I don't see this going on for even ten more days. Much less ten more years.

No matter how bad things can get between me and someone else, I am never the one to be the first to say that things aren't going to work out. I normally just let things deteriorate knowing that they will eventually go away. Either that, or I will fight to keep things going until I can no longer bear the hurt. But this... this is such a different situation. I don't hate you, nor do you hate me.

But what we are doing is wrong. It would be better if I could just get you to hate me.

I guess I didn't really think about it. I've known you for ten years now. We didn't really become friends until five years later. We were rather close in that we shared a lot with each other. We could talk to one another endlessly. You would talk about Maurice; you and he had dated for quite some time, and he was my best friend for even longer than that. You were always, in my eyes, his girl. The breakup was confusing, and you two were still on and off, back and forth, or whatever, for years after. But you were always secondary. As in, you were just another girl that happened to have entered me and Maurice's world. You were just another Ashley, one of his ex-girlfriends, that I would talk to from time to time. Much like he saw Shana, an ex-girlfriend of mine, that he would talk to from time to time. Best friends talk to each other's girlfriends, or at least that's how it was between Maurice and I.

As much as I am the guy that can't let go of things, and as much as I am the guy that can't let anyone down, I have to do this now. I don't want to talk to you anymore. You've done nothing wrong; you are actually the innocent one here. I don't dislike you, and I hope that you won't be (yet) another in a long string of females that hates me. Normally, I would be okay with (yet) another female hating me. When they do, it's likely due to something that I've done. In that sort of scenario, even though I don't like being the object of one's hate, that would have been a hell of a lot better than this. But in this situation, I'll be the one to step up and say that whatever happens, has happened, or is to happen, can not be anymore. I'm not going to continue to pretend. Even in worse situations that I've been through in the past, when things were at their worst, I could never bring myself to be the one to disappoint. That's different this time.

I guess I didn't really think about what was happening when all of this first started, and I guess I didn't really think about how this whole thing was going to end. We talked, we joked, and sometimes we jokingly flirted during a lot of our conversations over the years. It was just something that was a part of how we interacted. But what you may not have realized (or you may have realized, but just chose to ignore) is that flirting is in my nature. I like to hear ladies laugh, and see them blush, but I expect them to be like Sierra. As in, I assume that they know that I am full of shit. If they don't, then things like this happen. But I think that you did know that I'm promiscuity-oriented. As a matter of fact, you had to know. You were there when I was engaged to Chloe, yet still talking about encounters with other women. You were there when Maurice, the one girl man, would ever so faithfully be by my side as I worked through the wreckage of so many women's broken hearts, while still trying to keep my future marriage with Chloe working.

You know me. You listened to me talk about girl after girl until you couldn't keep track of all the names.

Even so, the first time that you and I actually acted on my slick words wasn't supposed to lead to this. That particular incident started with a few messages over some internet chat client, and I probably wasn't thinking about it at the time, but our encounter turned out to be what I thought it was supposed to be. Just something that we could say we had done. A novelty. A strange, yet ironic, curiosity. Maurice, back when you were still with him, would talk to me about any and everything. I knew that you were supposedly awesome at giving oral sex. You, much later, told me about how he thought you were so "talented" during some of our phone conversations. I was really just being flirtatious at the time. When I asked you to give me a chance to discover what was so good about your mouth, I was really just joking. Again, expecting you to see through my bullshit like Sierra does, I thought that you would just laugh it off. But you said okay.

I wasn't really thinking about it at the time, but it seemed fine that you said okay. Perhaps it could be our own inside joke. It would be a joke that we could share when I made the two hour drive to my hometown and we met up. It wasn't supposed to mean anything. I figured that you didn't take it to mean anything, especially since we didn't even talk any more or less than we normally did after that, and we didn't talk about what happened. It was just something that happened. It was nothing, really. It was little more than an entertaining twist on our conversations, but our last encounter took a turn that I completely did not expect. Even in the hours leading up to it, even in the minutes before what happened actually happened, I had no clue that it would turn out the way it did.

