November 15, 2007
They sat illegally on the golf course hill as the sun went down and the bright, tacky, tourist attracting lights turned on below them. In the middle of October, the infamous heat of a Vegas summer was starting to fade and a heady breeze came off the course. Rosalie sighed and leaned against the grass. The object of her affection was so physically close yet romantically so far away.

Rosalie stood up. “I’m going back,” she announced and walked over to the fence separating Sarah’s yard and the golf course. The rest slowly stood, groaning as their young bodies, made sore by sports and lack of sleep, protested the movement.

Rosalie gritted her teeth as she observed her intimidating, potentially painful climb back over the chain-link fence. James came up behind her, chuckling softly.

“Want some help?” he asked. She nodded her assent and gasped, she hoped inaudibly, as he grasped her waist. Her head knew the touch meant nothing, but try telling that to her over stimulated nerves. His big, capable arms wrapped around her and she allowed herself, just for a moment, to imagine having them wrapped around her when the touch did mean something.

Safely in Sarah’s backyard, Rosalie sat down on the elevated terrace and tried to reign in her runaway fantasies. She reminded herself of the reality of the situation. James had a California-pretty, twenty year old girlfriend who wasn’t too smart. Rosalie was an old fashioned pretty. She belonged with Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. Guys didn’t like that anymore, nor did they like excessively intelligent, opinionated girls.

Rosalie was interrupted from her reverie by James’ weight, conveyed by his foot, crashing down on her hand. Rosalie impressed herself with the relative brevity and quietness of her resulting shriek.

In an instant, a bone deep ache settled into her hand and more momentously, James brought the crippled hand into his lips. She knew the touch meant nothing, but it didn’t matter. In that one brief contact all the careful distancing, the meticulous separation, the weeks of telling herself the painful truth came crashing down on her fragile psyche.

“Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Are you okay? I am so sorry. Oh my gosh,” he babbled, all the while keeping the injured appendage wrapped in his warm, calloused hands.

If Rosalie were proud of one thing, it was being able to control her emotions when it really counted. She pulled herself together and said, “I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.” It wasn’t fine and there was plenty to worry about, her hand the least of it, but he couldn’t know that. The people around them couldn’t know that. The possible consequences of someone finding out the depth of her feelings was something Rosalie didn’t not want to think about, so she forced herself to smile through the impending tears.

Rosalie went home early. She rummaged in the pantry until she found the chocolate that was always hidden behind the cereal. She went upstairs, closed the door, and turned on the stereo just loud enough to mask any noise she might make, and then she cried. She cried because she would never be thing, she would never be trendy; she would never look good in a miniskirt. She cried because those big, capable arms and warm calloused hands would never be hers.
She cried because she wanted what she would never have.

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