"Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight I'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day."
- The Grey

"I love you."

His words were sincere, quiet.

I blinked at him, my eyes shifting as they gazed at his young, boyishly handsome face. His freckles scattered under his bright blue eyes, a little five o'clock shadow to accompany his shaggy, messy blond hair. He sighed, and his mouth attempted a smile, but it was easy to notice that it was forced upon his face.

He reached out, and ran a hand in my hair, brushing it out of my eyes. His hand stroked my hair in calming motions, running his fingers through it to calm me down. My eyes began to flutter shut. A set of tears escaped my eyes, rolling to my forced smile on my lips.

He leaned in, kissing my forehead as we laid there. His breathing was emotional, stressful.

Uneven.

I didn't know how I would be able to live alone, by myself.

Without him.

I bit my lip, burying my face in his chest, attempting to prevent myself from bursting into hysterical sobbing.

I felt his hands travel down my back and begin to rub it in calming, circular motions. He knew I was going to cry, and he was attempting to calm me. I knew I had to be strong for him. A month in Alaska working on his oil team wasn't too much to bare.

Nevertheless, when I began thinking about him being over 4,000 miles away in the middle of Alaska, in the dead of winter where anything could go wrong, it made me upset. We had a tiny apartment. Neither of much made much money. He was an oil rigger, I was a struggling writer.

We met a few Decembers ago, in a coffee shop on the Lower East Side. It was a really late night, the snow heavily falling in the cold winter night. The instant we met, we were inseparable. I loved him more than anything.

I was curled up in him, pressed against his body, his arms caging me in him. My fingers were gripping his shirt gently, holding on to him like I'd never let him go. His lips kissed my hair, his chin on my head, his warm breath in my hair. I felt his heart beating in a lulling, calm melody. It was calm. I felt wet, hot tears streak down my cheek, hitting his neck.

He noticed this, kissed the top of my head, and murmured into my hair, "Please don't cry, Ava. It's only a month. I'll be here, right back here. With you. Please don't cry, sweetheart."

I nodded, sighing. "I know, I know. I miss you. I hate being alone here in this apartment. The days feel like years without you. Please come back, Todd."

It was so quiet in our tiny Manhattan apartment, the snow coming down heavy outside in the cold winter night., the darkness of the night outside making the apartment warm and comforting. He looked at me with his bright blue, piercing eyes, our heads against the pillows, our noses practically brushing against each other.

"You are so fucking beautiful." He said quietly, wiping a tear from my cheek with his thumb, then raking a hand through my sandy blond hair. I laughed a little through my tears. Todd always swore, even when he was trying to be romantic.

"I miss you so badly. I'll be home, I swear I will. I love you so much. You know that, okay? You understand me? Don't you ever fucking forget that, Ava. Don't." He reasurred me.

Now his bright blue eyes harbored tears; they were glassy, and a tear rolled down his cheek. He was quiet, but he trembled a little, to avoid crying more. I nodded at him, "I love you."

"I'll be home." He whispered, "I swear."

Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring.

It was a dream.

I shot up in bed quickly. My forehead was scalding hot, and my tangly, sandy blond hair a mess, my face was wet with tears. I had been crying in my sleep.

I looked at the alarm clock on the nightstand to my left; 2:45 AM. Todd's side of the bed remained untouched since he last laid beside me. It had been a month now, and he was coming home within the next two days. I was thrilled he was coming home. To see his crooked, handsome smile, his bright blue eyes. The shaggy blond hair and five o'clock shadow.

The dream had felt so real. His voice, his appearance, his demeanor. The way he looked at me.

The dream had been the exact same conversation we had the day he left for Alaska. I looked at the picture that I kept of the two of us on our nightstand, smiling on the streets of New York outside of Broadway, his arm tightly around me, his shaggy blond hair in his eyes with a dumb grin on his face. He kept the same picture in his wallet, taking it with him whenever he went to Alaska. He never went anywhere without it.

I ran a hand down my face.

I quickly reached for the phone on my nightstand, the ringing out of control and annoyingly loud. I was surprised it didn't wake up half of New York City, let alone my apartment complex. I groggily asked into the reciever, "Hello?"

"Ava Chadwick?"

"Yes, this is she." I said quietly, still half asleep.

"Do you know a man by the name of Todd Flannery?" A woman's voice asked.

"Yes, he's my boyfriend. I'm sorry, who is this and what is this regarding?"

"This is Oceanic Airlines, Ms. Chadwick. I'm so sorry to tell you this, but there unfortunately has been a accident in Alaska regarding his flight. The plane went down somewhere fifty miles outside of Anchorage. We have sent a rescue team, however there are reportedly no survivors at this moment in time."

"What? There must be some mistake. That's not possible. The flight was only a two hour flight connection. From Anchorage, it was a direct flight to New York." I said quickly.

"No, ma'am. I'm sorry. But there is no mistake. We're doing the best we can, but no survivors have been reported. Your name was his first contact if an accident of any kind did occur. I am truly sorry for your loss."

Tears spilled down my cheeks in shock. I gripped the phone, "What? That can't...no! No!"

He swore he'd come right back to me, to never leave me here all alone.