Summary: This isn't A/U this is life.

Rating: Though the language is mild and the content un explicit, this isn't the faint hearted. This is for all of you that wanted to know what would have happened if they'd stuck at it.

Disclaimer: None of the characters of The OC belong to me. The story lines that you are familiar with are not mine, those that are new to you aren't mine either – they belong to the neglected three quarters of America.

A/N: I solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Lost In Love

She stared up at the ceiling. She should be asleep; she'd gone to bed long before the new day had started, yet however much she tried she couldn't drift off. Instead her eyes remained open and she stared at the ceiling.

Her curtains failed to block the streetlight, so her room was a haze of orange. The light picked out her possessions; they were all bathed in the artificial light. The only time she looked at them was in the night, when she lay awake, she didn't think she'd recognise them if looked at them during the day.

She was used to the insomnia now, at first her body reacted badly to it, shutting down at times. But now she was fine. She'd got into the routine; she'd go to bed and lie awake. This had been going on for so long now that she didn't think she would be able to live on more sleep.

Every night she stared at the ceiling finding new images in the patch of damp that the orange light illuminated. This had been going on so long now that she'd watched the patch grow, it was like a friend to her, her night time companion keeping her company during the slow hours of the night. Giving her mind distraction from her depression.

An arm wrapped around her, pushing a warm body against hers. This was the time she waited for every night, because within this simple act she remembered that she wasn't alone in life. Well not in the physical sense anyway. She waited for this time every night, because this was the time her body relaxed into sleep.

As the night passed away she swapped one routine for another. The orange light replaced with that of the sun, which lit up a pathway for her to make her way to the bathroom. Once there she would remove the engagement ring she'd been wearing for four of the five years she'd been living in this apartment. She'd given up hope of a wedding shortly after the ring was placed on her finger; it wasn't a promise, more a symbol of their love. Once it had been shiny and new, now it was old and constant.

She looked at the ring, it wasn't much, it couldn't have been with the limited budget, but it had been something at the time. However, it felt like nothing to her now. She placed it on the side, underneath the mirror, purposely dodging looking at her reflection, and stepped into the shower.

She let the water cascade over her. The water, a thing that brings life, running down her seemingly dead body never managing to regenerate it. She placed her hands on the cold tile before her and inspected them. Praying to a G-d she didn't believe in that she would be able to find out where the person she'd once been had gone. The hands were the same, she was sure of this, yet the person they belonged to had slowly been lost.

Her life wasn't meant to be like this, she'd been lost into the life of her lover. The more their love grew the more she slipped away. Pictures showed her who she used to be - a smiling young girl, not a care in the world. Her eleventh grade year book told her that she'd been the social chair and teachers had once told her she could have done anything with her life given her grades, and that was after the suicide attempt. However, she never made it through to the end of her twelfth school year.

She wasn't sure when her life started turning around. She wasn't sure of much really. But as she stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around her all the questions that had been plaguing her suddenly merged into one: what went wrong?

As she slipped the ring back on her finger she caught sight of herself in the mirror. The heavy black rings ageing her before her time. She pulled down one of the bags, trying to see the eye underneath. This is what she'd wanted to avoid earlier, finding out that the eyes that used to be so full of life and warmth were now dead just like the rest of her.

A knock on the door broke her away from herself, broke her away from the image of herself, the person she'd become without realising.

"You okay?" a voice called though the door.

"Yeah I'm just…" but what she was 'just' she couldn't decide so she simply left it at that, returning her attention to the mirror, wanting so much for the reflection not to be hers. She didn't want this to be her anymore. The life she'd hated when she was younger; that was the life she wanted now. That life at least had a future.

She pulled the towel rounder her closer and turned to leave, pulling at the door handle forgetting that she'd started locking the it. Putting a barrier between her and her downfall.

She scolded herself for being so harsh. She loved Alex with all her heart and maybe that, in turn, was the problem.

