Chapter Seventeen

I had a dream. No, I don't mean like after Zee and I fell asleep in each other's arms I started having these massive hallucinations that have now caused me to confuse intimate fantasy with reality. I mean that, in my head, I had an idea of what I wanted to happen should Zee and I ever have sex.

It was a very beautiful dream. Once I saw him in bed with Dee, I tried to forget about it. I pushed it out of my mind, ready to move on and make another one. But I really liked this dream, so much that it kept me from being able to move forward. So there I had been, past liking him but not yet to the point where I was beyond all the feelings I'd once had. Sometimes though, you have to move back in order to move forward.

The kiss two nights ago brought me back. The moment in the lake was everything I could have fantasized about (well, minus the passing out, of course). I was back to feeling everything I had felt about him before I'd ever seen him with Dee. Which meant I had returned to the point where I was pretty sure that I was in love with him.

Fueled with this feeling, I threw myself into everything that was Zee without giving much thought to the possibility that those feelings weren't right for me anymore. I gave myself up to the lust, and passion, and fire that could only be put out once we had come together. It was just like Mars. We were Mars in retrograde.

The planet of fire, the God of War, the color red. Zee and I were all those things last night. Because we could both retrograde back to where we were before. It makes sense. We returned to our lust like Mars' fire moves back in the sky. We were volatile and we had passion, not unlike Mercury, which also backtracks along its given path.

But the thing is, from Earth, Venus doesn't retrograde.

The planet of love never goes back.

We were in lust, and we desired each other, and when we came into each other's arms it was with everything that had so been hinted at. But it wasn't with love. We had never spoken the words. We hadn't even come close. Venus never goes back, as long as we remain grounded. Sure, we could escape into our own personal fantasies and leave the earthly plane for a time, but we'd have to return. We can never really leave this reality until we die, and get real, death was not something I was into accepting to maintain the fantasy. My love, his love, our love, cannot go back, if it was ever even there in the first place. We can only move forward. Which is what I can now do.

I had never really let go of my dream. So I had to have it, and I had to go back to it before I was ever really free from it. And now I see that reality could never have lived up to my imagination. My fantasy has been fulfilled, and it has fallen short. I'd had a great time with him last night, certainly, but it wasn't this mystical, magical, end-all be-all. I still didn't understand why what Dee gave had been something worth going back to. But maybe therein lied what I needed to realize. Sex was fun. But it would probably be fun with anyone. Zee wasn't my romantic soul mate, and sleeping with him hadn't been the romance novel fantasy ending where we rode off into the sunset together. I was just now coming to the realization that sex did not have be like that. It didn't have to be about love. Without love our actions hadn't come close to what I had imagined that they could have. In the end, it was only sex.

But that was okay, because now I truly can move on. Which is why I'm pulling on my shirt, which feels no different against my skin today then it did yesterday. The actions of last night had not changed me. Zee had not changed me. I reach over him for my hair tie, carelessly tossed in heated frenzy. My hand running over him seemed the same as it always had. My lips on his, kissing him held nothing new for me.

I climbed out of bed and felt momentarily guilty about simply leaving, but that was how the game went, wasn't it? It was fun, baby, but we make better friends. You won't take long to get over it. I can even see it in the casual lines of your body – you sleep like you slept alone anyway.

And I had heard stories of some of Zee's past girlfriends already. He would get over it. And we'd go back to where we belonged, as friends. Of course, I'll never forget anything about this vacation, or the moments we shared together. But we can't all have Jane Austin endings.

Elle climbed into the driver's seat, and Jay moaned about being forced into the backseat, minus his new girlfriend. She countered by saying otherwise Bea would be left all alone in front driving like a chauffeur, and Jay would fall asleep soon enough. Especially since they were the first car to leave – both Elle and Dee, the drivers (as scary as it was to envision Dee behind the wheel of a car) had directions back home – and it was entirely possible none of the others were even up yet.

