Soundtrack: A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More "Touch Me" by Fall Out Boy.

'CAUSE I KNOW I'M ALWAYS LATE.

I confess: I messed up
Droppin' "I'm sorry's" like you're still around

She left ages ago but the smell of strawberries still hasn't left your apartment.

It's always bothered you that she smells like strawberries, but she tastes like a margarita. Like, what the fuck? If you've got a strawberry scent, you gotta taste like one, too, right? It's practically the fucking laws of physics—you taste the way you look. It makes no sense; she's practically a mutation, the way her skin emits a different smell than her lips their taste. Maybe you should send her to the lab at UCLA, let them do some tests, shave that damn gorgeous hair off, the one you can't control yourself around, the locks you can't resist running your fingers through; maybe that way, you won't be such an animal around—

Fuck it.

You are the definition of pathetic boyfriend—the stoner, the one who's got nowhere to go but the curb on the sidewalk when you wake up, hungover off your ass. Sometimes you've got a girl next to you and you pray to God she's on the pill, 'cause you'd hate to know you've got another kid out there somewhere. But most times, you're alone. Just like you always are.

Her picture on the dresser catches your eye, and suddenly you realize just how much of her she has left here. An old pair of denim shorts hanging from the chair in the corner, an empty box of tampons on the bathroom counter. Your palms cover your face and you are faintly aware that the words, "Fuck, fuck, fuck," are slipping out your mouth, as if someone's actually listening.

And I know you're dressed up
Hey kid, you'll never live this down

You put on a necklace or two, slip on some bangles, paint a smile on your lips with your Juicy Couture lip-gloss. The mirror glints in the dim bathroom lights and you catch a glimpse of yourself—broken, cold, heartless, and ready to party like you never ever met him.

And he knows that you know that he's only going to screw it all up. You know that he knows, he knows that you know, everyone knows that he knows that you know. It's always like that; bitchy gossip, flying rumors, ridiculous accusations. You wonder if he's ever going to grow up, if he's ever going to realize that you're the goddamn best thing to ever happen to him, are you just going to let me go like the asshole you are?

Then you remember he could tell you the same thing, so you shut up. You run the brush through your platinum blonde hair, make sure you look fucking perfect, perfect enough to show him what he's missing, and you walk out the door with a smirk on your face and a swagger that says, "I'm gorgeous and I know it."

'Cause you're just the girl all the boys wanna dance with
And I'm just the boy who's had too many chances

You go straight to the club without another word; all you do is slip on your favorite vest, a pair of white skinny jeans (the ones that hug your legs so tight, it feels like someone actually wants to keep you here), but you keep on the same shirt you've been wearing for the past two days because you know it's her favorite.

It's almost obvious she's here—the crowd gathered in line, the circle of girls in the middle of the club through the window; you can practically see the broken-hearted boys walking out of there already. You walk in with a nod to the bouncer (you've got connections, you and Big Rob go waaay back) and try not to tighten your fist when you see that familiar flash of blonde hair in that circle of people-you-thought-were-girls. Unfortunately, they are not even close.

She rubs against him the way she did with you; you can almost see that glitter of amusement in her icy blue eyes as she looks up at him, eyes closed in ecstasy. You think your heart breaks when you realize she probably does this with every boy she encounters. But you shake the thought out of you head because you're Shane, you're Shane-fucking-Gray and you don't get heartbroken, you break hearts, and the thought of anything otherwise is purely pathetic.

And it's then that you realize just how alike you are. Heart-breakers, never the heartbroken; the ones who always get the second chance no matter how much you don't deserve it; the kind of people you never wanna fall in love but the ones you always do because it's how you're made, it's how your mind works. It's you.

She turns around then to meet your eyes. Gray meets blue (she's always teased you because "Gray's got gray eyes, lol!") and she gives you a signature innocent smile, then sticks up her middle finger, before turning to whatever sucker she's hooked tonight.

You grin because you think, she's back.

I'm sleepin' on your folk's porch again, dreamin'
She said, she said, she said, "Why don't you just drop dead?"

He walks up to you as if he owns the fucking place—as a matter of fact, he probably does. Because he owns everything around here, like the little rich boy he is, parading around New York like he's Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl or something. Well, newsflash rich boy—you are not going to be his Blair.

His hands grip your wrist as if he won't let go, not ever, ever, ever. At first you worry; what if he's drunk, is he going to rape you or something? But the thoughts disappear almost as fast as they came. He'd never hurt you, even you know that. You trust him, as hard as it is to admit. It's hard not to—you've known him forever, and he's like your brother. Actually, he's not. Because really, it'd be kind of wrong if he was your brother.

You tug your hand back but he's strong; you, of all people, should know. The way his bare chest looked in the glistening light of the moon, the way his muscles stood out as you ran your fingers down his arm… Shit.

