Ever wonder why men seem to be bastards most of the time? Ever wonder why women are so damn picky about who they date? Here's the question that should be asked, why not settle for something less? Oh, that's right, because everyone is better than just settling. Well, not everyone. Not me. I settled. And recently I've been regretting it.

"Lan, can you put the dishes away for me?" I ask a simple task while I deal with the laundry I'm always piling up in my room.

I live alone in my house. Well, hut more like. Cottage? Either way it's not an apartment but it's extremely small. I've always liked small things. Houses, cars, cats, etc. Lance Jacobs, my boyfriend of five whole years, is often sleeping over anyway. It is closer to his work, and we probably should have started living together eons ago, but he has never brought it up. So I won't bring it up either.

I get my room to myself, which he would have kept clean if it were his room. I always toss my clothes to the floor, an extremely bad habit I haven't gotten rid of even as an adult of 25 years. I mean to keep my room clean, so I can see my floor, but I just get so lazy after work. I do generally keep the rest of my house.. cottage... hut thing/place clean, but it's not like everyone wants to gather in my room. Lan does, but I'm sure you can guess why.

"Of course." I hear him get up from the squeaky, pull-out-bed couch that I got as a moving out gift from my parents. I use to sleep on it at home when we had company sleeping over, and when I first moved here and didn't have my bed set up. The single most uncomfortable thing in the world. I set up my bed the next day. No way in hell was I going to sleep on it again. I still haven't. I refuse to.

"Thank you!" I shut the washer and bring my clean basket of laundry into my room. I dump it out onto my bed then I bring the basket out again. Second most hated chore to do? Laundry. First? Cleaning out the fridge and/or bathroom.

"You still haven't answered my question." He calls to me from the kitchen, I hear him taking out the dishes from the dishwasher.

"Wait, what was your question?" I leave the dry laundry in a semi-pile on my bed and head into the kitchen, making sure I can hear him.

"Do you want to go to Alabama for Christmas with my family this year?" Oh, God, this question again. I've been pretending to be slightly deaf whenever he asks it.

I love his family. I love his mother, his father, his... jealous sister I could do without, but everyone else is great. Except for one small problem. Every family usually has an aunt and/or uncle that has a child, not a teen, a child. Possibly an infant. His family breeds like rabbits and there is usually very little silence in the near mansion his grandparents live in, in Alabama. There's approximately five babies that have been born this year alone, not to mention the few billion that sprung up last year, year of the twins, triplets, and... whatever five in a row is. I don't think I can handle all that noise.

"Oh... Um... I don't know. I want to, but I'll need to ask my mom if it's alright with her-"

"You already used that excuse." He gathers all the bowls and puts them in the cupboard.

"... Mmyyyy... GRANDmother...?"

"That was your first excuse."

"... My GREAT-grandmother?"

"We both know she died not long after we got together." He gives me a look and sighs, "If you don't want to go you just have to say so. I don't understand how hard it is for you to say that."

"But it's your family. We are always doing things with mine and it's about time we spent a proper Christmas with yours. Besides, it's always been Hanukkah when my great-aunt is able to come. It's a bit awk-weird." I make a face. I'm not particularly any religion, but I do know I'm more Christian than Jewish. I do respect them though. Very much.

"You say that, but you're still coming up with excuses." I groan.

"I hate it when you pay attention." I pout and glare a bit, feeling childish, and loving every moment of it.

"I know. That's why I do it as much as possible." He flashes the smile that should send shivers down my spine and turn my legs to jelly like they did when we first met, but it's some how worn off and is now just a smile. What am I supposed to do with that?

"... I do want to go. But... It's the NOISE, Lan." I give him a look. He knows my 'condition'. I can stand white noise, veerrry silent white noise, but anything more than that I feel angry and a headache quickly. I often have to bite my tongue around babies because I just can't STAND their crying. I want babies of my own but how can I when it's like that?

"I know... I know, Lita." He walks over to me and hugs me, his arms around my waist, pulling me against his chest.

"I don't even know how I got through just MEETING your ever expanding family."

"You drank. Lots. Lied and told them you were, in fact, twenty-one." He chuckles a bit.

"... How did I even get AWAY with that?"

"Granny was very amused seeing you sway and flirt extremely openly with me."

"Ugh. I hate that they heard all that..."

"YOU were the one holding the microphone, not me." He pulls away, just a bit and leans his head down, his lips making contact with my forehead.

"... And I haven't drank since." I sound very resolute.

"Office Christmas party three days ago."

"- SHUT UP." I hit his chest while he laughs more and lets go of me, "I said I HAVEN'T drank since!"

"But you HAVE!"

"If I say I haven't then I haven't!"

"It's like you saying you're twenty-one to all the attractive bartenders, right?" He smiles, but it doesn't reach his eyes.

"Hey, if I look twenty-one, who am I to say otherwise? And we both know what happened will never happen again. I only drink myself into a stupor if you're around... Now." I look away a bit. It's been tough the past few months. Halloween wasn't the best day for us.

"... I know. So you won't be coming down?" He turns back to the dishwasher to continue putting the dishes away.

"..." I feel guilty. I always do around him. I hate that I cheated on him. I hate that it was just mere months ago and it still hurts him. It hurts me too.

"... Lita... I feel like I'm the only one putting anything into this relationship." He pauses, holding a plastic plate I use for the microwave. Every inch of him is in a deep part of the ocean of despair.

"-... What do you mean?" My heart clenches tightly, I feel I know what he's going to say. I don't want him to voice it out.

"I mean... I mean I just can't go back to being the only one that puts in effort. I set up dates, I pick the movies, I am always coming over here and you rarely go to my place. And then... Then you sleep with my BROTHER... MY BROTHER, LITA." He turns to me, his blue eyes filled with regret, hurt, betrayal. "What did I do to deserve that? Why HIM?"

He asked that not long after I told him what happened. It's not that he found out by walking in on us, it's that the next day I straight out told him what I did. I still can't answer the questions. There is no answer. I want to blame me being drunk or depressed or something but I just don't have an answer... Or... Do I?

"Because we are routine. Because I need more excitement. We do the same thing nearly every day and it's like this relationship exists JUST because we need it to. I don't want that anymore, Lance." I answer him honestly, straight from the heart organ itself.

"You don't want to be with me anymore." He sets the plate down and takes a step towards me.

"No. I just want to break this damn routine we have! There is NOTHING going on in this love life! I need more than simple dates and romantic movies!"

"Then what DO you need!?" He's asking a dangerous question. He knows that it's perfectly possible an answer could be 'your brother'.

"I need..." I hesitate. I just want excitement. I want a spontaneous moment of romance and wonder. But what does that mean? "I need..." No. I know what I need. He's standing in front of me, but he needs to take control. "I need a man that knows how to be a man. Not just a domestic could-be-gay." I look at him right in the blue eyes.

"..." He seems to process that information. "You need a man." He repeats, possibly to tell himself out loud what it is I want. "Someone that isn't me."

Those were the final words. He left shortly after he said them. It wasn't long after my heart started to tear to pieces and the guilt became heavier than a constantly pregnant woman. I love him. I love how sweet he is. How kind he is. How utterly adorable he was when we first met and he was sort of shy around women.

What I love most about him is that no matter where we were, no matter how far apart we could be, no matter if I were angry at him and he had not one clue as to why, he loved me too. He always said it. He always meant it. And... he was always doing all the work. In this relationship it was always about pleasing me, never him. I used him and I didn't even know it. I'm the worst.