"Marley! Marley!"

Jamie is calling to me. But I can't see where she is.


"Marley! Over here."

Jamie is peering in the back window, her wavy, brown hair blowing in the night breeze.


I rise from where I had collapsed on the floor, going over to the window.

"Is it... is it really you?"

I look at her carefully. Really, I'm stunned to see her here.

She sighs.

"Your favorite color is mauve, you like your toast buttered on both sides, and Ursula creeps you out. Need I go on?" she says, giving a small smirk.

"It is you!"

I reach through the window and embrace her tightly, feeling warm pools gathering in my eyes.

"Jamie...oh, Jamie..."

"Shhh. It's ok, baby. I'm here now."

"Why did you leave me?" I ask harshly.

She strokes my hair and just holds me for a minute, swaying back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Finally, she says, "It's... complicated. Can I come in?"

I stand back up.

"Yeah, of course."

I grab Jamie's hand and help her through the window. She lands on the carpet like a delicate princess, then pads softly over to Matrix. He's still lying unconscious on the floor. She runs a soft hand over his face and brushes some hair from his eyes. Then she gently picks him up. I watch her carry him over to the couch and set him down.

"There ya go, Trixy," she whisperes, squeezing his hand.

She looks over at me and frowns.

"You're hurt, too."

"No, I'm fine," I lie. But I know I can't hide anything from Jamie.

She gives me a glance reminiscent of an x-ray and plainly states, "No, you're not."

I know she sees my innards, my soul. She can sense one of my lies from a mile away. And she's the only one who could ever see past them without trying.


"I know."

Jamie glances around the living room.

"Not much has changed."

I look around, too. The walls are an odd periwinkle color that reminds me of ice on a winter day. And the air reeks of smoke and booze. The furniture is a hodge-podge of garage sales and antique stores, arranged in such a way as to make it look like it's a normal living room. But I know it's not. It's a cave, complete with pit and pendulum alike.

I then turn my gaze back to Jamie. I've always though she was so beautiful, with her dark, wavy hair and satiny skin. She looks so delicate, almost like an angel. It's strange to be here with her again, as if nothing has happened, as if she'd never even run away.

Jamie finally returns my gaze. Her eyes are shimmering as she strokes the wooden arm of one of our couches.

"I miss this place..." she whispers.

And I know the words are coming straight from her heart.

"Then why did you leave?"

"Marley, it wasn't my choice. Trust me, I never wanted to leave."

"But you did!"

I clench my hands into fists and my sides and hold back the tears forming in my eyes. Months of hurt, of wondering, come rushing back to me.

"Just... just tell me why," I plead.

"If I told you, you'd hate me. You might not even believe me."

"Jamie! Tell me!"

I'm hot with frustration now, although it doesn't seem to bother Jamie. She sits down on the couch and closes her eyes, absent-mindedly braiding her hair.

"Marley, you're not the only one who'd upset."

"What do you mean?"

She opens her dark eyes and looks up at me.

"You used to tell me everything, back when we were kids. But... I feel like we've kinda grown apart. And before I left, you just stopped telling me anything."

She braids up to the ends of her hair, then combs her fingers through and starts over.

"Jamie... that's so not true!"

"It is, Marley."

This time Jamie ties off her braid with an elastic. Then she stands up.

"Look, I gotta get going. You should get some sleep," she says, resting a hand on my shoulder.

As she heads for the window again, I ask, "Where are you going?" I do not move to help her through this time, nor do I try to stop her.

She pauses and glances back at me.

"I don't know. Maybe you'll figure it out someday."

And with that, she's gone. A small star lost in the black cloak of night. Will I ever see her again? It's a though I hate to think.

The End

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