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A Dream of Love

It stormed on an early September afternoon as James Carmichael, iPod blaring, stepped off the bus into a headlong rain. Looking into the dark grey sky, he smirked; it was fitting, a perfect day to dream, he thought. Flipping up his hood, he headed down the dark grey driveway to the dimly coloured house he and his father lived in. The song blasting from his Sony earphones was "Tears Don't Fall"; it was a slower heavy metal song from the band Bullet For My Valentine, it too was appropriate.

The whitewash wooden door was jammed and required a swift body check to open; he barely noticed as he mouthed the words to the song. Taking off his shoes, James started to form his dream. Without thinking, he headed through the glass door and ran up the stairs two at a time. Flipping the bag off his shoulder, he walked straight to his unmade bed and collapsed, still fully dressed. He was exhausted but knew he imagined best when he was tired. Having the dream set firmly in his mind, he started to let the images form; it would be a good dream today, for today he would dream of love.

He was in class. He was not sure which class, but that was fine, specifics never came until he was fully asleep. The teacher was talking; James did not understand a word. He almost never did, between the earphone in his left ear, the wanderings of his mind, and the girl who sat in front of him. It was a dream he knew it, but didn't care. It was going to be a good dream. Shifting in his bed, he turned his head, eyes closed, and smiled; she was so beautiful but she always was, especially with her blond hair in a hastily pulled together ponytail. Her black rimmed glasses, which seemed to intensify her already stunning blue eyes, not to mention her slim athletic body which seemed to flow with perfect grace as she walked towards her desk to prepare for class.

Her head was tilted at an angle, which always reminded James of a curious cat. Books cradled in the fork of her entwined arms, she smiled at something someone nearby had said. A quick flash of perfect white teeth. Her smile was radiant, James found himself smiling as well, even though he knew it had nothing to do with him. The teacher started addressing the class as Chelsea settled into her desk, shirt shifting ever so nicely as she turned her desk to better face the teacher. Setting her phone into the crest of her lap, she opened her notebook and began to jot down notes from the overhead. Her writing had the bubbly neatness that all girls seemed to possess, James was perfectly content to jot notes and take peaks at her in-between lines and words.

Logan Carmichael pulled into his driveway about half past five, not really paying much attention to what he was doing. It had been a long day; the shop had been muggy and damp. The bugs out in full force; the last few hours had been absolute torture. It was work he was good at, and no matter the taste it left in his mouth. He would awaken before dawn and would be there for seven.

Logan walked up the two wet, mud covered concrete steps to find the door jammed, as usual, and proceeded to open it. The house was dead silent, but then it usually was, so Logan took little notice. Lunch bag in hand, he strode into the kitchen and quickly rid himself of the luggage. Another day done, God how he wanted a beer, but that would have to wait as well. Sighing, he took the stairs two at a time, each step groaning in protest. The things people do for love. Chuckling he popped his head in the door and saw his kid passed out hugging a pillow to his chest.

The room was dark except for the flickering of the TV screen; James lounged comfortably on the worn beige couch breathing in the rich lavender fragrance of Chelsea's hair. The movie was "Payback" with Mel Gibson, and James had so far managed to miss all but the first five minutes, even though Chelsea seemed quite into it. Leaning as she was into his right side, her head just under and to the side of his, her legs were sprawled out beside his. His arm wrapped comfortably around her back with his hand resting lightly on her abdomen, as the other idly ran over her bare thigh.

It had been two years since they had started dating. Just over a year since her mom had died, and barely six months since she had moved in with James and his Father. Things, he reflected, had moved fast, faster than he ever would have believed possible. They had finished school just 3 months before and were preparing to set out for college. Headed to different schools; he was going to become a doctor, while she was moving into children's services work. He knew their paths were separating, but had not yet been able to accept the obvious conclusion, he was not ready to lose her, not again.

The fight would have been bad, but neither of them had been into it, for they were fighting the inevitable and they both knew it. The first semester had just ended and what was left of their relationship was on the ropes. It had been hard, but manageable, staying in contact throughout the school year, yet as the winter break had come around, they met different people. They both had different friends, new aspirations and a desire to leave behind their childhood. The relationship that had gone so well in high school was gone and there was no longer room left in their lives for each other.

