Title: The Only One

Author: LLE

Email: saturnchild@hotmail.com

Disclaimers: None, it's all mine. Please refrain from copying unless you have my permission to do so.

I donít really know where to begin with this. I have so many things to say, so many emotions to express, but they are all jumbled together in one big pile, and it is going to be hard to sort them out. I have to though. Mainly because I need to get all these feelings out of me in some way, but also because this is not just fiction. This is a true story, it is my story, and I need to tell it.

I suppose it would be best if I start with telling you a little bit about myself. My name is Jenny, Iím 18 years old and Iím gay. When I was younger, my best friend was a girl who is 6 months younger than me. I wonít give you her real name here, since I feel that it would be unfair to her. I am going to need a word to describe her with though, so Iíll just call her Cassie.

I remember one New Years Eve when her and her parents came over to celebrate along with us. I was still an only child, which means that I must have been around 5 years old at the time. I was on medication for epilepsy back then, so my parents wouldnít let us go outside and play unsupervised. They were at the dining table along with Cassieís parents, so she and I had the rest of the house to ourselves. We roamed the various rooms, playing catch, hide and seek and whatever other games we could come up with to make our own fun. Occasionally, our parents would call us into the living room to have something to eat, but other than that, they pretty much let us do as we pleased as long as we didnít get into trouble. All in all, it was a fun evening for Cassie and I.

At one point, I suggested that we go into my room and play with some of my toys. Cassie said no, she was still having too much fun playing catch, probably because she was the fastest runner of the two of us. I was growing tired of the game, we had been playing it for over an hour after all, and so I tried to convince her to change her mind. She stood her ground though, reminding me that the guest was allowed to decide what was to be done. That, she said, was hospitality. Well, of course I didnít want to be rude, so I gave in.

10 minutes later, Cassie got the idea that we should go into my room and play with my toys. I recognized the fact that it had been my idea to do so just a little while earlier, but decided not to mention it. After all, Cassie was my guest.

You are probably asking yourself why I did that. Why did I let her take complete control? Why did I let her decide what we were to do and not do? Well, truth be told, I have always been a ďfollowerĒ while Cassie is more of a ďleaderĒ. I wanted her to be happy around me, so I handed over the reins whenever she was around.

The next memory I have of her and me together must have been some 4 months later. My parents were going out of town for the weekend, so they arranged with Cassieís parents that I would stay at their place until they came back. They lived in a fairly large two-story house in a small town approximately 5 miles from where I live. Cassieís room was on the second floor, something I guess I always envied in some way. I have always loved just sitting in the windowsill, looking at nothing in particular while just letting my mind wander. In my opinion, thatís a lot easier to do when you have more than a hedge and a birch tree to not look at.

During that first day, we spent some time playing with her older brotherís bongo drums. Since Cassie had them at her disposal every day, she didnít find that game interesting for very long, most kids do have a very short span of attention. I supposed I would have done the same thing had I been in her shoes. However, I found the drums intriguing. Inquisitive little rascal I was back then. I always wanted to know how and why things worked the way they did. Cassie was more interested in whether they worked or not.

Logic was never my strongest suit, but if I had things explained, I quickly learned how to fix broken items. A quality, which Iím proud to say, has stayed with me over the years. I have repaired many things over the course of time, almost as many as Iíve broken.

I asked Cassie if she knew what made the drums sound the way they did, but she didnít know. She sat on her bed for a while, watching me. I was on the floor, carefully inspecting the drums in hopes of uncovering their secret. I remember they were made of something that looked and felt like coconut shell. Whether or not they were, I never found out.

Cassie suggested that we should go play hide and seek, she always loved that game when we were younger. I didnít really feel like it since I hadnít figured out the drums yet, so I told her no. Cassie was never one to take no for an answer though, and we ended up playing anyway.

I have many more childhood memories with Cassie, but if I put them all down on paper this story is never going to come to an end. Iíll skip ahead a few years, to when our relationship changed for the worse.

I think the major changes began when Cassie and I were in our pre-teen years, i.e. when we were 11 years old. We both began to develop certain interests in other things besides playing and watching TV. If I were to describe the path of our lives so far, it would look pretty much like the letter Y. We started out in the same way, close and liking many things the other liked. But as we grew older, we came to a sort of crossroads. Cassieís personality took one direction, while mine was almost a complete opposite.

I was very much a tomboy at that age. My time was spent playing basketball in our driveway, climbing trees, playing war with my younger brothers (they were 5 and 6 so I always won) or riding a skateboard. For relaxation time, I picked up a book, watched TV or played a game on my computer. I preferred quiet alone time and didnít really have any close friends. All in all, I was pretty much a loner.

