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A Painful Embrace

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Dawn heard the familiar noise of a 1999 Chevy Tahoe barrel up her gravel driveway. She jumped at the sound, squealed, and clutched her brown leather bag to her chest.

Finally, Nico had arrived.

They greeted each other politely on Dawn's front porch, Nico placing his hand conservatively on the small of her back.

The young couple waved goodbye to Dawn's parents, and walked to the car, where Nico once again offered her a favor by opening her car door. She replied with a shy smile.

"How are you today, Lady Dawn?"

"Fine, thank you, Sir Nico."

He smiled at Dawn while keeping his eyes on the curvy road.

"Ten bucks says that there aren't any other people who greet each other like we do," he joked.

"Then I guess I owe you ten bucks!"

Dawn reached over and squeezed his hand on the steering wheel; he responded with a side smile at her.

"So, where are we going today?" inquired a curious Dawn.

"Lunch. What are you in the mood for? I was thinking Chinese."

Dawn settled in the wrinkled leather seat and retorted, "You're always in the mood for Chinese, Nico."

"Shh, no I'm not. So... Chinese sounds good?"

"Sure, Nico."


The old truck rumbled into a tight-fitting parking spot right outside of the couple's favorite Chinese restaurant. After turning off the struggling engine, Nico rushed to Dawn's passenger side door to open it for her. She smiled and winked at him in the corner of her eye.

"Man, I love this stuff," Nico started, opening Dawn's door for her once again.

"I know, Nico!"

He sat in his ripped seat and started the engine once again.

"Thanks so much, Nico. I always have fun when I'm with you."

"Me too, Dawn! I mean, you're the only person who will willingly go get Chinese with me anymore."

She smiled in return, but Nico was busy retrieving a small maroon box from inside his fake leather coat.

Dawn's heart skipped several beats as he kneeled down on his left knee (the good one) on the hard red brick of her front porch.

"Dawn, please. Will you..."

But before he could finish his sentence, one that we all knew too well, Dawn was appalled to see blood beginning to leak out of the corner of his mouth.

"Nico! Nico, what happened?" She panicked and grabbed his hands.

"Don't worry... about me... Just," he gasped for air, "Take this, and don't... don't... forget about me."

He thrust the ring onto her finger, and then fell forward into her quivering hands.

Dawn screamed in terror, and saw a small, but capable, dagger piercing his back.

With a final gasp, he managed to whisper, "I love you, Dawn."

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