I wasn't one for going out.
I rarely had anything that I wanted to celebrate and I preferred to drown my sorrows in private.
I still don't know what made me give into Stella's badgering and go to Sullivan's, but as I sat at the bar with Horatio's deep voice rumbling in my ear as he traded stories with Flack, I was glad I had.
I ended up inviting him back to my place.
We had a few more drinks and listened to some of my old vinyl records. It was nice to finally meet someone who had a similar taste in music.
We talked about everything under the sun. I learned that he had a varied career as a cop.
It was like having Clare back, but not.
As we talked, I caught myself gazing into his hypnotic blue eyes and falling under the spell he wove.
And, when he kissed me, tasting of bourbon, it felt so natural.
I kissed him back.
"Do you want this?" he asked. I could smell the spice of his aftershave and the hint of cigar smoke on his fine, linen shirt.
"Yes," I had answered. I took his hand and led him down the hallway to my Spartan bedroom.
We made love.
It was the first time I had been with anyone since Clare's death. I was always comparing anyone I met to her.
It wasn't fair of me, but it was how it was.
Her death had left a huge hole where my heart had been and I never wanted to be hurt that way again.
Horatio understood. He lowered his guard and I was given a glimpse into his soul.
He held me as he encouraged me to let go and grieve for what I had lost.
He didn't judge.
He didn't ask, but I had told him anyway.
I fell asleep in his arms, safe in the knowledge that he would be there when I woke.
I had a dream of Clare.
She had been smiling. She had kissed me farewell and promised that we would meet again.
When I woke, I was filled with a sense of peace.
I turned in Horatio's arms and gently kissed him.
That was six months ago.
We've been together ever since.