"But he's dark and he's gloomy, and… just plain scary," Tony said, shaking his head.
"Yeah. Isn't it great?" Abby bubbled.
"Figures," Tony made a face. "You would like the creepy stuff. Come on, Abby. He wrote a story about a guy who kills someone, and buries his heart under the floor, but still hears it beating. That's just not normal."
"Ah, the Telltale Heart. You know, that's not the only thing he wrote. There are lots of stories. He wrote over 100. In fact, there was this one that I really like where this Italian guy lures his hated enemy down into his vaults with the promise of fine wine, and then bricks him into a wall, to be buried alive. It's great!"
"It's creepy!" Tony argued.
"No more creepy then a horror movie," Abby shot back.
"Yeah, but can you imagine spending you career writing stuff like that?"
Abby raised her eyebrow.
"Ok, wrong person to ask," Tony admitted.
Come on, Tony. They're totally classic!" Abby rhapsodized.
"What's classic?" McGee asked, coming into Abby's lab, complete with plastic sample baggie in one hand, and giant Caf Pow in the other.
"Ooooo… goody!" Abby said, taking the offered Caf Pow and taking a long sip. She sighed contentedly.
"We were talking about Edgar Allan Poe. Tony says his stuff gives him nightmares."
"I said no such thing. I said he was creepy."
" 'Quoth the Raven nevermore'," McGee quoted.
"Ah, the Raven," Abby said, with a nod of approval to McGee.
"Isn't that a poem?" Tony said, making a face.
"I like poetry," Abby said defensively. "Poetry is great. Especially creepy poetry."
"Why am I not surprised?" Tony groaned.
"Come on, Tony. Don't you think that Edgar Allan Poe is quality literature? I mean, his stories are the foundation of the modern horror genre."
"Too right McGee!" Abby said, grinning.
"Fine, fine. If you're both going to be against me!" Tony threw up his hands in surrender. He walked out the door, flinging over his shoulder, "Call me when they make a movie out of that stuff."
McGee and Abby traded amused looks.
"So… you know about Edgar Allan Poe?" Abby asked McGee.
"Sure. My sister Sarah is a Lit major. She sort of went through a romantic poetry phase."
Abby raised a practiced eyebrow.
"McGee, Poe is not romantic poetry. It's gothic horror."
"There's romantic stuff too," McGee protested.
"He wrote stories about people murdering other people, and meeting with death at a dinner party, and being tortured by the Inquisition. It's great stuff, but it's not romantic!"
"Maybe you haven't read the right ones," he said.
"Unless you find the macabre romantic, there's just no way!" Abby insisted.
"Who says I don't?" McGee said, winking at her. "Hey Abby, what are you doing Saturday?"
"Why?" Abby said, cautiously.
"I was wondering if you wanted to go out for dinner," McGee said, a hopeful look in his youthful face.
Abby shook her head.
"Come on, McGee. Let's not start that again."
McGee looked disappointed. He summoned a smile on his face, and gave her the plastic baggie he had been holding.
"Ducky's samples," he explained, walking out of the room. Abby felt rather crestfallen, knowing she had somehow ruined a nice moment between them.
Abby came into her lab, humming to herself. she stopped short when she saw what was sitting on her counter- a vase with an abundant display of red and black roses. She walked up, intrigued. Around the base of the vase was a black ribbon, with a tag attached. She reached for the tag, and paused. Then, just to be on the safe side, she put on a pair of rubber gloves. After all, it wasn't as if she hadn't had stalkers before, and she didn't want her own fingerprints contaminating things if she had to test the paper. She picked up the tag, examining it with the trained eye of a forensic scientist. On one side of the cream-coloured tag was her name, printed in curving calligraphy. She turned it over. The same curved calligraphy was on the other side. It read:
"This maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child, and I was a child
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love
I and my Annabelle Lee.
Who says Poe can't be romantic?
Abby laughed, a blush spreading over her face at the implications of the snippet McGee had chosen to write on the card. Did that mean he still cared about her? Or was he just proving a point? She had not wanted to risk her heart a second time with McGee. But maybe it was worth it, if this poem meant anything.
She picked up her phone and dialed.
"McGee? I got your card. Listen, about dinner on Saturday…"
Author's Note: Somehow, I think Abby would like Edgar Allan Poe. And Annabelle Lee is my favorite, despite being terribly sad. So what do I do? I turn classic literature into a McAbby moment (headdesk)