So because this is the end...I think I can get away with this epic ass AN.

Thanks is needed to so many....siDEADde, Avalonia & tnuccio (not to mention mini nooch-Heaven's Immortal you are an amazing girl)-besides being my book club and cheerleaders, you guys are talent I am honored to be associated with. Wtvoc & two OWN me, especially since the emo invaded Target. Emibella & new friends and whiskey and cigs and the down pillow stocked batcave-you are welcome at all hours in all states of inebriation. are brilliant friend. are beyond lovely. Devadasi...get in the box. Blondie...sweetest lady ever. Starshinedown...i need mammy-in-law. Angel & mess of awesome. Le jen...i still haven't got the card but my faith reigns supreme in snail mail. Badger-welcome back. And finally...vjgm...what can I say....nobody can validate me like you not abandon me in the future! So now that I have exposed my gchat box for God and Country to see.....and even tho you ain't in mah box yet...Capricorn75, PurdueLiz...THANK YOU.

To the readers and reviewers (the ones who have been with me since the hot fluffy mess of Congratulations to the angst wallowed Disaffected AND the ones who have just found me and decided they liked how I roll ;)....I can't tell you how much your loyalty and continued support means to this Resident Non-Lame Emo. I try my best to not waste your time. I try my best to be real and spread a bit of my truth. I try my best not to be trite and wasteful. I try....and to me, that's what counts. So for those of you who tolerated me while I posted this snippet of my memories, THANK YOU. I do not deserve the lovely things you say and I still can't believe I evoke such thoughtful responses, much less tears or resonance. I initially attempted to list you all individually, but there were so many that I'm scared I'd miss someone then you'd harbor ill will...and being that I may invite that after you read the following, I didn't want to push my luck. Just know this...I was planning to leave fandom after this and Dis was done. I wanted to go out right and move on. But I can't and therefore, while I may cut back and not have 879865464764 stories to keep up with, I will still be here. It's you I have to thank for that. I bow down before my encore. Now y'all know where to find me if ya want more of my dribble...

So much of this...conversations and little moments are true. So much of this is embellished. So much of this is from someone else. Thank You for the time I was given. Thank YOU out there for this experience and these conversations and these things that have made me ME. Thanks for finally seeing me and while you didn't want to let go, I left and you've let me stay away. Thank You for being a part of my purge. I have tears as I post this and hate that it's over, in real life as well as fandom.

And finally and most the Man Next To Me Now, all of us should be so lucky to have a Rhett Butler accent to wake up to every morning, to have someone to make me whiskey laced tea when I'm dying of consumption contracted at Target, to have someone who actually reads and encourages my work, to someone who listens to me talk about interwebs friends, to have someone who lets me get a cleaning lady so I can dedicate my four days off a week to fic, to have someone who puts up the BEST Christmas lights on the block, to have someone who lets 250 pounds of dog sleep on/between/under us every night and to someone who stays and keeps no secrets. I am just that lucky.

Chapter 10 ~ The Man Next To Me Now

I stood by him always, because there was no one else I wanted by my side.

He was everything little girls dreamed of. A knight in shining armor. A beacon in the dark. I always loved the way his auburn hair stayed mussed and when we sat at the base of the tree in his front yard, I never knew where the strands on his head ended and the bark began. I kept a piece of that bark on my dresser for years, to remind me of it's color when he wasn't around.

He rarely laughed and I had never seen a child so full of consternation and disapproval. I should have known then he was just a little man who looked like a boy constantly coming to my rescue. And while he spent his time worrying about me and everything else, I was always ahead.

I used to watch him attempt to play, always so quiet and awkward. He hated the swings and hated the slides. He hated the other kids who tried to talk to me and hated the rain. What he did love, was how I was fickle in my interests and how I constantly had something new to amuse him with.

I saw him grow taller and become lankier. His face never was marred by the tragedies of adolescence. His face was only marred by brooding emotions I could never grasp. His teeth remained perfect and his hair stayed uncontrollable, but unlike me, it suited him perfectly. His eyes held the mystery of the ocean and it was my favorite place to go with him. He never said no and when he swam, I could see his freedom from me. I should have known that it was only a matter of time until these small pleasures would be benign for us.

I remembered our eighth grade dance and how I was asked by a boy who saw that I wore a training bra through my shirt and was flattered by his attention. I said no, because back then I still thought he might come to my rescue and fight away the boys I never wanted. But he didn't and I was heartbroken.

So I continued to grow and stood by him when he would let me. He never spoke of our public persons and I never questioned the difference between us behind closed doors. But I always felt the oddity of it, how together we were one way and apart we were another. It never deterred me from becoming a girl who thought she was a woman.

I became immersed in myself and the unknown. I became blinded by the attentions of those who never really wanted me. I took advantage of the only one who was ever really there. I took advantage by calling him when the pain of growing up became too much and when the experiences of aging were too scary to face alone. I called him when I wanted that first kiss because I had always imagined it would be with him. I called him when I wanted that first drink because I trusted only him to be with me. And each time he let me go after one of our firsts, I hated him more.

