Disclaimer: Jane Austen's, not mine.

A/N: Well I was just rereading Emma the other day and this idea just sprouted in my mind and I just happened to have the time to actually write it down. I hope you like it. Just be warned that I haven't written anything in well, quite a while and I'm trying something new here with first person..but I hope it's okay.

Less Than Perfect

Prologue

I was just sitting there on the park bench crying my eyes out, like one of those pathetic losers who, well cries in a public park.

I try to will myself to stop but the tears keep flowing and as impossible and ridiculous as I know it is, it feels like they will never stop.

"Hey," says a quiet voice, barely audible through my loud hiccupping sobs.

I instantly know who it is, familiar with hearing his deep voice everyday. I don't turn around but in his presence those sobs slowly subside and I stare through soaked eyelashes at the empty green patch of grass in front of me. Great, the pigeons don't even like me today.

"How are you?" he asks tentatively.

I wipe what I know is a horribly red and puffy face with my hands before I turn to face him. I attempt some sort of smile so that he can be assured that I haven't completely lost it but it fails horribly when I see his dark brown eyes full of worry and concern and I start crying all over again, this time somehow more violently. He quickly sits next to me and awkwardly slings his arm around me, sort of half-hugging me. It's reassuring.

"It's going to be okay."

"I just can't believe it," I choke out.

My mum had died…died…died. Died in a car crash. Some stupid drunk teenage idiot had crashed into her. It was such a cliché, like a bad soapie plotline. It just couldn't be real.

"I can't believe she's gone," I say again, my whole body shaking. "Forever."

I didn't even get to see her again or say goodbye or anything. She had died instantly. Dad had refused to let me go to the morgue. The closest was today when I had touched the hard wood of her closed coffin. It was as close as I would ever be to her again. And as I watched my father struggle through the eulogy, I couldn't take it anymore. It meant that it wasn't a nightmare. She was actually dead.

So I ran.

Somehow I ended up at Hartfield Park. I remember mum taking me here when I was young.

"It's going to be okay," he says soothingly.

I look over at him. My best friend. I had known him since I was a day old. I'm not quite sure what I would do without him.

He gives me a reassuring smile and hugs me and I cry more, thoroughly soaking the front of his t-shirt. He cracks a joke about winning a wet shirt competition and I try and laugh but midway through it transforms into another wrenching sob because I realise again nothing has changed. He doesn't say much but keeps murmuring that "everything will be okay" and when he says things in that earnest, calming voice I can't help but believe him so that eventually the tears miraculously cease.

"Can we just talk about something else?" I plead quietly.

He nods understandingly and asks, "How are things with Ben?"

And I start crying all over again.

He looks aghast, a moment I would usually savour but the damn tears ruin everything.

"I'm sorry," he says frantically. "I should just shut up."

Ben, I think bitterly, had left me a letter to find this morning. It was a shitty explanation with even shitter handwriting. But he was my first boyfriend and it hurts.

"He dumped me," I cry. "He likes someone else."

"That jerk," he mutters ferociously.

"She's probably prettier than me, smarter, nicer, and more fun to be with," I struggle out.

With his thumb, he wipes the tears away from my cheek and looking at me intently, simply says, "No she isn't."

"How do you know?"

"Because there's nobody prettier than you or nicer or more fun to be with," he says.

"You forgot smarter," I point out, showing him the beginnings of a smile.

"I was including me in that."

I laugh. It feels so foreign after days of its absence. It feels good. He can always make me feel better.

"Sebastian, you're such a good friend," I say.

He looks at me strangely, something I can't decipher flits across his face and it seems like his about to say something momentous. He almost does.

"What?" I ask, curiosity momentarily overshadowing the emotions of this horrible day.

After a seconds pause he shakes his head and says, "Nothing. I'm glad we're friends."

"Best friends," I add emphatically.

"Yes," he agrees, nodding slowly. He looks at me with those intense brown eyes of his again and states sincerely, "You'll get through this. I know you will. And you know I'm always here. I'll always be here for you Cassandra Evans."

And with those words I feel better. So much better that when he offers me a hand, like a gallant 19th Century gentleman, I take it instead of laughing, and we make our way out of Hartfield Park. Steph is at the entrance, waiting with a face etched with worry. I give her a small smile and she immediately looks relieved.

With our arms linking each other, we walk out. And with my two best friends beside me, I feel that everything might just turn out okay.


What do you think? Next chapter will have more of the lighthearted fun of Emma and Mr Knightley!