They stand on the porch, hand in hand. Their warm breaths loom around them, wrapping their shared space in a cozy blanket. The vibrant yellow and orange leaves dance to the brisk fall breeze. They exchange small, delicate kisses and tight embraces. He holds her body close, but not close enough.
This is not a fairytale ending. This is not a happily ever after. She turns away, releasing herself from his grip. His breath reeks of coffee, and she feels the empty cavity within her chest consume her. She can faintly taste the bitter mocha from his lips. She begins to walk, unable to glance back at the distraught, puffy-eyed young man. The rotten leaves crunch beneath her torn shoes. With every step she feels him fold further into her arms, receding deep within himself, as he has done countless times before. He crumbles to her touch.
Only this time, she does not hold on.