Re: [WAR XI] Breakeven
“Whoa! What was that all about?”
Cheren whirled around as the sudden voice startled him. He relaxed as he recognized the speaker—a spunky, blonde-haired girl with a bulbous green hat atop her head.
“Bianca,” he quickly regained composure, after reprimanding himself for being disappointed. Who had he expected? “You’re late, as usual.”
She sheepishly grimaced, “Yeah, real sorry about that. I was pretty tied up at the lab today. But, um… Where’s Zayna?”
She glanced about innocently—oblivious as always. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend a day in her little care-free world? Cheren mused with a grunt, sinking into a nearby bench.
“She’s gone,” he answered shortly, glowering out at the river. The lights from the Ferris wheel reflected on its teasing waves.
“You mean I missed her?” Bianca’s expression fell. Heaving an exaggerated sigh, she exclaimed, “Darn it! Next time, I should really—”
“There won’t be a next time.”
She scrunched up her face in bafflement. “Why do you say that?”
His next reply was just as curt: “She’s leaving.”
Her mouth opened for another question, but she stopped as she finally noticed how tense the young man was. Cautiously, she rounded the bench and took a seat next to her friend. With sincere concern, she gently asked, “Cheren? Is everything okay?”
No would have been the honest answer. The only girl he ever cared about had left him with nothing. How could he be okay? However, Cheren was too proud to admit that anything was wrong. He kept silent as he worked his jaw, wishing that Bianca would leave him be.
Of course, she would do anything but that. She considered his lack of response, and seemed to be putting things together in her head. “She’s going to go look for N, isn’t she?” she took a guess. She surmised the answer from the way Cheren stiffened at the mention of that name. With that, the rest of the pieces fell into place.
“You told her to stay, didn’t you?”
Cheren’s anger was forgotten for a moment as he glanced at the blonde in astonishment. How could she tell? He studied her thoughtfully for a moment, wondering if he had underestimated her before. Perhaps… she was smarter than he gave her credit for.
Taken off guard, the young man hoarsely began to confess, “I told her…”
He was unable to continue, but Bianca managed to finish for him after a moment of consideration.
“You told her how you felt about her.”
If Cheren had been shocked before, he was now utterly swept away by her perceptiveness. He stammered at her for a second or two before sputtering, “How…?”
She averted her eyes, releasing a saddened sigh. “I’ve known for a while now. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if you would ever get the nerve to say something to her,” she released a small guffaw, though there was little warmth in it. “I just… I’m sorry it came to this.”
The two of them sat in silence for a moment, listening to the excited chorus of the park’s visitors as they gallivanted to and fro. Cheren couldn’t help but feel jealous of their careless mirth, far removed from pain or sorrow. Sitting here, watching their joy from a distance… it was like a simile of his own life—he remained rooted in self-imposed misery while everyone around him gleefully found their place in the world. Was it his lot to miss out on the joys of life?
Bianca’s calm presence gradually doused the flames of anger eating at his conscious. She seemed content to just wait, not pressuring him into speaking. She only wanted to be there for him, when he was ready. Cheren had never really appreciated her in this light before. As ditzy as she could be, he realized he had found a good friend in her. With the bitterness draining away, the young man was left with only the dull ache in his chest.
“I…” he opened to speak for the first time. “I just don’t understand why she would do this. Leave everything behind… to go look for him.”
Bianca nodded, brows creasing. “It’s certainly not like her at all…” Giving him a cautious side-glance, she ventured, “Are you mad at her?”
He thought about it for a second before releasing a gust of air. Shaking his head, he explained, “I’m upset. But … I can’t stay mad at her.” Despite her rejection, he still felt something for her—and he wasn’t ready to let go of it yet.
His friend smiled at him in understanding. Placing a hand on his shoulder, she asked, “Are you going to be okay?”
“I don’t know,” he answered honestly, hanging his head. “I just… It hurts.”
The blonde kept her peace, encouraging him to go on.
“It’s… funny,” he laughed, though he actually saw no humor in the situation. “I always thought that the way heartbreak was depicted in movies and books was ridiculous. But… its real. It’s a real, physical, thing.”
Bianca nodded to every word he said, patting his shoulder with emphasis. “I know how it feels, Cheren,” she glanced away, suddenly becoming bashful. Color touched her cheeks as she finished, “When someone you like falls for someone… else…”
He glanced at her in puzzlement. How could she know? Happy, optimistic Bianca? Who never had a drop of trouble rain on her sunny life? But from the way her blush grew, the way she avoided his eye, he put two and two together. His eyes grew wide as he saw her in a completely new light.
“You mean… I… I didn’t realize.”
She laughed, cutting him off short. “Of course you didn’t. You know, for being such a smart guy, you can sure be clueless at times! But how could I blame you, with someone like Zayna around?” She quieted into a chuckle as she stared pensively at the stars overhead. “What a mess we’re in.”
Cheren followed her gaze, suddenly feeling a pang of guilt. He had never been the kindest to Bianca in the past. There had been times when she irritated him with her absentmindedness, and moments when he had lost his patience. But to discover that she had admired him nonetheless… Suddenly, Cheren felt like he had been placed in Zayna’s shoes.
“I’ve been a real jerk in the past, Bianca,” he confessed. “I apologize if… if I’ve ever hurt you. You never deserved it.”
“It’s okay, Cheren,” she grinned graciously at him. “I’ve found ways to move past all that. I came to terms with the fact that you like her more a long time ago. Really, I’m fine with it. I’ve realized that dwelling on these things won’t change anything. It’ll only make you more miserable, and there’s no reason to put yourself through that.”
Turning back to the fairgrounds, she continued with a glimmer in her eye, “I think our biggest goal in life should be happiness. But in order to get happiness, you have to work at it. It all depends on your actions, your attitude. I know that things might not always work out the way you want—bad stuff will happen and all—but you shouldn’t let that define who you are. You’re as happy as you want to be.”
“Could it really be that simple?” doubted Cheren, still waging war inside.
“Why should it be complicated?” her gaze returned to him. She pushed a loose strand of blonde hair behind her ear. “I know it hurts right now, Cheren, but… a broken heart doesn’t spell the end for you. You’re a great guy. I know that happiness is waiting for you out there.”
Cheren let her words sink in, marveling at how profound they were. Was she right? Could he move on from this heartbreak, despite how it tore at it soul? He wasn’t sure. The pain was too deep to ignore, to thorough in its torment. But… perhaps, he could try. What more did he have to lose?
“…You are a remarkable person. I hope you know that.”
She giggled, “Well, I’ve been told.”
“…Thanks. For having my back.”
“You’re welcome, Cheren.” She leaned her back against the bench as she quietly whispered again, “You’re welcome.”
"Cuz when a heart breaks, it don't breakeven..."
Last edited by Charmander009; 07-29-2012 at 02:38 AM.