might throw up on you. You make me sick.
"Thank you, Sammy. Thank you for being so understanding and…"
"It's fine. I wouldn't force anything on you. That's not what friends do."
Best friends forever and ever and ever.
"I know this must feel so weird for you. I can't believe how you stay so cool and mature about, well, everything. It's amazing. You're amazing." She looks like she's about to hug me, but quickly changes her mind. "Really, thank you for letting this go. Wouldn't want this to become some silly tragedy, huh?"
I watch her sit back and look away with obvious discomfort, because I'm staring at her. My firsts clench. "No." Wouldn't want that.
"Look, you'll always be my best friend. You understand, don't you? My patents, they'd never…"
She takes in a deep breath and nods, the TV's glowing monitor casting the dark room in colour, lights playing about on her adorable, bitchy, desperately needing to be punched little face. "I think your parents are back," her full lips mumble.
The garage door creaks loudly every time it opens. So it was obvious, and totally unnecessary for her to tell me.
I leave her sitting on the couch.
School feels like a bear trap, and my leg is caught in it. Every step down that corridor to my next class is painful. So I go on autopilot.
Step through the open door. Walk into the classroom and greet the teacher; Hi, sir. Take my seat. Reach into my bag and pull out my books, because lockers suck and who needs them? I don't. My bag is like my signature. It is me.
And I'm so, so lonely.
The lesson starts.
The teacher is talking, scribbling in his shitty handwriting all over the blackboard, which is actually green, but still is called a blackboard.
I can feel Amy watching me. Thinking how sad her poor, queer childhood friend must be. Maybe she's wondering whether asking me to stop phoning her and inviting her over for movie nights and popcorn was a little too cruel. It was tradition, after all. She was practically family.
But I ignore her.
I keep ignoring her for the rest of the day.
For the week.
Until I see Trevor, that obnoxious little snot, put his hand on hers the way I did as he asks her on a date.
Suddenly, I can't take my eyes off her anymore. It's just like before, except now, she's in his arms and I'm no longer her friend, am I?
I am so lonely.
My phone rings.
I feel myself stiffen in bed. "Amy."
"Listen, it's been a while. Wanna come over?" She sounds so nice. So sweet. So hopeful.
I can't help it.
I start touching myself.
"Would that be fine with your folks?" With you?
"Of course, silly. You're welcome anytime."
I resist the urge to snort while my hand drifts lower. You're the one who told me to stay away.
"Sure. I'd love to. When?"
"Maybe… tomorrow? After school? It is Friday. You could sleep over if you want."
Now I'm smiling.
Three weeks without me, and she risks having her crazy lesbian friend over for the night.
"You've stopped talking again."
"Sorry, I'm kind of busy."
"Is this, like, a bad time? Because I don't want-"
She's treating me like I'm made of glass.
"I'll be there," I tell her, fingering the elastic strap of my shorts.
"Great!" She giggles, then quickly clears her throat and adds more sensibly, "I miss you, you know."
I moan softly. I miss you, too.
"I'll see you then, Sammy."
"Yeah. See you."
She hangs up.
"That colour suits you."
It doesn't. It looks horrible. Liar.
But she's trying so hard, so I humour her, forcing myself to smile as we sit together on the carpet, doing girly things that all straight girls do. Conversion in disguise. "Thanks."
"Now I wanna try pink…"
Amy opens the pretty little tube of goop and begins to brush it over my fingernails, her hand warm over mine.
I want to touch her more than just this, and it hurts. My intentions were so pure before, but now, I want the physical stuff. I want to do the nasty. Pervert. She's only doing this because you've known her so long. Kicking you out just made her feel bad, is all. Nothing else.
"There." She works quickly to finish, then lets go of my hand. She really is guilty. Does the bare minimum to act like everything's fine, but offers me nothing genuine. Just an uncomfortable gap between us.
I gaze mournfully at my hands. One blue, the other pink. "It's nice." Why can't you love me? Is it my vagina? I'll get a sex change. Seriously, I will.
"I think the blue's better, though."
I'll dress in boy's clothes, drive a masculine car, talk real deep and do stupid, reckless things if it makes me more desirable somehow. I'll change myself if she likes me better that way. I'll leave the woman behind and become a man, for her.
Would that change anything?
Or does the knowledge that I was female still make it taboo?
Lonely, so lost.
And later that night, I don't even get to snuggle in the same bed with her like we used to. She makes up some bullshit story about camping out in the lounge while watching a chick flick, so we'll be in separate sleeping bags. And when it's lights out, she zips hers up and that is that.
But she did her duty as a friend.
Invited me over.
Painted my nails.
Watched a movie with me.
Went to sleep while I remained awake, crying.
Not that I made a sound while doing it, of course.
Trevor's birthday party comes too soon.
I stand in the corner; sipping my drink quietly and watching them dance.
Amy looks pretty in her dress. Pink and so feminine, so straight.
I'm beginning to think he's really not such a snot at all, and that he treats her like a lady and makes her smile so happily, and how I want to find a razor to slit my throat with and die.
