Author's Note: *Wow*. I never really expected to do a third part, did I? *blushes sheepishly* Well, if it wasn't for YOU I wouldn't have. Special thanks to Amanda for all the ideas .. *hug* And a million bajillion hugs and kudos and cranberry juice to y'all! ^_^ Thanks for the inspiration.


Anne bid a shaky farewell to Austox and stepped inside her old apartment with a gasp. This was where she had opened Jason's letter .. this was where she had sobbed without respite .. this was where she had flopped down on the couch and said goodbye to her life.
Was she ready to face it again? Could she pick up the pieces? Could she begin again where they'd left off?
Horrible thoughts suddenly and clearly entered her mind. Jason .. gone. Jason .. forgetting her. Jason .. married. It could be true. They were just barely old enough. Anne wanted to go back now, with all her heart. She wanted to run. She wanted to hide. She wanted to escape.
Too late now. Austox was gone.
Anne spun around to the couch again, for refuge. She threw herself down on it and didn't fall asleep for a long, long time.


The apartment had been vacated for some time, but Anne ran through the motions in the morning as though she'd been living there this whole time. Everything was where it should be. It was like a dream.
Get off the couch, go to the bathroom, pick up the toothbrush, put the toothpaste on, run the water .. it was unreal. Who had been paying her water bills, for one thing? Electric bills? Rent?
How would she live here? This world had been foreign to her for two years, yet she still remembered how to find her way around.
Anne suddenly wondered if time hadn't changed at all; maybe the two years she'd spent in the dragon world were only two days here. Then that would mean .. she was right back where she started.
She looked down, tears flowing out of her eyes. She still remembered every word of that letter. Casting a glance across to the living room, she drew in a sharp breath as she remembered what she'd find.
The letter.
Those words.
That pain.

Anne:
This is Jason ... Jason Tolins. I just wrote to say, I guess it's not working. I guess we can't be together ... I got every letter you ever sent to Michael. He sent copies of them straight to me, everysingle one ... and I'm filled with shock that you could ever say that about me. I have always loved you, every day since I met you, Anne...but I can't anymore.
"He's just worthless ... he forgets me to go off with his little lover girls ... he's a complete idiot ... he never really cared about me ... but I can tell you do, Mike." Anne, this is it ... it's over ... don't write tome again ... or talk to me, or anything, because I can't bear it. I've only one thing left to say to you.
Never hurt anyone else like you hurt me through your letters to Michael ... never. Never.

Her mind screamed. Everything that she had felt that day came back to her a hundred times worse. She fell down on the floor, curling up against herself, sobbing out her soul, quietly suffering for all she was worth. It wasn't true, it couldn't be, it never could ..

But it was.

Gradually, the sobs subsided, and she could breathe - barely.
"I tried to run before," she whispered. "But running isn't going to work. I love you, Jason. I love you still."
She lay back and thought about him for awhile - that shy smile and blush when someone complimented him, the lovely way he used words, the sweet hugs he would pull her into at the end of a bad day, the wonderful ..
But it was over. All over.
"Can I ever get you back?" she wondered softly into the still air. There was no response.


By nightfall, Anne was sure of her intentions. Jason had to hear the truth from her, because she loved him. Because she couldn't stand for him not to know. Because she couldn't live her life knowing that there might be a chance, however slim.
Would he listen?


*cackle* Cliffhanger. I know it's mean, after all that about not writing and stuff .. but life's not fair. ^_^ As much as I wish it was .. *sigh*