A million regrets and what ifs had been plaguing my mind ever since I'd found out. It had been affecting my usually cheerful spirits and I knew it, eating me alive. Unfortunately for me, this devouring of my spirit hadn't gone unnoticed long.
Daniel, my ever-loyal best friend had noticed and forced me to stay with him at his apartment so he could keep an eye on me. It was only now that I could see how truly perfect and wonderful he was, only now that I could see the light in him. His near-constant presence though was not helping anything, least of all me. You see, Daniel was not to know this, but he was one half of the equation of my unhappiness.
The other half was Kristen, his fiancée, soon to be wife. Yep, Daniel and Kristen had finally gone and done it and they were getting married. The love of my life and my best friend were getting married and there was nothing I could do about it...Well, not nothing, but nothing pleasant.
I could of course just confess how I felt to Kristen, but that was not looking too appealing considering that she was in love with my best friend and that would probably just alienate both him and her. I preferred to watch from afar and not lose sight of them completely.
Still, I couldn't help feeling out of sorts. I'd been trying to tell Dan "I'm happy for you," for days now, but every time my mouth opens I turn pale and feel like throwing up. I can't do it; I can't be best-man at his wedding, even though I nodded when he asked me. What was I supposed to do? How can you refuse to be your best friend's best man?
I gulped, I hadn't been able to eat or sleep for a few days now - ever since he'd told me. I hadn't spoken a word either; I'd been silent now for three days four hours and ten minutes. I couldn't speak, because I didn't know what to say to anyone. I was afraid that if I opened my mouth I would breakdown. I needed to contain this, I didn't want anyone else to get hurt, it was bad enough that I was this way.
"Look mate, Kristen and I need to go and visit her mum now. We promised, but I'll be back later tonight," I didn't even nod as Dan and Kristen left the room. I was happier when they were gone. I could breathe more freely, maybe cry a bit. Well, ok, a lot.
I flicked on some feel-good music and sighed, trying to work out what was going on in my own mind. I felt hollow all over. I knew that I wasn't heart-broken, I hadn't gotten to the point where I'd had a heart to be broken, my heart had never been touched. No, it was more like I was heart-hollow. You know that feeling that you get in the depths of your stomach when you're so hungry it hurts? It was kind of like that, but more painful, my heart was having hunger cramps...
I knew what I had to do to get rid of the oppressive weight that hung over me, I had to tell Kristen how I felt, or I'd never know how things could've turned out. It would be another what if, one that would haunt me to my dying day.
The thing was, I was scared senseless to do the one thing that could ease this pain. How was I supposed to do it anyway? With Dan hanging around all the time, I'd never get a chance to speak to Kristen alone and there was no way I was going to tell her how I felt in front of him. The whole situation would be bad enough without a fist-fight.
There was nothing for it though; I decided that I would tell her tonight whether he was there or not. I had gone through a lot of grief to keep this friendship intact and I would just be doing something I should have done years ago.
With this resolution made, I did feel a lot better. I even managed to cram down two mouthfuls of the spag bowl Dan had made earlier. Then I sat back in my seat letting the inspirational music I had turned on flow over me. There was nothing left for me to do but while away the time till they got back.
It didn't take long, I knew that Kristen didn't like her mother, and a soft knock at the door alerted me that she was the first to reach it. "Ben?" she called, her sweet voice nearly brought tears into my eyes.
I rushed to the door and threw it open and there she was, slightly wet, maybe it was raining? And no Dan in sight, why was she alone? It didn't matter, I had to tell her now, I opened my mouth to speak and stuttered, I hadn't spoken in three days and my voice was slightly rusty.
"C-c-c," I meant to say 'Can I talk to you about something' instead I said, "Congratulations..." I couldn't do it, I couldn't tell her. It was just too bad; I'd have to suffer for the rest of my life.
"What?" she looked thoroughly confused, "Ben, why are you crying? Why can't you look at me? What the hell is happening here?" I flinched, she had reached out to wipe away one of my tears. "What's wrong?"
"I-uh- I love you..." she had asked for it, made my job so much easier by confronting me about it.
"You – what?" she looked even more thoroughly confused now, but at least I had it off my chest.
"I love you, always have, probably always will," I intoned blankly, it was easy enough to say it without emotion.
"Oh god..." she sunk to the floor in the hall and for a moment I thought she would faint. She did get up though and walked inside shutting the door loudly and bolting it. It was as though she was trapping me here.
"Why? Why didn't you tell me?" she seemed angry now.
"I...I wanted you and Dan to be happy," I stuttered.
"Well you've ruined that all now haven't you, Ben?" She shook her head and paced around the room, "You know, I liked you first...I went out with him to make you jealous. Now though, I love him and it's too goddamn late. Why the hell didn't you say anything?"
Too shocked to say anything, I just stood there, in silence. It was at this awkward moment that Dan chose to turn up, "Hey..."he said as he opened the door, his voice faded as he took in the scene before him. I knew that I had to get out of there, and fast if I didn't want to die.
"I'll just be going now," I told Kristen who was looking at the floor.
As I walked past Dan, I looked at him and spoke to him for the first time in days, "Congratulations."
A.N. This was inspired by the Blue October song Congratulations, can anyone tell?
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