DISCLAIMER: Not mine; you know the drill. ^^
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Up to 3x03: Lobsters.

Except for Lara
By TheAgonyofBlank


"… I mean, and Dana's judgment sucks, right? Except for Lara."

It was true – and the sad thing was that it still was, to some extent. Sure, it had been a few years – two years, to be more exact – since I'd said that Lara was the one and only exception to Dana's bad judgment in relationships, but for the most part, it still held true. Except now I was much more inclined to include myself in the category of Dana's not-bad-at-all decisions; shit, I'd like to think that I was an even better decision than Lara was. But the truth is I can't.

Because Dana's over there now, cuddling with Lara, and not with me.

I can't even begin to describe how much it hurts every time I see them together; I can try, but words aren't enough to convey all these emotions I'm feeling. What makes it worse is that they always look so happy together; whether their hands are linked, or whether they sit together with their heads slightly cocked towards the other, as though they had a secret only the both of them were in on. But worst of all was the fact that neither of them even needed to be in the same room to look as though she was the happiest woman alive. Whenever I saw Dana alone, she was always glowing. The same could be said of Lara, of course. And the both of them together… well… at times I found them too bright to look at.

I'd like to think that it is just the novelty of the relationship, and that once it has worn off Dana will come back to me, but Dana and Lara have been dating for almost six months – much longer than their first time. With Tonya, I think she just got caught up in the moment; got caught up in the Tonya Tornado, and she had fun and liked the woman. But she definitely didn't glow. And yes, with me Dana was happy, and she did love me (did she really, though?), but she never glowed like this. Even back then, I think I knew deep down that if Lara were to return one day, she would probably run back to her. I think that's why later on, when Lara returned as a chef at the Planet, I always felt wary and cautious whenever Dana was around her.

But now that I've had a couple of months to brew it over and get used to the pain, I see that Lara really was the only one who kept her happy, or who could keep her happy. Because I realize one thing about Dana now that I hadn't before: She needs to take her time with things. If you push too hard, make her uncomfortable somehow, you would lose her in an instant. And her whims and fancies fluctuated constantly; one moment, she wanted this, and another, that. Just like how she thought she wanted Tonya, and then me, but really the person she wanted all along was Lara.

Or maybe she doesn't even know that she doesn't want Lara. Maybe she'll only know when the next woman comes along and sweeps her off her feet. I'd like to think that I, Alice Pieszecki, could be that woman. After all, if Lara got a second try, then someday I might too, right? But then I look at them, laughing and smiling and giving each other sickeningly sweet glances, the way they lean into each other, and I know that it's wishful thinking.

And suddenly I realize that I still think Lara is really the only one I ever did approve of Dana dating. Of course, Dana never did date a lot – just Lara, and then Tonya, and then way before there was that tennis instructor she would only call "Ralph." Then there was me. But my love wasn't enough to keep her at my side, and I only now I realize it's not because I didn't love her enough. It was because I loved her too much; I think I always loved her more than she loved me – if she loved me romantically and not platonically at all. And the reason why Dana and Lara work, where they succeed where Dana and I failed at, is the pure and simple fact that Lara loves Dana as much as Dana loves Lara, and when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it all, that's the way relationships are supposed to work.

All the other stuff is a piece of cake.

The End

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