She wore a long coat lined with faux fur as she walked down to meet him. She wanted to impress him.


1. Dreams

    She wore a long coat lined with faux fur as she walked down to meet him. She wanted to impress him. “Hello, Horatio,” she greeted as she reached the bottom of the stairs, the long train of her coat following her down the wooden planks.
    The dark-haired, pale-eyed, freckled man at the bottom of the stairs looked shocked to see her in such a nice getup. He smiled after a moment, though his eyes remained wide. “Hello, Edina,” he responded, nodding a single nod as a greeting. He then held out his hand to help her off of the last step. “How is my fair lady doing today?”
    “Better, now that you’re here,” she said with a smile, but didn’t take his hand or step off the last step. “I’ve been waiting for you since ten this morning.”
    “You know not to wait up on me, beautiful. I always catch up.”

    “Yes, I know, but I don’t want other people to see me seeing you,” she said, smile saddening a bit. “You know what they’d say.”
    “Yes, I do,” he said, sighing softly; his smile then returned. “No matter, the two of us alone is better than us with any number of people— you’re the only woman I see.”
    She laughed, knowing it was true. “I wish that I could see you more often you know, not just in the late evenings.”     “I know, I know, but…it’s best that I come while dreams dance in your head. It’s just better that way.”
    “Dreams, huh? I never have any dreams when I see you…”
    “Maybe because I am the dream,” said Horatio, smiling sadly.
    “Oh, don’t be sad about that, Horatio,” said Edina, though the smile that she put on seemed more sad than reassuring.
    He sighed softly. “…Edina…I can’t help it…I’m sad that we have been apart at all…”
    Edina paused as well before she spoke, picking her words carefully. “…as am I, Horatio. But we see each other every night.”

    “Every night, right…but it feels like years. A minute without you feels like years.”
    Edina smiled. “Oh, now you’re stealing my phrases.”
    “Oh, whoops,” Horatio laughed sarcastically.
    She bumped him on the head with her right hand; though she didn’t feel the impact, she saw Horatio’s reaction— a jovial laugh, a happy eyeroll, and a toothy grin. “Sorry, baby,” he said. “…why did you dress up so nice tonight?”

    “I thought that perhaps we could go somewhere else— perhaps outside of this room and on another date— we haven’t been on a date in six weeks, going on seven.”
    “Oh, I’d love to!” Horatio said, then sighed softly after a moment. “But you know I can’t do that…”     Edina’s face fell at his response and she looked down. “…right.”
    The bell rang three times, its brassy voice ringing throughout the room, and then Horatio’s eyes widened. “Goodness, three already?!”

    Edina knew that face. Edina’s face crumpled up. “No, no, don’t go!”
    “You said it yourself— I’ll see you every night, and that means that I’ll see you tomorrow night, Edina.”
    “But you haven’t been here more than five minutes.”
    “I have, Edina. It’s been six hours.”

    “Edina. Honestly. Do you not remember hearing the bells chime during our conversation?”
    “No I don’t; our conversation couldn’t’ve been more than five minutes long, though!”     Horatio pointed to the clock. The small hand was at the three and the long one at the twelve. He looked her right in the eyes. “Ed. It’s three. I must go.”
    Edina looked at him sadly. “But…but why?”

    “Because I can’t stay.”
    “That’s not an explanation.”
    “…you know the reason.”
    She sighed softly, a tear falling down her cheek— a tear that she didn’t even know was there. “I do…Goodbye, Horatio.”
    “Goodbye, Edina.”
    “See you tomorrow night?”
    “Yes, tomorrow night.”
    “I…I love you.”
    “I love you too.”
    Edina gave one last, long look at her love before turning and walking up the stairs from whence she had come, the tears now flowing freely.

    It was dark and fuzzy behind her eyelids, and it took a few moments before Edina’s eyes opened into her bedroom. She reached up to her eyes to rub the sleep from them. When the place where her right hand formerly resided came in contact with her right eye, she jumped slightly, pulling it in front of her face so that she could see it. She sighed when she saw that it was simply the stump that she had— no hand, just wrist. “Six months and still not used to it yet,” she mumbled, but found herself hoarse. She must’ve been crying and talking in her sleep.
    She leaned over and turned on the light by her bedside. There was a moment where the lamp was comprehending the command, and then light flooded the room. She squinted for a moment, and opened them wider when they adjusted to the brightness.
    She looked to the clock across the room, picking the glasses up off of the nightstand and putting them on. She took a moment to read the time. Three o’clock. Early. Had she awoken because of a bad dream, perhaps?
    Her eyes wandered the room for a moment before they snagged on a portrait that made her heart ache. A man, with dark hair, pale eyes, and freckles flecked all over his body, holding her up. They were both wearing swimsuits, the sand below their feet and the rolling waves in the background revealing that they were at the beach.  She had her puckered up lips pressed against his cheek, and he was feigning shock, mouth wide open. They’d been so young in that picture, and that had only been days before the accident.
    Then again, the accident had occurred only six weeks ago; she treated it like it’d been twenty years.
    It felt like an eternity.
    She felt tears bubble up in her eyes. He…could he really be gone?
    But he had to be. 
    The memories all flooded back. The memories of his shiny black casket being lowered into that cold ground; the memories of how, before that, she’d seen him in his casket, thought of how hard those poor makeup artists must’ve worked to be able to make his face look normal when it’d actually been deformed and sunken after the wreck; even earlier than that, her being rushed into the hospital and her crying for him, in absolute pain with that thing stuck through her hand; before even that, then holding hands in his brand new car, sailing down the empty highway right beside the beautiful oceanside cliff on their honeymoon, not a care in the world and not thinking that anyone could possibly be approaching.
    But those were just memories, and now there was no one beside her, and her wedding ring lay somewhere on those rocks.
    All that remained was that stabbing ache in her heart, the realization that she could never see him again, that she could never build a family him, that she could never see him again, that she could never build a family with him, that she could never see him again, that she could never build a family him, that she could never see him again, that she could never build a family him…
    He was gone.
    The man of my dreams was gone. 

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