The Humpty Dumpty Love Song

"Still all I need is you
I just need you
Yeah, you got the clue
So I give my heart to you"

Travis

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You're not really sure why or how things turned out the way they did.

There were times when you weren't even sure if you would made out of it alive, but here you are, twenty years later, and your husband's hand grip yours while you both watch the life you've created together.

And maybe you've been a fool for him, and maybe you should've loved yourself more to start with, but when you look at the little girl sleeping between the two of you, somehow you start to accept the past and the mistakes that were made, and everything grows quiet and it just feels… right.

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You met him when you're two months shy of eleven years old, and he instantly captivates you. His big grin, the confident way he carries himself, just walking into your house uninvited (like he would do so many times, during so many years), and just taking something from you, something you don't even knew you had to give.

And in that instant, it is as if something burns and aches all the way down to your soul, and you recognize each other for what you are, and there's no turning back now, no pretending it didn't happen.

You become fast friends, and just as fast you become so much more.

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He spews a bunch of halt-truths and incredible lies the first time you talk, and it sounds interesting, fantastic and unbelievable, but you listen to him all the same, quietly enraptured by this lively, daring creature and really, you should've know it from the start that you wouldn't be able to trust a word from his lips, but you're pulled, you're mystified, you're lost.

You don't you ever find yourself again after that first night, after that first smile.

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He's filled with promises and jokes and hints of things you've yet to think about, and it excites you, the way he just expects you to catch up with him.

And you, you're nothing but a fast learner, and you begin to recognize his words, his patterns, his games. You begin to call him out on things, and his eyes shine with something akin to respect, and you feel warm inside.

He dared you, and you took him up to it, managed to surprise him.

He makes it seems like you're the closest he has even been to actually liking a girl, and you think this means something, hope that it means it's meant to be.

You're only fooling yourself, and it takes years before you recognize this, accept it.

(And some nights you lay awake in your bed and wonder if it was really all in your head, if maybe, just maybe, and you keep spinning around in circles).

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He gives you, steals really, your first kiss.

And it's ridiculous, fireworks and an audience and everything, and you never get over it.

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His palm is splayed across your lower back, his other hand cupping your face, and he's kissing your breath away, taking your heart, and the ocean engulfs both of you, the waves lapping at your bodies, touching in every single possible place, no space between the two of you, and suddenly, fireworks.

"Why is it every time we kiss, fireworks explode somewhere?" he asks you, and you take it as sign, another one, and pulls him back for more.

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He is your first everything –

Your first poem, your first song, your first intimate touch.

He takes all of your firsts and you never get his, doesn't even have the courage to ask.

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You've been doing this for eight years, this impossible half-crazed dance around each other, and you're the one who keeps losing every time.

You keep choosing him, going back to him, and he never, ever, ask you to stay.

He keeps on breaking your heart and you feel like you can't take it anymore, that this is it, that you're done with him.

You sound like you mean it, feel like you do, but of course you never tell him. You're always so afraid – afraid of showing him how you feel, afraid of him admitting that he doesn't feel it back – that you think it's for the best if he thinks you're still the same girl, with the same illusions, than to stand up for yourself.

And this almost works, and it takes three years before you relapse.

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In those three years, you look for happiness as if you're desperate to prove something to everybody in your life that witnessed your ruin.

You find boys, and you play games, and you break hearts and you fall in and out of love so quickly that it never feels real, that it never actually runs its course.

You find consolation in other arms and you act around him like he's meant nothing to you, like he wasn't the only one to see you naked and exposed and vulnerable even when you didn't mean to, and that he wasn't the one who held your heart in his hands, a quivering mass of need, and completely crushed it.

No, you hold your head high and smile and jokes and lets it go.

(You try to let it go, and most of the time, you kind of do)

Then he starts to act like he wants you again, and you're thrown in for a loop, your heart doing summersaults in your stomach. He kisses you one night, and you just want to melt into in like you've done countless times before, but instead you bite at his lip and push him away, and you hurt everywhere.

Because he wasn't supposed to remember how you were, he wasn't supposed to look at you again like he'd looked, with a smile on his lips and a dare sparkling in his eyes.

And you weren't supposed to want to rise up to the challenge again.

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This boy, you begin to comprehend, is going to be your downfall.

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So you decide to move away, like you've always said you would.

He shows up every night when you're there, and it feels like hope, like maybe this time you'll be lucky and he'll stay.

And you hate yourself for still wanting.

