"Kel, it's not that easy." I can't read his eyes or his voice. Maybe I'm just trying
to get over the shock. He's hauling me back to his room. I try to resist, spreading
my legs and dragging my feet, but he's pulling me along without even seeming to try.
We get to his room and he slams the door shut, standing in front of it so I've no
way out.
I am stone. I am stone. I am stone. My mind is racing through every Yamani drill I know, but none of them are doing a whit of good. I'm still crying like a weakling.
He's still standing in front of me. This plot's coming home with a vengeance.
Neal crosses his arms, waiting for the explanation. I owe him one. Even if I've
got nothing else. I raise my head, wipe the tears from my face with a sleeve and look him right in the eye. "I made her up, Neal. I… I've been in love with you for years. Every time you feel for some new beauty and told me all about it, it hurt. It hurt more than I can say. I… I…" Goddess, I have to keep going. I have to get through this before he has time to react or I have time to think about it. "I just wanted to be the right kind of girl. I thought maybe if I was pretty, if I had my hair and face and clothes fixed just right, maybe
you'd… you'd…" I can't say it. I just can't. "I had to tell you. I couldn't stand watching you pine after somebody I just made up. I still wanted… wanted you
to… but I wanted you to know what you were doing, first."
I can't hold them back any more. I'm sobbing, crying so hard it hurts and every
sob wracks every muscle in my body. Goddess, I have to finish. I have to get under
control! I shake my head as he opens his mouth to say something. The wracking is
slowing down. I can't do it, I can't stop crying all the way, but now I can at least
talk. I have to finish what I'm saying… "I understand if you never want to talk
to me again. But… but…. Neal! Why is it so different now that I'm wearing different clothes? I'm still me! I'm still that girl you talked to! I can look like that…"
I'm sobbing again, as if my heart would break. What am I talking about? It's already broken. I wish he would say something, anything. Even "I hate you! Get out of
my sight!" would let me close this episode. But no, he won't do it. He's just staring
at me, with a look on his face I don't recognize and can't read.
All of a sudden, he steps forward. I brace myself for the slap I know I deserve.
What? Mithros, it can't be! He's pulled me into a tight hug. "Can I still call you
Loreanne sometimes?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Well, that's that. Oh, yeah. I was going to ask if you thought this would
be better if it was funny after chapter two… I set out to write it that way, but
it sort of took off by itself... SO, see "The Plot - The Floofy Version." You know you want to, deep down inside. :~)

Oh, and THANK YOU! Yay for happy reviewing people, who made my day several times over!