Author's Note: So this is a writing contest entry for a forum called Labyrinth. Prompt: The theme of the story is Regret. It had to be fewer than two thousand words. Also, this is my first attempt at a romance and there is a cliché warning.

Italics: Flashback

Caged

The old, creaky porch swing is the only thing that keeps me sane. The steady creak, creak reminds me of where I am and whom I am with. I cannot keep thinking about her. She is not the one who I am supposed to be with. I am supposed to be with Sasha-not Juliet. Sasha is the one I love; Juliet should be a faded memory, a blank spot in my mind.

Yet, I cannot stop thinking about her. The day I let her go was the darkest dark in my life. I had betrayed her, hurt her, and I could not allow myself to be with her. I thought that she would cry and beg me to take her back. Instead, she did the opposite, got in her car, and drove away, leaving me standing there alone in the hot Mississippi sun. I just stood there like an idiot and watched her drive away. I didn't even bother to chase after her! Why, why, why was I so stupid?

I rock the porch swing even harder. Sure, Sasha is a nice girl, but she's no Juliet. Sasha is too much of a Southern belle for me, but man, Juliet knows how to make a guy, well, tingle. She is wild and out of control. Guys are supposed to be the crazy ones, but let me tell you, Juliet knows how to throw an amazing party. She knows how to rock the scene, without appearing undignified. Sasha, on the other hand, does not party at all and sees partying as a sin.

Expect for that one night...

I close my eyes and drink in the memories. Life is not complete without Juliet.

"Gage, come and find me!" Juliet screamed as she raced across her daddy's field.

I jumped out of my car and ran after her. Man, she was fast. She had just had a little head start on me and I couldn't even see her now. The dust kicked up behind. I was going to find her.

"Catch me if you can!" Juliet laughed. Her voice was just around the bend.

I picked my speed up and rounded the bend. Her laughter was still ringing throughout the air. "I'm gonna find you!"

I quickly stopped and looked around. Juliet was nowhere to be seen.

"I would try looking up if I was you," a voice rang from above me.

I looked up and saw her smirking down at me. I put my hands on my hips and shook my head up at her. "Are you going to come down or am I going to have to come up there and get you myself?"

Juliet laughed and kicked at the air. "That depends." She smiled evilly at me. "Which would be more fun?"

"What do you have in mind?" I asked darkly.

Juliet's high soprano laugh filled the air once again. "That depends on what you think I meant."

I watch a car turn slowly at the corner. Suddenly, it backs back around the corner and turns the other way. The car is so much, what our relationship had been: confused. I don't regret meeting Sasha, but I regret hurting Juliet. Juliet deserved to be treated much better. I hope whomever she is with now treats her a lot better than I did.

I begin to swing again. I am caged, torn between two beautiful young women. Both of whom I love very much. Both of whom I did not deserve. I want them both, but I cannot have what I desire. I tried to have both and look where that got me. I must pick one and stay true to that one.

I stop the swing, walk off my porch, and with a ducked head walk down the street. I have to see her one more time. People pass me, wave at me, and offer kind words. I pay them no mind. I am a man on a mission.

After several minutes of brisk walking, I reach her family farm located at the edge of town. I see her sitting on the porch with her long legs tucked underneath her, her gentle brown hair pulled back into a low ponytail, reading a book. I stand there for many minutes listening to the birds and watching her. She is just a lovely as ever.

She looks up at sees me, slowly closes her book, and walks down the path to where I am. "What are you doing here?" she snaps. "What part of I never want to see you again don't you understand?"

I close my eyes. "I-"

She raises her hand and slaps me across the face. "Now, get out of here before I call the cops!" She storms back up the walk and slams the door as she disappears into the house.

I put my hand to my cheek. Yeah, I suppose that I deserve that after what I did to her. Admitting defeat, I turn and head back home. I should consider myself lucky. I know she can do a lot worse than what she did to me.

Back on home, I sit back down on the swing and stare down at the floorboards. No matter what I say, no matter what I do Juliet is never going to forgive me.

I climbed up the tree after her. Laughing, she jumped down and stared up at me.

"What are you doing up there, Gage?" Juliet asked with a smirk on her face.