So you say your goodbyes and you cry for everything that has been and for what hasn't, and he hugs you and you don't want to let go, and later, when you see the photographs of that last night, it's painfully clear that you're so in love with him by the way you're always staring at him, even from across the room.

But he's always staring at someone else.

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You leave, and you don't look back.

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You meet new people, and you travel places, and you spend one year in Paris finding yourself, hoping that when you come back, he will mean less to you.

That you will feel less for him.

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Sometime between those dream-like months after you've moved away, you manage to trick yourself into thinking that you haven't run from your life, and that you aren't still as stupid about him as you had thought yourself to be.

Then he sends you a letter, and your entire being shivers.

You respond a little bit too enthusiastically, like the silly fool you are, and his answer is vague and bittersweet and disappointing, like most of the things he does to you in his life, and you find yourself filled with pity, and anguish, because you know what he could be if only he'd had the sense to let you in.

But he is who he is, and you're done trying to make excuses for him.

So you don't answer him back.

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Somewhere along the way, you wonder why you'd always let him feel as if you were his dirty little secret, and why did you always punished yourself for it.

You take a deep breath and feel your whole body expanding, accepting the unchangeable truth and the indescribable sorrow – you love him.

Nothing he has done so far has made you stop.

But he doesn't deserve you, never really wanted to, and maybe it's about time you find someone who does and stop wasting your time with what-could-have-beens and other guys who are slightly less-charming versions of the original one that rendered you speechless 13 years ago.

It's time to grow up.

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You're done with school, and you find a job, and you move into a flat with two of your best friends, who also happen to be your cousins. One of them gets pregnant, then married, and you're suddenly a godmother to this cute little blond boy with a sweet smile and the energy of a tornado.

Your Dad head if completely white now, and it saddens you, when you think of how close you're to losing your parents. Maybe you still have twenty years with them, maybe even fifty, but it is still not enough for you.

Your friends are all paired off, or torturing themselves with failed love stories, but you navigate through life with a care that you hadn't had before, one that must only come with age. You're less cynical, not as restless as you used to be, and you are stronger somehow, stronger than when you were 19 years old and let a boy walk all over you.

You decide to learn new languages, and you continue to travel with a intensity that scare your friends and family, because they keep wondering what is going to happen when you run out of countries to run to.

But you think they don't understand, how you keep moving not because you have to, but because you want to. How every new city leaves an indelible mark inside of you, a golden-colored memory of youth and adventure, and there's nothing like it in the world for you, and this is how you fall in love.

And the boy turns into a man right before your eyes, and he's still charming, and careless and alluring, but you're not the same eager girl who fell for his lines and his touch, and eventually he stops trying to break you again and you become friends, and just that.

And it's a wonder how things turn out, when once you thought you would have everything with him, but now he's someone you go out for drinks and watch kiss other girls, and it doesn't bother you as much as it did.

He's the scorpion whose sting you've grown accustomed to endure, but you're no longer the frog who would carry him across the river even knowing you would end up drowning, and this changes everything.

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You start something new, something real, and it takes even you by surprise.

There's a guy who looks at you as if you'd hung the moon, and who touches you as if you were delicate, and who kisses you as if you're the meaning of existence.

And your body sings when he's around you, and you can't help but smile every time you think about him, and you're so happy that it's foreign to feel this way.

So naturally, when the guy asks you to be his wife, you say yes.

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He laughs when you tell him you're getting married.

He laughs like he'd just heard the most outlandish joke in the world, and suddenly you're very, very angry.

"What is the problem with you?" You demand, ashamed to admit that you're practically stomping your feet, while he struggles to breathe, still laughing.

"I'm sorry," he concedes, not sounding even remotely apologetic. "It's just that I've never imagined you would marry anyone, except maybe me."

And you flush at the bluntness of his words, and he stares at you unashamedly, while your history hangs heavily in the air the separates the two of you.

"So you've always known, then," you manage to say after a while.

"Of course I did," he admits, shrugging.

"And you still fucked me over?"

You still don't have the courage to ask if he ever felt the same for you.

"I'm not proud of it," he relents.

"Then why did you kept on doing it?" and you're not proud of how small your voice sound, how after so many years and so many things, your history with him can still manage to reduce you to feeling like a insecure little girl.

But still, you have to know why.

"It's not like I meant to do it, you know?" and maybe you want to think he looks a little bit ashamed (maybe he does), but you're done playing the game where you keep cutting him a slack. It's been 17 years, for fucks sake. Some growth was bound to happen.

"It's just that even when I knew it would end up bad, I couldn't stay away from you. Maybe it was those fucking fireworks, or the way you looked at me, who the hell knows anymore. But I couldn't stay away."

