My sincere thanks to my beta MysticDew, who stuck with this story all the way to the end. I hope you will, too!



"For death has made me wise and bitter and strong;

And I am rich in all that I have lost"

'Memory', Siegfried Sassoon, 1918

She was laughing in the drizzling rain, her arm wrapped around the waist of the untidy-looking good-for-nothing with the ridiculous black leather jacket. The observer thought the wastrel's name was Daniel; he'd heard it before, floating on the wind over to the dark corner where he usually was hidden. She was bringing Daniel back to her flat for a quick roll in the hay before she sent him on his way.

He might get into her bed, but she didn't let him in anywhere else. She had always been a smart girl.

Together, the couple disappeared into the modern-looking lobby and got into the lift. After a few minutes, the lights in her sitting room went on; they must have been detained somewhere on the way. The spectator had no desire to dwell on what they had been up to.

Up there, she was pouring them a glass of wine each even though Daniel probably would have preferred beer. Her face was animated and the colour high in her cheeks after the drinks she'd already had in the bar. The observer had noticed that she always seemed to bring Daniel, or others like him, home after a night out when her inhibitions were lowered by alcohol.

There would soon be a time when she would regret indiscretions like Daniel. He would see to that. Until then he was stuck out here in the rain, watching her smile at another man.

There was plenty of time to weave his plans while he was waiting.