Lonely Heart4th of July was always Nick's favourite holiday, even as a kid. Why? Well, there was the fireworks. He loved to watch the multicoloured explosions. Who wouldn't? But it was more than that. Every year since his dad died, he sat there with one of the few people he let in. The few he let himself love. The few he let love him.
That list had grown frighteningly short as of late. Three years ago it was all but non-existent. Four years ago, he had Julie; she made up for lack of quantity, with quality. He let her under his guard. She sneaked past his defences and had, somehow, inched her way into his heart. There she settled, nestled neatly within his heart, where, at least a part of her, still remained.
After she left him, he felt his defences harden once more. This time, however, he was sure that no one could penetrate them. The wall around his heart was too thick, too tall, too wide. Not even the most persistent person could break in.
Then how did she?
Nick looked at the blond beside him. She leaned upon the railing before them, overlooking the lake. Her gaze was locked on the heavens, watching the colourful lights dance across the sky. Watching intently as they burst into thin—petaled flowers of red, white, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, and purple. As if under a time elapse, the flowers bloomed gloriously, and wilted, petals falling and fading down into the lake below. A few screamed as if a teakettle about to over—boil, only to disappear momentarily, and explode into a myriad of stars, vanishing as quickly as they appeared.
As Kate watched the light dance across the heavens, her partner and friend watched them dance across her face. The look of awe and child—like wonderment were on both detectives. Hers was for the beauty in night sky. His was for the beauty beside him.
He had no clue how she broke through his defences, but she had. It wasn't a frontal assault either, those he could handle. But somehow, she had found a chink in his otherwise impenetrable armour.
The funny thing was.... He was glad she had found a way. No longer was he as isolated. Still, he was wary. As the saying goes: "Once burned, Twice shy." Well, he was burned enough to be cautious. It wasn't in his nature to be shy, but he was cautious.
Still, he was glad to have her there. And though she was nothing like Julie.... He couldn't help but be afraid to lose her. Every time he let anyone in, they'd always end up leaving. His father died. His first love left him, in the middle of the night, wedding band and a note being all that remained behind when he awoke that morning. Julie also left him, the same way his father had. Zoë, the first person (besides Kate) to have sneaked behind his wall since Julie's death, left him to go back to Connecticut or Kentucky or somewhere like that. Then, most recently, his mother passed away. At least this time he got to say goodbye.
That left Kate. She hadn't left him, yet. But would she? How long before she left him, too? He wasn't being cynical or pessimistic; he was being realistic. He had the worst track record when it came to people he cared about. He just didn't want to get burned again.
She glanced down from the heavens to look at him. Her smile was so honest, so real, that he couldn't help but smile back.
"What scares most men off is my speaking my mind. My being honest."
"Well, that's always a mistake in a relationship."
Perhaps he was wrong.... Maybe her honesty could keep her with him. He didn't know. And if she was going to end up leaving, he realised, he didn't want to know. What he did know was that he was tired of having such a lonely heart.... And she was the perfect one to fill it.