Played

         And then it all made perfect sense.  He had been played, played for a fool.  He sat there and let it all sink in.  All this time, the lies, the deceit, disguised as we’re just friends, he’s just helping with marketing, I don’t feel that way about him.  All…fucking…lies.  Lies so she wouldn’t hurt him, so she wouldn’t feel guilty.

         He trusted her, he believed her.  What a fool.  Right under his nose, right under his roof.  He thought back to the suspicious behavior; how she hesitated when she said his name, how he avoided eye contact when he was around, kept his distance.

         This…entire…fucking…time.

         He let it sit there, let it consume him, let it smolder until it burst into a flame, a white-hot flame that burned throughout his body, burning up his feelings for her, burning it ALL up.  He let the fire rage throughout his body, let it scorch his heart, let it scorch his soul, burning away the deception; none of it had been real.  Nothing she said.  Nothing she felt.

         The fire was excruciatingly painful, but he didn’t cry out; he didn’t even wince.  He sat stoically as it did its job.  He had been through hell before, this was nothing in comparison, just a process, just something that needed to be done.  The world had enough ugliness in it, it didn’t need memories of a lie lurking around in its shadows.

         Everything inside his body turned to black as the fire raged on, doing its work.  This moment gone, that moment no more.  Everything he ever believed was special about her, about their love, about their union was taken over by the inferno and burned away until there was nothing left.  He didn’t need them anymore.  He didn’t want them anymore.  He was making room for something real; words that were actually meant, not just said repeatedly so she would believe them.  LOVE that came from the heart, that came from the soul.  A love that stood the test of time, a love that was willing to do whatever it took to do so.  He understood the power in words, he used them with purpose, not fleetingly.  He understood what it meant to love with his entire being, even if it was never to be returned.  That’s what was real.  That’s what he craved, he deserved.

         The inferno grew in intensity, almost becoming unbearable, but you would never know by looking at him, never know what was going on inside, except for the flames dancing around in those beautiful, blue eyes of his.  He let it burn hotter and hotter, not holding back, never holding back. 

       And then, it was over.

  Everything was gone.  The memories, the moments, the words, the love.  Everything that had ever been dear to his heart, dear to his soul; ALL except for one…small…flame.  The flame he had been keeping alive all this time.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

         He blew it out.

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