All About The Silver Lining

Chapter 27

[[FINAL AUTHORESS'S NOTE: Wrapping on the set of another taping again, and so soon! It seems like I was just doing one of these for my MTM fic. Probably because, er, I was. What does the future hold for Jessex? Hopefully writing original fiction and publishing it! Or another fic. I have a tiny bit of one started, just a seedling, but we'll see if I can coax it into something real. PepsiMax is a boon. On to the final reviewer response:

Xpsi: The problem is labels are inherently a convenient contrivance that are always always flawed. Let's take a peek into this tired old exchange: "Are you gay? Yes. Then do you like house music? What? Gays like house music and mainstream pop only. Do they really? I don't, I prefer glam rock. Then you can't be gay. Oh, I guess not then." Categorising people... I know, this is all blowing smoke up my own bum but in the end (lol) labels do not work, and mostly harm us. Alas, humanity craves the luxury of affixing qualifiers to people so they can more easily understand them; it's laziness. If you can peg this or that person as "hot-blooded Latina" or "ignorant bumpkin" then you are spared the tedium of actually getting to know them on a personal level. Slot them into their pigeonhole and have done with it, go on about your business. And I'm really, really sorry that I keep using your reviews as a sounding board! These are all things about the world at large that irk me on a daily basis. Thanks for bothering to listen, though, you're a sweetheart.

...and here we go, the final entry. This was a good one, but not my best; at this juncture I am unsure what my best would even be. However, it came and it was, and you have read it for better or for worse. Thanks 13th Knight and Soulless1, thank you one and all, and it's time to get along with it. I love you all on some intrinsic level.

Until we meet again,~Jessica X]]

TWENTY-SEVEN

Hello, Long-Lost Diary. It's been awhile. Since I don't put dates on the entries, you have no way of knowing that "awhile" is several months. Until now.

Summer's over, but what a Summer it was! We spent every waking moment together, touching, kissing, exploring… perspiring. Loving. It's a thing you do, I get it now; it's not an event or an object. Love has to be alive and allowed to take over and sweep over everything, or it snuffs itself out... like wildfire. Rest assured, ours is alive and blazing.

Of course, "every waking moment" isn't true in a literal sense. We made trips to Denver with the boys, we all beat ourselves up about last semester's grades… Ephram's in New York right now, finishing up some internship at Juilliard thingy that's supposed to be a huge deal. Bright's working like a dog, but I think he kind of likes it. Gives him some focus and takes his mind off all the colleges that rejected him. Poor dope.

I'm working, too; I started waitressing at Mama Joy's. Seemed like a good way to repay Nina for how unbelievably cool she was about everything that happened; she's still keeping our secret, even though she talks to Ephram's dad every day (they're neighbors). Maybe it sounds harsh, but I honestly expected her to spill long ago. Lesbians in Everwood; it's just too good to keep to yourself! Nope. She's a vault, that woman. And she's always asking me how we are when nobody's in earshot, not just checking in out of a sense of responsibility, but because she cares. I love having my boss be my surrogate mom, too. Kind of helpful.

No, nobody else knows. No leaks in security. We've kept this whole crazy thing under our hats for an entire season without any major slip-ups. Close calls, sure, dozens of them… but not one true scary moment like when Bright barged in, trying to ask us about movie choices. It's been smooth sailing.

We did have a rough spell when everybody found out about Amy's Aunt Linda – she's HIV positive. I had no clue, either, but I was in the extremely small minority that said, "So what?" The rest of Everwood was shitting bricks, just like I said they would… and all but ran her and Amy's dad out of business. Don't they understand that as long as she doesn't randomly slice open her own arm and bleed into their mouths that it doesn't matter? She was almost literally chased out of town she went back to Doctors Without Borders in Africa or one of those poverty-stricken places. Everything but the flaming torches and cries of "GET THE MONSTER!" Some people are so blind and mentally-deficient. Makes me wanna vom. So yeah… I had to help Amy and Bright through that, they were mopey for a while. That's what friends are for anyway (or whatever it was Dionne Warwick sang about forever ago).

No, I never did beat Final Fantasy – but Amy and I found out that we have this total hardcore love of Marvel Vs Capcom. Something about it is just stupidly fun; fighting games have always been a good release, but this one is just cartoony enough to be funny, adding to the entertainment value. Bright and Ephram are thrilled because this means we spend less time trying to drag them into the Gap or watching chick flicks. Many an evening has been wiled away on random tournaments with the winner getting extra pizza.

My hair is different now; it's longer in the back, still kind of a bob though. I'm also totally doing this silly feathered-bangs thing right now, purely because it's not in. Because I'm so avant-garde. Amy says she likes it, but then again she's had the exact same haircut for like, ten years or something. And I'm going on and on about my hair because that's pretty much the big news with my image, so enough about me.

What about my meds? I'm recovering nicely from it, although I did have a couple of crying fits and some very mild dizzy spells after I quit cold turkey – once during dinner (which freaked my parents out a lot more). Wanna know something really ironic? That actually improved my relationship with my mother a little. Dad's still swimming in booze and out to lunch, but now, once in a while, just when my mother is winding up to scream into my face for a lengthy session... she holds up short, sighs, and hugs me really tight instead. As if my nearly passing out maybe reminded her that she could lose more than just the one kid. See? Silver linings abound when I'm around.

