She's a beautiful blonde. She has a slender size zero waist, a perfectly petite figure, and delicate doe-eyes. Her demeanor demonstrates her naïveté, her wide-eyed innocence. She appeals to a man's protective instinct, allowing him to care for her and save her from all of the evil that is all around her in the world today.

I am not a blonde with a size zero waist. I am not innocent, by any means, and I refuse to surrender my independence to a man for any reason.

My hair color could be changed easy enough, but my athletic lifestyle has made my figure what it is. My innocence was corrupted and ruined at a young age by my mother – but I'll get into that later. My lack of vulnerability is another result of my tomboy childhood. For so long I had needed to prove that I belonged on the field, that I was one of the guys. In doing so, I learned that I didn't need someone holding my hand, that I was just as capable as any of the guys, that I could handle anything that came my way all on my own.

Charity is Little Miss Perfect.

I'm not. Not by any means.

Perhaps that's why everyone loves her more than they love me.

You probably think I'm exaggerating. There's no way that everyone could possibly love her more than they love me. After all, my parents are supposed to love me unconditionally, right?

Too bad that my mother - my mother is Charity's biggest fan.

My father still loves me - I know that much. But I'm sure that there are times when he can't help but wish that I was more like the perfect Charity. With my mother antagonizing me every chance he gets, I can't really blame him for wanting me to be more like the daughter she wishes was hers.

But more important than both of my parents loving Charity more than me, Miguel loves her more.

Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald is the man that I've loved for all of my adult life. He's been my best friend, practically since birth. Growing up, we did everything together. We rode bikes together, built snowforts together, and played baseball together.

For so long it was just the two of us. People would never see one of us without the other nearby. Kay and Miguel. Miguel and Kay. Best friends for life.

Or so I thought.

How was I to know that it would take nothing more than a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, vacuous twit to make Miguel forget that we were inseparable, that we best friends for life, that we were meant to be together forever.

After one look at Charity, he forgot all about me. And to think I had once been his world.

It would be easier, I think, to forget about him and about what we once shared if he wasn't so damned dense. Wouldn't it be easier if I could tell myself that Miguel had never thought of me as more than Best Friend Kay? Wouldn't it be easier if I knew that Miguel had never thought about kissing me? Goddammit, it would be so much easier if Miguel had never kissed me!

But I know better than that. He's told me time and time again that if Charity had never come to Harmony, he probably would've asked me on a date. He kissed me – in the mineshaft. (Of course, he now claims that that whole scenario was nothing more than delusions brought on by ... God knows what. But it was real. I know it.)

Now, after all the encouragement that he has given me, after all of the false hopes he has dangled in front of me, how can anyone look at me and tell me that if they were in my position they would have done things differently? Miguel is the man that I love, that I have loved, and the man that I will love for the rest of my life. How can anyone blame me for trying to use whatever limited resources I had to try to make him mine?

My mother can blame me. Of course she can. I never really could have expected anything else from her, now could I? After all, she's made it abundantly clear that Charity is the daughter she wishes she had, that Charity is the one that she loves unconditionally.

Not me.

Never me.

What is it about Charity that makes her so goddamn lovable? What is it about Charity that makes everyone in Harmony fall at her feet and wants to obey her every command?

I've done some pretty stupid things to try to get Miguel – I admit it. But why is it that even now, even when I am carrying his child, everyone in Harmony accepts his staying with Charity. Hell, why does everyone in Harmony want him to stay with Charity? I don't see any of the highly religious people standing up in arms that Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald would impregnate a young woman and then refuse to marry her (that would be me). Why is that? What does Charity have that I don't, that I can't possibly seem to possess?

She has everything I've ever wanted – the love and devotion of my parents, my one-time best friend ... hell, my entire city. She's taken everything that was mine, and I have no way to get any of it back.

She has everything I want, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

She's all that I can never be.

And that's the way it is.

END