Disclaimer : names are changed, but will be modified when this will evolve.
This is my view of the story, maybe I missed important details, maybe recent events are overmagnified.
P.S. : I am a guy, not Bridget Jones
I first met Vanessa when I was eighteen in 1996. We just met each other every many weeks on the university classes in our freshman year, but we weren't very close, because she was not in the same subgroup as me (I was with the good programmers). She was just that nice girl with unbelieveable eyes. It was not their blue color, it was their shape, and the ratio between the different circles. But once again, we barely knew each other. Right from the start of the academic year, Vanessa fell in love with a rich kid, Victor

The next year - 1997, I deliberately changed subgroups, to be in the same group as other friends I had met during the previous year, and also because I was not that good a programmer.

I live in a two-cultured land, like Switzeland, Belgium or Canada. Instinctively, every one of the linguistic minority moved to the B-group. We were all fluent in both languages, but I guess it's easier to have fun in your own language. Soon, we were the linguistic majority in the class, and one could hardly know we were in fact a minority. My last year's friends, although deep, great people, were not very funny. This has changed since 1996. Vanessa and her friends Victor, Felix, Kris and Gerry, were just too cool. Always having fun, always inviting me to parties. Only after one month, I understood Vanessa had been officially dating Victor for the last four months. I didn't care though, I was just getting to know her. And besides, it had been clear from the very first moment those two would have ended up together.

After some months months, we began working together one a computer science project. Vanessa had picked me deliberately because she thought - as everyone did - that I was a CS-ace. I was not that good, but not that bad either. In the same period, I got a job fixing computer installations in the area she lived. We began taking the streetcar together. We were getting along quite well. She liked comics like I did, and I liked her way of being antimilitary while her worshipped father was an army colonel himself.

Then one day (1998), I called her because I needed her notes on chemistry. She told me to come along at her home. After biking in the rain for one hour, I finally found her house. She was wearing the least sexy clothes I had ever seen on a girl in my ten years of watching girls. But when I saw her, I knew I was in love like I never had been before in my whole life.

She is not the kind of girl you come across in the street, and turn your head and say to yourself or to your pals "ay caramba !" with the tongue hanging, she even has a little fat om some places, slightly hanging breast, big teeth, but she is just sooo cute, the kind of girl you wake up at 2 AM and say to yourself : "I am in love"

When I realized I was In love with her on my way back home, I also realized she would never date me : she was too much in love with Victor, she had been fighting for eight months just to have him dump the girl he was with. She would NEVER dump him. So I made this promise to myself : as a revenge to life, I would become her best friend, to get what she would maybe not give to Victor : full confidence, to be the one she told secrets she would even tell her boyfriend. To be the one she would go to to cry when things wouldn't go well. In the beginning, I recognize, I also planned to do this to have the best place to start with, in case of a breakup. This later faded, as not very honest indeed. I guess I also wanted to be the guy who would never hurt her, a bit like the kind, homosexual guy who dies for their girl friend in cliché movies.

Life went on. It always does. The next year, Victor, Felix and I went skiing in the Alps with our friend Cecilia. Back home, Cecilia invited us all for a after-party dinner where we could of course bring our girlfriends if we had one. That night, Victor met Cecilia's younger sister.

Still life went on. During the summer Vanessa went to visit me for my birthday. I was studying, trying to save my last chances to pass the classes, she had had her last exam in June. During the year, I had steadily fallen in love with Cecilia, who had a great body, and very great unusual red hair. At that time, she was dating a guy, Nardo, and it didn't seem to be a very hot relationship. They barely touched each other, and in the mean time, Cecilia was being very hot to every one of us and especially me. I now think she was gently playing with my being turned on by her, which I can easily understand and forgive. No girl had ever been hot to me before -I am not very sexy-, and at the end of the year 1999 I was totally in love with Cecilia.

This was good for my relationship with Vanessa, which began to look like a true, unconditional friendship. A little too unconditional maybe : we just knew the other was someone important, and were instinctively kind to each other, not knowing why, never really talking about Stuff That Matters. I guess we just felt what I was to be the other.

