Author's Note: A new beggining... A new Story... Hope you all like it. As always, leave your reviews! Love, Sharon.

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Chapter 1

Numb and Brokenhearted

It was a really lovely day… the sun was just up in the sky, the birds were singing, the air felt so fresh, almost as if it had the ability to bring to life every single thing it touched.

And yet, she was there lying in her bed, feeling completely lifeless.

Yes, Taylor Townsend was feeling down… there was no sight of the perky girl that had once wondered the halls of Harbor High; there was no sight of the girl who seemed to get everything she wanted just by opening her mouth… she just wasn't there.

She sighed into her pillow, which was now really wet from tears. She'd tried to sleep the night before, she'd genuinely tried. She'd tried to convince herself that she was stronger than this, that everything was for the best… that everything had happened for a reason and that things were the way they were because it was just supposed to be this way.

She'd always believed that there was a something out there… She wasn't sure of what it was, but she was sure nonetheless, that something out there controlled the universe. That nothing happened out of coincidence… and that everything worked out for the best in the long run… And last night, she'd tried to remind herself of that, but as much as she'd wanted for that certainty to reassure her, she hadn't managed to psyche herself enough to believe it to be true… she just hadn't been able to... and as the burning feeling of tears welling up on the inside of her eyelids had started taking over… she'd just given into it and let herself cry.

She'd given up.

She'd cried her eyes out throughout the whole night. She'd somehow hoped that her eyes would start feeling tired and that she'd finally cry herself to sleep… but it hadn't happened like that… out of all the mess of feelings she'd had inside of her, tiredness hadn't been one of them. This had made it even harder for her, because every thread of pain was completely awake, and her body, heart and mind was feeling every bit of it.

She'd regretted ever wanting to feel something. As far as she could remember, being numbed didn't suck as much as this. This weakness, this hopelessness, this heartache… was too much, even for a girl like her.

She'd always been so strong, so independent, so on her own. She'd always had a strong and centered mind; she'd always known what she wanted and especially how to get it.

She'd been so sure of herself that somewhere along the line of her teenage years, she'd promised herself she'd never shed a tear for the so called love, and yet, here she was crying because of it… Love, what the hell was that? Those feelings of butterflies gently tickling the inside of your stomach whenever you see someone? The sweaty and shaky hands you get whenever you think of the other person's name? The giggles that come springing out of you whenever the other person looks your way?

No… that couldn't be love. She'd felt all those things with him, and for him only… and look where everything had ended up. True love wasn't supposed to be that hard, true love wasn't supposed to hurt that much… True love wasn't supposed to end. And it had ended… boy, it had ended. But at the same time, she couldn't help but feeling she was crying out of love anyways…

Four months had passed. Four months had passed since he'd vanished from her life completely, leaving no room for a comeback. She'd known that since the minute the front door of her place had been slammed shut, making her jump once the sound, the loud and inevitable sound of the door finally meeting the door's frame, had reached her ears.

He'd left her there, looking at the floor in complete frustration, heartbreak, sorrow and loss… but he'd never known that… he'd never known, and was never going to know that the minute he'd walked out that door, he'd taken her life with him.

That's what he'd given her; he'd given her a life. He'd given her everything she'd ever dreamed of and maybe even more than that. Ryan Atwood was her knight in shining armor, and as much as he'd said she'd saved him, she'd always felt it'd been the other way around. He'd saved her from a life of loneliness, of hiding behind her seemingly perfect demeanor for the rest of her life. He'd shown her that you don't always need to go through life thinking you have everything figured out, that there are few things you can figure along the way. That you can lighten up a little; let your guard down and just let yourself be vulnerable…

Vulnerable… look what that had done to her.

The moment everything had started falling into place… it had just come tumbling down… It'd cost a lot of hard work and effort to get him to open up, and right there, that day, in the blink of an eye, he'd just plain shut her out… But this time, she'd known she was the one to blame… the one who'd made a decision, the one who'd stood her ground… It was pointless, she'd known, and it was so hurtful… But she'd just let it happen… and as much as she wanted to let him know her reasons… that was way too much for her to bare… She'd been hurt and lost at first, but at the end she'd just been tired of the same game being played during that entire month… the game where she'd felt she couldn't reach him… where she'd felt she'd had to chase him, even though he was right there…

She'd given up…

Life was a joke. Five years; five years of pure joy and bliss, of happiness and perfection… thrown down the drain in just one month.

In one month everything had changed… everything had died… everything had died the minute she'd stopped fighting, because she hadn't seen a reason to do so anymore. She'd been desperately waiting for him to give her a reason, to fight along with her… but she'd kept waiting… and none of those things had happened.
So the minute he'd been out that door, she'd known it was goodbye. She'd known it had been her choice… She'd known she could've told him everything right then and maybe he would've realized what it was that was really happening, but… For once, just for once, she'd wanted him to figure it out for himself, and he never had… And she'd chosen not to tell him…

But at the same time, it hadn't felt like a choice at all… she'd felt like she'd been forced not to say anything, because to be honest, she'd wanted his happiness… she'd wanted to give him everything… and he hadn't been getting anything at all from her… so she'd let him go… because she'd chosen, and at the same time, had been forced to give it up.

