• I lay in my bed, my curtains drawn and the room dark. The only sound is the shuddering intakes of breath that I draw. Traitorous lungs, drawing breath after breath. Criminal heart, continuing to beat after it’s broken. I’m clutching a picture to my chest, so tightly that I swear it’s going to go right through me. Through me like his eyes used to see into me....

    “Star, what’s wrong?” Daylor asked me, his deep blue eyes concerned.

    “Nothing,” I said, brushing it off and keeping my voice light.

    He stared hard at me, that midnight blue boring into my hazel eyes, digging into my head, and bursting through that wall into my heart. I blinked and looked away, hoping he wouldn’t push me to know. Of course, he did.

    He took my face in his hands and kissed my forehead. “Star,” he said softly. “I want to know why you’re sad. I want to help.”

    I looked up into his eyes, trying to keep my wits. Of course you do, Daylor. You’re an angel. All you want to do is make sure I’m happy, even if it would mean losing everything. I leaned against him and sighed. “I’m just worried about what would happen if my friends found out about us.”

    He stroked my hair and was silent for a moment. “Someday, I’m going to take you to a new town, where there is no sides. There’s no fighting, no choosing between friends and lovers. Just being together,” he said finally.

    I smiled into his shoulder. “That’d be nice.”

    “It would. And I could marry you,” he said honestly.

    I pressed my face into his shoulder, blushing. He always knew how to make me blush.

    His warm hand tilted my face up, and he kissed my cheeks and forehead. “I love you Star.”

    “I love you too....”

    The memory was still fresh. I had burned it inside my mind, wanting to keep it there forever. But right now, all I want to do was forget. Forget everything. It all hurt too much to remember, just like it hurt to see Daylor laying on that hospital bed, tubes everywhere, an IV, and a machine that let out a cold, impersonal electronic beat....

    I sat next to his bed and held his large, warm hand. It gently squeezed mine, and tears welled in my hazel eyes. His other hand reached out to wipe away the tears. I looked into his bottomless blue eyes, and they sparkled with an inner mischief. Clearing his throat as best he could, he said in a robotic voice, “I am Ironman!”

    I smiled a bit and gave a watery laugh, just for his sake. Even though he was laying in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest, he was trying to cheer me up. He grinned again and said, “That’s the Star I know.”

    I smiled and pressed his fingers to my lips. “Yes I am. And you’re the Daylor I know.”

    He put on a look of mock surprise. “I’m Daylor? Since when? I’ve been lied to my whole life!”

    I laughed quietly and asked, “Then who did you think you were?”

    “Clark Kent.”

    This time I laughed loudly. “Superman?”

    “Yep. But I don’t have a Kryptonite. I’m cooler.”

    I laughed again and kissed his hand. Then, in a soft voice I said, “You are my Superman, Daylor.”

    He blushed slightly and cleared his throat. “As long as there’s no Kryptonite.”

    “I’ll handle the Kryptonite,” I said with a smile.

    He grinned, and I kissed his hand again....

    My heart aches at the memories flooding my mind. Daylor, Daylor, Daylor. All I can think about is you, even after you’ve died. My mind flinches from that thought. Dead. It’s taken me a week, and I’ve finally accepted you’re dead. Now.... Now I’m just empty. You’re not here to fill this void inside me. You had a place in my heart, Daylor, and now that you’ve left, there’s nothing to fill it. I’m drowning your place with tears. I’m drowning you with tears. I’m drowning me with tears.

    Another dry, aching sob. I can’t even cry anymore. I don’t think my eyes can produce any more tears. I curl around the picture more tightly, holding it like a lifeline. I loved you, Daylor. I loved you so much and you were ripped from my arms. I loved you more than I had loved anyone else. I’m still going to love you more than anyone else. You’ll always be my only love.

    I stiffly uncurl, and look at the framed picture in the dim light. Inside there was a picture of the two of us. Daylor’s arm is thrown over my shoulder, casually slung there like it belonged there. My head is resting against his broad shoulder, and a smile dances on my face. He’s grinning broadly, his blue eyes bright and childlike. Even though most of his life consisted of fighting, he still had that adorable innocence.

    I smile a sad smile at the photo, taken that one day we went to a fair. I wipe away a tear, and pressed my cheek against the picture. Daylor knew I loved him. He wouldn’t want me to cry all the time, just because of him. I know he’d hate that. I can’t promise him I’ll never cry because I miss him, but I can promise him I won’t always be crying. I set the picture on the bedside table next to me, and ran a finger down the side of the frame closest to him. I stand up, and draw the curtains to let the sunlight in. I look out on the world that was still bright, but the colors still seemed dimmer without him. I had a feeling it might stay like that, just like the soft aching might stay in my heart.