Hey everyone! Another short little love story for ya! I'm trying to work on a new long story, or do work on Mango Milkshakes, but I just don't have time to sit down and write. You'll see more of that stuff when summer vacation starts. Thank you all for reading! ~~RLB


She wakes with a start. The clock reads 12:01, and she lets out a sigh as she sees it. She's only been asleep ten minutes.

She told him she'd meet him around 11:30 or midnight, so he could already be waiting for her. She checks the cell phone. No messages. Maybe he hasn't left. Maybe he's waiting for her to tell him she'll be there.

She climbs out of bed, cringing as the wood groans a little. She pulls a sweater over her tank-top and drops the cell phone in the pocket. She listens for a moment.

Her father's snoring softly, and her parents bed creaks as her mother rolls over. Their breathing is slow and even, so she knows they're asleep. Through the walls, she hears her brother's stereo, the bass turned up so only the beat is audible now. He must have fallen asleep with it on.

She turns the doorknob slowly, taking almost ten minutes just to open the door silently. Her hands are shaking as she e-mails him, "Love? Are you there?"

She stands in her doorway, listening to the beats of her brother's music, and the steady breathing of her parents. Finally, she takes a step. Then another. She lowers herself down one stair, clinging to her doorframe so as not to put too much weight on the stairs. She knows they don't creak, but she doesn't want to take a chance on them starting tonight.

She gets to the bottom of the stairs, there's eleven in all. The dog looks up and wags her tail. Finally, when the figure at the bottom of the stairs seems like just a shadow, the dog lays back down.

She creeps around the dog, gently stepping on her tail to keep it from thumping loudly against the floor. She hurries now, seeing that it's taken her almost half an hour to get down to the kitchen.

With a shaky breath, she paces the kitchen, debating which door to use. If she goes out the front door, the dog will get up noisily and want to go outside. If she goes out the side, she'll have to go all the way around the deck, and someone might hear her walking. She e-mails him again from the phone, hoping he hasn't left yet.

She decides on the side door, and is about to go to it when the phone lights up. Message received, it reads. He says he'll meet her in a circle of trees and bushes in her yard at 11:30. It's already 12:36. The phone lights up again, and then again as the messages come in. They were sent over an hour ago, but some problem with the phone or the service has caused them to be delays.

The final message was sent at 10:54. It says he's leaving his house. He'll be there in 20 minutes.

She's at the door now. She's shaking, not just her hands, but her whole body is trembling. She wants to open the door, run down the hill to where she knows he's waiting, and just lay in his arms. But she can't. Her hands have turned to stone. She can't lift them to unlock the door.

Through the sliding glass of the door, she can see the bend it her driveway. Just around that corner, just beyond that tree, he's waiting for her.

She stares at the trees, tears streaming down her cheeks, wanting just to be with him. But her hands still won't move. It's almost 1 now; he's been down there for an hour and a half. She's sobbing, frozen in that place at the window.

Finally she turns and runs back to her room. Nothing has changed. Her parents still sleep, her brother's music still plays. She closes the door quietly, but not too carefully. She doesn't care anymore.

She crosses the room in two angry leaps and throws open the window. Part of her is hoping he'll come up to her window. Part of her knows he won't. She sinks to the floor and pulls her knees to her chest. She buries her face in the soft flannel of her pajamas and cries.

When her tears aren't quite as heavy, and her vision not quite so blurry, she begins e-mailing him. She hates herself right now. She's furious that she wasn't able just to lift the latch and open that door. She's still shaking with fear of something. She doesn't know what. And the thing that pains her the most is him.

She knows he's still down there. She knows he's still waiting for her. And she knows she doesn't deserve him. He's there, just as he promised, and he's waiting, true to his word. He said he'd wait all night for her. She hopes he doesn't. She hopes that he goes home and breaks his promise. She hopes that he has a flaw, just like she does.

She stands up and gets in bed, wrapping herself in the blanket. She can't stop shaking. She wants to be down there with him, or for him to be there in the bed with her. She wants him to hold her as if she did nothing wrong, to kiss her as if she deserved it.

But that isn't going to happen.

She's still crying. It's almost 4 now, she's been crying for three and a half hours now. Her tears are starting to dry of her soaked cheeks, there's no more left in her eyes. The phone vibrates against her collarbone, right where his kisses could have been. She grabs it and reads him message.

Soon he's responding to all the messages she sent. He's telling her that she does too deserve the best, she deserves better than him, she deserves the world. And he says he loves her. She starts to cry again. How can he love her after that she did? How can he be telling the truth when he tells her he loves her more than anything in the world and that it's all okay, he understands? He shouldn't love her. Not when she couldn't even raise her hands and open the door when she knew he was there waiting for her.

She writes back. She loves him too, more than words can say. He's too good to her, too nice, she tells him. He responds that he wishes he were nicer. She knows that's just not possible.

Finally they both say goodnight. She's crying, and she's not sure if she's happy or upset, or maybe both. All she knows is she loves him with all her heart, and somehow or another, he still loves her.