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But when he wasn’t around, it was desolate. Kylie felt like he simply chose a card game over her, that blackjack took his life by the reigns and steered it carelessly down Las Vegas Boulevard, underneath a canopy of artificial lights that promised nights of adrenaline and flows of cash. It was on those nights that clocks didn’t exist within the casinos, where behind the leather outline of the table it was always midnight.

It had been a long time coming but Samantha retreated too. Kevin didn’t have the line of vision to realize it until it was too late. He was too wrapped up in the routine of architect life to look up from his blueprints and realize that the days of random road trips and evenings of coffee and pastries were gone.

Emma stepped off the tube and out of the Angel station, where she headed up the streets of Islington with nothing on her mind except wild ideas. There was nothing left in London, let alone Islington, for her to uncover. When she went to sleep underneath a fresh London moon, her wild ideas had transformed into one magnificent one, because all the rest of the world had still remained untapped.

On those sporadic mornings when Juliette smiled her way into his deli, Sal held on to the image of her ear to ear grin for the rest of the day, knowing that it had been months since he had seen his own daughter’s happiness. Isabella lived in Queens, just a mere borough away. But that imaginary line between Brooklyn and Queens stood as a fiery hot barbed wire that neither of them wanted to cross, separating the two of them indefinitely.

The thought of sitting down at his piano crossed his mind for the first time in years. . His songs would tell a story of heartache and his passion would be deeper than ever before. If only he had enough courage to let his music take control, he could serenade and trap others in his stories, the way Elle had forever trapped him in her beauty.

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Gloria lost track of the days while Scott was deployed, but always knew how many were left until he was to come back. Weeks at a time would pass without word from him, which only left her imagining for herself the green tents he bunked in, the desert storms that blew grains of sand into the crevices of his ears, the one beer he was allowed to drink on Christmas Eve.

It had been six years since Maria and Theresa sat on their plastic chairs together. One was sea foam green and reminded Theresa of the province, where the ocean swayed like mouthwash in a bottle and the coconut trees helped provide shade against the raw sun. The other plastic chair was pink and ever since Theresa was a young girl, she called it the flamingo chair. Theresa grew into a young woman on the flamingo chair and as she became a teenager, Maria had to stand in order to braid her…

She thought up a plan to create an extension to her a bakery, a sun room in the back that would bring in elements of the countryside and a garden, where her customers could enjoy their pastries with the natural sunlight pouring down on them. Rosalyn stood in the middle of the newly opened extension of Sweet Tooth. To see it come to reality for the first time on that day of July 12 was one of the happiest moments in her life. It was like she could have her cake and eat it too.