"Make a wish," he said pulling her hair back over her shoulder.

She smiled and leaned back against him as he pressed a soft kiss to the smooth skin bared by the spaghetti strap tank she wore. He then rested his chin on the same spot.

"Why should I?" she replied, watching the candle wax melt onto the small cake he'd gotten her for her birthday. "I've got everything I want."

"Because it'll all fade away if you don't," he replied, his hand snaking around her waist to rest on her abdomen.

"Don't be silly. Not making a wish doesn't cause anything to fade," she laughed softly.

"Really? Because I already have," he told her softly before his warm weight disappeared from where it was draped around her body.

"John?" she called, turning to look for him.

Her vision filled with glossy gray as a phantom fire washed over her flash, both bare and clothed. She pulled back quickly and felt her breath still in her chest.

John Lawson

Beloved Son and Friend

She screamed and woke up, her left arm throbbing violently. She lifted her other hand to rub the aching limb. She shuddered at the feel of the raised scars marring the flesh that had once been so smooth.

She lifted herself enough to turn tired brown eyes towards the alarm clock glowing blue across the room.

"Shit," she muttered softly as she fell back against her pillow.

Four-twenty-six in the morning, and she doubted the idea of being able to go back to sleep.

"Great first day of classes," she muttered to herself softly.