"I don't need to touch the sky. I just want to feel that high, And you refuse to lift me..." Cloud Nine -Evanescence
A week later - Friday
Special Agent Storm Chace got out of his sleek silver BMW M3. He had had a long grueling week and he was glad to be home. He worked as a psychological profiler for the Statham Island’ Behavioural
Analyis Unit (BAU), a government owned agency working closely with Statham Island’s law enforcement agencies. He was an expert on obsession crimes. Ever since his wife's brutal murder two years
earlier, he buried himself in his work, stewing in his guilt over her death. His colleagues, friends and family had all told him it was not his fault; it was a senseless random crime and it had nothing to do
with his job and it was not one of the pissed off criminals he had helped put away over the years, it was just a simple house robbery gone horribly wrong. But deep down inside he knew it was his
fault, he had failed Emma and he had vowed to spend the rest of his life catching criminals and her death would not be in vain.
He had vowed not to get too emotionally involved with anyone again and he had been doing just fine for two years until the previous weekend at his brother's place. He tried to push away the
memory of the past weekend to the back of his mind as he made his way to his lonely penthouse.
He was exhausted, but he could not bring himself to sleep. Instead he jumped on his laptop and started working on the report for the Manson case, the very same case his team had just wrapped up.
He had too many thoughts going on in his head. Too many memories! He shuddered as the gruesome images of the murdered Manson girl swam in his mind. Cases involving children were always the
hardst for him. Sure, his team had caught the sex offender responsible, but that did not change the fact that a little girl was dead.
An hour later, the Manson report not anywhere close to being complete, Storm padded softly to his big inviting bed. He could barely keep his eyes open now. As soon as his head hit his soft, plush
pillows a warm cozy feeling washed over him and he was out like a baby.
"Make loves to me Storm? Make love to me?" The smooth, silky voice pleaded urgently. He looked into the bluest pool of eyes he had ever seen and felt like he was drowning. Everything about her
was intense, her smell, her touch but most of all the feel of her body underneath him. He felt raw passion pulsate throughout his whole frame and lustily he bent down to kiss her.
"Emma," he murmured softly, breathing in her scent.
"No Storm! It's not Emma. It's me, Victoria. Don't you remember me?"
Sweating and panting wildly, he woke up from his dream. He felt disoriented and he could not remember the last time he felt this vulnerable. The dreams had to stop! Victoria could not keep sneaking
into his dreams like that. He knew what he had to do. He would call her. He had been putting it off since the previous weekend but he hated leaving loose ends.
"No!" She moaned softly as she tried to sit up on her lumpy bed. She had the mother of all hang overs and she was still fully dressed. She knew it was a Saturday and judging from the sunlight
streaming through her curtained windows she guessed it must be very late in the day. If things had gone right with Storm, today would have been their one week anniversary. She could not
remember the last time she was this drunk or hung-over! She scrunged up her face in concentration as she tried to remember how she had got home, let alone crawled upstairs to her bed. But her
head pounded furiously at the amount of pressure she was exerting on her fuzzy brain.
Oh why, why did she keep doing this to herself? Last night, tired of waiting for Storm Chace to call, she and a couple of friends, Kendra not included, went clubbing at PURE. She had drunk too much,
laughed too loudly, partied too hard and flirted like the single girl she was, but all the while her heart was breaking. She needed Storm. She wanted Storm and too bad for her, she had fallen for the
one man who did not want her.
The room spun in dizzying circles and she struggled to focus. With tears in her eyes, she tried yet again to place her feet on the elusive floor. Everytime she thought of him and her weekend at
Kendra's she wanted to cry. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself," she heaved, stifling yet another wave of nausea. She made up her mind right there and there, it was time to move on! She had moaned
enough for one long week and she would not go down that route again. Storm Chace was the past; she had to look to the future now.
Half an hour later she was miraculously nursing a mug of coffee in her hand. She closed her eyes and immediately regretted it because the first face that popped into her head was the one she
wished she could forget, the only one she could not run away from no matter how hard she tried becuase it was deeply entrenched in her mind.
In her mind's eye she remembered his gorgeous face, his shiny black hair, his chest and oh, his strong arms. Why? Why could she not get him out of her head? Why did she miss him so much? And
why did she even care? She wished the weekend at her best friend's had never happened. She wished she had never met him because ever since she had she was an emotional wreck and it was so
unlike her. He moved her in ways she had never thought possible. When they had made love she had felt like she had known him all her life, like they were one! But then he had left her in his bed
with no note, no good bye and no see you later!
