Strangers in the Night

Somehow I've never been excepted, ever since birth. People avoided me, and I could never see why. I don't know what's wrong with me. I've had this disease since birth, and as I say, people avoided me. It's like I carried the black plague; It was as if any mer touch on my soft and pale skin could kill even the strongest of man.

It has been even worse now, after my husband's passing. He was the only person who would even dare come close to me, other than my parents. When we first met I told him right then and there not to get close to me, but he didn't listen. He said he loved me for who I was; he didn't care what people said or thought and he said I should do the same. W got married, and all seemed at peace momentarily. People smiled upon us and for once in my life I felt beautiful, normal in fact. I felt like I was healthy and just like everyone else; but a few months after my husband passed away from unknown causes. And just like everything went back to normal: The cold stares were reapplied to my face and all happiness was stripped from me. They blamed me for his death: That's all they did! My didn't think about, consider any opinions. No, they just labeled me because it seemed right. My being with him drove him to his grave.

That was a year ago.

I live in a cabin outside of town. It is nice and cozy; I can't complain. Sometimes I feel lonely but I'm so use to it by now it doesn't even matter. The silence comforts me. I know it will never leave, because just like me, it is nothing. The dream of someone comforting me is gone, yet still in the back of my head. Even though it will never come true, I still wish it.

It is a cold night. The rain pours down from the heavens and pounds up against my windows Wind whips around innocent leaves and pulls them to new, unfamiliar locations. The medium sized lamp on my coffee table flicks on and off from time to time, forcing me to tap it ever so often. My only source of entertainment in my mind right now is the book in my hands, so I'm praying the light will be illuminate long enough before it blows completely. A crash of thunder pulls me from my novel and my eyes are set on the view outside: What a mess. I dislike nights like these with great intensity. People are forced refuge inside their homes and animals outside must also fine a dry haven for the night. What the hate the most is how it seems that the thunder and rain symbolize my own torment and desire, deep within my heart.

My vision breaks once again from the window. I sigh, then glance at it again. I hope no one is traveling in this harsh condition......

My heart skips a beat as I hear a knock at the door. At first I think it merely the wind rustling down branches and other various items around, so I bury my nose in my book again. But then I hear it again. I snap the velvety covers of he book shut and I rise to answer it. As I approach I wonder who it is. No one comes here, not even my parents; That is precisely why I am living alone on the outskirts of town.

I wrap my hand round the door knob and a chill down up my spine; It's so cold, untouched. I shake it off quickly, the thought of someone waiting outside reenters my mind, and I turn the knob and pull the heavy wooden door open.

Indeed, it is someone unknown to me; A traveler I presume by his attire. The man standing before me is a good few inches taller than me, about the height of my late husband. Strands of his dirty blonde hair are blown in front of his eyes, obscuring his vison. His eye are a brilliant shade of blue; similar to crystalline ocean water. Gorgeous.

"Good evening." He finally says. His voice is deep and soothing. "I'm sorry to bother you at such a later hour, but I'm traveling....." I was correct. "And then it started raining. As you can see I'm terribly soaked." He points to himself and laughs. "Could you just point me to the nearest town?"

"Oh." I say. "Well, the closest town is north from here." I say, sticking my head out the door and pointing in the opposite direction from whence the man came. "But.." I take a step out. "It's a few miles from here; It'll take you at least an hour by walking. Why don't you just spend the night here?" I suggest

"Oh, I couldn't!" He says shaking his head. "I wouldn't want to impose on you.."

"Don't worry; It's quite alright." I explain. "I live alone, and this cabin is big enough for the both of us. Besides, you'll be soaking and exhausted by the time you reach the nearest village." I open the door wider. "Please, come on in."

"Thank you." He says with a nod before he enters. Once I close the door the two of us are alone and warm again.

"I'll take your jacket." I say politely. He slips it off and I hang it on the coat rack to dry."The weather is awful out there!" I exclaim as I notice how violently his coat is dripping, soaked by the rain."How long have you been traveling for?"

"Till about noon." The stranger says as he slips off his shoes and places then under the coat rack "It was so bad until it started raining." He states.

