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WILD SWANS

I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.

And what did I see I had not seen before?

Only a question less or a question more;

Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.

Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,

House without air, I leave you and lock your door.

Wild swans, come over the town, come over

The town again, trailing your legs and crying!

~Edna St. Vincent Millay~

PROLOGUE

I placed my key card on the entry table and grabbed the handle of my satchel. My eyes locked on his as he held the doors open for me.

"Be safe."

His voice was empty and flat. I knew he meant it, but the last year and a half had been so draining for both of us.

I couldn't manage any words. I was all talked out. I closed my eyes and gave him a slight nod in acknowledgment as I stepped into the waiting elevator. The heavy doors slid closed, and I began my descent, surprised I didn't feel more pain, but then again, my heart was so numb I doubted much could make me feel anything now.

My heels clicked through the lobby, and I managed to give Dre a small smile as he held open the door and blew his whistle to bring a cab speeding up to the curb.

"You sure you couldn't be the one to stay?" he asked in his deep baritone voice that always made my insides rumble.

A small laugh slipped from my lips.

"I'm sure, but thank you." I tried not to tear up at the sight of his wonderful smile. "For everything."

"Good luck, Mrs. Cul– I mean Ms. Swan." He leaned into the cab and told the driver my destination. Tipping his cap, he closed the door and tapped the roof. I looked out the window as crowded downtown Chicago streets turned into a fast moving interstate.

"Work trip?" the cabbie asked, breaking the silence and dragging me from the errant thoughts that had kept me in my own private world.

"No...something else."

"Where are you headed?" he asked, confused with my answer.

"That's a very good question," I mumbled.

He shook his head in what I could only assume was annoyance at my vague responses. This anonymous man was the least of my worries. Everyone I knew and loved wondered the same thing and were just as annoyed with me, if not more. I had no answers for any of them. I just knew this was no longer where I belonged.