Once my lover, now my friend
What a cruel thing to pretend
What a cunning way to condescend
Once my lover, now my friend
Tommy grimaced as he reread the letter in his hands for the thousandth time. *You've always been my best friend, and in some ways, you're like a brother.* He felt his hands clench and his throat close up. *What the hell does that mean? A brother?! I've been like a brother to her?! What happened to the love we shared? What did I do wrong?*
He stared out at the lake. This was the place that he and Kim had shared their first kiss. He let the memories wash over him as the tears rolled down his cheeks. He knew that the first step in healing was not shoving away the tears and the memories but letting them come.
Oh, it's evil, babe, the way you let your
grace enrapture me
When well you know, I'd be insane -
to ever let that dirty game recapture me
Tommy pulled Kat close and felt her arms go around him. He breathed in and reminded himself that this was his teammate and friend, nothing more. *She's been interested in you since she came to town. What's the harm in letting yourself fall in love?* But he knew the answer. The heartbreak Kim had caused was still fresh; very fresh and he did not want to hurt Kat that way.*The way you're hurting? Why not? Why should everyone else be happy when you're miserable?* But he shook his head slightly. *That's not fair. There is no reason why everyone has to be miserable simply because I am.*
He knew that was not quite the truth. There was a part of him, a growing part of him that wanted Katherine. But he was on the rebound and while she might accept, he could not do that to her. He cared for her too much as a friend to do that to her.
You've made me a shadowboxer, baby
I wanna be ready for what you do
I been swinging all around me
'Cause I don't know when you're
gonna to make your move
Tommy edged his chair closer to Kat's. This was the first time he had asked a girl out in almost three years. He'd never been this nervous, even when he asked Kim out the first time. Gathering his wits he took a deep breath. "Uh...Kat? I was wondering if you'd like to go to the luau at the Beach club with me?" He saw Kat's face light up and felt a spark of hope deep within him. He had not wanted to get his hopes up.
"I'd love to go." She answered; her lightly accented voice full of happiness and surprise.
"Great! Then I'll pick you up about five?" He asked, ignoring the knowing looks from the rest of the team. When he had asked Kim out, he had done it in private. Actually she had sought him out and wanted to find out what was going on in his head. This time it was he who was taking the initiative.
Oh, your gaze is dangerous
And you fill your space so sweet
If I let you get too close
You'll set your spell on me
Tommy sighed. Maybe he was not as ready for a relationship with Katherine as he thought. He knew Katherine was being patient and he appreciated it beyond words, but he knew that Kat wanted more out of the relationship. He was not sure he could give her that. He wanted to, he wanted to with all his heart, but he could not. He did not know why. *Yes you do. It's Kim. You're afraid that Kat will break your heart just like Kim did.*
He sighed. That was true, but he did not know what to do about it. He did not know how to get past the fear, but he wanted to desperately.
Tommy stared at the screen in shock. There she was, the one that had broken his heart all those months ago. "Kim." He whispered. It barely registered in his mind that Jason was also being held captive by Divatox. His entire mind was taken up with the fact that Kim was back.
*It's too soon. I don't want to face her. I can't face her. What would I say? That I hate you for breaking my heart, but that I'll always love you? What kind of sense did that make? What about Kat? Where does she fit into all of this?*
He was so consumed in his thoughts he did not even realize that Kat was staring at him with a mixture of bewilderment and resignation.
Tommy took a deep breath and turned to Kim. "We need to talk." He said, proud that he had managed to keep his voice steady.
Kim nodded. "I know." He led her away from the group and over to a semi-secluded bunch of trees. "Tommy, I'm sorry. I didn't know any other way to break the news to you. I didn't want to hurt you, but when I was in Florida I realized that I didn't love you the way I had. I don't know...maybe I never did love you as anything more than a brother and best friend. You were my first real boyfriend Tommy, I never meant to hurt you, but I would have hurt you more if I hadn't said anything."
Tommy felt his breath hitch in his chest. *How could you do this to me, Kim? Do you have any idea how much you hurt me?* He wanted to scream at her, demand what this other guy had done to steal her away from him. He wanted to demand who this other guy was. But he said nothing. He could not; he still loved her, even if he was not *in* love with her.
He froze, and his breathing suddenly came easier. He was not in love with Kim but he did love her. She was right; he loved her like a sister, a younger sister. Maybe he had always loved her in that way and did not realize it. He knew what he felt for Kat was very different from what he felt for Kim. He still could not shake his fears, and he knew that Kim had a large to do with them, but he knew he could get over them eventually.
"You're right, it would have hurt more if you'd gone behind my back. I guess I just wish I could have seen the signs coming. As long as your happy, I'm happy for you."
He saw the relief in Kim's eyes. He realized that she had been just as scared as he was. It made him feel better.