Juggling the bag of groceries, Mary fumbled with the keys to her apartment. She bit back a sigh at the faint sound of a holiday tune throbbing through the neighbor's door. It had been years since she'd looked forward to the holiday.
“Stupid holiday, stupid music, stupid memories.” Muttering under her breath she managed to get the door open and stumbled through the door just as the bottom of the bag ripped, spilling the contents across the hallway floor.
Tears threatened, burning the backs of her eyes as she began gathering the fruit and vegetables. She tucked everything into the large basket she kept by the front door for her keys and mail.
Her fingers closed around a bag of grapes seconds before another hand closed around it. She glanced up into the concerned gaze of a tall, dark haired man. A touch of silver at his temples revealed his age. Straightening, she pulled the fruit from his hand and clutched it to her chest. Only through sheer strength of will did she keep herself from rubbing at the burning sensation on the back of her hand.
“Morning.” White teeth flashed with his grin. “Walt, I'm in 208. You look like you have your hands full.” He gestured to the other bags of groceries sitting on the floor.
“Uh Mary. Thank you, but I can manage.” Her voice tight, she offered a weak smile as she reached for the door and stepped through it. Bending down, she grabbed for the other just as he did.
“Here you go.” He held it out with a quick wink. “Merry Christmas.”
Mary closed the door with a soft click, her heart racing as the sound of his whistled version of White Christmas faded from around her. Licking her dry lips, she turned to stare at the cold, empty expanse of her apartment. A year John had been gone, and the pain hadn't eased. She wondered if it was the pain of his dying or the betrayal at finding he'd taken her best friend with him to Vegas for a week. A business trip that had nothing to do with the electronic company he'd run.