Promete que serás feliz
Te ponías tan guapo al reír
Y así, solo así quiero recordarte
Frank felt soft fingers running over his back.
“Hey sleepy head.” A voice whispered in his ear and he woke with a start. Maria was there, she laughed and sat next to him in bed.
“Hey.” Frank said, groggily.
“What time is it?” Frank rubbed the sleep off his face.
“It's ten thirty.”
“Oh, shit.” It was late already, they had so much to do.
“You needed to sleep.” She said with a gentle smile, and Frank looked up at her and melted. “Got plenty of time now that you're home.”
“Yeah.” He touched her arm and squeezed her skin gently. “Where are the babies?”
“I told them to let you sleep.”
“Mmhmm.” Frank sighed and looked away. The room was like he remembered but something was off. Maria stood from the bed and walked to the door.
That's not how it goes , a voice in Frank's mind said. But he got out of bed anyway, and put his clothes on mechanically.
“You have to get up.” Maria said, standing in the doorway. Her smile was sweeter than he'd ever seen before. “You have so much to do today. Remember you're going out with Matt today.”
What the fuck?
“Oh yes! He's a delight!” Maria went over to where Frank was standing in the middle of the room, staring dumbly at her. “I'm glad you found him, or rather, I'm glad that he found you. We were so worried about you, Frank.”
“What?” Frank was suddenly overcome by some mixture of fear and pain and joy.
“I still have to visit him, but the babies already love him. We're so happy you have him.”
Maria shook her head and cupped Frank's face with her hands.
“You don't have to say anything, just promise me you'll take care of him, and yourself, and you'll be happy, okay? Promise me, Frank.”
Frank stared at her for what felt like a long time, the room and the bed were gone and now there was just them, he felt drunk and lightheaded and the room was all light. There were orange flowers all around, a kind Frank had never seen before.
“Good.” A single tear rolled down Maria's cheek and Frank had the feeling this wasn't exactly a dream. “I’m only allowed to see you like this, but I'm so happy you're doing well, so happy.”
“Maria…” Frank felt a lump in his throat and Maria laughed and shook her head.
“No, no tears, silly. It's getting late and I’ll have to leave. But I'm happy I got to see you.”
“You'll wake up in a moment.”
Frank woke with a start. He was cocooned in silk sheets that belonged to Matt, who snored softly, his back turned to Frank. Max slept at Frank's feet and Loot sat by the doorway. How they got a damn coyote to guard their bedroom ( their bedroom!!! ) was beyond Frank.
He didn't move for a moment, it was still nighttime from the looks of it. Frank felt the pillow for a moment. It was wet. So was his face. There was a single orange petal of a flower he couldn't identify on his pillow. They didn't have any flowers. Frank took the petal and placed it carefully on the nightstand.
He turned and held Matt by the waist and pulled him close, the lawyer muttered something about pad thai but didn't wake.
“He's a delight!” The Maria in his dream had said. What did she know? How did she know it? Matt said that girl Elektra told him after death there was nothing, and that had hurt to some extent but this… This couldn't possibly have been a dream.
He kissed Matt's shoulder (there was a scar there, a gunshot that had long scarred but he knew one when he saw one) and closed his eyes again.
Maria liked Matt for him.
He'd make sure to put the petal in Maria's favorite book.
Así, como antes
Así, vida mía, mejor será así
Matt has a dream.
It's very strange
Matt was in a place he’d never been in before.
He sat in a comfortable couch in what looked like a living room, and this was strange because he couldn’t see, so how was he able to actually look at this place?
Was he dreaming?
Sometimes, when he had dreams, he could actually see things. But this was a strange thing, and it hadn’t happened in a very long time, not since he was in college. And mostly his dreams involved places he had been to before being blind. Matt had no memory of this house.
He stood, there was a wooden coffee table in front of him with a clear glass on top. On the glass, sat a small pot with orchids, in front of him, a fireplace with a few pictures he can see, but they’re blurry. Like this place is but isn’t a place he’s been in. He has no memory of this place.
To his left, there’s a glass door, that leads to a decently sized backyard. He can hear laughter and he sees a pair of children running around. He doesn’t know these children, he’s never seen them before, but he goes to the door and it slides open by itself. As soon as it opens, the girl, much older, stops and looks at him. Her face breaks out into a happy grin and she runs to meet him.
“It’s you! You’re finally here!” She says, and takes his hand to guide him to a nearby metal table. “Mom said you’d come, and that we had to greet you, she won’t take long to come here.”
Matt sits in one of the metal chairs, the boy stands awkwardly behind the other one, staring at Matt. The girl seems to notice this and frowns.
