The pocket watch bounced in rhythm to her fleeting steps as she rushed from Mr. Marlowe’s Tea Shop, pounding out an old melody of memories better left buried against her chest. Concealing the watch beneath her scarf and wool winter coat, she clutched the treasure closer to her heart as she fled.

As she hurries towards her old truck parked at the end of the block, the cold bites at her burning cheeks; pinpricks of ice, acute and more painful than usual. The further she gets from him, the colder she becomes, as though all the warmth inside her chose to stay behind with him instead.

How had he known? How had he recognized it? Where would he have seen the watch or her before? How did he know her name?

Too many questions…

Shivering violently, Lucy jogged the last few feet to the refuge of her rusty red pickup. Finally sheltered inside the cab, she gasps for air, cranking the heater as high as it will go.

In a rush, the words she knows are hidden on old paper inside the watch, begin echoing eerily through her mind. This time, the voice recalling these beloved words isn’t hers. This time, they flow from the lips of the stranger in the Tea Shop who called her by name….

The stranger who called her Gray.

You are unexpected possibility.

You are new revelry. 

You are a cure for the crush of midnight loneliness.

You are a thousand places I’ve never even imagined.

You are the temper that eases the burn.

You are the strength that compliments the fury.

You are the safe place that shelters the wild.

You are the soul I never fathomed would belong beside mine.


Chelsey Whitlow


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