Jo reflects on her choice not to marry Laurie. One-shot. I really wish things had ended up differently for them both! Oh well …

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I'd thought that turning down my Teddy was the hardest thing I'd ever had to do … Oh, I wished I could have said yes! Marrying him would have been the easiest thing in the world, as natural as breathing. He could evoke in me nostalgia and laughter, memories and moonlight; piano music that haunted me day and night in the quiet of my bedroom. I knew him inside out and upside-down and he did me, but I feared that we'd soon fall foul of the classic mistakes – what I loved in him I would have come to loathe, and the path to the destruction of our friendship would have begun, a permanent road to heartbreak that couldn't have been turned back on, no matter how hard we'd try. What you love in a friend you might hate in a husband, I was once told.

When he kissed me I wanted so badly to succumb to his sensuality and power, but submission would have been a fate worse than death; I couldn't have lived without my liberty.

The games we used to play among the tall grasses and ancient trees of the surrounding meadows seemed like a calm before a storm; it was too peaceful, to joyous - they would have been setting us up for the tempest of our lives that would have become all too present if we'd pledged ourselves to one another. A marriage between us would have torn us apart; not just him and I, but all of us – when we would have begun to fight, friction would have grated between him and Meg, Beth, and Amy. And that would have been hell, the deterioration of my family. The one thing more important than true love.

He told me he'd be damned if he stood by to watch me love another … but he never had to watch me falling in love with Friedrich, as I did him with Amy. Yes, that was the hardest thing I'd had to do – welcome them in as the happy couple, playing the part of the ecstatic sister and best friend. Her shining cobalt eyes and golden hair radiated the depths of her heart and revealed to me how truly happy they had made each other; I couldn't resent them for that. But it should have been me. Never in all my life had I regretted my temper more than the day I saw how happy he had made my own blood.

But it's like I said. Blood's thicker than water – he made Amy the happiest woman she could ever have been, as I was blissfully melancholy.

And he's my blood, too, afterall.

Yes, it should have been me.

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