Light flooded the room that Nick, Crystal and I had been occupying until I could see nothing else. Soft, clean smelling fabric pressed against my face as I opened my eyes to see a sight I never thought I'd see again.
In her slumber, she looked more beautiful than the day we'd met. Every day was like that; something new to love revealed itself every time I opened my eyes in the morning to her beautiful face. It was like a game to be played until she opened her green eyes and smiled. From her delicate chin to her curly light brown hair, there was nothing I didn't love.
It had been so long since I'd seen her face, that I ignored the sound of the bedroom door opening. I was so transfixed, that I missed the patter of small feet as they ran toward the bed.
"Is she sleeping?" A small tug on my side of the blankets pulled me from my captivation and the sweet voice of our five year old almost brought tears to my eyes.
I rolled over to see the innocent eyes of our daughter, Samantha, looking up at me. I tentatively reached out to pat her on the head, worried that this was only some weird dream. When her soft locks of hair got caught between my fingers actual tears dripped on the blanket.
"Is she sleeping, Daddy?"
"Yes, she's sleeping. Let's let her rest for a bit before waking her. Where's your brother?"
Had I dreamed it all? I remembered walking down that hallway, following the smell of blood to their room, as though it had all happened yesterday. It seemed so real, so intense that I'd mistaken it for reality. It seemed like I'd slept for years, a nightmare unrelenting.
"Gary is watching cartoons. I asked him to pour the milk in my cereal but he told me to ask Mommy. Could you pour me the milk, please?" My heart was beating in my chest as she looked at me with the look she gave if she wanted something. The look that always let her get her way.
I glanced back at my slumbering lover and then smiled at Samantha, "Of course I can."
I slipped from the covers and made my way to the kitchen. From the kitchen, I could see into the living room where my eight year old son sat watching cartoons with the volume low.
"Dude, your parents suck!" A voice on the television announced causing Gary to burst into laughter. It'd felt so long since I'd heard his laugh.
In roughly fifteen minutes, both of our kids were in the backyard playing tag. It didn't matter that there was only two players and they would just keep alternating who was "it". They enjoyed just running around.
I felt arms wrap around my waist and her chest pressed against my back. I smelled her light spray of perfume as she rested her chin on my shoulder.
"Don't go to work today.", I felt her arms squeeze my waist as she spoke, "I know you have that big investigation you're working on, but take today off. Stay with me."
Patrick. OCS Industries. Right now, it just didn't seem worth going after anymore. All I wanted to do was stay right here with them. My dream was so vivid and terrifying, that it made me see things differently.
I turned to look into Robin's eyes, "There is nothing that could get me to leave you today."
An unexpected kiss that lasted for what seemed like forever, and an enchanting smile washed all memories of my horrific dream away. I had them back, and I'd never let them go again.
Somewhere deep inside something told me that I was wrong.