True to form, Jay was asleep within thirty minutes. Elle turned to assess her prey – uh, friend, sitting next to her.

"Well?" she said expectantly.

"Well what?" Bea asked offhandedly, looking anywhere but at Elle.

"You did it, didn't you." When the blush was all she got, Elle knew she'd hit her mark. "You totally slept with him! I knew it! How was it?"

Bea's blush deepened. "You can't go repeating this."

"Tsch, duh. But I demand all the gory details."

"It was … a lot of fun, definitely." Elle and Bea shared a grin. "But now that I think about it, it really wasn't … It, you know?"

"I do know."

"I think we'd make better friends. And besides, sometimes he can be kind of an asshole anyway," said Bea.

"I totally agree with you there, honey," replied Elle.

"I think I was looking for love, and I didn't really find it. But that's okay."

"Sex just for fun, I can see that one for sure," The girls laughed again as they zipped along the highway, sex and boys owning their conversations, but not their hearts. Not yet, anyway.

"Think he'll get over it okay?" Bea asked, just to make sure.

"Definitely. You know how that boy works better than anyone. He'll be over it soon enough, and as he's demonstrated many a time with Dee, he doesn't exactly ignore his ex sack-bunnies."

"Sack bunnies, Elle? Honestly. The words you come up with," Bea chuckled.

"Did you even wake him up this morning?" Elle had to ask.

"Uh, well … no, not exactly."

"How can you not exactly wake someone up, per say?"

"By trying to wake them, but being that they sleep like they're dead, and you're unsuccessful, it becomes a not-exactly sort of wake up. I left a note," Bea offered as an afterthought.

"A note? That's classically funny," Elle laughed. "What the hell did you say?"

"Don't you think that's between Zee and I?"

"No."

"Well bah to you."

"Bah to you back! Tell me what you said."

"I left a number for a company that produces hormones to increase endurance."

Elle spared a glance away from the wheel for a moment in shock. "You did not!"

"Guess you'll never know the truth, now will you," Bea grinned.

Elle shot her a dirty look, but figured she would get it out of her eventually.

They were then quiet for a few minutes, reflecting on the week that had started off as just a reason for old friends to get back together, and had resulted in some coming togethers of a completely different sort.

"Well," said Elle, finally breaking the silence, "now that Zee's looking rather passé, I have this cousin that's coming into town that just might be your kind of guy …"

And they drove away into the sunrise.

The End

A/N: I just want to take a quick moment to say, if you all hate the ending, I apologize. I knew Bea and Zee were going to come together, but even up until the end, I didn't know if they were going to stay together. It seemed to me at least that they weren't in love, and therefore hey, it was fun, but we all know Zee's no Romeo. Or Casanova, despite all the ass he seems to somehow acquire. Anyway, thank you to each and every person who read this story, review or not. It means so much to me. Special, special uber thanks to Ninsetta Tristel Sundar and nabriton, who were with me from the very beginning, and for some reason unbeknownst to me in the slightest, stuck with me. Also an extra kick of gracias to TimeBomb87 and DarkAngel32, who, once they came onboard, kept coming back every week. Thank you with cherries on top to thecoffeebringer for the most in depth reviews I've ever seen (I think sometimes you think more about it than I do), and to NTS and TCB for discussing, previewing, and not slapping me when I moaned "I swear this chapter is terrible! Even though I've said that about every chapter, this time I really mean it!" To every reader and reviewer: thank you for motivating me, for telling me what you think, and even if you forget about this story tomorrow, thank you for letting me entertain you today. Quick thanks for reviewing chapter sixteen: nabriton, Ninsetta Tristel Sundar, MKC, TimeBomb87, and the Wandering Reviewer, DarkAngel32 (you know, every time I look at that I try and think why that rings a bell, I thought based on your email address maybe it had something to do with InuYasha, but all I can come up with is the Wandering Samurai from Ninja Scroll whose name I cannot remember … Jubei maybe … ah well, just me being insane). Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Much Love, bunnyb