No Lonelier Place by Amanda Arlequin Disclaimer: The characters in this story are from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and belong to the God Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. The lyrics are from the song "The Chemicals Between Us" by Bush and belong to them. No copyright infringement intended.

**I want you to remember
A love so full it could send us all ways
I want you to surrender
All my feelings rose today
And I want you to remain
The power of children can amaze
I'll try not to explain
I know that's a pisser baby

The chemicals between us
The walls that lie between us
Lying in this bed the chemicals displaced
There is no lonelier place
Than lying in this bed**

	We don't even kiss. It's not about that.  It's just about me with my bare 
back against the cold tiles of the bathroom floor.  I can't even look at 
him.  I tried that once, looking into his cold, dark eyes, but they were 
completely devoid of emotion, possessed by animal lust.  He stared back into 
mine yet somehow missed the naked emotion gazing back at him.  That was the 
last time I would ever do that.  Instead I stare up at the bare light bulb 
hanging from the ceiling.  No fancy light fixture to try and make it into 
something that it's not.  

**I want you to remember
Everything you said
Every driven word
Like a hammer hell to my head

The chemicals between us
The walls that lie between us
Lying in this bed 
the chemicals displaced
there is no lonelier face 
than lying in this bed
chemicals between us, 
chemicals between us
lying in this bed**

	After awhile I close my eyes and spots the color of creation dance before 
my eyelids.  I'm momentarily blinded.  In that instant it's over and he's as 
far away from me as this small space will allow.  He passes me a Marlboro 
and our fingers brush against each other.  He retracts his fingers as if 
he'd been burned.  A minute ago he couldn't keep his body away from mine.  
But the moment's gone and all that's left is the shame.  I tell myself that 
we're mutually using each other, but then why do I feel so cheap- like I'm a 
$2.00 whore who's supposed to just leave her emotional attachments at the 
door.  Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am.  I try to push those feelings aside as I 
inhale the hot, concentrated tobacco smoke.  I relax as it fills my lungs.  
It's been awhile since I got a buzz off of a cigarette.  That all too 
familiar tingling, like that of a low frequency tuning fork, envelops me.  
The dizziness passes as fast as it comes.  In the midst of redressing he 
throws my dress at me.  I put it on, appreciating the feel of sick against 
my skin.  Like a mother fussing over her child, only without the gentleness, 
he grabs my shoulders and straightens the sleeves of the dress.  Then he 
makes sure my makeup hasn't smudged.  He can't let my appearance give him 
away and I just hope my feelings don't do the job instead.  Despite 
everything I love him.  I wouldn't let him treat me this way if I didn't.  
And through it all I find myself hoping that one day things will change.  
Maybe he'll realize just how special I am, and the next time he corner me in 
the bathroom it will be to make love, not just to fuck.  They're just 
fantasies but I need them to hold on, to justify what I'm doing, and to keep 
me sane.  

**We're of the hollow men
We are the naked ones
We never meant you harm
Never meant you wrong
And I'd like to thank
All of my lovers lovers lovers lovers lovers…

The chemicals between us 
the army of achievers
Lying in this bed
The chemicals displaced
There is no lonelier state
Than lying in this bed
The chemicals between us
The chemicals between us
Chemicals… chemicals between us**

	He leaves first and I follow the customary two minutes later so that we're 
not seen together.  I spot him immediately although his back to me, my eyes 
drawing him out from the crowd.  His arms are wrapped around his girlfriend, 
his head buried in the crook of her neck as he nuzzled her skin 
affectionately.  I feel my heart constrict in regret, my cheeks flush with 
shame as she turns to face me, her face lighting up in a smile.  She beckons 
me over with one hand and I silently refuse, shaking my head.  How could I 
face her, my best friend, after what I just did behind her back.  Even after 
all this time I haven't perfected the art of graceful lying when around her. 
 I prefer the method of avoidance.  Besides, the look in his eyes as he 
stares me down, silently warning me to stay away, are enough to force me to 
turn away.  I can't stand seeing him hold her with such loving 
possessiveness.  The image sears itself into my brain, bringing tears to my 
eyes.  Though the party is only just getting started, I know I'll be leaving 
in less than a hour, off to the apartment I share with her where I can get a 
few hours of peace, crying my heart out so that I'm refreshed for her 
return.  The catharsis helps me keep up the masquerade, though honestly, I'm 
not sure how much longer I can put up with this.  If only I didn't love him 
so much, but the heart is a treacherous foe, and so I remain trapped in a 
web of my own making, hoping one day I will be free of my love.  One day 
I'll be strong enough to leave him.

The End.

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