A/N: No, I'm not dead. Here's to prove it.


By Love-Forever


There was no question about it. There was no fucking question. I didn't even get a say. Maybe that was the worst part. Maybe that was the part of it that I hated, that I didn't get a choice. I mean, obviously, if given a choice, I wouldn't have chosen to fall in love with him. Actually, he would've been the last person I would've chosen. I had a few other people at the top of my list that would've been first in line for my affection—you know, maybe that cutie from Math that had certainly been eyeing me. I'd give my love to someone that wanted it. I'd give my love to someone that would work for it. I'd give my love to someone that deserved it.

But him? No, never him. He never even entered my mind, not until that day. I know, sounds ominous, right? It really wasn't, believe me; it was just some random-ass day. The sun was shining, the clouds were floating lazily through the air, the breeze was gentle and refreshing—a day where everything was flawless. Life was grand, life was exciting, life was mellow, life was everything anyone wanted it to be. That day was the type of day where you hadn't a clue what it held in store for you. It was like Christmas morning; that day should've been like unwrapping a gift, a fairytale, a dream that you've aspired to for so long.

Instead, I unwrapped a nightmare.

Well, it was a nightmare for a typical teenage girl. You know us; we need him. The one we set our sights on, we need him. It's not optional, really. He's the flavor of the moment, and we need to get our hands on him. We need our fix, our fix, love-sick crack-heads. We're blinded, we've got tunnel-vision.

I hated that. I hated that feeling. And I knew it the second I walked into class.

"Morning, Mr. Stone," I drawled. Really, I didn't care, and I highly doubted he did, either. It was a typical school morning. I felt dreary and slow even though the day was so bright and vibrant. Honestly, I really just wanted to gun the sun down with a machine rifle. But hey, what are you going to do? The sun was a little out of range at the moment.

"Morning, Ms. Wood" he returned. I looked up. It should've been a casual glance. It should've been a passer-by, a simple slide of the eye, a simple hey-teacher-you're-sitting-behind-your-desk-where-you-should-be-oh-joy-today-would-be-so-freaking-boring-no-excitement glance. A bored-out-of-my-mind glance.

And then I had to do a double take.

Shit, was his curly brown hair always that shiny? Did it always catch the light just so, like the waves on the ocean? Did his cheeks always have such a fine dusting of freckles just beneath his lashes, making his skin looked positively sun-kissed? Were his lips always so full, so luscious, so sweet and delicate to the sight? Were his teeth always so straight and perfect, like square pearls? Were his eyes—oh, my Jesus, his eyes—were his eyes always such a spectacular, never-ending chocolate, swirling around in his irises like he was fucking Willy Wonka? Had he always been…had he always been so gorgeous?

My stomach pitched.

I could not have just called my teacher gorgeous.

See, that, too, bothered me. I was aware from the very first second that he was my teacher. I was aware that this was fucking fucked up to no fucking end. This was fucking wrong. This was disgusting. This was perverted—yes, yes, that's a good way to put it. Here, let me say it again: this was perverted. How horrifying could I be, really? The man, this man, so agonizingly attractive, was not for me. He was not meant for me. He could never be for me. The age gap? Sweetheart, there wasn't just an age gap; there was an age canyon, as wide and deep and swallowing as the universe itself. Just stick the solar system in between the two of us, and you'll have about a fifth of the "age gap" that separated us.

Really, it was horrible. It was torturous. It was disgusting. It was perverted.

I was perverted. I had to be perverted. The barest hint of a sexual thought of my teacher had traced its way through the canals of my mind, and I had enjoyed it. There was a special Hell reserved for me, I just knew it. I was in for a fiery welcome from down below, because good people didn't think about their mentors like this. This wasn't their train of thought. They idolized their teachers, sure, maybe. If they were weird and obsessive, they could idolize them. But like them? Nope. No way. That didn't happen. That wasn't the sort of thing that came about.

Only someone terrible and masochistic would think that way.

Only someone disgusting and pathetically vulnerable would think that way.

I would think that way.

