note: This update has been ridiculously tardy and for that I apologize. But school is done for the summer and I'm starting to write once more. I hope I'll be able to update in a more timely manner.

(i don't need you but i do)

The day after his fight with Nathan, Lucas decides to purge his life from Haley. He won't read the multitude of postcards that flutter into his mailbox, will hide them in an old, rusted tool box he can't bear to get rid of. He will delete the messages she leaves him on his voice mail before he hears them. He deletes her songs from his iPod and donates her cds to his next door neighbor.

Eradicating his life from Haley, it eases his guilt. He tells himself he's not betraying his brother if he stops talking to Haley, listening to Haley, thinking about Haley. Nathan means so much to him. God, he's his brother. Nathan is his baby brother, and Lucas loves him so much. He can't live without him, they're family.

And he tries to convince himself that he can live without Haley, without seeing her and talking to her and laughing with her. After all, last February, he hadn't seen her for years. He'd forgotten about her (sort of, kind of, no, I couldn't never forget her, never). But Nathan, Nathan has been there for him since college, since the day he found out about HCM, since the day Keith died. "I can live without Haley," he whispers into the night, "I can live without Haley."

But the thing is he's starting to think he can't.

Because but the more he tries to stop thinking, talking and listening to her, the more he thinks about her, wants to call her, wants to listen to fragments of her voice singing about angels and love and darkness.

Because before Nathan, there was Haley, the girl who befriended him on the first day of kindergarten by lending him her yellow shovel.

Because at seven, he had promised her that they'd be friends forever and ever. A promise sealed with blood spilled from a pocket knife she'd swiped from her father's jacket.

Because in his heart and his head, he knows that in these past few weeks, he had been happy. Guilty, but happy. Happier. And he knows it's because of her, because of Haley.

Because she hasn't stopped calling and sending postcards and her voice is starting to sound hurt and resigned, her writing starting to look crooked and slanted and sad. And it takes him all his willpower to not call her, talk to her, write her.

And therein lies his problem.