Yes, [Toxic--Britney Spears]
Don't judge me.
Well! Yet again I want to do something with my friends and yet again my mom's sleeping the entire day and my dad's working the entire day. So what the heck. I'll just stay inside all day staring at a screen and have no life.
[All the Right Moves--One Republic]
I finally got to the third temple, Arbiter's Grounds (or something along those lines), in Legend of Zelda! Hah, that took three years. And I stopped playing because I had just played for two hours. And now I'm bored.
I've been making up a crapload of stories, most of which without titles and most of which I have no intention of finishing. So, I've done nothing at all productive all break.
Except find this:
His face was frozen in shock, like he was seeing a ghost. But the girl besides him smiled widely, revealing a row of pearly white teeth.
The girl was miniature, shorter than Alysson, and next to Alan she looked even tinier. She had salon-tanned skin and perfectly symmetrical freckles, and the snowy white-blond hair old Barbies had. I don't know why I remembered her name, when I couldn't remember Josh, but it immediately came back to me: Stephenie Kates.
"I heard you were in the area," I said robotically. "I heard you two were...living here still. I thought I'd drop by."
It's been seven years. She was a Barbie doll. They were studying the same thing. Despite all these excuses, all I could think was: he found her and not me.
Betrayal made a sour taste in my mouth while heartbreak pulled me towards the door, away from here, away from him. I was frozen, though, frozen under the weight of Stephenie's Barbie-doll smile and his shock. His shock.
We went through the motions. Stephenie invited me to stay for dinner, all the while flashing her pearly white teeth. I sat on their stark white couch and made small talk with Alan while she got us drinks. He didn't look at me--not directly into my eyes--and I knew he felt the weight of what he had done. Of killing me, with his beautiful girlfriend and his--his happiness without me.
It was after I found out that they were engaged that Alan excused himself to go to the bathroom and Stephenie bustled into the kitchen like a cheerful puppy. My body responded before my mind did, and I bolted, leaving Alan Mason behind me forever.
* * *
"Where'd she go?"
Stephenie spoke in a confused, innocent, puppy-dog voice, and Alan couldn't answer. She'd gone away from him. That was all that mattered. She'd disappeared again and this time nothing in the world could bring her back.
He spoke with no feeling, no inflection: "Goodbye, Stephenie."
She didn't answer. He didn't turn, though he could feel her glassy blue eyes on my neck.
He started to move.
Her small hand wrapped around his wrist with surprising strength as her voice cracked. "What?"
Alan sighed. She deserved an explanation. "I've been in love with Maria Markowitz for almost eight years now. And now that I've found her, I can't pretend I love anyone else. Goodbye, Stephenie."
Because he was not completely heartless, he spared her a second glance. She looked rueful and a little sad and still shocked, but not betrayed and heartbroken like Maria had. He couldn't believe he had asked her to marry me. It was cruel. To pretend was cruel. Maria was everything he ever wanted and he'd just destroyed her.
She was gone when Alan started the car, and deep down he feared he'd never find her.
* * *
My legs burned, but it was nothing compared to the pain in my heart.
Silly, hopeless creature that I was, I thought of him. His eyes, his voice. His laugh, which I hadn't heard in so long. How he was the one I'd always love, no matter what he did to me. Even if he killed me.
I wanted, for the first time in my life, to die. For the past seven years there had been hope--hope that was the foundation of everything else. Now there was nothing. He was all I had to live for...all I wanted to live for...
Only you, Allyson had said, would nurse a broken heart for seven years.
Tears left a trail behind me that the sun evaporated in an instant. If only I could cry myself away...cry and cry till everything inside me was gone. Then it wouldn't matter that he forgot about me and fell in love with someone else--someone infinitely prettier and more outgoing than me. Then I wouldn't be running blindly through the city, sobbing and making people think I was psychotic.
Eventually I couldn't run anymore and just stumbled about the sidewalk, lost and more alone than I'd ever been. And when a pair of arms wrapped around me, I prayed to God they were Alan's...I always wanted them to be Alan's...but it was Josh, letting me once again crying into his shoulder.
"Why didn't you tell me?" I half-choked, half-screamed. "Why didn't you tell me he was--?"
I couldn't go on, and Josh half-dragged, half-carried me into the apartment, then set me down on the couch.
"I thought it would be better if you found out yourself," he admitted calmly. I gaped at him, dumbfounded.
"You thought it would be better?" I shrieked. "You thought it would be better? They're engaged, you asshole! How did you think that would be better?"
His calm expression morphed into a murderous glare. "Fine. You wanna know the truth? I wanted you to be upset so you'd forget about him. He doesn't love you anymore, Maria!"
His words were a knife in my already broken heart, and the force of them literally pushed me back. I wanted to say 'I know'. I wanted to say anything. But all I could see was his dark, hate-filled eyes.
We sat in silence till the anger drained out of his face and he said, defeated, "Don't you see, Maria? I'm in love with you."
That's when Alan barged into the room.