I was terrible, masochistic, disgusting, and pathetically vulnerable.

"Uh…" I tried to speak. I really did. I really, desperately attempted to make words drop from my tongue. Not just any words, of course. The right ones. The right words had to come from my throat, the tube that was connected to my heart, and mingle in the perfect fashion that would delight his ears and make him giddy with happiness and make him squirm with mirth.

Just like my heart was now.

He looked up at me. Fuck, he had me transfixed in those bottomless, deep, lovely brown eyes of his. Have you ever seen such eyes? They really were the color of mahogany, I'm telling you. They were flawless, positively flawless, so beautiful and pure and…sweet. No, I'm not calling them sweet just because they looked like chocolate (but really, it looked like someone shoved two God damn Lindt truffles into his eye sockets). They really were sweet. Just the way they stared at me had my legs turning into Insta-Goop.

"Yes, Andie?" he asked. His brow furrowed lightly over his gorgeous orbs, and there went my heart. Right in that moment, my love just went diving into those perfect irises of his. And it drowned. Boy, did my heart drown. And it's not like it even bothered to try to save itself. It just floated there, waiting for its end to come, its sweet, soft, loving end.

The way his voice wrapped around my name…I shuddered.

"Err," I tried again. Damn it, tongue, come on! It was always so willing to work, to be loud, to be obnoxious at any other time in the day, but when I needed it most, my wit failed me. Of course. Wasn't that how everything in life worked? Whenever you needed something to really save your ass, it just let you fall, let you down, let you gasp for air as it watched from the sidelines, little giggles erupting from it like bubbles. Like fucking bubbles.

"Never mind," I ended up with, and I darted out of the room.

Yep, I was sure a smooth operator.

The times to come next really didn't go over any better. Have you ever watched the Animal Channel? Certainly, right? Everyone watches the Animal Channel. Perhaps even a few of you try to snag a few of those mating programs and get your jack on. But hey, that's your business, not mine. Anyway, you know those shows where the lions chase after the zebras and they run them down in a matter of seconds? It's really not even a challenge. In fact, it's more of an insult to the lion's prowess, the lion's litheness, the lion's power and strength and lightning-fast whip of their sinewy muscles. It was disgusting to see just how easy it was to take down the striped stags. Forget the disgusting devouring part, if you can—it was just horrifying to see such a lovely creature go to waste.

Now imagine my love is the lion. Love could be compared to a lion, right? They were both beautiful things, beautiful forces that were deadly and lovely at the same exact time. They were both extraordinarily powerful, practically death-defying in their ability to control anything and everything around them, like the world simply revolved around their desires. It seemed as though everything belongs to them, love and lion, one in the same and yet light-years—or savannas—apart.

But of course, that wasn't true. A lion starved. Love starved. A lion died. Love died. But damn, when they're alive and kicking, they've got the ferocity of anything.

Now, if my love is the lion, imagine Mr. Stone is the zebra. Mr. Stone is the zebra with a bum leg. A bum leg and a massive bite already taken out of its side. A massive bite already taken out of its side and it can't run more than three feet without stopping for a breather.

The zebra didn't stand a chance, correct? The lion would maul it sooner than the poor creature could blink. But hey, it was the circle of life, right?

Yeah, tell that to my love. Mr. Stone didn't stand a chance. He was too damn attractive. My love was ravenous and desperate, and he was incredibly good-looking and charismatic. Yeah, I mauled him. Well, my love mauled him. Actually, we both kind of mauled him, considering we were the same entity. Either way, he didn't have a fighting shot.

And really, neither did I. I…I don't know how it happened. That's what really pissed me off. It just popped up out of the blue, right there, just suddenly all up in my face. I didn't fucking ask for this, alright? I didn't go up to Cupid and say, "Hey, baby, stick that pointy thing right here in my ass and make me fall in love with my teacher. Does that sound good to you? Because, really, I just love torturing myself, and this would really help me head off." No. That's not how it went. It seems that Cupid has a fucking sense of humor.

Hysterical, Cupid. Legit, I'm dying from laughter.

