Cyrus & Ginny

She can feel him – he's watching her, always watching. Suspicious, untrusting, afraid that he has lost her forever. He hasn't lost her, she's told him so, as clearly as possible, but he cannot believe it. He continues to watch. Her back is to him. She is washing the dishes the Muggle way, because while she scrubs and rinses, her mind wanders, and she is free to drown in her thoughts. Her thoughts, though painful and unhappy, are an escape.

*

In retrospect, it feels like everyone had known beforehand that her marriage was not going to be an easy one. Everyone except her. Ginny blames herself. It is easy to see that she was the cause of the problem. If she could only have gotten over him. If only she could have made the gossipers stop using the S-word. If only she had remembered that day, that Cyrus was going to return from work early. If only she had never let him visit because if talking about him was taboo then so was letting him in the house and offering him tea and talking to him. Even though they hadn't done much talking. It had mostly been fighting. But of course, Cyrus didn't realize that they had been having a row. He just thought Ginny had let him in the house to have some "intimate" time with him. If only she had seen… realized… understood… In retrospect, of course, everything is a bunch of "If Only's"

*

It rained on their wedding day. Of course. It would rain. Everyone was so busy hiding their real feelings and making sure she knew how happy they all were for her that the world got sick and tired of it and decided to display their real feelings for everyone to see. Except no one did see… no one really understood what the rain meant. They were too busy with the wedding and thinking up happy, encouraging things to say to Cyrus and Ginny. And Ginny was too busy pushing away thoughts of him, and making sure she told Cyrus she loved him every few minutes, and smiling whenever the photographers were close-at-hand and offering all the guests food and drink. And Cyrus was too busy making sure he asked Ginny if she loved him and smiling and talking with her family and probably praying that no one would use the S-word.

She can remember talking to her mother, and Ron and Fred and George. But the conversations that most stand out in her mind are the ones she had with Dean and Hermione.

She had invited Dean herself, along with other friends she had had in school: Neville and Luna among them. She made sure to mention to Cyrus that Dean had been a friend at school, but she never said that she had gone out with him for ages. She and Dean hadn't spoken to each other much after they had broken up, but at the end of her sixth year and just before Dean left school, they had agreed that they had enjoyed far too many good times together to never speak to each other again and that they would stay in touch. And they did. Looking back, she wonders if that was a good idea… if they hadn't kept in touch she never would have invited him to the wedding.

She didn't know why what he said to her on her wedding day stood out so clearly in her memory… they hadn't had a real conversation; Cyrus had pulled her away to greet some of his friends before they could really get started.

All he had said to her was, with an almost melancholy smile, and a kind look in his eyes, 'Are you sure about this?' And then Cyrus had called to her and she had turned and seen him, standing within earshot, glaring openly at Dean. She had excused herself politely, with a quick smile, and walked over to Cyrus, to tell him she was talking to Dean and that could he please wait a few moments, but in the few steps it took for her to reach him, his glare had vanished and he had smiled so sweetly at her that she hadn't been able to refuse his request. But he had heard what Dean had said to her… he had heard. She realizes it now… she should have realized it then and made amends, told him Dean was just joking around.

Hermione had been smarter than Dean and had waited for Cyrus to become caught up in what he was doing (exchanging jokes with Fred and George if she is not mistaken… she recalls hearing snatches of their conversation, Cyrus saying things like, 'My mother said, never marry a witch' and 'She must be turning in her grave right now!' He had never once mentioned the S-word, but he must have been very happy that day, to be straying so close to the subject. Fred and George of course, knew what he was talking about and now it seems she can remember their smiles being strained and their laughs being not completely sincere…), before pulling her away into a secluded corner of the Burrow's yard where the reception was begin held.

Her first words had been, 'Are you happy, Ginny?'

Ginny had stared at her for a while, before answering, 'Yes, of course!'

Hermione had given her a strange look and continued, gently, 'If it had been me… and Ron…'

And that remark had made her angry – furious – she can't remember ever being angrier with Hermione than she was that day. 'It's not, though, is it!?' she had screeched, and moved away from Hermione as quickly as she possibly could. She had gone and stood behind a group of men and women, all of whom were discussing the fact that Cyrus was a… S-word… and she had stood there listening to them and hating them for talking about it, because what difference did it make if he was one, until they had realized that she was standing nearby and fell silent. And that is it, that's all she really remembers from her wedding day. Of course, she has memories of the "special moments" of that day: walking down that altar… kissing Cyrus… glowing inside with the knowledge that he was her husband and she, his wife… but those memories are affected by the fact that she can now easily think and feel and recognize what she had done so well to ignore then. Inside, deep inside, Dean's and Hermione's words had shaken her: how could they see through her so easily? How could they see the worries that were nibbling at her insides when she could hardly see them herself? How did they know? And if they knew… did Cyrus know too?

