Fashioned in Gold

Part Three: The Loveless


Words. That's all I'm good at: words, words, words.

I dip my pen into the ink, but even though it is ready to let flow, my imagination remains dry of inspiration. It is a desert housing numerous ideas that are crowded to the point of bursting, but somehow the exit has been blocked off by some unknown force.

Writer's block, they call it.

I call it a pain in the neck.

The problem doesn't lie in my planning; I know exactly what I want to say. Unfortunately, I don't quite know how to say it. All of my words are coming out devoid of emotion: fake and meaningless. I'm so close to finishing this novel I can taste it, and yet the ending escapes me. That simple, happy ending refuses to be written.

For years, I had prepared the plot, weaving each twist and turn with the care a mother gives her newborn child. But now, I'm hesitating, and I wonder why I can't write those words: "And they lived happily ever after."

Perhaps the better question is, why can't I live them?

Nothing gets written anymore, except for scraps of poetry so awful that they'll never see the light of day. My mind can't think properly; all my thoughts are scattered and contradicting. I can't write.

And so, even my words die on the page.

The rational mind would say it's due to stress, and I would have to agree—to some extent. Yes, life certainly throws trials your way, and I've had to face my share. But perhaps the problem lies not in what happens to us, but how we react to it.

Forever and always, my heart belongs to you.

Somehow, those words have escaped onto my paper, and I stare at the ink before crumbling the paper into a wad and tossing it into the corner; ironically, it is a practice I once found to be both despicable and wasteful. But now, it is a ritual of frustration and abandonment that I practice daily.

Words are powerful things. Spoken, they can convey emotion with even the slightest implications of tone and sound. Written, they remain forever breathing on a page, where they remain immortal to be read throughout the ages. I thought he knew that. I thought he, more than anyone, knew the power of words.

But he didn't. Instead, he hid behind a curtain of lies—a curtain that I almost believed he wanted me to look behind. And I did.

Forever and always, my heart belongs to you.

I know that I'm human, and that I have my faults; perhaps first and foremost of them was believing that lie. I wanted to believe it. I wanted to think that as I held that lovely golden object in my hands, I truly was holding the heart of the man I loved.

I loved him…perhaps he realized that before I did. I denied it; I told myself that I was no love-struck Popuri, no seductive Karen to engage in a silly game of love. And while I wasn't any of that, I was human. That alone was enough to make me fall for him.

I'm still falling. Falling, falling into an abyss of emotion that I cannot escape from. It is cold, and dark, and lit by only the soft glow of my love—a candle that has burned over time while alone and ignored.

Once you realize you're in love, there's no turning back. True, you can stifle it, and you can try and keep it hidden. But only some of us are successful. Only a select few can quiet their heart's deepest desires.

I wish I could say I was one of them.

Whether he chooses to acknowledge it or not, I knew. I knew why he laughed when she was present. I knew why he escorted her to festivals and chose to forget me. I knew why he refused to return to my library. I knew why I was no longer his haven.

I knew the whole time, because I knew what love was. I could recognize it in his expression, in the distant look reflected in his eyes. I could give it a name, and I could understand its complexities and its joys and its sorrows.

I could also see that it was not directed at me.

That day he had taken her to the Starry Night Festival, the festival meant for lovers alone, I forced myself to swallow the full force of the truth. That promise he had made me all that time ago: it had been empty.

Forever and always, my heart belongs to you.

How long is forever, then? Is forever a number, limited by the change of the seasons and the flow of time? He forgets: words are immortal. Words do not change over time like people do. They are constant, they are strong, and they are powerful. Powerful, powerful tools.

Do not misuse them lightly.

He was afraid. I know that now. When he left me, he didn't do so out of spite; he did it to ease his mind. He wanted to explain—I just know he did—but he couldn't find the words. I doubt he knew what to say.

So I said it for him.

It was a simple action, a silent choice. It was left upon Claire's doorstep in the dead of night, a gift that she had been given without right. His heart was mine, as he had promised. He had no right to take it from me and give it to another.

I had to let go of it, instead.

A lovely heart of gold, a lovely object of affection and love, a gift that had been wrongly given. A message fashioned in gold for someone other than its owner. An emotion placed in tangible form, and left in the hands of one who could never fully grasp it.

All of this was left upon her doorstep, and I highly doubt she recognizes the weight of it all. I doubt she realizes how lucky she is, how blessed her home is.

Gray once said that I never cry. I want that to be true. I want to be able to lock away all the pain and hurt inside, and I want to know what it's like to be free from the chains of love. I want to be an impassive pillar of stone, of unwavering confidence, of emotionless flesh and bone.

But I hide.

I am just as cowardly as he is, hiding away my tears where no one can see. I pretend to be brave, hiding behind my books and my words. But even they have deserted me now. No story can make me soar from this cage of envy; no words can escape my lips onto the page.

The "happily ever after" is elusive.

And if one of us has to be happy, if only one of us can say those three words, then I'm glad that it's him. If one of us has to live the rest of our days in loneliness, then I suppose I'm thankful that it's me. More than anything, I want to see him smile. I want to hear him laugh. I want to never see him cry.

Even if it means I have to cry at night instead.

I have a new visitor in my library: a young girl, six years old, with long golden hair and familiar blue eyes. She slinks in slowly, pausing in the doorway to give me a shy wave before making her way towards the bookshelves. From time to time she'll tug at my sleeve and point towards a fairy tale, and I will oblige and read to her. I hand her books rich with pictures to delight her eyes and I share hot cocoa with her on cold winter days.

The other day, I found her sitting in my chair, working at a blank piece of paper I had left in my carelessness. Her blue eyes were fixed upon it, intently watching the pen make words across the paper's surface. I asked her what she was doing, and she merely replied:


I asked, could I see what she was writing?

"It's not done yet."

I sat down and watched her for a time, this girl working on her own private masterpiece. And as the minutes passed, she turned to me and said, "Do you want to write, too?"

I told her I couldn't.

"Why not?"

The words wouldn't come to me.

"That's silly! You have to come up with the words; they don't just walk up to you."

My hand shook somewhat as I took a pen and a sheet of paper, wondering whether or not I could truly make something beautiful on that page.

I don't remember what I wrote. But I wrote, and wrote, and wrote until my hand cramped so horribly that it wouldn't bend out of position.

It's in my drawer, somewhere. I really should go and fish it out.

I wonder if any of it was any good. I wonder if maybe after all this time, I can write again. I just don't know.

Now, I'm thinking too much, and the words won't come. But then again, I'm not supposed to wait for them, am I? I'm supposed to conjure them on my own, without help. I'm supposed to open my mind, not close it shut. And that's what I've been doing all these years. Closing it to anything but my pain and sorrow.

The door is opening, and Gray's little girl is here again. She cocks her head at me and asks, "Are you writing again?"

I smile.

And I find that I can answer, "Yes, I am."

--Part Three: The Loveless


Oh my God, that took FOREVER to write. (Two and a half weeks!) Mary's entry was my favorite to write, I must say. Gray's was the hardest. Hope it turned out okay. (Didn't have time to edit before posting. o.O) If you guys like this, I might do a series for all the Claire pairings. What do you think? Is it worth it?

And Jean Cooper: I tried my HARDEST to reconcile between Graire and Grary, so...well, at least chapter one was full of fluff, right?