And that was when it started. Minutes began to melt into days, which dissolved into weeks, which morphed into months. Time turned to sand and my mind was a sieve. I was on the beach, each breath a granular of broken rock, and I continuously attempted to trap the little buggers, not really knowing their significance until they'd slipped from my grasp. But that's just how life worked, wasn't it? Sure, you could harp all you want on the "you don't know what you have until it's gone" shit, but no one would believe you. No one would take you completely seriously. Not until they've experienced it.

I'd take you seriously. I would, really. Honest, I would.

You don't believe me? Come now, don't lie to me, I see that look on your face, that sneer. You must take me for a fool then. Indeed, I was young. I had the massive eyes of a child, the huge grin of a child, and the dopey innocence of a child. Rest assured, I was a child. I had the youth's gleam all about me. Oh, I was a sight to behold. Chestnut hair, grey eyes, a straight nose—surely I would grow to be beautiful. There wasn't a doubt in anyone's mind. By the time I was a senior, I would have boys groveling at my feet, pleading with me, just one chance, that's all they asked. Anyone, any boy, anything that was breathing and had the mindset of the male would throw themselves at me. Surely, you say, that would be the case.

Not all prophecies play out, let me tell you. Sometimes you'll get lucky. Every now and again someone's "destiny" will be fulfilled. But then you get everyone else. Everyone else has fate. Can you hear the difference? Destiny sounds beautiful, loving, compassionate, lively—everything you could imagine. Destiny feels delightful slipping from the lips. And then you have fate. Sounds so absolute, so convicting, so short, succinct, to the point, no dilly-dallying for fate.

And what was I left with, you ask? Well, I was left with a crash course in finding the fine line between the two.

I didn't know what I was doing. I hadn't a clue. I was blindly learning how to work with love, how to find my way around the contours of the passion that I felt burning inside me. Really, it was as though I was being eaten alive by flames, engulfed in their fiery depths. It burned. It burned alright. I was always burning, burning, whenever I looked at him I was burning. The need, the desire, the love, the, the—everything was just there, obvious, blatant, I couldn't deny it. As hard as I tried to kick and scream and shove them away from me, the truth of everything I felt, everything that ate away at me, was too much to ignore. Honestly, it plagued my mind every second. I couldn't live without thinking about him. It wasn't that I needed him more than oxygen, more than air. He was my oxygen, he was my air. There was just no living without him after a while.

I'd long since given up trying to convince myself otherwise. Really, what was the point? You can lie to yourself all you want, but you know you're lying. So actually, there's really no lying to yourself, is there? If you know the truth, you're really not lying to yourself. I suppose I could say it would be impossible to lie to one's own mind, and I'd be right. But that didn't mean I didn't try my damndest. Fuck, I wasn't going down without a fight. Persuasion, begging, pleading, bribery—I tried it all.

Of course, I ended up going down. I went down like the fucking Titanic. But I should feel better for at least giving it a shot, right? Wrong. I never felt worse. It felt horrible. I couldn't…I couldn't muster up enough willpower, enough desire, enough ferocity in me to refuse it. He was the Forbidden Fruit, God damn it, and I fell for it. I fell hard. It was like I was bungee jumping and the cord snapped, and he was the water below me. I fell into him, I drowned in him, and I did it all while struggling to free myself. Eventually, I knew it was no use. Eventually, my mind failed me, my strength failed me, my heart failed me, everything just quit and dumped me on my ass. They'd had enough. I'd had enough

And so I had to cope.

But once I gave up, I began to plummet. I didn't just fall. Shit, falling was for tentative losers. I fucking plummeted. Do you know what it feels like to plummet into love? It's exactly like a roller coaster; your tummy ends up in your mouth and you're screaming your lungs out. But your heart gets ripped out too. I guess that's a little different from a roller coaster, unless there are coasters out there that I've never heard of (and if they rip your heart out, frankly I don't want to hear of them). Man, once you board that coaster, there's no getting off.

Eventually, you don't want to get off.

