It hurt to move.  Elizabeth decided that she should move as little as possible.    Yes, Elizabeth.  Last night she was truly and finally Elizabeth.  No one would call her Izzy-Biff any more.  She shuffled across the carpet on socked feet, nudging empty cans and shoeboxes out of her way.  Christ but it hurt to move.  Her head pained her most of all.  But she was Elizabeth now, and she gloried in that.

The late afternoon sun welcomed her into the kitchen.  Her kitchen, now.  Jonathan had said it wouldn’t be worth it, but he was wrong.  He couldn’t have ever understood.  Poor Jonathan.  After what had happened Elizabeth wondered if she would ever see him again.  It didn’t matter.  She stood at the counter and basked in light and warmth.  She basked in her victory.

After a few minutes she turned–slowly!–and leaned against the counter.  She carefully tried to rake out her hair with her fingers but it was no use.  Her long auburn curls were a hopeless, filthy mess.  She needed a long, hot bath.  But first she needed something to wash the foul taste out of her mouth.  That minded her of last night, of her hard-won enterprise.  Elizabeth smiled.  She would let the taste linger for now.  But she was hungry.  Her eyes wandered her domain slowly, searching for easy game.  Then she spied the ring on the table.

She found herself moving again.  Painfully.  The stained, golden circle drew her as inexorably as an ocean tide.  It was her promise ring.  She stared at it.  There was no note.  Funny.  Jonathan always left notes.  She supposed he was well and truly out of her life now.  Who could blame him?  He was part of the price and she willingly paid.  Still, Jonathan was a nice boy.  She hoped he would someday learn to trust again.  She wanted that for him.

Her face felt wet.  Tears?  Why was she crying?  She got everything she wanted.  She had won.  Elizabeth grinned ferally through her tears.  She had done it.  She had won.  She closed her fingers around the ring and clutched it to her chest.

Elizabeth stood there.  Alone.  With her pain.  Sobbing triumphantly.

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