Cassieís interests lay in areas very different from mine. She would ride the horse her parents had bought her or spend time with her other friends. She was always the social one.

When I was 12, I was struck by what is so far the biggest sorrow in my life. In October of 1996, I lost my grandmother, and her husband followed her in February the following year. My immediate reaction when I heard of my grandmotherís death was fear. In the summer of 96, a friend of my grandparents had touched me in inappropriate ways and kissed me. Of course I was scared to death and couldnít stand being near that man, and now my grandparents werenít there to protect me anymore.

Cassie and her parents were invited to the funeral. I was seated on the front row with my youngest brother on my left and my oldest brother on my right. I remember the three of us holding hands through the entire service, taking comfort in what little strength the others had to give. I knew that I had to be strong for them, so while the wounds were still fresh I never cried in front of anyone. The tears only surfaced when I was alone.

When the service was over, it was time to carry the coffin to the grave. My brothers and I walked behind our parents as we shook hands with the various guests and thanked them for coming. That was the first time Cassie ever hugged me, and it made me feel more relaxed than I had ever felt before. For once in my life, I was the one being protected instead of being the protector. I still remember exactly how wonderful I felt for the few seconds Cassie held me in her arms. The warmth of her body that seemed to penetrate the cold numbness in mine, the scent of her hair and the gentle weight of her chin on my shoulder. For a fleeting moment in time, all of my worries, all of my pain seemed to disappear. I realized then that as long as I had Cassie, everything would be all right.

In January of 1998, shortly after my 13th birthday, Cassie was at my house for the first time in almost a year. My parents had gone to my fatherís workplace to sort out some things, so Cassie and I were to watch my brothers until they came back. Now, Iíve always been a very ill tempered person, and it doesnít take much to make me angry. My temper was at itís all-time worst at that time, and I got mad. I donít remember why, so it canít have been all that important. I knew that I needed to be alone for a few minutes in order for me to cool down, so I went outside and climbed up my favorite tree to think for a little while.

I knew it wasnít very nice of me to leave Cassie alone with the kids for too long, so after a good 15 minutes I climbed back down the ladder to go inside. Unfortunately for me, I slipped on the snow-covered ground. My right arm got caught under the last step on the ladder, and it broke just an inch below my elbow.

When I came back inside, it didnít take Cassie long to notice what was wrong. She kept her cool, and got me seated in a chair with a cold towel over my arm. I remember her kneeling next to me, gently pressing my arm to find out where the injury was. She told me it was okay to cry when it hurt, but I remained my usual stubborn ass self and refused to give in to the pain.

I have never been comfortable crying in the presence of others, no matter who it is. I like people to think of me as a strong and independent individual, because thatís what I am. My vulnerable side is something I keep under lock and key until Iím by myself. Thatís probably the reason why I donít have many close friends. Still, the select few I have Iíd trust with my life any day.

In May of 1999, the time came for Cassieís confirmation. My parents had gotten divorced within the previous year, so my mother and I were the only members of our family there. I must admit I was a little surprised to see the invitation. Sure, Cassie had been to my confirmation the year before and we hadnít had any disagreements or anything like that, but we hadnít spoken at all in months. I decided to push those thoughts aside. This was a big day for Cassie, and if she wanted me to be there then there was nothing anyone could do or say to stop me from going.

I sat at the table during the meal at the party after the service. I was listening to the speeches Cassieís family members gave and started debating whether or not I should make one myself. Although I was nervous a Hell, I stood up and clinked my knife against my glass a few times. Cassie looked at me like I had sprouted an extra head, but she was smiling. The fact that I had put that smile on her face by giving her this positive surprise made me feel happier than ever before.

I didnít have a speech prepared, so I just spoke my mind. It was unrehearsed, unstructured and probably had its share of erís and umís in it, but Cassie smiled at me. That made the nervousness and insecurity all worthwhile.

When I had finished talking, I heard Cassieís grandmother ask whom I was. Cassieís reply was: ďThatís Jenny, sheís a friend of mine.Ē I knew that we werenít best friends anymore, hadnít been for quite some time, but still, being referred to as merely a ďfriendĒ wounded me deeply. At that time I didnít know what position I desired in Cassieís life, but I knew that ďfriendĒ wasnít it.

Later in the day, Cassieís grandfather caught up with me as I was walking to my motherís car to retrieve her purse. He thanked me many times for my speech, saying that it really told how I felt about Cassie, and that he was grateful that his granddaughter had a friend as caring and as loyal as me. Although it warmed me greatly to hear him say those words, I couldnít help but wish that they had come from Cassie instead. The fact that Cassie herself never came up to me and thanked me for the speech I made is a detail, and I know it. But in my opinion, itís the little things that matter the most.

