A/N: This is really short. Kind of ironic how this whole piece isn't even a thousand words. Also, this doesn't have anything to do with the story, but I was thinking about weeding out my archive and kind of getting rid of some of my earlier stories that suck. Let me know if there's something you want me to keep and I'll take that into consideration. Pretty much everything after August is staying but everything before that is fair game.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This was something that Summer had never understood. How could one moment be worth that much? It was just a second, one instant, frozen in time. It was impossible to use a thousand words in one second. So how could a picture?
Summer had a picture. It wasn't worth a thousand words though and she knew it. Just three. Three simple words but when they're strung together, it can mean everything. And it did mean everything.
I love you.
Seth Cohen was the first had been the only boy to ever tell her that. And she had been fool enough to believe him. That is, until he left her for an entire summer, leaving nothing but a note. And the note wasn't even a thousand words either.
The picture was still there. And the words too. Almost as if they had been written across the image. It was a simple picture. Not one of those cheesy photos where two people are at the beach, splashing in the waves and laughing. Everyone knows pictures like that only exist for movies.
It was just them, lying there on his bed. She was on her stomach with her head resting in the crook of her arm. He had come up behind her, lying down on top of her, his arm slung over her waist as his face pressed into her bare back. Marissa had been the one to take it, neither of them had even noticed until she slipped two copies into Summer's purse a few weeks later.
He hadn't said it yet, when the picture had been taken. I love you. But she could see it in the picture. It was right there, staring at her evilly, taunting her. He loved you. That was why she kept the photo hidden in the back of a drawer—the one she had for important things—along with two other items: The note he left her before he bailed and the one CD she hadn't returned him, Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie.
She wondered if he still had the picture. It used to sit right on his bedside table and sometimes, when they used to hang out up there, she would catch him looking at it. She wondered if he thought it was worth a thousand words. Or maybe, just three, like she did. She wondered if he really meant it when he said those words. She knew he did.
Zach had seen the picture. It was before she had pushed it to the back of her drawer; the back of her mind. He had picked it up off of her dresser and stared at it for a while. "You guys were really close, huh?" he had commented.
She just took it from him, setting it back down, and said, "It was a long time ago."
A thousand words had passed since then and maybe, the picture wasn't worth anything anymore. Not even those three words. Still, every day she looked at the picture, pulling it out from its hiding place, and staring down at that moment. He loved you. Every once in a while, she would pull out Transatlanticism and let the sounds fill the room as she looked at the photo.
It was like staring at ghosts; that time seemed so far away. Almost like a different lifetime. She tried desperately to remember the feel of his arm wrapped around her waist. The warmth of his cheek against her back. The sound of his voice as he whispered things in her ear, making her giggle.
Zach told her he loved her. She waited for that feeling in her chest, the one she had when Seth had said it to her. It never came. It was like the words were too weak to carry that weight and instead, they fell around them, heavy and defeated.
She felt bad walking away from him. She knew she was supposed to love him, and maybe in another life, she could have. But not this one. She figured Zach would have had to have used a thousand words to convince her that he loved her.
So she found herself at Seth's house, being let in by Kirsten, and walking nervously up the stairs. He didn't say anything when she walked into his room, ripping open his desk drawer, searching for something. She found what she was looking for, hidden all the way in the back, mirroring hers. She brought the picture up to her face, tracing lines on the glass, and staring down at the familiar images. The figures were burned into her mind by now, so deep that she could map out every position, right down to the way his thumb was rubbing at the skin on her side.
She finally turned to face him and he didn't look confused. It seemed almost as if he had waited for her to come tearing through his room in search of that one moment. The one split second they had that was only worth three simple words.
She walked over to him, the picture in her hands, and kissed him gently. "I love you."
He wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. In her ear, he whispered, "I love you." Because they didn't need a thousand words. Just three.