By: Nelliel

Cursed is the mind that cannot sleep at night. My mind. Curse my mind. Close your eyes, shush, time to rest and…

Shadows dance across the wall again. I can't ever seem to escape this show. All I can do is lay on this pillow so soft -- so soft it would put any other to sleep -- and stare at the ceiling at the show of shadows that never seem to end. Toss. Turn. Toss again. Definitely not rehearsed. Just a curse. Curse of my mind.

Across the cold floor, one footstep at a time, I stalk the halls of this old melancholy house like a ghost, begging for escape from the nightmares of the living. Staring through the window, I hear nothing but silence. Sleep has given itself over to everyone else in this quiet neighborhood. But not me – oh no, not me. My mind is rushing through the events of the day, over and over and over again. Midnight strikes, and I have yet to close my eyes to the silence. I have yet to put away this curse of mine, pass it to someone else even.

I return to my bed, where I pray the soft will pull me into the endless imagination of my dreams. Back on my feet. I feel it -- The sting of the tears as they well up in my eyes. The day has tortured me to tears. My memories keep me awake. I reach for the phone. My last resort. The only thing to settle my mind, to stop the thoughts from coming back, to end the madness of what has kept me awake. I dial his number.

"Please don't pick up... please don't pick up..." But I know I want him to be there. I want him to answer the phone.

"Hello?" He answers, the sound of sleep still in his throat, right before he clears it away.

"I can't do this…"

"Leyla? Is that you? What's wrong? It's after one…"

After one? It was midnight a couple minutes ago… Wrong. Time was passing even if I didn't want it to. The tears came back, and as much as I tried to hold back the sobbing, it was inevitable. "I can't marry you… I know… I said yes, I wish I could say 'I do' too."

"Wait, what? What happened? Do you want me to come over?"

"No…" I couldn't help but cry. The tears just fell down my face in streams. I could hear he was wide awake now. I had his attention. It was so hard to tell him, but it was haunting me. My mistake. My error. My nightmare. I had to tell him. "I don't deserve you, Jalen.."

"Leyla, please tell me what's wrong! I love you... You can't do this…"

The words hit hard. It made it hurt so much more. My crying eased as images of Jalen suddenly flashed through my mind -- all the good times, the laughter, the love. And then the images of Dunn, and the tears flooded my eyes again. "I-I don't know how else to say this…" I paused. The crying wouldn't stop. I would lose him. But this was torture. Lying to him. Deceiving this love. "So I'll just come out with it…" The images kept coming back over and over, like a slideshow playing in my head. It wasn't my fault, but at the same time it was. I couldn't move, but I led him on. It was my fault it happened. I took the blame. "I slept with Dunn…"

A few seconds passed, and then I heard the line go dead. The phone fell from my hand, and I cried, and cried, and cried... until I saw the sun hit the sky with that reddish orange colour it tends to have. And I knew this curse didn't end with that phone call – I knew it when I heard the doorbell ring. I didn't bother to wipe my eyes, as I knew they would be puffy and red anyways. I didn't bother to fix my hair, as I knew it didn't matter. My hand had been played, and I turned up blank. Poker had never been my game, as I always ended up losing.

I opened the door, and just who I expected stood there, with the dark circles under his eyes, and his messy hair, and that look… the look that screamed how much he wanted me at that moment. And before I could say a thing, he pulled me into his arms, and kissed me hard. All I could do was kiss back… And my mind suddenly flushed away all the other images, and it was only us. Until he let me go…

"I couldn't sleep… All night, after your phone call, I just can't imagine my life without you…" And he just stared at me. That same look. "I went over to Dunn's house…"

"Wait, you what?"

"I was mad… I didn't know what else to do. But before I got even a good punch in.." he grinned, "Dunn confessed what happened." He looked at me now with worry. "And then I got my punch in. Why didn't you just tell me like that?"

I looked down at my own feet, upset with myself. "I blame myself for it…"

He places his fingers under my chin then, and tilted my head back upwards so I was looking at him, looking into his eyes. "Do you love me?"

Again, the tears came. I don't know why, but they just did. "Of course I do…" And then he knelt on that one knee again in front of me, and looked me in my eyes. He smiled, and so did I. "Then marry me, Leyla… Please"

"Of course," and in that same second, he stood, and grabbed me, and pulled me into my bedroom. And the curse was gone. And the nightmare was gone. And we made love to the light of the day, before falling into the slumber that waited for both of us. Both of our cursed minds healed. Just dreams… Dreams behind our closed lids…