Chapter TenMature

"Does he…talk?" she said, and I could hear the sane part of her trying to win out over whatever part believed it all.

"Well he's gone now. But no, he doesn't talk. Not to me."

She snapped her head back towards me, the fastest movement she had made so far.

"What do you mean, he's gone?" She got up and went to the window. She looked out of it a little frantically, and then closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She stood there with her eyes closed for a long time. Just breathing.

Finally she turned and looked around the apartment again, this time with the softest edge of a grin. She looked down into her mug and then up to me.

"Thank you for this. For letting me come back."

"You're welcome."

"I'll let you go now. I don't want to make you late." She walked to the sink and put her mug down next to the dirty plates and cups. I followed her to the door as if it were still her apartment. The sun was so bright against the snow that I had to shield my eyes with the half empty Dalmatian mug.

"It was nice meeting you." She said, smiling so that now I could see the row of white teeth that I never imagined existed.

"Sure. I'm glad I could…help?" I said, searching for the words to describe or explain what just took place. She turned and walked back to her car, seeming almost a little embarrassed for having been there at all. Then to my left, from the side of the house came at first a shadow, and then a man. Eric. Now he had a name. I watched as he walked with his hands down from his face now and at his sides. He stopped and looked at me, right into my eyes, for a few seconds that seemed to stretch out longer than any other few seconds of my life. Then he walked forward again, catching up to Amy.

The End

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