Living in the Shadow by Lauren Zane


I stared at John as he lay on the bed. He seemed so peaceful, snoring lightly and was covered only blankets. I try to look away but something in him drew me closer, something that I've long tried to resist but finally succumb to.

It wasn't just his looks. No, It was much more than that. Perhaps it's his soothing voice or the way he held my hand or maybe even his smile. These reasons may seem logical for some, but it wasn't reason enough for me.

It wasn't reason enough to sleep with my sister's boyfriend.

I gazed at myself on the bedroom mirror not far from the bed I was in. My reflection seemed different, unusual. It's as if I was looking at a completely different person, or someone I would be scared to be like years ago. Physically I looked fine, maybe even great. The long messy brown hair, the eyes to match and the bare skin showing through the covers. If someone would see me now, he'd probably think I'm in a bliss judging by the redness of my cheeks. But I'm not. In fact, I feel exactly the opposite of that.

Guilt started to consume me, like a virus starting to attack my whole being. It was more than embarrassing, the feeling that I didn't only betray Trish but I also myself for giving in to this temptation. Trish would never forgive me. She loves John more than anything, maybe even more than her own sister. If she finds out about this I know she would never forgive me. I know her too much, that it scares me even more. I know what exactly she'll do.

Although I feel as guilty as anyone could be, somewhere deep inside of me I felt good. It felt wonderful, having someone you care for so much, even for just one night. Pathetic, it may seem, but I would treasure it. As much as I'd like to deny it, I can't hide it anymore.

I love John.

As cliché as it might seem, I've loved him ever since I first saw him.

I was startled when I felt him move and that was when I realized I was crying. I tried as fast as I can to wipe the tears off my face, but it was too late, he already got up.

He stared at me for a while, as if mimicking what I was doing to him moments earlier. His expression showed somewhat a mix of curiosity and anxiety.

"Diane," Hearing him say my name sent chills down my spine. "What's wrong?"

I looked back at his ocean blue eyes and felt broken. Out of all the men in the world, how could I have been so lucky to fall for my sister's? It was more than unfair.

He moved in closer to me and cupped my face with his big hands, as if trying to kiss me. I was quick to move away and that made him think twice.

"Did I do something wrong?" His voice was so soft, almost a murmur.

"No, you didn't do anything wrong." I replied. "I did." Somehow blurting it out seems much more painful than repeating it over and over inside my head.

I felt his hand at my back as he carefully turned me to his direction.

"Don't." I fought my emotions at the exact same time that I pushed him away. "John, we shouldn't be doing this. Trish loves you."

As I stood up, everything became a blur. It's as if I had just woken up from a dream, I absentmindedly took my clothes from the floor and started wearing them.

"Diane, C'mon." John was behind me now, trying to hug or hold me in some way as to stop me. He knew I was going to leave. "Trish and I are-"

"What?" I snapped at him, feeling frustrated." I know it already! It's not as if she hasn't told everyone yet. I know you guys are going to get back together, John. You don't have to explain anything. This doesn't have to be more than just one night."

His face became white and at that very moment I knew I was right. Trish had her way with words so I sometimes doubted her, but judging on John's reaction, I was convinced that this time she was saying the truth.

I headed to the door before he could put his hands on me again. I was afraid that if he did, I'd find it even harder to walk away. I gave him one last look as I opened the hotel door, I wanted to get at least one more chance to see him that way. For a brief moment in time, John was mine.

"Diane, wait!" He called out but it was too late. I already made up my mind. I could never risk the relationship I have with my sister over a boy, even if this boy was my whole life.

"Diane!" I could hear his voice fade as I continue walking through the hallway. "Diane!"