Author's Note: I feel so frickin' emo as I write this, but it's something that I had in my head that needed to come out. I don't mind if you hate this, but please don't leave me a flame on this one because I'd rather not know about it. Thanks very much.

It wasn't always this way. She didn't always have a heart of stone, impervious to the caressing heat of love, where the warm and tender insides were buried so deep within the rock that no one bothered to search for them. She never started out so guarded and cautious.

As a child, her heart was full, bursting with so much life, energy, and compassion. She loved to smile, and her delightful laughter brightened any room. She loved so deeply and so fully, but her heart was sensitive to the smallest of pricks; the slightest of incisions drawing not even a drop of blood caused a deep ache within. Every teasing barb or half-assed joke caused a flood of self-doubt and fear.

That's when the first ice crystals began to take their hold on her. It wasn't much, just a thin layer bringing a semblance of protection from everyone around her; it was still liable to shatter under mild pressure.

The ice crystals grew, taking a hold on her heart as they thickened and hardened. She became more comfortable with herself and the people around her; she could protect herself from thorns that would previously break the fragile skin. She grew older and started to mature, but was careful to maintain the layers of ice as a shield, careful to maintain her distance from people.

They weren't hard to fool. She created a carefree image of herself, painting a face of happiness over the ice that was hardening into stone around her heart. They bought it, and it took no cajoling. She seemed once again to be the carefree and loving girl of her youth, and not a single person questioned it.

She was happy for a while. Her heart remained whole and undamaged; no one thought to dig deeper through the rock and see her true heart. The pain was no longer sharp and stinging; it had subsided into a dull ache.

Then he came. He was different. He watched her, admired her, and offered her his friendship. She accepted. He offered her his heart, and she refused. He offered it again, and this time she hesitantly took it. She offered him her own painted and disguised heart even more reluctantly, and he received it as the most precious thing in the world.

Time passed by, and he carefully washed off the paintings that had tricked so many others. She became uncomfortable, but she trusted him to be gentle. He looked her in the eyes, silently asking for permission. She bowed her head and nodded, almost imperceptibly, and he brought out his pick and gently started to chip away at the stone. She clenched her teeth in agony, but she bore the pain as he began to root out her deepest thoughts, feelings, dreams, and fears, one by one. As he broke through, he discovered the love and compassion that had been buried so long underneath the stone. He had her heart: all of it, anything that she could possibly give. They talked of a future together, and she could think of nothing more that she could want. She was happy.

Things started to change. She was in one place, and he in another. She listened to him when they chatted and learned of the new decisions he was making. She didn't like them, and she began to find herself in more frequent arguments with him. Her conversations with him began to seem short, stilted, and bursting with an overabundance of small talk. Her heart ached from more pain that it had ever felt before, and her self-esteem plummeted while doubts reached an all time high. He had her heart, naked and lacking of any sort of shield, and what if he decided that she wasn't worth it anymore? She loved him so much and wouldn't give up. Leaving him would rip her heart in half, and she feared the damage would be irreparable. She couldn't give up.

She looked around for support, for encouragement, for advice, but no one was there. He was the only one who could see past her paintings, the only one she trusted to see past her paintings. She watched in horror as the lies of I'm fine passed from her lips, aching to love someone and receive love in return, but unable to trust another. Only he could tell that she was lying. She knew it was her own fault, but she continued to hope.


Her story doesn't have a happy ending, the popular finish with cliché declarations of love and a new ability to trust and to open up to others. Her story doesn't end at all, for that matter, because it's still in process. The truth? Her heart… is my heart, and I don't know where to go from here.