He gazes out at the water, lost in thought. It's been three years since he's seen her. Three years since she broke his heart, and left no one to pick up the pieces. Three years since he's felt just a tad bit happy. Three years since the end of his world as he knew it.

And now she's coming back. She'd sent him a letter that he'd received just this morning. She'll be back in two days, just in time for her birthday, and she wants him to meet her at her house. Well, what if he doesn't want to? What if he doesn't want to get his heart broken again?

…Who is he kidding? Of course he'll be there, eagerly waiting on her doorstep. He's a masochist, through and through. The idea of not being there for her…as much as she's hurt him…well, that hurts him even more. So he'll be there, like the good little follower he is, and he won't even complain until he gets home.

Obviously, he's going to have to get her a home-coming/birthday present. But, what to get? What do you buy someone that you've been best friends with for your whole life – excluding three unfortunate, unhappy years – to show how much they mean to you?

Inspiration strikes. He runs inside, eager to get started. He sets up his easel, prepares a canvas, picks his brushes, arranges his paints, starts some music, and begins.

He's late to the party. He'd meant to be the first one there – give her the present and leave – but he got side-tracked, and is the last one here. He cautiously walks into the backyard, sees that the party is in full swing. He looks around for the pile of presents, intending to just drop his off and be on his way, but she sees him.

She rushes over, brilliant smile adorning her face, and embraces him. He awkwardly hugs her back, and maneuvers out of the position as soon as he can without being rude. He steps back, and notices how different she looks.

Her once-long-curly-and-red hair – he'd loved to play with it when she'd fall asleep in his lap (theywerejustfriends) – is now cut in a black Dutch boy. And her clothing style - he'd never been able to describe her eclectic style, but he'd liked it – now seems to be summer dresses and sandals and boleros. This isn't her. What's happened to the woman that he'd fallen in love with?

She asks him how life is, they make small talk, but both know that their friendship isn't the same. She can't figure out why, and he knows all too clearly. They've both changed, and now they're so different from each other. He can tell that it'll never be the same.

Then it's time to open presents, and she tries to drag him with her. He lies, tells her that he has something important – he doesn't say exactly what – to take care of, but 'promises' her that they can visit some other time. She sighs, walks over to the table piled with gifts, and sits in chair as everyone gathers around.

All her gifts are rather boring. Money, clothes, accessories, books; the usual suspects. There's only one present left. It's long and rectangular, and doesn't say who it's from. Her curiosity is piqued, so she tears into it eagerly.

Well, she knows who it's from, now. Only one person could have given her…this. It's a magnificent painting. A beautiful sunrise setting over a crystal-blue lake. Perfect. On the sand are two figures. No faces are visible. One has mane of fiery-red curls, and is clothed in what can only be described as a dress spun from the sun. The other one has brown-blond locks and is shaded in black. They're holding hands. The figure in black seems to in the shadow of the sun-colored figure, but she can just tell that the black-clad figure is fine with it.

She leaps up, painting in hand. Well, she's not going to just sit here and do nothing. She understands what the painting truly means, even if it seems like no else does.

She knocks on the door of his apartment. Knocksandknocksandknocks. There's no answer. She just keeps knocking, until one of the neighbors steps outside and tells her that no one lives there. He moved out just a few minutes ago. No one knows where he went.

The neighbor hands her a note before going back inside. She falls to the ground, leaning against the door, and opens it. He only gives her a few sentences of explanation.

L –

Sorry, but enough's enough. We're not the same people we once were, and our friendship won't be the same. It's been three years since you broke my heart, but today I'm finally moving on. Je t'aime.

– L

What a way for her birthday to end. Her sobbing in front of her ex-best friend's ex-apartment, a revelation that she broke his heart years ago, and just now realizing that she loved him too. And he's nowhere to be found.