"One Day More"

"I did not live until today,

How can I live when we are parted?

Tomorrow, you'll be worlds away,

And yet with you, my world has started."

--Les Miserables (the musical)


Chapter One: Someday the Dream Will End

ALEJANDRO BRUSHED HIS LIPS gently across Serena's knuckles. His eyes were bright with the ecstasy of the knowledge of what was to come. Serena gasped with surprise and then grinned in total awe at this magnificent man that she loved.

They didn't say anything to each other. They didn't have to. Their minds connected in a sizzle of electricity crackling between them.

His smooth hand slid up her inner thigh and tugged gently at her panties underneath. Serena covered his neck with kisses and moved her way up to his mouth. She practically shoved her tongue down his throat, but he enjoyed it, and their tongues intertwined and twisted around each other and danced in that erotic tango.

He dragged her panties down to her ankles and flung them onto the floor. Now both of his hands were working their way at her core, massaging the lips of her feminine essence. He could feel her muscles contracting and tightening around his fingers and he could hear, as well as *feel*, the moans inside of her mouth.

His hands worked furiously at her back, unlacing the blue summer dress she wore. She shrugged her shoulders to help him peel the thin layer of fabric off from her sweet body. She was totally nude in front of him. He took a moment to admire her body as a sacred temple. His hands could not help themselves as they nipped at her hardened breasts.

Serena released Alejandro's erection from the restriction of his jeans. She gave him a squeeze and he halted the massaging of her breasts.

Stripped from the waist up, Serena helped him get stripped from the waist down as well. He was out of his jeans and boxers in the flash of a second.

He pushed her down onto the bed and he immediately went down on top of her, kissing every inch of her. He touched her all over and yet he couldn't get enough of her.

Her fingernails scratched his back until they were more than just streaks of red; they were slightly bleeding abrasions. And yet, he didn't mind the pain at all. On the contrary, he wanted more.

He placed his hand on her inner thigh and spread apart her legs. He positioned himself above her and grew still. His gaze traveled from her succulent breasts to her face. A thin sheet of sweat glistened around her eyes and on her cheeks.

He only gave her one knowing glance before he thrust into her, slow at first and with tension, but then faster and with more ease. His breathing increased with hers and the faster their breaths came, the deeper their moaning.

"Tell me that you love me," Serena insisted as he continued with his energetic pulsing.

Instead of replying verbally, Alejandro's hands went to the silver ring suspended on the silver chain and he ripped it off of her neck, breaking the clasp that held the necklace together. He threw the necklace onto the ground.

Serena turned her head sideways and looked at the broken necklace. Then she saw a hand reach down to pick up the necklace.

Serena stood—fully clothed—at the opened door to room 640. She watched as Alejandro rose to his full length with the necklace seized in between his strong fingers. She swallowed a lump of terror that had formed in her throat. She felt it travel down her skin, grazing the soft flesh there as it descended.

"I hate you," Serena hissed at him.

He tightened his grip on the necklace, digging his own nails into his palm, and causing stark red blood to seep in between his closed fingers. There was contempt in his voice when he said, "No more than I hate you."

Serena shook her head in an odd sense of disbelief, and yet at the same time, she knew this was coming. "You're a bastard," she accused. "You took away two years of what could have been happiness. I could have been with Christopher, but *no*, I use so in love with you." She was disgusted at herself, at what she had done with him. A bead of spit hit him at his jaw.

He did not even flinch. His eyes burned into her soul with intense fury. "Don't worry," he stated firmly. "The feeling's mutual."

He opened his palm and the necklace had disintegrated into grains of sand in his palm. He tilted his hand and the sand, the remains of that necklace, issued forth like rain.

Serena could only gasp at the pouring sand. She only looked back up at Alejandro when he spoke again.

"We all make mistakes, Serena," he assured her. "You're just my worst one."

But she had a comeback of her own. "You stole my heart, Alejandro—I want it back."

Exasperated, Alejandro closed his eyes and gritted his teeth against the irritation. "Just get the hell out of here, Serena," he demanded. "Don't let the door kick you on the way out."

Serena held her chin up high and mustered all her dignity to walk out of the door.

Alejandro slammed it shut behind her.

Serena froze when she heard that echoing *boom*. It sent chills up and down her spine. She now gazed at her surroundings. It was pitch black and she could see the crescent moon dipping in that ocean of never-ending blackness.

She began to walk around the school, wandering aimlessly, when suddenly, she heard a crunching beneath her bare feet. She bent down to pick it up. It was a piece of torn, battered lined binder paper with an essay she had written during her sophomore year.

" 'This is the ultimate sacrifice; this is true love'," the paper read.

She tore it up into shreds and littered it on the ground. She headed towards the math building when she saw Lily standing in front of one of the doors, wearing a sleeveless white dress with a collapsing front. She also wore a crown of the flower "baby breath."


Lily held out her hands to Serena. There was a tarot card in her palm. Serena touched the card, but did not remove it from Lily's possession.

"The two lovers," Lily said, explaining the illustration on the card. "Take it." She gestured with her hands for Serena to pluck the tarot card away from her. "It's your fate."

Serena gently took the card away, but the instant that she touched it, burst into flames. She dropped it, sucking on the finger that had been blistered.

Lily looked at the ignited tarot card and eerily said, "Someday this dream will end. I promise. It's only a matter of 'when'."

Serena watched as the flames consumed the card, but then burned into something else. Serena knelt down and picked it up. The flames had completely died out now and left her with a black and white photo of a coffin and mourners. After gazing at the photo, the people started to move, wiping their noses with their tissues and a reverend reciting the sermon.

