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“Do you love me?” she asked, sounding much younger than her seventeen years. The man with her stood in silence, as if thinking about it.

“I knew you didn’t,” she mumbled, biting her lip. Her eyes were welling up with tears.

“No, no,” he said, wrapping his arms around her waist, pulling her closer to him. “Of course I do.”

“Then why can’t you say it?” she said sharply, wriggling out of his grasp. “If you love me, then say it! And show it! You treat me like I’m just…just a toy! And I definitely don’t get the feeling that you love me.”

I don’t, he thought. But he certainly wasn’t going to tell her that. “Baby, I’ll do whatever you want. Anything. ‘Cause I love you, babe. And nothing’s gonna change that.”

“Show me that you love me. Tell me everything that you love about me.” She had her arms crossed over her chest, hoping that he’d say just the right things.

“I love your hair, your eyes, and the way you smell. The way you walk, the way you dance when you think no one’s watching, and I love every single word you speak. I love the way the sun shines in your eyes when you tilt your head just right. But don’t ask me to pick a favorite. ‘Cause, baby, I love all of you.”

Her heart leapt with joy. “I knew you loved me!” she cried, throwing her arms around his neck. “I knew it….”

But then the beep, beep, beep of the alarm clock invaded her mind. She sat up and hit the button angrily. She looked at the photo of the man, his senior photo in a black frame.

“Rest in peace,” she muttered. “I’ll love you forever.” But little did she know, he never loved her at all.

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