Cyrus was always possessive; a very jealous man. Even after a year of dating he would question Ginny about any look a passerby gave her, any leers directed at her. For some reason, it never bothered her as much as it probably should have. Then, she just thought that he was worried about losing her, that it was a sign of his love… that it was… but it was also a sign of danger. She had never expected that Cyrus's lack of self-esteem, his jealously, his tendency to be overly suspicious about everything, his paranoia, could merge together to form such a powerful ball of hatred and anger. But it was and is her fault of course… she should have realized… but maybe Ron had been right that day that Cyrus had proposed to her: maybe she had been desperate. Or maybe she had just loved him so much… enough to be blind to all his faults, as pronounced as they were…

They had been dating for ages, more than two years, when he finally asked her to marry him. And she had been hoping for it for ages as well, ending each night with a prayer that he would soon give her a ring. She hinted at a proposal, once, at his home when he had asked her how she would like her rice: fried or boiled. She had told him she would very much like her rice thrown, but the suggestion had gone right over his head and he only told her he had never heard of thrown rice before, and since he was making dinner for her, she would have to settle for either boiled or fried. And she had laughed, because she hadn't been willing to ruin the night just because it had been proposal-less.

But it seemed her hinting hadn't been completely in vain: two weeks after the boiled rice dinner he had finally gotten down on his knees and proposed to her and she, jumping up and down and grinning madly, had said yes, of course she would marry him. That night, she had visited the Burrow, where Ron and Hermione were staying with her mum and dad and told them, almost bursting with joy, that Cyrus had asked her to marry him. Her mum and dad (especially her mum) had been overjoyed, grinning and laughing and pulling out a few bottles of champagne to celebrate and Ginny had been to busy wondering where her mum and dad had gotten the champagne (and why they hadn't pulled it out earlier) to pay too much attention to the fact that Ron and Hermione did not seemed to be very pleased with the news.

She decided to spend that night with her family, and later, just as she was getting into her old bed, and smiling and remembering the "good old times" she had had at home, Ron walked into her room. She had looked at him and smiled and invited him to sit on the bed. He sat down but he didn't smile… Ginny hadn't found that odd though. She had gotten used to it by then. Ever since Ron and Hermione had returned from that trip they hadn't smiled as much or laughed as much, but the change had been more noticeable in Ron than in Hermione. He had become more serious, more perceptive, and more careful with his words. His blue eyes had gained a haunted look, and Hermione's had too, and both of them had reminded Ginny of him. He had worn the same look after his fourth year.

Ron had looked at her silently for a moment, before saying, 'You look happy.'

'I am happy,' she had replied, and meant it with all her heart and soul. She had been in love with Cyrus…

'Are you sure this is the right decision, Gin?' he had asked, a concerned look on his face.

She had rolled her eyes, and lightly punched his shoulder, 'I can take care of myself Ron, and you know that.'

'I do,' he had replied, and his blue eyes had drifted to the opposite wall. 'But… it's only been three years—'

She had cut him off, she remembers, and said, 'Two and a half years (it hasn't quite been three) of dating is long enough. We're ready to get married, Ron, Cyrus wouldn't have proposed if he wasn't ready, you don't know how long it's taken him already—'

'I didn't mean dating… it's only been three years since we came back… maybe he's still alive.'

She hadn't even bothered to ask who he was talking to; it was obvious from the way he wouldn't look at her. She had shaken her head at him, she recalls, and gazed at him with an incredulous expression on her face. 'Three years, and he hasn't come back. He's not alive!' she had replied, but her voice had sounded shrill and unlike her own.

'We don't know that he's died…. You're forgetting who he is… he is probably still alive!'

'So why hasn't he sent word?! Why hasn't he contacted us?!'

'With all the bloody remnants of the Death Eaters still looking for him, ready to murder him? How can he, Gin?!'

'He'd think of a way. He'd find a way!' she had screamed. 'He's dead. He's dead, he's dead, he's dead, so stop talking about him!'

