Perfect. Jake’s a girl. Duh. What the fuck was I thinking? Hardy Boys Meets Nancy Drew? Way to blow your cover, dude. I wonder what his—HER real name is. Why couldn’t I have figured this out earlier? Why wouldn’t he—SHE just tell me. Oh my God, I’m not gay. I guess that’s a relief. I laugh out loud at my thoughts and the guys next to me on the couch looks at me like I’m a moron. Bingo. I AM a moron. I look back at the TV. Wrestling never interested me. Maybe I am gay. All straight guys like to see other guys beat the shit out of each other…even if it is fake. But, I’m not gay. I’m in love with Jake and Jake’s a girl. Wow. I catch myself smiling. I try really hard to concentrate on the names of the wrestlers in case someone asks me about the match tomorrow, but the announcers don’t mention it before my interest fades. Wrestlers have such dumb names anyway and I don’t feel like devoting energy to thinking about that. I want to think about Jake. I’m sure Jake’s a girl, but I need confirmation. How can I get confirmation? Walk up to him—HER and ask “excuse me, but where are you hiding your breasts?” Breasts. Jake doesn’t have them. Fuck. Hang on. Think. Christina Ricci…or was it Gabby Hoffman? Ace bandage and duct tape. What was that movie? I need to ask Mom; she’s the one who rented it. Except, that girl turned out to be a lesbian. Lesbians are hot in theory, but being in love with one would suck. Chasing Amy. That chick was faking it, though. Wait. Jake isn’t a lesbian. He—fuck—SHE kissed me. She wants me, not another girl. Another relief. I laugh again and the guy next to me shoots me yet another look that says I’m stupid. I’m not the one watching two muscle men pretend to fight it out for some invented championship. Who cares? Not me. What DO I care about? Jake. She’s perfect. I still need to know for sure, though. I’ve got to see her naked. I close my eyes for a minute and try to picture Jake’s head on some hot naked girl. Clothes…Jake sure wears a lot of them. Once again, duh. It’s only like a hundred and fifty degrees outside. Speaking of the obvious, no guy would ever smell that good. No guy would ever kiss like that. No guy would ever mess with my head like this. Leave it to a girl to screw you up. It isn’t fair. This isn’t fair. Maybe I shouldn’t be mad at her. I’m the stupid one. Why couldn’t I have just known when she kissed me? Why didn’t I know? No. I’m not doing that to myself. This is Jake’s fault. I need to think about something else. I ask the guy next to me who he thinks will win this thing. He goes on for too long, but I pretend to be interested. Damn it…what did he say the guys’ names were? Before I realize it, Jake’s here. She’s right next to me, talking to me. She asks me who’s fighting. Fuck. I make up a couple of names that sound like wrestlers and hope the other guys don’t hear. You’re a girl. She says something about thanking me for last night. Great, now that guy knows what I was smiling about. Perfect. Fuck. She says she’s glad to have her bike back and I say “no problem.” That doesn’t even make sense. God, I’m an idiot. God, she smells good. I don’t really hear much of what Jake is saying to me and I don’t really care. You’re a girl. You’re a girl. Why are you pretending to be a guy? Did he—God—SHE just ask me to go ride the motorcycle? Her voice. Jake’s a girl. I just know. “…cruise by the Rawley babes…” She did ask me to go for a ride. Say yes. Don’t be stupid. Say something. I sit there and watch the fight until she walks away. What the hell just happened? I don’t look up until she leaves the room. She. I’m such an idiot. For not knowing…and for letting her walk out of here like that. I have to talk to her. How can I tell her how I feel? And then I remember. The letter. I get up and walk out of the room. I fight off the urge to go to Jake’s room. I’m not ready to talk about it, but I think I can do it this way. I think I can let her know that I know and that…I’m in love with her. I’m in love with Jake. I smile to myself as I start jogging toward my house to get the letter. When I show up at her room she looks like she’s mad at me, but trying not to be. Then I do it. I hand it to her. She takes it, but doesn’t open it. Open it. She looks at me. How did I ever think you were a guy? I walk into the room and close the door. She finally gets the hint and opens the sealed envelope. She starts reading the letter that I wrote six months ago, before I ever knew her…before I ever knew Jake. I watch her anxiously.
