No it's not going to stop till you wise up...

Singing along loud with the radio, driving through the pelting rain. She barely paid attention to the road. She was still thinking about her dream. The problem with dreaming was, it all seemed so real. Her waking thoughts and actions were what seemed surreal. Get up out of bed. Shower. Get dressed. Go to work. Do your job. Have lunch. Work some more. Come home. Do some chores. Eat dinner. Watch television. Fuck, if you are lucky. Over and over, the same thing day in, day out.

But she had to do these things. These mundane pieces of her life helped her crawl from one day to the next. It felt as though once he had left, the entire world had drained of color and meaning. Nothing made sense any more. Why exist? She didn't know. Growling a little under her breath, she shrugged these thoughts off and went about her day.

Her job as an art dealer actually required very little in the way of deep thinking for her; it was like second nature. Therefore, she was free to dwell on other things through the day. But today was different. She had just received a new painting from a fairly new and anonymous artist. At first glance, it didn't seem very special. And the title, "My Dark-Locked Angel", seemed fitting enough for it. But then she looked a little closer. Ethereal beauty of a woman, painted with soft features, as though looking at her through a fog. Wings barely visible, folded behind. Cradling a man in her arms, his face turned into her, away from view. The woman with wings was crying. Both had dark, curly hair. Hmm.

"Gorgeous, isn't it?" The voice coming up from behind startled her out of her reverie. She blinked a little at the man beside her. "The painting, you like it?".

"Oh...yes. Very..." She paused, searching for words. This painting reminded her of something. She couldn't quite say what. "...it doesn't seem like much at first, but then it starts to - grow on you."

"Yes, Mariana, you are right. It does." He paused. "I am not one to get myself involved in a co-worker's personal life but...are you okay? No, really. Do you need to take some time off?"

Closed eyes. Breathe, keep breathing. Eyes wide open, unflinching, and lying through her teeth. "No, Jack, I will be fine. Thank you, though."

Jack sighed. "Fair enough. It just seems as though since the accident -"

Mariana glared. "Don't. I don't want to talk about that. I'm fine. Now, who is the artist of this painting?" That's right, change the subject. Don't let him know about how often you can't sleep at night, like he couldn't tell from the baggage under your eyes.

Jack shrugged. "No idea. It was sent to us early this morning via FedEx. You'd have to ask Diane, she's the one who signed for it." He took a long glance at the painting, then at Mariana. "Listen, I have to go. You can take care of the details on this one. I'll go over it with you later." He walked out the door, shutting it behind him.

She sighed and stared at the painting again. She looked for clues, a signature, anything to give her an idea of who the painter was. Nothing. Not a damn thing."How am I supposed to sell a painting when I have no information?" Grumbling to herself, she set to work.

Later that day, while driving home, she continued to mull over it, partly because she needed to shift her focus away from the fact that she was driving. Being in a vehicle still bothered her. She likely would stop feeling this way with time, but for now...

Why would someone who created something so beautiful not want to take credit for it? How can I sell something with no background? Should I just make it up? And once it is sold, where does the artist's cut go? Fuck. This is crazy. I'm going to have to tell Jack to do this one on his own. I have enough going on. I don't need this.

She was, of course, lying to herself again. She not only needed this work, she wanted it. She had to do this. It would keep her mind off of other things. On and on she mulled it over in her head until she got home.

Inside the house. Light on her answering machine blinking. Should I check it? Why? Nobody I care about would be calling. By nobody, she meant him, of course. God, how she missed him. She decided to check the machine anyway.

Beep! "Mari, it's yer ma. What are you doing for the holiday? Your father and I thought you might like to-" Click. She would listen to that one later.

Beep! "Miss Waters? It's Dr. Neilsson from University Hospital. We were wondering if you could come by some time soon, there are forms that still need to be filled out..." The rest of the words were lost on her as she broke down sobbing on her livingroom floor. When is it going to end? I can't do this, I can't take much more of this.

She wiped her tears away and went into the kitchen. Opened up the bottle of vodka she found on top of the refrigerator. Proceeded to get very, very drunk. "I'm sorry, Aidan." She said it out loud. Like he was around to hear it. God, she only wished...

At eight a.m., Mariana drunkenly lifted her head from the kitchen table. Dry-mouthed and nauseous, she looked around her environment a moment, blinking. "Oh fuck." She was late for work again. She downed a glass of water and headed for the shower, not caring about the time. "Jack will forgive me."

She turned the water on to hot, and tried to process what she had to do today. She thought of everything except the fact that she had to go down to the hospital. That could wait. She didn't have the strength to do that. Not yet. And besides, that new painting was in. She smiled a little at the thought of it and hummed through the rest of her shower.


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