Some months later, at next academic year's opening parties, Victor began to cheat on Vanessa with Cecilia's sister, Lisa. A very hot, superficial affair. Vic and Van's relationship had seemed so deep, it was a shame. Lisa was just the opposite of Vanessa : a Barbie doll. Cecilia was a hot girl too, but at least she was a deep person. But Victor was too cowardly to break up kindly with Vanessa. Vanessa began to truly hate Cecilia and her sister. All the time she knew about the affair, but she was too blindly in love to abstain from forgiving him, like she had done before many, many times. In the same time, I was pretty embarrassed, having to take a stance between my best friend and the girl I was in love with.

For new year's eve (12/31/1999), Vanessa invited me to Victor's new year's party, I think partly because she hated Victor's rich ass friends. During the evening, she went on and on about how she hated Cecilia, because she had met another girl who hated Cecilia for other bad reasons. Later after midnight, she gave me a wonderful present : she invited for a dance. For the ten preceding years, I had had dancing in horror : I had always been too shy, and the previous experience four years before had been a fiasco, walking on the ugly girl's feet, clumsy as I was. With Vanessa, it was as simple as it gets. When we went home that night, she wished me sincerely I would finally get a girlfriend in 2000.

Two months later, I was on a diet, and went drinking with Victor, Vanessa and Felix. I drank too much for the small amount of food I had eaten, and got very drunk. Some time later, Victor told me I had told him in private about how much I loved Vanessa, for which I was the first to be astonished as I strongly believed in our "just-friendship".

Things calmed down, Cecilia took the first step to calm down things. At the time, I didn't know Victor was still seeing Lisa. I just went one with my life, having to pass the third engineering year and catch up with the fourth. I really wanted to graduate with my freshman year fellows.

In summer, Vanessa wanted to organize a party with all of us at her second home, to celebrate her and Victor's birthday, and the end of the exams. But she delayed it to september. For my birthday, she bought me presents she could barely afford. On one hand I think she just gave me back for the expensive present I had bought her the year before, on the other hand I now think she was overcompensating something. That summer, I finally passed to graduation year. In september (2000), Vanessa didn't organize anything. Something began to smell.

Then end november 2000, things got clear. Victor had dumped her. I got terribly jealous : she had not called ME to cry when she needed a friend, she had called FELIX instead. Then I began to self-criticize myself : I had been very superficial, I hadn't EVER spoken Vanessa about Stuff That Matters, I had only been kind to her as she was kind to me. She didn't even know I was in love with Cecilia at that time. But I still had to receive the big hit : the very next morning, in our image processing class, Cecilia told to me without an introduction : "You are in love with Vanessa". I almost fell off my chair. Someone had told the girl I loved, I was in love with another, while I was doing worthless efforts to see I loved her. I asked her who told her so, but she wouldn't answer.

So I decided to go to Vanessa, who was probably the only person Cecilia had seen that morning for an RF amplifier project. I asked Vanessa if she thought I had feelings for her. She almost fell from her chair too. She didn't know. She asked me why I asked, and I explained her in which situation it brought me. I also told her it was not so that I never had been in love with her. She told me it was OK I was not in love with her, because she was in serious need of friends - like in "just friends" - right now. We talked for an hour. She only could speak about how many bad sides their relationship had. I told her she would realize there were good sides too. At that time, I was very angry about Victor for what he had done to her and I guess I wanted to compensate the anger. Also I was angry at myself to have seen and kept silent for so many months. From the very same second I had told Vanessa about the feelings I had had for her, and the inexistence thereof at that moment, I was falling in love with her again.

The next saturday, I invited her to go watch a movie. It just looked the right thing to do with the girl I had been neglecting, and who was probably feeling pathetic right now. I was not aware I was falling in love with her. We talked about my non-relationship with Cecilia, and she didn't show herself very supportive.

