Emma fought back tears as she stood beside Graham's grave. She twirled the thin silver charm bracelet on her wrist.
Only a single charm dangled against her skin; a little plastic swan with a yellow deputy badge painted on it's chest. Her finger traced the swan's white neck, her finger stopped to feel the uneven ridges of the hand-painted badge. She allowed herself a small mournful smile in remembrance of the charm's origin's.
Emma hardly accepted gifts, she didn't like being sentimental. But when Graham presented her with the bracelet and she glimpsed into his puppy-dog eyes she couldn't help but accept.
She remembered remarking about how it was silly to have a charm bracelet and no charms. Then, they both laughed after Graham's corny comment that Emma had all the charm she could ever need.
It wasn't until after their third kiss (because 3rd times a 'charm' she smiled) that he recommended he get her a swan charm; only fitting considering her name and-
She interrupted him. "Why give me a beautiful swan when I'm the 'Ugly Duckling'?"
This time Graham interrupted her before she could comment on how she wasn't graceful and never belonged. Graham had guessed all of this and pulled her close- caressing her face. "Emma. Your a lone swan on the lake. Despite being alone you hold strong and remain composed. You carry on and bring your beautiful independence wherever you go. Not even the most calculating hunter can tame you." He devilishly smiled with yet a sweet expression. "You belong wherever you please." He hugged her. "And I hope thats right here with me."
She remembered how they had stood there in sweet embrace for sometime; neither questioning the way they brought out the vulnerability and honesty in each other.
But it wasn't until after he was dead and gone that she'd found the swan in his desk drawer after being promoted to sheriff.
She would never completely heal from his loss. But that night she'd taken his words to heart; she would hold her ground- despite that she felt afloat and lost in a pool of loneliness without him. A lone swan indeed...