I'd forgotten about this story, essentially... but I hope that y'all like it... and REVIEW it... because that would just make me so ecstatic!!



'Sonofabitch' he thought as he rolled out of bed the next morning. Yet another reason he hated beer with a burning passion: the way it made him feel in the morning. He felt like hell. Utter and complete hell. And, that's how he looked, too. But he didn't give a damn.

Today was just another day. A pointless day during which he would walk around dreaming about the one thing he could never have. But, that was fine with him. He hadn't anything better to do.

So off he went to work.

He saw her there, of course, the most beautiful woman in the world, though she said she felt like hell too. It didn't matter what she FELT like, she would always be beautiful. She would always be wonderfully wonderful in his eyes; she would always be the greatest creature to have ever walked the earth.

He cursed his dreams as he thought those last thoughts. He hated being in love. It would be so much easier if he could just hate her. But he couldn't. That was yet another impossibility in Robert Romano's life. It was just another shitty thing that he couldn't change. He couldn't change his love for her; he couldn't change his hate for himself: His hate for himself at loving her. Why couldn't he just keep his mind away from these dangerous thoughts pervading his mind that would inevitably break his heart?

'Because,' he thought, 'that would just be too damn easy.'

So he worked all day. He'd heard a song that talked about building a kingdom of sand. That's what he felt as though he had. All he had was a kingdom built with his own two hands, his sweat, his blood (literally), his tears – and it was made of sand. What good was his damn castle then? What good was his life's work? What good was everything he'd worked so damn hard for? It was worth nothing. It was worth nothing because he hated waking up every morning and thinking about the things he could never have, and he hated going to bed at night and dreaming about the things that would never have him.

Elizabeth was the damn wind that made him realize all he had was a castle built of sand. Here she came with her British propriety, and dashingly beautiful looks and made him fall in love with her. She was the wind on his castle of sand. And he wanted so desperately to hate her for it. He wanted to hate her for making him realize that what he had was worthless... that everything he'd worked for was worthless.

But no matter how hard he tried, no matter how many times he tried to tell himself that he hated her, his heart always knew better. His soul always spoke the truth.

He laughed at the irony. He could lie to everyone around him—even her, but he couldn't lie to himself. How ironic. How amazingly, stupidly, cunningly, annoyingly ironic. He could lie about anything at any given moment to any given person, yet he couldn't lie to himself. What's the use of the talent then?

He aimlessly went about his business, performed surgery, did the work he'd come to love and hate simultaneously, saved lives, and went home. Because that's what he did. Everyday of his life, that's what he did.

He didn't go out afterwards, searching for his lifetime companion. He'd found her... but she hadn't found him. And she never would.

He didn't go out afterwards, drinking with friends. He had no friends. Except, yep, you guessed it, her.

'Isn't that terribly sad?' He thought bitterly. He hadn't always been the coldhearted bastard that he was these days. No, there was a time when Robert Romano had plenty of friends. There was a time when he'd had friends coming out of his ass (not literally). There was a time when he'd had so many confidants he didn't know how he could possibly confide in them all.

There was a time when he had been the life of the party. No matter what party it had been, he had been the very life of it.

But, times had changed.

He'd become a bitter man, an 'arrogant prick' is the phrase he'd heard used most often, and he had only one friend in the world. And even she hated him more than half of the time.

But, that's the price one pays for being on top. For being successful, one must make sacrifices, and friendships, along with companionship, were two of the many sacrifices Robert Romano had made to be such a great surgeon, such a great Chief of Surgery, and such a great Chief of Staff.

When he was younger, he thought he'd always be content to just be successful. He thought he'd always be content without anybody by his side. He'd spent so much time convincing himself that he didn't need anyone, that he'd let everyone that had ever cared for him slip out of his life unnoticed until it was too late. He'd told himself that every great man rose to the top by himself. And he didn't care when he noticed his friends had gone, moved on. He didn't care because he told himself that it didn't matter, that he didn't need them, and that all he needed was himself, his talents, and his goals. Because, THAT was just a price of success.

But now, years and years later, after his friends had gone on to bigger and better things—together—he sat at home wondering if that really WAS the price of success.

And he found himself wondering if it was worth it. He'd long ago though he'd always know the answer to that question. He'd always thought it would be yes. Success was worth sacrificing anything, no matter what.

But now, he wasn't so sure.

And he reached for the bourbon he'd stop to buy on the way home.

He poured himself a glass and sat thinking back on the time when he'd thought he'd been all right... but knowing that it hadn't existed. It hadn't existed because the only human being he'd ever cared about was himself.

And in actuality, that would have been fine. Theoretically, he could have lived the rest of his life in complete solitude, had his success, his big house, his jaguar, his money, and been perfectly content.... If he'd never learned what it was to love.

He gasped as the realization dawned on him. It was because of her that he was so god awfully miserable. She had, unknowingly, taught him how to love. Damn her. Damn her all to hell!

Without her, he'd be out having meaningless sex with some woman whose name he didn't even know.

But, because of her, he was sitting alone, in his house, with a dog and a glass of liquor, lamenting the fact that he had no one to share his wealth with.

Damn her!

This revelation troubled him deeply, and he quickly downed the glass of Bourbon, and quickly poured himself another, and then another. Now, this wouldn't have been a problem, for Robert Romano knew how to hold his liquor, but he couldn't stop pouring the glasses. It was like this troubling revelation had possessed him. So he downed the present glass of Bourbon, and began pouring another...

And another.

Until he was drunk, not completely drunk, but certainly enough to loosen any ambitions he might have had. He hadn't been even remotely drunk in a very long time, but he didn't care. What did it matter? Alcohol was his only friend that didn't hate him half the time, and right now, it was the only friend here to console him. It comforted him... telling him lies, sweet little lies, furthering his delusions about her and the life he desperately desired, but also desperately desired not to desire.

He thought back on the day previous, and how he had ended it thinking it was wasted.

He vowed not to let that happen today as well.

So he walked out into the cool Chicago air, the chill sobering him a little, and sat down on the steps.

Could he do this?

Hell yes, he could. With liquid courage, Romano could do anything he damn well pleased short of a crime.

So, he began walking. He kept walking and walking, all the while running through what he should say in his head. He walked until he didn't want to walk anymore, and even then, he kept walking.

Until finally he stood outside of his destination. He cautiously walked up the steps and stood in front of the door.

What if she was with someone? He contemplated turning around and walking home right then, as he stared at the doorbell.

'Oh, to hell with it' he thought as his hand reached out and pressed the bell down firmly.

He heard it ring on the inside, and heard it followed by padded steps heading towards the door.

The door opened, and there he saw her. The most beautiful woman in the world, standing at the door with pajama pants and slippers on, looking thoroughly confused to see him standing there, and even more confused to hear that he was saying nothing. He smiled lightly at her, and she barely returned the gesture.

He heard her say something that sounded distinctly like "Robert", but he didn't care. It was his turn to talk, he assumed, so he braced himself to say what he had been longing to say for years. He opened his mouth, and out it poured.

"Elizabeth Corday, I hate you!"


Most definitely to be continued...

Yeah, again, I'm just "winging" this one (I had to reread the first chapter to remember what I was even going for with it!), but it shouldn't be too long. In fact, it should be rather short... I'm only anticipating about two more chapters.

However, you should still REVIEW it... cause it makes lil' ol' me happy!!!

Thanks y'all!