A/N: Bobby's POV. (Beta by Tinhutlady.)

I looked at her, but I never wanted to see the woman underneath the veil of beauty. I heard her voice, but I just never really listened to the words she was silently screaming. I felt the pounding of her heart, but it never harmonized with mine.

Even though I was young, I knew they had a bond that could never be broken. I just chose to ignore it. Iíve made so many mistakes, but I choose to forget them all, too. I thought her feelings for him would fade into friendship, her hope for his reply would admit defeat if I could just hold on a little longer, and I prayed for her heart to stop craving his love when I tried to overwhelm it with mine.

I didnít want to see her suppressed grief when he wasnít there, just like I paid no attention to her genuine smile when he returned -- for her, of course. I closed my eyes to her lack of passion in our bed, and even though I know her love for me is real, now I realize that her love for him is beyond limits.

The moment she feels his healing energy surround her, she awakes from her numbed state of existence, and, like a puppet on a string, sheís drawn to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. She may look at me with love, but when her gaze meets his, her eyes are filled with a raw passion Iíll never know.

He wasnít there when she married me. Sometimes I question whether I should despise him or be thankful for allowing me to be the center of her universe for just one day. She didnít agree with his generosity, though. Her body was trapped in a wedding dress -- her soul was flying wild and free out there somewhere with him.

I lied to both of us that weíd be fine. She tried to believe me, and I lived for seven years with her by my side. Seven years of sharing a life together, however, at this moment, I know that I never even got to know the woman I thought I loved.

Lack of courage prevents me from asking her for the truth. Nevertheless, I can see it in her eyes if I look closely enough. She doesnít even know sheís a hollow creature when I hold her in my arms, but I can feel the void in her body, and somehow I canít hold onto the faÁade I still foolishly call Ďour love.í

Not only is her skin untouchable, I can never reach out for her heart as well. It was already taken by him a long time ago, even though they both werenít aware of it back then. Deep down Iíve known it all along. I just chose to live this lie and pretended we were happy.

Itís a lie that has us all trapped, and, up till now, somehow we managed to play along quite naturally. We never failed to act our roles handed out by this twist of fate, although lately, I feel our stage simply isnít strong enough to carry all our unspoken words. Even our audience played along. There are times that I wonder: whoís fooling whom? Are the ones we call our friends truly blind, or are they deliberately closing their eyes, just like Iíve done for so many years?

Itís inevitable. One day she will reach out for him. Not only spiritually, but physically as well. They are just waiting for me to break the spell thatís keeping them apart. When that day comes, some people might think that he stole her from me when in fact Iím the thief that captured her when she was vulnerable. Iím simply holding a shell hostage in a cage made of ignorance while he spiritually makes love to her heart.

Iím their accepted barrier, but I wonder how much longer they would have played along with this masquerade Iím about to end. Finally understanding their love will conquer everything, I surrender to the fate I thought I could change. I suppose destiny wins after all. My quest was simply doomed from the start.
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