- - -Part 7- - -

Home was the one place Ally really & truly felt comfort. Her room was her own little world, and Renee was a nice addition when Ally felt particularly lonely. Her walls knew more about her than anyone – even she herself – did. Now, her walls were about to witness something unbelievable and transforming…

Who doesn’t hate the annoying ring of the doorbell when it’s absolutely the very last thing you want to hear? Exactly. So Ally’s frustration at the loathed “ding” was understandable. Renee walked past her into her room with a pile of papers, and Ally was left to face the midnight guest alone. Opening the door, she had a strange feeling she’d do something that would require a lot of strength, and upon laying eyes on what stood in front of her, she understood her feelings were correct.

Surprisingly even to herself, she didn’t fall over. She didn’t faint. And, most importantly, she didn’t want him anymore.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, almost impatiently.
“May I come in?” he answered with a question.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t get to that…” she let out a sarcastic smile. She didn’t even want to question him about his behaviour, she just wanted him to leave – preferably out the window.
“Please. Be my guest. How much of my time will you waste?”
“How much do you have?”
“Time’s up. Goodbye.”
“Ally! You don’t want to lie to yourself…”
“And, apparently, neither do you…”
“I know my name, thank you…”
“If you want to-“
“And what if I *don’t* want to?”
“…We really need to talk…”
“No, we don’t. We’ve done enough talking to last us a lifetime. Go talk to what’s-her-face…”

Silence. Ally, though set on being strong, felt a knot forming in her throat. He was standing there, under the dim light, and she felt her knees tremble… This was just going to be too hard. She couldn’t handle it. She was almost ready to forgive him for everything right then & there, but she was determined to keep her dignity – or at least part of it.

“Look…” she finally managed to say. “Whether or not this conversation could lead to anything – I don’t know. You seem to be able to sway anyone with sad eyes & a soft voice, but I-“
“I’m ready to give up everything – Jenny, David, my job…”

Silence. Ally’s knees stopped trembling. The knot dissolved, her mind became clear.

“Now, if you hadn’t said that last phrase, MAYBE I could’ve tolerated you for lunch tomorrow. But you - rushing to give up everything, even your CHILD – for me… Well, it makes a sad sight. And the thought that you could give up ME in the future for something a tad nicer is even sadder. I can’t – and won’t – accept your offer. Goodbye.”

She closed the door in his face, quietly. A sense of relaxation and serenity rushed over her. So she said goodbye to someone who’d been such a huge part of her life before – so what? He wasn’t worth the time she’d wasted. She was determined to be smarter in the future, to think twice before allowing herself to be seduced into a mistake. But she still felt she’d have to experiment – and let a few more buckets of tears drop – because, if it weren’t for that, she wouldn’t be herself. She needed time, no doubt, and she needed to think more… But in the end, she had an acute sense that everything would be alright. It would all turn out for the better…

“I mean, look at Nelle & John…” she told Renee over their traditional midnight snack – ice cream, “… they’ve been through a tough break-up, several months of caustic remarks, 2 years without noticing each other and voila! In love all over again…”

“Aahhh, yes… the ever-famous “I hate him – I love him” act…” Renee smirked.
“Come on… She’s nice… sometimes…”
“When she sleeps…”
Both laughed. Life wasn’t over QUITE yet. They could still laugh, and they still had their dreams. The hope that they would one day come true was what was fueling their lives… as long as they had all of that, and examples set by the surrounding world, they’d be OK. Ally was sure of that. And until she’d catch hold of her One & Only to spend the evenings with, she had her friends – the people she couldn’t imagine life without. Her journey was only beginning. She’d have a hand to hold while approaching the end of it, she was sure. But that was still so far away… She had to live in the present. She was convinced that, after facing all she’s been through, she could face anything. That was exactly what was so unique about her – with the strength she had, she could still allow herself to be weak. And it felt nice…

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

… So maybe David & I weren’t meant to be. Maybe we were. He has my number. If he calls, he calls. If he doesn’t, I won’t kill myself over it. Maybe Billy was right – maybe I *don’t* know what love is. The only explanation I can come up with is the banale “two souls intertwining” crap… But love, in all its grandeur, is so much more, and I’m beginning to understand that – and, what’s more important, accept it… It’s falling asleep to the sound of his voice… It’s giving in to whatever because his touch, his eyes are more than you can endure… It’s admitting all your faults, silently, to the one person who’d be able to accept them all… Have I been in love? Of course. Have I been loved? Of course. But not every love ends happily ever after… Though, you know, I like to think they all do… I’ll survive heartbreak, but I won’t give up my dreams…

- - - The End - - -