Turns out James really was far from nice. I walked into school the next day to a chorus of "like a virgin..." from James and all of his friends. He'd told everybody. Absolutely everybody. I was mortified, he'd made me feel special, so very fucking special but to him; I was just another shag.
Needless to say, but i will anyways, James and me didn't exactly last as a couple.
So, I turned back to my best friend. The girls were sweet but they didn't get me, they just kept telling me that I deserved better and that I was too good for James and that there were plenty more fish in the sea. He was different, my best friend always knew how to talk to me and what would cheer me up, he told me that he'd castrate James for me when he next got the chance. What else are best friends for? As far as I'm aware, James still has both of his bollocks but the thought of his castration really did cheer me up. Dang, he was a great friend. The best. Where there was a Will there was a way and since Will was always there for me, I always got through fate's practical jokes and felt stronger for it on the other side.
One day, fate came and meddled with Will and introduced him to Sophia, some new student who'd been transferred from Italy. I wasn't jealous. No, I was 17, mature and most definitely NOT jealous at all. Not even a little bit. It's just that she was a cow. Will couldn't see it; love being blind and all that but the conniving little bitch was evil through and through...and I didn't just think that because I was jealous. Because I wasn't jealous. Obviously.
Will seemed to be there for her more than me then. He gave her special looks in class. She held his hand. They whispered to each other when they hugged. It was gross. They were only 17 and they were acting as thought they'd been in love for ever and ever, amen, when they'd been dating for all of about five minutes. He sent me emails and texts and called me from time to time but when he was going out with Sophia, all of his contact felt sort of rushed and forced, as though being my friend was compulsory...I told him so.
"Look, if saying hi to me once in while instead of clinging onto that slut is too much effort for you then don't fucking bother, ok?"
"Hey, don't call Sophia a slut. Where is this even coming from? We've been best friends for something like 12 years, can't you just be happy for me?!"
"This is all about you, it's always about you for fuck's sake. I'm trying to be happy for you but it's kind of hard when you never take my calls and you're always off with her. what about me huh Will?? You've known her for...a year? One year?! We've known each other all of our lives, doesn't that mean anything to you?"
"Jesus, Caitlyn! You're acting like that five year old I argued about dinosaurs with! What's up with you?! I haven't got time for this rubbish right now, I'm going out with Sophia. Call me or email me or something when you get yourself some fucking sense, okay?"
"What good will me calling or emailing do when you're never there to take my calls and you never reply to my emails?"
"Just leave it Caitlyn."
So I did. I left it. For near on two years I didn't speak to him. I didn't acknowledge his birthday and he didn't mine either. I crossed his name off of my Christmas-card list; literally, I remember double striking through it and then cross-hatching over it until all of the letters bled into one ugly black-biro smudge. For two years I held my breath when I passed him in school and slapped my own hand when I reached for the phone with him in mind.
I can't remember, how, why or even when it really happened but one day, I woke up and I wasn't angry anymore. All of the frustration that I'd been carrying around with me, those hurtful, heavy feelings had evaporated and I felt good for it. I looked in the mirror and had to stop from the shock of what I saw. My face wasn't crumpled into some kind of hideous scowl...I was smiling. The first morning in too long to remember that I actually woke up in a good mood. My heart swelled with happiness but then I remembered Will. I'd wasted two years of not laughing and living my life with him for what?! Because I was annoyed about him having a girlfriend? What was I doing? My stupid insecurity had meant that I'd almost lost my best friend. I hadn't even been there for him when he and Sophia broken up...turns out that the cow had to move back over to Italy with her family and she didn't want a long-distance relationship. I had to have him back in my life, I had to hear his voice and see his smile and feel his arms around me again.
Where there is a Will there is a way and luckily for me, fate agreed and granted Will back into my life.
"Caitlyn, it's alright, I understand that I'm absolutely irresistible and you were just jealous of Sophia."
I could have slapped him but I didn't. I was just glad to have my best friend back.
Neither of us had a date for prom. He'd not had another girlfriend after Sophia and I'd been far too busy, occupying myself with hating him to go looking for a guy I might like. We went together. He teased me about my dress and high-heels, used to seeing me in the uniform of jeans, trainers, hoodie I think he may have been surprised to find that I actually had a woman's body beneath it all...complete with curves and cleavage! I teased him about his tuxedo and bow-tie. Yes, it was indeed great to have my best friend back...even if he did look a little bit like a penguin. The other couples took it all so seriously, they gazed into each others eyes, slow-danced, held hands, kissed. Gag-gag, puke-puke. They were so envious of Will and I. We did the hand-jive and the macerana and that old classic...the cha-cha slide. We really tore up the dance floor that night and had such a laugh! Of course, the cool group, who'd been christened thus ever since Junior school, turned their noses up at our enjoyment but who cared? We had fun,we had by far the best prom photo out of everyone from the night (the most gruesome grimaces on the count of three) and we had each other. Yes, everyone else was consumed with envy of Will and I.
Who could blame them?