It's been too long, she told herself. You need to move on. She stared at the ceiling for a few moments longer, then an idea occurred to her. She climbed out of bed and headed towards her desk, where a spiral bound notebook lay open. She flipped to a new page and wrote "I love you" on the top line. A few lines down, she wrote "I'd never hurt you." Slowly, the page filled up with his lies and broken promises, as well as all of their silly nicknames for each other and inside jokes. She tore the paper out of the notebook and left it on the desk.

Above her bed was a corkboard where she hung things that she liked to see every day. A few quotes on post-its, some small gifts from friends, and a few photographs. She found the one she was looking for and pulled off for a closer look. In it, she was laughing as he kissed her cheek. Her eyes were alight with mischief as she teased him, and for the first time, she saw a spark of frustration in his eyes. He had always been irritated with the way she'd withhold kisses to aggravate him. She tossed the picture onto the desk, next to the paper.

Climbing up onto a chair, she reached for something on the highest shelf in her closet. It turned out to be a white stuffed bunny with brown eyes, which she set down on her desk as well.

Out of a dresser drawer came her favorite pair of jeans and a bright red sweater. She fastened a jade necklace around her neck and glanced at the clock. It blinked 6:38 at her in glowing red numbers. Hopefully her dad wouldn't be up yet. She pulled a brush through her hair for a few seconds, then picked up the paper, photo, and stuffed toy, and left the room.

In the living room, she rolled up her sleeves and went to work. Ten minutes later, she sat cross legged in front of a merrily crackling fire. The flames sent shadows dancing into corners of the room, chasing away the last remnants of the nighttime cold.

A small piece of singed cloth had escaped the center of the coals and sat on the edge, fluttering in the ashes. Watching it, she felt a strange sense of completion. She had expected a feeling of something like smugness, but instead, she was surprised by a simple feeling of contentment. It was like the chapter in her life that had been written by him had finally ended. Her life was hers again.

"Morning, sweetie," said a voice behind her. She twisted around and saw her dad, wearing ratty sweats and a bathrobe. He opened a cupboard and started collecting the ingredients for waffles. "You're up early."

She stood up and brushed her hands off on the seat of her pants. "It was cold, so I came out here and started a fire." She crossed the room and gave him a hug. "Merry Christmas, Dad."


An extremely old, extremely ugly Toyota was the only car on the road at two in the morning. The two teenage girls in it looked like they were going to war, with determined faces and black clothes from head to toe. The one in the passenger seat held a piece of paper and a carton of eggs in her lap. The girl behind the wheel turned into the neighborhood and parked on the curb. Without a word, the two got out and walked around the corner.

"Are you sure it's the right one?" one of them said quietly.


They taped the paper to the front door and went to work.

Two vindictive best friends left the house with pleased, almost evil-looking, smiles when they had finally run out of eggs. They had been careful not to hit the note on the door, which read "No one cheats on our sister."