Author's Note: I borrowed the idea for this story from Garth Brooks' 'The Storm'. Enjoy!
Timeframe: Ninth in the 'Incompatible' series. Takes place right before the beach scene in 'Doomsday'.
Summary: It's all he has left of her now. Photographs they took over their two years together. Silly things. Exciting things. Their lives recorded on strips of paper and stored away in some old ratty shoebox.
A moment in Italy. A laugh at some mall in Peru. A goofy face in Dublin. A brand new purse from Mitlar V. A snatch of sleep after a gruelling adventure. A slideshow of a trip to every ancient wonder on twenty-three different worlds. A kiss on Krystalis.
It's all he has left of her now. Photographs they took over their two years together. Silly things. Exciting things. Memorable things. Their lives recorded on strips of paper and stored away in some old ratty shoebox.
He hadn't meant to look. Hadn't meant to find them. But here they are. And here he is, sitting alone in the darkness of her empty room, their time together scattered around him. In his hands, he holds her, caresses her smiling face and soft hair with his thumb.
It's his favourite picture of her, one he took when she wasn't paying attention. He took her to a small lake on a water planet called Hydros III. She thought it was beautiful- he thought she was. Tropical blue trees and orange grass provides the backdrop, sparkling green water surrounds her feet. She had just turned her head to look at him when he snapped the photo. He caught his favourite look- deep green eyes sparkling with excitement, lips curled into a smile, pink tongue poking out from behind her teeth, streaks of blonde hair blowing in her face from the soft breeze.
Three seconds after she saw the camera, she was kicking up water at him and their day at the lake dissolved into a water war, which tumbled into his first experience with underwater love making.
It was so sudden, her leaving. So unbearably quick and unstoppable. She trusted him. He promised to protect her. But he couldn't. All because he was afraid.
He could feel it. That undeniable tug on the back of his mind. The one that implied the timelines were shifting and something huge was about to happen. Something enormous. Something enormously bad.
But he was afraid. He couldn't bear to listen. Couldn't bear to trust his instincts. To prepare himself to lose her.
The door slams like thunder. He doesn't hear as its cries echo throughout the control room.
He can't stop them anymore, can't force the clouds in his hearts from opening up and his tears from falling like rain down his cheeks.
There's a hurricane of thoughts and emotions and warnings he didn't listen to whirling around him. He's trapped in the eye, drowning in the calm of the world around him.
He can feel her, in his mind and in his hearts. He can hear her, in his dreams and in his memories. But she's gone, replaced with guilt and loneliness. He knew it was going to happen, knew at the edge of his senses. Why couldn't he have listened?
He's feeling so much now that he can't remember how to feel. His emotions are drowning him, pushing him under until he wants to just let go. But he can't.
Searching for her isn't helping, he finds. He thought it would. He needs her- needs her like his lungs need air- but he thought that the more he hunts for her the more his depression would calm. But it hasn't. The answers haven't changed anything, they've only made him understand just how impossibly stuck she is.
He needs to stop looking, needs to move on. Just like he always has. Continue forward without looking back. Find someone new, someone else. Live on, day by day. He knows he can do it, he just doesn't want to.
He's alive, flailing against the river of emotions drowning him, but he doubts most days that he'll survive the storm raging around him.
'Tasting the Raindrops' is next up soon.