"Oh, just enjoying the sights," I said good naturally as I climbed back down the tree.

Juliet smiled at me when I reached her. She stretched up to kiss me.

"There's a party tonight," she whispered, breaking the kiss. "It's an end of the summer bash in the old barn on the country road."

I nodded. "Shall I pick you up around seven?" All the good parties started at eight.

"I would like that very much," Juliet said, kissing me again.

I watch as another car speeds down the street. Unlike me, it seems to know where it is going. I bury my face into my face. I want them both. I thought that I could have that prefect world with Juliet and Sasha together; I could not.

I wish that I could go back and do that last night differently. I don't wish to change anything, only to prevent Juliet from finding out what I had done. I would have made sure that she did not come looking for me. I should've kept better track of time. It's all my fault. I could've made it work and I blew it.

I am caught by my own darkness and caged. Only in my cage, no one will come and unlock the door. My heart has buried the key and would not cough it up.

I ran my hands through my hair knowing that there is no way that I can fix things with Juliet. At least I have Sasha. At least she has forgiven me for what I've done, though I think that may have something to do with her hatred towards Juliet.

Late that night, Juliet and I arrive to a party that is already in full swing. I looked around at all the people we knew as they danced with their bodies smashed up against each other. Juliet was smiling, waving, and speaking to her girlfriends as they passed us.

"I'm going to go get us some drinks," I said.

Juliet nodded. "I'll be right here."

Knowing otherwise, I smiled. Before I was even out of the living room, Juliet was making her way across the room to her best friend. I was still smiling as I walked down the hall to the kitchen. I was a lucky guy. I went into the kitchen and grabbed a couple of drinks.

"Sorry," a girl apologized as she ran into me and caused me to spill the drinks. "I need to pay better attention."

I looked at her. She was pretty cute and I never turned a pretty face away. "No, it's okay. I should've been watching." I paused and smiled at her. "Besides, I wouldn't be a Southern gentleman if I let a lady take the fault for something I did."

She smiled at me. "I'm Sasha."

"Gage," I said as I offered my hand out to her. "What do you say that we go to somewhere a little more, you know, private?"

Sasha smiled innocently at me. "I would like that very much."

I led her upstairs forgetting completely about Juliet.

I hear movements inside the house. Sasha must be up now and starting her morning routine. I know that I should go in and be with her. I can't.

I can't get that final night with Juliet out of my head. If only I hadn't got caught. If only I had kept better track of time. There is a bunch of if only...I messed up and got caught.

Sure, I got a girl, but she isn't the one who I started with. See, it's just a simple matter of cheating on my girlfriend. It's something more, something far worse.

My crime is unforgivable.

A few hours later, Sasha and I came up for air. In the course of the few hours that we had known each other, we had gotten really friendly. She wasn't as wild as Juliet, but let me tell you from experience, it's the quiet ones you have to look out for.

As I studied Sasha's beautiful body, I reached over and touched her hair. "You are so beautiful."

Sasha's face turned bright red. She looked so cute when she was embarrassed. "No, I'm not."

I turned her face toward me. "Yes, you are." I kissed her. "You are beautiful, you just don't know it you. That's what makes you beautiful."

She giggled. "Are you quoting One Direction?"

I leaned in close. "And so what if I am?"

"I just don't know any guys who listen to One Direction."

"It's my favourite pastime."

Sasha leaned in close. "Well, at least you're honest."

I kissed her, if only she knew the truth.

The door opened causing us both to jump apart.

"Oh, I'm so sorry!" Juliet's voice rang out. "I was just looking for the bathroom!" She moved to step out and close the door. Then, she turned back around. "Gage?"

Busted...

I could see that her eyes were narrowing. "Sasha?"

Make that double busted...

I wanted to make up with Juliet, but as it turned out everything was much more complicated than it first seemed. Sasha and Juliet are stepsisters. I never met Sasha until that night, because she had been living with her mother.

I regret that night. Next time, I know that I need to be a lot more careful.

Deciding it is time, I get up off my swing and head inside to Sasha.

Yeah, not my best work, I know. I really didn't have time to edit it because of a deadline and the weather enjoys knocking my internet out. So...thanks for reading.