The smell of beer and clack of pool balls was comforting to the Brujah as she leaned against a dim back wall of the tavern. One booted foot was kicked up on the wall behind her, the other long leg stretched out supporting her as she wandered amongst her thoughts. The jukebox by her side lit her pale face from below, throwing her closed eyes into shadow. As songs tracked through the machine, she let them lead her back over the trails of time to a place she hardly dared visit, except in nightmares, or dreams that would never come true.

A familiar song blew its breath upon her, bringing a ghost of a smile to her lips. In her mind she opened her eyes and looked down into pale ones long since gone. He reached up, wrapping her silky blonde hair in his fingers. "When you first saw me, what did you see?" she asked him.

He dropped his hand and raised his head out of her lap, shifting to lay on his side, head propped now on his own hand. "You were dancing..."

She thumped him on the forehead with her finger, as if flicking a fly. "I know that. What else?" Like many women, she left the real question unasked. 'Why me?'

"I don't know," he hedged. "It...I thought you were talking and I was the only one who could hear you."

She nodded and smiled, "Maybe I was, and didn't know it until I saw you. What was I saying?"

"You were sad, and angry... You wished you could start over." He looked away, leaving his last thought unspoken. He could still see her screaming it, there on the dancefloor.

She stroked his cold cheek with her cold hand. "Why did you care?"

Moonlit pools of blue met boiling seas of green. He dove in. "I knew why."

She blinked, letting him look away. He always knew.

©Sonja Torres 1999



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