While she'd been standing there seconds after he'd gone out of there, she'd felt how slowly and torturously her life had been slipping away… No, not as much slipping away as being ripped out of her hands… He'd taken with him her most precious possession and he was never gonna know that… His anger was never gonna let him see that… and for some reason… she'd felt ok with it…

She'd felt ok with everything. She'd never felt anything… everything was all the same to her…

That's when the numb process had happened… She'd never cried, nor sighed, nor thought about it… She'd just made peace with it…

Everyone had started asking questions the minute they'd heard, but she'd just fairly told them it was none of their business. The one thing she'd known was that Ryan was never gonna address the issue to anyone, because she was almost dead to him… So she'd decided that she wasn't gonna talk either… which had everyone in the Cohen-Cooper combo wondering what had happened with the once lovebirds.

She hadn't even told Summer about it, because the minute she'd start talking, she knew she was gonna crack… She was gonna tell her everything; the real and painful truth… And she was gonna start feeling hurt… crushed, devastated… and she hadn't wanted to feel anything.

Besides, not even Ryan had known the real truth… so… if she wasn't gonna tell the person whom she'd loved more than life itself… then nobody deserved to know.

Being numbed had worked for a while… but when she'd realized that it was affecting her professionally, in the law firm, when she'd completely forgotten about an important detail on her boss's case because she was just walking through life as a zombie… She'd started wishing to feel something… anything… Whatever was around her that would make her feel like she still deserved a place in this world, in spite of what she thought herself and what Ryan was probably thinking of her too…

She'd been desperately praying for something that would make her feel like she mattered, because she didn't even matter to herself anymore… not after what had really happened.

And her prayers had been answered, it had taken time, but they had been answered.

About a month ago, one day when she'd gotten to her front door, she'd seen a bunch of mail piled up and she'd known it was that time of the month again… time to pay the bills…
She'd picked up all the envelopes from the floor and as she opened the door she started looking through it… When she'd stopped dead in her tracks.

Mixed with the other bills, there had been this envelope that'd caught her attention because it was small and cream white… a fancy cream white that had told her that this wasn't some bill from a company demanding to get a check… It was a piece of personal mail…

She's sat down on a chair and had picked up the paper, and inside of it, there it had been: an invitation… a wedding invitation… An invitation to Frank Atwood and Julie Cooper's wedding.

At first she'd just sighed. She'd been about to feel all kinds of awkwardness, nervousness, fear… but she'd stopped and told herself she wasn't going to freak out until the actual day…

And now, the day was here.

She just couldn't bare it anymore… the thought of seeing him there… after those four month… those horrible and nasty four month… she actually felt as if her throat was being slit off.

Yes, she'd tried to convince herself the night before that everything had worked out for the best, and the reason she hadn't quite believed it, was because her heart had told her that feeling like this, so miserable and so lifeless… was in no way for the best.

She'd cried and cried… she'd cried so hard…But now, she was there on that bed, not crying at all. Her eyes had actually run out of tears to cry.

Seeing him again on that wedding, with somebody else, was gonna be the hardest thing she would have to do in her life. But she'd had it with this vulnerable thing… that was it.

Even though she'd only cried for one night… and even though there was still enough pain and there were still enough reasons inside her to cry for a years to come… she had to be the tough one…

She couldn't let him see her in the state she was in. She needed to keep everything inside of her, because after all, she'd chosen to do so… and she'd chosen that knowing that once she'd started with this, there was no going back…

She couldn't say that she wasn't going to the wedding, that would make her a coward… and she wasn't a coward. The fact that she was going through this alone told her that.

So she got up from the bed, trying so hard to be numb again, knowing she had to get ready and look gorgeous in a matter of hours and she had her eyes all puffy from crying…

As she started getting ready, she started repeating to herself that she needed to be tough… And she told her that enough times, that she actually began feeling a little numb again…

Although maybe she wasn't numb… maybe she was just in control.

She had no expectations… She knew that if she ever crossed words with Ryan during that wedding… there was gonna be a lot of harsh talking… But she needed to be in control with herself… she needed to manage to pull the tough girl off…

She just hoped she didn't see him enough… because being like this… 'Having it all together' wasn't gonna last that long… It hadn't lasted that long during those four months, because she didn't 'have it all together'... It was the furthest thing from the truth.

She just hoped she could put up with it and leave his life for good… she just hoped she could leave him so he could be happy with his new girlfriend now and forget she ever existed… She actually wanted for him to do that… to forget her completely… That's how in control and cold she was being about it.

She just hoped it would last long enough.