The shrill sound of her home phone brought her back to the present. "Storm!" she thought hopefully as she staggered slowly to answer it.
"Hello," she breathed into the phone, holding her breath, hoping it was the one voice she so wanted to hear.
"Victoria? Are you okay? I haven't heard from you in a while? The launch is in five days and we need to go over the details. Are you done with the paintings? When can I come and see them?" Piper,
her business partner shrieked into the phone. She always sounded frantic for no reason.
"Piper, calm down. I'm okay. Don't worry about the paintings. They'll be ready for the launch," Victoria answered, bitterly disappointed that it was not Storm.
"Well, I'm coming over," Piper insisted. She knew something was wrong. Victoria had seemed distracted this past week and well they could not afford any distractions. They were launching their art
gallery in five days and someone had to be on top of things. They had an agreement, Piper would take care of the finances and Victoria would take care of the creative side of things and she would
damned if Victoria would ruin their one shot at success!
"Please don't. I don't feel too good right now Piper, let's talk tomorrow. Please?" Victoria did not wait for her partner's reply. She quickly hung up the phone and just to make sure Piper did not bother
her again, she took it off the hook and switched off her cell phone. Her head throbbed and her stomach churned, but she could not bring herself to eat. Gingerly, she made her way back upstairs to
"Hey big brother, what's going on?" Dean greeted his older brother. He knew something was wrong when Storm called because he never called. Dean was a little uneasy but he was also glad though
that Storm was finally reaching out to him and this was a good thing right? Maybe he was ready to move on with his life and let go of Emma's memory.
"I know you didn't bring me here to stare at my handsome face," Dean murmured teasingly. They were at FM for well over ten minutes and all Storm had talked about was NOTHING! "I've been
having dreams," Storm blurted out and wished he had not. He did not know what he was doing here with using Dean as his sounding board.
"About Emma? Look, Storm, I don't mean to tell you how to live your life, but you have got let her go," Dean answered cautiously and braced himself for Storm's angry reaction. But surprisingly Storm
did not say anything, he just shook his head. "The dreams are not about Emma, are they?" Dean asked, confusion written all over his face.
"No," Storm answered. He opened his mouth to say more, but then changed his mind and kept quiet "Come on man, spill! What's going on?" Dean tried again. "What sort of dreams?"
"Weird dreams," his older brother replied, an uneasy look on his face. "You mean?" Dean asked and let the rest of his question hang in the air as he surpressed a laugh. His 36 year old brother was
having naughty dreams! Would wonders never cease? "Yes!" Storm retorted sharply. "Okay then. So who's the star in your dreams?" Dean teased.
He almost choked on his meal when he heard Storm's answer. "Victoria!" "What? You mean Kendra's Victoria? The woman who's going to be my bride's maid of honor? Why?" Dean knew he was
rambling, but he could not help it. "Last weekend, on Saturday morning, while you and Kendra were still in bed, well...We...You know..." Storm could not finish his sentence. He was really feeling
embarrassed now. He had not expected to confess all of this to his sibling. All he wanted was to get Victoria's address, which he could have picked up from the BAU's data bank.
"So...what now? You want the dreams to stop?" Dean asked suddenly. Storm failed to see the relevance of his question, but he nodded anyway. "Why?" "Can you quit asking me stupid questions? I
just want Victoria's address!" Storm snapped. "Okay. Relax," Dean answered. He scribbled Victoria's address on a small piece of paper and slid it across the counter. "Thanks," Storm mumbled,
stuffing the paper in his jeans' pocket. "What are you going to do now?" Dean's question caught him off guard. "I don't know. I'll see," Storm replied coolly. He really had no idea of what he was going
Victoria woke up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle her day. Her stomach growled uncontrollably reminding her she had not eaten for almost 24 hours. Slowly she got out of her bed and made her
way to the bathroom to take a shower and officially start her morning.
After her breakfast she went to the art studio next door to her apartment and got down to some serious painting. Professionally she was a free lance photo journalist but she supplemented
her sporadic income by painting. She was excited when Piper proposed they go into business together. Piper was business savvy and well she, was a talented photographer and an even better artist.
They both knew they were taking a huge gamble by opening an art gallery, but life was all about risks. That was her motto and Piper understood it very well and that was perhaps one of the
reasons they got along so well.
