Robin entered a pub and elbow propped at the bar with some old friends.
Isellta stood off to the side, observing him and trying to unpuzzle him.
But I don’t know if it’s possible. There are so many missing pieces. The pieces I hold don’t have any shape or they just don’t make sense.
Robin talked with a great amount of energy and arm flailing.
He came after me as if he owns me.
But he seems to think he does.
Robin burst out laughing – a loud, raucous laugh – at something a vampire with cornrows had said.
Is he no different than Olessa? It seems so.
I don’t think he is.
Robin looked over at Isellta and waved at him to move closer.
I don’t know.
I don’t understand.
Isellta moved closer to Robin and sat beside him.
I don’t understand him at all.
Raven walked through the park. The paths had been mostly cleared, but some of the snowbanks had stretched their fat white fingers onto the pavement.
In his mind, May Rose walked beside him, happy and silent. Her hand hovered close to his hand. So close he could feel her heat, if not her touch.
He didn’t speak. He waited, as he always did, for her to say the first word, to make the first contact.
She never did.
But he didn’t feel sad or lonely. As long as he imagined that she was there. As long as he didn’t try to look at her, he was happy.
Because in his mind , she was there.
Just within reach.
Footsteps came running.
A hand grabbed his hand.
He stopped walking and stood completely rigid-like.
“Hsst! Don’t stand like that. Keep moving.” It was a woman’s voice, but it certainly was not May Rose. “Come on! You do move, don’t you?”
Raven looked at her.
She most certainly was not May Rose.
He released her hand.
She was short with light brown skin and dark brown eyes. A plaid beret balanced on top of her dense shoulder length hair.
She took the hat off and put on his head.
It looked completely wrong and out of place. “I guess that won’t do.” She took it off and Frisbeed it into the bushes.
Raven found his voice. “I’m terribly sorry, miss, but—”
She laughed and resumed walking. “Wow. No one’s ever called me ‘miss’ before. I like it.”
He followed her. “I’m sorry, but who are you?”
She took her tan trenchcoat off and turned it inside out as she walked. “You want to know my name? Sorry. I’m not supposed to give out my name to every guy I meet.” She put her now red trenchcoar back on. “You can keep on calling me ‘miss’. I like it. Call me Missy.”
“Who are you running from?”
She laughed – a sharp, short sound. “Who isn’t running from someone or something? I’m willing to bet something’s been chasing you too.”
She pulled a Detroit Tigers baseball cap out of her pocket and put it on. “Memories are scary things. I have too many of them that hurt and hurt and they hurt and they don’t stop hurting and—”
He took her arm.
She startled, but she didn’t pull away.
They walked down the path together.
He had the strange feeling that something was holding its breath, waiting for life.
Something was waiting to start.