"Hm, I agree." I say with a nod. "You must be hungry, yes?"

"Famished, tell you the truth."

"I ate dinner a while ago; It should still be warm,...If worst comes to worse I can heat it up....Anyway, I have some Vegetable Barley and some potatoes; Would you like some of that?" I'm already making my way to the kitchen.

"That would be great; I can't thank you enough Miss."

I smile. "It's no trouble at all."

10 minutes later it's ready

"So, what's your name?" My guest asks as he sits down to eat.

"How stupid of me, I forgot to introduce myself!"I scold myself; What an idiot! "My name is Veronica......and yours?" As I ask, looking toward him from the other side of the table.

"It's Alexander." he says before dabbing his face with a napkin.

"So, Alexander, what brings you here?"

"To tell you the truth I'm just here for traveling purposes; I love going to different places all around the world. I a supposed to go to France in a month, so I decided to stop in England before." He says with a smile."The country is really beautiful."

"Yes." I agree."But I'm afraid you're seeing it at it's worst tonight....."

"What about you?" Alexander intergets.

"Excuse me?"

"I mean. What's a fine lady like you doing here? By your appearance it would seem as if you wouldn't seem the type at all to live by yourself, let alone in a cabin of the outskirts of a village."

"Oh, I say." Well,......It's a long story..." I begin. Thunder booms outside and a flash of lighting sparks in our vision.

He laughs "I have time"He takes the last sip of his water.

"Done already?" I chuckle as I get up and grab his empty plate and glass.

"Don't change the subject on me" Alexander chuckles again as he turns around in his seat.

I sigh. "Alright, I'll tell you" I say as I run the remnants of the mans dinner under the cold sink water."Every since I was little, I've had this 'disease'; I have to admit it's very hard to explain. I never understood it myself. Either way it's been like I carry the plague; I never had any friends as a kid. I still had my parents, yes, but there was only so much they could do."

"That's horrible." It sound like there's sadness in his voice.

"I suppose so. I'm used to it. Either way no one really looked at me; That is, till I met my husband....." I turn to him. His eyes widen.

"Y-you're married?......" A nervous expression grows on Alexander's face.

I smirk. " Was married. Don't worry. My husband passed on"

"Im sorry." He bows. "My condolences.."

"It's quite alright; no need to apologize." I say. "As I was saying, when I met my husband things got even worse. Both of us were looked down on because I was considered 'unclean' and he was looked down upon because he fell in love with me." I stop and sigh. "On top of that he died a few months after our marriage.....That's when I moved here." I explain.

"Oh dear. That's horrible." Is all he says.

" I suppose. I've tried to be optimistic. It's really not so bad. I'm used to it being quite; I read a lot, It's very relaxing, and even started sewing. Nothing much else to do. Although I still can't break the habit of cook for two people."

Oddly enough both of us laugh.

We talk for a while: Alexander tell me about his travels; Apparently he's been to Peru, India, even China. He explains he was born in America, bur like his father had a thirst for adventure. I agree with him; Wouldn't want to travel the world? I would if I wasn't bound.....

Before we know it it's almost midnight.

"Oh dear." I say, glancing at the clock."We've been talking for hours..."

"Hm, it seems as though we have...."

"You must be exhausted" I say, rising from my seat. "I'll go get your bed ready..."

"I'll help you." He says following me.

"It's alright; You don't have to..." I begin.

"No it's alright." He says. "It's the least I can do."

"Thank you."

Alexander chuckles. "Looks like you haven't dropped your wife instincts when your husband passed on either."

I giggle.

"Is this ok?" I ask as I enter the spare bedroom.

"It's excellent." He says in awe. "I haven't slept in a room this nice in ages.

I'm afraid I have to agree with Alexander on this part; The room is lovely. My husband and I always wanted to have a nice, spare bedroom just incase anyone came. We decided on a burn mahogany color for the bedding; It looks very nice next to the cabin floors and the matching curtains.

