"Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Airas replied; "I'll talk to you later." She turned and walked toward the door.

"M'kay. Talk to you later," Ira replied in a sad tone. Airas nodded and pushed the door handle down. It unlatched and let her through.

Once through she closed the door slowly then darted down the hall. She jerked out the keys she'd found and raced to the abandoned closet. With swift movements she unlocked the door and hid within its room.

She curled onto the cold floor, dropped the keys and held her left hand over her mouth. Her right hand covered her left. Sobs shook her body, but no tears fell. Her blond hair, hanging delicately by her face, quivered with her sadness. The image flashed before her again, and again, but still no tears fell.

At the end of study hall, tears had still not fallen. She would deal with it. She would take deep breaths and deal with it. She couldn't cry. No, wouldn't cry. The bell rang. She stood up, lifted the keys and slipped from the closet. She locked it and walked to the stairs.

Cassiel bumped into her. She looked up, smiled and greeted him kindly, as if he never made her want to cry. He greeted her back, not showing in any way if he noticed the tears she held back.

Walked to class. Pretended everything was okay. Laughed with friends at lunch and talked to him at lunch. Went to the rest of classes. Sat in hidden torture next to him. Talked to him on the bus. Listened with a heavy heart to his complements on his new girlfriend. That was her life.

Yet she managed to hide the pain beneath a new found facade, because she knew she'd lost her chance. It had happened so long ago. So many years had passed. But she had been so afraid. Afraid to lose what she had, so she denied him. Now, she regretted it because even though they were still friends, that was all they would ever be. She had been pushed into the area that forever marked her a "friend only". He would never ask again, because she had refused too many times and had realized too late that she may have liked him.

So she placed on her cheery disposition and walked home. She acted normal in front of her family. Laughed with her sister. Teased her married brother. Smiled at her mom and dad. But once the door of her room closed for the night, the facade crashed into oblivion and she let the tears fall. She was allowed to in her sleep. She could always blame it on the nightmares. She always did since they made her cry, too.

She lived this way all through eleventh and twelfth grade. She watched him depart from one girl and latch onto another, but not her, never again. His heart was forbidden to her. So she took her role as best friend, and helped him get over the girls who hurt him-the girls she wanted to hurt. She kept calm, talked to him all the time, cheered him up when he was down, and smiled even when they both felt down. She would never let him know the truth, at least not by her mouth.

One day when he had no girl to call his own, five weeks till graduation, she wrote a paper in disguised writing telling him the soft sad story of a boy who loved a girl and a girl who loved him not. About a boy who lost his love as the girl gained it. She didn't say, but it was about them. The title was "The Boy Whose Name Means Tears".