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The Hunger
By Demeter


Lindsay started collecting travel books in her mid-twenties, with every intention to visit as many of those places as possible. A decade later, she can see how those plans have clearly come to fail, but she doesn't spend a lot of time regretting that fact.

She's got an important job to do, a home, a life. Just every now and then when she needs a break from the gruesome reality of her day job, she sees herself walking the streets of a small pittoresque Tuscan village or in the shadow of a Spanish cathedral. She dreams of sitting in a street café in Paris with a glass of wine, the scent of summer in the air.

Second hand dreams they are that not even her friends know about, and God knows there aren't many secrets left she keeps from them.

It won't happen anytime soon, Lindsay knows, maybe never, but meanwhile the longing has grown into a pleasant kind of ache that sometimes leads to near lucid dreaming. She can see herself in those places she's never been to like in a déjà-vu, only to be rudely interrupted by the next call about a dead body early in the morning.

It's okay. Lindsay upholds the pretense pretty well, until the day that Cindy tells them that she's going to live in Paris.

There is stunned silence for a moment, then Jill says "Wow."

"That's so great, Sweetie. We're going to miss you though," Claire sums it up more eloquently.

Cindy's gaze, though, is on Lindsay who has been stunned into speechlessness.

"How--?" She breaks off when she realizes that the words about to come out would have been all but rational. How in the hell can you do that to me?

Because escaping to Europe for a few weeks without murder and responsibility isn't Lindsay's only secret desire. Lately, Cindy has become another reason for longing so badly it's turning into lucid dreaming. She is about to win over Europe. Sometimes, it's Cindy with her in that Tuscan village, sharing gazes and touches with the silent intimacy of lovers.

In the present, reality, Cindy who is about to leave her behind, smiles so happily it's breaking her heart. No, damn it, it's actually shattering into a million pieces, pardon the corny wording.

"I didn't want to say anything before it wasn't for real. It's an exchange program the Register has."

"How about champagne?" Jill suggests, and Claire signals the waitress.

"When are you going?" Lindsay asks, really meaning to say, How long do I have to change your mind?

In a heartbeat, second hand is no longer enough, but she might have come to that realization too late.

The End

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