Miranda didn't cry much these days. She'd long since gotten through the tears and the grieving and the nights of screaming in her head, fighting with herself, trying to answer questions she didn't know how to ask.

It'd been a few months since Pete's "accident" and she had finally come to terms with the fact that he was not coming home – oh, God, her heart was breaking – and so she decided to leave Pete's place (what was the point in staying? He was never moving back in. The lawyers were taking care of all the particulars, so she didn't have to worry about the house), move into a smaller, neighbouring town, start all over. Again.

She had most of her stuff packed in boxes, waiting in her car. A few were still scattered around the house (most of her furniture waited at a friend's house, who had generously offered to store it until she was settled in), and she was just finishing clearing her stuff out of the bedroom closet.

It hurt to go through it, seeing as how most of Pete's clothes were still there (his brother always said he'd get around to clearing out more stuff, but he kept putting it off, which stressed Miranda, but she never said anything about, seeing as how he also had to cope with his brother being a full-timer in a mental institution. Oh, the irony was killing all of them), and it smelled like him – his cologne, his laundry soap…

Piling the last of a stack of papers from the filing cabinet (yes, it was in the closet; Miranda thought it odd but Pete assured her his parents did the same thing and he'd just picked it up from them) into the cardboard box that awaited, she was about to close the drawer when she noticed a file folder with Miranda's name on it, in Pete's casually-handwritten script.

Curiously – and even though she feared she'd regret it later, and return to her old custom of crying her self to sleep at night – she pulled the file out, opened it, glanced at the papers it contained.

Shuffling through, she realized most were half-finished letters, notes, poems, all to her, and all about how he cared about her. Some drifted off away from the topic of her, and Pete had obviously tried to tell her some secrets about him. A few stopped short with "ah, fuck it 'cause if I can't say it to your gorgeous face, I can't write it to you."

But now she was going to cry again; one in particular, as she glanced at the date, caught her eye. It was from months ago now, and she realized it was the morning when he was cooking all those eggs, before he cut himself that one horrible night. It was a detailed letter, over four pages long, and she sat on the floor for at least half an hour, her legs becoming stiff and sore tucked under her for so long, as she read and re-read it. Tears fell down her cheeks (a few landed on the paper and smudged his carefully-printed title, bolded with thick strokes of a pen; I Hate Every Fucking Beautiful Day) as Pete's scrawled words told her so much about him, and she wanted nothing more than to break down the door that he was locked behind, and beg him to go back to the way he was. Or simply take his gentle hand in hers and run away forever. Or, another option, was to go back in time and stop everything bad from happening to him.

But the only thing she could do was lean against the wall and cry.

The last half-letter she looked at was obviously from the night he'd cut his left arm; there were smudges of blood on the paper, and he kept writing oh god it hurts why the fuck did I do this again? in the margin.

She might have fallen asleep she sat there so long, tears dry on her face, the papers spread out on the floor around her; she wasn't sure, but all of a sudden she snapped back into reality. Pete was gone, and she couldn't get him back. Not the Pete he used to be, anyway. Reality was a cruel mistress ("more like a bitch," Miranda announced out loud to herself), and she couldn't change the facts. So she put the papers back in the folder (only then did she notice Pete had doodled hearts on the cover of it; "how very schoolgirl of him," she smiled), placed it in her box, taped it shut, and left the room, heading down the stairs to finish loading her car.

Miranda had been through hell and back (being possessed, murdering her husband, playing games with a ghost in a mental institution, and now, losing her new love; he wasn't dead but he was about as good as), and nothing was going to break her now. She was on her own and could take whatever was coming to her.

She just hoped that – unlike her two previous lovers – she would die happy.

fin