For years, I had thought that the worst feeling in the world is the fear that your soul mate might never realize how perfect you could be together. How much you were simply made for each other.
I was wrong.
There is something worse. Something that I had just been too blind to see.
What's worse is when you finally realize that you're not made for each other. That you're not soul mates.
That's what hurts the most.
While I may be hardheaded, even I eventually had to admit that Miguel and I weren't soul mates. He and *Charity* are meant to be together—not me and Miguel.
But I've been after Miguel for years! What caused me to change my mind now?
The story is long and slightly confusing. But I'll do my best to keep it short and sweet.
It all started late one Friday night…
"Oh, Kay, thank goodness you're here!"
I turn my head away from my research paper for History 103 and raise my eyebrows. Did a closed door not mean anything anymore?
With a sigh, I stood up and moved to the couch motioning for her to sit beside me. "What's wrong, Charity?"
Charity sniffed loudly and wiped away the tears that were pouring down her face. "It's Miguel."
Instantly, she had my full attention. If she was having problems with Miguel, this could be the opportunity that I was waiting for!
I had waited what had seemed like an eternity to get my chance to make love to Miguel and force him to realize that I was the one for him. Finally, it seemed to be here!
But I couldn't let her know what was really on my mind, so with a concerned expression, I replied, "Oh, Charity, that's horrible! What happened?"
"In my Psychology class, we're doing this project, and my partner is Jake Lawton. Do you know him?"
A picture of the tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed man immediately filled my mind. I knew who he was—and so did every other girl on campus.
But I didn't tell Charity all of what I had known. Simply, I said, "I've seen him around."
"Well, Miguel is really jealous, and he acting so possessive! I would never cheat on him, Kay. Doesn't he trust me?"
They were on the rocks because Charity was being her typical naïve self in not realizing what she could be getting herself into. And I most certainly wasn't going to tell her that Miguel had a point. That wouldn't help me any!
"Oh, Charity, I don't know what to tell you," I said. And it was the truth. I didn't know what I could say that would sound sympathetic while still encouraging her to keep her distance from Miguel.
Then, it came to me.
"Charity, maybe what you and Miguel need is some time apart to figure out if you really love each other. I'm sure that in a week or two Miguel will come running back to you, apologizing for not trusting you. In the meantime, you can finish your project with Jake, and Miguel can have some time to get his head screwed on straight."
Silently, I prayed that Charity would agree with what I had said. If she and Miguel split up for a few weeks—even a few days, I would be the person that he would turn to in her absence.
And, hopefully, the woman he would fall in love with.
After a few moments, Charity gave me a small smile. "Thanks, Kay. I knew you would be the right person to talk to. I have to go talk to Miguel."
"No problem, Charity. Any time!" I called as she walked out of my dorm room.
As soon as she was out sight, I closed the door and flopped onto my bed, face-down. Excitedly, I pounded the mattress and screamed into my pillow.
Finally, things were going my way.
Finally, it looked like Miguel would be mine!
The next night, I headed out to a party hosted by the fraternity Omega Delta Pi. I didn't expect to see anyone I knew there, but a part of me always hoped that I would find a man who would make me forget about Miguel.
I know that I've loved him for years but loving him has always had so many complications. My life would be so much easier if I hadn't fallen love with Miguel, but you can't choose who you love.
But I didn't find anyone to make me forget about Miguel.
Rather, I found Miguel.
By the time that I got there around midnight, Miguel had apparently been there for awhile. He was totally smashed, and it had taken all of my power to help him stumble out of the party and get to my dorm room.
The great thing about my dorm was that my roommate almost never was in our dorm. Her boyfriend was a senior and lived in one of the frat houses, and she spent almost every waking moment at his frat house. The only times that I ever saw her was when her parents were coming to visit.
So we essentially had my dorm room all to ourselves, which was great. Miguel complained about Charity leaving him for Jake (which was only the case in his inebriated mind).
Then, out of nowhere, I kissed him. I really don't know where it came from, but all of a sudden, I just leaned forward and captured his lips with mine.
It was as great as I had remembered—better even.
