Never by patricia51

(Marianne's reaction to the Great Webcast of 2010. Perhaps wildly out of character but I wondered at why she was holding her cross so fiercely. Femslash overtones.)

Long after Olive smiled into her webcam and then disappeared to be with Todd I continued to watch the now silent image of her room. I want to deny what she said, especially about Micah and Missus Griffith. No, more than deny it. I want it to be a vicious, unprincipled lie. I want a lightning stroke from heaven to prove that what she said is a lie.

Of course that lightning bolt doesn't come. And it won't because I know that Olive was telling the truth. My heart is torn asunder because I know that the man I loved, past tense now, not only cheated on me and with a married woman to boot but he lied about it when he was caught. My face burns when I recall how Olive stood there with her arms open for me and the look on her face when I slapped her. When did I stop being confident in my faith and become so certain of my own infallibility? Some friend I turned out to be.

The hurt and the guilt and the feelings of having failed not only Olive but everyone around me by my actions are all mixed in together. It all settles into a dull ache now as I cling to the silver cross at my throat with one hand. That dull ache is mixed with the fear that if I finally acknowledge my most secret feelings that cross will sear my hand like a branding iron. Will it? I've always thought it would, that certain people, certain actions, certain feelings, are beyond the pale and completely inconsistent with the central core of my faith. The central core of me.

The biggest thing is that I never will be able to tell her.

I'll never be able to tell Olive Penderghast that I, Marianne Bryant, professed Christian and hater of Homos and Whores, fell in love with her. That I dream about her at night and during the day. That I imagine her in that goddamn outfit from the pep rally and my knees grow weak and my mouth grows dry and I can't stop thinking about how her mouth would taste and how her body would feel against mine.

And no matter how I pray about it late at night in my bed my thoughts drift to her and after a while I not only cannot stop my thoughts and my busy fingers I don't want to stop. And it's all so futile. Maybe, just maybe if I hadn't acted as I did I might at least get the chance to feel her in my arms again even if she thinks it's only because we're friends. I could settle for that.

Amusing isn't it, I think bitterly. Olive is head over heels in love with Todd. Todd, who stood by her like a friend should; like a Christian should. And I am on the outside looking in with an attraction and desire that once I would have condemned as unnatural and hateful.

Perhaps that's my punishment for being judgmental, for striking her. "Let the one among you that is without sin cast the first stone." I guess I thought that was me. I was smug in my goodness. "Pride goeth before a fall".

In this moment of clarity I can see what the future is going to bring. I'm not talking about Missus Griffith losing both her job and Mister Griffith. Those are givens. I'm only sorry about that because she turned out not to be whom I thought she was. And I'm not talking about Micah. I've made excuses for him long enough.

No, what I'm talking about is going to incredibly hard. I will have to go to Olive and beg her pardon for acting as I did. I can be true to my beliefs at least that much; to remember "For as you judge, so will you be judged".

That won't be the hard part. I expect Olive will forgive me, to my shame I know she is that kind of person, more Christian in her behavior than I was. It would almost be easier if she didn't. Because then I would have an excuse to avoid her. Then I wouldn't have to see her all the time with Todd and see her arms around him and remember how they felt around me. But I'll be good, supportive and penitent. I won't hope, no pray even for them to break up. I'll smile and encourage them and live with the knowledge that never will I be able to tell her how I feel about her.

(The End)