Colin approached the ruins with a heart as dull as the sky above the empty rise. He hadn’t been back since the wedding. Like unshed tears, the remembered incandescence of the fairy lights no longer strung in the gnarled ash trees around the crumbling foundation burned against the backs of his eyelids.
She’d been incandescent. The bride of his dreams dancing among the ruins they’d studied together, dreamed in together. It had been impossible to tear his gaze from her light.
He was standing in the gap-toothed front entry before he saw her, folded in on herself among the ferns in the northwest corner. “Amy?”
She startled hard, knocking her head against what remained of the chimney.
He rushed over, crouching next to her. ”Hey. I’m sorry.”
She blinked up at him for a breath before recognition cleared her expression. “Colin.”
Her smile spilled over him like sunshine. He wrapped a steadying arm around her shoulders. “What are you doing here?”
She rubbed her head, wincing where her hand found bruised flesh. “David and I had a row. I needed some peace, but I must have dozed.” She leaned into him. “I’ve missed you.”
He did his best to capture the feeling of her cheek pressed against his faded flannel shirt. “I’ve been around.”
“You always are.” She pressed her hands into the spongy earth; he steadied her as she rose and dusted off her jeans. “It’s one of the things I’ve always loved about you.”
He swallowed the declarations, the pleas that choked him. He forced his rebellious voice to stay even. “Everything’s okay?”
She shrugged, letting a touch of her familiar snark slip. “You know my temper. David’s still adjusting to Life With Amy.” A quick glance at her phone for the time. “He’ll come ’round.”
“I’m sure.” Resentment kindled in his belly even as a breeze teased her hair and his heart flipped over.
She stretched up on her toes and hugged him hard. He could barely trust himself to return the embrace without bawling like a child.
Amy framed his face between her palms. “Promise me we’ll see one another soon?”
She searched his eyes. He feared what she would find there, but whatever she saw, it was not the love for her he bore like a shaggy-haired Atlas.
Colin sought the lightness that had once existed between them. The lightness that David stole from him by winning Amy’s heart. He gave her a crooked smile. “Whenever you like. I’m yours.”
“Good.” Satisfied, she rocked on her heels and pocketed her hands in her coat. “Take care, Colin.”
He watched her head down the dirt drive, unable to speak his thoughts aloud.
What you break is what you get. You own me.
A response to Write on Edge’s weekly prompt.