As she marched down the hall, she thought of what life would’ve been like if she’d never met Greg. Sure, she’d made herself promise she wouldn’t think of him, but that thought came naturally, and she wanted to explore it a little further, dig in a little deeper… Really, what would it have been like?

There’d be no heartbreak, no tears, no faded dreams, no torn reality. No waking up in the middle of the night with no one to hold on to but a stupid vinyl doll and a soft, but totally useless pillow. But there could’ve been… there *could’ve* been someone else. Only he wasn’t there when she needed him the most… “…and now the bastard is dead.” She thought to herself. She smirked, knowing she didn’t really mean it. She loved him. Okay, so he betrayed her… He lied to her… Yes, it was eons ago, and they’d grown to be best friends all over again, but still – lies remain lies. And after all of that, how DARE he die?! And leave her all alone – AGAIN! All alone, trying to face the cruel world… All alone, trying to fight everyone, trying to fight herself…

Well, *that* was just plain SELFISH of him. And even NOW, being dead, he couldn’t be bothered to appear at *least* once an era. He ruined her life, and now he refuses to help her get back on track…

“Is that really what you think?” he asked her, looking straight at her with dark brown eyes.
Ally almost fell over backwards. “Sorta…” she finally mumbled, looking down.
“YES or NO, Ally?”
“So I’m to blame for your unhappy life?”
[Okay, how was she supposed to reply to *that* one?]
“AM I?” he repeated his question.
“I dunno…” Ally let out after a deep breath.
“Ally, darling, stop looking for someone to place all of the blame on. Take control of your own life! Don’t just sit around and wait for the perfect prince to land on your doorstep one fine day, go out and MAKE it happen!”

[He was RIGHT. He was DEAD, a bastard and most of all – he was RIGHT. Ally couldn’t STAND it when he was right… which was every damn time.]

“Look, Billy…” she finally started.
“Do you regret your life?” he cut her off.
“No.” she answered immediately.
“Good. So what’s the matter?”
“I just…” Ally felt a knot tying up in her throat. She was NOT going to end up crying in front of a ghost in a hotel.
“You just what?”

He said it so softly and he sounded so caring she was sure she’d end up sobbing. This was too much to bear…
“… I just… I still had hope that things would be alright. But now the hope is gone. Moreover, YOU’RE gone, and so is Greg. And David still hasn’t proved to be too trustworthy…”
“Greg’s not gone.” came a simple response.


“He’s not.” Billy faded away.

She didn’t understand anything… Greg was absolutely gone. She was sure of it…
“… and maybe,” she thought, “this vacation WILL turn out horrible.”

She kept on walking down the hall, to her room, trying to calm herself down. Yet somewhere inside she felt something was about to go terribly wrong. She was about to make another big mistake, one she would regret forever. But she had no idea of *what* it would be, so she had no way of preventing it. “Let it be…” she finally thought. She’d already made enough mistakes in her life, one more wouldn’t hurt.
She unlocked first the top lock, then the bottom one. As she stepped inside, she felt the warmth of the room wrap around her. Then she lifted her eyes…

“Hi”, something said softly, but Ally’s ears were too stuffed to hear it. Her heart was pounding, everything before her eyes went black. “Maybe this is what it feels like to die…” she thought, the last thought that ran through her brain before she completely blanked out.

Her head was throbbing. Every breath she took was difficult and rough. She tried to find strength to open her eyes, but was unsuccessful. “I’m probably *already* dead…” she finally thought, the first thought in hours. When she finally did open her eyes, she let out such a yelp she was sure it could be heard back in Boston.

She was lying on the bed, and sitting next to her was the most horrible and cruel and mean and… “…gorgeous and…” she thought, but cut herself off. He *wasn’t* gorgeous, she decided in a split second. At least not for now… she couldn’t let herself think of him as gorgeous NOW.

“Calm down…” he said, and Ally noticed that the aroma of coffee & vanilla blended together coming from him was… she searched for the right word for what seemed like a long time, but the only thing that came into her mind was “wonderful”. Why was it wonderful? It *wasn’t* wonderful. It *couldn’t* be wonderful. And even if it could, it *shouldn’t* be wonderful. This is the man that screwed up her love life, how could he be wonderful?

And yet he was.

She couldn’t believe he was here. She lifted herself with great caution from the bed and carefully walked over to the other side of the room. He remained seated…

“You really shouldn’t be here…” Ally said, looking down.