I know it sounds weird. But trust me. Love does have a certain enchantment, a certain something about it. The person you're in love with abruptly turns magical. They have this aura about them. It's so strong it's nearly visible, I'm telling you. It encircles them like a blanket, suffocates them without killing them, suffocates you without killing you. You're suffocating together, and yet the two of you couldn't be farther apart.

Yeah, it kind of hurts. But hey, you get used to it. It's just getting accustomed to the pain that kind of really sucks. You see, the worst way to miss someone is having them sit right next to you and knowing you can't have them. I'm sure everyone's felt that, right?

But the thing is that I really could've had any guy I wanted. I just had to pick one and they were mine. Putty in my hands, no doubt.

And I had to go and choose the one that I never thought I'd have a chance with in a million years.

Have you ever been so wrong you've actually laughed at yourself? It's kind of trippy, but kind of creepy. Trust me. You end up just giggling to yourself in your bedroom and—yeah, it's just weird.

It was about a week after midterms. I fucked that shit up, no doubt. You can bet the farm on that shit. I was taking it and I was literally thinking, "What language is this written in?" the whole entire time. It was written in English. Call me crazy, but I should've known that that sort of thing was kind of commonplace in an English class. I know, insane, right?

"I'm going to be completely honest with you all," Mr. Stone announced as he passed back the tests. "I haven't a clue what most of you were thinking when you were taking this."

Oh, fuck, I know who he's talking about, I groaned in my head. Really, there was no question. It was so absolute I think God had this planned for me since day one. But hey, God was really just enjoying himself by fucking with my life, so this was probably just icing on the cake.

"I know you can do this, people," he continued. "You're—" thwack "—incredibly smart." He'd tossed my test down upon my desk. I was practically shaking, I'm telling you. My fingers were twitching as though they were electrically charged. It was very difficult just to pick the papers up, and once I did, they shuddered in my grasp. In fact, they were shuddering so much, I couldn't even read the grade, but I was sure I saw the number six in there somewhere.

I had to plop it back down on my desk to read it. Yep, I was right. 69. On my midterm. Sweet.

So, what do you think, grounded for three or four months? I was leaning more toward the four month mark myself.

"Shit, are you joking?" I whimpered, clapping a hand to my forehead. Even though I'd expected this to a certain extent, I was hoping with all the will power in the world that it wouldn't be true. But of course, my luck was impeccable, and for all my studying, I still came out with crap as a grade.


"No fucking way," I groaned to the bell, but slipped my papers into my bag with disgust.

"Remember, everyone," Mr. Stone called out. "There's always next time!"

Why did I like this guy even a little bit? There's always next time? Yeah, because that helps so much for right now. Again, anger flared in the pit of my tummy. I really, really didn't ask for this. I didn't want this. I didn't want love planting little seeds in my brain and growing little love babies. That wasn't my style. Sure, I loved romance, but with someone I wanted, someone that wanted me back. Not with…with a teacher. That was just weird. Creepy loser kids liked teachers. Not someone like me. I wasn't the type that would like teachers.

Well, that's dandy, because I didn't like a teacher. I loved a teacher. Sadly, there was a mountain-range of a difference between the two.

"If you want to go over your test, you can make an appointment with me," he yelled. It was clear by the overwhelming amount of kids that clogged the doorway that no one, and I mean no one, was interested in going over their test. But they couldn't say the same for me. Damn it, I needed this grade. There had to be something I could do, something. I couldn't just leave it. It would certainly kill me, sending me straight to Failureville. And as terrible as I was at English, I really didn't want to let Stone down. Just the thought of failing his class made me bounce up from my seat and stride quietly up to his desk, where he was now seated, clacking away at his computer. I didn't bother to stop and think about what I was doing, and I certainly didn't stop to come up with a plan. I was winging it, man. I was fucking winging it. I always seemed to do things better spontaneously—well, obviously not midterms. I guess I had to prepare for that shit.

Lucky, lucky me.

