Kiss Me, Break My Heart: Part 1
I was ten years old when he kissed me
I was ten years old when Jace O’Connell kissed me. The moment his lips touched mine, my whole body lit up, fireworks exploding inside me. I saw stars, heard flutes. I saw my whole life play out before my eyes – a life where I grew up and married Jace.
For seven whole seconds I glimpsed heaven instead of the dirty, rusty bike shed we stood behind. Then Jace let go of me and kissed Eve – our mutual best friend – causing the vision of me walking down the aisle towards Jace to crash to the ground and burst into flames.
“I love both of you,” Jace told us, throwing an arm around Eve and an arm around me. “I’m not going to let anyone come between us. It’s the three of us forever. Promise me.”
Eve and I looked at each other, then at Jace. “We promise.”
It would be impossible for both Eve and me to marry Jace, at ten I knew that much, but that didn’t alter the fact that kissing Jace changed me. My best friend tattooed his name on my heart when his lips were on mine. I wanted to see stars, feel the earth move, and hear flutes play again, even if I had to share him with my best friend.
It wasn’t until high school started that I realised I might have to share Jace with Eve and every other girl our age, Jace making it his mission to kiss as many of our classmates as he could. Every time I saw him with someone else, it felt wrong, like I was stuck in a bad dream where someone kept kicking me in the stomach, only I couldn’t wake up from it.
“Doesn’t it bother you that he’s always kissing everyone else?” I asked Eve when we were fourteen.
“Guys like to spread their love around, Cass. Seriously. It’s their biological urge to spread their seed.”
Her lightly condescending tone pricked my ego, but I didn’t pull her up on it. Eve was beautiful and more popular than me, and regularly dated. Since she had a lot more experience with boys, she considered herself my guide to the dating world. She didn’t understand I didn’t date because there was only one guy who held my heart in the palm of his hand. And I wasn’t ready to enlighten her.
“Why doesn’t he ever act like that with us, then?” I asked.
“He probably thinks of us as sisters. We’ve been best friends since we were four. Besides, can you imagine how weird it would be if he started treating us the way he treats all the other girls in school? Not to mention that it would ruin everything when it ended. We’re a threesome, Cass. Someone would feel left out.”
Eve was right, we were a threesome. The three of us had been best friends since my father and Jace’s father started a private investigative agency together. My mother ran a day-care group from home at the time, so it had made sense for her to look after Jace and me. Eve lived down the road from me, and had already been a regular playmate of mine. When Eve's mum decided to go back to work, Eve was quickly added to our group. From that point on, the three of us were inseparable.
I hoped we always would be.
Which was why, after that conversation with Eve, I worked even harder to hide my feelings for Jace. It didn’t matter that the glimpse of heaven I experienced in Jace’s arms pushed me head-first into a crush, and then blossomed into something so much bigger and all encompassing – love. Or that I became the clichéd girl I read about from time to time – the girl in love with her best friend; the one too chicken-shit to tell him for fear of ruining everything. Because as horrifying as it was to be a cliché, and as much as I hated Jace kissing other girls, risking the friendship the three of us shared and excluding Eve wasn’t something I was willing to do.
No matter how much I loved Jace, I convinced myself the sacrifices were worth it. I convinced myself that shutting my mouth meant Eve and Jace and I would be best friends forever – us against the world.
Then everything changed. Eve started dating a guy she was crazy about, and I thought I had my chance to tell Jace everything – to let him know how I felt without compromising our threesome.
Instead, one secret shattered my heart into a million pieces and pushed Jace out of my reach forever.