The end had been quiet, just a long hug and a desire for each person to have a nice, long successful life. With a long kiss for old time sake and a quick squeeze of their hands, they walked their separate ways.

The holidays had been worse than usual as people dared the ice-covered roads, high snow flurries, on stomachs full of food and alcohol. Three fatalities, two serious injuries, a hand full of just minor cuts and bruises, and one suicide attempt, just within the south side. Dr. James Carmichael a well-established doctor with his own small practice was at home watching "Payback" for the millionth time since high school. He lived alone and had just finished a long day: of looking at rashes, infections, and the odd disease that he had prescribed for a hundred times. He drank no wine, ate little, and did his best to resist the temptation of getting undressed. He knew that his day was not over and was just waiting for the local hospital to get crowded enough so they would page.

It was about eleven o'clock when the page finally came; the loud beeping and flashing woke James up from his deep slumber almost immediately. Looking at the pager, he sighed, stretched and headed out the door already fully dressed. The drive was slow and very cautious after all the last thing they needed was for him to be another patient. The parking lot was out of snow and full of cars; James drove around the back and found a residential parking spot; he doubted anyone would check to see if he was allowed to be there.

The sliding doors opened as he jogged out of the ice-cold wind and into a crowded reception hallway. He had made it no more than a dozen feet before he heard Dr. Jack Johnson calling him over.

"Nice seein' you," the large man called over the noise of the crowd.

"Ya, you too," said James as he finally managed to work his way through the crowd, and pull up beside his closest friend.

"Come on. There's someone here you need to see." There was a nearly evil grin on the man's face as he started to lead the way to the examination rooms. James was starting to get the feeling that something big had happened and he was completely in the dark, something else told him he probably would not like it. He was wrong at least he would after the shock wore off.

The examination room was one room divided by a lot of oversized shower curtains. Weaving through the passing doctors, nurses, and patients Jack and James made their way to examination room fourteen. The curtain came from both side to meet in the middle to make an easy entrance that reminded James of a tent, without the zipper or the dirt. With a grin, Jack stepped aside and swept an arm out with a small bow.

So quickly removing his trench coat James gave his friend a suspicious glare and dropped his coat on Jack's out stretched arm. Taking a deep breath James stepped through the curtain ready for just about anything.

His shock was almost malleable, as he saw the vision from his past. "You bastard," he said just above a whisper.

"Pardon?" Her voice was slow and drawn out, each syllable was pronounced with great effort caused when one does not want to slur.

"You're drunk," he said instead, not wanting to repeat himself.

Shrugging, Chelsea smiled a quick flash of radiant white teeth. "I need a place to stay," was all she said. Three weeks later the wedding was planned and set for next month. Jack was going to be his best man and they would continue to live in his one bedroom house until Chelsea got a decent paying job working for the hospital in the children's department.

It was almost midnight as Logan settled into bed ready to die. The kid had not made a sound all night and Logan was not in the least bit surprised. The bugger would probably sleep in if he was not woken up, and then he would most likely complain about not getting enough sleep. With a smile, Logan pulled the large comforters over his upper body and settled in for a good night's rest, if he was lucky he wouldn't even dream.

Morning came early for Logan as it usually did, the sky was still pitch black, and the not a bird could be heard outside of the frosted window pain. His mouth was dry and lips cracked, running a hand through his hair he contemplated the amount work that went into making a cup of coffee and the work it took to stay under his warm blankets and try to forget the world. So he continued lay there for close to an hour thinking about how good a hot cup of coffee would be, and in the end it was his bladder that decided the fact that he would have to get up. A cup of coffee was sounding just about perfect, after he took a piss.

James stood in the driveway a grin on his face waiting for the bus. The morning was cool; his iPod was dead, so he stood there going over the fragments of his dream trying to relive the experience, repeatedly. He had been right, he thought, it had been a good dream, the parts he remembered had been anyway.

As the bus pulled up James was contemplating what he would dream about next. Climbing the stairs, he turned into the aisle, he saw a new girl sitting near the back. She had tilted eyes, with irises of green. She was perfect. It was with an ever-growing grin that he took his seat just in front of her and slowly closed his eyes. Yes, she was perfect, the perfect dream material, he could feel it.