Sophie knew Kieran was gone. She'd been with him on that ill-fated day, she'd seen with her own two eyes as he fell off the cliff, plunging into the azure water below. Her mind knew he was gone, but her heart simply refused to believe it.
She struggled with simple day-to-day tasks. Her mind would blank out for a moment, leaving her standing there, not even knowing what she'd been talking about. She avoided her friends, refused to talk to anyone about what happened. Despite everything that had happened, despite the pending divorce, she'd loved him, despite trying to tell herself and others otherwise. Deep down, despite the tears he'd made he cry and the pain he put her through, she still loved him.
And then there was Daniel. Sweet, kind, caring and protective. A perfect friend. She knew that she could always turn to him, no matter what, and he'd be there. He'd let her cry into him, attempting to comfort her, acting like a perfect gentleman.
She was so sick of everything. Sick of hurting, sick of feeling, sick of making decisions, sick of all the memories that constantly flooded her. She wanted to let everything go, wanted the world to leave her alone. Wanted to forget.
Tonight, she needed Daniel.
She knocked tentatively on his door, shuffling from foot to foot and wondering if this was as good idea as she'd thought.
"Sophie." The look of surprise at seeing her standing there was evident. "What…What are you doing here?"
She knew that she was going to regret it later, but right now she didn't care. Stepping up to Daniel, she swiftly brought her lips to his, kissing him. The sadness and pain, the yearning and the regret, everything she felt spoke volumes in this kiss. As she pulled away, she looked at him, as he stood there, shocked.
"I don't want to be alone tonight…" she pleaded, tears rising to her eyes. "Please Daniel, please just help me forget…"
He looked at her standing there, so broken and fragile. He sighed, knowing that he shouldn't do this; he didn't want to be her Kieran-replacement.
But he reached out into the dark for her hand, grasping it gently. "Come on," he whispered. "It'll be fine. I promise…"
He was nothing like Kieran. He didn't know her like the British blonde had. He didn't know what she liked, what she didn't; didn't know what to do to make her feel good. He simply didn't have the experience. Not with Sophie.
But he was kind and gentle, eager to please. He wanted to make her feel a bit happier, wanted to make her feel better, at least until the euphoria wore off.
He nuzzled her neck softly, cuddling up to her. His fingers gently traced shapes up and down her arm mindlessly. A moment later, he leant over, placing a soft kiss on her cheek. The skin was warm and damp. She'd been crying, facing away from him, so he wouldn't see the tears.
Sadness passed through his eyes and a small sigh escaped his lips. He hadn't helped at all, just made things worse, brought back more old memories.
But when she turned to him, he saw that a small smile was on her face, albeit one tinged with sadness. "Thank you," she murmured, reaching out to touch his cheek.
"For always being here for me. For always helping me out. And," she said, looking deep into his eyes, "for reminding me that life does go on, post-mortem."