This is the hardest part: the keeping of the secret. No one knows what we do alone, together, behind closed doors in otherwise empty houses. At a party I can't just go and kiss him, in case he's trying to get with one of the other girls. I can't revel in the feel of holding his hand for a moment longer than it takes to pull him towards the bed.

When we're both around people, that is the hardest part. Because we can all see the mark on his neck and everyone knows he's not dating anyone, so what did he do, walk into a cupboard with his throat stuck out?

People never knew this about me, because I was the sweet and innocent. And I could never tell them, I could never break this image of the real me to them because otherwise you would not be there. A mask or you, and I of course chose sweat and grunts and mess to a good clean laughter over a glass of homebrewed cider.

The people I am friends with are open about sex but I can't join the conversation with lines similar to their "last night was amazing, have you ever..." And we eye each other across the coffee table with looks of knowing.

In the car just before goodbyes, this is the hardest part. A kiss or a hug or a nothing? Until next time? Today was fun? Again now please?

This is the hardest part: that this means nothing.

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