Let me know what you think!
(Em has already gratefully beta-ed this bit, too) :D
It was a long time before they met again for a second date - three weeks, in fact.
They'd each exchanged phone numbers, addresses. Even. Now there were two people to blame if they didn't end up getting together again.
For Vaughn's part, the first couple of days after their date, he would spend hours replaying the night in his mind. He'd re-live every conversation, review each piece of information they'd shared with each other. And then he would wonder if he'd said the right things, if he'd said enough, if she'd said things she wanted to tell him or just things she thought would sound right...
And then after those days of re-living, of stepping outside of his own head, with a sudden halt he remembered his first real date with Sydney, and was paralysed. Nice. The little French restaurant. The wine. Sydney's hair, her smile, her laugh...
For most of the second week, then, he replayed his date with Lauren, but this time comparing it to the time he'd spent with Sydney - what little, honest time they'd had together. Was he acting the same way with Lauren as he had been with Sydney? Was he telling the same stories? Was he with Lauren because he liked her, or because he just wanted someone to talk to?
The second week he considered buying a bottle of Scotch. But didn't.
In his car at the beginning of the third week, he was driving to work early in the morning, and construction workers blocked his usual highway exit. He'd had to turn off at a later exit, and back track the six or seven miles of streets that led to his school.
At the second set of lights, he'd stopped and waited for the light to turn green. He'd looked around and seen, that on one corner of the intersection, just ahead of him, was a cemetary.
Cemetaries used to mean only one thing for him - his father. For a while, then, they meant Sydney as well, even though her grave had been a watery one.
Now, he thought of Sydney, and then thought of Danny.
Danny, he repeated in his mind.
She'd loved him so much that she wasn't able to lie to him. It was the truth that got him killed. But his death was what ultimately led her to me...
Vaughn let out a sudden snort of laughter.
He remembered those first meetings he'd had with Sydney. He remembered the bright red, dishevelled dye job she'd worn so confidently. The determination on her face as she'd drawn a map of SD-6 that was so simplistic it almost broke his heart to show her the real one. And then, her stubbornness a little while later that had ended up in his own promotion.
He smiled. She'd been so suspicious of him every time, in the beginning - she'd questioned his authority on every count, she'd been loyal only to herself…until one day the world changed, and she let him in. Danny stayed with her, but she let Vaughn in.
She let herself love again, he realized.
And for the first time since her death, remembering Sydney gave him hope.
The next day, he called Lauren.
* * * * *