Part One

Shane's Letter

Your family won't let me talk to you, and I can't say I blame them.
I let them down.
I let me down.
But worst of all, I let you down. Again.
I want to say I'm sorry. Even though I know it's not enough, I still want to try . . .
I can't take it back, but I can try to make it better.
Please talk to me, Carmen.

I love you.

Shane read over the letter in her hands at least one hundred times before she finally realized that it was ready to send. It was really no different from the several others that lay crumpled and scattered around her bedroom floor.

Their bedroom floor.

It was still their bedroom, or at least it felt that way. Carmen hadn't come back to the house once since the fiasco in Canada nearly two months ago. Her clothes lay littered around the room, still in the same place they had fallen when she took them off. Her hairbrush and cosmetics rest on the dresser, a silent memorial to the love that Shane let slip away.

Every day seemed like a battle to Shane since she had come back from her two week sabbatical following what happened in Canada. She had wandered southward from Canada, taking random buses and trains to lead her slowly back to the mess that awaited her in LA. Never once for a single second did she forget that she had screwed up. The reason she hadn't headed directly back to LA was because she didn't want to face the huge mess that she had created. But . . . she had been scared. She saw what her father had and how easily he threw it away, and she doubted herself.

Could cheating be hereditary? And abandonment?

Shane had known the pain of abandonment from such a young age, and she still lived with the residual hurt and mental duress. Never ever did she want to cause such a pain in Carmen. Little did she know, however, that leaving Carmen at the altar would have the exact same effect.

She returned to LA only to lock herself away in her bedroom for several days, drinking her sorrows away while clinging to what was left of Carmen in her life.

The troops came around, of course, but Shane had pretty much shut them all out at that point. Jenny kept a close watch over her friend, making sure that she wasn't getting close enough to the edge that she couldn't be brought back.

Shane wasn't sure that she'd ever leave her room again, at least until she heard Jenny whispering to Max one night about a conversation she'd had that day on the telephone with Carmen.

Carmen had, apparently, immediately gone back with her mother and family to her childhood home, where she still remains. Jenny had offered to try to salvage some of her belongings, which made Shane lock her bedroom door in response. There wasn't any way at that point that she was going to give up what little she had left of her former lover.

It was all for nil, as it was, as Carmen didn't want anything back. She told Jenny that she had everything that she needed, and that she could just toss out whatever was left of hers around the apartment.

Hearing that should have made Shane want to give up altogether. Strangely, though, it had the opposite effect on her. That day, she got up out of bed, showered, and made her way into the kitchen for something to eat.

Upon walking into the kitchen to find Shane eating a large sandwich and looking out the window animatedly, Jenny sat down next to her and waited to just . . . listen.

"I'm gonna make it better," Shane had said between mouthfuls.

Jenny smiled at her, laying her hand on Shane's leg.

"Tell me what you need."

Shane wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, sparing a short sideways glance at her friend.

"Paper. A pen. Luck."

And with that, Jenny walked to the bookcase and pulled out some letterhead and walked back towards Shane, snagging a pen off the kitchen table as she walked by it.

"Paper. Pen." She bent down and kissed the top of Shane's head softly, causing the girl to slow down, then stop moving altogether. "And all the luck in the world."

That night, Shane had spent the entire evening pouring her heart and soul into a letter. She agonized over every word, borrowing Jenny's dictionary and thesaurus several times before just moving them into her room permanently. Never before had she said so many words that actually had meaning behind them. But she wanted Carmen to know how she felt.

She needed Carmen to know that she was sorry. And that she wanted to make it better.

Part of her actually believed that she might have a shot with the letter. It was heartfelt, but it still managed to let Carmen keep the ball in her own court. She sealed and stamped the envelope, addressing it to Mrs. Morales' house before dropping it in the corner mailbox.

The fresh air felt good to Shane as she walked back to her house from the mailbox. She felt renewed. She had hope. She had a goal, and she was going to work towards it with everything that she had left in her.

And then the letter came back to her in the mail.

As did the second, the third, and every other letter that she had sent in the past six weeks.

Now, as Shane sat on the back porch of her house with Jenny sat nearby, she fiddled nervously with the letter in her hand. One last letter, she told herself. It was the same as all of the crumpled ones on her bedroom floor. Their bedroom floor. But it was different from the ones that she had sent the first ten times. It was simple. She hadn't poured out her heart in this one. She didn't go into in-depth explanations and try to pass the blame.

This was her last hope. Short. Simple. Very Shane-like in every way. And instead of mailing this one as she had all the others, Shane was dropping it off at the club she knew that Carmen would be DJ-ing at that night so that no friends or family members could intervene.

Sure, she had tried to call. Daily. But every time, she'd be cursed at in Spanish or told flat-out to stay away.

This letter was, in fact, her last try.

Jenny had stayed by her side through the whole ordeal, offering encouragement or advice when necessary. And now, as she watched her friend get up off the porch and head down the driveway, she was proud. Proud that she had made an effort. Proud that she was being strong. And proud that she was doing something to take hold of her life rather than laying back and letting life beat her down.

She only hoped it wasn't all for naught.

Shane made her way slowly to the club, comforted in the fact that it wouldn't be open to the general public yet and that she could simply step in, leave the letter with the manager, and slip out unnoticed.

She tried to keep as low a profile as she could as she made her way down the busy street. The last thing she needed was to run into an ex-fuck that wanted to rekindle the flame. That was the last thing that Shane could even think about at this point. All she wanted to do was get Carmen to give her five minutes to apologize, and see what would happen from there.

Pulling her knitted cap further down over her hair, she slipped down the busy street unnoticed, finally reaching the club and knocking on the front glass door until one of the bar-crew came up and let her in.

She left the letter with the night manager, giving her strict instructions on where to leave the letter. The manager was more than happy to comply, remembering Shane straight away from back in the day when she used to have the run of the floor in the very same club.

Smiling slightly, Shane made her way out of the club and back towards home, happy yet sad at the same time. Happy because she thought that this letter actually stood a chance of making it into Carmen's hands, but sad because . . . if Carmen dismissed this letter, she wasn't sure what was left to be done.

There was no way that she was going to start stalking Carmen and randomly showing up at her house and her gigs. She had caused the woman enough grief and pain, and in no way did she want to prolong that.

She would wait, and she would hope, and she would have faith that the woman that she still loved . . . still loved her enough to give her a small chance.

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