By the time I started 11th grade I had to switch schools. At that time, I hadnít seen Cassie since her confirmation, which was now a good 3 years ago. Imagine my surprise when I found that she was starting 11th grade at the same school. In the beginning I was exited about it, thinking that we would start talking more often since we would see each other every day. But eventually it only caused me more pain, as every day became a stark reminder of the fact that Cassie and I had grown apart.

Now, you must know that I had changed a lot during 10th grade. I had gone to a sort of boarding school for the entire year, rooming with girls my own age, trying my wings and generally growing more independent. My self-confidence had also gotten a major boost that year, and I am no longer the shy little girl I used to be. I now have the courage to give the sarcastic comments that help me do what I love the most; make people laugh. I smoke (though that started in the 7th grade, not the 10th), I drink (but not enough to lose control) and I go out with the gang and have fun. Iím young, but Iím also responsible enough to know when itís time to stop, and thatís what defines ďcoolĒ in my school.

In September of 2001 when I had just started 12th grade, I remember walking down the hall with some of my classmates. We were on our way to Math class, so we were laughing and trying to have as much fun as we could before being cooped up in a classroom for the next 95 minutes. That day, Cassieís Math class had been moved to the room next to ours. As Christian, Mary, Michelle and I turned the corner, I immediately noticed Cassie. She was sitting on the floor, leaning her back against the wall while looking over some papers.

I donít know why, but everything seemed to happen in slow motion for me. She must have heard our footsteps, because she raised her head, and our eyes met. Iíve never been so upset in my life. There was nothing in her eyes, no emotion. Not anger, not resentment, not hatred but there wasnít affection, friendship or joy either. All I could read in her eyes was; ďOh, itís you.Ē

I literally felt like someone had punched me in the gut. I must have visibly cringed from the pain I felt, because Mary placed a gentle hand on my shoulder and asked me if I was ok. I told her I was fine, raised my head and walked straight past Cassie. I didnít even look at her.

It wasnít so long after that day when I stumbled across a certain type of Fanfiction while browsing the stories on fanfiction.net. This was when I was first introduced to femslash. Popular femslash to be exact. Growing up, I was taught to be tolerant and to accept people for whom they were, straight, bi or gay. I have never thought less of another person just because of the color of his or her skin, religious heritage or sexuality, and if I ever do, then I hope that someone will put me in my place.

I remember the author of the stories I read that day was Casandra. The stories were: ďEmbracing the NeedĒ, ďDonít GoĒ and ďCrystal ClearĒ. I was intrigued to say the least, and I wanted to try writing a story of the same genre, so I did. Less than 2 hours later, my first ever femslash story ďThree Little WordsĒ was up. It sucked big time, but how much can you expect from a first try?

Two days later, I had a reply for that story. Tasha referred me to the Popular Slash list at Yahoo! Groups, and I have been a fairly regular poster of Fanfiction since then.

Why do I mention this, you ask? Well, if it hadnít been for these and other stories, I probably wouldnít have realized that I was gay as soon as I did.

In December 2001 I made a final attempt at rebuilding my friendship with Cassie. I wrote her a 2 pages long letter, and passed it to her in one of the two classes we have shared since the beginning of the school year.

In the letter, I told her that no one confused me the way she did. I wasnít kidding. She makes me feel so many things, and Iíve only recently begun to understand why. On a good day, we will smile at each other and say ďhiĒ when we meet in the hallway. On those days, Iím on cloud nine. Unfortunately, the number of bad days is far larger. When they come around, we barely look at each other, and that is what is slowly killing me inside.

The last line I wrote in the letter was: ďGive me an answer, please.Ē Verbally, I never got one.

In the final class of the next day, which also happened to be one of the two Cassie and I share, I got a reply. I was bent over my paper, taking notes when I felt like someone was looking at me. I raised my head and looked straight into Cassieís eyes. Hatred and blinding anger was all I saw. Iím sure Cassie saw quite a bit more than that, because I felt thousands of emotions run through me in a split second. Iím pretty positive I even jerked back in my chair due to the ferociousness in Cassieís brown eyes.

After an experience like that, I was sure that we would never talk again. But Cassie continued to confuse me. On the final day of school before Christmas, just one week after I gave her the letter, she came up to me during recess. She was all smiles as she handed me my 18th birthday present from her and her parents. When my classmates asked her why she was giving me a present, she happily told them all about how the two of us had known each other all of our lives, and she hugged me as she wished me a happy birthday. That was hug number 4.