"Whore, much?" He teases with an impish smile and that same twinkle in his eye that's only barely faded since you were seven and he walked up to you and pulled your hair.

You've got to struggle not to grin back, so you give a hard pull and take your hand free, then spit out, "Why don't you just drop dead?" and ignore the flash of hurt in his eyes. Soon enough he wipes it away while the dullness sets back in. You kind of think that the hurt was a lot better than this emptiness, this coldness living in those gray orbs now.

I'm just off, a lost cause, a long shot
Don't even take this bet

"You first," You reply without missing a beat. You pray that she didn't notice how your eyes dulled, how the smug sneer was wiped off your face the second the words came through her glossy lips. It's always amazed you how she can stay ethereally perfect—makeup in tact, not a hair out of place, lips still shiny, making you long to cover them with your own—even after hours of dancing, hours of partying.

She rolls her eyes and asks the bartender for a martini. You ask for a good old fashioned Bud-lite, and tell him to put both on your tab. Classy, smooth, suave—that's you. Well, that's you to everyone but her. To her, she's Shanie, the one with the gray eyes just like his last name. The same little seven year old she knew twelve years ago, only with longer hair, a little bigger, and softer eyes. You don't know whether you hate that she sees right through you, or you love that she knows you so well.

"This is exactly why you should really grow up, S," she does that thing where one side of her mouth goes up while the other stays down, the kind of smirk that she does without thinking, the kind that breaks your heart and glues it back together at the same time.

"Like I said, T. You. First," She rolls her eyes and gives you a glare, the kind that sends young children crying home to your mothers. You? It just makes your hands tremble a bit, make you fall just a little bit more in love with her.

But she knows. She knows you, she knows you. And that is exactly why she knows that: in the rulebook of life? Rule #1—never fall in love with Shane Gray.

She takes a look at you, and the darkness in her eyes hits you like a fucking knife. They are cold, they are hateful, they are the eyes of the devil, practically. And baby? You signed your soul over a long, long time ago.

You can make all the moves, aim all the spotlights
Get all the sighs and the moans just right

It's kinda funny, because you've always wanted to live life like a movie. The clichés, the background music, the dramatic moments when everything is silent and the violins begin to ring and you feel like crying—you've gotten all that, everything from the group of bitchy girls to the jerkish-player-who-everyone-hates-falls-in-love-with-you cliché. The only one that you haven't lived yet is the one that you want the most—the one where you fall in love.

You walk away because it's human instinct—when things become to much, too much to handle, you run away. You don't face your problems right away; the first thing that comes to mind when things get out of control is to run the other way as fast as you can and leave some other poor son of a bitch to clean up your mess.

You said you'd keep me honest
But I won't call you on it

She walks very fast.

She always has been the fastest out of all of you. She was the girl who got six minute miles, who was never the rotten egg. But now, she's only become more amazing, because she does it all in a designer Dolce & Gabbana dress and Louis Vuitton heels. You grab her wrist, tighter now, because you know if you don't hold on to her right now, she might slip away forever. You pull her closer to you until you can smell the strawberry again and you close your eyes, because the familiar scent is fucking intoxicating.

Her eyes are teary and you know something's wrong, something's horribly wrong. Tess Tyler never cries, never ever ever. "Teresa?" You whisper, because you know you're the only one who she's ever allowed to call her by her real name.

"Shane… if you really love me you are going to close this fucking gap between us and kiss me until I can't fucking see anymore. Get it, Gray?" You nod, and you feel like something's stuck in your throat because you don't know if you can do this. "But if you don't, I am going to walk my little ass out of this club and you aren't going to follow me. Do you hear me, Shane Gray?"

But you don't. You don't know if you love her? Do you? Maybe you do, maybe you don't. What is love, anyway? It's a bitch, you know that already. But is it when you can't get the person out of your mind? When all you smell is the strawberry lotion that she puts on religiously in the mornings, all you taste is margarita when you lick your bottom lip, the one she always used to bite. When all you hear is her voice when the entire house is silent, and when you wake up, her face is the first thing you see?

Yes, you realize. Yes, yes, yes, I love her, I love her. Fuck, I love her!

So you turn around to kiss her senses away, and then carry her back to your apartment and fuck her senseless. You are going to make her forget that you ever left.

But she's not there. She's gone. She's walked her little ass out of the club just like she said, and you wanna follow her, you really do want to, but you've always done as she's told so you don't. You stay right there, where all you're ever going to know for the rest of your life about her is that you were late, you were always just too late.

I don't blame you for being you
But you can't blame me for hating it
So say, what are you waiting for?
Kiss her, kiss her
I set my clocks early
'Cause I know I'm always late.