The neighborhood hadn’t changed, except for being buoyant and lively, many of the homes were empty shells of their former glory. Roman stopped his car in front of one of the lots, few signs of a house’s existence there. He put the car in park on the curb and got out. He stuck his hands into his pockets and stared. So much history on this very spot. He’d been gone long enough and he was back to claim what was his.
Even with her music blaring, Desi could still ear Brian milling about her flat. He had been over every night for the past week and he was driving her crazy. She sat and stared at the blank canvass as she listened to him bop around the kitchen. He whistled along to “Pretty Brown Eyes” as he chopped the ingredients for his smoothie. Desi rubbed her forehead in disdain, trying to force an image out of her head. She needed to work. The blender started an ear-splitting grinding, drowning out the music overhead. Desi exclaimed out loud and threw down her paint brush. Hearing the commotion, Brian silenced the blender and the music. “You say something, babe?” he asked, looking across the room. Desi’s back was to him but he could still see her, holding her head. He rounded the kitchen island and strode across the room. He put his hands on her shoulders and started to massage her. Desi slipped from his grip and moved away from him. She held her hands out in front of her.
Except she wasn’t asleep.
Alice lay in the bed still as she could, careful not to stir her snoring husband. The sun crept slowly into their bedroom before she slipped from the covers. She showered and dressed quickly: stockings, dress, blazer, an ensemble she chose with great care the night before. She wanted to look good. She applied her makeup carefully as she stared at her visage in the mirror: she was beautiful, but her eyes gave away the emptiness that resonated in her