A lot of time went by since the last time I had spoken to Maurice. I remember when we first met. It was fourteen years ago. We both liked to draw, write comics, and he liked to play video games. My parents wouldn't buy me video games, so I would call him and he would describe to me what Wolfenstien was like. Once I was old enough to get a job, he soon got one, too. And we would buy whatever video games we wanted. We could also buy blank paper, mechanical pencils, and colored pencils instead of stealing them from school. We were inseparable for those fourteen years, give or take a few months. Not a weekend went by that I wasn't spending the night at his house, and during the summer, I practically lived at his house. He lived with his aunt, and my mom would refer his aunt as my second mom. Some people thought that we were brothers, but it's just that we had the same facial expressions all the time; a smile.

Even when I went off to college, and it seemed that we would go our separate ways, we didn't. He was still the only person that I felt was truly a real friend; someone that would be there no matter what. And he damn sure was. And I wasn't really thinking about it, but I thought it would forever be me with Chloe, and you with Maurice.

Eventually, though, Maurice and I lost touch. Before two weeks ago, it had been five years since I had seen or talked to him. I still kept in touch with you, though. Fast forward five years, a few months after our first encounter that was supposed to be "nothing", long after Chloe and I have stopped pretending that we would work, I finally heard Maurice's voice again; he was at your house to see the son you and he had, (my godson), and you handed him the phone. All I could say was, "I don't know what to say." How could I not know what to say to someone that I had known for so long? Were things different? Was he someone that I could not talk to anymore?

Turns out, it seemed that we were still in tune with each other. He had played all the video games I'd played. He'd even thought of most of the comic book ideas that I had been sketching out, which suggested we still draw inspiration from the same things. It was amazing, those thirteen minutes. I still loved this guy. He was still the same, and I was still the same; he's still the friend I knew ten years ago and still the same guy that I considered my best friend for the past decade or so. Then I heard your voice again, and I didn't know how to describe what Maurice and I had talked about. How do you describe five years of catching up captured in thirteen minutes while still capturing how five years of lost time was negated? When one asks, "what did you talk about," how do you say, "the usual" when it's been five years since you've exchanged words?

To be honest with you, it was a toss-up last Saturday. I could have either seen you, or Kaya. Kaya was only an hour away, so that was an idea that seemed better than the notion of driving the extra hour to see you. Kaya is an ex-girlfriend whom I still have sex with every now and again (and you know this, of course), but I hadn't been to my hometown in a while, so you won the coin flip. It would have been easier on the wallet to go and see her, but she is usually busy with things like work and what not. So I called you instead. Now, though, I wish I had called her. If I had visited Kaya and she happened to be free that day, I wouldn't be feeling the way I do now. This whole thing could have been so much easier had I called Kaya. Sex. Go home. No bad noise.

I had no idea that I would see Maurice that day. I've visited my hometown a few times since I had last seen him, but not seeing him or hearing from him in so long had made bumping into him seem like it would be a meaningless, inconsequential occurrence. I left my home on my way to see you, and I had no idea what would become of it. I called you several times during the two hour drive, and I still didn't know I would be blindsided by the events to come. I had barely gotten comfortable after parking the car, walking my dog, and getting a seat on the couch before you told me that Maurice would be showing up in the next hour or so.

I didn't really think about what it would be like to see Maurice for all these years. But it still amazes me, even right now. It was like I had never stopped talking to him. The same complicated handshake flawlessly executed, though we (or at least I) haven't executed it in what seemed like ages. The same front yard that we stood in with beer cans in our hand. Same place we stood when you and him were together, and around the same corner where Chloe's mother still lives. Still, I can not remember being as happy to see someone as I did at that moment. Our conversations and interactions seamlessly blended almost as if we were two perfect strangers that had lived each other's lives over these past five years.

Maurice and I had played all the same video games; we hated the same games and loved the same games. We still drink the same types of beers, enjoy the same animated series, and we even still have the same types of comic book ideas. Mentally, we jousted for a few minutes, but we could not find anything meaningful that we could disagree on. Just like always. All of this came as a shock to me, because it seemed like Maurice and I had never missed a step. Though we had not contacted each other at all after all these years, and after we had seemingly gone our separate ways, we are still just as in tune with each other as we ever have been.

