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Hoping for the Best
By Ann


Leaning my head back against the taxi's seat, I attempt to will away the horrible headache that is slowly working its way into a full-fledged migraine. I usually am so careful to only touch the parts of the cab necessary to get from point A to point B; however, today, I am throwing caution to the wind, not caring in the least if I get a case of the cooties.

A month; it's been a full month since I left Manhattan to take a job in the New Hampshire district attorney's office, and still no word from Tracey. Truthfully, I didn't expect to hear from her, but deep down I am heartbroken nonetheless.

How could I have been so stupid in the first place? Why did I have to say those three little words? Everything was going perfectly up until that morning when she held me so close. The words just popped out of my mouth before I could censor myself.

I am pulled from my self-condemnation as the cab rolls to a stop. Opening my eyes, I see the steps to my office so I sit up and reach over to pay the fare. I exit the cab and begin the long walk up the cement steps.

The image of Tracey's face at the moment of my declaration once again fills my thoughts as I make my way to the front doors of the building. Never have I seen her close off so quickly. She immediately got up and headed straight to the shower, and seeing as how she didn't offer her usual invitation to join her, I quickly gathered my things and left the apartment.

From that moment on, she was the consummate professional around me, and she always had an excuse as to why we couldn't meet after work. I asked every day for three weeks until it was obvious she no longer wanted to have anything to do with me. I had no choice; I had to leave. There was no way I could work side by side Tracey knowing that she would never care for me that way I cared for her.

I enter the building and note the familiar state motto on the side wall, "Live free or die." With my current thoughts coupled with this migraine, I think I would opt for death if given a choice at this particular moment.

Stepping in the elevator, the doors close just as I get a glimpse of the back of a woman dressed in black with long curly black hair standing near the information booth. If I didn't know any better, I would swear those legs belonged to Tracey. Great, now I'm hallucinating. Maybe I should go pick up my files and head home.

I put my key into my office door just as little black spots appear in my vision. Knowing what will come next; I quickly turn and race to the restroom before I upchuck in the hallway.

Sprinting the last few steps, I toss my purse and briefcase on the floor as I slide into a stall. I fall on my knees and proceed to puke my guts out hoping none of my colleagues decides to visit the facilities anytime soon.

When there is nothing left in my stomach, I sit on the floor and lean my head against the cool wall of the stall. Not exactly the way I intended for my day to start, but at least I didn't pass out on the floor. What a good impression that would have made.

I close my eyes and wait for the weakness to pass or at least for me to feel strong enough to pull my ass off the floor. I don't even hear the restroom door open or the sound of heels clicking toward me.

I do, however, feel the soft touch of someone's hand rubbing my back. As the hand moves up to rub the back of my neck, I sigh in relief. It feels so good to have someone touch me even if it's not the touch of a lover; however, the words that follow have me questioning my sanity.

"Hello, lover," is spoken softly in my ear.

Freezing in place, I close my eyes tightly as my hallucination from earlier seems to now have a voice.

"Kelly, we need to get you off this floor. Do you think you can stand?" Tracey's voice comes through loud and clear this time, and I force myself to turn my head toward the sound.

It's her. She's really here, and God, she's still as beautiful as ever.

Not able to speak, I nod my head as Tracey helps me off the floor. I seem to be weak as a kitten, but I'm not sure if it's because of the migraine's effects or because of Tracey's sudden appearance.

"How did you find me?" I manage to ask in a very shaky voice.

Chuckling, Tracey replies, "I followed the trail of papers from the door of your office to this restroom."

She leads me to the sink and helps me wash off my face, and I rinse my mouth out several times before turning to face my love.

"Tracey, what are you doing here?"

Before I can get my answer, my body offers up the ultimate betrayal as I feel myself slipping to the floor. My last thoughts are 'this is going to hurt like a mother.'

When I finally come to, I find my head ensconced protectively in Tracey's lap as she strokes my face and hair. I wonder if I can play possum for just a wee bit longer.

"Kelly, open your eyes. Please, sweetie, open your eyes." Tracey's plea forces me to make the effort as I find myself yet again not wanting to disappoint her.

Blinking a few times, I am able to maintain eye contact with the love of my life. She merely smiles and leans down to kiss my forehead.

"Migraine, huh?" Tracey asks in a knowing tone.

I can only nod my answer as I don't quite trust my voice to speak.

"Kelly, you know better than to let it get this bad. Why didn't you go back home when it first came on?" Tracey asks as she resumes her hair stroking.

Because you weren't there; because there's nobody there; because I just don't care anymore are the words that immediately come to mind.

Instead, I lie, "I didn't know it would get this bad."

"Well, c'mon. Let's get you home and into bed. Where's your purse?" Tracey says as she looks around the room.

"Somewhere near the stall," I reply as I somehow manage to remember.

Tracey quickly gets up and goes to retrieve my purse, and then she helps me to my feet and walks toward the door as I protest about leaving my briefcase and papers on the floor.

She just 'tsks' and continues walking down the hall as I lean almost my full weight against her.

In true Tracey Kibre fashion, she orders my assistant to pick up my papers and retrieve my briefcase. She then explains that she is taking me home and for my superiors to be notified. As we walk to the elevator, she gives her final order to put my briefcase in my office.

I just close my eyes and allow Tracey to take over just like old times.

We finally make it down the steps, and Tracey hails a cab with a piercing whistle. She helps me in before following closely behind. I once again tempt fate and lean my head against the seat; however, Tracey puts her arm around me and pulls my head to her shoulder.

"Don't want you to get cooties," she softly whispers in my ear.

Smiling, I close my eyes and lean into my lover. I have no idea what to make of this visit, but for right now I'm not going to question anything and hope for the best.

The End

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