***********************************************************************

It's been awhile since I've been lonely. Three years to be exact. And now this. This wasn't supposed to turn out this way. I stand outside your doorway. I can't move. Can't even swallow. The rain falls heavily. I bet it could drown me if I stay out here long enough.

A small part of me wants to stay, the larger wants to go home and never think about you again.

I hate you, Rex Weller. I hate you. I hate you so much that I can't help but love you now. What have you done to me, Rex? How could I have let myself fall for you? I end up surprising myself more than anyone. Better judgment always seems to get the best of me. And what's worse is I let it. What have you done to me? You've ruined me, Rex.

No, it's not you. You did nothing wrong. You were so good to me. I've never met a man like you before. You make me feel safe and -

I hear the door opening behind me. I don't turn around. I can't.

"Lynn," You say softly. "Lynn, come inside. You're going to get sick."

How could you still think about me like I were the only person that mattered including yourself. I still don't move. I am paralyzed, not to mention drenched to the core.

"Lynn, come on." You walk out, and stand next to me. We don't look at each other.

I think I would've burst into tears if I did. You touch my arm, and slowly manage to lead me back into the house against my will. Okay, not against my will, but I let you take me. I don't fight. I don't even have the energy to. We don't speak. Whether we have nothing to say or don't want to say it, I'm not certain.

You go into the bathroom, and return with a towel and one of your work shirts. You can't seem to look at me either. Thank god, you could've shatter me into pieces with one of your looks.

"Thank you." I say. I change out of my soaked clothes and dry off. I shrugged on your shirt. It is big on me. The sleeve almost passes the tips of my fingers, and the hem ends pass my thigh. I walk out the bathroom and flick the light off.

It was dark. Not a single light was on anywhere. The sound of rain could still be heard drumming meaninglessly against the window panes. I could vaguely see your silhouette standing in the kitchen, back leaning against the counter's edge. You're staring at the floor. My heart aches to comfort you. But I could use it too. So in the end, in our own foolish way, we leave each other alone. We stay away from trouble. It was the wise choice.

Then suddenly without warning, I cave. I make my way over to you, tears coming fast, and fling my arms around your neck. I inhale deeply, my face against your chest. As strong or weak as I am, I can't tear myself away now. It's too late. Your arms encircle my waist, half wanting to, half unsure. I hear your steady breath in my hair. I press my lips against yours, and kiss the corner of your mouth lightly. You are still. You don't push me away but nor do you reciprocate. And all I can do is nothing. Nothing at all. I can't change your mind.

I hate you. I hate you so much that I cling to you all the more. The tears won't stop. And I don't know how to make them stop. I stand there in your arms, and all I can do is cry. You must think I've lost my sense. Hanging on to the man who wants nothing to do with me anymore. For some reason, I tend to do that. Michael, sometimes I think Joe, and now you. You caught me off guard.

We stand together in the moonlit dark for awhile. Not long, but it is long enough for me to think. Are we hoping the other would do something, or say something at the least? We probably should have. But no, it is silent and still. You pull away first. I close my eyes and let you go. You disappear into the shadows, and I am left there motionless. Your footprints diminish and I don't know where you are anymore.

I go to the living room, and lie on the couch. Despite the fact I keep brushing them away, the tears remain. I bite the inside of my mouth to hang on to everything I have. The rain drones on. It can really drive a person insane. What do I do? What do I -

I open my eyes. I find you sitting on the couch beside me, stroking my hair. The rain's still there, the senseless tapping. But at least you're here.

"Rex?" I make out, sitting up.

You don't answer me. You touch my cheek, and trace every feature on my face. Your thumb plays on my lower lip. I feel you come closer, and our mouths meet. You kiss me. Tears escape from me again. I can't help -

"I love you, Lynn." You say. The words muffle into my neck. "I still want you. I'm begging you. Take me back. I don't know what I would do without you. And I don't know what's wrong with me. Tell me you'll take me back."

I kiss you tenderly, and allow you to hold me. I fall asleep again.

I wake up and stare up at the ceiling. A dream. It was a damn dream. And now it's almost six in the - Wait. Where am I? I look around. It's your bedroom. How did I get up here? I was on the couch before. Oh my god, did we - No. No, we didn't. You're not here. You're not here. And no, we didn't. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know. I don't really want to know. I guess that means it's bad, right? If I don't want to know I mean. It's hard to truthfully lie to myself. Why can't I stop crying?

I bury my eyes into the pillow. The soft scent of your cologne lingers. Well, at least I have something that seems like you to hold on to. I sigh deeply. Making up my mind, I get out of bed.

