A/N: For Leslie, who read through it for me and helped me with a title. Thank you love!
I ABHOR Ted/Vic, so the fact that I wrote this piece is really quite odd. Although it's not particularly flattering to a certain man. Dominique is, after all, the voice speaking.
"I'd rather hurt than feel nothing at all."
I wonder if you look up expecting someone else when I slide into our usual place at the diner. Could you really be expecting her? She would never come somewhere like here, with its peeling plastic seats and cracked Formica tables with scratched aluminium edging. But I scoot across the worn red seat, lifting my thigh across a tear, reaching for my menu already knowing what I’ll order. Still – I think for a moment that a light goes out of your eyes when I greet you loudly. She is quiet and proper, her voice a lilting cadence I could never copy. My laughter is loud as the bells in the church down the street, not sweet as the tinkling silver bells on Maman’s tree at Christmas. When you close your eyes to listen, do you hear her speaking instead?
It seemed impossible when you smiled down at me, all those months ago, and asked me if I would like to go to dinner. And then you kissed my cheek good night and asked if you could see me again. For so many years I had waited for this moment – dreamed of it – without ever actually expecting it to happen. You were meant to be hers, everyone knew that. So who was I, expecting you to love me?
Is this love? I say I love you – not out loud yet I am certain that you hear. But you only ever smile and kiss me, brushing my hair behind my ear. I don’t hear I love you in that gesture. It certainly isn’t there. Is it? No, it cannot be.
But I invite you inside anyway, inside with me and my fragile heart and my doubts.
I spent years mooning after a boy who loved my sister – my perfect sister. Now I have him in my arms, in my bed, his mouth on mine and his hands on me. But doubts assail me; they drown me as surely as his arms lift me up. Why me? Why now? When her memory is surely fresh and I, although just a little, must remind him of her. And I wonder if it is guilt I see in your eyes.
I wonder who you see when you look at me. Is it my own brown eyes and strawberry hair? Or is it electric blue eyes and hair as pale as moonbeams? I am tall and coltish with gangly limbs and graceless movements. Do you feel her petite, slender form in your arms and feel the graceful motion of her limbs twine with yours? Is it the softness of her lips you that ghost across your skin, or do you feel my slightly chapped ones? Everyone knows you always loved her, since we were children together, running in the gardens. I always climbed the trees but you chased her behind the rose bushes. I remember sitting on a branch staring down at you both, because you had forgotten I was there.
And my heart breaks.