The sun had begun to sink behind the rippling water of the lake. My favorite time of the night had arrived, along with my favorite season--fall. The cool breeze made me snuggle deeper in my coat. I sat on the large rock, watching the moon glitter over the inky water. This place had been my favorite spot. Always the place I had gone when a problem chewed at my brain, since about age seven.
I felt him approach the rock, but didn’t turn toward him. My gaze stayed fixed on the grooves over the water’s surface. Even his sliding over the rock to sit next to me didn’t steal my attention. At that moment, he didn’t matter to me.
“Mm hm?” My gaze remained on the lake before me. I had the sense that I had been in this exact situation before. But I didn’t know this man. I was certain of it, even though he felt familiar in a way I couldn’t put my finger on.
“What is bothering you?” He slid his arm around my shoulders and hugged me close, and I rested my head against his shoulder without hesitation.
“How do you know something is bothering me?” Tears of frustration threatened to spill.
“I know you, Amber.” He slid his fingers through my hair. “I can tell when you’re upset about something. What is it?”
I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. Was he someone I could trust? He must be. Being in his arms felt so right, even without knowing his name. “I’m trying to be someone I’m not.”
“I see.” He really didn’t. He couldn’t possibly understand what a fake life I lived outside of this dream. But he washed away the tension that had been bundling my nerves into tight bands.
“I don’t know what to do about it. That’s why I came here.”
“Because this is your favorite spot to think. Right?”
I pulled from the comfort of his arms. “How do you know that?”
“Because I know you, Amber Michelle Addaire.” He turned to me and clasped my hands in his. “I wish you would realize that.”
“But do I know you? What’s your name?”
His eyes. In each dream, those rich chocolate brown eyes drew me in as though I had once looked into them. Not in the dreams, either. In real life. Had I? Would he tell me this time?
“You’ll know soon enough. Sometimes rushing things ruins the situation. Time, my dear, is everything in this case. Give it all the time warranted.” He stood. “And Amber?”
“Don’t worry about trying to be someone you’re not. Everyone does that once in awhile. It helps us discover who we really are.” A piece of hair fell down against his tanned forehead as it had the first time he’d joined me at the lake.
The man of my dreams disappeared then, leaving me sitting alone on the rock.
I woke up with a start. Why had he just left willingly this time? It wasn’t as if I had somewhere to go. Saturday morning had arrived, meaning I could sleep in all day. And be with him in my dreams. But nope. He had to disappear, leaving me to wake up in the dreary bedroom, dreading the day ahead.
There really wasn’t any reason to dread the day, either. Things weren’t so bad in my life. Many people in the world had it a lot worse than me, so why couldn’t I see it like that? I tried, damn it, but couldn’t.