"Uh, Mr. Stone?" I asked. Wow, did my voice crack. Shit, you wouldn't find any more cracks in a sidewalk. Where had my usual gusto gone now? Why had it abandoned me in my time of need? Where had it fled off to?

"Miss Wood," he beamed up at me. By all rights, I should've collapsed right there. I should've either introduced my butt to the linoleum floor or just plain blacked out. His smile had some sort of power, I swear to God. There was nothing, nothing in the world, that shone as bright as his smile. And I thought the moon had the purest light of all. I thought the bright white luminescence was the most flawless glisten that nature could provide. And then I met this man. It seemed as though every preconceived notion had flown out the window the second I realized his striking beauty and charm.

"Uh…uh…" come on, tongue, work! Please, please, work! It was just like that first day all over again, the first time I'd really seen his attractive face, and I mean really saw it.

"Sorry, sorry," he held his hands up in apology (or surrender, I suppose would be a better word). "You like going by Andie. I'm sorry. What can I do for you, hon?"

Hon? Oh sweet baby Jesus, he just called me hon. I wasn't going to sleep tonight.

"Uh," I rubbed the back of my neck uncertainly. "Well, I wanted to…well, you offered appointments to go over the test and…seeing as I didn't really…I mean seeing as how I…kind of…"

"Nearly failed?" he finished for me, cocking an eyebrow. My cheeks grew darker still. Someone may as well have spilled red paint all over my face and make it just a little more obvious.

"Yeah…" I said quietly, then looked down.

"Well, I'm free now," his voice was comfortingly chipper. "Pull up a chair, Wood!" And with that, he smacked his desk with open palms, causing me to jump a little. A hearty laugh bellowed from deep in his chest. My God, his laugh was intoxicating, nearly as intoxicating as his voice. I could practically see the silky folds of the lovely deep base that emitted from his throat, the cockles almost matching the same silky folds of his glistening mahogany hair. Oh, wow…

Whoa, take it easy there, Andie. You'll jizz in your pants at this rate.

My hand delved into my backpack, securing my test between my fingers again. I really didn't want him to look at it. I knew I fucked up royally, and I didn't want him to have to see that again. But we wouldn't get anywhere if I didn't grow a pair and give the damn thing back to him, so I yanked it out and tossed it upon his desk. He wasted no time in picking and prodding at it, his slim fingers raking over every inch of the papers. The way his forehead crinkled every now and again scared me, and scared me bad. I didn't want him to think I was retarded or anything, because really, I wasn't. I didn't want him to be disappointed in me, disgusted with me, horrified with me, even though I was worthy of all of those things.

I lived to impress him. And I'd failed.

"Alright, honestly," he said, looking up from the paper. "I have no idea what the hell happened here. You know this, damn it, and I know you know it."

I looked down at my hands in my lap, and my fingers did this weird dance as they tried to keep my gaze busy. "I'm sorry."

"What happened?" he asked. I still didn't look up, but my leg began to jiggle. All this motion, this motion from my extremities, was a very clear indicator to me. It was undeniable. There was no question. I always fidgeted when I was about to cry.

"I don't…I don't know…" I shook my head, trying to shake the desire to break down with it. "I don't know what happened. I just kind of…blanked, I guess…"

I could feel them. I could feel both of them. I could feel the tears yanking at the backs of my eyes, but I could also feel Mr. Stone's eyes gazing at me. The massive, gorgeous orbs that glittered beneath his lashes were set on me, and I was staring at my jumping leg. It sounds crazy, sure, but put yourself in my position. Would you want him to see you cry? Would you be able to let him see you at your worst? How could you bear to let him see you at anything less than perfect?

It was crazy, I know. I was acting like I had a chance with him. I was acting like seeing me in tears would shatter any last remnants of a possibility of him thinking about me as more than just a blubbering student. It was laughable. I'd never had a sliver of a chance to start with, that's what I thought. I knew I didn't. But of course, I was a teenager, and I was in love. I was utterly, completely in love. I had to hope, right? I had to. It was the only thing that kept my heart beating, that kept breath flowing into my lungs, that kept me going and going. The second the metronome-beat of his heart ceased, so would mine. We were tied. We were joined. We lived and died together.

