Hey, everyone! So I thought that my SLOTAT muse was dead and gone, but it snuck back in my head to toss this idea into my head. Reviews are love! Even if it's short.

Disclaimer: SLOTAT doesn't belong to me.

When Night Falls

The nights were the worst.

During the day, she could pretend that she was okay. She could pretend that she didn't go to bed with her arms wrapped around the belly that used to hold her baby. She could pretend that she didn't wonder if maybe it had been her fault that they lost Mercy. That if she'd had Ben take her to the hospital right when things were feeling off, maybe she'd still have Ben and maybe Mercy would be sleeping in her nursery.

Then night would fall and so would her masks. Alone in the home she'd practically forced Ben out of, she had nothing except for a ring that now sat on the wrong finger and an empty nursery full of holes.

She cried herself to sleep more times than she didn't, arms around her belly and face pressed into Ben's pillow as she stained the case with her eyeliner and mascara.

The dreams came most nights and as the months and weeks ticked by, she knew every moment. Every step. Every detail.

In the dream, her parents stood in front of her, smiling as they stood side-by-side, as if her mom wasn't gone most of the time, flying back and forth while her father was buried in case files. She would walk towards them, the loose bottom of her dress swishing across her knees. The dress was white, embroidered like that wedding dress she'd loved but couldn't wear.

Ben's hand was always clasped in hers, their fingers tangled as he stepped up beside her. In his free arm, he held a sleeping Mercy against his chest. Their little girl, all brown curls and clutching at her father's shirt with one tiny fist. She never woke up in the dream, but Adrian knew in her gut that if she did, she would have had Ben's eyes.

She likes to think that she's right, but she'll never know. Her daughter never got to open her eyes. She never got to see the parents that were young but who loved her more than anything.

It kills her to think of Mercy's name sometimes. They'd decided on a name only days before they lost her and after it happened, they'd never had the heart to change it. She would always be Mercy to them, even if God had none for them when he took her away. Some moments, it made her angry at Grace, that she could worship a man, being, whatever that could take a child that innocent and completely destroy everything.

She'd thought that maybe if she got Ricky back, she could move on. Put everything behind her and try to get on with her life, but Ricky wasn't hers and a part of her knew he never had been. When he kissed her at the party, nothing in her sparked. Somewhere along the line, everything shifted from Ricky to Ben and it didn't shift back after his last suitcase left their too-quiet home. She was free of Ricky, but she wasn't free of this twisting pain in her chest or the emptiness in her belly.

The dreams just made everything hurt even more and she'd wake up with tears on her cheeks and her right temple tingling from where Ben had kissed her. Those nights, she would never get back to sleep. She would just end up in the once-nursery, curled on the floor with Ben's pillow to her chest and a hand to her tummy.

The End