Being that it happened to be the closest thing to a game, Maurice and I played chess on the computer. We both took turns trying to beat the computer, giving advice to each other while playing. It was natural. It wasn't "hey, let's play chess even though we both know we suck at it", but rather a natural gravitation toward something that looked like a video game. And there was the re-enactment of ten years ago; everyone (you included) around us talking about stuff that we don't care about. And Maurice and me, each of us well aware we are with our favorite person, in front of a game of some sort. At that moment, I was having fun losing games, even though I hate losing.

He even mentioned that, though it had been so long since him or anyone else that we interacted with had seen me, I was still to be the best man at his wedding. That, to me, was impressive. I might even go as far as to say it was flattering. Again, I was speechless, which is rare. It felt good to hear that. Perhaps both of us just chose this moment to relive a long lost past. Maybe we were trying to relive our past, or maybe we were trying to resurrect a dead past. But who cares? I didn't feel that way. Nor did he.

I wasn't really thinking about it at the time, but later on that night, you and I were to be intimate, as we had planned. Of course, he didn't know. Neither of us was going to tell him. It wouldn't be until later, after we had done what we did, after I had gone home, now, that I realize that this was, is, and will continue to be, wrong. And no, I'm not adhering to some "man rule" that dictates that best friends shouldn't date or sleep with each other's ex-girlfriends. That's not what it's about. It's about Maurice still being one of my best friends, and what happened between us was a night-long, sexually-interactive, lying to Maurice session. I am not okay with that.

After you, Maurice, and I had all gone out to a nightclub (where I bought all his rounds of drinks and flirted with any girl in sight as to not tip him off as to what was really going on), you and I went to a hotel. I wasn't thinking about it at the time, but it was all complete bullshit. All the clever things I said to you leading up to this moment over the past few months was complete bullshit. Especially the whole thing about you moving in with me. You said that you didn't care what anyone thought about us living together if it actually happened, and I bullshitted you into thinking that it was a possibility. Let's be realistic: of the list of people that would have interest in that situation, I would say that the majority of them already know that I am full of shit, and they would try and talk you out of it (I'm trying to talk you out of it now, by the way). All that crap I said to you on that day leading up to me seeing you was bullshit. That seemingly meaningful kiss we shared when we arrived at the nightclub before anyone else that would be meeting us there? The way our tilted heads made our lips meet perfectly? The way your lip gloss against my lips prompted me to lick your lips? The way the taste of your lips lead to our tongues in each other's mouths? The crap I said after that kiss that made you blush, and possibly made it seem like that kiss meant something more than absolutely-completely-nothingness to me? All. Complete. Bullshit. It was just me bullshitting you because that's what I had always been doing. I'm sorry. It was me bullshitting you because that's what I had to do for reasons that I don't want to think about. But I don't care about that, but I do care about how I was bullshitting Maurice. That's crucial here. Had I chosen to see Kaya, I wouldn't have been bullshitting the person that I am still in tune with even after five years of no communication. He didn't do anything to deserve this, even though he doesn't know that something he doesn't deserve is happening.

Sure, you and Maurice have not been dating for some years now, and yes, he has a girlfriend, and I'm technically single, but none of that matters.

When I saw you and Maurice dancing in the nightclub, I was taken back to times from years past when you two were happy together. It actually made me wish that either we could go back to those times, or perhaps you and he could work things out. You and I could have danced without alerting anyone to what we had planned, but I don't dance because I don't get to looking this good to do something that might make me sweat. You know this about me. You knew this ever since I met you. I'm simply a pretty boy. Prissy, if you will. Sierra takes it further and says that I'm a narcissist. I know that's one of the things you like that about me. But I also see the excitement in your eyes or hear the excitement in your voice when I say something or do something that reminds you of Maurice. I think somewhere, deep down, you would like to have Maurice back. In my own delusional imagination, I think he wants the same too. Sometimes, that makes me think that to you, I am a pretty-boy-version of Maurice. I am not. I am me. I am not the me that you see from the outside. The striking similarities that you find aren't what you think they are. Once you get far enough along with me, you will see I don't have a kind heart like Maurice does, but rather it looks that way on the surface. Heartbreak is in my blood like plasma.

