Just a short story.

A smile. A lie. The pain. Her mask. Finally broken after years of this pointless battle I cry, I break, and I bleed again.

--River Shadowtress


His face moves animatedly as he speaks, and at first she doesn't get what he's saying. Doesn't understand the unknowingly cruel words he's breathing. He smiles at her. "I asked her to marry me." She holds her breath. "She said yes! Can you believe it?"

She smiles, using that simple expression to cover up her hurt. Using that simple expression to convey the happiness she should feel. The fake emotion that squeezes every last drop of her happiness out of her heart, dribbling down her soul like acid. And then, as if giving that to him wasn't enough she says, "I'm so happy for you." And then a little quieter, as her eyes fall. "You two are good together."

He grins, continuing on his merry way about how much he loves his soon to be wife.

She smiles back, nodding every time he looks at her to make sure she's listening. Under the table she clenches her fists, her emotionless eyes trained on the smoke wafting from her coffee. Why? She cries in the solitude of her mind. Why aren't I happy for him? Isn't this what I wanted? I wanted him to be happy. Her brown eyes take in the elated expression on his face. Look at him, he's radiant. Shining with happiness. Why aren't I happy?

Suddenly his gaze turns worried, drawing her attention. His hand goes to hers. "What's wrong?" And it's only with that question does she realize that a single tear has slid down her face. The first tear she's cried in years.

Her eyes widen, her shaking hand lifting itself to her eye, touching the foreign moisture. She wipes the trail away with the edge of her sleeve. "Nothing," She sniffs.

The worry doesn't leave his face. "I've never seen you cry before. Rachel," A shiver runs up her spine as she hears her name fall off his tongue, her attention immediately turning to him. His hand on hers tightens. "I've noticed this about you before, too. How you always look so happy and when you think no one's looking you look so sad. Listen to me, as someone who cares about you I'm telling you this: Whatever makes that sad look come on your face isn't worth it."

She gasps. Does he realize what he just said? Does he realize that he just told her to forget about him? That he isn't worth it?

"Look, I have to go, okay?" Throwing some bills on the table he gets up, prepared to walk out.

Caleb...She thinks. "Caleb," She whispers. "Caleb." Lurching out of her seat she grabs the back of his shirt.

He turns, looking at her with confusion. The girl that he met last year, the one who was always so happy, always so strong and collected, was now staring at him with tears bubbling in her eyes. His eyes soften. "Rachel..."

She opens her mouth. But how can she tell him? How can she tell him that she made a mistake? How can she tell him what she's done? A year ago they were together, they had been for three years—almost four. Even though she had never believed in it, it was true love, one of the purest kind. But then, the accident. A car hit him head on and he was put in the hospital. Stuck on a ventilator and in a coma for almost two weeks before he woke up.

His eyes opened. Blinking them he moaned.

"Caleb!" She cried, her hand flying to his, tears in her eyes.

He smiled blearily at her. "I'm sorry," He croaked. "But who are you? Do I know you?"

Amnesia. That's what the doctors told her. He had no memory of the last four years. She was broken, hollow. But then she thought of something. His father hated her, even went as far as disowning Caleb for dating her. They had a good relationship until she came along. His overall life was way better before she came along. The entire time they had been together she felt like she was ruining his life. Maybe that's what pushed her to do this.

There was a silence as she swallowed back her shock. Looking up, she gave him a small watery smile. "No, no...you don't..."

But, God, how she regretted that now! She knew that wanting him was selfish. But dammit! Let her be selfish if that was all it would take to get him back! She loved, still loves him! So much that it chokes her each night with the fact that he wasn't hers anymore! And, nautrally, his father was happy that he'd forgotten about her and set him up with a rich girl named Elaina. And before you knew it, he had fallen in love with her. And now they were getting married.

"Caleb..." She whispers, all the pain she's endured the past year bleeding heavily into just that one word.

His eyes widen at the sudden display of emotion from her, she who rarely shows any other emotion besides happiness. A flicker flashes in his silver eyes.

And for a moment, she thinks he remembers who she is. But as quickly as that recognition comes, it fades, and she is once again left with the person he is today. Left with the hard facts of reality.

"What is it? Did Anjel hurt you again?"

She laughs a bitter laugh. Anjel? The one who used to abuse her? The one who she's been hanging out with ever since he was released from the institution? The one who she's around just for the fact that he knows how unrequited love feels.

Dammit she wants him! Caleb! That's all she's ever wanted.

...But no...no... That's not all she's ever wanted. She's wants him to be happy more than anything. She looks at him, the one person who she gave all of herself to, and slides her smile back into place. "I'm just so..." She swallows before regaining her voice, adding a happy laugh for effect. "I'm just so happy for you and Elaina."

Caleb smiles kindly, his face relieved. Apparently her opinion mattered to him."Good, I'm glad." Zipping up his coat he gives her a hug.

She bites back her choked sob and buries her face in his chest. I love you. His scent wraps around her in a fierce embrace of its own, rooting itself in her soul. And all too soon, he pulls back.

Flashing her a smile he turns around and walks out calling a "See you later" behind him.

Tears blinding her she pushes out of the coffee house, only to catch a glimpse of his car as it speeds out of the parking lot.

What do you guys think? Should I continue it? If I did I'd be starting way before this took place. If I did, where would be a good place to start it? The moment of the accident? Or the last few months (or years?) of their relationship? Where should I start? Anyways, If I did decide to make this into a story the main character would be Rachel.

Review please.

~River Shadowtress~