I walk over and pull some pajamas out a drawer. "You can wear these." I say. "You clothes might still be damp and I don't want you getting sick." I explain. "They look your size...they should fit......"Yes, Alexander in like my husband in more ways than one: He is about his size, somewhat muscular, about 5 inches taller than me. Other than the blonde hair and eyes my husband had both dark brown hair and eyes he does look like him; built wise.

I lay the folded up clothes on the edge of the bed as I start talking the dressings off of it. "I hope this is alright....this bed is pretty big...I have no idea why my husband and I bought such a big one but-" I'm stopped by Alexander's hand being placed on my shoulder.

"Hm?" I stop my babbling and turn to him "What is it?" He has a loving look in his chocolate brown eyes. My remind me of my husbands. So big and warm and comforting.......

Strands of dirty blonde hair fall in front of his beautiful eyes. I push them away. He takes a step closer and wraps his arms around me.

"W-what are you doing??" I ask as I try to break away. What is he.......

"How could you bear it?" He asks. My heart freezes.

"What do you mean?"

"Shunned since birth....an outcast to everyone since you where a child....and when you finally get married you husband dies.......No one should go through anything like that...." He tucks some strands of hair behind my ear."It should be a sin." He looks down at me. I'm still confused."Especially against someone so beautiful as you....." He continues before leaning in and pressing his lips against mine.

I'm confused at first. I haven't been kissed in the longest time. Wait, no. This isn't right.

I break away. "Alexander..' I take a step back. "No...we can't..." I try to tell him. "You can't......We don't even know each other!" I say. "It it wasn't for this storm we wouldn't even met....." I feel like my heart is breaking. He reminds me so much of my husband......"You shouldn't kiss me anymore....." I warn, even beg. "I'm ill....."

"You taste fine to me." He interrupts , a little smirk on his face

"Look, that's not the point!" I say. "Just.....don't come near me.......I don't want to kill another man...."

"For the love of god Veronica, you didn't kill your husband!" Alexander declares."here's how I see it; People were jealous of you. That's why that rumor started. There's no way someone can have an unnamed, unknown disease brought upon themselves by birth....."

"But-"

"No buts." He takes a step closer."Did it ever occur to you that your husband died from something else? He could have been sick. Not from being with you, but from a disease, a real disease.........Just a kiss can't kill someone........."

I turn away. "You don't know that......."

"I'm still standing." I shift my vison towards him. "Besides, you said he died after you two were married.."

"So?"

"'So?'?! What I'm trying to tell you that he would have died once he met you. This bloody 'disease' you have is all in your head!"

I sigh. "Nevertheless........This can't last....you'll be leaving in the morning. Soon you'll be in France or Brazil or where ever you decide to do. This can't and won't last past this night." I explain.

"I see how it is." He sounds a little irrate, disappointed maybe.

"Goodnight Alexander." I say, taking a step out the door.

"Goodnight Veronica"

I lie in bed and stare at the ceiling .I can't sleep. I acted like a fool before.....

I get up, slip on my slippers and exit my room. I come to Alexander's room and just stare at the door for a moment. I take a deep breath in, breathe out, and grab the knob and turn it.

He's sitting upright. The little lamp on the night stand adjacent to the bed is on. He's reading on of my favorite books: Pride and Prejudice.

Alexander looks up at me and smiles. "You're right. It is relaxing."

"U-um......." How do I put this in words? "May I...lie with you?" I blurt.

He smirks.

"But not to do anything!" I quickly defend myself, rushing the 'dirty' thoughts out of both of out minds. "It's just.....I......" I look back up at Alexander and he has another loving smile on his face. His hand is outstretched.

"Come here." He says.

I grab his hand and lie next to him.

"You don't care?" I ask him as I lie on his chest, my eyes close. Lying next to him like this...the warmness of his body spreading to me......It makes me sleepy.....

"About what?" He pushes some strands of black hair away from my face.

"What people have said about me? You know..."

Alexander gives me a kiss on my forehead. "No, I don't care." He says.

"Thank you."

If I didn't know better I'd say Alexander was the man I married a year ago.

And to think: All we needed was a little rainstorm; and we started out as strangers in the night.