Meg opened her eyes and stared up at the roof of the tent. She knew the sun was already up since the light filtered through the material of the tent but knew it couldn't be very late since everyone else in the tent was still asleep. Sighing softly to herself, she glanced at her watch. It wasn't even six in the morning yet she was wide awake.

Grumbling to herself a bit because she knew she wouldn't be able to fall back asleep, Meg crawled out of her sleeping bag and got dressed. Crawling to the tent entrance, she unzipped the flap to give herself more room to pull on her boots.

Meg got out of the tent and made sure to zip the entrance back up. Stretching out her soreness from sleeping on the ground, Meg noticed that a small fire was already going. Looking around the campsite and seeing no one else around Meg wondered who else would be up this early. Shrugging to herself, she grabbed the kettle off the picnic table and after filling it with water, set it on the rack above the fire to boil.

As she waited for the water to boil, Meg threw a couple more pieces of wood on the fire to make sure it stayed alive then sat back on one of the logs they had pulled around the fire last night. Turning her face to the sun, Meg sighed in pleasure at the warmth of the morning on her face.

Once the water was boiling, Meg prepared herself a cup of tea. She sat enjoying her tea while debating what to do while she waited for everyone else to wake up. She glanced around at the tents set up around the campsite. Besides her own, there were three other tents with a total of ten people in them. The group was pretty well evenly divided between male and female. They had all known each other for years and it had become an annual tradition for them to pack up their camping gear and head out to a site for a week to relax and enjoy each other's company.

Thinking about it, Meg realized that this was the tenth year that they'd done this. Meg was surprised when she realized how long it had been since their very first trip. Their first trip had been in celebration of Carl's birthday since he was the last of them to turn sixteen. They had gone to a local campground and goofed around annoying the other campers and the people in charge of the campground for a week. She couldn't remember when this trip had become a tradition but, like everyone else, Meg automatically put in a request for a vacation during the last week of August. Of course, there were times when she thought that the trip wouldn't happen because they all worked in different fields and had to plan around families, work, and the general craziness of life but so far they hadn't missed a year.

Realizing her mug was empty, Meg stood up and after rinsing out her mug decided to take a walk to stretch out her muscles. Meg wandered the campground for a while with no real destination in mind. This was the third year they had come to this particular campground so she had no fears of getting lost. Turning a corner, Meg realized she had made her way to the Lookout Point Trail head. This was Meg's favourite trail, not because of the lookout point but because of a small, hidden clearing in the woods she had stumbled upon their first year here.

Taking another glance at her watch, Meg decided she had enough time to do the trail and spend some quiet time in the clearing before everyone else would be up and making breakfast. Since the trail was easy, Meg took her time and enjoyed the beauty of the woods. There was something about forests, something about the peaceful quiet or maybe all the life around her, that calmed Meg. Picking a daisy from a cluster off to the side of the trail, Meg twirled the flower between her fingers as she made her way to the peak of the trail.

Meg stepped out of the woods at the lookout point and stood for a moment taking in the scene in front of her. The trail overlooked a valley that wound it's way through the mountains. The valley was mostly a breathtaking hue of green with spots of orange and red where the leaves had started to turn colour already. A splotch of blue could be seen at the far end of the valley where a large lake stood. It was an awe inspiring sight, especially since the sky was a deep blue with only a spatter of fluffy white clouds dotted throughout.

After spending some time soaking up the beauty of the valley, Meg stepped back onto the trail and continued her hike. Meg turned a corner and spotted the fallen tree that marked where she left the trail to find the clearing. Meg carefully made her way through the woods off trail towards the clearing. Meg felt anticipation build up making her stomach jump when she spotted the clearing. Meg had come to consider the clearing as hers since she hadn't told anyone else about it and would escape here when she needed a break from her friends.

Meg stepped into the clearing, raised her face to the sun and closed her eyes as the stillness surrounded her. With a soft smile, she opened her eyes and made her way to the cliff that stood in front of her. The view from the cliff in the clearing was at a different angle than the lookout point and showed more of the blue lake in the distance. Meg sat down, bending her knees and pulling her legs up to her chest. Wrapping her arms around her legs, she laid her head on her knees and stared out into the valley letting her mind wander.

