"That one... that one is young. See how the branches grow straight, reaching high?"

I nodded, taking a long drag off my clove and watching her as she named the trees, gave them faces and personalities. After a while she trailed off and we stood in companionable silence, looking out on the dark forest that surrounded us, faces burning occasionally with the orange glow of our cigarettes.

Eventually she turned to me and smiled in the starlight, pale elfin face ghosting under her halo of long, thick midnight hair. "I'm glad to know you," she said. "I can't do this with Eric."

I returned her smile, touched her arm gently. "Thank you," I said, and that was all that was needed. We slowly walked out of the forest, desire barely avoided, friendship growing; at peace with one another in the night.

So, you're his girlfriend.

I told him a long time ago that when he finds a girl I wanted to speak to her first. Before he got too involved and all that. You're the first one that I am having this talk with, and I hope you'll be the only one for quite some time.

He's been talking about you for a while now. He really likes you a lot. From the way you looked at him at the diner it seems that you're a bit fond of him as well. Before you try to do anything stupid, there are some things I need to let you know:

He was mine long before you met him. He was mine before he even had dreams of meeting you. He was mine before all of this started happening.

I'm sorry if I seem a bit too protective, its just that he has been alone for so long. I am afraid that you'll hurt him. Just because he is new at this doesn't mean he deserves to be hurt. He is mine and I love him. You may borrow him for now but if he comes back damaged, there'll be hell to pay.

This is a bit like what happens at weddings, how the bride's father walks her down the aisle, y'know? Well, he's not a girl so there won't be anyone to look out for him. Except me. If you hurt him, I swear to God, things will be done to you that I cannot yet imagine. For your sake, I hope you'll keep that in mind if you meet some other boy.

I promised him I wouldn't scare you off. He was worried that I would. I'm sure those fears are well founded. I love him very much. He is dear to me. I don't want to see him sad. Ever. Do you understand me?

Good. Now let's go get some coffee.

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