And Ron had just stared at her, long and hard, before finally getting up. His hand had been on the doorknob, his back to her, when he had spoken again. 'You just want to forget him… you're desperate to forget him! Just remember this: pushing him out of your mind, out of your life, won't make him stop existing… Marrying Cyrus won't making him stop existing! He is still alive.'

And his voice had held such conviction as he said the last few words, that for a moment, Ginny had believed him. As soon as he had left, however, she had lain down, pulled her covers over her, and thought obstinately to herself: I'm not trying to forget him.

But that night she had hardly been able to sleep. She had tossed and turned and her mind had been filled with him. She had remembered things: the first time she had seen him, really seen him, (not like that brief glimpse of him at Kings Cross Station when he had asked how to get onto the platform) at the Burrow during the summer before her first year; how shy she had been, never speaking near him, only blushing; how he had saved her life, in the Chamber of Secrets; how Hermione had advised her to get on with her won life because boys were thicker than they looked and had to notice a girl themselves, that they couldn't be forced to notice; how he had kissed her after that Quidditch match in her fifth year; how he had told her she and he couldn't be together; how that summer, before her sixth year, he had made her promise that she wouldn't follow him wherever he and Ron and Hermione were going…

She had promised, but only after making him swear that he would return. He had sworn and grinned at her and asked, what, did she think he was going to die that easily? And she had snorted a laugh at that and said, no, but even if he did die, he'd have to come back to her, because he'd sworn. He had smiled, and kissed her one last time, before slipping his hand out of hers and ensuring her that he would return to her, even after million days…

She had rolled onto her side, as those thoughts ran their way through her head and did her best to force her mind away from him. Outside her window, a star had caught her eye, a bluish star that had winked at her from the inky-black sky. She had stared at that star for ages, and in her heart, made a wish, a wish that resonated from within the deepest chambers of her mind and heart… she had wished, on that little blue winker, almost pleaded, that her marriage to Cyrus would be a happy one and that the deep love she had for him, and he for her, would always remain…

…because he wasn't coming back. He was dead.

And she had rolled over again and fallen asleep at last.

He did come back, she remembers, but by then it had been too late for him.

*

He coughs, clears his throat. She grits her teeth, knowing he will try to start a conversation – but they no longer have anything to say to each other.

'How was your day?' he asks, his tone kind, interested, and she wants to cry because he sounds so hopeful… he wants to "make it better"… she does too… but there's no way that things can ever go back to the way they used to be.

'Good,' she answers, scrubbing at a particularly stubborn stain on a china tea cup, and even though her back is to him, she can see him nodding, see his brain working as he tries to come up with something else to say… but he can't and so they fall into the oh-so-familiar silence once again.

*

It was silent in their house on that day too, when her Great-Aunt Elizabeth had visited them, she remembers, but that silence had been comfortable, amiable, loving, unlike this awkward silence. She and Cyrus had been married for a year already, and had been sitting in the living room that day, reading quietly. She can't remember what she was reading… only that it had been interesting and she had been so deep within the pages of the book that she hadn't even heard the doorbell ring at first. Cyrus had gotten up after a second, to answer it, and only then had she realized that they had company. She had rushed to the kitchen, as Cyrus greeted the visitors at the door and pulled out her wand, hastily making four cups of tea (she had heard two voices besides Cyrus's at the door) and piling a plate with biscuits. She had taken the tea- and treat-laden tray to the parlor where Cyrus had settled the guests down. She had set down the refreshments and smiled at Great-Aunt Elizabeth and her latest husband (she always seemed to run through her husbands) and asked them what brought them to their house. She hadn't seen Great-Aunt Elizabeth in ages; she had always lived far away from "the family" and had rarely come calling at the Burrow. Elizabeth and just smiled gently and asked how could she not have come, after hearing about her grandniece's marriage.

Ginny had smiled at that and sat down, motioning for Cyrus to sit with her, but he had excused himself politely, saying he needed to use the bathroom. She remembers now the look that Elizabeth had given Cyrus as he left the room, though she hadn't paid attention to it then. They had made small talk for a while, before finally with Cyrus still out of the room Elizabeth had asked the question that had obviously been eager to voice:

'My dear, whatever happened to that Potter boy? When I heard of your marriage, I was sure that he was the lucky man!'

And Ginny can remember, she had stiffened at the question, grasped her tea cup tightly. 'I don't know what happened to him,' she had replied and left it at that.

Elizabeth hadn't seemed to mind the less-than-polite reply and had asked, leaning forwards conspiratorially, 'Is it true he's a Squib?'

