He walked down the long, narrow hallway, a small bouquet of flowers pressed tightly to his chest. He came here often, almost so much it was unhealthy. No matter how many times he tried, no matter how many times he told himself he must just leave and never come back, he could not. It was as if he was drawn to this place. He sighed, freeing one hand to push his dark black hair out of his eyes. He tried to look as nice as was possible for some reason too, but it's not as if… No. He came here for two reasons and he knew it. Guilt was the major one; it had to have been his fault. The other was cowardice. He was afraid of how he would look at himself if he didn't pretend that everything was the same.
He was so lost in thought, he almost missed the door. It was marked with the numbers "777". How ironic. Seven, the number of magic, mythology, and hope. All of it was hope. Hope in things that were so wonderful they were believable. How he hated the number seven. Pushing open the white door, he put on a falsely cheery smile, looking down at the room's only occupant. The room was small, and the walls were painted pale blue with white wispy clouds hovering in the imaginary sky. The room had a single window, up near the ceiling. It let in little light and was barely wide enough to see what the weather was. There was a bed with a blue spread, a dresser, and a single wooden chair. That is where she sat. Her hair fell in pale yellow waves down to her waist, perfectly combed. She wore an old, pale blue Victorian style dress, the ruffles and corset showing her too thin frame, not at all right for a girl of sixteen years. She resembled a doll, her height less than five feet. "Good Evening, Miss Loretta, how are you?" His voice was calm, polite, but it broke his heart to see her like this. She turned to face him, her once lively eyes now almost lifeless, but there was a small spark left in them.
"Very well, Cain, it is very nice of you to come see me."
"It's my pleasure." Cain replied, bending down to kiss her on the cheek, handing her the flowers. He had done this almost daily for a year now. Loretta loved Iris flowers.
"Thanks you, Cain. Irises are my favorite flower." He watched as she cocked her head the side, suddenly thoughtful. "What is your favorite flower, Cain?"
Cain paused, thinking for a brief second before replying, "Lilacs," his voice casual and cool. He watched as Loretta nodded, smiling.
"Next time, bring me Lilacs also. They'll remind me of you."
"Of course I will, if that is what you wish Miss Loretta."
She smiled up at him, her eyes lighting up like a child's. Loretta had lived in this "apartment" for around 10 months now. Her room now reflected her personality, quiet, soft, and thoughtful.
"Miss Loretta, I would very much like to hear about how you've been spending your days. Do you wish to share them with me?"
"Of course, if you would like to listen." Loretta turned her face toward the window, sighing softly. Her shocking- blue eyes glazed over, and she began to speak in a quiet, excited voice. "Earlier this week, before you came to see me, I was down at the train station waiting for Liza-she's always late- and a man walked up to me. He was a very fine gentleman, his hair was golden and he had the nicest smile. I almost fell in love with him right there. He offered to stand with me until Liza came, he said I might get hurt or something if I waited all by myself." She stopped there, smiling at the memory. "We talked for awhile, and I learned that his name was Solomon. He was also waiting for a friend who was on the train from Paris. While we were talking, a carriage pulled up. It wasn't like the normal ones; this one was huge!" At this point in her story, Loretta's eyes widened, replaying the surprise and emotion from that day. Cain allowed himself to smile. "A man stepped out first; he looked like a king! His clothes were made from the finest material and I bet his cane was made of ivory. A woman followed him and she was beautiful. I wish I looked as great as she did in that dress."
"Miss Loretta, you are simply stunning yourself, don't try to compare to others like that."
Loretta beamed. "Thank you, Sir Cain. I appreciate your kindness. Now, back to the story. After the man and woman got out, the carriage drove away. They walked right past everyone in the crowd; they seemed to have a purpose. Right before they got on the train, I saw the man show the conductor a slip of paper. Solomon said it was probably a degree of some sort! To think, someone important going coming to this section of London! I do wonder why he was here… Solomon waited with me for awhile longer, and then the train came. Liza was thrilled to see me again. She and her family had a very nice visit." Loretta stopped again, a frown forming on her face.
"Cain, I'm afraid I can't remember what happened next… I'm tired…"
"It's perfectly fine Miss Loretta; it seems you had quite a day. You should probably get some rest." He replied, walking closer to her chair and helping her to her feet. She seemed too tiny, so fragile. She walked into the small bathroom that was next to the closet, bringing her night gown with her. Cain put the flowers in a vase while he waited, arranging them on her nightstand. When she returned, he stood up straight, giving her a small bow. "I'm afraid I must be going now, Miss Loretta." He said quietly, watching her climb into bed.
"You'll came back, won't you Cain?" She said, her expression suddenly frightened.
"Of course I will, tomorrow if that is what you wish." He said, walking toward the door. "Goodnight, Miss Loretta. Sleep well."
Cain pulled the door open, running into a handsome man with blonde hair on the way out. The man smiled. "Hello, Cain. Loretta always talks about you, you should see her more."Cain nodded his face blank.
"Thanks for the news, Solomon. I try to visit as much as I can. Is she making any progress?
"Somewhat, but I'm not sure she understands where she is, she knows everyone and everything, but she still doesn't know where they are and where she learned about or met them… Tell your sister, Liza, that I said hello."
Cain nodded again, muttering a hasty "Have a good night" before stepping outside. It was almost dark, but he could still see the sign on the front of the Albany Mental Institution. He walked into the parking lot, and got into his black Honda Civic. Cain lived in Albany New York, with his parents and fourteen year-old sister, Liza Bell. Loretta had been his best friend for almost his entire life, until an accident that had her believing that she lived in 19th century, London. Now he was her best friend who lived in her apartment building. When did life get so hard?
A/N: Ok, I don't know where this came from, but the idea just randomly came to me. Please review :D