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One Million Things

She fell asleep on my couch, one tear-streaked cheek resting on a dingy yellow throw pillow - Kelly's one flirtation with brightening up my apartment. There were a million things I wanted to do with her, for her, or to her. After I pulled a thin blanket off my bed to cover her, used a corner of it to wipe away the streams that continued to run in her sleep, all I could do was grab the sheet off my bed, curl up in my recliner, and watch her.

I'd never taken advantage of a woman when she's lost someone close, and was not about to start with Leigh.

Suddenly, a twirl of blond hair poked its head up from the couch. Bloodshot blue eyes sought mine out desperately - tormented, despairing. I imagined I could glimpse the depths of Leigh's own personal hell in those blue eyes, and I wanted to bring her out of it. But there was no way I could. There might be a few moments out, but the time after would deliver her deeper in than anyone could go to save her.

Knowing all of this, I kicked the sheet off, and sat down on the top of the coffee table in front of where she now sat. I don't remember how, but her shaking hands ended up in mine.

"He's gone..." she said in a thick, hoarse voice I barely recognized.

I nodded. Yes, I knew. I was with her when the doctor delivered the news. Then I squeezed her hands. Her ring cut in. I ignored it.

"He's gone..."

She repeated it four or five more times, almost like she was convincing herself of it. Then she launched herself herself at me suddenly, sobbing, hefting punches, screaming at the top of her lungs. I knew my chest would be black and blue later, but that wasn't what mattered. At least there was something for her to aim at.

Five, ten, twenty minutes later, she was curled in a tight ball in my lap. Even though I had grabbed the blanket from the couch and wrapped us both in it, she shivered uncontrollably.

"Why him?" Her voice was at its highest at just above a whisper. "Why not you?"

I looked down at her in time to meet her shaky gaze. Before I could answer, she was kissing me. Kissing me like all she wanted was to be with me. And I was weak. I kissed her back, didn't stop her when she went beyond that. This was the woman I had been dreaming about for months, the reason I didn't date anymore. She was here, doing and letting me do everything I wanted. It was grief, I knew, but I'd waited months for her, convincing myself I could wait years. I'd spent months living on a near miss. Maybe this was my time.

My time...

Those two little words jarred me. Stopped me cold when everything else said go. "Leigh..."

Her head leveled, her gaze met mine. Slowly, she slunk back to the couch.

As she did, I wanted to stop her, take away the shame that now sagged her cheeks. My greatest desire in that moment was to make everything go away. Her grief. My stupidity. My desire to have what I couldn't. Even in that moment, blood coursing through my veins, I still wanted her.

But I had to stare the truth in the face. I could never have her.


  1. judged--got a weaker score in creativity because to me it wasn't that creative. Seen a lot from Jordan and Leigh before.


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