How melodramatic? Oh, trying to save me from dishonour? Self-sacrificing us? Not even William would have the self-control to do that.

But then again, William was bound to be. Born and bred where and when he was would have made him. To do the right thing. Chivalrous. As numb to discussion as guitar strings on worn fingers. On his fingers.

Catie loved to see him play guitar. It was how they met, when his life truly began. And how, he said, they would end.

Well, I had to say something. It needed to be done, we couldn't carry on like this- not like this.

It felt somehow off kilter. Like she didn't belong. Wasn't being intimidated, wasn't being frowned upon. But in every step Catie furtively took in that house felt like a further step to a guillotine, with her beloved led up to the chopping block just behind her.

She was in forbidden territory. A wasteland. Ashiteru, whispered William soothingly, and it did the job.

Looking at her old home made her want to be sick. She didn't want to come back home to her Mother. The same endless monotone. And she needed to get out soon as possible. To be with him, officially, permanently, for always.

How lucky was it that William agreed to let her introduce him to her Mum. On the one condition, but of course, with her boundless optimism, Catie hadn't thought anything of it.

But William knew what Catie's mother would think- he was old enough to be her parent, nevermind Catie's. That, of course, was not troubling William one jot. You can't help who you love.

Catie's stomach rumbled as she reached for the door. Her scarf scratched at her cheeks, the wind singing Ashiteru to her too, urging her inside. It's now or never, she thought finally.

Granted, most of the thoughts weren't so melodramatic in her head. Most of her thoughts were actually thinking about what she was going to get everyone for Christmas, and when she was home would she order that CD she wanted, and if that man in the street a few months back had ever got his tongue off the letter box without any help. Oh, and how much she hoped she hadn't squashed the thousands of larvae which had now turned into butterflies's wings inside her stomach. Funny how they all hatched, the moment she woke up, after falling out of a tree, and saw a sun in front of her, asking her why she jumped.

For you, she thought at the time.

"Mum," she started, "this is my fiancé,"

The thoughts of being happy, pulling crackers with William, her mother, her best (but recently forgotten) friend Jessica, and a pic'n'mix of close relatives all around the table dissolved.
She could see it in her mother's face she pulled her soul mate around the hallway corner.

Her mother, with her fake mother-of-pearl adorned neck, scampered out of the door, gasping.

"How, could-"

Apparantly, her mother was too sickened to even finish a sentence.

"Screw you, mother," she said with a heavy heart. She turned to face William.

She pleaded, "William. Don't go. Please. Don't go. It was a stupid condition..."

"I'm a man of my word, Catie."

"But you knew my mother wouldn't approve," she explained fiercely, "or did you just want a way out?"

"You know I wouldn't want a way out. Out of love."

She shuddered, "Then why?" she slammed her fist against the table, another nauseaous wave passing through her.

He raised his head slowly out of the armchair, "I have to, Catie. My bags are packed." He stroked her cheek. "I... can't cope on my own. I need to go to the Nursing Home... You'll-" he faltered, coughing. "move on... It was..."

Whatever made her say these three last words she'll never know. "Just a crush?"

Holding a forlorn smile, the kind of smile saying 'I'm not going to recover from this,' Catie waved to her final visitor. Her heart actually ached as he shut the door, fermenting imaginary last minute declarations of love.

None came, of course.

She slid down the sides of the kitchen counters, in the house that had imprisoned her all her life before her real one began with him.

Nothing came harder than a door closing with no hope of ever opening back.

But then he ran in, crying with joy of fooling his soulmate, and sang to her once more.

"What is-?"

"Thought you'd like a good ol' clichéd ending, Catie, where we realise what idiots we are, and how incomplete we are."

"You were wrong, you stupid stupid man!" she bellowed inbetween the loudest tears she'd ever shed, forgetting the last minute; it was only too easy to be hoodwinked by William, but once he smiled, you'd know, you'd see the hood. "Stupid, stupid..." she cursed, as she kissed his drooping eyelids tenderly. "You and me, simple. Okay?"

"Fair enough. Marry me?"

"Honey, you had me at goodbye."

For now, Catie was happy enough with clichés.

Thank you, very much, for reading.