She had cringed then and peered over her shoulder to make sure Cyrus wasn't nearby, before saying, quickly, 'Yes,' politely enough, but she had despised Elizabeth for being no better than those gossipers that seemed to follow her and Cyrus around – they had even been at their wedding, whispering to each other about how he was a Squib and she a witch, as if being a Squib was against the law. Always wondering why "Pretty Ginny" would go as low as to marry a Squib… none of them had understood… she loved him. She loved him so why shouldn't she have married him?

'Ah,' Great-Aunt Elizabeth had said, nodding, and sipping her tea and exchanging a glance with her husband. 'Ah. Of course. Mistake marrying him, wasn't it? Now you must know, it's been a year after all… the head of the family, a Squib! Causes all sorts of problems… the man of the house should always be equal to his wife, or better… you having the magic, and he having none at all? Dependent on you for magic, isn't he? No… causes all sorts of problems. Disrupts the status…' And then she had looked up kindly and added, 'Of course, no one blames you my dear, you were young and in love—'

And she had interrupted dear old Auntie Elizabeth and said, 'I am still in love with him!'

She had tutted at that, 'But his being a Squib… disrupts that status…'

Ginny had grabbed her teacup and slurped her tea loudly to cut off Elizabeth and then said, after a moment in which Elizabeth had looked scandalized, 'Yes… that's what his mother seemed to think as well, exactly that – but she was wrong, and you are as well Great-Auntie… it doesn't disrupt that status at all. That is a baseless, stupid lie, borne of ignorance.'

And finally, it had seemed to get through Elizabeth's thick head. She frowned and said, 'You can't possibly be happy my dear!'

She had snorted and said, 'No – I am not—' but almost out of thin air, Cyrus had appeared at her shoulder and she and Elizabeth had cut the conversation off right there – but there was a look on Cyrus's face, a look that made her, his wife, feel that he had heard some of what they had been discussing… and she had wondered if maybe Cyrus had misunderstood… the reply she had cut off had sounded suspicious. She had been about to say, "No – I am not happy, I'm elated, thrilled, overjoyed. I love Cyrus," but she had only gotten out the "No – I am not—"… It could have been misinterpreted easily, especially by Cyrus who was naturally paranoid.

The rest of the conversation is mostly a blue… she remembers Elizabeth had brought him up twice more, in front of Cyrus, and every time her Great-Aunt had said that name, he had squeezed her hand tightly, and bit his lips, and his brow had creased very slightly – she had seen that he was angry, but only because her eyes had been trained to detect his emotions by then. Elizabeth and her husband had left soon after that, but her memory of that day doesn't end there…

Later, after dinner, they had received the Evening Prophet and on the front cover there had been a long story about him, with his picture, and she hadn't been able to stop staring at it when she had seen it… Cyrus had noticed her look, noticed how she watched the picture wave, and had blown up.

It was the first time she had seen him get really angry, he had always been very placid before that. He had screamed and yelled and thrown dishes and picture frames and he had ripped the paper to shreds and shouted for her and all to hear, he never wanted to hear his name, or see his picture in their house ever again. And she had jumped up and caught his arm and stopped him before he threw all their household possessions out of the window and assured him that his name would never be uttered again, that she loved him and would always love him, that people just had to keep digging up old news and gossiping and it was stupid… and he had calmed down…

*

'There was a riot today, in front of the Ministry of Magic,' he says and his voice sounds too loud, almost.

She almost drops the glass she is washing, having not expected the interruption. 'Oh,' she replies.

'Lots of people were injured… there were two deaths as well…' he adds.

'Oh.'

*

There had been a lot of deaths during the war as well – a lot more than two…

Ron and Hermione had returned a year-and-a-half after their departure, a few weeks after the end of the war – without him. She had been appalled, angry that they could have left him behind, but they had assured her that if they had had any choice, they wouldn't have… she had believed them, because the looks on their faces had been pained. They had explained as much as the possibly could have – he was in hiding… he'd be back as soon as the Order managed to round up all the Death Eaters. She had waited for practically a year when reports began to circle about his death… and around that time she had met Cyrus.

She had been visiting Hogwarts – looking for a job. She had needed something to keep herself busy, and teaching had sounded like a good idea The Defense Against the Dark Arts position was open that summer, as it usually was every summer and she had wondered if she knew enough to teach it. She had walked up to the castle, thinking how strange it felt to be at the school when it was devoid of students and how much she missed Hogwarts… she had been so deep in her thoughts that she had tripped right over someone lying in the middle of the road that joined Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle. She remembers landing hard on her knees and spinning around to give the dolt lying on the road a piece of her mind, but he had already stood and had begun to help her up off the ground, brushing her off and apologizing profusely. She had asked him what on God's green earth he had been doing on the ground and he had stuttered a reply (still brushing her off) about "contact lenses". And then told her, after her confused glance, that, no, he couldn't use magic to find them, he was a Squib.