Serena became part of that moving picture.

She stepped onto the grassy field where the mourners sat on fold-up chairs in front of a black coffin and a reverend on a bright, hot summer afternoon. Everything was in color now.

"Let us remember the way that she lived," the reverend went on. "With hate in her heart and bitterness in her soul and let us not forget that the perfect happiness she attempted to obtain was never in her possession."

Christine, Lily, and Aurora, all in black with a black veil over their faces, crossed themselves and murmured, "Amen."

Serena remained an observer. She watched as someone from the way back got up and went to the open coffin. It was Alejandro, with a white rose. He placed it on the corpse inside. Serena moved just a bit closer to see that it was a perfect vision of her lying in that white-laced coffin.

Alejandro did not have the slightest look of regret on his face, or grief for that matter.

"The stars lie, Serena," Alejandro said to her body. "Life's a bitch, and so were you. I want to let you know that we're all happier now that you're gone. So, hey lover-girl, your death wasn't in vain."

Unexpectedly, Alejandro met eye contact with Serena, the *living* Serena standing at the corner of the coffin. He winked at her.

"You were always an amateur in the bed," he told her. "Wish I had time to teach you more, but some people are born with it, and you just weren't." He moved away from the coffin and all the other mourners, including the reverend, turned and walked off without another word.

Serena stood there for a moment, but then she turned around and headed for the edge of the grassy cliff. She stood there, the wind blowing in her hair. She looked at the bottom of the three hundred feet drop and yet, she couldn't exactly *see* the bottom. She felt the presence of another approach her. At first, she mistook it for Alejandro, but some internal part of her *knew* that it was Aurora.

"I'm sorry that I wanted what was best for you," Aurora whispered and took Serena's hand.

"I forgive you," Serena informed her. "I'm sorry, too. He did break my heart, in the end."

"The stars tell the truth," Aurora insisted.

"I believe you," Serena added and then released Aurora's hand.

"Are you sure this is the way you want to go?" Aurora asked meekly.

Serena never took her eyes from the landing of the cliff. "It's the only way. Love is sacrifice, Aurora." She stretched her arms to the side.

"I know."

Serena plunged.

Her body was light and the wind roared past her ears as she dove head down. When she landed, she *slammed* onto the earth and she felt *everything* in her body—ribcage, stomach, bones—rattle inside of her body. She had survived the fall.


She stood up and dusted her clothes. That was when she noticed Alejandro standing there for the first time. He had a frown on his face.

"I loved you, Serena," he told her.

"I know you did," she confirmed.

He reached out for her hand and dropped something inside her palm and then curled her fingers again. "Then understand why I had to do this," he requested.

"I'll never understand," Serena said simply to him. "But I'll believe you."

Without another word, Alejandro slowly turned around and walked towards his green Jeep parked in the middle of a desert. He got in it and drove off, descending down a sandy hill until he was out of view.

Serena opened her palm and looked at what he had left there: the silver ring and the silver necklace. They were not broken, as if they had not been broken at all. Serena clasped the necklace back on and walked down the sandy hill that Alejandro had left not so long ago. She knew what would happen if she did, but she had no control over her actions.

She found Alejandro's house at the base of the hill. She opened the door and saw Alejandro in his office, sitting on his chair, at hard work in there. He heard her come in, but he did not look up at her.

Serena walked into his office and finally, he spared her a glance.

"I knew you were coming," he spoke as he rose from his chair and took her hand.

"So did I," Serena countered as Alejandro brushed his lips across her knuckles.

She was doomed to repeat this nightmare.


Three, eighteen in the middle of the night and Serena's eyes gradually fluttered to awareness. It took her for a moment to figure out what had just happened and where she was now. The disorientation of dreams left the dreamer a little confused and lost afterwards.

Serena always felt like the dream had *actually* happened and within the time of ten seconds, she was able to clear up her foggy mind. It always happened like this, even though it had happened for the last six years.

She sat up and reached for the box of tissue at her nightstand. She always woke up crying, sniffling at least. She felt the sticky tears on her face and she needed to blow her nose. She didn't want to wake up Aurora, her roommate, so she pulled the covers away and made her way into the bathroom.

She left a slight crack at the door where the blinding and hurtful artificial light peered out into the darkness of the room she shared with Aurora in the apartment they, as well as Christine and Lily, paid rent for.

She examined herself in the mirror.

She had been trying to get rid of those damn bags under her eyes for the last eight weeks, but now she had grown paler and thinner. She almost looked like the *ghost* of the woman she was a couple years ago. Well, at the least, a *ghost* was what she felt like.

She blew her nose and discarded the tainted tissue into the waste basket hidden in the bottom cupboards. She opened the mirror door and took out a small white bottle. She twisted the lid and pulled it so that the top fell off and she was able to pour out a single white pill, a rather small one. She reached for the glass of cool, fresh water sitting by the sink. She hated tap water, so she prepared a glass of ice water each night before she went to sleep, knowing that she would need it.

She tossed the pill into her mouth and washed it down with the ice water, so refreshing and chilling, *almost* as cold as the way she felt inside at the moment. She dabbed some cold water on her face to wash away the stickiness of her tears, some dried, and some new. She closed the medicine bottle and shelved it away behind the mirror and closed the door. She killed the light and closed the bathroom door after she left. She settled into her bed and pulled the covers over her, up to her neck, and tucked herself in, tightly and comfortably. She rested on her side and cleared her throat. She hoped the sleeping pill would settle in soon and work its magic within the next hour, but it always took longer than that.

Serena had a long night ahead of her and an even *longer* morning.