Michelle-Note: OMG I'm still alive. This is an old, old, old (ancient) story (my first ever piece of fanfiction). I wrote it circa 2002, and deleted it, never to upload it again because I hated it in afterthought. The characters were hella OOC and it was basically horrible by my standards. Per request from one of my readers who somehow remembered the story from ages ago, I am reposting it here and now. But(!) I wrote it so terribly long ago that when I now opened it on my much newer computer there was formatting chaos that I will not bother to describe, but I promise you it was like the Apocalypse of format doom. As a result of this chaos, as well as my utter hatred of the story itself, I am rewriting it. Same plot and all that jazz, just better writing and less suck - for those of you that still exist that read the original. Maybe one day soon I will write something new that is actually new, but no promises because I'm pretty unreliable.

This is a Ren/Tawny, Ren's POV, in the future, after her first year of college...if you can't imply that from reading...

Happy Ending

A while back I realized that not everything in life is happy and nothing in life is perfect. It took me a bit longer to realize that I couldn't make everything happy or perfect either, even after putting in the most possible effort. My grades were perfect, I had the perfect amount of extracurricular activities, I ended up being senior class president and valedictorian – this got me into a great college, where I was, of course, a perfect pre-law student. But none of this really matters, not in the end. I need something to be perfect that matters.

I'm the loser. I don't know what to do with myself. I was sad when I broke up with Bobby and when Jason and I finally met our end, but not like this. I dated some other jocks because it was expected of me, and I had to maintain my apparently perfection at all costs. There would be no flaws on Ren Stevens' high school career, not even romantically. I dated a few people when I got to college, only to shy away from the whole dating scene and drop the excuse about being too busy with school.

On the inside, all through high school I tore myself apart. I expected more from myself than anyone else, and put more pressure on myself than was necessary. It all became a meaningless routine, and she's all that kept me alive each time I almost had a nervous breakdown or anxiety attack. Cliché as it sounds – she gave me something to live for, something outside of my deceptive façade of perfection. She was the one thing I couldn't have no matter how hard I worked, and this baffled me.

Stupid love. Stupid her. Stupid me.

My waiting came to an end, a bitter, hateful end a few months ago. I didn't get what I wanted, or what I needed. I got nothing.

I should have given up and quit a long time ago, but I didn't. I couldn't tell you why I didn't let go, I just didn't. Was I really that blind? I thought I finally had a nice solid grasp of the reality of everything, but I didn't. It still threw me for a loop. A hell of a loop that left me on my ass, and I hadn't gotten up yet.

The disillusioned world in my head came crashing down one evening in early June in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, of all places. It had been a warm, humid Sacramento day, but not unpleasant. I came home for my brother's graduation; he had managed to not flunk out of high school. Everything was peachy, as peachy as it could be.

Now, here I was alone in my apartment on the eve of making the lengthy drive back to Sacramento for my little brother's wedding this time. My roommates were gone, and I was sort of glad because I was being exceptionally angst-ridden and dwelling on things I had no control over. So here I am, alone with Mr. Pookie, my long-faithful stuffed monkey. I feel like I'll always be alone. Forever pretending to be fixated on my schoolwork and then my career, when really I'm just fixated on someone.