THE RITUAL

 
 

By Carol Sandford

 
 

Chapter 01

 
 

I missed you this morning, and I knew then that it was going to be a bad day. And sure enough, by the time lunchtime came and went and with still no word, I was in a lousy mood. Not that anyone would have noticed, of course, my professionalism wouldn't allow me to show the rest of the crew just how much the absence of your words, your smile, your tender touch, and God help me, yes, I needed to see the love in your eyes.

It was what made my day. It was what I got up for every morning.

Just for that.

And I missed it.

When I returned to my cabin at the end of my shift, my eyes immediately fell to the single bloom left upon my table. I didn't have to read the note to know it was from you and that it simply said, 'Hi.', but it did comfort me to know that you had missed the ritual too.

I breathed in its rich heady scent and I whispered into its blooms without an ounce of shame at being caught talking to a rose, 'Hi.'I said. But at least I was smiling again, inside and out, and I was grateful to Will for doing that for me.

I decided to spend the evening listening to some quiet music and catch up on some letters to home. That would at least appease my mother, if nothing else. But by ten o'clock the loneliness was coming back and I couldn't help picking up the rose once more and breathing in its scent again, conjuring up a vision of Will's smiling face.

Imzadi

The door opening broke the silence and a tall figure stepped into the shadows, but I wasn't afraid. He was here, he had come.

"Hi."

 
     
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