Tis said that Curiosity killed the cat. But I'm not a cat so I hope I'll be okay.
At lunchtime, I had to see Sarah. I had to.
I managed to corner her after her English Lit class but Heaven knows how with Theseus walking out right after her. The gods must have been smiling on me.
I isolated her from her boyfriend, giving Theseus a warning look that said 'Back off'. I was surprised by the slight disconsolation in his expression. Had something happened?
"Sarah, please stop avoiding me," I said.
She looked over my shoulder at Theseus helplessly but the boyfriend was intelligent enough to stay away.
"I'm with Theseus, Jamie," she said, swallowing hard.
"It's not your fault." Whoa, were did that come from?
Sarah gazed at me bewilderedly.
"What?" she asked.
The mysterious force that had gained control of my voice was saying "I should've told you sooner, dammit. I've loved you for long enough."
"But... I don't understand. Surely you're mad at me for going out with Theseus."
"Well, yeah... but I love you. So ..." I was unhelpfully given control again. "So I can't be truly mad at you."
Time to swing the conversation back in the direction I wanted it to go.
"Do you really love me?" I blurted out.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Someone said..." My cheeks reddened. I couldn't finish.
Sarah looked at me sadly. Then she looked down. "Yeah."
Crikey, I hadn't been expecting that.
"Even though you avoided me."
"I avoided you because I love you. I don't want to hurt you." She looked up at me, her eyes filling with tears. "And I'm sorry."
"That's okay. Like I said -..."
"That's not what I meant," she said. "I'm sorry for breaking my promise."
I swallowed. Hard.
"Jamie... I had no right to leave you like this. I'm sorry. Can you forgive me?"
I was still unable to ask her. I had suddenly been forced back in time. I was gazing into eleven-year-old Sarah's eyes as she had given me her word that she would never desert me.
I think I'd loved Sarah for more than four years...
"Jamie? Jamie?" Sarah's desperate voice brought me back to the present.
She was crying. I hadn't meant to make her cry.
I took her arms and put them around me, like I'd always wanted to do.
"Please close your eyes, Sarah," I said.
"No," she whispered.
"Please. You can pretend it's not happening if you shut your eyes."
I hesitated. "Do it so I can survive a bit longer."
It was a cruel trick and I hated myself as the pain flashed through Sarah's eyes, but she obeyed.
She bit her lip as I leant in and kissed her.
I had expected resistance. I had expected non-responsiveness. What I hadn't expected was for her to kiss back.
I pulled away so as not to make her life difficult. Great job so far (!)
Sarah's tears were streaming down her face.
"I'm sorry," I whispered. "I had to. I had to know. I needed to feel it once, if not ever again."
"I forgive you," she whispered back.
I let go of her and gently slid her hands off my waist. She was staring at me like she had when we were seven. So many parallels with the past...
I turned away and as I passed the frozen Theseus I said "I'm sorry, mate. And please don't blame Sarah. Our relationship is more profound than you could ever imagine."
I walked to the lunch hall, everything feeling surreal. So now I knew. Curiosity killed the cat but all it did to Jamie Mackintosh was make his heart feel sore.