He pressed his elbows against the table, and cupped his face with his hands. His voice was a hushed whisper, ?How do you keep going??

She smiled, strained and slight, and shook her head. Her eyes traced the all too familiar lines of desperation on his face. He was looking for the magical key that would open all the doors. She knew the answer he was looking for would not open doors though. He wanted to lock them all, for protection, and hide himself away from that hurt that brought him to her to begin with.

Her doors were amazingly always open. She did not receive those that did not carry scars though. She dealt with the broken, the forgotten, and the imaginary. She was the sort of person that did not look for happy, so called complete people and they did not seek her out. She usually brought others to that state, and in some cases they stayed in her rooms. Others quietly left with both parties content with their accomplishments. Still others pointed the finger and shot her in the heart with accusations, wrecked her rooms, and left still full of fire and brimstone. It took her a long time at the shop with tweezers and glue to put those grievous wounds to rights again.

She noted that her visitor was squirming though, and she realized that she had been ignoring him. She smiled, a touch more genuine this time, and reached across the table. Her hand lightly touched his forearm, and she felt him recoil instinctively. She gripped his forearm, firmly, and met his eyes with her own.

?There is no keep going, as if I were making progress everyday of the week. I am not in a new place every day. Even half of my days I find myself back in familiar territory, and it is frightening. New territory is just as terrifying though. My motivations are always changing. Progress needs powerful motivations??

She felt her eyes drop to the table. She continued to touch him though, her hand releasing his forearm so both of her hands could rest on top of his, cupping his cheeks.

?Some days I am just too spiteful to die. Other days I am too much a coward. Some days I feel another part of myself screaming to get up, so that my pride would not be more wounded than what it is now. There is a part of me that cannot give him the satisfaction of existence.?

Her lips broke into a grin, and her teeth were bars that kept more malicious, less ladylike words from breaking free. Her grin was enough to express her sentiments.

?I suspect she was not enough of a person for you. In this way we are similar. Why spare her your free thoughts when there are others to think of? There are others that need you and are truly appreciative for your existence. Think of them in these moments and know that you are not alone. Remember, you came through my door? and I?ve never had a dissatisfied customer.

Of course I?ve had my fair share that have left me much more than dissatisfied, but I know I did my part and I did it damn well.?

Her lips twisted in a sneer, and this expression did not suit her soft face at all. She pulled herself from that train of thought, and focused her attentions on her partner again.

?You do not need the world to be happy, the world can be contained in those few you know and you can find a more satisfying alignment than those that need a world that does not need nor want them.?

A true grin crossed her lips, and her whole face lit up with it. She appeared much more animated than when he had stepped through the doorframe. She did not hide her elation at finding a new companion. She came to love each of her companions deeply and she enjoyed sharing that love, sharing her private world with them.

Her hands squeezed his in reassurance and she hoped she could give him some of her serenity.

?We start as soon as you want to start, and I?ll stay. You?ll quickly discover I don?t leave.?