It was a steamy mid Saturday afternoon as Rachael sat on the front steps of her sister's front porch and watched an elderly short chubby lady and a younger tall slender man as they moved boxes into the empty gray brick house across the street.
   Her eyes kept focus on the man as he lifted a large box out from a small red van, sat it on the ground and wiped the sweat from his face. A slight grin eased on Rachael's face as she looked at his messy bed-headed brownish-blonde hair. His gray t-shirt was saturated in sweat and his ruffed blue jeans were perfectly fitted to his long lean legs.
   "Handsome," she whispered aloud, "but familiar."
   She immediately tensed as he met her gaze. His face looked of shock as if he was a deer caught in the headlight of an oncoming car. He quickly turned and ran inside the house.
   Her eyes narrowed and smile faded. "Strange."
   She tensed again when the gray-haired lady poked her head out the door and stared at her. This gave Rachael an uneasy feeling.
   "Alright, Danny, go get the box," shouted the old lady as she stepped out of the man's way.
He lowered his head, ran, picked up the box, hurried with it inside and slammed the door shut leaving the old lady outside.
   She stared at Rachael with her arms crossed before she went inside.
  "Of course the hot dude had to be weird. Yet, there's something about him," she said as she brushed her long wavy light brown hair away from her eyes.
A voice from behind startled her as she stood to her feet. "Oh!"
   "Sorry, Sis," said a tall skinny blonde headed woman as she tugged her purple spandex out from her behind.
   "Ewe, Stacey, why don't you wear regular pants like the rest of us?" Her nose shriveled as she rolled her eyes
   "Only clothes I work out in, short stuff," said Stacey patting the top of Rachael's head.
   "Oh shut it, stilts," she punched her kiddingly on the shoulder. "Have you seen your new neighbors, or should I say ours since you wanted me to move in?"
   "Oh, I work for the lady moving in. I'm her grandson's therapist. Her name's Mrs. Wilson."
   "Is that dude her grandson?"
   "Yeah, that's Danny."
   "What's wrong with him?"
   "He went through trauma a few years ago. He witnessed his parents and his girlfriend's murder and hasn't spoken since. His whole mood changed from outgoing to like a disconnected frightened child. She watches him like an overprotective mother afraid she'll lose whatever communication he's got left." Her eyes began to tear as she looked across the street. "I've been working with him for several months now, but can't seem to get through to him."
   "Don't worry; you'll get through to him. You've always been good at getting people to open up," smiled Rachael as she patted Stacey on the back.
   "That's just it; he won't  even look at me." She paused then took a deep breath. "I didn't just ask you to move in because I was lonely. I wanted you to help me with him."
   Rachael's eyes widened as she backed away. "Ohhh no, there's no way! I wouldn't even know where to start. From just seeing the way he acted when he looked at me, no way, this dude's mental and I don't do mental."
   Stacey grabbed Rachael's shoulders and looked into her eyes, "That's just it, he doen't look at anyone, but he looked at you. Last week I was over at their other house for our session and I dropped my purse and the picture I keep from graduation where you were standing next to me fell out, he picked it up and smiled. He was looking at you. That's the first response I've gotten from him. Don't you see why I need you? This could be him coming back to reality. Please help me?"
   "I don't know, Stacey. He seemed freaked out by me and the way his grandma was staring at me was creepy."
   "She was probably trying to see you. She's blind in one eye and has problems seeing out of the other. Today's Saturday, I have him down for Friday which gives them time to get settled in over there. Will you help me?"
   "Ok, I'll help, but if he gets all mental or hauls ass at me, I'm never going back. Got it?" she said with a raised brow and arms crossed.
   "No, he's not crazy; he's just, trapped inside himself. Look at it this way, if you get through to him when I couldn't, you can rub it in my face. Does that sound good?" giggled Stacey.
   A smile emerged as Rachael dropped her arms to her sides. "Sounds good."
   Rachael watched off and on at the house as the days passed. She wondered why Danny responded to her picture without even knowing her. She wondered what she would say or if she should say anything at all or how she was supposed to react if he looked at her.
Her nights were interrupted by dreams of him, some of him running away from her as she tried to catch him before he fell off of a cliff before she could reach. Others would be him reaching his hand out to her with a look of desperation in his eyes. Again her eyes popped open at 3 A.M. and she'd be up for another day drowsy and trying to understand how this complete stranger had such an effect on her. She stumbled into the kitchen around 6 A.M. where Stacey was waiting holding out a cup of coffee.
   "Thought you needed a bit of caffeine," Stacey said smiling.
   "Thanks," Rachael said in a groggy voice as she took the cup and sat at the table.
