I can smell you even before I open my eyes. You smell of her - of someone else. I can hear you taking off your shoes, the clinking of your few pennies as you retrieve them from your pockets. I can smell the cigar smoke on your shirt as you lie down beside me. I open my eyes and yours are already closed, your cheeks smudged with ink and dirt from the racetracks. Your lips are swollen with too many stolen kisses. Is that a love bite on your neck?

Even after all this time, there are still tears building at the back of my eyes. You'd think I'd be used to this - coming home late, the smell of some other womans' cheap perfume, lipstick stains on your collar. You'd think it wouldn't bother me.

But the lipstick is always the same colour; you always have the remnants of the same scent on your clothes, embedded in your skin after seeing her. It wouldn't hurt so much if it was a prostitute, or a bunch of other girls.

But the lipstick is always the same colour.

When did you fall out of love with me? ...when did you fall in love with her? Was it at the same time? Did you profess your adoration to her over coffee at Tibbys', as you did with me? Is she a newsie? Do you sell together, those days when I can't find you anywhere? Does she go to the tracks with you? ...why her and not me? Why -

I force myself to stop thinking as the tears begin to slide down my cheeks. I don't bother to stifle the sobs, I know you can hear me but I also know that you won't bother opening your eyes. Our bunk is so tiny that you'd think we'd be squashed close up together, both afraid of falling off in the night - but you're a million miles away.

I'm not stupid. I know you don't love me, I know you don't need me.

But I need you. So somehow, I'm still here.

We'll be so happy, you said.

You're everything I've ever wanted, you said.

I love you, you said.

0 for 3 and somehow I'm still with you.

How are those for bad odds?


AN: gotta love those angsty one parters - and jesus, do I ever!!! :) r+r s'il vous plait...*plenty of wuv for everyone!*