Danny woke suddenly; roused from a restless sleep. He slowly blinked his eyes until they had adjusted to the darkness in the room. He rolled over onto his left side and laid his right hand on the empty space there. For one fleeting moment, he hoped that it wouldn’t be empty. The truth of the situation quickly crashed down on him and he had to escape the bed that held too many memories.
He pulled on a pair of sweatpants and walked out onto the deck. He grabbed hold of the railing as if his life depended on it. He looked out over the backyard to the ocean in the distance. He had gotten used to the sounds of the waves crashing. Well, it was more like he had been distracted from it. Then, the distraction disappeared, and the waves were slowly eating away at his sanity. He was trying, but he was getting less and less sleep each night.
He turned around and leaned against the railing, staring back into the dark bedroom. The clock on the bedside table read 5:30 am. He knew he wasn’t getting anymore sleep, so he grabbed a t-shirt off the back of the chair and put it on. He then went down stairs and turned on the coffeepot.
When the coffee was ready, he poured himself a mug and then walked out to the lanai and sat down in one of the chairs. He lost track of time as he waited for the sun to come up. He must have fallen asleep, because he was startled awake when he heard his phone ringing. The sun was already up. He had missed the sunrise.
His phone was sitting on the table in front of the TV. He picked it up, noticed it was Chin, and pressed answer.
“You didn’t get any sleep, did you?”
“I slept… some.”
“So, I know that’s not why you called. What’s going on?”
“We’ve got a case. It’s pretty big, but we can handle it if you…”
“No, it’s okay. I can’t just sit around. I’ll…”
As Danny was talking, he looked up toward the TV and saw his reflection in the dark screen. He was wearing one of Steve’s worn U.S. Navy shirts. He froze.
“Danny? Hey… Danny!”
“Um… sorry. Yeah, I’ll be in after I get a shower.”
“Okay. We’ll fill you in when you get here.”
Danny hung up the phone and looked back at his reflection in the TV. His knees buckled and he collapsed back on to the sofa. He put his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. He took a shuddering breath. He wouldn’t lose control though. Not yet.
He pulled himself together and stood. He had to get away from the house, but he had to get a shower first. He quickly grabbed some clothes and went to the guest bathroom. There was only so much he could handle. He took a quick shower, dressed, grabbed his things and left. He didn’t even look back once he pulled out of the driveway.
He knew he’d have to go back that night. He didn’t really have anywhere else to go. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to sleep in their room again, at least for awhile. He hoped that day would come, but he couldn’t see it through the fog.