I watched him let me go time and time again. I watched him let me pretend we were separate wholes together. I watched him hurt because of his unwillingness to let me go. And in all that time, being just a girl, I never knew what to do but keep him close and hope that one day, when we were older, he would see me.

So I held on and I moved on. I had friends and prom and dates. I had driving lessons and smokeout sessions and sex. And when these things didn't go well and I hurt from my disillusionment, I would climb his tree and go into the window he always left open for me. I would get into bed with him and let him absorb my pain. I would watch him take all of it and share none of his own. And I would resent him for not letting me in, but I could never turn away from this one constant I had in a teenage life overwrought with change.

I resented him for his selfishness at holding me arms length. I let that resentment turn into abuse of his giving. I knew it as I did it, but as I begged of him with my eyes, he stayed silent and we kept on as we were. The only thing that changed was how he looked at me. With loathing and love. I knew it back then and yet, I couldn't let him go.

I watched him date and make new friends, but not really. He went through the motions of experimentation, but never experienced it. But when it truly became concerning was when my attention was diverted to the dog. He sucked me in and took me from the boy who had always been my savior. I let him pervert the image of that boy and that time is when I broke the bond I had since childhood.

Why I went to him after Dad died, I'll never know. But that night, after I had lost the one person I never questioned, he was honest with me. It was a rare thing and I knew how to appreciate his words when he chose to give them. I listened and walked away. I changed then, but I wasn't able to see it. I put my life in Forks behind me and prepared to move on without the dog or the boy. The dog did not agree with me and I was not inclined to care. I let the dog hurt me and knew that it would never happen again. I left and walked and then as if it was always meant to be, the boy found me.

Although, he was no longer a boy. He was a man and I knew by getting into his car, I would make his journey hard, but I was selfish enough to do it anyways.

We drove that night and something happened on that ride. He was sick of me and I of him. He resented my choices and I hated his silence. He distrusted my motives and I detested his judgments. But he took care of me and I of him. We made love together and while my heart screamed one thing, his screamed another. It didn't matter. Our love had different qualities and our pasts had brought us to different presents. And just because we fought after and I physically hurt the one I claimed to love, we were still silent, neither of us speaking the truths we each deserved.

We finished our journey in silence, me off to one place and he to another. We made a decision that day and time went on.

I stopped watching the boy and he stopped watching me. I lived my life with less selfishness, no less boldly, but with more care. I went to school and took nothing that mattered, but I thought that one day I would know what I was meant to do and then I'd worry about it. Some days I painted and some days I waitressed. Some days I walked the beach and some days I had lunch with friends who liked me as opposed to who I perceived I should be.

The man next to me in bed now was not judgmental and he spoke to me rather than stared. I no longer felt condemned by scrutiny or not good enough for another. We stayed up into the late hours of the night making love that didn't have the taint of mistaken ties, because if that ever did happen, it would be okay. We stayed at coffee shops until they closed talking about the things I had kept silent for years and the things I had learned new that day. We walked in silence and peace and led one another to places where we could pretend to be the only two on earth. On occasion, we fought and old insecurities made their way to the surface, but the past had shown me what selfishness and silence brought, so I refused to let them reign supreme.

For once, I felt like me and that in itself was worth the last eighteen years with a boy who only thought he got it.

For once I felt like my truth was finally someone else's.

I felt loved and special and wanted. I made sure the man next to me knew that everyday and in doing that, I could return his sentiments. And as I thought of where this life had taken me, I turned over to start my day off right. I put my arms around the man next to me and nuzzled his neck. I rubbed his arm with my hand. I gave him the room to turn around to face me. I let his eyes take me back to my pink bikini and I kissed him, morning breath and all.



"It seems to me that you've woken up early this morning."

"No, love, you're just late as usual."

So I fell into what we had been, what we were and the possibility of what we could become. We left our shit on a car ride, but that was okay because we didn't need it anymore.


So take one word you said

You put it in your bed

You rest your tiny head on your pillow

You wonder where you're going next

You got your head pushed to your chest

And now you're hoping that someone let's you in

Well I swear I'll let you in

You know I'll let you in

Oh Kelsey, you

So don't let anyone scare you

You know that I'll protect you


Now through the thick and thin

Until the end

You better watch it

You know you don't cross it because

I'm always here for you

And I'll be here for you

I know (x3)

I know how it feels

Believe me, I've been there

I know (x3)

I know what it feels like

Tell me, Kelsey

And I swim the ocean for you

The ocean for you

Whoa-oh Kelsey

And I swim the ocean for you

The ocean for you

Whoa-oh Kelsey

For you darling

Now it's gonna get harder

And it's gonna burn brighter

And it's gonna feel tougher each and every day

So let me say, that I love you

You're all I've ever wanted to come

All I've ever dreamed of

And yes you did come

I want you so bad (so bad)

Can you feel it too (it too)

You know I'm so, I'm so in love with you

I want you so much

I need you so much

I need your, need your touch

And I swim the ocean for you

The ocean for you

Whoa-oh Kelsey


And you never ever let me in

(let me in)