Sitting on the sofa, watching another of her favorite chick-flicks with her head resting on Logan’s shoulder Claire felt utterly content.
“I love you, Logan,” she whispered.
She cringed at her own stupidity. What had possessed her to say that to him? It would ruin everything. He would never want to see her again and he had been the only thing keeping her from swallowing the end of a rifle.
Had she looked at Logan just then she might have seen the goofy grin spread over his face, but it swiftly vanished. Surely she hadn’t meant it the way he’d hoped for so many years. She was just a friend and married to his best friend no less. No, she would never see him as she does Jimmy. They would always be just friends.
“I love you, too, Claire,” he said as casually as he could even though his heart beat thunderously. Could she hear it? “Would you like another drink?”
She lifted her head and stared at him. She was living a lie, a huge, desperate, horrible lie. Married to Jimmy and yet in love with his best friend. Why hadn’t Logan ever loved her? She thought he had once long ago when they were kids. Surely, that was just her romantic sensibilities but still... she often got the feeling...maybe he felt something more than friendship?
“Claire, what is it?” he asked.
Her fingers laced with his gently squeezed.
“Do you remember the cranberry bog?” she asked.
How could he forget it? That was when he fell madly and irrevocably in love with her. “Sure, we had fun,” he whispered. Where had his voice gone?
“Only after you stopped Jimmy from tossing those toads and lizards at me,” she said.
“Newts and frogs, I think, not toads,” he replied, staring into her eyes, those beautiful eyes. “He made you cry. I punched him and told him to leave you alone.”
“You held my hand the rest of the trip. You were so nice to me. You were my first friend since moving here. And you’re still my friend, my very best friend now,” she said, tears glistening in her eyes.
“We’ll always be friends, Claire,” he said earnestly.
What was she thinking? What was she saying? Did she finally know how he truly felt? Was she now going to stop coming around? Would she tell Jimmy? Panicked now, he made to get up disentangling her fingers from his, but she held on fast preventing him from going anywhere.
“Did you want that drink?” he asked.
She shook her head. “Why were you so nice to me?” she asked.
He blinked stupidly. “Why wouldn’t I? You’re a great girl, a lot of fun and... you looked like you could use a friend, being new to town and all.”
She sighed in defeat. Just as she suspected. He only felt sorry for her. Was that the only reason for his indulging her now, because of friendship? It made no sense. He always was available no matter when she asked to come over. She stared at him now wondering if that was truly all there was to it.
She remembered catching him gazing at her during school. She had thought he would ask her out, but he never did. Instead she had to fend off Jimmy until her resistance wore down. Or was it that she gave up waiting for Logan? Well, she wasn’t doing that anymore.
She might be married to Jimmy now, these past four months, but she never did love him and it was clear to her he never really loved her either. If he had, surely he wouldn’t be cheating on her every chance he got.
If it’s good for the goose, thought she... But what if Logan didn’t feel like that? What if he didn’t want anything other than to be friends? Only one way to find out.
“Logan, I meant it when I said I love you.”
He gulped. Perhaps he was dreaming. His grip tightened around her fingers. They felt solid enough.
“So did I, Claire,” he replied.
She shook her head. “No, Logan, like really for real. I never should have married Jimmy. I always wanted you, but you never seemed to want me like that. But sometimes I think maybe ...maybe you kinda do now. Am I wrong?”
He gaped at her astonished beyond words. “Jimmy’s my best friend,” he said stupidly.
“That hardly answers my question, Logan. If Jimmy wasn’t around, if you weren’t friends, if I hadn’t made the biggest mistake of my life by marrying him, would you ever think of me other than as a friend? Please, Logan. I have to know,” she pleaded.
A terrible tidal wave of emotions raged within him. He loved her more than life itself yet... there was Jimmy.
“Jimmy’s my best friend,” he repeated.
Claire released his hand. “So, he wins, does he? And I get nothing. Figures,” she muttered. “Well, doesn’t matter. I’ve had enough.”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I’m getting a divorce. Maybe I could manage an annulment. Are you really married after all if your husband would rather screw everyone but you?”
Logan suddenly snapped out of his trance. “You really love me, Claire? You really...how long?” he asked desperately.
“Cranberry bog,” she said, shrugging. “You shouldn’t have been so nice to me. Now you’re stuck with me even if you don’t want me. You will still be my friend. Please, say you will. I couldn’t bare it if you didn’t.”
He nodded with that goofy grin across his face. “I really meant it when I said I love you.”
“Really? Since when?”
“Cranberry bog. Shouldn’t have held my hand. Now you’re stuck with me forever,” he said.
They smiled and embraced. Slowly their smiles faded and they pulled back.
“What about Jimmy?” Logan asked, brow furrowed.
“We’ll tell him it was all his fault.”
“Because of his cheating on you?”
She shook her head. “Cranberry bog. He was there too, remember?” she said.
Logan grinned . They were friends turned lovers.
“Thank God for newts and frogs.”