Everything belongs to their rightful owners

At first she's happy, ecstatic even. It's Paris and it's fashion – art, movement, an entire culture and she's in the middle of it all. She communicates with Chuck constantly and he visits her often. They are fixing things, rebuilding and she's relieved. But there's something, just a tiny, little dot of emotions that she doesn't understand, she can't classify it, but it's making a bit uncomfortable in her skin. She thinks it's probably the change of scenery, it will go away soon enough. Oh but it doesn't, it gets stronger each passing day and she can't seem to be able to shake it off. It bothers her all the time, nags her when she is with Chuck.

Two months pass until she finally realizes, or at least admits to herself, what it is. It's unexpected to say the least especially since it's so prominent and seems to be getting stronger. She misses him. Him the boy she left behind to be with her one true love. The boy, whose heart she tore out from his chest and stomped all over. The boy, that hasn't answered any of her calls or e-mails. Even though she admits it, she still naively believes it's temporary. She couldn't be more wrong.

She misses him more and more. She keeps it to herself, acts all normal, is the same around Chuck. But her dreams, they are all of him: sweet, happy times, laughter, stolen kisses and sad times, his heartbreak, her coldness. She always dreams of him and that's scary because he has filled her subconscious and is not moving out anytime soon.

She doesn't know why, not that she knows much these days, but she finally reads his book. The one they fought over, the one she yelled and yelled at him about. She has an idea what it's about, of course, she has read the most important parts, or so she thinks, but still it's high time she put the whole story together. She hides away, doesn't want anyone to see, it would raise too many questions, she has let him go, right?

It's a brilliant satire of course, no surprise there, but it's also an opus about love, from him to her. Oh how she wishes she had read it earlier, before all this mess that she has deliberately created for herself. His love rises from the pages and comes alive right in front of her eyes. She feels her chest tighten, constrict painfully. She wishes… no, no that part is over, she ended it herself, Chuck… Chuck was her choice. Her dreams are void of color that night. She dreams of black and white pictures, long streets, no people, just her trying to find her way back, to what… she doesn't know.

She rereads again and again and her dreams fill with new sadness. She dreams of "Gone with the wind". She's not Holly Golightly, she's Scarlett and she's Ilsa Lund and she's Francesca Johnson, she's all the leading ladies left alone. When did he become her leading man, when did her love story change the players? She doesn't know.

She is changing, she is wilting, she doesn't shine, she has almost no appetite she looks pale and too thin, there is no life, no spark in her eyes. Paris, the grand, beautiful, Paris seems dull and colorless. She tries, she really tries to hide everything. She knows she isn't very convincing. The only reason Chuck hasn't called her out on it, is because he is too busy with Bass Industries and hasn't flown over for a while. Her mother isn't so hard to trick. She has played the part of the perfect daughter long enough. She knows Dorota would know in a second, she's half-disappointed, half-relieved she isn't there.

She doesn't want to think, because she's scared, so very scared. What if she chose wrong, what if… maybe it's a sign that she has chosen Chuck over so many and still they always go back to square one. But that's not the thing that scares her the most. She is good at suppressing her feelings, not letting them pour out, killing the butterflies, stomping out bugs, she's done it all. But sometimes in the dark of the night, when her defenses relinquish their hold a bit, she catches a glimpse of the emotional turmoil that 's in her heart and it shakes her to the core. She feels so much, so strong and all because of him. She loves Chuck more, she has to, that's why she chose him. But it doesn't even feel like her heart is torn between the two men, no, it's just torn over one.

She knows that this is a precarious state. She's in pain, it's too real and too raw. She can't deal, no Constance, NYU, Columbia or years of scheming have prepared her for this.

Chuck will be visiting very soon. She needs to get a hold of herself. She can't hurt him too. She hurt Dan, the name leaves a faint sting inside her and she feels like she's suffocating a bit. She hurt herself, all this time being cautious, having her guard up, trying not to be vulnerable with anyone so they don't hold the power over her, so they can't hurt her and still it's herself that hurts her the most. It's ironic really that she seems to forget so often that she is her own worst enemy.

She gets up and gets ready to face yet another day. She tries to look her best and feel her best (is that even possible anymore) for Chuck. He shouldn't see her this way, she should protect him from this, this plague that has taken over her heart and soul.

She tries to stay out of restaurants, weasel her way out of dinner invitations, because she knows he will notice her lack of appetite. She looks in the mirror and she does look beautiful, but not like a special gem, not radiant. She is much too thin, she'll blame work and stress, she hopes she can pull off all the lies she's ready to dish out. They sit at her place mostly, he talks and she listens, or at least tries to, but eventually gives up on the idea and just pretends. God, she is such a liar, she lies, she wrecks things, beautiful things that can make her happy and makes ugly things even uglier.

She's alone. She lost two of her best friends. She's lost, but she's stable. Holding on, but not for long.

She first sees it in A French magazine, where else, she has cut all ties to home. His name catches her eye almost instantly and she feels a tiny flutter in her mostly numb heart. It's a book, his book. She'll buy it, in secret too, why not it can't get much worse that it is.

But it can and it does.