Thank you for the positive responses to my first fic! I think I've fully de-lurked now, although it seems it's harder than I expected to find my own 'voice'...

Disclaimer: They aren't mine. I'm not sure I could control them.

Although it's hard to keep up the pretence, he still does.

He isn't oblivious. He knows there is something between them and he knows it isn't one-sided. There are those moments, those treasured moments that he can always replay with clarity, that remind him he isn't in this alone.

He doesn't think she can honestly claim ignorance. Her social naivety, so carefully cultured, has never extended to unawareness, even when it hampers her instinctive reactions.

He doesn't deny that it's harder now than it was two years ago. The pretence then was covering his reluctance to acknowledge his fall. Now, when he can't force it from his consciousness, he likes to think the pretence is for her. He tells himself she isn't ready. He forgets that he painted the line.

Sometimes the words form behind his lips and he's on the verge of allowing them into the space between them. Mostly, he's grateful when she continues talking and the urge to divulge dies quickly. There's only been a few occasions when he's regretted not using his painstakingly constructed confessions; occasions when he's sat in his car later, playing the created tape in his head, imagining his own eloquence.

But for the moment, as he watches her growing annoyance with the curl that refuses to stay behind her ear, he is content to remain silent. Now isn't the time to quell that bubble of anticipation that is half the joy of falling for someone. Now isn't the time to release the butterflies into a world of concerns, when they could be restrained, fluttering gently in a surreal world of tender smiles and occasional flirts.

Somehow, he doesn't doubt that there will be a time. He's a patient man. He can wait.

I'm bad at reviewing, so feel free to simply read. Still, please believe all reviews are valued!