When Jade and Sam had fallen for each other it was as perfect as first love should be. Their first kiss, stolen behind the school library, had lived up to their expectations. It’d been sweet, with the tender tingle of passion awakened, and it had cast a heady spell over them both. Now, eight months on, the spark between them had faded. Jade wasn’t so sure that he and Sam were meant to be together anymore.
Jade recalled how he and Sam had first met, back at the start of fourth year. They’d ended up sat beside one another in French, and had struck up an instant rapport. He never even considered the possibility of having his attraction returned, and so he'd kept his feelings to himself. Jade had always been a quiet sort, but back then he’d been painfully self-conscious about his height. It wasn’t helped by the fact that his wrists seemed to forever stretch out from the sleeves of his school blazer. His mother told him it was down to his Tunisian ancestry, and that he should be proud of the way he looked. Jade couldn’t care less about his heritage. He just wanted to fit in, and towering above the entire school wasn’t the best way to remain inconspicuous. Sam, on the other hand, stood out from the crowd as friendly and good-looking. He was always immaculately turned-out, opting for designer jeans and t-shirts instead the penitential blue Walls Academy uniform. With sandy blonde hair and a sport-star smile, Sam got a lot of attention from girls, and not just in their year either. There’d been a rumour that very semester that Sam had turned down Suzi White, a sixth year prefect. Jade pondered on how funny it was now, thinking back on it all. He remembered how he'd assumed that he’d find out Sam was dating some rich girl from a private school, called Tania or Victoria. As it turned out, Sam wasn’t interested in girls.
By the start of sixth year, Jade’s confidence had grown, mainly from discovering his talent for basketball. It had been a great way to meet other kids, as well as having fun. Even though he was still quiet, he’d become far more relaxed in his self. Armed with his new found self confidence, it hadn’t taken long for him to catch Sam's eye. Neither of them had taken the French exam in fifth year, and so they'd found themselves once again in the same class. Within the first week of being back at school, Sam approached him to ask for help with his French homework. Jade had agreed to meet in the school library later that day, and they’d shared their first kiss a mere hour afterward. From then on they’d been inseparable. Any friends they had were forgotten as they drifted along in a Sam-Jade bubble. It hadn’t taken long for them to declare their love. They’d then hurtled towards a physical relationship, and had embraced the experience with all the fervency of youth.
On reflection, Jade realised now that the problems had always been there. It'd started with the French tutoring. Then, after a couple of months Jade was actually doing Sam’s homework for him, and not just French either. Sam needed to re-sit his English exam, having failed the spectacularly the year previous. At first Jade had wanted to help his boyfriend succeed, and he was happy to assist with his studies. After all, Jade was a straight A student, and it made sense to help Sam out. Another couple of months then passed, with Jade not only doing most of Sam’s school work, but also helping him with his chores. Many times he’d dropped by after basketball practice to discover Sam being chastised by his mother about the state of his room. Out of love for Sam, and respect for Sam’s mother, Jade would pick up dirty tube socks, tidy away food wrappers and any other evidence of Sam’s dirty habits. He often wondered how someone who lived like such a slob could always look so neat and tidy. Still, love will make you do things that you wouldn’t otherwise consider. The problem was that Jade felt like all he ever did lately was something for Sam. Much as he loved his boyfriend, he was beginning to feel used.
It was a normal Monday evening, much like any other they spent together. After school they’d went straight back to Sam’s. It was when filling in Sam’s application for university that something switched in Jade. A flurry of doubts ran through his mind in quick succession. Was this their future? Was he to be the one who got Sam through his university degree? Where would it end? He was about to ask him this very question, when Sam instead asked Jade to go to the shops for him. It was the final straw, and a blistering argument ensued. It was during this spat that Jade realised what had actually been happening. Sam wasn’t just taking advantage of his better nature. He was actually trying to force him to his limit. It all seemed so obvious now! Sam wanted to push Jade into finishing with him. Right there and then, Jade decided that was one thing he would not help Sam do.
“If you want to end this relationship,” Jade said, choking back his tears, “Then you do it, Sam. I won’t end it for you.”
An uncomfortable silence followed. Jade was completely heartbroken, but he knew he had to stick to his guns. Turning on his heel he walked out of Sam’s parents’ and headed home. Five minutes down the road he received a text:
Hey, you’re right.
Sorry it had to end
this way. Sam.
It was gut-wrenching to read, but he consoled himself in the fact that Sam had taken the cowards’ way out. Sam would forever be his first love. There was no getting away from that. All the same, Jade learned a valuable lesson that day. He accepted the fact that he had been partly responsible for breaking his own heart. Sometimes, you just had to stop giving.
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