Meg wasn't sure how long she had sat looking out over the valley when her thoughts finally returned to the present. Lifting her arms over her head she stretched her back a bit. Just as she was about to stand up, she heard a quiet cough behind her. Startled, Meg jumped up and stumbled a bit. A hand reached out and steadied her as she stepped closer to the edge of the cliff.

"Sorry Meg, didn't mean to startle you."

Gathering her wits together, Meg looked up into the dancing eyes of her friend Flint. "It's ok. I thought I was alone, I didn't realize anyone else knew about this place."

Flint gave Meg a slightly crooked grin. "I stumbled upon this place last year when we were here. I also thought I was the only one who knew about it."

Meg laughed a bit self-consciously, "I wonder if anyone else thinks they're the only ones that know about the clearing."

"I think we're the only ones," Flint said easily, "I asked how many people had done the trail on the last night we were here last year and the general consensus was that they found this trial boring since the Glen trail has a better lookout point."

Taking hold of one of Meg's hands, Flint looked down at Meg and gently asked, "How are you doing Meg?"

Meg blushed a bit as she looked at her hand in Flint's, "I'm ok. It's been a bit of a crazy year but things have started to settle down. I got a job at our old high school teaching English so I moved back home and got a small house on the river. It's strange being back in Littletown but I think it'll be better there than in Kensington with all the memories of Jack there."

"I'm sorry about Jack. He was a great guy, I miss him." Flint told Meg.

Smiling at Flint Meg said, "Yeah he was great. The last couple of years were so hard for him though. As much as I miss him and need him still, I'm happy that he's not in pain anymore. Being home again has helped too. Your parents have been stopping in every once in a while checking up on me as have Sue's, Jordan's and Mike's parents."

"I'm glad. My parents love you and so does everyone else's. I think the reason we got away with so much in high school was because all of our parents trusted you to watch over us all and keep us out of jail." Flint said laughing, taking a seat on the ground.

Meg laughed sitting down with Flint, "If only they knew the truth, eh? I am surprised they never figured out I was the one who painted the polka dots on your car."

"They always figured it was Mike since you just put your initials on it and you have the same as him."

Meg gave a quick grin which quickly melted away as she realized she was still holding Flint's hand. Taking her hand back, Meg felt herself blush. Meg cleared her throat and looked at her watch to avoid Flint's gaze.

"Wow, it's later than I thought it was, I should probably get back to the site and make sure they left me some breakfast. I'll leave you to enjoy the view for a bit. I'll see you back at the site Flint."

Flint reached out and grabbed Meg's hand again as she stood up to leave.

"Meg. Um, I was wondering if you wanted to maybe, um, have dinner or coffee with me sometime now that we're both back in Littletown." Flint said rubbing a hand nervously on the back of his neck

Meg sat down again, looked at Flint and said gently, "Flint, I don't think that's a good idea. We friends Flint, nothing more anymore. And Jack, well, even though he's gone…"

"Please Meg. I know you have reservations, especially with our past but please, give me a chance. I know you were happy with Jack, I know you loved him, I loved him too. The thing is Meg, it's always been you. I never stopped loving you Meg. It broke my heart when I lost you to Jack and it broke my heart again when I saw you after we lost Jack. I know I've made mistakes in the past. I know that I was careless with you but I was young and stupid. I didn't know what I had done until it was too late and you were gone."

"Flint, I don't know what to say." Meg said looking into Flint's eyes trying to see if he truly meant what he said, "It's been so long since then. You were my first boyfriend Flint. My first everything really and I admit that there's a part of me that still loves you and misses you but there's no going back Flint. We've moved on and are different people now."

