Title: To Say I Love You

Author: M. Reis AKA Crazywriter, crazywriter@corporatedirtbag.com

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: Non-graphic f/f relationship, some curse words I think.

Author's note: This story was formerly Lemon Tree, a songfic for the song Lemon Tree. It's not a song fic anymore, as I realized the lyrics had almost nothing to do with the story. So reposted, huzzah!

To Say I Love You

"Don't you love me?" you ask slowly.

"Yes." I tell you, "But I've met someone."

"Her." You spit it out like a curse word, as though the very thought of her is bitter and repugnant. "I've seen you with her. She's nothing like me."

"That needn't be so bad," I shoot back bitterly, "She loves me."

"What does that mean?" you retort, the cynicism in your voice burning at my ears. But the shock in your eyes betrays the confidence your voice gives out.

"You don't love me." I say simply, "I don't know if you ever did."

"She's not good enough for you," you mutter.

"What's wrong with you?" I ask in disgust, "You're acting like a jilted lover!"

"I am." You remind me coolly. I shut my eyes, ignoring your comment. Slowly, I open them again, hoping this is just a bad dream. You reach for me as I turn from you, silently pleading with me as you touch my arm. "Don't do this…"

"Why can't you just be happy for me?" I explode. "I supported you when you decided to marry him!"

"You leave him out of this!" you cry, "You know it's not the same thing."

"Why?" I demand, "Because this time you're the one who could get hurt?" I shove your hand off me and start walking away.

"Don't!" You shout it this time and I feel your hands gripping my shoulders. I flinch, not because your grip is hard but just from our touch.

I shudder involuntarily. Closing my eyes, I'm forced to remember something, someone, I've spent a year trying to forget. The girl you used to be, the smile you used to have. Your nails dig into my shoulders and it forces me to remember a joke that girl told me, the girl you used to be.

How can you tell if a lesbian has been single for a while? You asked, your eyes shining with laughter.

I don't know, I responded, laughing already from feeling overwhelmed with your intoxicating smile.

She's got nails! You crowed happily, convulsing in laughter. I laughed too, even though it was a bit crude. But then, so were you. Back when you used to laugh… back when you having nails were simply out of the question. Back when that joke, when everything really, was funny.

I don't think it's funny now.

But I feel your nails pressing into my shoulders, as you try to make me stay. Your nails a cruel reminder that, oh yeah, you're not a lesbian anymore. You're straight now.

"Please don't do this," I plead with you. "Just be happy for me." I beg the girl I know is still inside you. Sometimes I still think I can see her in your eyes, sometimes I think she's still laughing and sometimes…

Sometimes it hurts so much I can't stand it and I cry just from the intensity of it all and how you used to make me feel back when…

Cliched as it sounds, when we were in love.

"She's not…" you trail off and I can see you running through a Rolodex of imperfections she might have in your mind. Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not tall enough, not funny enough, not caring enough… not enough. "She's not…"

"You?" I ask spitefully, "Is that it? She's not you?" I whirl around. "You know what? He's not me, is he? I held my tongue and watched you marry him. I even toasted it at your wedding!"

Why?" You ask quietly, your voice filled with hate.

"Because I loved and you loved him and… and…" My voice cracks and I curse my damned vocal chords. How cruel a God to make emotions shatter a voice, instead of letting them be veiled under a strong voice.

"I… love him." You finish lamely.

"I gathered that's why you married him." I say sarcastically.

"Do you love her?" you ask, your sure voice betrayed by a fear that I can see, in your shaking hands, your misted eyes, and the pleading look you're desperately trying to mask.

"Does that really matter?" I stare bitterly, your earlier cynicism taking root in me.

"Yes!" you say in shock, "It matters so much!"

"She loves me and well, I will love her someday."

"But you don't love her now?"

"Why are you doing this?" I say, my words choked with emotion. "Why didn't you do this a few years ago, when you left me?"

"Because I can't let you get hurt," you murmur and something inside breaks.

"That's a lie and you know it!" I shout. "How dare you try and shove this off on caring!"

"Don't be ridiculous!" you scold me, making me feel like a six-year old off on a tangent. "You know I love you."

"You don't love me," I respond, "You just think you did. You want to own me, you always did, even when you were with him."

I remember the first time I saw how the girl I fell for was broken. I remember it so well, you and he had fought, you had needed comfort so you came to me, tears in your eyes, mascara running and a craziness about you. I fleetingly thought how this is how Ophelia must have felt when she saw Hamlet in ruins, disheveled and insane, staring at her. My God, she must have thought, He's broken.

That's what I thought too, you know, I thought she's broken, she's broken, damn you, and I can't fix it this time. And he played Polonius, dragging you away from me. You played the Hamlet of my metaphorical play and I was filled, literally overflowing with rage and anger and torment and hurt and desire and…

And the only thing that got me through it was that he loved you too. He loved you, you know that. He was in love with you and I was too but you loved him, can you understand that? You loved him.

And I stood by and watched you marry him and watched him hurt you, more each day.

Little.

By.

Little.

I watched you fade away until finally you got a clue and walked out of his door. Again, you came to my door, disheveled and broken and I took you into my arms and…

And you were in love with me.

But you weren't! You lie!

But I let you, sucking it up, knowing that all I was, all I could be, was the replacement. And I watched as he came back, filled with pretty words and apologies, filled with love again and… you skipped back into his life, merrily. I cried every night that week.

But I let you go.

"I never wanted to own you," you say softly, "I just wanted you."

"Don't lie to me," I tell you, my voice sick with memories of things that could never have been. You've said that before you know, you said it when you came to me before he came back. It's not what you said when I demanded the truth.

You were good at fixing things, you said. My life became a cliché, my old girlfriend coming to me after a spat with her husband and of course, seeing as it was a bad fifties movie, except of course for the gay thing, but you left me again, going back to him. A painful encore of what you had done a few years before. Part of me screamed in agony, just as it had when you had shown up on my doorstep the month before. The part that wanted to shake you and say, couldn't you have done this a year ago, two, three…

That was okay, I could see he loved you, even back then I could see it.

"Why her?" you ask bitterly, remembering why I'm here in the first place.

I don't even justify the question with a response. Just stare at you, wondering why you've chosen now to do this. I scoff at you and your lies.

"Why her?" you repeat, more demanding this time.

"Because I could love her," I explain slowly, "And she could love me and, oh, yeah you don't love me, besides, you're not gay." You flinch as though slapped by my words and I turn around to go.

"Don't go," you plead. I don't listen, I'm sick and tired of this, and the double-talking and the wanting to say something I'm not allowed to and even if I could, something wouldn't matter. Sick and tired of playing this cat-and-mouse game with you, subtle flirtations when he's the one you're in love with… he's the one you love. Sick and tired of the lies, sick of having to lie and tired of watching you lie. Sick and tired of watching you being torn apart and sick and tired of having to fall in love with someone else.

But I could love her and…

Most of all, I'm sick and tired of not being able to say 'I love you'.