January 1, 2000
To Whom It May Concern:
I guess that’s kind of a weird way to begin something like this, but it’s appropriate. See, I don’t know who you are yet, but one day I’m going to meet you and I think this will all make sense to me. Right now, you’re just a picture in my head. Well, maybe less of a picture and more of an idea…or an ideal. You’re my dream girl. Now, before you tear this up and call me superficial, take a minute to keep reading because it really isn’t like that at all. Sure, I have an idea of what you look like, but that isn’t what’s important to me which is why it’s where I’ll start. You’re probably a brunette with a short haircut. I’m usually not into long hair unless I see it short first. I want to be around you enough to watch it grow out and see it at every in-between length. Your eyes are any color as long as they’re intense and expressive. I know that sounds trite and vague, but it means that they light up when something interests you and they’re a dead give away when you’re hurt or upset. I can look into your eyes and just know what’s going on with you. I’m not that tall and I don’t have to be taller than you. Clothes are the least important aspect of your appearance. What you wear reflects what you’re doing. And what you’re doing right now is making me feel like no one else ever has. Being around you makes me happy. Touching you makes me nervous. Kissing you combines those two into this perfect feeling. Nothing else can ever have the same effect on me. We started as friends, though. Making friends isn’t hard for me, but I don’t choose to do it often. That means you’re someone I can talk to about anything and everything. You’re good at stuff that I’m not, and you rub it in. You tell me some of your secrets, but keep enough to make me wonder. You make me laugh. We have adventures. You’re my best friend. As wonderful as you are, I didn’t get that right away. Sometimes I miss the obvious and this time, the obvious was you. I needed you to make the first move and you did and you made my head spin. Now, all I can think about is you. You’re what I’ve always wanted and you amaze me.
p.s. If you’re actually reading this, you should know that this is my way of telling you that you’re perfect and I’m in love with you and I really really hope you love me back.
She looks up from the letter. Whoa…intense. She hates me. No, she doesn’t. Does she know I know? “Dream girl?” she asks. “That would be you,” I say, trying not to look too happy. I want to kiss her. Oh man, I want to kiss her. She tugs at her hair. You’re beautiful. I’m an idiot. I want to kiss you. She looks at me again. Just kiss me. “You…you…you know?” she finally lets the words tumble from her mouth. What part of the code are you having trouble cracking? “I know,” is all I can muster. And I’m happy and I want you and I hope you want me too. “And…you’re not mad?” No...not at all. Not when you’re looking at me all hopeful and sweet and…sexy. “I’ll get over it,” I assure her. But only if you kiss me right now. Suddenly she does it; she kisses me. Oh my God. But just as quickly, it’s over and she steps back. She takes off her jacket then a long-sleeved shirt. I watch her carefully. This isn’t happening. I can’t help smile as she pulls off the last shirt and then this Velcro thing. More efficient than duct tape. Then it hits me. Breasts. I probably stare a little too hard because she self-consciously puts a shirt back on. This time I kiss her. She’s kissing me back…oh my God, she’s kissing me back. Nothing could beat this. This is what I’ve always wanted…what I want forever. Oh, no, don’t stop kissing me. “I just wanted to say, Hamilton…” She just said my name and now I can’t breathe. “…I do.” She does what? I nod, stupidly, like I know what she means. She catches on to me and laughs at me. “I do…love you back.” She loves me…back. She loves me. Jake’s a girl and she loves me. Play it cool. I smile like a dork. Much to my surprise, she smiles back at me. Play it cool. I can’t help staring at her and it makes her look away. Her name. “Jake…what’s your real name?” “Jacqueline,” she answers without looking back at me. Jacqueline. I currently love that name. Have I said that I love her? I should. She already said she loves me. “What?” she asks. She looks nervous and I realize I’ve been quiet for way too long and I’ve been staring at her for even longer. Tell her. “I was just thinking that…” I want you. “…I love you.” I love her. She blushes. Oh my God, she’s blushing. I have a lot of power here. “…and that I’m an idiot for not knowing.” “Why?” is all she wants to know. “You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met and it took me way too long to figure that out.” It’s not a lie. Telling her how I really feel makes her look like she’s about to melt. I could get used to her looking at me like that. Kiss her. She wants you to. She took off some of her clothes too. That’s like an open invitation. Jake’s a girl…very much a girl. Wow, I couldn’t say that enough in my life. I suddenly become very aware of how much I want to kiss her again. I feel my cheeks flush. She looks at me coyly. I just lost all power. Forget it. This game is yours. You win. I kiss her and it’s perfect. Perfect.