"I know we're not the same as we were. You had Jack and I had Heather. We've both been through so much the last couple of years that it would've been impossible to not change. It's just that, even through all that, it's been you that was there in my thoughts at the end of every day. When Heather left me she told me she forgave me. I asked what she was forgiving me for. She said she forgave me that I couldn't love her as she needed to be loved. She said she understood, I loved her but not enough and that I never would because I had already given everything to someone else. She said she forgave me and was letting me go because I needed to either find a way to be with you or find a way to let you go completely."

Looking down at Meg's shocked face Flint smiled a little, "I don't know if Heather actually knew it was you but she knew there was someone. I felt so guilty when she said all that to me. I knew that I wasn't giving her everything I had but I had no idea she had noticed. And then I learned that Jack was sick. I was so guilty and confused. I didn't know what to do. The first time I went to see Jack after his first surgery, I saw you in the waiting room and when I looked in your eyes I knew that you loved Jack the way that I could never have loved Heather. I felt even more horrid about what was happening but I still loved you. I knew that I had given up any chance I had with you a long time ago so I did the only thing I could. I did everything in my power to help you and bring you happiness."

"So, everything you did. All the time you spent with Jack, all the times you used your brothers connections to get Jack new drugs or another surgery, all the times you spent letting me cry on your shoulder. You did them all because you were feeling guilty over your divorce?"

"No Meg, no. I did it because you are my friend and Jack was my friend. I did it to give Jack the best chances possible to live. I did it because I loved Jack and because you loved Jack."

"I don't know Flint. It's just…just, I don't know."

"I know this is a lot to take in Meg. I know you'll have to think about everything. I understand that, I'm just asking that you give me a chance. There's something else I should tell you though."

"What's that?" Meg asked cautiously.

"I spoke to Jack about two weeks before the end. I was sitting with him playing cards and he looked up at me and asked me if I was in love with you. I thought my heart had stopped when he asked me that. I thought that no one knew, I thought I had hidden it from everyone. Jack saw my confusion and told me that he knew, that he had always known, that I had feelings for you. He said…he said he was glad. He was glad that there would be someone for you to lean on when he was gone. He said that you would need someone and that he felt better leaving you knowing someone would be there."

"I think I remember that day," Meg whispered, "I came home, Jack was asleep and you were sitting in the living room with your head in your hands. When I asked if you were ok, you looked up at me with such pain in your eyes. You were crying. That was the first time I ever saw you cry and I knew something had happened between you and Jack."

"Yes, that was it. Neither I nor Jack mentioned anything about it again but about two weeks after Jack died I got a letter in the mail. It was from Jack, he asked me to give you this," Flint pulled an envelope out of his pocket and handed it to Meg, "when the time came. He said I'd know when it was the right time. I've carried that envelope with me every day since. This is the right time Meg."

Meg stood up with the envelope in her hands. She ran a finger over her name on the front in Jack's handwriting. She walked over to the cliff and stared out over the valley with her arms wrapped around herself. After a long moment and a look at Flint who had stayed where he was, Meg sat down near the cliff and opened the letter.


I'm sure you're very surprised to get this letter, especially considering the manner of delivery. I hope that I don't cause you too much pain when you see this letter, I never want to cause you pain in anything I do.

I'm to head into surgery tomorrow morning. The surgery is risky and may do more harm than help. It'll be my last surgery. I made that decision a while ago and you don't know about it, if you did you would fight me tooth and nail but this is the right decision for both of us. We've fought long and hard but we are losing and I don't have the strength left to continue. It isn't the constant pain or the sickness or even the drugs, it's you. I don't have the strength to see the devastation in your eyes when the treatments fail again. I don't have the strength to torture you like this anymore, not when I know it's futile. I'm dying and there's nothing we can do anymore to change that fact. It's not that I've given up on life, if there was even a slim chance of survival I would keep up fighting but there is none so I accept that and get ready to leave with no regrets and nothing left undone.

But you are my life, my love, my everything and I couldn't leave you without giving you everything I can. There's one last thing I need to give you. I need to give you your freedom and your future. I need to give you happiness. Meg, please be happy. I need you to be happy, that's the only way I can leave and not be afraid. I can't leave without knowing that you will be happy and smile and laugh again.

