A quiet howl of inner agony penetrated the thick air of the darkened room, a lonely noise in the deafening silence. It came again and again, each time growing louder and louder until the sound was nearly too much to handle. Then it stopped. Sweaty hands palmed at the sides of pale cheeks, tears streaking down the sun-deprived skin. It was a person, and she was in pain.

"Why...why...why don't you...?" Her voice, weak and gravelly, trailed off as another sob wracked through her shuddering body. She closed her eyes, trying to focus on anything- anything but the pain she felt building up inside of her weakened chest. Despite the humid summer air that surrounded her, she was shivering.

"Honey? Anne?" The voice of an older woman suddenly brought the girl out of her thoughts. She opened her eyes, looking towards the direction that the words had come from.

"M-Mom..." More tears streaked down her face as she tried to look tough; tried to fake as though she were okay.

"I heard you crying...are you okay?" Anne didn't know how to answer that question. She didn't want her mother to worry, yet at the same time, she did not want to lie.

"...It's just...there's someone that I...love...and they don't love me back." Anne looked down at the floor, feeling embarrassment creep through her body. Of all the things that she could have said, this felt like it could have been the worst. She felt pathetic; wasting her life away over some boy that had invaded her thoughts and her mind.

Her mother nodded.

"I understand," she said softly, looking at her daughter with an expression of pity in her eyes. "I've felt the same heart ache that you have, many times. Believe me, it gets better..." Anne shook her head.

"I don't believe that," she muttered, her eyes still glistening with salt water. Her mother sighed deeply before stepping forward, wrapping her arms around her in an effort to be comforting.

"Mom...it hurts..."

"I know, sweetheart, I know. But you have to believe me, it really does get better than this." Anne's mother tightened her grip around her shoulders, continuing to hug her close to the point where that she was starting to feel mildly suffocated. But it was, despite the lack of air, something that felt comforting, so Anne allowed it to go on for a few more minutes. She closed her eyes.

"I love you..." she said, her voice still weak and broken because of the emotions taking hold of her.

"I love you too," her mother responded, gently letting her arms fall back from being hugged around Anne's shoulders.

"Now, you should try to get some sleep. It's nearly three in the morning, and you have a lot of schoolwork to get through in the morning. Alright? But, if you're not feeling up to it, I'll call your online instructor and see if we can arrange a day off."

Anne shook her head.

"That won't be necessary," she said. She didn't want any special treatment, just because she was going through a hard time. Yes, she was desperately in love with someone that didn't return the feelings, but...even she had a limit as to what she would let that boy do to her life. She couldn't let him turn her soft, or ruin her school career. She had a responsibility to herself, and to her mother, and she'd be damned if she'd let some boy just waltz in and ruin it all.

"You're right, I need some sleep. I'll stop crying, at least, for now, okay?" Anne's words were promising, yet her eyes held signs of deceit. What she really was going to be doing was thinking about him, and perhaps crying a little more, this time hopefully quietly enough that her mother would not come in to check on her. She was stressed enough as it was, and that was without having sleep time taken to comfort a saddened daughter. With the sleep deprivation? It could mean her getting fired from her job.

Her mother nodded, stepping back away from Anne and heading out the door, closing it with a soft thud behind her. Anne sighed deeply in relief. Alone at last with her thoughts. She closed her eyes, her thoughts naturally going after the boy who her heart had taken in so deeply.

His name was Ross, username, Poppyseed. On a creative writing website. He was eighteen years old, had curly blonde hair, and green eyes. At least, that was what she had been told by him.

Another sigh graced Anne's lips as she thought of him.

Look at me, pining away over this boy. He might be a forty-year-old man, and I would never know it.

He didn't even trust her enough to show her his face, and yet...she loved him. It felt...salty, and very unfair.

Anne's lips pursed and she closed her eyes, trying to fall asleep. She had had enough of this for one night, and, like her mother had said; she had schoolwork to complete in the morning. So, slowly but surely, she drifted off, a dreamless sleep encompassing all of her being. It was almost peaceful, relieving. A welcome break from the pain of her reality.

Until morning came.