Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Her smile was genuine, completely care-free. Reginald marveled at it.

Since he'd gone off to war twenty years ago, he had never felt like that. Happy, calm, at peace. How marvelous he found it that she could be that way, and as she giggled as she twirled beneath his hand, how wonderful that she could almost make him feel it again.

She was younger than he was; not much older than he had been when they put a rifle in is hand at age seventeen and called him a man. He'd done his duty, aided his nation in her time of need. He'd killed young men who had never wronged him and he carried the guilt of it all these years. It's true that they would have—wronged him, that is—had they had the opportunity, but he knew that it was only because they, too, were doing their patriotic duty. In the intervening years, he had learned it could all have been avoided with just a bit more understanding and a little less posturing by politicians on all sides. That had made him angry and bitter, too. That was almost worse than the guilt.

She had never known war, though, so perhaps the innocent glee of it came naturally. Still, she was old enough to have her own share of burdens. At a mere twenty-two years of age, she'd already lost a husband to disease and a child to still birth. And yet, here she was, swaying to the blare of klaxon horns as though it was a symphony.

He'd enjoyed getting to know her. Grace was her name, he suddenly remembered. Fate had put them at a table together that evening, just as it had made sure their mutual affection and attraction could never blossom into something more. They'd exchanged tales, both happy and sad, talked at length about their triumphs and their fears. She had been working as a clerk since her husband died, but she was studying to become a nurse.

Grace had won her ticket through some sort of lottery. She said that she had spent a significant portion of her life savings on the dress she wore that night. It was simple, but effective. Bright red and delightfully clingy, yet with a flare at the hem that billowed with each twirl.

He hadn't had the heart to tell her that he had spent several times as much on mere sashes for the fashions he had tailored for the nobility and heiresses that comprised his clientele. Upon reflection, though, he realized that no amount of gold could bestow on the majority of them the simple, ethereal beauty that the Grace possessed that evening.

He pulled her tight to himself, draping her arm around his neck and placing his around her waist. The more enthusiastic portions of their dance had set her heart racing and he could feel it through her chest. She flashed that smile at him again and to his surprise he suddenly felt his own, cold, cynical heart flutter and leap.

His memory flashed, a feeling awakened something that had lain dormant for two decades. A girl that he had loved very much before the war, a girl not too different from Grace. He'd forgotten all about her and about who he was before. He'd felt this feeling then, too, before chaos took it all away.

In the space of an instant, the memory had passed and he was once again in the moment. Perhaps for the first time in twenty years he was truly in the moment. Impulsively, he leaned down to kiss her and as her smile parted for him, he closed his eyes.

They spent a lifetime in that kiss, they married, had children, grandchildren, they grew old together. When they stopped to catch their breath, he was surprised to find that only moments had passed.

When he opened his eyes and saw her smiling again, he smiled right back at her. He knew joy.

As they joined again in a different, more purposeful kiss, the asteroid the klaxons had been warning about smashed into their ship. Apparently, the crew had failed to revive the engines in time and no rescue ship had reached them.

Far better to die like this, he thought in that final moment, than to live like that.

Comment by Wesley


That's a good boo. Well, it's a bad boo, but for a good reason.

And plus, the Doctor would have shown up and saved them. You just know it.

Comment by Jenny

Wow, you're an awesome writer. More will be written yes?

Comment by blob

I don't know about awesome, but thanks. I'm working on it.

I'm pretty proud of this one, but there are some few awkward sentences in there. Even with a little editing I can't quite get them to work. There are also some places that could have used embellishment that didn't get them.

Alas, this is the end of the story. They and about 20,000 other people died when their massive, crippled space cruise ship collided with an even larger rock. So, no, there will be no more.

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