Standing on the beach, shivering in her wet clothes, Carrie stared at the two boys who'd caused her so much pain, but who'd hurt each other even more. Letting all the anger and frustration she'd suppressed well up in her, she clenched her fists and yelled into the wind, "Best friends? Best friends don't fuck one another because they're scared to lose each other!"
"But I... I'm in love with you!" Shane stuttered, flinching.
Suddenly Carrie's anger evaporated, and she began to laugh slightly hysterically. The boys exchanged a worried glance, and she recovered enough to say, "Maybe. But you love him, too - and that's okay. Just admit it, before you lose him."
"Shane?" Cautious hope transformed Jonathan's face, reminding Carrie why she'd become his friend in the first place. And when Shane nodded and took a hesitant step towards his best friend, she smiled, no longer feeling the cold.
Jonathan had been angry with Carrie for a long time.
It took Carrie, and the disastrous night in Taipei, for Jonathan to admit to himself that he loved Shane in ways that went beyond friendship. It also took Carrie for him to realize that Shane would never want him the same way, not deep down, even if he could still remember the warm weight of Shane's body pressing him into the mattress. And it took Carrie to stop him from walking away for good.
Giving her a tremulous smile, Jonathan instead walked forward and took Shane's shaking hand in his.
Kissing Jonathan on the beach was different from kissing Carrie. It was even different from kissing Jonathan the other night, when Shane had been scared out of his wits because he could feel the one constant in his life slip away from him. All he'd known then was that he couldn't let that happen - and yet, Jonathan might have walked away anyway, if it hadn't been for Carrie's intervention.
Now, Jonathan tasted like the sea, like peace and coming home, and their embrace was free of that night's edge of desperation. Shane smiled and held out a hand to Carrie.