My Casey, it felt so good to write for her today and writing flashbacks for her life was how she got started. Oh the feels.

Pretending Isn’t Working Anymore

Was he kidding?

He expected her to take him back, to be happy about it. To smile and love him and pick up where they left off. Where he left off.

He was the one who left. No letter, no call, no word. He just vanished off and she let him go. If he wanted to be there, if he wanted to be hers then he would be. He would stay. He would love her. But he vanished.

“I needed to clear my head. I needed to work things out.”

“It’s okay. I understand.”

And there it was. Her fake smile because she had missed him. She had loved him. She had wanted him back. And for the shining moment, love was everything.

Only it wasn’t. After that initial excitement wore off, that euphoria of a long-awaited kiss. Of being in his arms again. Of being loved. After it wore off she was left feeling…little.

Minutes passed and then hours and then days and he expected her to still love him and keep smiling and just forgive everything. She tried to talk to him, he did not want to hear it. There was the unspoken threat that if she made waves he would vanish into the mountains again and she would be left waiting in pain for him to return.

But her smile was cracking and it was not love she was feeling it was pain and it was anger. That was what he had left her with every single time he had vanished. That was what she was left with.

“I don’t want to talk about it. Come here. I want to feel you in my arms.”

“No! You want to see me smiling but you’re going to have to see me hurting. I can’t do this. I cannot keep doing this. You want all the happy with none of the bad and that is not how love works.”

“I love you, you know I love you. I’m sorry. Please, I just want things how they were.”

“No. I can’t keep pretending everything is okay when it isn’t.”

“Do you still love me?”

“I don’t know.”

Yes, she knew. She just did not want to say. That was pretending though, wasn’t it? She knew. She had known for a long time. Love is love is love is love is love. But not all love is the same. This wasn’t the love she thought it was. This wasn’t love at all. It might have been some kind of love but it had been mixed up in other things and now her head was clear.

He had cleared it for her.

No, she did not still love him. She did not want him. She did not need him. That was the big one. She did not need him. She had needed him and that need had been the love. She needed to be loved. She needed to be wanted. She needed to be healed.

She no longer needed that from him. He could not heal her. He could not love her.

She could not love him.

So, Casey left. There was no goodbye. No letter, no call, no nothing. She simply got into the car with Uncle Trent and knew that was it. She was done.

“I’m proud of you, Cas.”

“You are?”

“He was never good for you but you had to be the one to work it out.”

“It’s still hard, though.”

“Life always is, kiddo.”

“So, it won’t get suddenly easier?”

A shadow passed over Trent’s face but Casey did not see it. He squeezed her hand and it was tighter than she expected.

Life would be hard and Trent wished he could take it all away from her. She thought leaving Danny behind was hard. It was going to be nothing compared to what the young girl would face now.

He would do anything at all to take it away from her. But the fates are always hardest on those that could shine the brightest. It would be up to Casey if she came out of her trials whole.

But in that moment, Casey felt good. She felt free.

Danny would never hear the words or know the truth but she smiled as she looked out the car window.

“I’m free. And I’m not looking back. It was good and it was bad and it’s done. I won’t cry for you again. I’m free.”

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