When she painted, she shut off the rest of the world and went into that private place she kept only for herself. The gallery was opening in five days and she was really excited. They would be showing
works of a few small time artists and hers also. She hummed a happy tune while she painted, occasionally glancing outside. At this very moment she was content. Her mind and heart were still.
"World, here I come," she squealed happily as put the final strokes on the canvass. Pleased with her progress, she decided to take a walk and get some fresh inspiration.
He could not believe he was here. He knew he was not ready for this, but there would be no better time than now. He got out of the car and surveyed her street. Before he could change his mind, he
rushed up the steps leading to her front porch.
He pressed the buzzer at least three times, before someone answered.
"Hello?" a gruff female voice barked somewhere inside the building. "Hi, Is Victoria in?" he asked, feeling slightly nervous, for some reason he felt like a school boy on his first date.
"Who?" again came the bark.
"Victoria! Is she in?" Storm asked, speaking slowly this time.
"She's gone out. She left an hour ago. She should be home soon!" "Okay, thanks. I'll just wait out here for her," he said politely. "Suit yoursel!"
Disappointed, he made his way back to his car. He wondered if maybe he should leave and return later. But he knew if he left he might just lose his courage and never come back.
He hated break ups, but technically, this was not a break up. He wanted to put things into perspective, apologise to Victoria for leaving abruptly the previous weekend and not give her any false hopes
about a future he knew they would never have.
He did not know how long he sat in his car and he was about to leave when, from his rear view mirror, he saw Victoria walk past. His heart rate suddenly quickened and his palms felt a little sweaty.
"Victoria," he called out. For a second she stood, frozen in time, not believing her eyes. "Storm? What are you doing here?" She asked, nervously, half angry with him for not calling her like he said he
would, half excited because again, her heart confirmed what she already knew, she was in love with him, completely, insanely, head over heels in love with him.
"Where have you been? Do you have any idea how long I've been sitting here for, waiting for you to come home?" Storm snapped. He had to hold back from shaking her like a rag doll. He had not
realized how worried he'd been until a wave of relief washed over him when her saw walk past.
"Definitely not a week, that's for sure!" Victoria snapped back, a sarcastic tone in her voice. How dare he come here and shout at her. Who did he think he was?
"Okay, I deserved that. I've been meaning to call you--------" Storm started to say, but did not finish his sentence because without warning Victoria pulled him close and started kissing him slowly at
first and then urgently when he did not resist. For a second he allowed himself to enjoy the kiss. Before long, he was kissing her passionately and pulling her closer in his arms. "Stop!" A small voice
shrieked somewhere in his mind. With a grunt, almost cruelly, he pushed her away.
"What's wrong?" Victoria asked a little hurt. "I'm sorry, I can't do this," he whispered sadly.
"You can't do what? The kiss? Or US?" She asked, holding her breath.
"Both?" He answered. He saw the crushed look in her eyes and hated himself for it. Maybe he should have just stayed away.
"Why are you here Storm? Why did you come?" Victoria asked, tears clouding her eyes.
"I wanted to explain. Making love with you was amazing, but a mistake. I'm not at a good place right now. I shouldn't have made love to you and I shouldn't have come here, but I needed to let you
know...We can't be together," his voice trailed off.
"Why? What do you mean?" she asked again, "Is it someone else?" "Yes," he told her. "Who?"
"Emma," he whispered sadly.
"Emma? Your late wife?" She felt like the wind had been knocked out of her. "Oh?" Was all she could say? How did one compete with a ghost? She felt humiliated and all she wanted was to fling
herself on her bed and cry like a baby. "I'm sorry..." Storm started to say, but she cut him off. "So am I....more than you'll ever know," she told him sadly.
"Take care of yourself Victoria," Storm told her quietly and got into his car. It killed him to see her like that. He wished he hadn't hurt her, he wished things were different, but he knew himself, he
knew his job and the demands that came with it. His job had almost destroyed his marriage with Emma. He was sure if Emma had not died, they would have ended up getting a divorce. He just
couldn't live through another relationship.
Victoria watched him get in his car and drive off. Her heart was shattered into a million pieces and she wasn't sure if any glue could stick it together again. It was all over. She knew how he felt about
her. He was still devoted to his late wife. She must have been some woman to have such a strong hold on him. At least now, she could finally have closure and move on with her life. "Oh Storm," she
whispered sadly to the wind, impatiently brushing off the tears in her eyes.