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Perfect Kiss (by Emily)

"Thank goodness for the invention of hot chocolate." I joked and held up the cup close to my face. The sweet, delicious scent of my drink tickled up my face and into my nose.

"It is cold out tonight." Kat stuffed her free hand into her pocket and sipped her coffee.

The night was illuminated by the decorative lights and Christmas trees that stood in almost all shop windows, and the snow crunched underneath our weights as we made our way to the empty playground. I sat down on one of the swings next to Kat, and put my drink on the ground.

"I love Christmas time. It's so peaceful." I tilted my head back and stared at the dark, velvety sky, dotted here and there by stars.

"Can I tell you something?" Kat swung back and forth a little.

"You know you can tell me anything. I mean, what are best friends for, right?" I turned my head towards her and smiled.

"Five years ago, when I was twelve, I sat on this exact swing. And I looked up at one of the stars and wished that I'd be able to share a perfect kiss with the one person I truly loved." She turned her attention towards me, then to the ground.

There was a brief silence and tension that hung in the air between us. It hadn't been very long since she broke up with her boyfriend of a year, and I knew she was still going through a tough time, or so I thought.

"Tyler and I were sitting here like two weeks ago. And I thought that my wish was finally going to come true. But..." She trailed off and completely stopped.

"But what?"

"We did kiss but I realized something."

"Am I allowed to ask what?"

"That I didn't love him, or any other guys I've gone out with."

"You lost me." I moved back and forth gently.

"I realized that I was lying to myself." She stopped my swing and twisted hers to face me.

"That you loved Tyler?" I turned my swing to face her as well.

"Not quite. I don't like guys, Jess, and there's only one person that I truly love." She leaned towards me and kissed me like an eager young girl that had been looking forward to this all her life.

I pulled away, confused and surprised. I loved her like a sister, or, or a best friend, but I never thought of her like this. The awkwardness I felt was suddenly replaced with anger and hurt.

"I--I have to go." I mumbled and got up.

"Jess!" Kat grabbed my arm and stopped me. "Don't leave like this."

"How long have you known?" I crossed my arms in front of me as if I was protecting myself from her.

"A little over two years now."

"And those two years..."

"I meant to tell you, I really did. I just didn't know how." Her voice began to tremble and I could see tears behind her eyes, threatening to spill out at any given moment.

"And tonight?"

"I--it just happened. I really do love you."

"Don't say that to me." I shoved my way past her and ran home, leaving her behind. I didn't want to think about her, the kiss, or anything. I just wanted to believed that none of this had happened tonight.

Neither of us said a word to each other for the next week. I ignored her at school, and didn't answer any of her calls and e-mails. Then, I slowly began to let my guard down. We had been friends for longer than I could remember, and I could feel what Kat felt: misery and regret. I thought what if everyone did what I did? What if everyone couldn't accept? Then what? She had been there for me through the worst times in my life, and no matter how horrible of a thing I did to her, she stayed my best friend. And here I was, disconnecting myself from her because of one thing. My mom always said that it was hard to the find one, true friend in life, and when we did find that one true person, we would be the luckiest person in the world. I was the luckiest person in the world and I wasn't about to lose my best friend.

"Oh, hi Jess! Didn't expect to see you tonight." Ms. Brookes opened the door.

"I just thought I'd stop by while I was near." I gave her a faint smile.

"Kat's up in her room, doing God knows what." Ms. Brookes looked at me with a worried face. "She hasn't been herself lately. Do you know what's been going on?"

"No." I said silently. I made my way up the stairs and down the hallway that I've familiarized myself with. I knocked on Kat's door and waited.

"Go away."

"Are you sure?" I let myself in and closed the door behind me.

Kat was sitting out on the roof with her back towards me.

"Can I sit here?" I climbed out the window and took a seat next to her on the roof.

"Yeah. I didn't know you were coming."

"I didn't give you much of a chance that night, did I?" I pulled my hood over my head.

"I don't know anything anymore, Jess."

"I'm not comfortable with what's going on right now. I don't know if I ever will be. But I don't want that to kill our friendship."

"Best friends?"

"Best friends 'till the end." I gave her a weak smile.
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