Later had he told her that she was the only person he had ever confessed being a Squib to, so quickly…

Cyrus had been heading to Hogwarts too, to apply for the caretaker's job – Filch had left ages earlier. They had walked to the Headmistresses Office together and applied together and both of them had gotten the job they wanted… Cyrus had kept that job for more than four years… from the day they had met, to the day it all fell apart…

That day, that stupid, stupid, stupid day when everything just came crashing down around her…

*

The phone rings in the next room and she jumps, splashing water over herself – she'll never get used to the phone.

He gets up off the table and leaves the room to answer it, so quickly that she is sure he is glad for the interruption.

She can hear him speaking…

'What?!' he sounds worried… she vaguely wonders what has happened. 'They haven't? Either of them? Yes, yes, I heard about the riot – the deaths, yes… no, I don't think so… No, no, it's impossible. Weren't they supposed to return early today? It's okay, don't worry, I'm sure—'…

*

Yes, he had planned to return home early that day. If only she had remembered, she could have prevented everything from happening.

The final day of the school term had ended and she had arrived home early in the afternoon. Cyrus, as caretaker of the castle, had never before arrived home on vacation days before nightfall, but that day, he had reminded her that he'd be getting home earlier so they could spend more time together. She hadn't found that strange… of late (ever since after her Great-Aunt's visit during the summer, if she isn't mistaken) Cyrus had been spending more time with her, offering to go down to Hogsmeade Village with her whenever she needed to, sitting with her as she checked her students' papers if he didn't have any immediate business… it was almost smothering but because they hadn't often had much time to spend together, as she had been busy teaching classes and he, looking after the school, she had never minded the extra attention. However, in all the previous years he had never once gotten home early, and so it had slipped her mind that day too.

She had been sitting, playing with her purple pygmy puff who had long since outlived his average lifespan, and flipping mildly through a dog-eared magazine of Cyrus's, on nature and animals. Cyrus had always been a keen follower of nature magazines; he was an animal-lover and plant-lover… anything that lived had a small place in his heart – anything but him, of course, but she had never expected Cyrus to feel anything but enmity for him… it was the way Cyrus was… but he had always been kind to everyone else. Cyrus and her family got on very well… not as well as he had got on with them but that was expectable. Everyone seemed to think that she, Ginny, could not possibly love Cyrus but that he most certainly could and did love her…

But she had loved him. And of course, he had loved her… the way that he had looked at her sometimes... she had asked laughing, more than once, why he looked at her in that way, as if he loved her more than life itself, and he would reply with a twinkle in his gray eyes, because he did love her more than life itself… and not only because she was pretty, like so many people had always though, but because she was herself and he was more comfortable around her than anyone else, and she had never loved him because of his looks, which were dashing and charming all in one, with his brown waves and deep gray eyes, but because he had always been sweet and understanding and not without fault.

*

She shakes her head hard, as she sets a tray in the dish rack. She knows she is drifting, digressing, because this is the one memory that she hates recalling, but recalls so often… if that one thing had not happened, things would be different today… but one small event had sent everything spiraling out of control.

He is still on the phone…

*

The doorbell had rung, as she had flipped through that tatty magazine, and after locking her pygmy puff firmly in his cage, she had gotten up and hurried over to the door and pulled it open, expecting Cyrus to have arrived… but it hadn't been Cyrus… and as she had stared at the man standing on her doorstep, all memory of Cyrus saying he would arrive home early had been erased from her mind…

They had stared at each other for ages, before he had finally said, 'Er – Can I come in?'

And she had pulled the door open winder, and moved out of the way to let him through, almost robotically, still staring, staring, staring… she had lead him into the kitchen, instead of the parlor, for some unfathomable reason, saying mechanically that the "kitchen is cozy" and cozy meant small and enclosed and she still has no idea why they sat there, because if they had sat in the parlor then she could have pushed him out through the backdoor situated in the parlor when she had heard Cyrus's voice. But they had sat in the kitchen. She had pulled out two teacups, asked him how much sugar he'd like, even though she had known… and then she had set a cup down in front of him and sat down across from him and grasped her steaming cup tightly and almost burnt herself on it…

He had been staring at the table, his black hair falling over his forehead, and she had been staring at him… and then he had finally looked up and caught her gaze and said, 'How are you?'

