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Twice Bitten
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 913
Summary: Maya needs to become her own woman.

Maya put her hands under the spray and watched as the water splattered everywhere. Her sad eyes left her hands and looked up to gaze at her reflection and she didn't like what she saw looking back at her. She always hated her eyes. People always said they were such a soft, inviting brown, but to her, they looked like mud. Maya shook her head, trying to banish the thought.

She knew she was right to avoid Daniel. He had already bitten her once, and like the saying goes: Once bitten, twice shy. She needed to avoid the second bite.

She couldn't help the way her heart pounded whenever he was near, though. When he was around, all she wanted was for them to be together and for him to be her knight in shining armor.

Maya didn't think that would ever happen, though. They've already dated once, and it hadn't turned out well.

Maya's mind flashed back to their all too brief relationship, and she remembered how it ended.

Maya can't wipe the smile off of her face. Ever since Daniel kissed her for the first time, every day seems like a good day. Even the weather has been good.

Nothing can ruin her good mood.

Two days later, she finds out how wrong she had been. She lets herself into Daniel's apartment – she still blushes when she remembers how he gave her a key – and looks around the place. She doesn't see him, but she hears noises coming from the bedroom.

She pushes open the bedroom door and stands in shock as Daniel thrusts into some girl. Some girl that's definitely not Maya.

She wants to run. Wants to pretend she never saw it. But she can't. Her legs won't move no matter how much her brain tells them to.

Daniel doesn't notice her until he finishes inside the panting girl, groaning out his pleasure.

Tears leak out of her eyes. She had assumed that he only ever made that sound with her.

When Daniel finally notices her, he quickly gets up. She closes her eyes, not wanting to look upon his naked body.

"Maya...It's not..." Daniel trails off.

His hesitating words release her from her paralysis.

"It's over," she whispers and runs away.

Maya turned off the faucet as the memory ended.

She expected Daniel to pursue her for a bit. After all, she was always so agreeable and never fought against what he wanted. She was easy, convenient. She expected him to give up when he saw that she wasn't wavering in her decision to cut him out of her life.

It had been almost two months, and he still hadn't given up, though. What was worse was she was beginning to waver.

She missed how she felt when he held her. She missed laughing with him and knowing that he'd keep her safe.

She looked away from her reflection, disgusted with herself. Since when did she need a guy to make her happy? When did she become so weak?

The next day, Daniel once again came to her. She tried to ignore his grey eyes that pleaded with her for forgiveness. Once a cheater, always a cheater, she thought, needing to remind herself why she had to keep saying 'no.'

Finally, Maya got fed up with Daniel's continued persistence and with her back still to him, asked, "Tell me something. Did I ever mean anything to you, or were you just with me because I was so easy to push around?" She turned to face him, her long red hair flipping over her shoulders in the process.

Daniel seemed at a loss for words. "Maya..."

"Well?" she asked. She knew she sounded annoyed and wondered where this was coming from? Wasn't she just wavering in her decision to not be with him?

"I love you, but I got needs. I wasn't getting my needs meant with you, so I went to someone else." Daniel seemed surprised at his own answer, and he must have known that he'd never get her back now.

Maya smiled, but she knew there was nothing kind about it. "Is that so? So, it wasn't enough that I was sleeping with you. You needed some other girl, too. Or was there more than one?"

Daniel didn't answer, but his silence coupled with how he turned his face away was answer enough.

"Of course. Listen to me. I want you to stay away from me. I killed myself trying to please you, and I've finally realized that's an impossible task. I'm going to learn how to be happy by myself. If you don't stay away from me, I'll accuse you of stalking and get a restraining order."

Maya didn't want to find out if Daniel understood. She turned around and walked away, heading to the library like she had previously planned.

Maya knew those were tough words, but she also knew she was still in love with Daniel even though she finally realized he wasn't good for her. She would stay away from him; she would avoid that second, maybe fatal, bite.

What was most important now was for her to learn how to be happy on her own. She needed to work on herself. She needed to learn that being in relationship shouldn't make or break her happiness. She wanted to be a strong woman, and she'd do it without Daniel at her side. It was the only way it could be done.

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