I was obviously thrilled that we were talking, but also confused because she acted as if nothing had happened. The fact that she hugged me and told several people about our connection could be interpreted as a positive response to my questions. On the other hand, Iíve learned that when it comes to Cassie, one should never judge a book by its cover. Sometimes what she does is genuine, other times itís just an act she puts on because she doesnít want to hurt anyone.

Christmas Eve came, and since that day happens to be the day I was born, I got to open Cassieís gift. It wasnít a personal thing, and I could easily tell that it wasnít Cassie who had picked it out. It was Cassieís mother. It was a lovely gift nonetheless, so I called her up to thank her. We talked on the phone for almost half an hour, and I truly believed that everything was going to go back to the way it used to be this time.

I honestly donít know where I would be today if it wasnít for my family and my friends.

I remember a talk I had with my mother some six months ago. She knew how upset I was because of Cassie, and she understood how I felt. She told me that she wasnít surprised that Cassie and I had grown apart, because we are like night and day, not only in personality but also in appearance You only have to take one look at us to find out who is night and who is day. Cassie is a real club-hopper with raven, almost black hair and brown eyes. Iím more of a stay-at-home-and-relax kind of person with blonde hair and green eyes. We are almost the same height, though I think I have a good half an inch on her.

My friends, and Iím not using their real names either, have been beyond supportive.

Danii, whom Iíve known since 7th grade, was the first person I ever told when I found out I was gay. She reacted in just the right way, and said exactly the right things. She assured me that she wouldnít think any less of me, and that my sexuality didnít change who I was. Plus, she gave me a hug right after I told her. Itís a detail, but as I said earlier, details matter to me. In this particular case, it meant even more to me, because it was incredibly reassuring to know that she wasnít in any way uncomfortable with it.

Michelle has been my sentinel in more ways than one since I told her. Although I have only known her for less than two years, she came to my rescue when another friend of mine told some of our classmates about me being gay. Michelle had a talk with the girl, and explained to her that when I said I didnít want them to tell anyone, then she wasnít supposed to tell anyone.

Anya is another one of my rocks. We have had a close relationship since Kindergarten, giving each other back rubs and such for as long as I can remember. She also reacted by hugging me, and Iím proud to say that we are now closer than ever.

Mary is probably the one of my friends I am the most grateful for. We also go all the way back to Kindergarten, but we havenít really been close since until a year ago. She is the only one who knows about my feelings for Cassie, and I am forever in her debt for listening to me when I need to talk, holding me when I need to be held, caring for me and watching out for me.

Girls, should you ever read these lines, know this: I cannot ever thank you enough for all the good things you have done for me when times were rough. Youíve stood by me through thick and thin, you protected me when I was scared, and you cared for me when I felt that no one did. I can never repay you for that. I love you guys with all of my heart, and I thank you for all of your love.

Some nights, I lie I my bed and think about the situation between Cassie and me. Iíve lost count of the number of times the thought of her has made me cry myself to sleep. I continue to ask myself the same question over and over: Why? Why did we have to grow apart? Why wonít she answer my letter? Why canít we find some sort of common ground and try to rebuild our friendship? True, friendship is not what I want from her, but she means too much to me to just let her go. If friendship is the best I can get, then Iíll take it without hesitation.

I would love to say that there was a happy ending to this story, but there isnít. At least not yet. Cassie and I still arenít talking except for a quick ďhiĒ once in a while. I often tell myself that I canít fall for her because itís a sure way to cause myself even more pain. But itís too late. Iím deeply in love with Cassie, and I have been for a long time, I can see that now.

Sheís the only one.

I pray nightly that I will someday have the courage to tell Cassie the truth about my feelings for her. That she will someday realize that she loves me the way I so desperately want her to. That I will one day be able to tell her how every day is a little brighter just because she is in my life, regardless of whether we talk or not. I wish for the words to explain to her how not a day goes by when I donít think of her, how lonely and lost I feel when she is not in my arms. Most of all, I wish for the words to tell her exactly how much I love her.

I hope that I will wake up one day and see her by my side. I will show her these very pages, she will read them, and she will smile at me the way only she can. That brilliant smile that makes my heart swell and my stomach flutter. That smile that reaches her eyes, the eyes that seem to penetrate my soul whenever she looks at me.

Cassie is my everything. She is my Heaven and my Hell. She is my heart, my soul, my joy and my pain. When she cries, my heart aches for her. When she is happy, I canít help but smile for her. She is my oxygen, and without her in my life I would surely whither away. If I can never have her love, I will savor each precious smile she sends my way, every kind word she says, and every hug and close moment we share.

Simply because I love her.

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