Forever ago when Rascal Flatts album "Nothing Like This" came out, one song in particular stuck out to me. I wanted to use it. To write something because it just kept haunting me. I just couldn't figure out what to do with it. And then a little StupidLeeches story idea came about - one that it would be perfect for. But that idea got dissected into something else and I was back at square one.

Until this afternoon as I was driving home. The last couple of weeks I've been listening to this cd again, trying to figure out what I could do with this song that I HAD to write something for.

This idea blind sided me. This is the song... http:/www[dot]youtube[dot]com/watch?v=cDSCjmxO4T4&ob=av2e

I didn't have anyone beta this. Mostly I wrote it for me, as is the case with most everything on this account. Sorry for the poor grammar and such.

-0-

Easy

A Friday night tradition that hasn't changed in ten years. Except now it's full of awkwardness and too bright smiles. Fake happiness. Make believe friendship.

She thinks it's easy for him. But what she doesn't know is, he works harder than he ever has in his life, just to make this facade believable. He watches her on the dance floor with her friends. The goofy way they sway together, holding hands and laughing. He misses the way her body felt against his. The way she would breathe his name on a sigh. How she got him; knew what he was thinking without him uttering a word. His hands ache to dive into her mahogany hair. The sweet scent of her perfume. Her endearing words. Her sweet smiles. There's nothing about her he doesn't miss.

He barely looks her in the eye anymore. She knows he can't stand to be in the same room as her. He gives in every weekend and he comes here, for them. Their friends. She lives in fear of the day he moves on to someone else. She can smile, pretend to be having the time of her life. She might be fooling him. That part is easy. When she goes home at night it's his hand at the small of her back or wrapped around her own fingers that she misses. The way her name rolled off his tongue. His pounding heart against hers. His green eyes speaking far more than words ever could.

It's easy, going out on Friday night. Strength built up for days and days; all for a few hours of pretending. How can she ever forget what it was like? How can she ever forget him?

The table becomes a loud boisterous affair. Echoing around the two of them. Bitter taste in her mouth. Aching in his heart. Empty arms. Words on the tips of tongues, so close to being said. It's painful the way they get stuck in throats. He holds back. Her body is tense. When she inhales his cologne surrounds her. It reminds her of being wrapped in his over size t-shirts. Of sitting next to him with her head on his shoulder.

Looks of sadness pass across the faces of the others. They know. It's plain to see. How can he not know? How can she not realize? It's so easy. There is an urge to interfere. To make them see. A hand reaches out, pulling on the slender arm of the spiky haired girl, telling her not to go there. She wishes she could change things. Make them better. Fix what's broken. It's a rip in their group. Maybe some day it will tear them all completely apart.

The night ends. He wants to take her hand, guide her to his car. Beg her to forgive him.

She doesn't want to drive to her apartment alone. She wishes the spare key in her wallet still belonged to him. She can't even remember what happened. How it ended. How can he walk away? What she doesn't know is, how hard he works to make it look so easy. A casual wave over his shoulder and his wild hair disappears around a corner.

It's time. All her will has been used up. Her arms wrap around her waist, holding herself together. Just like every other Friday night she has to hurry to get to her car. Strangled sobs held back. Shaking hands and tear filled eyes. How much longer can she keep doing this?

He slams his car door behind him. The silence is deafening and her face haunts him. His hands pound the steering wheel before gripping it tightly. Knuckles white. Teeth grinding against one another.

Jerky, fast movements carry him from the car. His feet move fast. So quickly he doesn't realize what he's doing. Her car is still there, parked along the curb. He's desperate to get there he nearly runs into it. She's there, hunched over the steering wheel, shoulders shaking, hands holding on for dear life. He places his hand on the window. Her head jerks up, tears streaking down her pale face as she realizes it's him.

Reaching out he opens the car door, squatting down until he's eye level with her. Her sobs wreck his heart. He reaches out to take her face in his hands.

"How do you make it look so easy?" Her words are a whisper barely heard.

He assures her, "It's not easy. It's never been easy."

He pulls her from the car, wraps his arms around her and eases down to the concrete. Holding her he murmurs words of love, adoration and hope against her hair. She clings to him, half scared it's a dream she'll wake up from. That she'll be alone when she opens her tightly clenched eyes. But she does open them. And he's still there. A look of anguish in his eyes. He brings her face to his, presses their lips together for a salty kiss.

The facade, the pretending, is over. Relief floods. Smiles quiver. Hands reach and search and cling.

She'll never let him go again. Never push him away when it gets tough.

He won't forget how easy it was to lose her. He'll love her with everything he has.

No more aching in his chest. No more bitterness in her mouth. Lips tender, tension seeping out of bodies for the first time in months. No more wondering what went wrong. Just hearts full of love, hands full of caresses, happy smiles, voices sighing as they say names.

It's easy, so easy loving him.

What she doesn't know is, how easy it is to love her.

Always. So easy.