Granted, the only other time that I had kissed Miguel was before I had discovered my love for him. Back when we had been freshman, Miguel was getting ready for his first date. He was so nervous about the whole thing—the kiss in particular.
So he had asked if he could kiss me—for practice of course. While I had long since outgrown my "cooties" stage, I couldn't help but feel slightly repulsed at the thought of kissing my best friend. At that point, he was almost more like a brother than a potential boyfriend!
But after lots of begging and pleading on his behalf, I relented, and we kissed a few times. Nothing too major.
Nothing like the kisses we shared that night.
Anyhow, Miguel responded to my kiss, and it soon began to turn into another kiss. And then another. And yet another.
Moments later, we were beginning to rid each other of our clothes. As I felt Miguel's hardened muscles underneath my roaming fingertips, it finally began to sink that my dreams were about to come true.
"God, I love you, Miguel," I moaned as he rained kisses from mouth, along my cheekbone, and down my chest.
"Mmmmmm, I love you too, Kay."
Now this is where, looking back, I get confused. Did he mean what he said? Did he really love me, the way that I loved him? Or did he simply mean that he loved me as a friend? Or, worse, did he only say it in the heat of the moment, almost as an automatic response to my words?
To this day, I still don't know what he meant. Yes, I could have asked—after all, I have had ample opportunity. But somehow the timing just has never seemed quite right.
Anyhow, after our murmured confessions things escalated rather quickly. Before I knew it, dawn broke, and I was lying alone in my bed, covered by cold sheets.
Confused, I sat up and looked around. Where had Miguel gone? Was it possible that our fantastic night had meant nothing more to him than a one-night stand would have?
A few minutes later, I spotted a small piece of paper sitting on my desk. Quickly, I walked over and read Miguel's messy handwriting.
Last night shouldn't have happened.
I was drunk and let things go too far.
I wish that I could go back
and undo what we've done, but I can't.
Please forgive me,
Miguel had left.
The man that I had loved for what had seemed like forever had left me alone with my broken heart.
Three weeks later, I got confirmation that what I had dreamed of since I was a junior in high school was finally coming true.
Too bad that it was coming true too late.
I was pregnant with Miguel's child.
Myra lived down the hall from me, and she tried her best to be supportive. She had gone through this herself in high school, but she had decided to get an abortion.
She told me everything about her experience, and I was tempted to do make the same decision.
But after I went to go see my obstetrician, I realized that I couldn't do that to my baby. It wasn't her fault that I was a screw-up.
I had always been the black sheep of my family—that is, at least after Charity arrived in Harmony.
First, I had managed to get the fish guts dumped on her at Prom. Then I tried to get her committed to a mental institution so that I could get Miguel. I even went to far as to sell my soul to Hecuba, bringing hell to Harmony—literally.
But my daughter didn't ask me to ruin my life by sleeping with Miguel when I knew the risks, when I should have known that he loved Charity and no one else.
But I had slept with him anyhow.
My daughter didn't ask much—all she wanted was to live. How could I deprive her of that simple wish?
So I had decided to have my baby, my daughter.
The only question that had remained was what I would tell Miguel.
I had finally decided that Miguel deserved to know. He could be as involved as he wanted to, and I wouldn't pressure him to do anything. I had finally realized just how much he loved Charity and how much they were meant to be together.
It was the last day of exams, and I was going to be heading home. I knew that I had to tell Miguel the truth before I left, but I was having problems finding the courage.
I had never had problems with bravery before. I had been willing to do anything to get Miguel for years, but now, when I could be mere moments away from finally having him all to myself, I was hesitating.
A knock on my door interrupted my train of thought.
"Kay?" Miguel's voice called, as he slowly peaked his head into my dorm room. "Can I come in?"
He was there. The question of my coming to him was no longer an issue. Now, I just had to make my mouth form the words.
There was an awkward pause before we both began, simultaneously, "I have something to tell you."
"You go first," Miguel insisted.
I shook my head. "No, you."
He nodded. "Charity and I are getting married. I wanted to make sure that you heard it from me after what… happened between us. We're still friends, right?"