He just didn't know it.

"What were you thinking?" he asked. There was no condescendence in his tone. In fact, it was almost pleading, practically begging me to tell him, to let him into my mind just as I longed to leap into his. "What was going through your head?"

I don't know, I longed to whimper to him. I really just…just didn't know. What had been going through my head? Was anything going through my head? Did I just fill out this entire grade-risking test on autopilot, a robot? I wouldn't put it past me. Honestly, my mind was probably elsewhere, maybe even focused on him. That was an immense possibility. That was actually probably what happened.

Of course, I couldn't tell him. But as I looked up at him to deliver an award-winningly pathetic excuse, we locked eyes.

I drowned. I drowned again. No, not again. I drowned permanently. Somehow, I'd been managing to stay afloat all this time, my head bobbing precariously above the water's surface, above the chocolate's surface. Now, as I stared at him, I gave up. I really, truly gave up, and down I tumbled. Down, down, into the deepest pits of the most gorgeous brown to ever have been created I sank. I sank like a rock, or like I'd had cement blocks tied to every open space on my body. There was no chance. I'd had no chance. I drowned then as effortlessly as snow fell to the ground. It was all effortless. Everything was effortless. My death, the slow, burning demise of my heart, was effortless.

"I never know what you're thinking, Andie," he whispered. His fingers brushed lightly against my kneecap. I knew I wasn't mistaken; the fiery sparks that exploded from the point of contact were impossible to ignore. And flames positively roared when he laid his palm completely upon my leg.

"I—I'm not usually th-thinking," I stammered softly. That statement was Example A of me usually not thinking. Thanks, self, for proving my point flawlessly.

He chuckled, a low, rumbling sound that was flawless music to my ears. It could only compare to the magnificent symphony that was his voice like a twig could compare to a forest. "That's debatable."

It was strange, really. It was strange how I barely noticed. I barely noticed him leaning forward, his face swelling to perfect proportions so that I could practically count each and every freckle that dotted his cheeks. I barely noticed the time that slipped between us. I only noticed anything when I could feel his breath lightly brushing against my skin, and then suddenly, everything snapped into focus. I could feel the tip of his nose graze along the side of mine. I could feel his eyelashes flutter slightly against the bridge of my nose. I could feel anything, everything, I could feel it all.

"You're always thinking," he breathed, so gently that it was nearly inaudible. "You're always thinking…something…wonderful…"

And then his mouth caressed softly, ever so softly, against mine. His lips were like satin, barely there but there enough for me to get rampant shivers plaguing my spine. It was indescribable how suddenly everything locked into place. Suddenly he was there. Suddenly he was right before me, what I've always wanted, swooping in, breath shallow, lips sweet as honey…

I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to do, what to think, what to say, what to do. What to do, what to do, what to do? I knew what I should've done. I should've shoved him away, shoved him good and hard, and sprinted out of the classroom. Maybe even throw in a shriek for good measure. I should've flew down to the principal's office and burst through the door, panting like a madman, practically crying and blubber to him that my teacher just assaulted me and made sexual advances on me. Blow it, blow it all out of proportion, get him fired faster than I could actually say "Fire that man!"

But then I could do what I wanted. And that won out over everything else.

I curiously, cautiously, laid a hand on the side of his neck. My movements were all unsure, so unsure, and I was positive he noticed. It was impossible not to note the fact that my fingers were shaking like vibrators. But he didn't stop. I had yet to push him away, so he didn't stop. He let his lips hover against mine for an instant, not quite a kiss, before I insisted upon furthering this expedition.

I pushed myself forward, pressing our mouths together again. Then, the universe clicked. Time clicked, the earth clicked, Heaven clicked, everything clicked into place. We clicked. I was certain our click could've released a Haiti-like earthquake all over the world. It was so definite, so absolute, so powerful that it was striking that it wasn't audible. How didn't every human being, living or dead, not hear what perfection just fell into place? How was that lost upon them? How didn't they know?