"Sam, can I tell you something?" Amy asks me while we're shopping one day. She does the purchasing, and I just float around and follow her wherever she goes in this holy church of shoes. Worshipping them.
"We did it last night."
I choke on my smoothie.
"Me and Trevor. We did it."
She even repeats it for me, just to make sure I understand.
She and Trevor had sex.
And now she's telling me about it.
Her little lesbian friend.
"It hurt at first, but when we got into it…" She smiles, looking at me like I'm magically supposed to feel glad for her, all gay feelings and thoughts flying out the window. "It was amazing."
I crush the Styrofoam cup in my hand, purple slush pouring down.
Months after she tries to break up with me, then links up with me again, fails to make me not gay through nail painting and all the other girly bullshit, she gives me this. And I'm supposed to forget about years worth of unwanted affection and be happy for her?
I can't. I won't.
"Sammy, your smoothie…"
My rotten heart weeps blood.
She should have seen this coming.
Should have known this would happen, but she was reckless.
And now she's turned to me.
The understanding lesbian friend.
Amy came to me because she didn't know where else to turn. Heavens no, certainly not her parents or some other adults she could trust. They wouldn't understand.
And I can't help but smile at the irony of it all while she pitifully tells me how scared she is and how she doesn't know how it happened, or what she'll do now. She's regretting ever loving Trevor, and it's a victory for me, because my mind is screaming I told you so.
With me, she would never have had to worry.
If she'd just accepted me the way I am, and let me in, and did it with me me instead…
She wouldn't be sitting in my arms right now, crying into my chest.
"I can't kill it."
"So what are you gonna do, then?"
Amy's face scrunches up as she whispers in a tiny voice, "Have the baby and give it up for adoption. I think that's the right thing to do."
"And your parents still don't know?" I play dumb. Of course they don't.
"No. Nothing. Dad just thinks I'm getting fat because I quit cheerleading, and mom thinks I'm a fucking saint. Sam, I don't know what they'll say when they realise I'm…"
She sniffles, allowing me to gently brush her hair aside. She loves me so much now. I've been everything she could possibly hope for; supportive, loving, understanding, and faithfully keeping her secret.
I took Trevor's place when he got suspicious and ran. When he ignores her in the halls, I've got my arm around her waist, whispering encouragingly in her ear.
I've protected her.
The only thing keeping our relationship unofficial is the lack of a first kiss.
Her parents were pissed.
Amy told me so over the phone. Now we chill in my parent's car, which I borrowed for this occasion, and listen to the radio while the sun sets; my arm draped over the seats and her head resting on my lap, her slightly swollen stomach stretching her shirt.
No barrier between us now.
I'm practically the father, here.
Certainly taken the role.
And I'm growing fond of the little snot spawn, I'll admit.
Almost like it was my own.
Reaching down to touch her stomach, I chuckle softly, feeling the life growing beneath my fingers. Thanks for the help, little one. I owe you for this.
The mother to be sighs softly. "I don't know what I'd do without you, Sammy. You've been such a great help. Thank you."
I shrug as if it were nothing. "What are friends for, right?"
She smiles tearfully. "Right. You're a godsend, Sam."
I lift her shirt and stroke her belly beneath. "I don't think so."
She shivers. "Mmm…"
I rub a little harder. You like that, don't you? Bet you wish you'd considered me sooner.
She doesn't stop me, reaching up to stroke my cheek with a loving finger. An invitation. I can see it in her eyes.
I trace circles in her stomach, my arousal, my excitement, showing itself through quickening breaths and a burning face. Say it.
"I know I screwed up last time. I get that now, and I'm sorry for hurting you."
That's right. And?
"I should have given us a try. Trevor… Trevor was nothing. A mistake. I don't love him anymore, and look what he did to me."
This is so good. And what else can you tell me?
"You've stuck around even when I didn't deserve you. So I guess what I'm trying to say is…"
"I'd like to get to know you better, Sam."
I squeeze her hand, a tear slipping down my cheek that simply cannot be helped. Yes.
She sits up, moves onto her knees, and holds onto me as she presses her mouth against mine.
Now I'm the one she's holding onto.
The baby is gone.
Now it's just me and Amy. Amy and I.
The two of us.
That little brat screamed so much I don't know how I stopped myself from throttling it before the hopeful, barren couple finally took that thing away.
Looked just like Trevor. Snot. I'm glad it's gone.
I've moved into an apartment. Dingy place. But it's okay. Amy moved in with me when her parents just couldn't accept that their princess got herself pregnant while still in her last year of high school, gave the baby away afterward, and then suddenly turned gay for her best friend, with whom she'd shared sleepovers with and attended birthday parties and allowed to lie in her bed, obviously spreading her germs and infecting the household. Amy had come out after years of secretive contamination.
But I'm quite happy.
I got Amy.
The girl moans beneath me when I bite her neck possessively, because there is no escape now.
Yes I did.