My heart sunk down into my stomach. Just when I had thought I couldn't feel any worse, Miguel had to tell me that he and Charity were getting married.
Don't get me wrong, I was happy for them, but this meant that there was no way I could tell him about my baby—no, our baby.
I couldn't tell him. I wouldn't burden him with that responsibility, with that guilt. He and Charity probably would have been married months ago if it hadn't been for my stubborn, manipulative self.
Miguel wouldn't know about his daughter. Not yet.
"That's great, Miguel," I replied, giving him a genuine smile—my first in a long time. Just went to show that Simone had been right all along—there was nothing that I could do to break up Charity and Miguel. And for the first time in my life, that made me glad.
I had screwed up, and it was my own damn fault that I was pregnant. I could try to blame it on Miguel all I wanted, but he had been drunk. I had been fully aware of that fact on that fateful night, but I had chosen to ignore reality.
It wasn't Miguel's fault that was so obsessed with my childhood crush that I had believed that he was worth any lie, any deception, any break of trust.
But he wasn't. I had hurt so many people on my blind path towards realization—myself included. Sometimes it seemed as if I was my own worst enemy.
So I hugged Miguel and assured him that we would be friends forever. And we would—unless the presence of my daughter and I in his life made his marriage to Charity a bit too uncomfortable.
The next day, Mom came up to drive me home. I had told her that Charity and Miguel were planning to stay on campus for a few more weeks, and she had agreed to come and pick me up.
The drive back to Harmony was good for us. Ever since Charity had become a member of the family, I had felt as if I had been replaced.
My own mother had favored her niece over her own daughter. Or so it had seemed.
On the ride, we had had two hours to bond, and I had felt the need to fill the silence. So I confessed how I had felt during my last years in high school.
My mother had frowned and apologized for making me feel like I would always be second best. She explained that she had felt the need to make up for Charity's loss of her own mother and that she hadn't realized that she was depriving me of my own mother in the process.
And I told her that I was pregnant. Needless to say, she was more than a little surprised. I think she just stared out the windshield at the road before us for about five minutes before she said anything.
The first words out of her mouth were, "My baby girl… is going to have a baby? I—I'm going to be a grandmother?"
"Yeah, mom, you are. You're going to have a granddaughter to spoil rotten."
She smiled and got this faraway look in her eyes. I knew that she was thinking of her own baby that she had lost. I knew that my daughter wouldn't replace the little brother that I would have had, but she would have a baby around the house.
Almost ten months have passed since that fateful night. I'm laying in my hospital bed, still recuperating from giving birth to the beautiful baby girl I held in my arms.
She was beautiful. The typical observer might see nothing more than her scrunched-up pink face, but I saw beyond that.
I saw the look of determination in her eyes that I had seen reflected in the mirror so many times when I was growing up.
I saw the same smile that Miguel had worn on his wedding day to Charity.
Yes, Miguel and Charity were married. Miguel had realized the truth a few months ago, after I had started to show.
"Kay, is it mine?" he has asked, almost afraid of the answer.
Mutely, I had nodded, as I saw the look of shock wash over his face. Softly, I added, "Miguel, no one else knows that you're the father. If you don't want to be involved, that's fine. It's my fault anyhow."
His jaw had dropped. "Kay, no, I want to be a part of my daughter's life. I just… I don't know how to tell Charity."
Then, I smiled softly. I had known that his sense of responsibility would cause him to say that. It had been what I had been planning on for years.
"Miguel, I don't want to come between you and Charity. You two belong together."
He grinned. "Thanks, Kay, but I think that that will be up to Charity."
While it had taken Charity over a week to come to terms with the fact that I was carrying Miguel's child, she had accepted it. They would be returning to college in the fall as husband and wife.
I wouldn't be returning to college—at least not to the University of Maine.
After a long talk with my parents, we came to the decision that the best thing for me to do would be to move back into the house in Harmony. This way, I could take some classes at the community college and take care of my daughter.
I was still having trouble accepting the fact that I, Kay Bennett, had a daughter.
A beautiful daughter named Mikayla Katherine.
In Spanish, the word 'mi' means my, or mine. And that's exactly what Mikayla was—forever mine.