A flash of memory hit Finn in the gut, he and Aubrey sitting on the Bradleys’ back porch and watching a meteor shower. Make a wish, she’d said the first time they saw one shoot across the sky, and he’d given it his number one wish, the biggest he could think of, not knowing there would be twenty more by the time the shower finished.
I wish I could marry this woman, he’d said to the sky. Marry her and have kids with her and live in a place like this someday.
The Bradleys’ cedar deck spread out before them, three levels leading down to a heated in-ground pool, and he knew it had been silly to want something so extravagant. But sitting next to Aubrey, listening to her talk about all the places they might go someday, he’d believed it possible. He’d believed anything possible with her, even that the son of a dirt-poor steel worker and a pill-addicted homemaker could marry a brilliant, Boston-bred girl and make her happy...
“Mmm...” Honey began humming again. Aubrey’s face grew hot, and she wriggled in the chair to try and find a comfortable position. “Count backwards from fifty,” Honey said. “Slowly.”
Aubrey wet her lips. “Uh, okay. Fifty, forty-nine, forty-eight...” When she reached one, she kept her eyes closed and waited.
“All right, you’re standing next to a car you know well. You’ve ridden in it lots of times before. Your boyfriend is beside you, opening the door. What do you see?’
She screwed up her forehead and concentrated. “Nothing.”
“Relax. Don’t force yourself to remember anything in particular. Just think of him next to you. His cologne. His smile. It’s dark, right? It’s nighttime.” Honey paused. “What else is there?”
“A gravel parking lot,” Aubrey said before she realized it. “There are lots of cars, but everyone else is inside. No one else is out there, just us. Aaron’s trying to hold my hand. He keeps asking me to get inside his car.” Her fingers dug into the padded arms of the chair.
“Mm hmm. Good. What else?”
“I don’t want to go with him. I keep looking over my shoulder, toward the restaurant.” What was she looking for? Who was she looking for? Then she saw him – the figure from her dreams, the tall, thin, silent man. He stood a few feet away, hands in his pockets, watching her. She couldn’t see his face, but she knew him. Without a shadow of a doubt, he was someone she’d met that summer. In Lindsey Point? At the Cove? Her head ached with the effort of trying to remember...