Dear Max Myers,

I am writing this to explain to you why I said no. I know I hurt you. I know I led you on. I know I messed up. I love you so much but I couldn't say yes. It wasn't right. The only person I loved more than you was a boy called Freddy. You aren't lucky enough to have met Freddy. He was an amazing person.

When I met him we were seven. He had muddy blonde hair, sky blue eye and an infectious grin. When he laughed his pearly teeth laughed with him. His eyes sparkled silver and gold and you had no choice but to join in. He was the kindest boy I've ever met. Freddy had no enemies and everyone who saw him were charmed by his amazing manners. I felt safe in his company; even if we were in an erupting volcano I would have felt safe. We soon became close friends and confided our deepest secrets to each other.

My secrets were petty things like how I stayed up reading past my bedtime and I once stole a Hobnob from the biscuit tin. Freddy's secrets, however, were sad things. He told me how his parents thought him useless and had nicknamed him trash boy. He said he spent his evenings cooking and cleaning rather than doing all the things a seven year old boy should be doing like climbing trees and playing tag. By the age of eight I was sneaking off to do his shopping so my poor friend could have a break. I mastered his hand writing and did his homework but even with my attempts to help Freddy was struggling. His parents started to go and get drunk. They would hurl abusive words at him and as a result he was convinced he was an "evil imp", "a stupid leach" and "a pointless waste of space". Despite my best efforts Freddy continued to believe he was the worst mistake since nuclear weapons.

When we reached our last year of primary school the rest of the girls began to show interest in boys. A few of us had boyfriends before but now pretty much all of the girls were trying to get a boyfriend. When a girl came up to Freddy, and a few girls who liked him, he always turned them down (in the kindest way that he could) but I always felt a pang of something when they asked him out and afterwards I felt relived. It confused me when I realised the pang I felt was jealousy. When Freddy sat next to me one day and my heart started thumping at twice its normal rate I finally realised why I felt jealous – I loved Fredric Myers.

When we were near each other a shiver ran down my and when we were apart my heart ached for him. I may have been young but I had totally fallen for him. I was in love and I had it bad.

Freddy asked me, one day, who I had a crush on so I replied with no one but I couldn't stop my blush. I asked him who his was. I am ashamed to say I wanted to try and put him of the girl he turned so many people for. Freddy said there was no one he liked either, a bit too for him to be being honest, and he also blushed. It was then it dawned on me- what if he liked me? He told me everything so the only plausible explanation was that he liked me. I told him I felt sick and ran off to the toilet so I could think things over.

For the next few days I watched Freddy carefully, taking note of the way he was extremely protective over me. More than once I caught him gazing at me. I was certain he liked me back. I am ashamed to say that, although I knew we both liked each other, I was not the first to act.

In June of 2000 Freddy asked me to be his boyfriend and I, of course, agreed. We were perfect together. We held hands and talked; we spent all our free time together. We were the happiest we had been in our life and Freddy even stopped worrying about what his parents thought of him. When my parents made me promise not to get a boyfriend until I was eighteen, I happily agreed without a shred of guilt. Surely, I thought, if my parents knew Freddy as well as I did they wouldn't mind at all.

As the summer holidays loomed I began to worry about Freddy. He was losing weight, he only properly smiling when I was around and I even caught him crying when he thought no one was watching. Freddy never cried.

When the holidays finally came he stopped meeting up with me. I spent many sleepless nights worrying about him. My parents noticed me not eating much and sleeping much later than I normally would. I went through everyday life without enthusiasm- any happiness I enjoyed was quickly eradicated by worrying for Freddy.

When the first day in high school finally rolled around I was awash with emotions; I was scared because it was my first day in a new school and also because Freddy might not have even turned up; I was happy that Freddy might be there; I was excited because it was a chance to make new friends and get new friend and teachers. Most of all, I was sick with worry. What if something dreadful had happened to Fred that I didn't know about? I asked myself.

