~ My Best Friend ~
by Shadylady

Disclaimer: This is the story of two people who finally discover what love is all about. It is purely fictional. The tale bantered around inside my head until it felt the need to be written down. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Dedication: This is dedicated to a wonderful group of women who have recently entered into my life. It is through them that I have learned what real friendship is. Thanks for the love and laughter and for opening my eyes. Our friendship has been and will remain one of the greatest joys of my life. Now on with the story.

Feedback can be sent to: the_shadylady_629@yahoo.com

My name is Jackie and the tale that I am going to relate is one that will determine my future. I never expected my life to change forever on that fateful day last week? but it did. I was one of these women who thought she held life by the tail and controlled everything and everyone around her. Boy was I delusional. As a journalist, I worked when I wanted. I loved whom I wanted because I can. None of my women was ever left with complaints, at least not to my face. I guess you can say that I thought I was the female version of Casanova. Love em and leave em, always looking for that elusive, perfect Ms. Right. God, just when you least expect it life can jump up and kick you in the ass.

Look at me, standing here before her door, afraid to knock, not knowing what to say, afraid if she shuts the door in my face I will die here on the spot. My heart is racing, my palms are sweaty, I'm holding my breath to the point my chest is beginning to hurt. I have known this woman all my life. Why should I feel panic just knocking on her door. Because I know in my heart, her response today is going to change my life forever. But let me back track, I know I'm not making much sense here.

It was last Monday, just seven little days ago when a chain of events sat in motion changed my life forever. I had been procrastinating the completion of an article that was due to the magazine where most of my freelance work was published. The deadline was that evening and I had yet to finalize my article. Having awakened late, I bummed around, making coffee and catching up on my email. I was not in any particular hurry since I knew that I always wrote better under a tight deadline and therefore had no worries that I wouldn't be done in time. As I sat there sipping my third cup of coffee the cat jumped up in my lap, which was bare since I had yet to put on anything other than my skivvies. Her claws sunk deep into my thighs. The pain was so unexpected my coffee cup flew up in the air, returning to crash upside down on my keyboard. Smoke immediately poured from the keyboard. I reached out, snatching it from the desk forgetting it was still connected to the computer tower. Man, I pulled my whole tower to the floor with a crash. I could hear parts rattling around inside as it toppled slowly to lie flat on the floor. Oh God, now I'm in a shit load of trouble. I have to finish the article and there went my only means of writing it. I can't write longhand because no one and I mean no one will ever be able to decipher it. Wait, my best friend has a computer and she is at work. I have the key to her apartment, which is just around the corner. Yes, I can run over there and get this damn article done. Then I'll worry about my own computer.

Quickly cleaning up most of my mess, I threw on a pair of jeans, a white tee shirt and my boots. Grabbing my Stetson, I raced out the door headed toward Shannon's apartment. Shannon is my best friend. We have known each other since childhood. We lived next door to each other and used the old Oak tree between our houses to sneak back and forth without anyone knowing we were ever out of our rooms. We grew up together. We even shared the experiences of our first loves. She was the first person I told that I was more in love with women then men and that I didn't at the time believe that I would ever love a man. We were fourteen years old. She stared at me but said nothing other than taking me into her arms and holding me as I cried for being so different. The bond we had forged seemed to be unshakeable. As we grew older and our interests took different paths, we continued to find time to be with one another. I can't remember a time in my life when I had to make important decisions that Shannon wasn't there beside me. Even when she married and I continued to storm through the women in college, we would take time to renew our friendship and commitment to each other that was forged so many years ago. When she miscarried her only child and ended up having to have emergency surgery, which prevented her from ever carrying a child again, I was there at her bedside. When her husband found another woman to be the mother of his children, I was there to walk her through the long, lonely nights. Just as she was there for me when my first girlfriend nearly beat me to death for flirting with the bartender at one of the local gay clubs. She was there beside me when I spoke with my parents, explaining my life style is a reflection of who I am and not on how they had reared me. She supported my craziness to not want to be tied to a nine to five job. She is my friend; she is the sister of my heart. Lately she has been a little restless around me but knowing her so well; I know she will tell me what is bothering her before too long.

With thoughts of Shannon filling my mind, I reached her apartment in no time flat. Entering the apartment always made me chuckle. She is such a neat freak, every item in its place, every magazine lying just so-so on the table, no dust, no misaligned pictures hanging on the walls. I take great pleasure in walking around her apartment on the times that I do drop in, just moving items slightly out of their normal position and turning magazines up side down and backward on the tables. I am so tempted to carry in dirt sometime to just sprinkle on the floors to see what she will do. I believe that I exist to shake up her ordinary, sane life. Just as she always thinks that she is here to keep me straight and anchored to the ground. We are complements of each other.

I noted that she had left her computer on which was great for me. Now I didn't have to call her to get the password in order to get into the system. As I sat down and clicked on the button for Word, the screen opened with the message, "Word has recovered the following files. Save the ones you wish to keep." I glanced down at the list and noticed that there was only one file listed. Damn, now what do I do? I clicked open the file to see if I could figure out what it was, thinking that I could save it by a name she would recognize in case it was an important document. Boy was I in for the surprise of my life.

The file that I began to read seemed to be a personal diary of sorts. I should have stopped but I knew she wouldn't have minded had she been at home, at least I don't think she would have minded. But hey, that wasn't going to stop me from reading it anyway. It began as any typical journal does with the current date and time. This particular entry had been made Sunday night, shortly after I had left from having supper with her. We always hung out on Sunday and ordered pizza for supper. Well, let me put it this way, she knows I love pizza and she will eat it just because I do. Wait, I am digressing again. Back to the journal entry. After reading her description of the laughter we had shared, her next entry knocked my boots off my feet. Maybe if I show the entry it will make it a little clearer.