And then all the shock she had been feeling had vanished and she had leaned forward so quickly that some of her tea and spilled and he had backed away slightly, and she had snarled, through clenched teeth, 'Where have you been?!'

He had looked surprised, his eyebrows had risen slightly and he had said something about, hadn't Ron and Hermione told her?

'Of course, more than six years ago!' she had spat out.

'I swore I would come back—' he had begun but she had interrupted.

'Yeah, and you never did!'

'I swore… you should have believed me…'

'I did believe you! But six years and you've never sent on owl or made any kind of contact!'

'I was in hiding, Gin, what did you expect me to do… the Death Eaters would've found me in seconds if I had just started sending—'

'Don't "Gin" me! You're telling me you, the Great Chosen One, couldn't have found a way to inform your friends and family that you are not dead like the newspapers have been reminding us every single day for the past six years?!'

'No, I couldn't have, and don't call me that name!'

Both of them had been standing by then, hands on the table and glaring at each other…

'What name should I call you then? How about, the Boy Who Lived – or should I say the Man Who Lived? Or maybe Savior suits you better? How about the One Who Killed Voldemort? No? Maybe the Man Who Swore He'd Come Back Someday but never did—'

'Is today not included in "someday"—?'

'—or maybe you like Mr. Hero? Or Moronic Dunderhead? Or Insensitive Bastard? How about one of those?!'

'Will you shut up for a moment and let me—'

'NO I WILL NOT! Haven't you thought? Used that thing you call a head? Six years you've been gone, people all around have been saying you're dead for years now… did you expect me to wait after I thought you were dead? I'm not a seer, I can't make prophecies, and I never even thought you could possibly still be alive!'

'Ron and Hermione believed it – Ron says he told you that—'

'Well, go marry him then, why don't you!? I loved you Harry—'

'Loved?' He sounded devastated, but she had been too busy yelling to see it.

'—and you just up and left and never came back and Ron and Hermione were always telling me about the horrible things that had happened to you and then when you all went looking for those damned Horcruxes and then people started reporting about you being dead and having found your body and even though Ron and Hermione have always said nothing can kill you but hoping you weren't dead wasn't what I wanted to do, I wanted to know you weren't dead, you flea-bitten bag of bones, or else, know that you were! Because guessing and not knowing was eating away at me so I made myself believe you were dead and repeated it to myself a hundred and fifty times a day until it became second-nature and you know what made it easier?'

He had shaken his head, but remained silent.

'That you never once gave me or any of us any sign that you were still ALIVE! You let us think you were dead! For six goddamned years! Don't you think people move on?! I'm MARRIED, YOU IDIOT! MARRIED! ALL BECAUSE OF YOU!'

'I thought you were happy,' he had sneered and she had raised her hand to slap him for saying that, for shoving it in her face, and just before her hand had met his face, he had stopped her, grabbed her wrist. And they had been standing like that when the front door had opened – his hand around hers, their faces inches away from each others.

A millionth of a second later Cyrus had stepped into the kitchen with a smile on his face – and stopped dead. The smile had vanished. And he had stared at them for the longest possible time and he had taken the hint, had backed away, let go of her hand, gotten up, and without another word to her, left the house. It had been the last time she had ever seen him…

And Cyrus had been so angry. So, so angry…

*

He still hasn't returned to the kitchen – why would he? Sitting with her is like sitting with a cardboard box – like talking to an empty shell…

It's been more than six months since that day now, but still she wishes and prays she could go back and change it all. Why… why had things turned out so horribly…? Their marriage, the gossipers, everyone wondering why she was trying to forget, no one being able to understand why she would marry Cyrus… Cyrus's issueshis visit that had broken all things and practically torn apart her life… even now, her marriage is only hanging by threads… she cannot go back to him not now, not after everything she said to him last time… not after she practically told him she had stopped loving him…

And Cyrus, stupid, stupid Cyrus, who still manages to love her, or pretends to love her, but doesn't trust her, is always afraid of what he will find her doing next… but he has no one but her and she has no one but him, and so they hang on, and pretend together.

She sets the last dish in the drying rack. It's dripping little drops of water, just like the ones dripping off her face, and a star winking at her from the window catches her eye. A blue winker – the same star she had wished on so many years ago…

It must have been broken…

*