However when I stepped into form, my worst fears were dispelled. Freddy was at the front f the classroom talking to my new tutor about Shakespeare. He was a complete nerd. I called out his name, excited to see my boyfriend after the six week break. He was looking healthy as well: the colour had returned to his cheeks; he had put on a bit of weight so he didn't look as if the wind would blow him away anymore; he looked strong and even more handsome than before. My heart beat faster, for him.

At break time he told me that his little sister had been badly ill and his parents were drinking a lot so he didn't want to leave her side. His parents would never purposely hurt her – she was the apple of their eyes but Freddy couldn't be sure she was safe. I felt so proud that my boyfriend because he wasn't bitter that his sister was so favoured. His sister had been so close to death but finally, two weeks ago, she got better. Freddy's parents had stopped drinking so much and they were treating him a little better. He had looked after his sister carefully after she started to get better so he hadn't had had chance to come and explain to me. I told him I understand and I would have been angry at him if he hadn't looked after his little sister. Then Freddy hugged me and I hugged him back. Then Freddy did something which made my heart flutter- he gently kissed my cheek. I wanted more. I wanted for him to kiss me on the lips and me to kissed= him back but what you must understand about me and Freddy is that we liked to take things slowly. It was important that we never rushed each other. We would never do something that either f us might regret. Each step in our love was magical.

We carried on enjoying each other's company. Whatever we were doing we were happy as long as we were together. Whether we were chatting on the field, doing homework or just sitting near each other in a test we were happy. We were truly happy.

It was in year nine that perhaps the most magical moment of my life happened. A year ago Freddy had got a job in the morning. I told him he shouldn't work so hard. He already did a lot at home and I didn't what him to get ill. He insisted he could handle it and anyway, Freddy said, he was saving up to treat me. I just shook my head and told him I didn't need any treats because I had him, and it was true. That was in the middle of year eight and eventually I forgot about it- which was one of the reasons that I was so surprised when a year later when he pulled me into an empty store room and told me he had an important question. He went down on one knee and asked me something amazing:

"Sarah Melisa Elizabeth Holbrook, would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?" He said with complete sincerity. I was speechless. Freddy was in front of me, holding out a simple silver ring with a diamond in the middle and gently smiling up at me. It must have taken him forever to earn the money to buy it for me. He only had a paper round so it must have taken him all year.

"Yes!" I whispered, finally regaining to ability to speak. He slipped the ring on my finger as he stood up. I stepped forwards and leaned towards him. I kissed properly on the lips, a kiss which he gladly returned. It was our first proper kiss.

We both knew we would have a long wait before we could marry – we were only fourteen, for goodness sake, but that didn't matter to us. I loved my ring and I didn't mind that I couldn't wear it; I could keep it safe and know it was near me as a symbol of our love. Freddy and I were perfectly content or for a while we were, anyway.

What happened next was my fault. Freddy started losing weight, again, he was coming to school covered in bruises and he went missing for days on end. I didn't know what to do to help him! I tried but it wasn't enough; the boy I loved with all my heart was slipping away from me. I should have done more to help him – sent him to see a doctor or something. I was so scared and I should have done more but I didn't. I am to blame for what became of my poor Freddy.

It was his fifteenth and, instead id celebrating like there was no tomorrow (as he normally would have) he was distant. He only accepted happy birthdays half heartedly. Freddy wouldn't make eye contact with me as if he was hiding something – it was as if he felt guilty about something. I sighed as I sat down on my bed that evening. I was full of dread about something and I knew something terrible was going to happen. I knew Freddy was going to do something and it was too late to fix it. I knew whatever was about to happen was my fault. I let out a cry of frustration and retrieved the box which contained my ring from under my bed. I frowned, seeing a small envelope inside. My name was n top, in Freddy's handwriting. My mouth ran dry. I thought he had run away r something and the thought of that terrified me. I was right, in a way – he had run away but not in the way I was imagining. Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. With my hands trembling I opened the envelope and began to read:

Dear Sarah Melisa Elizabeth Holbrook,

I love you with all my heart and more. That is why I must do what I am about to do even though I know you will not be happy with my decision. I do not know if, by the time you read this, you already know what I am about to do. If you do know I can only apologise that you did not find this letter sooner. Always remember I am doing this because I love you – I am setting you free. My parents are right; I am a waste of space no matter what you say. You were blinded by love but soon I hope you will be able to see how evil and selfish I am. When I proposed to you, I was being selfish. I shouldn't have tried to tie you down to me. I love you enough to let you go but I just wasn't ready. I am sorry for what I have done to you. I know you will be angry at me doing this but I am doing it for you, because I love you. This is what's best for you Sarah. That is why today at 18:00 PM I will jump off the top of my block of flats. Make sure you move on with your life Sarah.

I love you more than you can imagine,

Fredric Matthews.

Tears silently streamed down my face as Freddy's words sank in. I took a brave, hopeful breath and checked my clock – it was seven o'clock. It was too late. Freddy was a boy of his word and therefore my fiancé was undoubtedly dead. My tears were no longer silent as I began to sob hysterically, not knowing how to deal with the throbbing grief which was running through my veins. I didn't register my father coming in and asking me what was up nor did I see him taking and reading Freddy's letter. In fact I don't even remember anything that happened in the next few hours. I do, however, remember waking up on 8th July 2004 at half past four in the morning. My dad was asleep on the chair next to my bed – my parents obviously didn't want me to be on my own. I crept out, still in my pyjamas and sat on the back door step. I watched the sun rise. Freddy once broke in to my house and woke me up early to take me off to see the sunrise, I remembered. My heart ached with grief as my tears started again. I didn't know how I could survive without him.

I heard my dad calling my name inside the house, sounding worried. I wiped the wetness from my cheeks and resolved that I wouldn't show any emotions in front of people; I wouldn't cry, shout or even smile. I needed to be stronger than that. Emotions would make me weak and I couldn't risk getting hurt: disliking was dangerous; hating was dangerous; loving was dangerous. I couldn't show emotions.

That's what I did for the next two years. When the police came to talk to me I answered their questions with cold eyes and a blank face. There were only three occasions in which I broke my resolve: The first was when I shouted at Freddy's parents because I needed to tell them it was their fault and I hated them for it; the next time was at Freddy's funeral when I allowed myself to cry; the final time in those two years was on results day. I got an A in everything as Freddy had always told me I would. We had agreed we would tell our parents about us on that day but not about the engagement, of course. That was going to wait until my nineteenth birthday. We had it all sorted out, Freddy and I, until he went and killed himself.

It was that day which I did something that I had never had the courage to so before; I read Freddy's letter again. One particular sentence stuck in my head. Make sure you move on with your life. His words rattled around my head. I certainly wasn't doing that with my block on emotions. I had to risk emotions again. Then I decided that to truly move on with my life I had to get a boyfriend. It was hard going at first – flirting with boys felt awkward. I never needed to flirt with Freddy and, besides, it felt like I was cheating on Freddy even though he was dead. Then you came along, Max. We were both eighteen when we met, just after my birthday. You were the first boy that I took home because, although they knew I had been engaged to Freddy, my parents insisted I started to honour my promise to them from when I was eleven and so, as far as they knew, I did. Talking to you was easy and I didn't need to flirt. Even when I tried, and failed to flirt you just laughed and called me cute. We talked about everything, except Freddy. I think you knew I was hiding something but you were brilliant – you just let me steer around him. I know everything important about you and, once you have read this letter, you will know everything important about me. At first I just liked you but I grew to love you. I love you more than anyone else alive but I can marry you. If I never met Freddy I would most certainly be different, but I have and it isn't. I started to feel guilty about using you Max. The only person I can marry is six foot under and I can't marry you to get over him. I love you too much for that. I'm not going to kill myself like Freddy did because I know how much it hurts to be left behind but I am going to run away. You won't see me again because I'm leaving before it's too late. I hope you understand why I said no now, Max, but I know better than you ever will – excuses won't mend a broken heart. I hope I have left before your heart is as shattered as mine is. Goodbye Max.

Sarah Melisa Elizabeth Holbrook.