What a stupid question, Ally thought. Gee, which of the thousand reasons did he want?
“I don’t want to see you here right now, okay?” [could ANYTHING be farther from the truth?]
“No, it’s not okay. You gotta give me something more than that.”
The bastard. The wonderful, gorgeous bastard. Ally hated men like that, yet couldn’t help but love them.

“B-because…” she started… “Because it’s wrong.” [“Smart one, Ally Marie. That’s a WONDERFUL reason!…” she thought, and dripped with sarcasm at herself.]

“Then how come it feels so right?”

Ally was lucky she was standing next to a table – if it hadn’t been for that, she probably would’ve ended up on the ground for the third time that day. Before she could think of anything to say, he already walked over to her and ran his fingers through her hair, cupping her cheek.

Ally’s heart skipped a few beats, and her insides jumped.
Why did he have to be so damn sexy? And so nice? And so… so ENGAGED?! She pondered whether he really meant what he said, or whether he just wasn’t getting any at home and came over to “swap gravy” for free.

Her thoughts raced – “Should I?” “Shouldn’t I?” She was lost, confused and…

…falling in love all over again. It was amazing what this man’s simple touch could do…
“This is insane…” she thought. She knew perfectly well where it was going...

Then, something happened. Some part of her awoke, a part she doubted even existed, and then…

…then she made her decision. She gave in. This wasn’t Ally McBeal the Hurt Lamb anymore, this was Ally McBeal the Woman. The Lover. And if a man – a man, she decided in a second, whom she still loved – made advances at her, she wasn’t about to pull back and reject it.
She couldn’t believe herself. An hour ago, she hated this man’s guts. And now…

Now she transformed. She underwent a metamorphosis that made her forget everything he’d done in the past. Every night she lay awake, trying to hold back tears because of him. Of course she considered *him* guilty of everything, not herself… But now, at that moment, she forgot everything. She decided to live by the present, not the past.
And the present was rapidly unveiling its beauty. Ally smiled. The perspective of making an awful mistake was too intriguing to pass up…

The soft, golden rays of sunlight slowly crept into the room, chasing away the darkness, the cruelty and the mistake. Yes, The Mistake was gone – got up early, got dressed and just left. No note, no good-bye, nothing. “Cowardly bastard…” she thought with disgust, rolling over but too lazy to open her eyes as she damned him over and over again. Then something hit her – maybe this was for the best. “Yes, yes, it is…” she tried to convince herself, making a huge effort to ignore the tears welling in her eyes. Not only did the rays of sun chase away darkness, they also chased away dreams. And Ally was left to face reality alone…

Reality was ugly. She cheated on a wonderful guy who didn’t do anything bad to her but meet her (and YES, Ally *blamed* him for that… if it weren’t for him, she would never feel *so* guilty about what had happened)… AND she was left alone… AND she managed to fall in love – AGAIN. Damn. Would ANYTHING *ever* go right? Would *anyone* ever stick by her but her friends in Boston?…

“Oh!” she almost yelped. Boston! Exactly! She wanted to go home. She cursed herself for sticking around for so long, she should’ve caught the last plane that night after the concert. But maybe…

Maybe this is how it was intended to be. Maybe this was the mistake she was *supposed* to make. Maybe it’s for the best – and maybe it’s best he didn’t stay. She wasn’t even sure she could face him after what happened – she felt guilty, but didn’t know *why*. Not that she cared, actually… she knew the feeling of guilt would fade, inevitably, with time. And she was fine with that.

She stood up and picked up her coat, searching for a Kleenex to dab her eyes. As she lifted it by the sleeve, a small card fell out of the side pocket.

“David,” she breathed out. Damn…

The easiest, fastest and least painful thing to do was run. Run from everything. Run from reality. She didn’t have any trouble doing that – she’d been doing it for years.
Running was easy. Facing problems was difficult. And her nerves were in no condition to face ANYTHING right then. So she ran…
She ran out of her room, past the bellman carrying her suitcases. She ran out onto the street and caught a cab. She ran past the millions of people at O’Hare, bought a ticket and ran to the gate.
She finally slowed down. She didn’t have anything else to run from. There were thousands of total strangers here, people she’d never meet nor did she particularly want to.
Ally finally got what she was running to. She was running to loneliness. It was the safest state of mind. Being lonely, she could never hurt anyone, nor could anyone hurt her. She was isolated from the world, placed in her own cubicle where she could live life like she wanted to, independent of anyone else.

Being safe & lonely could only bring one thing – tears.

- - -End of Part 5- - -
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