   "Today's the big day. Our session is at ten. I've got some errands to run and I'll be back around then, so be ready." She picked up her large black purse from the counter and hurried out the door.
   Rachael got up from the table, went to her room, grabbed a pair of jeans and a blue v-neck t-shirt and went into the bathroom to shower. When she finished she made her way into the living-room and waited for Stacey.
The quiet and ticking of the old antique clock made her drift into another dream of Danny. This time she saw him crying kneeled to the floor in a puddle of blood.
A door slammed and Rachael jumped with her eyes wide open.
   "Hey, Sis, are you ok?" Stacey asked with a worried look.
   "I'm fine; I just haven't slept good lately with all these dreams." She ran her fingers brushing the hair away from her eyes.
   "What dreams?"
   "It's nothing, just my mind creating nonsense.
   "That's what happens when you're sleep deprived. Are you ready?"
   "Not really, but yeah, let's go."
   They made their way to the front door across the street and stopped. Stacey knocked twice and the old lady opened. Just seeing her made Rachael tense up until the lady smiled at her.
   "Well, come in sweethearts," said Mrs. Wilson as she guided them into the living-room. "Sit, Rachael."
   "Thanks,"  she said sitting down on a plush gray sofa.
   "I'm glad you decided to come. Stacey gave a picture to Danny and he looks at it every day smiling. He hasn't smiled in a long time." Mrs. Wilson sat next to Rachael and placed her hand over hers and looked into her eyes. "There's something you need to know first before you see him."
   "And what's that?" Rachael asked feeling uneasy.
   "Well, he's been waking from nightmares about you. He calls your name in his sleep."
   "I don't know about this," said Rachael quickly standing to her feet.
   "Come on, Rachael, please just try?" pleaded Stacey.
   Just then Danny walked into the room. His eyes stared down to the floor and he stood frozen in place.
   "Danny, sweetheart," said Mrs. Wilson as she got up and took hold of his hand. She led him to the sofa where Rachael had sat back down. "Sit dear."
   His eyes slowly looked up making Rachael feel tensed and unsure of what to do.
   Mrs. Wilson smiled, "Come with em, Stacey, let's give them some time."
   "Wait, you, I--" Rachael tried to speak till Danny grabbed her hand.
   "Please, stay," he said pulling her hand close and looking into her eyes.
She gazed into his eyes, not feeling afraid or tense, but felt more comfortable than she'd ever felt. His eyes were familiar. She'd seen those eyes in her dreams, not only frequently, but for months. His features were familiar, as if she'd once been close to him before.
   "You know me, Rachael," he said smiling. "You once owned my heart, you still do. Don't you remember?"
  "Tell me?" she asked in a whisper.
He placed his hand to her cheek. "Close your eyes."
Visions of Danny smiling, laughing, a hand reaching out, a woman's hand grabbing his, then herself, running into his arms, darkness around and the dreams she'd been having where Danny was falling, now, it was her, she was falling, she saw the horror on his face as she fell farther and farther away from him. Then she felt herself fading and the darkness closing in until her sight was gone. "NO!"
   Danny enclosed her in his arms and held her tight. "It's you, my love; you didn't die like I thought. You were alive and have been all this time." Tears dripped down his cheeks as he pulled back to look at her.
   "I don't understand." tears fell as she touched her hand to his cheek.
   "I thought you died like my parents, but you didn't. When I tried to look for you, everyone said the sea washed you away and you had died."
   "I still don't understand. Why wouldn't I know or remember something this huge?"
   Stacey and Mrs. Wilson entered the room.
   "Sis, you hit you head so hard and was in a coma for weeks. I didn't know you and Danny were together, we lived in different states and you didn't remember what had happened and the doctors claimed you must of fell swimming and hit your head on the rocks. When I met Mrs. Wilson, I signed on to help Danny and then the picture fell out and he reacted to you."
   "Yes, that's when I recognized you and told Stacey it was you that my grandson thought was murdered along with his parents and we knew we had to take the right steps in reuniting the two of you, hoping the memories would come back and hoping Danny would come back to us." explained Mrs. Wilson.
   "Why now tell me from the beginning?" asked Rachael.
   "Because you needed to remember yourself," said Stacey.
   "I agree," said Mrs. Wilson, "we didn't want to force you and have made things worse. We wanted, well hoped, that you would remember Danny and the love would connect bringing you and Danny back to life, and God has answered our prayers and it's finally time for you two to finally be together, to love and be happy."
   "I couldn't of said it better myself," said Stacey with a huge smile.
   Danny and Rachael looked into each others eyes and smiled. The love and strength of one's heart can be a true gift, bringing us back from the deepest and darkest places we drift into and with every beat, comes loves memories.