DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Demeter


All her life has been about commitment, first to her studies and career, then to her family, to keep together what's left of the latter. What she got in return was betrayal, threading through her world like a mistake in the fabric, cheaper for sale.

Alicia has handled the cameras, the looks and the talk behind her back, but the day she finds out that the secrets run even deeper it's the last straw.

She has tried to maintain an illusion of normalcy for her children only to find out that they have lied to her all the time. It's the end of all delusion and the moment she starts not feeling so bad about the lingering fantasy, a temptation denied so far.

But if everybody she has loved and cared about has lied to her, how can she have any regrets at all?

She slips her skirt back on, buttons her blouse. Her jacket is hanging over a chair, her pumps sitting underneath. Lastly she picks up her bag and leaves the room, pauses in the doorway to the kitchen, hesitating.

Kalinda stands leaning against the counter, coffee mug in hand, her expression carefully neutral.

"Good morning. Want some coffee?"

Alicia studies her, remembering how she came here last night, confused, angry and disappointed, seeking shelter, because she felt that Kalinda was the closest thing she had to a friend. It turned out that she had enough time to think to neatly put her clothes aside and still want to cross the line of what separated friends from who they are now.

She feels light, the heavy burden of a responsibility not entirely asked for finally lifted off her shoulders. "Of course." Alicia sets down the bag, then she walks over to Kalinda and kisses her softly goodbye. "Thank you," she says, and it's understood that she's not talking about coffee.

Kalinda just smiles. "You're welcome."

Maybe just once, Alicia thinks, she'd like a commitment without the lies. Maybe, this is it.

The End

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