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Lindsay found Cindy sitting on a bench near the viewpoint overlooking the bay. She hesitated for a moment, then sat down beside her, waiting. There were things she had wanted to tell her, but she was so very worried about the outcome of this conversation, Lindsay was stalling.
Cindy finally spoke. "I love Jill. She's one of the best friends I've ever had."
"Okay." Cindy still wouldn't look at her. However, it was audible in her voice that she'd been crying. "Why did you run?"
Seconds ticked by, and Lindsay had almost resigned to the fact that she wasn't going to get an answer. She reached out to take Cindy's hand, but Cindy withdrew her fingers abruptly. "Because I can't do this anymore! I'm... I'm sorry, this is not what you hoped it would be. I just can't go on like this."
"So you want out," Lindsay said calmly, though inside, she wasn't feeling calm at all. "We never said you couldn't. Each of us. It's your choice, Cindy." So far, so good. The problem was, she had a few of her own issues getting in the way. "Just... Help me, because I don't understand. I thought everything was fine."
Cindy finally raised tear-filled eyes at her. "I'm in love with you, Lindsay. How's that for fine? How would I explain that to Jill, or would you prefer to do it?" She jumped to her feet. "Don't worry, I know that's not going to happen. And I'm not gonna be in the way."
"Cindy! Wait." If Lindsay was honest, it wasn't exactly a surprise revelation. If anything, she'd been fooling herself thinking that the obvious emotion between them would make everything easier. The fantasy, and the reality of it. It was impossible to ignore the truth any longer. Three's company. Somebody was about to get hurt. "Please."
Cindy turned around and shook her head with a sad smile. "What are you going to do, leave Jill for me? I don't think so. Listen, Linds, I don't want you to." They both knew how much of a blatant lie this was.
And what if she and Jill went back to the way it was before? They could never undo that knowledge. "I don't want to lose you," Lindsay said, hoping that Cindy would understand she couldn't make everything right here and now.
"Yes, but what exactly am I supposed to be? A friend? A lover whenever you and Jill can fit me in the day planner?"
"You know it's not like that. It never was. I'm--" That's because I'm in love with you, too. Lindsay didn't dare to say it out loud though. The right moment... It sure wasn't now.
"Sorry," Cindy whispered. Lindsay wanted to kiss her, but instead she pulled her into a close embrace, none the wiser. That's what happened when you were playing with fire: you were risking to get burned.
One of them would have to be brave enough to make a decision, and either way, it would mean the end of the illusion the three of them had shared for a little while. For one of them, more than that would end, the realization bringing a familiar fear in its wake, of being the one to be left alone.
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