IT ALL HAS TO START SOMEWHERE
“You know that isn’t it at all, Jellybean,” Cason says as he steps toward me. “Of course we don’t own you – that isn’t it at all, it’s just –“ he stops as if searching for the words. I wait, holding my breath. Something is telling me that whatever he says next is going to be huge. “I guess we just always figured you’d be there to look after us, that’s all.”
MADELEINE, IT ALL HAS TO START SOMEWHERE
I’m not a tomboy yet I’ve always had guys for friends, never girls. My first best friend is still my best friend today – Oliver. Oli and I have known each other since we met on the first day of Kindergarten and he ate my red crayon. After I punched him in the eye and made him cry, we became inseparable and that hasn’t changed in the twenty-one years since. He is my brother from another mother or my soul’s better half – I don’t know what to call him, but Oli is my everything. He has held my hair while I’ve vomited, and I held his hand when he waited to hear if his one-night stand was going to make him a father or not. Best friend is such a trivial term when it comes to Oliver Williams and what he means to me – I love him to pieces.
Except sex – that is definitely not a part of our relationship.
Never has been, never will be. We kissed once during a game of spin the bottle when we were in the seventh grade – it creeped us both out. It was like kissing my brother, but that night solidly confirmed for both of us what kind of relationship we were always going to have. All I know is – every woman should have a male friend like him in their lives. Once you get past his man-whoring, he’s a wonderful guy – ask around, there are many, many ladies who will confirm that. Ewww – so gross.
Having one best friend is fantastic – having two is fucking amazing. Cason and I met in high school at a party hosted by a mutual friend. Our relationship started off with his tongue down my throat and his hand down my pants – and neither of us coming up for air for over a year. Cason was my first… everything. First real kiss, first blow job, first time having someone go down on me – first time having sex. I was also his first and while we started off bumbling and awkward, we learned together. We also fit in a lot of practice time – Christ, I’m amazed I didn’t walk bow-legged when we were together. I spent so much time with Cason that I almost lost my friendship with Oli. I had become one of those women so immersed in my relationship to the exclusion of everything else in my life and I didn’t even see it happening. It wasn’t Cason’s fault – he never asked me to or pressured me to, not once. It was more of an addiction… we just couldn’t spend enough time together.
It wasn’t healthy.
Once I was able to step back and look at the relationship Cason and I had, I realized what he meant to me. What they both meant to me. I loved them both – as friends. Cason was my friend who I just happened to be having amazing sex with – I loved him, but I wasn’t in love with him. Once I realized the distinction, I knew we had to make the separation.
Cason and I meeting was the lighting of a fuse and our sexual relationship an incredible explosion. The fallout of our ‘breakout’ was just as catastrophic. For weeks I had been afraid that Cason wouldn’t be able to remain friends with me without having a physical relationship – I knew he didn’t love me so honestly, I didn’t understand what his fucking problem was. Thank God I had Oli and his support during that time – it sucked not having Cason in my life. Turns out, he missed me too and eventually realized how important our friendship was. That was a shitty time but, in the end, it worked out. Two incredible best friends, what more could a girl going into college ask for?
A third best friend of course.
Theodore Carson the Third is about as rich as they come and just as gorgeous. Smart as hell and even better – he’s a nice guy. At school he constantly had gaggles – yes, fucking gaggles of girls following him around everywhere he went. As a woman, I was embarrassed on behalf of my entire sex. Theo never expressed interest in anyone – ever, except me. He often had social commitments on behalf of his family and their company, or their many charities and I was always his date. Always. Still am. My face has made more than one appearance in his fancy society tabloids, always on his arm as the ‘unknown woman’ or his ‘mystery date’. It’s so stupid – they all know my name and who I am but because I’m a no-name orphan raised in the foster system they’d rather pretend I don’t exist – especially his family. The press goes along with it because his family own half of them, and his family tolerate me because I perform a duty – plain and simple.
I’m Theo’s beard.
It is his family’s greatest shame – having their only son and heir be gay. The thought of it becoming public knowledge I’m sure gives them fucking nightmares, which is where I come in. I don’t do it for them – fuck that. I do it for my friend. Keeping his family off his back makes Theo’s life easier and if I can do that for him, then I will. If that means dressing up in designer gowns that he buys me and getting all dolled up once in awhile? Even better – anything for a friend.
And yes, I mean that as smarmily as possible.
Do I like being treated like a princess on the days of these special events? Hell yeah, I do! Theo always springs for me to get the full treatment, hair, nails, massage, spa. I’ve never worn the same dress twice and the same goes for shoes – not many women wouldn’t enjoy such pleasurable treatment. But I don’t do it for dresses, but they are an awesome bonus. I do it for Theo because he has no one else. No one.
Correction – he had no one else.
Now he has me, Oli and Cason. College is done and with seven degrees between the four of us, we left our homes in Ontario four days ago. Cason is driving but with all of us taking turns and multiple stops to sight-see everything that comes up along the highway, the trip is going quickly despite taking far longer than it needs to. I’ve always known this country I call home is beautiful but finally taking the time to drive across a good part of it, I realize I truly had no idea. Prairies, mountains, valleys, hills, forests and lakes – everything! Fucking amazing.
The view out of our cabin window where we stop for yet another night on our trip faces right toward the Rocky Mountains. I’m mesmerized and I can’t seem to take my gaze away. The four of us are making our way to Vancouver where Oli, Cason and I will be moving permanently. Theo has to stay in Toronto since that is where his family’s business’ corporate headquarters is, and I know the goodbye is going to suck ass. Theo and I haven’t been apart for more than a weekend here and there in five years and now we’re going to live on opposite sides of the country.
“Stop dwelling on something you can’t control, Jellybean. Enjoy today – us, here, now, being together.” I swear he reads my mind but more likely he just knows me well enough by now to know my body language. He wraps his arms around me from behind and embraces me in an almost bone-crushing hug until I start to giggle. Only then does he release me. He turns me around so I’m facing him and now we’re hugging each other. I’m not going to cry I’m not going to cry I’m not going to cry.
Damnit yes, I am.