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    PART I.

    Nicolette doesn't know why she made the call. She's perched on a cardboard box in a room so hollow she swears the dial tone echoes back. Surrounding her.


    Her chest tightens at his voice, familiar, sounding like velvet melancholy.


    "Who is this?"

    It's me. It's Letty! Is what she intended to say like she already has all morning. She hasn't talked to him in two years. Hearing him again causes all her insides to constrict until she's frozen.

    "You there?"

   Startled, she frantically hangs up nearly dropping her phone in her haste. Today has been a mess of packing and calls back home. She never should have phoned him though. His memory still haunts Nicolette.

    There's a promise in misery.

    Whiskey swirls thick, like gaseous honey, in the bottom of his glass. She observes the rarity. Usually he doesn't bother with a glass. Long swigs from a bottomless bottle are his comfort. There are too many demons for him to drown, try as he may.

    Back then she was näive. They say love is blind and, while that is true, the blindness to this particular love was akin to having her eyes gauged with a hot fire poker. She curled up against Kevin's chest, enduring a spicy smell of whiskey clung to him like a second skin.

    Blind, yes. Foolish, yes. Perhaps she is a martyr, or a masochist, or all those negative qualities.

    Its been written that love is mistaken for hurting. Rejection and jealousy hurt but those are too commonly thrown into the equation of love. Love, in fact, is all that doesn't hurt. So she loved him while denying the otherwise negative emotions tainting such an intense feeling.

    Her mistake.

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