I wrote this as some form of explanation as to why I haven't updated All The Things We Said in so long. And a way to let some feelings out, too, before I go crazy. Things haven't been easy. And until I started writing this, I could write nothing at all. Maybe now that some of it is out I will be able to continue my other story. Unfortunately, I make no promises. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and that the year is starting out great for you all. Your support always means a lot to me, so I would love it if you could leave me a review for this one. I miss them. I promise I'm trying here, you guys.

Morning Light

Now I see that our story has always been about waiting. Me, waiting for you. Waiting for your love, then waiting for your courage, and, finally waiting for your decision. Now I wait for your forgiveness…

Her eyelids open slowly, almost carefully, at the recognition of the first rays of light. She closes them again, hoping to maintain the fragile peace of mind she can only seem to keep in her uneven sleep, if only for one more fraction of a second. But consciousness brings along everything else. Guilt. Regret. Anger. So much anger sometimes, she can not recognize herself. Sadness. Sadness is the worst. It comes so strong, she can barely stand it. And the day hasn't even begun.

Forcefully, almost unwillingly, she dares to move, erasing the last images from the dream she wishes she didn't have to wake up from. For in her dreams she found some sort of happiness that seemed so out of reach on her waking hours. She found a place where her mistakes were fixable, were she was able to go back and change the past. Where the past she so desperately tried to mend was nothing but her worst nightmare.

That world she ended up creating for herself provides such safety and warmth that she now fears the simple act of opening her eyes every morning. With daylight, the dreams are gone. And as much as she tries to escape inside herself again, something won't allow her.

Everything comes back with such weight it is almost physical. The knot in her throat, the ache in her heart, the difficulty to breathe, as if something as simple as inhaling and exhaling demands too much energy – energy she doesn't possess anymore. Taking a deep breath is not an option – the constant anxiety will not let her. So, with a movement that to anyone else is simple, but to her is as tiresome as lifting a heavy box, she gets out of bed and onto her feet.

The clouds are few in the blue sky. The sun shines heavily even early in the morning. But her tired eyes already lost the ability to see the colors, to feel the soft heat on her skin. Her hands and feet are cold, the woman herself becoming a barrier for laughter, for light, for life.

But she is still standing. She is not entirely sure how, but she is there. And then her phone rings. Someone calling from the hospital. Something wrong with her father. She can barely remember the following words, they do not seem to make sense, or even matter.

The hospital reception is built to capture the sunlight, creating what should be a comfortable space. She does not pay attention. Her movements are automatic, she barely registers who drove her there or the number of the room she is going to, but her body is willing to do all the work. And that frightens her. When she doesn't have to think about everyday tasks, her thoughts go instantly back to the one person she can not call, and the one person whose voice would help her make some sense out of this. But she has lost the right to call, to lean on, to depend on Brooke Davis. She lost the right to do any of those things the moment she betrayed her trust and hurt her in the worst possible way.

Thinking of the happy moments only made the wound deeper, and at the same time she couldn't help herself. Her cell phone still rang from time to time, with a message from her. Not like the ones they used to exchange. No. They were now messages of anger, or sadness. Not hate, though. Never. The words eventually sent belonged to someone so broken that didn't seem to have enough strength for something so powerful and consuming as hate. She was the one who was supposed to fix Brooke when she felt that way. And Brooke was the one who should be by her side as soon as she found out about her father.

But what can be done when you're responsible for breaking the heart of the person you love the most? What can be done when you have to keep your distance and watch as the others try to fix what you broke? And when you know that they're missing something, that they're helping her the best way they can, but they just don't know what to do? That you, and maybe only you, would know what to do.

Her hand goes to her head as she closes her eyes and breathes. She has grown used to sleeping twelve, fifteen, even eighteen hours a day. Every attempt to keep the thoughts of her biggest mistake away is more consuming than two hours of cheerleading. It doesn't leave room for things like eating, getting out of the house or drawing on her sketchpad. Sleeping has become her drug.

When you're this connected to someone, and you hurt them this way, you hurt yourself, too. Even in distance, you are connected. You feel everything, you hurt just the same, and then you feel even worse, because you don't have the right to cry or be in pain. Because you are the one to blame. You don't have the right to expect sympathy from people. You don't have the right to feel better.

Room 103. He is not back from surgery yet, but they say it went well. At least this one did. They found something, though, something that shouldn't be there. It is not that serious, they found it early enough to remove it, but the word paralyzes her. Cancer.

Her hands reach for her cell phone faster than she can think. She closes her eyes, trying to block more tears so that she can type the text. The send button is pressed before she realizes what she has done.

As she waits for the hospital staff to bring him from surgery, she wonders if the message she just sent will change anything. She paces along the room, she should have hesitated. Once, her burden was also Brooke's burden. But everything has changed, and it shouldn't be anymore. The least she could do was keep her distance and deal with this by herself. If she was strong enough, she would have. But she barely has the strength to hold her phone now. And when it rings and the familiar name appears on screen, she can barely breathe.

Maybe nothing will ever be the same. But then again, we have said that so many times before, and we proved it wrong. Maybe to any other two people, it would be impossible, but not to us.

"You're an idiot, but I love you, and I would never let you go through this alone. No matter what you did."

The air she seems to have been holding for so long suddenly leaves her lungs, and tears fill her eyes. She breathes, for the first time in a week. And she knows she will be able to face anything. When they bring dinner, she eats it. Her stomach is actually asking for food. She tries to remember the last time that happened, but she can't. She wants to stay there with him, but he insists that she goes home and gets some sleep. Before she closes her eyes, her phone beeps and her lips twitch in a smile at the message.

And, for the following days, as her dad recovers, she feels her own heart is healing, too. But they haven't even seeing each other. She's scared that being face to face will bring it all back to the other girl. And so it happens.

It is not so much that she is mad, she is just… different. Almost afraid to get too close again. At some moments, for a second, she sees a glimpse of her friend's old self, and she fools herself – even though she knows she should be more careful – and starts to feel something she wasn't sure she could still feel: hope.

That is until Brooke is not alone anymore. It shouldn't be a surprise, she is never alone for too long. But when theirs eyes meet, there's still something, something the young raven haired girl tries to hide, but her eyes can't. Her actions can't. Not always. Not as well as she thinks she can. Especially from the person who knows her better than most.

The morning light brings the memories back, before she can take control and keep them hidden from her own mind. But it is only for a second now. With every image on tv, with every sketch, with every song she listens, with every person she talks to, the memories and the feelings are put behind, even though they are still there. They will probably always be. She has simply found a way to live with it now, to wake up and eat and do what people expect her to do, and maybe even make them all believe she is ok.

Hearing her dad's footsteps coming down the stairs, she puts on a smile as she hugs him and finishes preparing breakfast for both of them. They talk. They have been talking a lot, about everything and nothing. Almost everything. He believes she is fine, and as far as she is concerned, that is enough. He doesn't need another reason to worry. And if he knew what goes through her head before she falls asleep every night, if he knew why she has been finding so many ways to distract herself, if he could feel half of the feelings she spends most of her time trying to run from, he would definitely worry. She fights to feel nothing. She fights all day long, and it is exhausting. But it is all she knows how to do. Fight. For Brooke.

Maybe time will fix this, will fix us. And on that day, when you stop running and you are able to look at me again, to really look at me, you will have no reason to fear. Until then, I wait. Because that is what I do. Because life doesn't make sense if you're not there. Because I can see it in your eyes, and one day you will see it to. I wait, because I trust you. I wait, because I love you.

I wait, because my heart doesn't leave me any other choice.