He stood in the doorway. Andrea was the only person in the room, soft sunlight bathing her from a nearby window. She was asleep, probably still under the effects of the anesthetic. He pulled up a chair and sat at her side. When he looked her over, she seemed serene. Her hair was cleaned and tucked neatly behind her head, the excess folded over her shoulder; placed as such by a nurse. One stubborn bang lay across her face. Michael pushed it aside with his finger. He sighed.

A nurse came in, her attention on a clipboard in her hands. She gasped when she saw Michael move. “Oh, I'm sorry I didn't -”

“Don't worry,” Michael said. “It's fine. Could you do me a huge favor?” Michael asked.

“Of course.”

“Let me know when she wakes up.”

She nodded, holding the clip board against her chest. “I'll do that,” she said.

Michael left the room, returning the way he came. When he got into the corridor downstairs, some of the people who had seen the scuffle earlier regarded him with awkward glances. They were not stares of hatred or disapproval, but more akin to broken expectations. At least that's how Michael read their faces as he walked past them, his head held low.

“You alright?” asked Ashley when Michael entered the classroom.

“Yeah, I'm fine.” He said looking at her a with a skewed glance. “I'm assuming you heard the little trouble I got myself into?”

Ashley laughed. “I walked out into the corridor when I heard it start.” She shook her head. “You sir, got your ass kicked.”

Michael scratched his ear, more out of nervousness than necessity. “Yeah, I guess I did.”

“So you really care about Andrea don't you?”

He looked into Ashley's eyes, searching for jealousy and finding none. He nodded. “Yeah, I do.”

“Well, even though you've only known her a few days, I can understand why.”

Michael nodded. “She's … she reminds me so much of Cassandra, and somehow I feel wrong; Cassandra being gone. I mean from everyone here's perspective she's been dead for decades. For me, Cassandra was …” Michael thought hard, his mind seaming to crack like a knuckle in need of it. “Cassandra was my wife. We had these golden retrievers. Sandy and Blake those were their names,” he said. “My god, I remember.”

The End

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