I stood up, keeping a rigidly calm look on my face, and paid the bill for the uneaten sandwhiches and hot chocolates. The woman looked at me sympathetically as I handed over the money.
"Sorry for the diturbance." I muttered.
"Don't worry sweetheart. Sometimes it's difficult to have two people so close to you." She gave me back my change.
"Um, I think you've given me too much..."
"No that's about right." She winked. "Go on, I think you need to find someone you can talk to."
I thanked her and left quickly. All happy moments in the day had been wiped out. And I knew the old woman was right. I should talk to someone. I immediately wanted Sam, but I knew that wouldn't be a good idea. I couldn't talk to my best friend, because it was between me and her. Who else could I talk to? Ali? Liam? Perhaps. But I wanted someone I could completely open up to who wasn't in the thick of all this. I wandered through the city for an hour, with nothing going through my brain. I just drifted.
My feet took me where I needed to be. I rang the doorbell and waited, still gripping my shopping bags.
"Cara. Are you alright? What's the matter?"
"I don't know what to do."
"Anna. It's Anna."
"Is she hurt? What's happened? Come in and tell me." Amy let me in and got me a hot drink, sitting me down on the sofa. "So, tell me. What happened?"
"It's a long story."
"I have time. I've missed our conversations. You don't come dancing anymore."
"I know. I guess I kind of... lost bits of me. Can I come back?"
"Any time you're ready."
"Thank you. Still wan to hear about all the crap landing on me at the moment?"
"Ok. Well, Sam and I are... well serious. And I guess it's been getting in the way of my friendship with Anna. But only because both Anna and I have let it. I was so excited to be with someone, to have someone loving me that I got a bit too involved. But Anna seemed happy with Leanne, and then when that ended she went out with Ali which was strange... but she told me one night that she loved me. That she'd always loved me. And I ran. She got hit on the head and got amnesia, and when she finally remembered, the first thing she did was remind me that she loved me. And I ran again. Both times to Sam. And she won't let it go. I've told her I can't be with her, Anna I mean, but she keeps telling me. I want to be friends, and I want to be like we were, but we're both so different now... I've changed, I know I have... and I know that in a lot of ways I've changed for the better. I have a better sense of who I am now, and I'm more confident, I feel sexier, I feel better. But in the process I've managed to lose the one person I thought I'd be friends with forever. I don't know what to do. She's my best friend, but about an hour ago she walked out on me and said she didn't know me anymore. She doesn't understand why I can't love her, and neither do I. I tried, I told her I tried. But for me it's Sam. And now Anna won't talk to me. I don't understand how someone can just dismiss a friendship like that, just because I don't want her..." I dissolved in to tears and Amy pulled me in to a hug.
"Cara honey, have you tried your best to keep the friendship?"
"Not so much before the amnesia, but afterwards... I've tried. I asked her to hang out with me today and we actually had fun... until we started talking about it again... She doesn't try to be friends... she's making me choose."
"Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you might have to choose. Anna is obviously unhappy without you..."
"....So why can't we just be friends?! Surely that's better than nothing?"
"But Anna doesn't see it like that. She sees Sam as someone who's taken you away from her. That makes it feel like you're choosing Sam already."
"Sam is my girlfriend. I am in love with her. I can't help that. And if Anna was a supportive friend she would accept that and try to move on. She said she would, she told Sam she'd leave it be for my sake, and then a day after she goes and blows it! I don't understand her anymore! We used to stick together through thick and thin."
"She's never had to fight for your attention before then?"
"Well she's not used to it then. It's made her re-evaluate everything. She can't help loving you any more than you can help loving Sam. Shame, I liked her." She tried to joke but I continued to cry. "The problem is that you have two people in love with you, and you are best friends with one of them. You're living with that same one. That, in a way, already gives Anna an advantage. I'd be worried how Sam feels about all of this."
"... We've talked. She gets very jealous."
"She won't have told you everything. She'll be trying to be the supportive girlfriend, but I bet she has a lot of pent up emotion about it. And regarding Anna, she probably won't be too fond of her. Has she asked you to move in with her?"
"Because that's what I'd be doing if I knew someone living with my girlfriend had a crush on her. She's probably not asked you yet because she doesn't want to seem possessive. That would really make Anna hate her. She's trying to do her best to keep you two being friends, but she's probably known for longer than you or Anna that Anna loves you. That's who I feel sorry for. And I'm sorry, but I don't feel as sorry for you."
I stopped crying and stared at her.
"Don't look at me like that. You not making a decision is hurting your girlfriend and your best friend."
"I made the decision. I chose Sam."
"And you told Anna did you?"
"Well then I guess one more time wouldn't hurt."
"The one more time was today Amy. She finally stood up for herself and yelled at me. And now she doesn't 'see any sort of bond between us' while I'm with Sam."
"So it's decision time Cara. You're going to have to make it clear to her that if she no longer wants to be friends it's her decision not yours. That you would give almost anything for you to be friends, but if she asks you to give up the person you love you can't give her that. If, of course, that's the decision you want to make. If not, you'd better go and tell Sam you can't be with her any more."
I stared at her unable to speak.
"You wanted the truth didn't you?"
"Yes." I muttered. "And... and I'm so glad someone finally gave it to me. It's just painful... and it's going to take a minute to process."
"Look I know you. If you need to think it out you'll want to dance. I can give you the keys to the gym but you'll have to get them back to me before nine tomorrow."
"You would do that?"
"Yes. But only because I know how you feel, and I know that you have a hard decision ahead. Just make sure you make the right one."
"Alright. Thank you, I just... I need time to think."
"Here." She unhooked a set of keys from her key chain and handed them over. "Go. Think. I hope you figure it out."
I slipped back in to the house and changed hurriedly in to some dance gear, leaving without seeing anyone. I could hear them in the kitchen though. There was a serious conversation going on, and Anna was part of it. I could hear her voice caught up in the argument.
When I got to the dance studio I attached my phone to the speakers and blasted out the music. As I began to stretch I realised there was no way I could think about this logically. It was Sam or Anna. And only I could make the decision.
I caught a glimpse of my face in the mirrors a couple of times, each time noticing another shade of anger, another drip of sweat. I hadn't danced this hard in months, and I could feel everything falling in to place. It was cleansing, having the freedom to dance whatever I liked where no one could see me. I'd missed this.
When I finally collapsed on the floor, sweating and tired I knew what I had to say to both of them.