“Frankie, stop, you’re being rude.” Matt frowned at the name, the boy pouted and turned to the older girl. “Mom said we had to be nice or dad would be sad.”
“Sorry, Lisa.” Matt’s frown deepened. “Hi, Matt.”
“I’m sorry, I--”
“Are you going to take my mom’s place?” The boy asked suddenly, Lisa, the girl, sighed.
“Frankie, stop it! Remember what mom said! No one is replacing anyone, dad deserves to move on with his life!”
“I just wanna know!” Frankie, the boy, turns to Matt with pleading eyes. “Please don’t make dad forget us.”
Matt doesn’t know what kind of strange dream this is. He’s never seen Frank’s children, he’s never been in this house before. Frank has never described his children to Matt because Matt has never wanted to poke that particular beehive in case it’s too much for Frank. But this child’s face, his pleading eyes, they are so clear, as if he’d met these children before and knew their faces by heart.
“I would never do that.” He said, without thinking. “I’d never make Frank forget you, ever, I promise.”
“See? You had nothing to worry about, you just made Matt uncomfortable.” Lisa pinched the boy’s arm and he pouted again, she turned to Matt with a grin. “I’m sorry, he’s been antsy since dad started living with you.”
“You’re very young and I understand that you’d feel that way. I’m sorry if I ever did something that made it seem like I wanted your dad to forget about you.”
The door slid open again, and Matt could smell a distinct perfume. They’d smelled it once in a store and Matt had to drag Frank out because it made him extremely emotional.
Maria Castle’s perfume. He turned and met her and she had the gentle smile Frank had described a while ago. She wore a white dress with blue stripes and walked over to the table, stopping Matt as soon as he made to stand and greet her. Instead, she pushed him back to his chair and kissed his forehead gently.
“I’ve wanted to meet you for quite some time.” She said, sitting on the other chair. The children seemed to understand this was an adult conversation and went back to the other side of the yard to play. Or at least Frankie did, Lisa slipped back into the house.
“Is this a dream?” Matt asked, and Maria laughed lightly, the sunlight against her, something Matt hadn’t seen in a long time, made her look like that elf queen from Lord of the Rings, like she herself was made of light.
“It is, and it’s a long one. Frank’s are always so short, but your mind is very different, I had to work really hard on this one.” Lisa returned with a little tray with lemonade. “Thank you, sweetie. You’ve met Lisa and Frankie already, right? I hope they didn’t bother you too much.”
“They’re just children. Though I haven’t had the time to interact with many children, so I really don’t know.”
“I’m their mother and sometimes I don’t know how to interact with them.” Maria chuckled and offered a glass for Matt. He wasn’t sure he could taste something in a dream? His dreams were always strange. Lisa tugged on her mother’s arm gently. “Yes, sweetie?”
“Can we try and go play with dad?”
“You sure can, just be careful, okay?” Lisa nodded and went to take her brother to a door on the wooden fence, the door opened and there was really nothing behind it, who knew where the kids were actually going. “So Matt, now that we’re finally alone. What are your intentions with my Frank?”
Matt choked on the lemonade, some of it came out of his nose. It felt very real. Maria laughed out loud at this.
“I’m so sorry! I didn’t think you’d react that way! I was joking, I know you care about him, and he cares about you.” Her smile turned a bit sad. “I wish I had more time with him, but I’m really glad he’s not alone anymore. It gets strange in his head when he’s alone. I don’t like it any more than you do when he gets in his moods, you’ll have to be really patient with him.”
“Well,” Matt was still coughing, he cleared his throat and could still taste the lemonade going through the wrong pipe. It felt terrible. “I’m not going anywhere and I’ve told him that many times, he’s going to have to shoot me himself if he wants me out of his life.”
“Good man!” Maria grinned, then she stood. It was getting dark, her figure becoming blurry to Matt. “Oh, I think it’s time, you’ll wake up in a few minutes. It was nice to finally meet you, Matt. Please take care of him for us.”
Matt blinked several times, Maria’s image becoming harder and harder to make out, the smell of her perfume mixed with one other he couldn’t identify. She became a silhouette, then a shadow, the last thing he felt was her hands taking his, and another kiss, this time to his cheek.
Matt woke to warmth. He was being held. Frank sighed in his sleep and nuzzled his neck as he held Matt a little tighter against him.
Probably dreaming about the children. Matt smiled and closed his eyes again, maybe he could join them? That would be nice.
He caught a whiff of something that wasn’t there when they went to sleep. The room constantly smells like antiseptic and dog, but there was something else this time.
In the nightstand there’s a flower. It smells like the scent that mixed with Maria’s perfume before Matt woke up. He didn’t remember Frank bringing it, he knew Matt didn’t like flowers that much.
He’d have to ask Frank about it.