Three months later, she went to Italy for four months for her thesis. We started emailing each other. It was generally about how great Italy was or about my finishing non-relationship with Cecilia, or about how naive she had been with Victor. I think we caught up with years of untalked talks. In one mail, she told me a secret she said she didn't even tell her sister (so I am not telling YOU either). Each email I got from her, the world stopped until I had answered the mail. Eventually I fell out of love with Cecilia. I just couldn't go on being in love with her without any success, while that girl I had always loved was single despite all her flirting with strangers. Meanwhile I had learnt about the drinking fiasco 6 paragraphs higher. It was Victor who had told Cecilia about my feelings for Vanessa. Meanwhile, I was feeling horribly anxious and jealous about her flirting with other guys, while I had put myself explicitly out of the game

On the last mail I sent her, I told her about a great film I had seen with friends. She told me her sister had seen it too. I really wanted to see it again, and with her. When she was back she asked me to see it with her, which is something I had never mentionned. She just had felt just the same as me at the same time. We spent the three days before cinema studying AI together in the library, which we had never done before. I had the most boring, but greatest time of my life. During the film, I really wanted to kiss her but I just couldn't, I didn't want to fuck this all up. After the film, we had this "How's your love life" talk. It was obvious she was still not over Victor, and that cut any remaining drift from me. The next weeks she was writing her thesis report, and I passed from time to time to spend some time with her

Three weeks later we graduated (july 2001). At the graduation drink, she was with her sister and her Italian boyfriend. She mentionned me learning Italian, so "the four of us" could speak in Italian together. The day after, she flew to Egypt for vacation with her female best friend Tania whom she had maybe - I'm not sure- neglected for the last four or five years because of Victor. The last week, she was to stay -alone- in Cairo with a guy she had be flirting with some months before. I was very anxious about that, but being Vanessa's private confessor, it was not appropriate to use that information. Meanwhile, I went to California for two and a half weeks with two friends.

The last week in San Francisco was horrible for me. She was getting banged by some hairy Egyptian, and there was nothing I could do about it. Besides, my single friend Tom,one of the two others was loosely considering flirting with Vanessa. For Tom, I was saved by the bell : he met a friendly Swedish girl in Las Vegas.

The next week, I was back in Europe. She was staying on the university to get funding for her PhD, I stayed because I got paid for. We met some times. It turned out she probably never had touched the Cairo guy which would have be the most obvious thing to do. We went to see "Bridget Jone's Diary". It was my idea because I knew she had loved the book. She had come with her sister and "brother-in-law". The next week was the housewarming of my new apartment. I had explicitly NOT invited Victor. I didn't want to ruin my party by having him and Vanessa in the same room, nor did I want her not to come because of HIS coming. Felix was not aware of this understandable decision, and asked Victor if he was coming to the party. So Victor knew. And he was very pissed at that. The party was fine, Vanessa had offered coming in advance to help cooking. I secretly hoped she would stay last, but she left with the big chunk of friends.

Last tuesday, Vanessa offered me to go to a comics collectors gathering the next sunday. Which I accepted with my legendary "If you really insist" line. later that day, she gave me an internal call to chat about what was happening in New York. She invited me to watch TV at her home, which I later accepted after a "If you really insist" phone call. Last Sunday, I went to Vanessa's home again. I called her the day before, and was about to ask her if I had to bring breakfast, and that is just what she asked before I had a chance. The sunday, I came, and I couldn't help noticing a cinema ticket on a cabinet. It was dated from June 16, 2001. She had been keeping the ticket for three whole months, and there was no other ticket around. Was this romantic or just a coincidence ? When she drove me back home at noon, I couldn't convince myself to kiss her. I just gave her the gentle kiss on the cheek.

She's so great. She's so cute. She hates sparkling drinks. She loves stupid top 40 music she'll have forgotten in one year. She takes notes on her hands. I don't want to lose her. I could live like a monk if she's there. I don't want to live like a monk. I couldn't live without her. She's just the only person with which I am 100% myself, and proud what I am.
I am afraid of losing my best friend if I try and get rejected.
I am afraid of losing my best friend if I try and it works for some time.
I am afraid of losing my best friend if I try and it works forever.