I love you Meg with everything I am and everything I have. I know you love me Meg, I've never doubted your love. Your love for me is what kept me going for so long. Your love gave me strength to live every single day that I had.

I talked to Flint today and I told him I knew he loved you. Now it's my turn to talk to you. I know you love Flint. You always have, I've always known. You gave me everything you could but you could never give me everything you are because you had already given it all to Flint. I knew this and I accepted it because you gave me more love than I've ever had in my entire life and that love is more than I ever thought possible.

I'm not going to be around for much longer and I need to know that I've done everything I can for you. To give you everything I can, I have one last request my love. I asked for so much already and caused so much pain in the end but I'm going to be selfish and ask for one last thing.

When the time comes and Flint gives you this letter, listen to him very carefully. While you listen to him, listen to your heart and listen for my voice whispering in your ear. Both your heart and I will be telling you the same thing. Grab onto your chance to be truly happy. Grab onto your chance for a future full of love. Don't be afraid of letting me go because I'm not going anywhere. I'll always be with you, a part of you, so listen to Flint, your heart and me and take a chance. That's all I ask of you so please Meg, give yourself a chance to be happy with Flint because I know you will be.

Now, wipe the tears from your eyes, blow me a kiss and go take a long look at the man who's waiting for you while you read this. He doesn't know what I've said to you and he's scared. Go to him and reassure him that he doesn't need to be afraid. Take what he offers you and give him everything you've kept for him deep down inside you. Go to him and have a wonderful, happy life full of smiles and laughter.


Your Jack

Meg read the letter a second time wiping the tears from her face but unable to stop the flow. She felt Jack so much in the letter. She could picture his facial expressions and the way he would talk with his hands while he said these things. She could hear his voice and how it would lower and quiet as he said what he felt he needed to, no matter how much it pained him to say it. Jack was so close to her in this letter but so far away.

Meg pulled her legs up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. Burying her head into her knees, clutching the letter in one hand, she tried to make sense of what Jack had said. She never realized that she had kept something back from Jack and if she had it certainly wasn't intentional. For five years Jack was her everything, her life entwined with his completely. As for Flint, well, Flint had been part of her life seemingly forever. Meg couldn't remember a time without Flint. Flint was her best friend, her confidante, her first love but was he her last love as well? Was Jack right, did she still love Flint with everything she was? Should she listen to Jack and do as he asked?

Lifting her head from her knees, Meg wiped the last of her tears away. Standing up, she looked at the letter clutched in her hand. Stuffing the letter back in the envelope, she made her decision.

Meg looked out over the valley, whispered her love to Jack and threw him a kiss in the wind. Turning around, she looked at Flint who was still sitting on the grass in the middle of the clearing. She watched as he scrambled to his feet as she walked over to him. Stopping in front of Flint, Meg looked into his face. She searched his eyes not knowing exactly what she was looking for.

"Meg?" Flint asked nervously.

Meg shushed him with a finger to his lips as he opened his mouth to speak again. Flint settled down and watched Meg as she continued to look him in the eyes finding what she was looking for.

Meg took a step back and looked down at the letter in her hand. "He loved me completely. I've never doubted that and now I have irrefutable proof. I never realized the depth of it though. I never understood what his love meant. Now I do, he loved me enough to give me back my heart for me to give it to the one it's always belonged to."

Flint silently waited for Meg to continue but Meg had said what she needed to. Stepping forward, she reached out her hand and placed it on Flint's cheek. Reaching up she pressed her lips to Flint's in a soft kiss. Pulling back, Meg looked into Flint's eyes and saw surprise and, more importantly, the love she'd glimpsed earlier. She reached up to kiss Flint again, this time wrapping her arms around his shoulders as his arms wrapped around her waist. The kiss stayed tender and sweet but with an edge of the passion that Meg and Flint had kept hidden for so long. When they finally broke apart again, they smiled at each other. Flint took Meg's hand as they walked out of the clearing and into their futures together.