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The words come without warning. "This isn't working, is it?" and for a second she isn't sure whether to be horrified or relieved. They've spent the last few months dancing around the obvious cracks in their relationship and as much as she hates to admit it, it's a relief to stop pretending that this summer will be the same as the last.

Only... he doesn't say anything.

Worried, she turns to look at him, taking in the way the sun has bleached his blond hair, the way his tan offsets his blue eyes, and the way his emotions are still racing across his face. Shock and relief are the two most obvious ones and then, without warning, he's impossible to read.

"Ken?" she whispers quietly, afraid she'll have to repeat those horrible words and more afraid that she won't. Afraid that this was her one shot and she blew it by just throwing them out there thoughtlessly, carelessly.


He slowly turns his attention away from the ocean, taking his time as his gaze falls on her. He notes the way his heart skips a beat even after all this time, the way she still has the power to turn his world upside down without even trying.

But it's not enough. Maybe it never was and he was just too stubborn to see it until now.

Not that it really matters.

He's got a choice to make. He can admit that a relationship this young isn't likely to last, that he's noticed how they've both pulled away, and that if they have any hope of continuing to be friends, they'd be better off walking away now.

After all, she's spending the summer in Europe with her father and he's got summer training for football. Rumor has it that if he works hard enough, he's got a shot at being the QB for the varsity team.

A summer's worth of distractions is really the best thing they could have hoped for.


It's practically a sign, she thinks. But the thought of not being with Ken anymore, of him not being there for her, of his voice not being the last thing she hears before she falls asleep, of not being in his life the way she is now is almost unbearable. He's been the only real constant in her life for a long time now and she's afraid to lose that.

Too bad fear is a horrible reason to stay with someone.


He has a choice. He can admit defeat, yes. But he does have another option. He can fight for her. Because that's the hardest part of all of this. He's still very much in love with her and he knows she feels the same way. It would be so much easier if they just fell out of love, or if they'd never been in love to begin with.

He takes a deep breath.