Disclaimer: Characters contained within do not belong to me.

Author's Notes: So many words have been floating around in my head lately. Just trying to get them down has kept me more than a little busy! Thanks for reading all my ramblings. I hope you're enjoying them!


All I Have to Do

by Kristen Elizabeth


Prologue

The rain started just as she reached his townhouse. It was no gentle sprinkle, but a violent downpour that had been building up in the mountains all afternoon. This was curl-up-in-bed-with-a-book-or-a-loved-one weather.

Ironically, it was also appropriate weather in which to end a relationship that had only just begun.

He answered the door like he'd been expecting her. The short walk from the driveway to his front door had left her thoroughly drenched, but he ushered inside without a thought for the puddles she'd leave on his floor.

She stood in the foyer, shivering while he went for a towel. Fresh out of the dryer, the terrycloth was warm and, like his sheets, smelled of laundry soap. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply. This might well be her last memory of his scent.

"I didn't think you'd come tonight," he confessed. Taking the towel from her, he started drying her hair. "I hoped, but…'hope is the worst of evils for it prolongs the torments of man'."

"Nietzsche," she whispered. He wasn't even aware of how hard he was making this for her.

"You need to get out of those clothes," he declared with a slanted smile. "I took the liberty of washing your nightgown; I hope I didn't shrink it." He paused. "Although that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing as far as I'm concerned."

"Actually…"

"Why don't you take a hot shower? I'll make us something to eat. Anything you want that doesn't involve eggs. I'm fresh out. What about pasta? Some kind of salad?" He glanced at the kitchen. "I think I still have some of those frozen veggie burgers you made me try awhile back. I don't have any buns, but there's bread and…" He stopped, like something had just struck him. "I almost forgot. Look what I found earlier today."

She watched with a sinking heart as he crossed to the other side of the room and picked up an aged album cover. "Do you remember this?" he asked, holding it up where she could see.

Nodding kept her from crying.

He placed the record onto his turntable with reverence. "Only on vinyl can you capture the true essence of the song." He let the needle drop onto the right spot and held out his hand to her. "Come on."

She was learning too late that he liked to dance.

Unmindful, or perhaps just unaware, of her soaked state, he guided her into his arms. She let him, lacking the willpower to pull away from the solidity of his body.

The music started and he began to move. She closed her eyes as he murmured in her ear, "Our song?"

When I want you in my arms

When I want you and all your charms

Whenever I want you, all I have to do is dream

He was just so…happy. That was the worst part of all. For the first time in years, the man she loved was truly and completely happy. Even more amazingly, she was the source of that happiness.

And yet…she was going to be the one to rip it away from him.

"I can't do this."

"What, dance?" His voice was laced with hope, as if it might be as simple as that. "You're doing fine, honey."

Shaking her head, she forced herself to take a step back. "No, I mean this. Us. It's not…it's not going to work."

The Everly Brothers sang for another minute until he finally blinked and walked back to the record player. He took the needle off with a painful scratching sound. She winced.

"Why?"

Swallowing, she tucked her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. "It just won't."

"Give me reasons," he demanded.

She could see him fighting to remain calm. But he couldn't keep the tremble out of his words or the tautness out of his muscles.

"You know them already," she whispered. "You've known them for years."

"You never believed them then," he argued. "How do they suddenly matter to you?"

Her shoulders lifted. "'Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope'." When he said nothing, she added, "Aristotle."

"Why are you doing this?" The expression on his face pleaded for understanding. "Is it something I did? Or didn't do? Just tell me…so I can fix it." His eyes were watery blue. "Please."

The tears that ran down her cheeks were hot against her cold skin. "You made me so happy, too." She backed up another step towards the door. "It's not you. It's not even me. It's just…" Reaching it, she twisted the knob. The rain was still coming down in sheets, soaking the city.

"Just what?" she heard him say. "Sara? Sara, don't walk out that door."

Turning around, she gave him one last look. "I'm doing this for us, Gris. Please remember that when you start hating me."

She was in her car, backing down the driveway by the time he made it outside. She refused to look in the rearview mirror, refused to watch as he became smaller and smaller in the distance.


To Be Continued