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Under Heaven's Skies
By Casandra


She hated flying. The idea that a couple hundred ton hunk of plastic, metal and jet fuel just mysteriously manages to defy all laws of gravity, for hours at a shot never really settled well with her. But it hadn't stopped her from impetuously hopping on her own personal version of a flying deathtrap, to chase her wayward lover thousands of miles across the Atlantic.

She wasn't sure what she had expected. A hug? A kiss? A scene out of an old school grand Hollywood romance, Bianca falling into her arms, no questions asked, all sins forgiven? No, she's pretty sure she never expected that. Even if she had fantasized the entire flight over that she would get to exercise her masterful dip-and-kiss techniques. She hadn't imagined the coldness in her lover's eyes upon first glance at her though. That was a surprise, completely unwelcome. Chocolate pools, once so swarmed with love and desire, now filled with an emptiness that made her ache inside. The kind of ache that you want to claw out of your own body with your bare hands, just to be free of it.

And with that she wondered if it was just karma coming to bite her, snatch her heart away as if it was only fair that she suffer as those she had done unto. And she knew it was. Fair. But that never made it hurt any less.

She thought for hours about what she could do to make it up to Bianca. Her straying body fidgeting in an eerily similar hotel room from that where she had fallen in love for the first and only time in her life. She thought about Cecelia. The warm body she had fallen into far too many times on a lonely and desolate Parisian night. Bianca was thousands of miles away at that point, and she couldn't stop herself from giving into temptation, her world already gone away. What was the point of being accused of something she had never done, been tried and convicted, sentenced to an eternity of loneliness for. She figured she might as well commit the sin, she was already paying for it.

Her skin crawled, images of long black hair, cobalt eyes, a predatory insincere smile gracing razor thin, perfectly lacquered lips haunting her memories, refusing her leniency in her eternal struggle for forgiveness of her soul. How did she expect Bianca to forgive her when she herself was incapable of seeing past her own blackness?

That feeling you get? After drinking one too many espressos. The caffeine pumping through your veins, taking over your blood cells, attaching itself to the insides of your arteries. Making your heart race, you palms glisten over with moisture, your head to cloud in the delicious kind of fog you really don't mind being lost in forever. That's how she felt riding up thefamiliar elevator to the penthouse level, waiting to see if her heart would somehow miraculously be returned to her.

She thinks there's probably another reason she hates flying. She imagines what it would feel like to plummet thousands of feet, straight down, nose-diving towards land with nothing but God's hand to stop you from dying in a fiery blaze of pain and smoke. It's probably similar to how she felt when Bianca sent her away, refusing to believe the love that she had for her, laid bare across her chest, begging for forgiveness and pleading for a chance to spend a lifetime proving it to her. Dying would have been a welcome alternative.

As a child she remembered a trip to a nursing home, Frankie's hand in hers as they walked solemnly along the musty corridors to a room at the end of a seemingly never-ending hall. They had sat quietly while their mother talked stiltedly to a graying and wrinkled old woman,their mother never introducing them to her, just nodding occasionally with her head in their general direction.

The woman had kind eyes, and when she would follow their mother's arm, she'd smile fondly at them and shake her head in acquiescence. Never quite sure of what that meant, she still felt a warmth towards this older woman, so she would smile back and shyly wave. But eventually the warmth slipped away to a coldness brought on by her mother's acidic tongue and condescending tone. She felt like shaking her mother, trying to make her see that there was nothing but kindness in the old woman. She wanted to convince her, by any means necessary. She hated seeing that light dim from eyes so similar to her own. As her mother drug her forcefully by the wrist from the dim room, she turned back, one last time, looking for that ray of warmth. But it was gone. And she hated her mother for it. It had been the first and last time she had seen her grandmother.

The memory slammed into her consciousness as she had turned around, taking one last look at Bianca. Her stomach sank, realizing that she was looking for that same light, looking for hope. But Bianca's eyes were just as sad as the old woman, casting downward with salt stained cheeks rosed from the winter's cold. There was nothing to be found in that picture but loss. A ghosted 'I love you' and she was gone, around the hedges, her own eyes overflowing, the tears blurring her vision.

She sat, once again, on that hated piece of machinery, flying over the Atlantic. Back to an empty home, an empty life, an empty heart. A open card sat on the dingy plastic tray in front of her, beside it, a purple velvet box, mocking her with it's false promises of a future. Her hand reached up, tracing a fingertip over the box, a sigh being pulled from downward turned lips. She glanced at the card once more before deciding she needed to write something, anything. Fingers gripped her pen, the letters forming through no conscious effort on her part. Once signed, she quickly scanned the ink, hoping to be satisfied with the small token of her love. 'I'll be far away, but my heart will be with you. All my love, Maggie'

As she stood in the airport post office, her hand once again found the small ring box, tucked firmly in her jacket pocket. For just a moment she contemplated sending it along with her card. But the decision was made far too quickly for her own piece of mind. Bianca could barely look at her the entire time she had been in Pine Valley. It was why she was still in possession of the box. Her big plans for a future together, a life as a family, had been obliterated the moment she had locked eyes with Bianca. Sending her hopes and dreams along with a cardboard piece of Hallmark schmaltz was not going to make anything better.

So she stamped the card, dropped it in the international bin and headed outside to hail a cab, lost in a daydream of a future that she was unsure would ever come.

The End

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