Bucket full of tears,

Baby, know I'm here,

I'm here waiting.

February 24, 2015

He didn't know anymore.

Everything was numb, broken, emotionless.

It was probably the stupidest idea he had ever had, but - no. He'd definitely done far dumber things. And that didn't encompass the wide variety of activities he knew he'd engaged in on the occasions he'd gotten too drunk to recall anything but James being there to berate him the next morning while passing over the Tylenol and a glass of water.

None of those times could compare to the situation he was in now. He'd never felt quite so broken as he felt at that precise moment.

Scattered like fallen autumn leaves about him on his bedcovers were thin, creased papers. There were at least 20. Each one was a slightly different color, a different size. Each one was written on on one side.

Neither of the other boys were home. James was on a date. Lucas was out with Eleanor.

He'd just hung up (via Skype) on Elizabeth. Or more correctly, she'd hung up on him.

And with perfect reason to.

Although his day-to-day Garfield calendar was behind, he knew exactly what the day was: February 24, 2015.

He supposed Lucas had been right all along. He should have told her he'd gone on a date six days prior even if it didn't mean much to him. Part of him was still reluctantly hanging onto one of her last promises to him though: I'm not going to Facebook stalk you or call Luke up every weekend to check up on you, no matter what happens.

In the context of the situation, it was probably the last thing he should've been riding on for his argument. Compared to what he'd done and what he hadn't done, her catching up with James could hardly be considered a crime.

To her credit, she hadn't gotten mad at him for not telling her until she saw them.

To his credit, he hadn't had sex with the blond girl he'd met just the month prior at a club. True, he had invited her over with the intention of hooking up, but then he'd stopped to kick his shoes off beside hers before crawling on top of her on the bed. That was when he remembered Elizabeth. And how she'd always, always get irritated with him for not taking his shoes off inside.

The girl on his bed was furious at his sudden change in demeanor, but he could care less that she'd thrown her shoes at him before slamming the flat door behind her.

He should've known better than to leave them strewn on the floor by his dresser, just under the bottle.

He should've known better than to break his promises.

Her words had been like slaps across the face. "Hypocrite." "Liar." "Jerk." "Dishonest." But he couldn't deny their truth.

The clear bottle was sat beside him, uncorked, much like a drunkard would keep his beer close at hand. But he had no alcohol. Just the remnants of a beautiful relationship manifested in 301 tiny strips of paper.

Undoing them had never crossed his mind over the past three and a half years. He wouldn't have even tried had it not been for her almost nonsensical connection between the bottle and the strangers' heels. "Each one represents one of the many reasons why I love you."

He hadn't treated her right.

The paper closest to him was pale blue, almost white.

Star #289, April 1, 2014: The fact that you and Lucas still act like children makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Don't laugh at me. It's the truth. I love how you're always so young at heart. :)

It was 11:03PM.

An ocean and a continent away, she was more than likely getting ready for the rest of her day, still furious at him. Or maybe disappointed. She left before anything besides her anger could show, and it was hard to tell which would make him feel worse - having her cry over him being an awful friend or knowing he had let her down.

He shifted and picked up the paper dated from last year's April Fool's Day.

He didn't know how to put it back together again. The star or their friendship.

It might take him weeks to earn her forgiveness over the Internet, but it was a time he was willing to wait out because the end result was something he knew would always be worth waiting for.

An almost hopeful thought crossed his mind.

Maybe the time it took him to finish remaking the stars he'd disassembled...

His bottom lip complained as he set about trying to refold the paper along its creases. He didn't want to finish the thought; after all these years, her superstition had rubbed off on him.