It's the closest he has ever come to apologizing, or even telling you that maybe you were something more than an easy conquest or a convenient shag, and it's fucked up how good this makes you feel, like it wasn't all in your head.

"Yeah," you agree weakly.

"You're still getting married?" he asks you, the old spark on challenge in his eyes.

You turn your eyes away and nod, ignoring the lump forming in your throat.

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You marry the perfect guy, and you have a perfect year and half with him before some sleep-deprived woman with a colicky child fall asleep on the wheel as runs over your perfect guy while he's out picking up some groceries.

You're at Botswana when you get the news, and you feel like you can't breathe anymore, like this isn't real life but a cosmic joke that has been played on you.

You see it that he gets buried somewhere beautiful, and you hug his inconsolable parents, and you can't bring yourself to shed any tears, not yet.

You hold it together for almost two weeks, but then you stumble into a soiled blue sock he's left in the drawing room, and when you fall on your butt and curse him aloud that it suddenly clicks – he's gone. And he's not coming back.

You cry bitter tears for the guy who loved you with his whole being, for the guy who made you feel shiny and cherished and who made you feel like singing even when you were having a dreadful day at work.

His absence aches and hurts deep inside of you, and you can't even begin to grieve for all the possibilities you've lost – the children, and the house, and the growing old together, his wrinkled hands wrapped around yours.

Your friends check up on you, and when they do, they call you strong, admirable, and you just want to hit them across their face, because how dare they call themselves your friends when they can't see what is so clearly there?

You isolate yourself, and stop answering calls, and stops cutting your hair. You take a leave of absence of work and decide to revisit the places you've been when you were younger and heartbroken and while they don't really look the same, they haven't changed, just like you.

You're slightly older, more worn-out, but deep down you're still the heartbroken girl that came there looking for something special, trying to find some magic in the world, something to hold on to.

He finds you in Greece; puts a hand on your shoulder, and you just break down. Its should scare you, how easy it is to just let him in after you've spent so long trying to keep him out, put he always had a way of soothing you.

You talk and he listens, and you cry and he holds you. Then he makes you laugh, and show you new things, and takes pictures and makes annoying comments like every regular tourist does, and you don't even try to hide the fact that you're roiling your eyes but smiling at the same time.

And he relishes in it, he teases you about it, and you start being okay with the fact that you'll miss the perfect guy for you for the rest of your days, miss the life you could've had together, but that you can do this, that you can go on.

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19 years after that first kiss, he tells you he loves you.

You startle a bit at his offering of the words you've longed to hear for years but never got to, and you're suddenly wondering why now, and not back then.

"I'm sorry it has taken me this long to catch up with you," he offers, a smile tugging at his lips, a challenge shinning in his eyes, the whole future you had once imagined and deemed impossible dangling right in front of your face. "You were always steps ahead of me, weren't you?"

So you nod and lets him pull you in a for a kiss, and then –

"Those fucking fireworks," he growls against your lips, and you can't help but let a giggle escape, how fitting and ridiculous this is happening, 19 years later.

"Well, my dad has made a business out of designing fireworks, Lorcan, what did you expected?"

And you're spiraling out of control when he nips at the base of your throat and soothes it with a kiss, but you take comfort in the fact that at least this time you know he's spiraling right along with you, and you let yourself fallfallfall.

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You're not really sure why or how things turned out the way they did.

There were times when you weren't even sure if you would made out of it alive, but here you are, twenty years later, and your husband's hand grip yours while you both watch the life you've created together.

And maybe you've been a fool for him, and maybe you should've loved yourself more to start with, but when you look at the little girl sleeping between the two of you, somehow you start to accept the past and the mistakes that were made, and everything grows quiet and it just feels right.

So when he tugs at your hand and looks at you with a teasing smile etched across his face, a dare written in his eyes, you can help but relish at the thrill that jolts across your body, making you tingle with anticipation.

"So what do you think about making another?" he asks, and you just smile.

You're just as eager to rise up to his challenge as you were twenty years ago, and this time, you know that you were right to take him up on it on the first place.

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A.N: I'm still on hiatus, but this just...came out. Today. And it refused to be ignored. I'm not even sure if I don't hate it. All mistakes are mine, since I currently don't have a beta, but the title belongs to Travis, and the inspiration belongs to a certain someone who gives me so much material to write about. Please leave a review, even if it's just to berate me. I don't think this was a healthy relationship, nor I condone it, but... you know. Those things happen in life, right? Right? Anyone? Bueller?