Thomas's eyes open to a world full of darkness, his ears ringing in an effort to pick up more than just the silence around him. Slowly, but steadily, he hears his heart beating as it quivers miserably in the fluids of his own blood. He swallows air into his stomach, then gasps, sweat running down the bridge of his nose.

Light brown eyes begining to focus, he turns his head to the left, his face mixing into a series of painful expressions as he sees his wife is not there in the bed with him.

His licks his lips quickly. "Izzi..?" he breathes out, turning his head around the room.

She isn't there.

Shoving away the quilt, the man stands up and makes his way to the bathroom door, one hand out, poised into a fist to knock.

But before he can, the sound of the toilet flushing catches him off guard, and so he stops moving. He pants lightly, his nerves wrecking him. "Izzi?" he says again.

Standing there in the suspense of impatience, his ears pick up the faint, but recognizable sound of a woman crying.

As suddenly and as startling as running into the edge of a table, the weeping in his ears sends a deep, cold agony in his soul and it gag him. Mouthing her name, he wastes no time jerking open the door, his sweaty hand slipping off the knob as soon as it was turned.

Laying there with her head on the toilet, the woman raises her red, bruised eyes to the open doorway, her mouth once hung open and drooling, quickly snapping shut.
Appearing stunned, Thomas's eyes widen, his hands shaking tensely at his sides.

Clear ribbons of sadness line her face, gathering into dew and dropping to the wooden floor. With obvious effort, Izzi spreads a smile over her weary face. "I threw up." she tells the horrorfied man, who is silowheted in the doorway.

Thomas walks over quickly and drops to his knees at her side, his right hand moving to push Izzi's long hair out from her face. His fingers catch briefly and he gently withdraws. A good amount of her hair, hanging loosely from his fingertips, come out.

His mouth opens and he tries to blurt out, "How long has this been happening?"

But she interupts, saying, "I've started writing my book," she looks into his wet eyes and smiles. "I already know how it going to end."

"No." Thomas quickly stands up and takes hold her her hands, pulling her to her feet. "We're going to the doctor. Can you get dressed by yourself?"

"Tommy..." she says quietly, letting his hands go. Her lips quiver, and she raises a hand to touch his head. "Don't be afraid."

Her hands brushes the top of his hair, and he shakes his head. "I'm not- I just really need to get you to-"

"-and I will go with you."

They stand there, gazing at eachother for a long moment until Izzi turns away and walks out of the room, stumbling slightly once her feet touch the carpeted bedroom floor. She opens her wardrobe, and he watches her as she picks out a long red shirt and removes the soiled one from her body.

Thomas sighs and joins her, removing his own shirt to replace it with a short-sleeved dark blue one. He adjusts the pants he is already wearing, and puts on a belt.

While her husband gets dressed, Izzi has already put on some jeans and now leans over the dresser mirror, applying a layer of red lipstick to her otherwise-colorless lips.

The man takes up his cell phone and dials the doctor's number. He plants the phone between his cheek and shoulder and sits on the edge of the bed while he puts on his shoes. He puts on the first shoe, then hesitates, watching Izzi, transfixed.

Thomas watches Izzi's hands flow gracefully from object to object, applying makeup, then blush, then some sort of cream. Her arms move with such ease, dispite her illness: Watching her, he pictures a white bird flying and singing in a cage, despite not being competely free.

A voice on the phone greets Thomas's ear in a monotone style.

Thomas responds with equal coldness, yet managing to seem polite. "Hi, yes. Dr. Lipper, please." He holds the phone to his ear. The voice on other phone miles away, asks a question. "Yes. Alan Lipper. Thank you."

Izzi notices Thomas staring through the mirror's reflection, and laughs.

He smiles slowly, confused, but feeling warmth in the fact that she was able to laugh at all. "What?" he asks sheepishly.

She whrils around and pretends to fuss. "Didn't your mother teach you how to put on shoes?"

Blinking, Thomas looks down at his feet, and notices his right shoe is on his left foot. He lets out a short laugh, embarressed for himself. He looks up at her, shaking his head. "I was distracted by-"

She gets on her knees and grabs his foot. "Iz!" he says, frowning slightly. "I can do it."

"Don't be such a child." She pulls off the shoe, having to twist her hand a bit to get it loose. "There!"

"Sir? Are you still there?" snaps the voice on the voice.

"Yes- I'm here. I asked for Dr. Lip-"

"I'm his secratary. Dr. Alan Lipper has a spot open from 9am to 11am."

"We'll take it."

Izzi grabs onto Thomas's heel and wiggles his foot into the correct shoe.

The phone perks up. "Who is we?"

"My name's Thomas Creo, and my wife Izzi Creo has been a patient of his for about five months now."

"And I'm feeling much better now!" chimes Izzi with a laugh.

"Excuse me?" grunts the voice.

"Nothing- we'll be there at 9am." Thomas hangs up and scowls at Izzi. "Can you stop that?" he demands as she wedges his other shoe on.

Her face falls immediately, and she stands up, avoiding his eyes. She walks up to the dresser mirror and opens the top drawer. She dips her hands into the dark, half-open drawer and removes a pair of long, flat earrings, which are crafted to look like birds flying in the sky.

Thomas walks over to her and wraps his arms around her from behind, pulling her fragile body against his. She lets go of the earrings and leans into him, her hands finding and holding his. He kisses her neck.

"I'm sorry." he says quietly. They peer at one-another through the mirror's reflection.

She says nothing, so he lets her go and hunches over her slightly, leaning to take the earrings from the top of the dresser. He proceeds to put them into the holes of her ear-lobes.
Thomas's stomach groans, releasing tension.

"Do we have time to stop somewhere for breakfast?" Izzi asks.

"What? I thought we were going to eat here."

"Come on, Tommy...The appointment's not until 9am. We have time."

Thomas flinches inwardly. He sees the look of pain in his own eyes and is ashamed by it. He closes his eyes.

"Or...I could make you some waffles."

Thomas opens his eyes. "Waffles?" he repeats, seeming unsure.

Izzi laughs. "What's with that face? I'm an excelent chef."

"When pressing the button on the mircowave, sure."

She slips away from his embrace and takes hold of his hand, leading him out of the bedroom and down the hall.