He's known her her whole life. Since he was seven and she was a boring, disgusting baby trying to teethe on his action figures.
"Mom! She's drooling on Han Solo!"
In a way, Sara was as much like a sister to him as Kristine. A nice girl from a good family who was going to marry a nice boy and save the world.
And they all lived happily ever after. The end.
Yeah, that was – is – going to be Sara's life.
Sure, there was that piss-off-Daddy-but-don't-piss-him-off phase starting at the end of her pre-med freshman year (right around the time he was graduating from the Ranger School at Fort Benning).
He notices the ink poking out from above the waistline of the pair of jeans riding low on her hips. "Is that what I think it is?"
Sara tugs down her shirt to hide the tattoo. "Don't tell my father."
He keeps her secrets. There's that, too.
She tells him things he's pretty sure she doesn't share with anyone else, "because there's no way I'm going to feel judged by a self-absorbed asshole like you" – Hey, they're Sara's words.
She's not shy around him and Paul appreciates her honesty, likes being her confidant. It's not like her secrets are anything to do with him, personally.
And then one day they are.
"Michael asked me to marry him," she tells him when he returns to Chicago after a twelve-month posting overseas.
"Wait. Michael Scofield?" The attractive, smart, blue-eyed guy she wouldn't even have coffee with a year ago?
He's so wrong for you, he wants to tell her. Just because Michael is so fucking right for her.
"Are you going to, you know…?" He can't even say it. He's never wanted her to lie to him as much as he does in that moment.
"We're making the announcement this weekend. But I wanted you to be the first to know." It's freezing alongside the rippling Chicago River and it's going to start snowing in a minute, but Sara tugs the glove off her left hand and shows off the engagement ring.
Her laugh clouds the air between them. "You can do better than that."
"Okay...it's very nice. I mean it, Sara, it's beautiful." Paul sandwiches her hand between his and rubs the warmth into her skin before pulling her into a hug. It's easier than finding the words to congratulate her. He wants to be happy for her, but the way he feels right now? He'd never manage to make them sound anywhere near sincere.
"Something wrong with it?"
"No, nothing," he replies, a little too quickly. "Just sounds…different."
"You'll get used to it."
"And if I don't?" Because he's never going to get used to it.
"If you think that 'Sara Kellerman' has a better ring to it," Sara teases, "then you should have asked me to marry you."
"No offense, Sara, but it never crossed my mind." Not until five minutes ago. Until five minutes ago, she was always going to be his best friend; the only person she shared her secrets with. He was supposed to have all the time in the world to confess his one secret to her.
"I love you, Sara. I've always loved you. Well, not always – I pretty much hated you until you were like six or seven. But I liked you for a really long time before I realized…Anyway, what I really want to say is: don't do this. Don't marry Michael."
He sounded more articulate when he rehearsed it, less like a selfish asshole.
And Sara's standing there in the dressing room, in her wedding dress, on her perfect day, and he's ruining everything with his last-minute confession.