I walk downstairs. It's still raining. Dream or no dream, there's rain. I go to the living room, and to my surprise you're sitting there. Well, I wouldn't call it sitting. It was a slouchy, casual half-lying position. You raise your eyes and look at me. I manage to steady my stare without looking away. I have nothing to say. Either that or I have everything to say and won't.

You stand and go to the kitchen. I follow tentatively. You open the refrigerator door, and look in. "You want orange juice or something?"

"No, I'm fine." I reply.

"Good, because apparently I don't have any." You take out the empty carton. You fill it half way with water in the sink, and slosh it around, rinsing it. Then turning it over, you pour it out, and take the carton apart. I stand there and watch.

"Didn't you go back to sleep?" I ask.

"Yeah. For an hour or so." You answer. Liar. I know you didn't. "Didn't sleep too well though."

"It's probably because I took up your bed."

"Don't worry about it. You just looked so uncomfortable on the couch. So I just brought you upstairs."

"Thank you."

"Sure." You say quietly, finally looking at me. You drop the flattened carton in the recycling bin.

We both turn away at the same time. We stand in the midst of a frustrated silence neither of us are willing to break. It was one of those "when the force is that strong, you dare not disobey" kind of thing. What's happened to us? Just the day before, we could barely keep our hands off of each other, and now it seems like we are worlds apart, unable to even look in each other's eyes and say a few words. What did I do to make you feel this way, Rex?

"Rex?" I hear my voice crack.

"Yeah?"

"Were you serious when you said if we were really married, you'd be a family man?" I say.

Your eyes turn toward me, and stare from the corner. You don't answer, just stare. Then you look away again. "It doesn't really matter now."

"Well, of course it does."

"No, not anymore it doesn't."

I feel empty seeing you act like this, so indifferent. It's as if every good thing I believe you had in you suddenly drained. Damn orange juice. I still want you, Rex. I can't just forget these things. How can you act like this is nothing at all? Doesn't this mean something to you? Why can't -

Then unexpectedly, we both collapse under the weight of the our own inner thoughts. The next thing I know is I'm lying on the kitchen floor with you hovering over me, our mouths searching for each other. I am stunned. My heart palpitates desperately, afraid if we separate, we'll be apart forever, and I will never find you again. I slide your shirt off your shoulders; it gathers at your elbows, and you manage to pull off a sleeve. Your eyes look into mine. And like that, I shatter. Everything I hide from the world is now out in the open. You pick up the pieces, and rebuild me into a new person. You've found me, every part of me. So that now when I'm here in your arms, everything is exposed. You saw everything; my pettiness, my loneliness, my self loathing, everything I had kept hidden to the real world. You saw it all, and I am completely naked.

With a practiced deftness, you undo the buttons of my shirt halfway. I put my arms around your neck, and stare up at the shadows of the ceiling fan as you kiss by bare neck.

Then it happens. I knew this was too good to be true. The damn phone rings. It rings. It's barely six in the morning, and it's ringing. You're torn. You look to the phone sitting on the counter.

"Rex, leave it."

It rings a second time. Go away. It's ruining me.

"Rex, just leave it alone."

Once more. It seems like it's getting louder. You look at me, and kiss my mouth lightly.

"I'll be right back." You whisper.

You stand, one sleeve of the shirt still hanging on to your arm. You pull it on, and cross the kitchen, and answer the phone by the forth ring.

"Hello?" You say. I stand up also, and run a hand through my hair. "Uh, yeah, no, she's here." Oh. It's - "Yeah, hold on." You hold the phone out to me.

"It's your daughter." You say to me.

I take the receiver reluctantly. You walk away. "Hello?"

Cassie talks. I can't really hear what she's saying. I'm not listening. I watch you uneasily.

"Make sure Rupie gets on the bus."

She says something else. I hear bits of it here and there.

"No, I'm all right." I say emptily. "Okay, bye." I hang up.

It's quiet for a few moments. Then you speak.

"It probably wasn't the most constructive way of solving -"

"I know." I say quickly. Then, "It would've been good though."

You nod. "Yeah."

"It's probably for the best." And yet I know it isn't. I have so many things to tell you, but I can't. I have to get this out before it's too late. What do I say?

"Rex, why are we doing this? Why is this happening? You told me you loved me last night. So what's changed? I love you, Rex, and I don't want to let you go." Tears well in my eyes. Things go blurry. I move towards you, and grasp your shirt collar. "If nothing's changed, then what are we doing this for? Tell me, Rex."

You stared at me for a some time. Then without saying a word, you took me in your arms, and carried me upstairs to your bedroom. And let's just say we were an hour and fifty minutes late to work.