She sat quietly in the corner, removed from the room. Already the sound of the music was retreating, the bass thumping as if through thick glass. /Who needs it,/ she thought. /I sure as hell don't./ She gathered her knees up in her arms and rested her chin on them as she gazed around the room. He was across the room, talking to everyone else.

/Bastard. Ignore me, then. See if I care. Why am I here?/ They were all her friends, to some degree; the best of her friends there had convinced her to go to the get-together. 'You don't get out enough. Come party,' her friend had said. She'd acquiesced. Perhaps it would fill that hole that ached under her ribs. /Solar plexus,/ she decided. /Or a little above. Yes, right there./

The whole thing had started out well enough; a drink or two, some laughter, talking. By the time the talking got deeply conversational, she'd started contributing less and less. He talked a lot, anyway. Enough to fill her silence. No one had really noticed. She'd shrunk farther and farther back into her own realm, behind her imaginary glass, retreating from the conversation. /I am in a box,/ she thought jokingly, picturing a mime acting it out. In a dreamy state, she actually reached her hand out in front of her, as if pressing her palm to glass. She could almost feel it, cool and hard against her skin. /Creepy./ She withdrew her hand, shaking away the feeling.

She sighed, shifting a little. She could probably get up now, walk over there, and pop back into the festivities with a smile and a joke, just like she'd done in the past. They would welcome her and include her for a while, until she felt herself backing away again. But she didn't feel like doing that tonight. They'd forgotten her once again, and she felt ready to play a morbid little game. She'd sit here and see how long it took anyone to notice that she'd been forgotten. /Could be days-or they might never. My little box could be a glass coffin./ She shuddered. /Stop that. It feels too real to joke about, sometimes./

To pass the time while she played her game, she watched him, studying his features, his expressions, and his motions. She had an immense crush on him. He was a friend, but they were always together. Or they used to be. Lately, he'd backed away or something. She never saw him. /Except tonight, but he's ignoring my existence. Guess I'm hopeless. If he liked me back, he'd realize that I'm sitting in the corner, lost and lonely. Staring at him. Dammit./ She looked at her shoes. The far-off bass thudded quietly in her ears. Her eyes itched.

/I wonder what they would do if I stood up suddenly and left,/ she thought eventually. /Would they even notice? Or care? Doubtful. Even my best friend is ignoring me./ She squeezed her eyes shut. /Pity. That's all it was. She brought me to ease her conscience, the fact that she gets out and I don't, and the fact that it's somewhat her fault. Great. Do any of them actually like me, or do they just tolerate me like a fifth wheel, because they don't want to have my loneliness eating at their consciences? Fuckers./

The bass seemed to have gotten quieter. Her ears felt clouded. She put her hand out again, imagining glass, and was startled to find that it felt colder and harder than it had before. It freaked her out enough that she started to hyperventilate, and her other hand shook. /No...it's not actually glass...my imagination./ She shed the illusion and pushed her hand into the glass to prove it, trying to breach the invisible wall. It held fast. It felt cold. Her eyes widened. She tried to wiggle her fingers, wanting them to slice through empty air. They drummed against the hard surface, making a hollow sound. /Oh god, stop it stopitstopit!/ She slammed both hands against the transparent wall and felt them strike the surface, her palms tingling with the force.

She couldn't hear the music or the talking at all anymore. All was silence.

"NO!" she screamed, pounding on the glass. It was soundproof and thick; her friends carried on talking as if nothing had happened, because they couldn't hear her at all.

She stood up, and found that the box ended a few inches above her head and had four-foot-wide sides. She staggered around, pushing at the walls like a frantic mime as she gasped for air. /Where's the air coming from?/ she thought suddenly, and immediately plopped down on the floor of the box, trying to slow her breathing. /I'll suffocate...glass coffin. Oh, no./ Suddenly her game was more real.

Already, she felt light-headed from her adrenaline-rushed panic. After about five minutes, it was a struggle to breathe. Slowly, she leaned back against one side, feeling the firm glass against her back as she looked out at her friends. It was real glass; the sides were fogged up from her breathing and warmth, but still felt cool to the touch. She had to clear a window in the fog to see clearly. She blinked a lot, and she felt sleepier every second. She was no fool; she knew that she was nearly finished.

/A dying message?/ She thought. /I never did tell him how I felt about him./ She paused. / ...No. It doesn't matter anyway. Not now./

She reached up an unsteady hand and used her finger to painstakingly trace letters backward in the foggy glass, to be readable from outside. When she was done, they read, 'You forgot me.'

/Who loses?/ she thought. /Me or them? Or all of us? I guess it depends on how much of what I thought was real./ She curled up on the floor of the box and shut her eyes, giving herself over without a fight. /Game over.../

A/N: I don't know. This was pure personal therapy. Take it as you wish.