The story is dedicated to my friend Jesse, who asked me to write this small piece. Jesse, Iím sorry for everything you went through, and Iíll be there to listen whenever you need me! Hun, when you come up this weekend, I promise weíll splurge on chocolate ice cream and pizza and complain about men and relationships in general!

Disclaimer: I donít own any of the characters affiliated with SPD. This story is written for entertainment purposes only.

Summary: The man she loves is in love with someone else. And it hurts but she learns to live with the pain.

-x-x-x-

Zís P.O.V.

I sit here and watch as you happily interact with her across the room. She says something to you, and you laugh. For a moment, in that one very small moment, itís almost as if nothing around you exists and thereís only me and you. Youíre beautiful when you laugh, thereís just no other word to describe it. But as quickly as that image comes, itís shattered, as you say something back and her laughter rings throughout the room. You pull her into your arms and she responds with a kiss Ėto which you happily receive.

How did things become like this? You hated me, and in return, I hated you. To put it mildly, you were a complete jerk. You resented me for taking on a position you thought I didnít deserve. And I resented you for your attitude against me and going out of your way to make life at SPD miserable for me and Jack. But slowly, we got to know one another. As your differences with Jack were resolved, so were your differences with me and I began to see what kind of man you really were.

You were cold towards me in the beginning, but slowly you changed. It was like ice melting to form water and eventually the water evaporated into thin air. You were egotistical, rude, and irritating to the boot. You were so annoying that at times I had to restrain myself from beating you up with a baseball bat. I did my best to ignore you, but sometimes, your words did hurt me and I only cried when I was absolutely sure that no one would be around to hear. I wanted to prove you wrong. I felt I had to prove you wrong. To show you that I was able to take on the responsibilities that were entrusted to me. I didnít want to waste my second chance.

Itís funny how things turn out, huh? I wanted to be a part of something bigger and Cruger gave me that opportunity. I never imagined being placed on B-squad as your teammate and I certainly had never imagined falling in love with you. You were the last person I ever thought Iíd fall in love with.

Did you know your eyes get all wide when youíre irritated or annoyed? Your face takes on a stony expression and no one can read you. Sometimes it hurts me because I want to be the one to break through your hard exterior, but you never let anyone through. Instead, you push everyone away, snapping at anyone who tries to get you out of your shell. Believe me, Iíve tried to get close to you, tried to show you that I cared, but Iíve never managed to even crack a smile out of you.

I donít think Iíll ever forget the first day you were truly nice to me. It was the day after a particularly hard battle. I had escaped with only minor injuries and I was still able to go and do things normally. Imagine my surprise when I learned that you had taken over my duties so that I could get some rest. You looked at me and I couldíve sworn that your icy stare had softened when you ordered me back to bed. Needless to say, I went back to bed but I didnít get any rest. Your actions had me so puzzled that I couldnít get to sleep.

After that, I began noticing a lot of little things about you. And I began to respect you. Maybe more than I thought I ever would. You preach about following regulations, but yet, you break the rules when it really counts. At first that annoyed me. You went on and on and on about following the rules but then you make yourself look like a hypocrite by breaking them? What a fine example. But little by little, I realized that it was your way of trying to keep us safe. It was a strange way, but it was your way, nonetheless.

It tugs at my heartstrings seeing how you interact with Bridge. No one wouldíve ever guessed, but you treat Bridge like the little brother youíve never had. You have a soft spot for Bridge. To everyone outside the B-squad, they only see you two as roommates. But to the rest of us, the both of you are much more. You roll your eyes whenever Bridge starts to embark on another one of his adventurous tales but we see that deep down inside you are clearly enjoying his stories. Most of the time itís hard to read you, but sometimes, when youíre around Bridge, youíre easier to read. Your eyes always crinkle with amusement whenever you find Bridgeís stories funny. Other times your eyes show that youíre exasperated at his ramblings. Bridge is one of the two people you truly trust.

Syd is the other person you truly trust without question. Always cheerful and smiling, you have an even bigger soft spot for her. She, of all people, knows you better than everyone at SPD Academy put together. Sheís the first one to get a smile out of you and make you laugh. She refuses to leave you alone and you pretend to grumble and complain whenever she drags you to join in on one of our group activities, but your eyes betray you and show that deep down, youíre truly grateful for her invitations. You turn to her whenever you need to talk about a problem because you know sheíll listen without judgment and pity. Sometimes the way you look at her is so obvious to everyone but Syd. You think no one notices, but I notice.

I always notice.

Sometimes I think its unfair how things in life turn out. I never asked to fall in love with you. I didnít even ask to be your friend. But things like this happen and thereís nothing I can do to stop it. You turn to her for comfort, surrendering your heart to her in the process. She in turn, greets you with a sympathetic smile and opens her arms. You fall into her embrace without a second thought and when you pull back a minute later, the look of burden on your face is gone and in place is a look of gratefulness and thereís a soft smile on your lips.

Because of her, you opened up to the rest of us, showing us that you are in fact, human. You now laugh and joke around, even at times tease us in a way we never thought possible. When youíre concerned about someoneís well-being, you speak up and encourage them to rest, taking on their responsibilities so that they could do so. Youíre so determined, stubborn and loyal and those are some of the many qualities that I love about you.

Those are some of the many qualities that Syd loves about you too.

Iíve seen the way you look at her and how she looks at you. The two of you have a bond, that no one can hope to break and a deep understanding of each other, that no one else can come close too Ėnot even Bridge and heís known the two of you for years. Whenever she speaks, itís all you can do to listen and you give her your complete attention. Sheís says something cute and you laugh and respond with a witty remark. She smiles at you and your whole face just lights up. You told me once, during one of the very few meaningful conversations that weíve had, that you love her and that sheís the one for you. As much as it hurts, I accept the truth for what it is, because I could never offer you what Syd has to offer. I could never make you feel the way Syd makes you feel. I could never make you as happy. As much as I want to hate her, I canít. Syd is wonderful. I canít hate someone who has been such a good friend to me. So I keep my feelings for you to myself. I refuse to get in the way of something so special, and instead, I just sit back and watch and try to convince myself that I can get over you. She deserves to be happy and you make her happy.

Thatís one of the two reasons that I refuse to make a move on you. The other reason?

She makes you happy too.

-x-x-x-