Because he could spend his whole life with her, but she would never hold the same place as Bianca had. NicoOC.
Nico knew life worked. You lived, you grew up, you worked, you died, and most of the time it was in that order. Along the way you were supposed to meet someone, fall in love, start a family. That way there would be another generation to repeat the cycle.
He had done as he was told.
It was all very logical, very methodical. Yes, he had missed a number of years trapped in time, but those were only stand stills, barriers that no longer applied. He moved on with his life and did as society said.
He was twenty-three when he met her after a night out on the town. He’d gone out with a couple of buddies who worked at the same engineering company he had his internship at, all just as young and eager as he, though much less experienced in the ways of the world. They were, for lack of a better term, “out to find chicks to bang” and Nico was completely fine with that.
And so, Nico met her. And they talked and they drank and they had a dance and that night he took her home—to her home, her apartment. And he dropped her off.
They exchanged numbers, and she was quite pleased that he hadn’t just “been trying to get in her pants.” Nico had given her a charm smile, dark eyes crinkling in a way that had always managed to entice women, and told her that he had more tact than that.
And so, a date was set up. They went out for dinner, because it was traditional and they were both comfortable with traditional. And they talked and they laughed and both of them smiled, though Nico’s was not totally genuine.
And so, they repeated.
Their meetings were frequent and varied: dinner here, a movie there, a walk in the park, a trip to the mall to people watch which was something she so loved.
His internship became a job and he rose in ranks; their relationship became more serious. They moved in together, a brand new apartment between the both of them, and got a cat because the building didn’t allow dogs despite the fact that both of them yearned for one.
Years passed. They got engaged (he had asked, of course, as was prim and proper), and the wedding was nothing large. She came from a small family in the Pennsylvania suburbs, and he admitted quietly that he had no family that he knew of. She never questioned this about him, could tell it was a subject he didn’t want to bring up, and though she was always internally curious she did not once ask. They held the ceremony at a small Catholic church (as that was her faith, and Nico had said that with lack of family came lack of a determined faith) and with her parents’ aid they bought a house in upstate New York.
And so, they got a dog like they both wanted, a husky because it had a place to run and was friendly enough and could deal with the cold winters. And they had three kids, because two-point-five just didn’t work out, two cars, a fence around their property, and they were a happy family. They went to Disney World and had family movie night and a birthday party for each child each year. And the kids grew up and went to college and went off in their own lives with their own spouses and their own children.
And so, she and Nico grew old together, with a new dog and small grandkids running around when the time came. And she painted pictures and baked cookies and did cross stitch and he gave a stern talking-to to the grandkids when they began to grow up and he made sure to give an evil eye to his oldest granddaughter’s first boyfriend just as he had for his own daughter.
And then she grew ill, as people often did. And he sat by her bedside, his hand wrapped around hers in hopes of reviving the warmth that had once been there.
And so, she passed.
The funeral was a beautiful event, white lilies decorating every surface. The children and their children came, and friends of the family—mostly hers, because his had never kept in touch or formed strong enough bonds—stopped by and offered their condolences and their casseroles and he had accepted them without a harsh word. Because they were being kind and it was the logical, polite thing to do.
He sat late that night watching the moonlight wash over the landscape outside of the window of the bedroom they had once shared. There was snow on the ground, something she had always loved, and small birds danced across the sky despite the late hour. Everything was still, the foundation of the house not even creaking as the air had taken a rest that night instead of kicking up in a fitful howl.
And so, he realized once more, with the harsh finality that death often brought, that nothing in his life had hurt more than losing Bianca those many years ago.