But I supposed it was enough that we knew. As long as we knew, that's what mattered. That's all that should've made a difference. And trust me, it did. It made all the difference in the world. It actually made the world; well, at least it made my world. I was falling again. But this was different. I wasn't drowning anymore—I'd long since perished in his perfect eyes. But now I was falling, falling straight up to my personal Heaven. Falling backward, falling up through the air, but surely I was falling. Though it was backwards, I was still falling. We were backwards. Everything we were was backwards. This shouldn't be happening. Nothing like this should be happening. This event, these feelings, they shouldn't exist. We shouldn't exist. Society was against us, the very thing we stood for, the very barest of our qualities. We were perfectly hate-able, perfectly despicable, perfectly disgusting, and everyone would be so perfectly outraged if they found out. Our bond shouldn't be there, let alone so strong.

But it was. And everyone was just going to have to deal with it.

He gently tugged my waist, and I slipped seamlessly from my chair to his lap. My legs fell on each side of his hips so easily that I was positive they were made for me. His arms slid around my ribs so easily that I was positive they were made for me. His lips danced with mine so easily that I was positive they were made for me. He had to be made for me. Everything about him had to be made for me. It was all too right, too absolute, for it to be wrong. Even if it had been deemed wrong, this was right. Who was everyone else to judge for us what was right and wrong? This was flawless. This was absolute.

This was fate. This was destiny. This was fate and destiny thrown haphazardly together, and somehow they encompassed one another so impeccably that the only way chaos and perfection could exist together was through them, in a utopia.

The only sound that could be heard was our breathing. I was sure of that. The only sound in the room had to be our strange, desperate panting as we both refused to let go. But I heard more. I heard the need that burned in both of us. I heard the desire that roiled in both of us. I heard the steady beat of not only mine, but his heart as well. They were together. They were one. We were tied. We were joined. We lived and died together.

And now he knew.


She tosses her pencil to the side and flicks her notebook closed. Finally. She was finally done. It had taken about a week. It had taken about a week to recount each event, each touch, each caress perfectly and correctly down to the pads of the skin. The feelings were even harder. She couldn't describe them well enough. She couldn't think of the words that would do them justice, that would portray the exact pain, the exact stinging, aching, throbbing, ripping pain that they delivered. It was impossible. The words just didn't exist.

So she didn't exactly try. But now, she's finally done. The words are close enough.

As she cracks her knuckles, trying to free them of the grip of stiffness, she's lost in nostalgia. She remembers. She remembers so clearly that she can swear it must've been a TV show or something. There was just no way it could've played out so perfectly. That stuff didn't happen. It only happened in movies.

But sure enough, it happened. If it hadn't happened, she wouldn't be here now. If it hadn't happened, she's nearly positive she would've been a desperate mess. She's nearly positive that she would've been a wreck. She's frighteningly positive she wouldn't be here right now. And even she has to admit that her commitment, her absolute promise to him was a little insane. She was so young, so naïve, that she shouldn't have known what love is. She shouldn't have experienced it until at least years later. It shouldn't have seized her heart with such fervor that she wouldn't be anything without it, without him.

And yet it did. And look where she is now.

Two hands fall upon her shoulders.

"Whatcha doin'?" a deep voice asks. She can't help but smile at the sound. She's always smiled at the sound, but now the smile is more of a strobe-light, bright and pure and delightful. Being lost in her memories reminds her just how perfect this all is, just how dream-like it all is. But it didn't come without a price. Nothing comes without a price.

"Thinking," she replies, her own voice extremely chipper. A chuckle rumbles from behind her. Shivers run ramped along her spine. There was never a noise so flawless.

"You're always thinking," he laughs. With that, his palms move to her waist, and he picks her up, just enough to get her wiggling and squirming and for him to slide into the chair beneath her. Then, he plops her back down onto his lap, and she's helpless with giggles. He stares at her, wonder in his eyes. He's just as baffled as her at how impossibly this all worked out. Of course, he's never said that to her. She'd had to give up so much, so incredibly much, that he never dares to speak to her about the past.

