A/N: As always... I'm really sorry about That Summer :P I've been thinking about it. I really have. I just can't seem to write the next part. I have no idea how to get from the point I'm at now to point B, as it were.
I AM going to finish it. Mainly because I want to re-write it all. But until then, here's a little something for you to read. :)
It's cold by the window, but she can't bring herself to move away from it even to put on warmer clothes. She is numb; she can't feel the cold anyway.
She is 99.9% sure that he has a new girlfriend.
She can't be sure of that .1% without asking him, of course (and like hell that's going to happen) but she doesn't really need to. Not after watching them hug and cuddle, watching him kiss her hand (she had no idea he could be so romantic) and stare into her eyes and smile… and there was nothing but love in his expression.
The new girlfriend is sweet, and funny, and beautiful (everything she could never be) and he deserves her – deserves something good, for once in his life.
"I'll miss you."
"No, you don't."
It's funny, she thinks with a shiver, how you can love a person, have them be such a huge, important part of your life, and yet they never know. Maybe he guessed, suspected, but he never knew exactly how she felt about him, which was, in the end, a good thing, though it certainly didn't feel that way. Better that she languishes away in silence than be rejected, which of course she would be. That much of an age difference is a big deal when you're so young, and besides, he didn't love her. Not like that.
"You look upset. What's wrong?"
"I can't tell you. You don't want to hear it."
"You'll think I'm crazy."
The window is dirty, smudged, and covered in frost, but if she looks carefully, she can she them now – him and the new girlfriend. They don't appear to be doing anything, luckily (as supposedly 'okay' with this as she is, seeing them kiss might be too much to bear), just sitting outside in the cold, talking animatedly. But there's a look in his eyes, a sparkle that she's hasn't seen in years (certainly never directed at her.) He is happy, and maybe that's all that really matters.
"What do you think of her?"
She realizes suddenly that her fist is clenched so tightly that her fingernails are cutting into her palm. She slowly unfolds her hand, staring at the crescent shaped cuts that don't really hurt (she's too numb to feel them), focusing on something, anything but him and Ashley and their happiness.
Her love has changed, she thinks. Not lessened, just… changed. No longer is it burning passion that gives her forbidden dreams that she wakes from in the middle of the night, gasping. No longer is it the painful, dramatic, unrequited love of bad romance novels that tells her it's a good idea to march over to his house and him about her feelings that she can't even find words for. It's none of those things. It's more, and yet less.
She looks up just in time to see their lips meet, and she quickly looks down again, embarrassed.
Her love is more like a slow, melancholy ache that seeps into her very bones, but though it hurts, it's not bad (unlike the last time he had a girlfriend, but she doesn't even want to think about that.) It's not like being ripped in two, more like being put back together again. It's healing (maybe for all three of them.)
"Being my friend."
She should hate the new girlfriend, but she doesn't. She can't. It feels good not to hate.
Two years. Two long, terrible, wonderful years. And she's finally ready to move on.
She smiles, steps away from the window, and closes the shades.