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let's watch the fantasies decay

Title: let's watch the fantasies decay
Author: Aspen Snow
Summary: The story of a relationship always starts at the end. This one is no different. The tale of a love affair that never happened. In chapters.



—where the stage is set—

Her name isn’t important, his is even less so. Not because he doesn’t matter, but because she was the only one who could have changed all this.

He, well, he wanted her the first time he met her. You might call it love at first sight, except love isn’t really that easy.

She was always trying to decide if she really wanted him. And this is the truth my friends, this is where broken hearts come from—people don’t ever love equally.

And it’s a lie, you know, finding those moments where it all falls apart?

So easy.


— where it can’t be saved—

He says, “I don’t know what to live for, anymore,” and he stares straight ahead, eyes, unblinking, fixed on the road. His fingers clench around the steering wheel and she’s sure she’s supposed to believe this was hard for him to admit. She watches the skin go white between his knuckles. It’s all so cinematic in its melodrama—a dash of stoic resolve, a pinch of vulnerability, and a hint of save me, please—this is what he wants her to see.

She’d sympathize, if she was that kind of girl. She’d put her hand on his thigh, pat it with warm fingers reassuringly, he’d like that, she knows.

Thing is, he’s more pathetic than he realizes and she won’t ever forgive him being so weak. That he fancies himself alone is the smallest of things.

They’re pulling into her driveway when she says “Grow up.”

She slams the car door shut behind her.



where he becomes less than the sum of his parts and she learns this could be a game—

They eat dinner together only because they are both hungry and that’s his fault.

Of course, had he actually looked her in the eye, had he actually taken her hand in his, established some kind of contact and said, “Let’s go on a date. Let’s change this thing between us,” she might have said no.

Across from her he swallows his mashed potatoes too loudly and his eyebrows tremble unnaturally when he laughs—these are the things that he’s become to her now. He drops his napkin, or his fork she isn’t really paying attention, and when he reaches under the table his knuckles brush across her knee.

The vanilla lotion she’d smoothed over her legs this morning makes her skin a cool kind of soft and she wonders if that’s what makes his fingers shake.

When he sits up again—pulling at his collar and clearing his throat—her skin can’t remember the sensation of his skin on hers and she thinks she always knew his fingers weren’t strong enough for that. She doesn’t imagine, anymore, what the inside of his knee would feel like, or what the edge of his jaw would taste like, or if his breath on her neck would be hot—she knows, anyway, that it would be damp and faintly nervous.

She pays the bill with her credit card and says to him, “You can pay me back later,” she thinks the waitress is smiling when she walks away. When she slides out of the booth she pulls at the hem of her skirt and smiles, laughs even, when he watches her fingers scrape along the inside of her thigh.

Because he wants her and, of course, she wants that.

She’s got her hands on the clear glass of the restaurant door before he can pull it open for her.

She’s stringing him along now.



—where she is too lonely to let go and she doesn’t choose the high road—

She nearly tells him that she will never be his. She doesn’t, though, tell him because he wouldn’t understand the finality of her words— he still doesn’t get that she is a girl who knows exactly what she doesn’t want.

That he doesn’t, can’t, won’t ever understand is her fault, she knows.

There is so much between them that she could use. When they talk she remembers conversations they never had and he says do you remember this and she says do you remember that and they both forget that they haven’t known each other long enough to say yes. There are decades of history between them already and she could, maybe should, use that for something more than friendship.

She won’t ever.

She’ll dream about him tonight though, dream about his fingers in her hair, his breath on her cheek, his lips close so close. She is a little bit lonely and a little bit hungry and it has been so long, maybe never, since her skin has hummed and her heart has raced and she could have him. She doesn’t want him, but she is a girl and he is a boy and they spend so much time together (tables for two) that that the something more they are not is the subtext that loads their conversations.

She’ll keep him waiting forever because she has never quite believed that she is beautiful and he wants her so much that he has stopped looking for someone else. She is selfish and she will break his heart.


—where he isn’t entirely the victim and he already knows how to play this game—

He calls her on her last day of finals like he has the right to crash into her life at any moment. He tells her his unit has been activated. He’s going to Iraq and she gets the feeling he couldn’t wait to tell her that.

She says, “Oh—,” like she has better things to do than react to this news. Because she’s known since he got out of boot camp that he’d be going somewhere else eventually and she isn’t sure what he wants her to say. Maybe I’m sorry, maybe he wants her to come over in that silk camisole she knows he likes—the straps always slide down her shoulders—run a hand over his shaved head and kiss him like goodbye is hard.

When he says “I might die for you,” she knows he won’t ever really get her.

She’d rather someone lived for her, anyway.

—before you think her callous you should know, he’s not a real Marine. Not really anyway. He’s in the Reserves and his unit wasn’t activated. One weekend a month, twenty miles down the road is as far as he’s going.

If he’d been a girl he would have feigned pregnancy, he just wants to trap her, somehow.

See—he was selfish first.


—where she wants him for a second—

They are in a moment; you know the kind, where it could go either way.

They are at a party and she is wearing a red silk dress. Beneath the silk she’s wearing black lace. She’d imagined, when she bought it, them idling at an intersection waiting for the light to change, her knees locked against his hips, his hands gripping her thighs, pulling her too hard down onto his lap. Something like a scream heavy in the air.

She thinks if she told him this he might be the kind of guy who pushes her against a wall, puts his hands up her dress.

This is the moment where she nearly tells him what she really wants—because as strong as she is what she really wants is to be pushed around. She wants to feel like a damsel or a heroine or some helpless little thing, because what she really wants is to be saved.

But then he puts his hand on her shoulder to get her attention and his fingers tremble and his skin is clammy and far too soft and this becomes the moment when she says nothing at all.

This is the moment where expectations do what they do best—fail.


—where it could have been a fairy tale—

Once upon a time there is a guy. And there is a girl.

The guy, he meets this girl right? Blonde hair, tan shoulders, strong thighs and she laughs with her entire face—dimples in the cheek, curled lips, light in the eyes.

He’s drunk this night, like, totally wasted—so there’s a glow, a haze, something soft all around her.

He talks her into playing pool. She protests, at first, that she doesn’t ever do things she isn’t good at.

But when she walks up to the pool table with strong smooth strides, he knows he didn’t talk her into anything.

(when he tells this story, much later, he will always forget to mention that she didn’t lose)

The girl, she meets this guy right? Shaved head, high cheekbones, sharp jaw and he walks over to her so swiftly that she loses her breath—just a little.

He gets her to play pool. She sucks at pool. She hates pool. But damn if his smile doesn’t make her want to be a part of whatever he’s doing.

She isn’t drunk this night but she’s tired, so incredibly tired—so there’s a strength in his voice, a command in his movement that compels her to do what she normally wouldn’t.

So she plays pool and lets him buy her a beer and push her hair behind her ear when she leans over the table and she has fun.

(when she begins this story, much later, she will always start, “I beat this guy at pool”)


—where it turns out this story could go without saying—

Everyone’s got it backwards, you know, it’s the small things that drive people apart. Things like politics, things like religion, people have been ignoring those for years.

When someone breaks your heart, these days, it isn’t ever for something grand. It’s for a million tiny stupid useless reasons that matter for no particular reason at all.


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(no subject) - vasilina40778 - Nov. 17th, 2016 02:00 am (UTC) - Expand
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