"What are you thinking about?" he questions. Though he's genuinely interested, it's also an attempt to shoo the dark thoughts from his brain.

"You," she grins up at him. "As usual."

"How philosophical of you," he smiles back at her, and captures her lips in his. He loves kissing her. Each time he merely looks at her, he feels it's not happening. He feels as though his life, the world, everything isn't happening. It's all too flawless to be real. But then, each time he kisses her, he knows it's real. She's here, she's with him, she's his.

"I can't help it," she laughs against his lips. "You're too damn amazing."

He goes to contradict her, but she stops him with her mouth.

It doesn't take long. It takes maybe five minutes before the heat between them is unbearable. It always happens like this. It's happened like this for the past ten years, ever since they'd met. Everything escalates to such massive proportions that it all comes to an explosive decline. Everything having to do with the two of them always ends up erupting, fiery passion raining down in fireballs. Their relationship is a fabulous example, but an even better one is her family. He was old enough. He was old enough to make his own decisions. But she wasn't. She still lived with her parents. She was still tied down to her family, her developing life. But she knew what she wanted. And her developing life wouldn't allow for it.

So she left. She left her developing life to join his set life.

He always feels bad. He's never so blissful as she is. She rarely thinks of the things she's left behind. She's usually smiling, her teeth glistening. But he always thinks. He's always pondering what would've happened to her if she stayed, if she didn't run away with him, if she hadn't left her parents, if she'd stayed and lived like a teenager. He doesn't know what he would've done, but he often wonders if that would've been best for her. Of course, it's too late now. That much is clear and evident as he gazes out of the corner of his eye at the golden bands wrapped around both of their ring fingers on their left hands. But still, he wonders.

He lifts her up again, holding her close to his chest, and stumbles up the stairs. She no longer shakes. She's no longer uncertain. She's very sure in her movements, and nothing happens by accident anymore. She excites him very purposefully. She slides her tongue along the inside of his cheek in a very calculated fashion. She allows her hand to brush beneath his belt with every intention in the world. She drives him insane, how absolute she is. He loves it. Her tentativeness was adorable, sure, but when she knows what she wants—that's sexy.

Once at the top of the stairs, he trips into the bedroom. Like they've done so many times before, he plops her down onto the bed and slips on top of her, never breaking away. She sighs happily and winds her arms around his neck, then hitches a leg around his waist, allowing their hips to flush together, creating delightful friction.

"My God," he groans. "I love you so much."

"And I love you so much more," she pauses for a moment. Then, with massive eyes, she grins and says, "I love you, Mr. Stone."

He stares at hear for a beat, and then bursts out into roaring, happy laughter. She wonders at the perfect, silky contours of the lovely sound. She adores it. She adores his laugh. Whenever he laughs, she can fly. She can do anything.

"And I love you, Miss Andie Wood," and he plants a soft kiss on her lips.

"Excuse me," she protests, pulling away. "That's Mrs. Andie Stone to you!" Again, he laughs. Any more of his laughter, and she would be as high as a kite.

"Alright, alright," he concedes. "I love you, Mrs. Andie Stone."

She smiles. "And I love you, Mr. Timothy Stone."

And he presses his mouth to hers as she reaches down for his belt buckle.


A/N: I'm different. I'm sure that anyone who's read Forbidden can tell that I'm different. I've changed my writing style significantly. I've grown a lot, too. I'm not exactly proud of this piece, but I think it's light-years better than Forbidden. I'm thinking about doing some massive re-writes on that shit.

If you've read Forbidden, please let me know in a review if you think I should do a re-write, or which you think is better.

If you haven't, I'd still love a review ;).

"In my shoes/Just to see/What it's like/To be me/I'll be you/Let's trade shoes/Just to see what it'd be like to/Feel your pain/You feel mine/Go inside each other's minds/Let's just see/What we find/Look at shit through each other's minds/But don't let them say you ain't beautiful/They can all get fucked just stay true to you." –Eminem, Beautiful