Speaking of my dearly departed brother...

Amy and I went swimming in the spot where she used to swim with Bright and Colin yesterday. It was really hard for her at first; I could see her fighting against her desire to cry, to mourn for the millionth time. We got past it, little by little. And I guess it's why I'm writing in this today, because of the conversation we had while we were lying out on the rocks, warming ourselves in the sun and getting skin cancer.

"You don't ever… think I'm trying to replace Colin with you, do you?"

"Nah."

"Good."

For several minutes, neither of us spoke. Then I asked, "Why would you ask that after all this time?"

"Because of where we are," she told me quietly, meekly. "I took Colin here, I'm taking you here… I told him 'I love you' for the first time here."

I nodded, then smirked at the clouds. "But you told me that for the first time in the arcade." We both laughed at that memory; it had been over something pointless. I creamed Bright in air hockey and she was so proud of me that it just came tumbling out, and then we both laughed and kissed and I said it back, and the few patrons who noticed gasped but then we just acted like it didn't matter and anybody who saw it forgot. Well, except Bright, who made a disgusted face and stomped off (probably more because he lost than because he thought us making out was gross).

"Yeah, that's true; I know. Just… I don't want you to ever think that for a single second. Though there's plenty of irony in the way I can't seem to stop dating your family, I guess."

"Doesn't matter much. Even if you were drawn to me because I'm kinda like Colin in some weird way that I totally can't pick up on, it still amounts to the same thing in the end: I get to date my best friend until the day I die. Why split hairs? I'm so lucky I could hurl."

Amy snorted in disbelief. "Hurl, huh? That's the ultimate expression of love?"

"Isn't it? Caring about somebody so much it ties your stomach in knots?"

She was quiet for a few minutes, listening to the sounds of water and birds overhead, watching tree branches sway in the light summer breeze. "Yeah, I guess it is. I'd hurl for you, Laynie."

"I'd do more than that. I'd die for you. I'd live for you and you alone if I had to."

At that, she sat up and stared at me. "Laynie…"

Feeling my face reddening (and not because it was sunburned), I pulled off my shades and whispered, "I'm sorry. I know you don't like it when I'm in gushy-mode."

"That's not true. It scares me… because I understand how you feel. Which is terrifying, how bad we have it for each other, isn't it?"

"Don't be scared," I whisper, smiling in spite of the hammering in my ribcage. "I'm right here."

The rest of the afternoon was spent, uh, "christening" ye ole swimming hole. And I mean it exactly how it sounds, man. There was something in every atom of nature around us that approved and cheered for what we were doing, and it made it awfully hard to hold back. So why would we? Expressing love is above such petty concerns as modesty and societal trappings. It's the beginning and the end.

And this is the end of this chronicle. No more writing in the book that used to belong to Colin. I'm not going to be keeping a journal at all anymore; let's face it, since I went all Summer without once looking at it I think it's safe to say I've evolved beyond this melancholy period of my life where I need to vent with pen and ink. In truth, I just don't need a book to talk to anymore, because... because now Amy and I can talk. About absolutely everything in the wide world. She's my "sympathetic ear" now. It's not just me taking care of Amy, it's Amy taking care of me. Sisters, friends and paramours. Confidants. Real, true, unconditional, everlasting love.

To think it all started with popcorn.

It's funny, y'know? I started keeping a diary to work through all of my issues. I actually can't be sure exactly how it helped, but it did. Some absurd way, it helped me sort out my emotions and stick the jagged shards of my life back together to form an imperfect-but-whole picture again. When we started this journey I was alone, doped-up, wrung out, and waiting for life to end. While I was waiting, it reset itself, let me have a fresh start. Gave Amy to me and made me happy with her. I'm happy now.

You hear that? Laynie Hart is HAPPY. They said it couldn't be done!

I have something to share here, something almost as bad as that wretched poem: song lyrics. Wow, I'm such a high school stereotype, but... this is a little something that British bastard Seal once wrote and I fought so hard to dislike it, tooth and friggin' nail... and in the end, Amy won. Always does.

I... I am so unsureEvery minute that waits,Every second that I'm away from you

And love is a way that has no rulesKnow that I'm loving you,Even if it's a fool that waits in vainWaits in vain

Now... now my days become longOkay, I know I'll never feel the same again

So please don't let my lows bring you downAlways know that I need youYes I do, oh

Yesterday it hit me:I felt we were slipping awaySay, if you can, "It's okay"Just like you said way then

Sometimes I fall and I feel likeI don't know the wayWon't you say, if you can, "It's okay"?Just like you said thenJust like you said, oh...Just like you said way back thenJust like you said

I used to hear that song and demand Amy switch the radio on, or let me change the disc to Natalie Merchant or something else tolerable, but now... now it chokes me up every single time it plays. Now it's "our song", which sickens me even as it fills me with that syrupy Kodak glow of true happiness – because, just like I said, this aberrant mademoiselle is happy now. No worries. She's definitely going to be okay.

So goodbye, Journal, and... thanks for listening.

~Laynie Hart-Abbott

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