DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to me and are products of my own warped imagination. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. I've tried to keep it clean.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Let Love Endure
By R.D.Wylder


This had always been her favorite time of day. There was something about the quiet solitude that drew her. She was a writer, a good one at that, and she had always held the view that her talent lay in some murky recess of her heart; a place that was only safe to visit when she could palm off the emotions on one of her characters. Perhaps that was why she felt comforted by the coming darkness; it hid so much, just as she did.

A lonely gull called out above, seeking more of its kind. She could sympathize, but not right now. She did not long for company in this hour. The beach was practically deserted and the few errant joggers paid her no heed; a fact she was supremely grateful for. She wanted nothing more than to be alone with her jumbled thoughts. The gentle lapping at her toes reminded her of kinder times and the tears that came to her eyes had nothing to do with the sting of the salty air. Maybe she could lose herself in the icy water. Maybe it could crash into her soul and wash away all memories of betrayal.

What else was there now? What was once a home had become nothing more than a house. Windows and doors and steel now existed where laughter and happiness had once played hand in hand. Those were gone now, lost in an unhappy convergence of a lover's fevered coupling and an ill-timed attempt at surprise. Fifteen seconds was all it took for her to realize what she had walked in on, and fifteen seconds later she felt her world crumble and die.

There had been lies and now there were tearful apologies…apologies that she just could not accept, not when the trust she had so patiently built had been tortured and murdered. She had burned the sheets and watched as the ashes of what she thought was her happily-ever-after were lost in a sharp gust of wind. What else was there now? Nothing. Nothing to hope for. Nothing to live for.

A soft thud at her feet pulled her out of her musings and she uttered a mirthless laugh as she looked down. How many times had she seen this exact thing in the movies? It was a bottle, or more correctly a message in a bottle. She could see a worn piece of paper through the tinted green glass as she picked it up. Not knowing why, she uncapped it and drew out the rolled sheet. She half expected some banal greeting; the 'we were here' of the high seas; and was slightly surprised to find a neatly written letter. Her curiosity was peaked, in spite of the emotions warring inside her, and she sat down to read in the dimming light.

My Dearest Friend,

I know this must seem an odd form of communication in this day and age, but I have come to believe in the beauty of simplicity. It is a beauty that I find sadly lacking. I should stop myself before I ramble on…I do that sometimes. My purpose is simple and, I hope, beautiful. I want to tell you a story. It is a story of love, and loss, and longing. Will you listen? Please say that you will.

I did not know that I would grow to love her when I first met her. Perhaps if I did, I could have attempted to fight my own destiny. But fate doesn't let you play those games without changing the rules. That is her cruel legacy. I doubt I would have won had I even been able to try.

I knew, you see. From that very first moment, I knew that she was special. I knew that I was drawn to her, but my heart belonged to another so I paid her no heed. I have never been fickle with my affections and when I pledge my heart, it is a promise you can be sure I intend to honor. But my love, she needed another, and the heart that once sang in her presence now lay broken.

It was then that she stepped into the pieces. I never thought that I would be able to feel again. I never thought that I would be brave enough to let anyone take care of my wounds. I never thought that I would ever again feel desire in the pit of my stomach. She made me. Her easy smile; her gentle laughter; her slender body: they all drew me and I knew that I was hopelessly lost.

I didn't want to be lost. I knew that she didn't feel the same way; that she didn't love as I did. I knew it…but did I really? I couldn't be imagining the tenderness in stolen glances, could I? It wasn't mere imagination that made the rest of the world fall away when we were together, was it? She held my hand; she rested her body against mine, and I had the slightest glimmer of hope. Perhaps somewhere inside, locked away in a place that even she didn't know existed, this amazing woman held some stirring of feelings for me.

That would have been enough…even if I never got to kiss her lips…even if I never got to hold her in a lover's embrace. Just to know that she loved me, even a little, would have been enough. I convinced myself that wasn't too much to ask. Surely it wasn't? Maybe it was.

I never got my declaration. She found someone, and a part of me died to know that I heard it from someone else. It would have been easier, less cruel, if I had heard the words from her. Still, I hid my hurt. Maybe I thought I would look less foolish if she didn't know the depths of my feelings for her, but she knew. Somewhere along the line, she figured it out. And it scared her, because maybe I had figured out what hid in her eyes when she looked into mine. It lay there between us; two people who knew what to say but not how to say it.

She told me that she was getting married and I smiled. I answered that I was happy for her, and that I would be there if she ever needed anything. In my mind, I made a promise that she would never see me cry. It is one promise that I have kept. I was asked to attend, and I wondered why. I should have felt flattered, but I knew that I would not have been offended to have not been asked. She knew, perhaps not how strongly, but she knew how I felt about her. Did she really think that I was strong enough to watch her walk away? There was only so much I could take.

