"I love you, Sarah," he said, in a voice far too intense for him to have been joking.
"Oh no," I moaned. I buried my face in my hands. "Oh no."
"What's wrong?" Jamie asked, sounding hurt, confused and annoyed at the same time.
I looked up into those anguished green depths and felt ill.
"I have to go," I choked, standing up.
"Wait! Sarah, please! Have I made you feel uncomfortable?"
"No, it's not that," I said, shaking my head.
Jamie stood up. "Sarah, I think I have a right to know what's going on. You're breaking my heart here."
He tried to say the words calmly, but the pain escaped and made his voice tremble towards the end of his statement.
"I'm really sorry," I whispered, and suddenly I couldn't bear it anymore. "I have a boyfriend," I cried, before fleeing his room. I was in the hallway that led up to hsi front door when I heard him running down the stairs behind me.
"Wait!" he called out.
I stopped, breathed deeply and slowly turned. "What?"
He approached me, breathing heavily. On his face was a frown of confusion. "Why haven't I met him? How long has this been going on for?"
"It was a secret until just recently," I lied, remembering just in time how he would react to the truth.
"I tell you everything," he whispered.
"I know. I'm sorry. Please don't hate me."
"I would never," he said, shocked, looking as if he didn't know me. "Why would you think that?!"
"I'm sorry," I repeated, before leaving the house.
I walked home, feeling like my heart was in shreds.
On my bed, I sat and stared at a letter I had written five years ago. It was a Valentines' Day card I had never sent. It had been meant for Jamie.
I lay down and couldn't believe what had just happened.
Jame ... loved me.
I had always thought that our relationship had reached a plateau when we'd become best friends. I had suppressed the feelings of late into first year and early into second year out of shyness and fear of rejection until I had forgotten them. They had lain dormant, unprovoked by Jamie, suppressed further by their apparent unrequited nature... until today.
Hearing him say those blessed (yet cursed) three words had reminded me of every little daydream I had ever had of a relationship between the two of us. I had felt sudden, slight heartache and been filled with a desire to hug him and tell him I felt the same.
But I couldn't feel the same. I was with Theseus now. Theseus loved me. He wanted to be with me. I couldn't hurt him in that way. Especially since I felt the same way...
I was torn between the two boys. My best friend since Year 5 and the archangel who had kissed me so tenderly in his apartment...
I almost wanted both of them. But I couldn't have both of them. I needed to choose. No, the choice was already made. I was bound to Theseus. I wouldn't betray him. I would have to hurt Jamie. How I hated that thought but how inevitable the act was. I wish he'd told me sooner... But then... would I have been able to resist the captivating Theseus? Who could say?
Suddenly, I heard a knock on the window.
I opened it to find Theseus, hovering in midair.
He saw my tears and looked pain-stricken. "Sarah," he whispered.
"Theseus," I murmured sadly."
I stood aside to let him fly in and then embraced him, clutching him tightly.
"What's wrong?" he choked, seeming more upset than me.
"It doesn't matter," I mumbled.
"Of course it does," he countered. "Everything matters when it concerns you."
"I can't tell you at the moment. It hurts too much."
He nodded understandingly. "Okay. But know that you can confide in me, Sarah. I love you."
I nestled my head in his shoulder. I didn't respond, couldn't respond to the same words which had put me in this state.
We let go of each other and Theseus said "Let's go back to my apartment. Maybe we'll find something to do to make you forget about this."
"Maybe," I murmured half-heartedly.
At the apartment, Theseus' friend Amelia was eating cookies that she had evidently just baked while answering a phone call.
She asked Theseus if I was okay, which I thought was rather kind, and he told her that I wasn't, squeezing me protectively as he did so. He led me into his bedroom and gestured for me to sit on his bed.
I sat. I stared straight ahead as he came and sat down beside me, my eyes unfocusing, even as he rubbed my shoulders and kissed my neck, murmuring "It's okay. It's okay."
"I'm sorry," I murmured, and this made him rub my shoulders with a kind of desperation and rain the kisses on my neck like relentless hailstones, until finally I gave in and pecked him on the cheek.
I leant back and saw that Theseus looked depressed. I smiled weakly and repeated his phrase. "It's okay."
Theseus nodded, looking as if he felt he would have to settle for that at this stage.
At that moment, his friend walked in.
She offered me a cookie, grinning and saying "Chocolate will cheer you up."
Theseus looked worried, as if the offer of food would set me off crying, but smiling more widely, I took one and said "Thanks."
Theseus looked relieved and I munched on the cookie. Amelia looked pleased. She winked at Theseus and he rolled his eyes.
"So, what's wrong?" Theseus asked, after a long silence. He looked like he couldn't stand not knowing any longer.
I sighed. "My best friend is in love with me."