A/N: I hate writer's block.

When I wake up, there's moment of extreme euphoria. Somehow, Bear is lying next to me, snuggled up against my side. I have one arm curled tightly, protectively around her body, and she's warm and soft against me. Her hair is splayed out in a gently curling sheet along my arm, a red-brown tangle against my skin. Utter happiness reigns for a single glorious minute.

And then I realize that I am in deep, deep trouble.

She wakes up and stretches—I'm hyperventilating—and looks at me with bleary eyes. "Hi."

I gulp. There's a pause, then I see the recognition in her eyes. She lunges up so fast that she falls off the side of the futon and yelps when her head hits the coffee table. "I'm fine, I'm fine," she mumbles preemptively, springing to her feet before I even manage to sit up straight.

"I guess we fell asleep," I mumble lamely. She knows that, idiot.

"What time is it?" Her voice is panicky and she looks taut and drawn together all over, like she's ready to pounce or run or do whatever the situation merits.

I fumble for my cell phone and flip it open. "Ten AM."

She swears and it's strangely adorable. "I am in so much trouble." Hastily fixing her hair, she strides off towards the door, but I'm next to her in a second.

"In trouble with who?"

Her fingertips rest lightly on the doorknob, hesitant. "You know."


Bear sighs. "We made plans for this morning… he's going to think I blew him off…"

Something tightens and snarls in the pit of my stomach. "And what do you care?" I can't help saying it. What does she care for the insecure cuss that put her through all this?

Her shoulders tense, and I mentally kick myself. Without a word, she opens the door and walks out. It closes behind her of its own accord, thumping shut with an immense sense of finality—enough to make me cringe away.

Do something, Jared. Go after her. Go get her, grab her, ask to stay—tell her she deserves better than someone who's willing to throw it all away.

Yeah, like I'm so bloody much better. I sink down onto the floor, hoping the walls will reach out plaster fingers and swallow me whole.

I discover, once the senseless pain and bloodlust fades away, that she left her sketchbook behind. Aimlessly, I sit down on the futon again and flip through the pages. I feel… nothing. It's just a jagged emptiness, or maybe an airless void I'm swimming through.

Sitting there, staring up at the ceiling, I get to wondering. Linking fancy unto fancy, if I'm aiming for poetry. I get to wondering—what's she doing? Where is she? Is she… with him?

I close my eyes. Did she tell him what happened? Did he freak out? Did he make her mad—so mad that she didn't want to be around him anymore—so mad that she's taking a cab over here right now and—

Damn it, Jared. I hurl a pillow across the room and stalk into the kitchen to do something I very rarely do: I drink, and I drink plenty.

Here's to Bear—a swig. Here's to pain—another. Here's to my stupidity—I down the rest all at once, choking for air once I finish. Four empty brown bottles line themselves up along the edge of the coffee table before I finally fall asleep.

Well... yeah. :P Hope you enjoyed. ^^ Forthcoming chapters are forthcoming. :)