As It Ever Was

by Silvia Kundera

Pete knows how the story goes, and it doesn't go like this.

He's a good guy. Well-rounded. A true lover of the female form. A pretty decent friend. A more than decent friend, really, when you get down to it. He thinks he might even be an advocate for interstellar peace and goodwill, with minimal tug and stretch.

So. It's not that he isn't getting a happy ending.

It's not that he doesn't deserve it.

It's that, well, it doesn't go like this.

It doesn't go like her, with her sad eyes and perfect everything and all that Clark had ever dared to want and Pete had never considered.

Thought, yes, of her small hands and sweet, warm smell, and her pink mouth when the guys spoke of it four beers in. But never considered, because there was no place for her anywhere he was going, because she was never getting out of this town, because she kept saying that she would, and Lana was lousy at promises.

She's gotten better.

She's gotten tired, and it looks good on her.

She's gotten him, and they're getting out together, apparently, because she's in his lap and her face is tucked into his neck and she loves him and she told him so months and months ago, and he said it back, and they didn't apply to the same schools but he's promised to find her anyway, and he's great with promises.

He's had practice.

He can keep anything by now, even a happy ending from himself. He can let it sneak up over him, under him, through him, before he has the chance to object.

It doesn't seem like his but it's happened, it did, and they're here and the world went mad, utterly mad back in sophomore year, so he can't be surprised. That's all used up.

He's been doing a lot of sitting, since afterwards.

Not a lot of thinking, but sitting. It feels nice.

He can sit, and mumble, "This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife," and say it out loud, louder than he meant to, and she can lift her face to smile with all her teeth, and think, perhaps, that the story was written for her, they all are, and it goes how the princess wants, if she's very, very earnest.

She can say, "I love that song."

She can kiss him like breathing -- kiss him until he forgets that he should be doing and lives.

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Silvia Kundera

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