Big stupid idiot.
Elsie opened her eyes. She looked into his green-blue eyes, at their soft and gentle expression.
I want to smash him over the head with a wooden club Neanderthal-style and drag him home.
She frowned slightly.
Is it wrong for me to feel this way? Is it okay for me to have such strong feelings for him?
I think so.
As long as I don’t act on them, I should be okay.
Although, he’d probably get a strange thrill from me dragging him home like that. He’d laugh deliriously the whole way. I’m sure of it. And he’d probably call me his Cavewoman Elsie or something like that.
Such an idiot.
I love him.
“I love you so much.”
It’s just five words.
Five words that can express so much and not nearly enough. I want him to know what I mean when I say that. I want him to feel the fire I feel when I think of him. I want him to feel the passion inside of me when I say those small five words.
“Trust me, Hildreth. You have nothing to fear from Ambrose Smith. He will not return to me. I will not return to him. We’ve both moved onto separate tracks that will never merge again and I am happy with that. I am happy with you.”
But happy is the wrong word. It doesn’t express what I mean.
It doesn’t even come close.
“I love you too, Els.”
Five words to wrap up all of my thoughts and feelings and desire for this fierce woman.
Is it enough?
Does she know?
Can she hear all the words those five words mean? Can she hear it in my voice? Can she see it in my eyes? Can she taste it on my lips? Can she feel it on my skin? Because it is all there.
Everything that I feel and think and want…It’s all there for her to see and, in two days, experience.
Maybe then she will understand it.
Maybe then she will feel what I mean when I say it.
“Elsie, I love you too.”
Sarah followed Barbara into her house. She glanced around, searching for dangers and escape routes and places to hide.
“So, this is my home. It isn’t too big, but that’s fine with me. I’m just one person. I don’t need a mansion.”
Sarah followed her up the stairs.
“How did you want to handle the sleeping situation? Did you want to sleep by yourself? I do have a spare room.”
She thought about it.
“Or you could sleep in my bed with me. My bed is certainly big enough for the two of us.” She blushed and Sarah wondered why. “It’s up to you.”
The small girl pointed at herself and then at Barbara.
“You want to sleep with me?”
Sarah nodded and took her hand. It was warm and safe feeling.
A memory flickered – vague, sepia-toned – and then it was gone.
Sarah released her hand and backed away from her.
The small girl frowned as she struggled to find the right gestures to express herself.
Barbara didn’t push her.
Sarah stomped her foot on the step and shook her head.
She tapped her head and then clenched her hand into a tight fist. She opened her fist and flung her hand out in front of her as if she were trying to grab something just out of reach.
She shook her head in frustration. Tears burned in her eyes. She huffed out a hurt breath.
Barbara didn’t understand.
Sarah could see. She could tell that Barbara didn’t understand and she didn’t know how to make her understand.
She lowered her hand and tried to think of a different way to say it.
“I don’t understand. Ambrose probably would.”
Sarah folded her arms across her small chest and glowered.
“Try it again. Maybe it will make sense to me this time.”
Sarah repeated the gesture slowly, like someone talking to a deaf person.
Barbara frowned. “I’m not sure. Does it have something to do with your memory?”
Sarah nodded emphatically.
“Your memory…You don’t…”
Sarah repeated it again and again.
“You can’t remember. You’re trying to remember.”
She shook her head.
“You almost remember—”
Sarah’s small face brightened with a smile. She nodded.
“You can almost remember something, but—”
Sarah flung out her arm again and stretched her fingers as far as they could go.
“—it’s hard? It’s difficult. You can’t quite reach it. You can’t quite remember it.”
Another emphatic nod.
“You’re not even sure what the memory is.”
Sarah took Barbara’s hand again.
The memory did not return.
She scowled and stomped her foot.
Sarah shrugged in a broad gesture and yawned. She gave the woman a pointed “Well?” look.
Barbara smiled. “Follow me.”