I am in love with Jackie, totally, irrevocably, in love with my best friend. I have loved her since we were teenagers, so long ago that I can't remember a time when she was not inside my heart. She drives me insane most of the time, but that doesn't change the fact that I love her with a passion beyond anything that I have ever known. I have lived a life of lies while she holds her head up proudly and plows through life at her own pace. I married thinking I could shake this deep abiding love that I feel for my best friend. Instead, with the loss of my baby and then my marriage, it only reinforced how much I want her in my life. I want to feel her arms around me in passion. I want to have her kiss me the way that I have watched her kiss her other lovers. I want her to take me to bed and carry me to ecstasy and beyond. In turn, I want to kiss those laughing lips, to wrap my legs around her trim, tight hips, to feel the caress of her mouth beneath mine. I want to feel her as we climax together in the height of making love. I want my best friend. No, I want more; I want my best friend to be my lover, the love of my life. How will that ever happen? Will she ever see me as more than the girl next door, her childhood friend? God how do I start to show her that I love her more than life itself. We have talked of everything openly all of our lives except for this one item, my love for her. I don't know how much longer I can continue to be around her and only hug her as one friend to another. I want so much more. How do I begin? Do I begin? Or will I be destined to love her from afar, never finding the great love that I know we can have together.

The entry stopped there, as did my own heart. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. I could barely think. What the hell! When did this happen? How did this happen? Why did this happen? So many unanswered questions. What do I do? What do I say? How do I act? But more importantly, how do I feel? Yes, how do I feel. I reached out and fumbled with the keyboard, shutting down the Word program. I don't remember standing up and leaving but the next thing I knew I had walked twenty blocks to the banks of the river. I have always been able to do my best thinking sitting on the banks of the river.

My mind is a blank. I can't react. What the hell is wrong with me? God, what do I do? I lay back against the bank of the river and looked up at the clouds as they drifted slowly past my vision. I could feel moisture in my eyes, and I never cry. My heart continued to beat erratically as I thought again of the words that I had just read. MY GOD, she is in love with me. Shannon, my best friend, my buddy, my pal, she is in love with me. Not only is she in love with me now, she has been in love with me forever. How do I feel? What do I do? Oh God what do I do? Don't panic, think, Jackie, think. Why does this upset you? Damn it, if I knew, would I be lying here trying to stop from bawling my eyes out? All right, all right, don't think about it. Push it aside till later. Get up and go home.

Jumping to my feet, I pushed my Stetson back down on my head, covering my eyes from anyone looking my way. I didn't want anyone to see the redness where I had been crying. I walked briskly back to my apartment. I have to think of what to do. Don't panic.

For the next several days, I found myself going over and over the words Shannon had written. I was no closer to knowing what to do when Saturday rolled around. I had missed my deadline, the first one in over ten years. The magazine ragged my ass but since this was the first time, they allowed me an extension so I turned it in on Friday. I replaced my computer as I did destroy the one I had when I pulled it off the desk on Monday. I had picked up the phone to call Shannon countless times, but never could decide what I wanted to say to her. Then it hit me, why is this disturbing me so much? Why can't I just talk with her, find out what is happening and where do we go from here? Why have I avoided all my girlfriends this week? Why does my heart hurt every time I recall Shannon's words of love? It hit me like a ton of bricks. I may be in love with Shannon. For years, hers has been the only opinion that I have valued. No major life decisions were ever made without input from Shannon. She is the only woman who has made me cry in public. No one she dated was ever good enough for her. No one I dated had ever been good enough for me. Every woman I have ever dated, I mentally compared to Shannon and found them wanting. I thought it was me. That I was not capable of loving them. But I have never felt that around Shannon. Instead, I have always wanted to be there for her. To hold her when she cries, to laugh with her when life is funny, to help her up when she is knocked down, I have looked at her body all my life and compared each woman I dated against Shannon. No wonder I have never been able to commit to anyone. I have always craved Shannon and never realized it. But where do we go from here? Can I declare to her how I feel? Will she allow me to love her in person, to be the one to fulfill her dreams? Will I get to spend the rest of my life living with and loving Shannon?

I dressed carefully this Sunday evening for my dinner date at Shannon's apartment. I pulled out my pressed Levi's, polished up my Ropers yanking them up over my white socks, along with my crisp snap down western shirt, and my belt with the buckle I won from drinking some rodeo bronco rider under the table. Walking out the door, I reached out and picked up my white Stetson instead of my usual black one. As I passed by the grocery store, I stopped and picked up a bouquet of cut flowers, the kind that Shannon really loves. I reached the apartment building and walked up to her front door. Again, I repeat what I said in the beginning.

Look at me, standing here before her door, afraid to knock, not knowing what to say, afraid if she shuts the door in my face I will die here on the spot. My heart is racing, my palms are sweaty, I'm holding my breath to the point my chest is beginning to hurt. I have known this woman all my life. Why should I feel panic just knocking on her door. Because I know in my heart her response today is going to change my life forever.

I reach out and knock, waiting for her to open the door. My heartbeat is so loud my ears hurt. I can't hear if she is coming to let me in. Then the door opens. I look out at my best friend, my newfound love, and for the first time, I see the unbridled love shining out at me from her soft brown eyes. I step forward, cup her face within my hands. I lean down, taking her sweet, soft lips against mine. I try to pour all the love that I feel for her into that kiss, that melding of flesh on flesh. She kisses me back. I move back, quietly I say, "Shannon, my friend, I love you with my entire heart and soul." She reaches out, taking my hand in hers saying, "It's about time you realize that." She pulls me into the apartment and my life begins anew with my best friend, my lover, my world.

Feedback can be sent to: the_shadylady_629@yahoo.com

Read the sequel Behind Closed Doors penned by T. Statton!

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