My feet found their way to the bed in front of me. I sat as a motionless prisoner to the facts. My words, my actions and my very presence seemed to make Quinn’s life worse.
Despite that, I could not deny that look in his eyes. There was no misinterpreting his words on the hood of his car. Or the smile he offered to me numerous times. He didn’t want me to leave.
God if you put me in this situation than I am counting on you getting me out. Was I going to break this man’s heart, or mine in six days when I leave for home? I tried to imagine again that perfect smile disappearing from his face and a look of broken heartedness overtaking him. Only I couldn’t. Somehow even in our most precarious situations his smile had never gone far. I had seen angry for sure, when he saw all his possessions destroyed. I had seen compassion in him whenever he looked at me. In fact, I had seen hope when he visited Anna. However I had not seen him broken-hearted.
Then without planting the thought there myself I saw a vision of him standing outside in his new clothes crying. No ... weeping.
Foolishly I entertained the idea that I was the cause. That he would be devastated by my absence. Then thrashing me like a gust of wind, the vision clarified. The background came into view. There were grave markers lined up like sentinels behind him. People surrounding Quinn were clothed in their darkest attires. The familiarity of the image was more than I could bear to face again.
It wasn’t any love for me that made his heart tear into two. It was the funeral of his beloved sister, Anna. Lord no! Please find a way to save her Lord. Then I rolled over onto my stomach, burying my head in the pillows.
I don’t know how long I laid there. I had drowned out the sounds of the shower as I crawled inside my darkest memories. I remember standing over Mitch’s gravesite wishing I could crawl in with him. Staring into the dark hole, I had envisioned his arms reaching out to me and pulling me close to his chest. Then he would hold me forever.
So many people had come and offered to help me to my car. My mother even told me I was disturbing the guests by standing over the edge of the hole. Only, I didn’t care. There was no one standing around me that I cared about anymore. Their feelings meant nothing to me. I felt dead. Is that what Quinn will feel like in the coming days?
Suddenly I was alerted to the warm, smooth face brushed against my forearm. I raised my head in a jolt to be face to face with Quinn.
“I hung your dress in the bathroom just in case you had a change of heart, Cherie. Otherwise the bathroom is all yours.” It was then that his eyes softened even more as he saw the tear stains on my face.
“What is this for?” He asked as he collected a lingering drop. “Ma Cherie, don’t cry. Whatever it is for we will figure it out. Together."
Mitch used to say to me there was nothing we couldn’t handle together. He had been right. Right up until the moment he died and left me alone to deal with this one. For three years I have felt so alone. Until tonight. I wanted so badly for Quinn to wrap his arms around me and hold me until the fear left.
Only that would bring another fear that I would never be able to leave.
“Tell me why you were crying. Is it something I said? Or didn't say?”
“I think I am having a harder time dealing with all the drama than you are.”
There was his loving smile again. I needed to etch it into my memory bank. Just like I had done with Mitch – only I did it after the fact. I hadn’t taken those little gestures of love and stored them at the moment they were offered. They were gathered post haste. I wouldn’t make the same mistake with Quinn.
He gently urged me to sitting on the bedside. “I hate to leave you but I must meet with the Detective. I will be back in precisely one hour to fetch you. Is that enough time?”
His words were soothing and his touch was reviving, but he wasn’t acknowledging what had happened. It had happened right?
How can one person become so lost within their own life? Lost where the walls of reality blur beyond any recognition. I wondered if behind his sweet smile there was anger, or resentment. Perhaps he is just as lost as I am? In a short period of time, he has lost everything and he is holding it together better than I who have had years to face my losses.
I nodded in response to his proposition and he stood to go. He didn’t get far as he paused at the doorway.
“Cherie, you have given me a lot to think about. Please do not think that I did not hear what you said.” Then he left me with a smile and a wink.
I listened as his footsteps walked past the couches and out the double doors.
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