I don’t love you the same way you love me.  But I don’t want you to doubt just how deeply I care for you.”

…Those words rang in her ears over and over as the silent tears spilled out of her eyes, slid down her cheeks, and soaked the pillow that she was grasping tightly…

“Why couldn’t he have loved me?  He could have made me feel whole.  He could have been good for me.  He was the first man I ever fell in love with.  The same man I’ve been in love with ever since.  All I ever wanted was to be happy.  Will I ever be truly happy?  Don’t I deserve to be happy?”

…The questions resounded in her head as she wept.  She felt like she had lost everything that mattered in her life.  She felt truly alone and naked before the world.  Never had she felt this raw and hopeless.  It was as if her dreams had been dangling in front of her, leading her on, and now they had been yanked away, forever out of reach…

Eventually her sobbing ceased.  She blew her nose so she could breathe again and laid down to get some sleep.  She had stayed up late and now only had a few hours to get some sleep before having to go to work.

Her sleep was restless, as it had been for most of her life.  When she finally did wake up, she realized she had overslept by an hour.  At first she was upset, but she eventually remembered that she has planned on going into work early, so there was no harm done.  She would still make it to work on time.  As she stood in the shower, trying to rinse off her tiredness, Melissa’s painful past came over her in a giant wave.  She was suddenly flooded with memories.

Chapter 1
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