They wanted to celebrate. I wanted to die. They wanted one last "girls' night out." I wanted to fall sleep and never wake up. She had brought me back to life, only to twist the knife again. They won. No one knew of my love for her. They all expected me to be happy, and who was I to disappoint them? She was happy. I couldn't begrudge her that…it was all that mattered.

She looked beautiful that night; more beautiful than I had ever seen her. If she could have felt the heat from my eyes, she would have burned alive. I watched her on the dance floor, and no other woman could have taken my eyes off of her. I had my fair share of requests, and declined them all. She owned me, as she had from the beginning. The frantic beat died down and a slow song started playing. She looked right at me then, and beckoned me. I looked around, sure that there was someone else behind me. There wasn't, and I felt myself start to move on wooden legs.

A last dance. That was what this was to be, and we both knew it. They cheered us on, our friends and colleagues, not knowing what burned in the air between us. I wish I could remember the words of that song, but her body molded into mine and all I could feel were the smoldering stretches of skin on skin. She moved against me and I briefly wondered if she knew what she was doing to me, then her breath caught as I trailed my fingers down her back and I had my answer. She could never be mine, but some part of her wanted to. I saw it in her eyes, just as I knew she read desire in mine. But there were other things in her eyes as well…sadness; a certainty of what would never be; a determination to be what everyone else wanted her to be. She leaned in, and relief and disappointment warred within me when she did not brush my lips.

Did I want her? Yes, yes and yes again. I could keep saying it until my throat refused to work anymore, and still it wouldn't be enough to convey just how much I wanted her. When her lips touched my cheek, my whole body froze. Rational thought ceased to exist and, for that one brief moment, my mind became a blackened void. And then it was over. The world started turning again and she looked, for all intents and purposes, as though nothing had happened. But that wasn't entirely true. There was something in her eyes, the tiniest flicker, as though she too was wondering what had compelled her to kiss my face. I will never know what drove her to action…I have never mustered up the courage to ask.

I watched the woman that I love walk down the aisle to another. I knew that there were no thoughts of me in her head. To her, the reality of what might have existed between us was nothing more than an unwanted dream; a shadow that she could exile with the light of her marriage. To her, I was once more that which I had been over a year before…just a friend. It was the one thing I could no longer stand to be.

I know you are waiting. You're waiting for me to tell you how it all worked out for the best and that I've found my one true love. I have not. Love has still eluded me. But she is out there. She is lingering somewhere, perhaps wondering where I am and when I will finally step into her life. I will find her…of that I am sure…and I will know her, for she will make me whole again. We will make each other whole. That is my wish…my conviction…my hope. What else is there but hope? Hope…and love. Love may not thrive and it may not flourish but, in the face of uncertainty, love endures.

Why am I writing this? For you. Maybe I am foolish in thinking that anyone will care. Perhaps you're reading this right now and you are laughing at my naivety. Or perhaps my words carry a small bit of truth at a time when all that you believe in has faded into lies. It doesn't matter. All I know is that what I have to say must be said. Live. Laugh. But, above all, let love endure.


Sienna Mallory

The light was fading rapidly by the time she was done. She had barely been able to make out the last few words, but she had, and it stirred a part of her that she had thought imprisoned. The tears that fell this time were not those of desolation. She almost lovingly caressed the imperfect edges of the perfect letter, and wondered how many hands other than her own had discovered its depths.

Who was Sienna Mallory? What had compelled her to share her deepest feelings with the world in such a manner? Whoever she was, she was a remarkable woman to be capable of such love and such hope. Nothing that she had ever wrote could compare to the simple letter she held in her hands now. She was tempted to keep it; to lock it away and keep it safe; to guard it with her life like the treasure it was.

She slowly got up and dusted the grains of sand from her clothes. In the distance, she could just make out a couple, walking hand in hand, and she smiled. She remembered when love was new and there was nothing else. She rolled the paper and put it back into the bottle, taking care to cover it securely. Then she drew back her arm and watched as it sailed through the air. For one fleeting moment, it rode the crest of a wave and then it was gone. She stayed for a minute longer, hoping to catch another glimpse. Then she turned back the way she came and started walking.

The pain of the past seemed to ebb somehow. There were things to do…calls to make. She was real…Sienna Mallory was real. She existed somewhere. She hurt somewhere. She loved somewhere. Perhaps it was futile, but she had to know. She had to look into those eyes just once. She would search, and she would find her, and maybe…just maybe…she would regain her hope.

The End.

Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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