Title: Change of Heart
Note: Sometimes, love doesn't last.

It's funny, he thinks, how for any serious change to come about in your life, you've got to have your heart broken. And not just broken, but literarily ripped to shreds. Some force has got to sweep into your life, unstoppable and malicious, and tear your heart out. Not only tear it out, but chew it up, swallow it down, and throw it back up in your chest cavity. She did that to him. He should have seen if from the very start, but he was so set in the role he'd chosen for himself, so stuck in his poser-ness that he'd been able to ignore it. He had let his heart fool his mind into thinking he had her as a love interest when she was really nothing more than one of those precious china dolls that his mother had secured away where loving eyes could stare but grubby fingers couldn't touch. To him, a hug wasn't a touch. He wanted to run his fingers through her hair, rub them against her cheek, use them to pull her close. But she kept her distance, stringing him along.

He spit out a bitter laugh as he remembered that though she shied from his touch, she was never too good for his money or all the things he bought her. He wanted desperately to say he had been miserable on his string, but the truth was he had loved it. He had always congratulated himself on getting a girl as pretty as her, even his friends had congratulated him. That praise from people he just wanted to fit in with just to belong was enough to keep him happy, to keep him from realizing the truth. He never noticed the way her eyes wandered, or the flirting smiles with other boys. He gave her all the attention he could, practically worshipping her from afar because she wouldn't let him closer, but it wasn't ever enough. He always wondered what he did to deserve the kind of hurt she'd given him. There were some days when he wondered if that little muted voice deep in his heart that said he still loved her was right.

He contented himself with swearing off the fairer, crueler sex until she asked him about his life. But it didn't matter as he stared down at her face, because he felt himself wondering if and when she was going to break his heart in just the same way. He wondered if he would be able to survive from the far more crippling blow she would be sure to strike into his heart.

And just like him, she was well aware of how fragile the human heart was, a painful life lesson learned in 6th grade. Hurting memories swirled in her mind, reminding her of the event that stripped her of her childhood and placed her in the role of psychiatrist and the strong one. That one event had stripped her of innocence, a carefree spirit, and most of her happiness.

After that, she would have given anything to cut her heart out…not the literal organ, but rather all the emotions that were supposed connected to the damned mass of muscle. But like most children, she was far too trusting, which was a personality trait she stressed over still. She trusted again, with a different person and a different part of her heart…same result. She hadn't been able to recover from that crippling blow, despite the way she tried to shut down completely. It didn't work, as her heart continued to reach out to all the wrong people for just a small sense of love, protection, security in an ever-changing world.

Every time, she crashed and burned in a big way, like an oil rig lighting up and exploding. When she started talking with him, minus all the hateful words and harsh tones, something in him drew her heart in. Her sense of another lost and wounded soul, and his hurt drew her in like a moth to flame. She knew that the most likely thing would be that she would get too close, yet again, and catch fire once more. But she let herself trip and fall for him. It didn't matter how much happiness he gave her, or how many times he told her he loved her…it all came down to matters of the heart. She could follow him around forever, but was uncertain if he'd be there. And if he was, she wasn't entirely sure that he wouldn't plunge the proverbial knife into her heart and twist the blade.

She sighed and settled into his touch…allowing herself to put aside that hurt and broken part of her heart and try and live, for at least a little while, with the small living part of the organ.