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She watched as the smoke raised towards the sky to join the clouds, forming a thick gray blanket that covered the town she once loved. He came up behind her and placed his hand on her back. He looked around at the scorched wood, and fallen structures of warmth, safety and strength. She looked into his eyes, and turned herself into him resting her head in the crook of his neck. He wrapped his arms around her and let her finally breathe. She gasped and let the tears she had been holding back for the past hours loose. She melted into his arms letting her tears flow as he kept her safe in his embrace.
She had watched everything that she loved, that brought her comfort, made her house a home, burn. Nearly everything. She still had him. Everything else, everything material was gone. She was forced to say goodbye to childhood pictures, things that her mom had left her, and things that they had acquired together.
She stepped into the rubble and picked up a broken and scorched picture frame. The glass was shattered and the picture inside was beyond recognition. She recognized the frame though. This was a picture of her parents; one of her favorite pictures, actually. She was wearing the sweater that her mother was wearing in that picture. She doubled over with tears and heartache and he once again came to her rescue. He wraps his arms around her and lets her cry. She is shaking and sobbing. He rests his head on her back and tells her that everything will be okay. He continues to try and soothe her with his words, but he is heartbroken too.
His heart had just started beating again. He had come home to flames licking the outside of the house that the two of them had called home for the last four years. He couldn’t get a hold of her and ran in to see if she was still in the house. Twenty minutes later, he emerged from the house to the fire department trying to get the fire under control, with her in his arms. He was as scared as he’d ever been in his life. In his arms, he held the most important thing in his life as heat and flame engulfed everything else in their lives. His next thought was for her as well. She was losing everything that she had left of her mother. For years she clung to a golden locket with her mother’s picture in it. She had found comfort in filling the house in her mom’s dolphin collection and pictures of her mom. It was all gone now—either broken or burned—and there was no getting these things back. He wanted nothing more than to fix this for her. He wanted nothing more then to save her from hurting, but all he could do was hold her; all he could do was let her cry, and then try and rebuild together.
Her tears came to an end and she unwrapped herself, moving to hold him. She wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his chest. “Thank you,” she whispered into him.
“For what?” he asked quietly.
She pressed herself closer to him, tightening her grip around his waist, “For saving me, for being her, for loving me.”
He kissed her forehead and held her close to him. They took comfort in each other. He pulled back for a moment to wipe soot from her cheek, taking tears with it. She looks up at him for a moment and smiles a pained smile. She leans up and kisses him on the lips softly. They had each other—that’s all that mattered. Everything else was extra, expendable. As long as she had him, she knew she had a home.