I'm ending it now, before the heartbreak has a chance to spill itself all over. My being the one to call it quits is out of character for me. Just ask Kaya. She will tell you that no matter what, Sierra comes first. Kaya is, as you know, the girl I dated a year year ago. I really tried with Kaya. Sierra and I were on a low point in our relationship, so I decided to move on. At one point, I really wanted Kaya and I to work. And it actually started working. It got to the point that Kaya almost made me completely forget about Sierra. At that particular point in my life, "the girl that is saying she doesn't know if it's going to work" sounded a lot worse than "the girl that is saying 'cum in my mouth'". Kaya and I worked until Sierra, my best friend and the Girl That I Really Wanted To Be With, said that she was starting to hate me. The reasoning for that was that I had not been talking to her as much as I normally talked to her. Things turned around at that point, and Kaya noticed that I was spending a lot less time with her. She also noticed we were having a lot less sex. Instead of spending time with her, I would just spend time on the phone with Sierra. Kaya respected that I needed to talk to Sierra, as Kaya understood the importance of Sierra in my life (after much deliberation). Thanksgiving of that year would be the last time Kaya had a good time with me. That weekend, I went to go see Sierra for the first time in two months. We were intimate, Sierra and I. I was a jerk when interacting with Kaya. Not on purpose, it's just that what she meant to me was nothing compared to what Sierra meant to me.

Sierra and I have a very complicated relationship. When talking to anyone other than you, I refer to Sierra as my girlfriend. I'm technically single and not single at the same time. She is the same way. We aren't officially together, but just best friends. I love her, and she loves me. She wants me to be with no one else, and I want her to be with no one else. So though we aren't officially together, we basically are. We sleep in the same bed and take showers together. I give her full body massages that become intimate enough to count as making love. This happens every time I see or visit Sierra. Would that be okay with you? If we were to continue on with what we think is going on now, could you be okay with that? Kaya hated it, so I just lied to her about it. With you, I'm not going to lie about it. There it is. The reason I bring this up is because I know you might just put up with it. You might just be satisfied in being "the girl that I eventually come home to".

Actually, I know that you would be happy with being the girl that I eventually come home to. But it can't happen.

I'm going to say right now that no one, family, friend, or otherwise, will ever compete with Sierra when it comes to my heart. She is my everything, so that means that you will always be second place. Kaya figured this out early enough to get out of my life (outside of casual sex). You will never be the person that I drop everything for. You will never be the person that will be a beneficiary on my life insurance. You will never be the girl that I actually want to spend the rest of my life with. You will never be the person that I most want to cuddle with, but only (yet) another whatever-whats-her-face-is-who-happens-to-be-here-right-now. You will never be the person that I will eternally feel like I owe my life to. You will never be the person that I simply can not go a full twenty four hours without talking to. You will never get to give my dogs nicknames, even though I painstakingly picked their names. This list can go on, but I think the point is established. As such, you will never be number one in my life, and you will never have a majority share of my heart.

Like everyone else, you will simply be a girl not name Sierra S. Paul. So this is pointless. And I'm not going to lose, alter the integrity of, or otherwise compromise the status of a friendship that I still hold dear. You are something that I simply, no matter what, can not have.

The thing is, I should have known all of this. I should have known that this wouldn't last because of all the bullshit that I was feeding you. I should have known since Kaya figured it out: there is only so much bullshit that you can feed a person before they are full. With Kaya, I just let it go up until she walked away from it all. With you, I don't even want it to get that far. I can't let it go that far. I can't lie to Maurice, and there's no way that I would have Maurice walk out of my life based on something going on between you and I. You see, there was something uneasy going on with me when I was on my way back home from visiting you. That uneasy feeling continued even after a few days. I didn't know what it was. I didn't feel dirty for being intimate with you; you're beautiful. I didn't feel like it was wrong because I don't feel wrong when I have sex with Kaya (most of the time). And it's not that I felt like the sex was lacking. You did any and everything I asked in any way I wanted. It wasn't that, any of that.

It's simply that I know that I can't live with myself if I continue to do this to Maurice. That's the source of my bad feelings I've been having about what happened. It took more time than I would have liked to figure out why I didn't get the normal "she did EVERYTHING(!)" high after having sex. I had done something wrong, but I wasn't sure what. But once I figured it out, I decided that I don't see this going on for even ten more days. Much less ten more years.

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