They'd had hundreds, maybe thousands of fights over the course of their relationship, but the most meaningful one came days after Christmas, on the eve of fresh starts and forgiven pasts.
That night, they found themselves unable to give either.
For Christmas he'd gifted her with a perfect strand of pearls, milky white against her pale, smooth skin. She'd given him her trust, and a shiny new safe to keep it in. The digital camera he'd wanted was only secondary.
He'd taken the latter and discarded it carelessly on the shelf; the former he fanned carefully in front of the Yule log and guarded it close. She was pleased to see he appreciated it.
She hadn't quite realized it was her heart on the line, until later when he told her he might not want it. His cool callousness crushed her, and she was sure she could no longer breathe.
"But you said—" She wasn't quite able to finish.
And then he smiled, lethal like the sharp edge of a broken bottle, eyes jade green like the shattered shards of glass, the words meant to wound and wound deep.
"I never really meant it," he shrugged.
She dreamt of white roses and black knights, the spray of baby's breath stark against the midnight metal. The castle towered like the half-forgotten ruins of their affection and forged fumbling phantasms of faeries and foes alike. She woke shivering with the memory of accusing eyes clinging to her skin.
No amount of water or soap could scrub it off.
When he appeared on her doorstep looking semi-smug and twice as uncertain, she drew him inside with none of her earlier trepidation.
His eyes were green, the dew's reflection on the grass at the very touch of dawn. And maybe they were both surprised when she led him inside with only relief tingeing her actions.
"I'm sorry—" he started, but she shook her head and silenced his words with a quick brush of her mouth against his.
"Don't," she cautioned.
The question in those leafy eyes touched something inside her that she didn't know existed. She saw both the apology and the plea and was warmed by them both.
"I love you," she said, and for the first time, she actually thought that she could mean it.
And there, the point of the whole thing -- to have the same text, but two different stories and two different endings. Kind of like a choose your own adventure, but not.
Enjoy. I had fun with it, anyway.