Before This Shield Of Glass Breaks
by Oro

If she could make this nervousness go away, she might enjoy the feel of luxurious fabric covering her skin after a hot shower in a hotel suite. If she can make her neck less stiff, and her lips not as tight, she would be able to notice the warm breeze and the briskness of her own step; the fact that she isn't able to fool herself would occur to her before she falls.

Donna tells herself that it'll be alright, but then her hand reaches for her hair, giving it a finishing touch, and her seemingly assertive energy crumbles to pieces of insecurity. She falls heavily on her bed and thinks that it shouldn't be so hard, that it would be the easiest thing to watch him hold hands with Amy and bind himself to her after all that time and effort Amy's put into making it work. Making them work.

The blonde veil of her long hair sticks to her face, to cover that shame and those tears that insist on ruining her previously perfect makeup. It's such a cliché of a mood, and she was doing so well earlier; the fragility of her state upsets her further. She kicks an empty shoebox and thinks of how she is nothing but a secretary with too many glittery dreams in her mind who can't even afford the expensive Kenneth Cole dress she's wearing.

And Josh said before that he's so excited, and she concealed everything so perfectly she could've won an Oscar; he told her then that they've placed her next to a friend of his, also single. She stared at her lap, feeling every second of her thirty years and hating it; hating them and their perfect wedding, their new desire to organize the world around them into couples now that they're Mr. and Mrs. Lovey Dovey Stuff, now that she's alone and he isn't.

She tries to breathe regularly and calm down; her face is a mess. She gets up reluctantly and goes to wash her face and start building her wall of defense from scratch. Water, towel, discreetly conceal the blemishes, and cover it with powder to hide the redness, then eyeliner, three different shades of eyeshadow, lipstick; just enough to deflect attention from her misty eyes, she hopes.

Straightening her necklace to accentuate a particularly strategic spot, she flashes a plastic smile at her reflection in the mirror. She looks like a porcelain doll and her body is just a tool for this act of hypocrisy, and for whatever reason, that fact pleases her. She will go to the wedding; she shall be charming and graceful and walk like the wind, she'll laugh and smile and amuse and listen attentively; she will avoid CJ's worried glance at any cost. She can't allow herself to break again.

(Decisively, she grabs her purse and walks away, quickly locking the door after her before she has the chance to change her mind.)


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