All the King's Horses
Part I: Chapter 12

Lucy Coe nearly growled in frustration. “Are you crazy? Come on, did you listen to nothing I said last night?”

“Lucy,” Rafe interrupted with a sigh. “Did you listen to nothing I said?” His voice lowered to a whisper so low it almost didn’t reach her ears. “I love her, Lucy. I love her. I don’t want to avoid her. I know that nothing can happen between us, that doesn’t mean I have to pretend she doesn’t matter to me at all. Either way, I’m gonna hurt. Because I love her. And all I want to do right now, is be there when she needs me, and she needs me.”

“To mend her broken heart because her boyfriend is jealous? Rafe, tell me you aren’t so lost in that positive energy thing that you think-”

“What, Lucy? That I think what? That I have chance with her? I don’t! I know that I don’t. Even if I did, I wouldn’t go with it because she loves Jamal, and the important thing is that she is happy.” Sighing, Rafe took a sip of coffee. “All I want, Lucy, is for her to be happy. I just want to see her laugh and smile. Is that really so wrong of me?”

“You know what? You are just so gosh darn cute.” His cousin sighed. “But you’re clueless. You’re in love with her, and you may want to deny it until the world stops spinning, but you are. And a part of you is always going to hope for something more with her, Rafe. There’s nothing wrong with hoping, but you have to understand sweetie, if anything did happen with the two of you now, it would be on the rebound.”

“Nothing is going to happen between us! I’m not hoping! I know that nothing can happen. I know that it can’t, Lucy. Do you hear me? I know. And I know that she’ll never feel the same way about me.” He started walking, needed to do something, to move, to… drown out the sudden feeling of his heart cracking and breaking. “I know that she loves Jamal. I know that she’ll never, ever feel the way about me that I feel about her. I’m not hoping that will change. I know that it won’t.”

“Why do you think that she doesn’t feel the same way about you? What in the whole universe could make you think she’ll never, ever, ever be completely and totally head over heels in love with you too?” Lucy asked, following behind him closely as they walked blindly through the streets of Port Charles. “Why do you suddenly think nothing at all, whatsoever, can happen between you and Alison.”

Stopping, he turned quickly. “Because… Because it can’t. It’s not sudden, Lucy. I’ve known from the very beginning that nothing would happen.”

“She kissed you.”

“She didn’t mean it!” he shouted. Rafe cleared his throat, shook his head, and lowered his voice. “She didn’t mean anything by it, Lucy. Nothing at all.”

“How do you know?”

“Because she loves Jamal! Ok? She loves her boyfriend.” He looked down, suddenly finding his unlaced black army boots very interesting. “If I could have, I would have stopped myself from falling for her, but I couldn’t, Lucy. I tried. I fought it, but she won in the end, you know? I- I’m in love with her, Lucy. And all I want is to be able to see her smile once in a while. That’s all I’m asking for.”

“Why does that have to be all though, Rafe? If you love her, fight for her!”

He raised his eyes to stare at her blankly. “Lucy,” he muttered dryly, “I don’t think you are the best person to be dishing out advice about love and telling me to fight for Alison when you won’t even fight for the man you love.”

“We aren’t talking about me and Doc! We’re talking about you and the fact that you fell in love with a girl that has a boyfriend.”

Throwing his arms up in frustration, Rafe laughed bitterly. “Well, you know what, Lucy? Nobody’s perfect. Everyone has a flaw somewhere!”

“And hers is that she has a boyfriend?”

“No, but mine was falling for her.”

Lucy turned her eyes away from him, realizing for the first time that they had somehow ended up in the park. She took a seat on the bench and motioned for him to do the same. “You can’t help who you fall in love with.”

“It would be a lot easier if we could. I just want to not feel anything for her, you know? I want to not want to kiss her everytime we get close, or hold her, or just love her. I don’t want to love her, Lucy.”

“I know, sweetie. But you kinda can’t help it, you know? You feel the way you feel and that’s the way you feel and that’s the end of it. You don’t get a say in the matter at all. You know though, for what it’s worth, love isn’t really all bad. In fact, it’s even kind of nice sometimes.”

“Nothing is going to happen between me and Alison, Lucy. You don’t… You don’t need to worry. We’re just friends, that’s all we’re going to be. I- I know that. I’ve known that.”

“I think she may kind of like you.”

Rafe turned his eyes to her cautiously. “Yeah… I just said we’re friends…”

“No… I think she likes you. She kissed you twice in five minutes!”

“Goodbye. She kissed me goodbye. And it wasn’t even really a kiss! I don’t get why you are making such a big deal out of it.”

“Oh yeah, well I don’t know why you aren’t!” She huffed impatiently, crossing her arms in front of her. “Most people that are head over heels make a big deal about things like the person they like kissing them on the cheek twice in three minutes, especially after what you told me happened last night!”

“There is nothing like that going on between me and Alison, alright? I love her. I love being with her, and hanging around her, and seeing her smile, and hearing her laugh, and watching her do just about anything. I love her, I love that we’re friends, and I love everything else about her! Is that what you wanted to hear, Lucy? The honest truth?” His jaw tightened and he turned away from her once more. “The honest truth, Lucy, is that I love her more than I knew I could love someone. But nothing, nothing, can happen between the two of us.”

“And just why not buster?”

“B-Because. Ok? Because!”

“Because why?”

Rafe sighed, burying his face in his hands. “Because… Because it can’t. Because she loves Jamal. Because it’s just not in the cards. Because she loves her life with Jamal. Because… Because the universe has a different idea of how it would like to do things.”

The wind suddenly blew harder, faster, colder. Snow flurries danced across the ground, or flew in the air, free once more to play in the breeze. The sky was a brighter blue than he’d ever known, the clouds little more than tiny white wisps. Sunshine was beating down on them in all it’s glory, reflecting off the snow in a way that made sunglasses almost necessary.

There were a lot of things he was going to miss. The lights, the colors, her, the feelings of being almost alive again. But feeling like this, a tight ball of dread in the pit of his stomach while he held his breath waiting for his cousin to reply to his reasoning was not one of them.

“Maybe,” Lucy said after a second. “The universe will change its mind.”

“I won’t hold my breath.”

“Then maybe you should make the universe change its mind.”

“I don’t think the universe is a good thing to reckon with.” Rafe shrugged his shoulders. “Besides, fate is pretty much set in stone isn’t it? And her fate is with Jamal.”

“You know one of the funny things about life? You don’t know what your fate really is.”

“Sure I do, Lucy. My fate, is to sit on the sidelines and watch the woman I love happy with another guy. But that’s ok, because she’s happy. That’s all that matters.”

She stood. “Maybe fate isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Rafe.” Brushing the snow off of her knee length coat, Lucy didn’t fail to notice he refused to meet her eyes. “Maybe fate isn’t as set in stone as you think. Maybe, sometimes you gotta just grab on to the reigns and steer your life where you want it to go.”

His smile was quick, small, and just a little shy of sincere. “Practice what you preach.”

“Maybe I will,” Lucy stated nodding. “You going to come on?”

“Nah, I think I’ll stick around here for a while.”

“Ok. Ta!” Walking away, a smile formed on her face as she called over her shoulder, “Tell Alison I said hello!” She bit down on her bottom lip when she looked back at him. “And maybe I’ll just try and steer your fate in the direction you want it to go while I’m at it.”

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