She knew from the first time she'd allowed their eyes to meet that Alex was going to capture her heart. When she looked into her eyes she went out of her mind, she was unable to see anything but Alex. With that simple act, their eyes meeting in that crowed club that night, she'd been intoxicated by her. This intoxication continued until they first shared a kiss on that moonlit beach, having watched the tide turn on an otherwise forgettable Valentines'. That kiss told her what she already knew, that she could taste love again.

Maybe if one of them had listened to the warnings of her mother it wouldn't have worked, maybe if they'd waited to move in with each other or maybe if she'd just managed to get to college; it would all be different. She watched her friends leave, some faster than others. Summer and Seth headed out to the East Coast as soon as school finished, Ryan moved to the other end of the state. Marissa had been too busy with work to deal with graduating high school at the same time. Her mother, who had pulled her funding after Marissa had not come home, forced her out of Harbour, and she just didn't fit in at Union. Getting into college proved hard without her diploma. So she just worked harder in her job, working more hours, getting little out of it except a wage that, combined with that of Alex's, could barely keep them above the poverty line.

Staying in contact with her friends proved hard as they found that they no longer had anything in common. Summer and Seth had got married, however not to each other, and Ryan had the life that was once Marissa's. He was rich and successful; he had the future that everyone thought was going to be Marissa's. However, Marissa just stayed still, continuing to live with Alex, both with their dead end jobs forcing Marissa to become the forgotten daughter of Mrs Julie Cooper-Nichol-Robberts.

As she walked back into the bedroom she heard the voices of the Newpsie women asking each other 'Whatever happened to Marissa Cooper?' echoing round her head and, as she unwrapped the towel and stepped into her underwear, she began to realise that the only response to that question would be 'Who?'

In a town where she was the most eligible debutante she was a nothing, she couldn't even get a job in the restaurants to serve them. Instead she caught the bus across town, having sold her car years ago, and worked as a check out girl in a store that only the poor entered.

She thought things would change back to how they were when Clinton took office, however, as she watched the inauguration in January 2009, holding Alex's hand, praying for a better future, she soon began to realise that Hilary was just the same. She listened to the speech about lowering taxes, raising America's status even higher in the world, redressing the mistakes in Iraq… though she mentioned the American Dream, like every other post Reagan politician, she realised that the dream wasn't for her, wasn't for them. They were never going to get the house, though they could now get married and have children; this wasn't any sort of life to bring them into. The sworld/s America wasn't ready for homosexuals to have children anyway.

Alex and Marissa's life was one of constant struggle. They could afford the rent but only if they forgo everything else. She didn't know how Alex had ever managed to live by herself, but she knew it was all a matter of living within budgets. However, when Alex was living by herself she was the manager of one of the hottest teen clubs in Newport. Now? Alex was working in a third rate bar, The Baitshop having been closed down back in the last part of 2006. It was her fault; Caitlin used the bar to deal drugs having come back from boarding school more rebellious than Marissa had ever managed to be.

When Marissa first moved in, Alex stretched their budget to the limit. Alex knew that she'd given up everything to be with her so Alex gave her everything that she could afford. It used to be like Love's young dream. However, the reality of life turned their love bitter and stale. The sad thing was that Alex didn't notice.

Alex hadn't notice that the glint in Marissa's eyes had slowly faded, her smile no longer worn. And this saddened her more than anything, that she'd slipped away and the girl she'd given up her life for hadn't seen and stopped the process.

As she put on her uniform, preparing for long day of minimum wage and maximum work, she realised that when she was young her dreams weren't of falling in love her dreams were of happiness. Marissa wanted so much for those two things to go hand in hand, but she realised that they didn't. Being in love didn't make you happy, being in love made life hard.

This wasn't the life she wanted anymore. She gave it all up to be with Alex and she realised as she walked out of the door of their small rented apartment, that she wasn't going to return. Her nights of staring up at the ceiling were over she was done searching for herself in that patch of damp. As she walked out of the door she realised she was going to find herself again because she was tired of being lost in love.

Please R&R, thank you for reading