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Pictures (part 2)
.... Pulling the sheets back, he stepped into bed, crouching as he tugged the covers over his bent knees, then stretching out. A grin touched the corners of his stubborn-set mouth as yet another stray memory leaked in.
“Why do you get into bed like that?” She asked, wrinkling her nose.
Laying on the Sleep Number mattress he was planning to buy, he replied self-consciously, “I don't know. I always have.”
Her happy amusement at finding a quirk showed thoroughly on her face. He couldn't help but smile at his own expense.
No, he thought. No more....
A silent tear trailed down his cheek as he squeezed his eyes shut, praying to God her face wouldn't find it's way into another one of his dreams.
“Would you like a refill, sir?”
His eyes zoned in on the girl's face. She looked about sixteen, frazzled at the work of a first job. Her eyes were brown and respectful, something you can't always find in teenagers.
“Yes please,” he replied, picking up his mug and handing it to her.
She shot him a small smile, playing the polite waitress, and poured the hot coffee into his cup.
“Thank you,” he said, taking the cup from her, inevitably brushing her hand in doing so.
At his touch she froze and took a sharp intake of air, eyes open in astonishment. He looked away quickly and brought the cup slowly to his lips. Out of the corner of his eye, as he blew on the hot liquid, he saw the girl shake her head and walk away, unable to help glancing back at him as she helped other customers. He closed his eyes, hands still holding the coffee to his face, the steam curling in the air and kissing his nose. Unable to help himself, the memory of her reaction slipped into his mind, triggered by the girl.
They were at the library so that she could find a couple of books on psychoanalysis. Right then she was sitting across from him, buried in one of the books, zoned into whatever it was saying. Fried knew everything, apparently. He smiled, watching her bite her lip as she searched. Her eyes sped back and forth across the pages and she brushed her hair behind her ear only to have it fall back. His eyes showed the affection he felt, watching all the little things she did. Appreciating them. Diverting his attention, a sudden flurry of blond curls flew behind her; a little girl, about hip high. She ran, bouncing with each step, around the a shelf of books and out of sight.
His eyes stayed in the spot where she had disappeared and a flood of emotion rushed over him.
Blond curls lay limp on the pavement, blown loosely by the wind...
His breath was having a hard time working itself out of his lungs.
A red ball being chased, unseen, crossing the yellow lines...
He tried to hold himself together, not wanting to think about it, not here, in front of her. He closed his eyes and tensed up, trying to overcome his emotions.
“Hannah!” Came the scream that turned his attention to the girl standing in the street.
He slammed his foot on the break, eyes wide in horror, knowing he was going too fast and she was too close.
The touch of a hand sent him a jolt and he opened his eyes in surprise. She was looking at him with beautiful shock written across her face, having seen everything he had just remembered. The knowledge of this stunned him and he turned away, jerking his hand out of hers. Now she knew how revolting he really was, how careless. Anger flooded through him, mixing with his grief. Now she could hate him as much as he hated himself. He deserved at least that much, he never had deserved her love.
“I have to go,” he told her, still not looking at her face, afraid to see the blame that he felt every day when he looked in the mirror.
Slowly, he opened his eyes. He was slightly aware of the people sitting and walking around him, but his focus wasn't on his surroundings. The window he was facing was reflecting the rising sun, making it hard to see out of, but he could still make out the glints of light coming off the car hoods as they sped by.