"I love you," he tells her. "Isn't that enough?"

She takes his heart with her as she walks away. She doesn't even look back.

It's the 4th of July.

The smell of barbecue smoke and fireworks is in the air, and all she can taste on her tongue is fire. The night is warm as he lights up a cigarette beside her, digging the toe of his shoe into the sun-scorched grass.

"You really mean it, don't you?" In the distance, the sky explodes with color and light.

He glances at her. "Yep."

She looks anywhere but at him. "Oh."

Sometimes, her hands fall at her stomach, feeling for something that isn't there. It's a painful reminder of what she's lost. In the hot summer sun, she only feels cold.

His eyes watch her. Sometimes, it's easy to not say a thing.

"Need your pool cleaned?"

She sits with her feet in the water at the edge of the pool, following him with her eyes. He leans over the edge to her. Moth to a flame, until he gets burned.

"You're bad for me," she tells him. "You've always been bad for me."

He blinks at her. "You'll break my heart."

And that's that.

Her head buzzes with champagne and sunshine. "Tell me something." She clutches onto his shirt, a child holding a blanket.

He looks at her. "I want you."

She nods decisively, blinking up at him with watery eyes. "But you can't have me."


She stays in his arms anyway. When he's asleep at last, she traces the lines of his face with her fingers. "I could love you," she says.

He dreams of her.

"Why did we do it?"

In the outside world, there's a party and booze and music, but he always seems to find her in the crowd. She could be gone forever and she'd never be lost.

She simply looks at him, like he has all the answers, when he's always thought she knew.

"Because you were bored." He remembers it all very distinctly — the rapture in her eyes, his name from her lips.

She frowns. "And you?"

His eyes flick to her belly, where her hands still reside, as if she can't get used to it being gone. "I wanted you."

"So simple," she sighs. "But we messed up. Didn't we?"

Her eyes are so green. He thinks he'll drown forever.


The sky falls around them.

"Promise me something." She leans forward to capture his attention.

He licks his lips. "Anything."

She slips the strap of her dress down, kicking her sandals off underneath the bed. "Promise me…" She blinks. "Even if I don't love you… promise me you'll always love me."

She's the center of attention, the girl in the yellow dress as it slides to the floor.

He watches her intently as she slides into his lap, her eyes dancing, her lips shaking. So beautiful, he thinks she might cry.

"I promise."

She kisses him as the setting sun sets the room ablaze in color. Old habits die hard, like a kiss and a heartbreak.

"Yes," she whispers into his mouth. "Yes."

She takes his hand and stares at the intricate curves of his palm. "We're here for a reason." She scrunches her nose. "You think?"

He has always blindly followed his faith, but he thinks he might see God in her.

"If you want us to be."

She looks at him. He can't remember the last time she smiled. "I want us to be," she whispers.

Something explodes in her eyes.

It's kind of like that.

When school starts, there was never an us.

"I'll wait for you," he tells her. "I promise."

She walks away with his heart and his promises.

But this time, she looks back.