Is This Heaven? - Prologue: She Has Come
Prologue: Before it all Began...
The car door slammed shut with a sharp 'SNAP' in the frigid air, making the ominous silence deepen, casting a shroud of misfortune and irony about the young woman's head. She was exceedingly pretty, with the lithe form of a dancer, as well as the strong strides she'd need to make her living as one. Her golden hair fell to her waist, though it was now pulled tight in a restricting braid, and a pair of pale azure eyes studied yet another loading dock, this one for the first time. In all her 21 years, she'd never seen a sight more welcome. Finally, after all the heartache, the long nights, the pain, she was here, standing behind a Broadway theatre, waiting to perform on the famous stage. Without her knowledge, a tall young man got up and walked closer, swinging an arm aroud the woman's shoulders and whispering her name into her right ear.
"Lori... What's it like? After all your hard work, you're finally standing here," he murmered, brushing a few lank platinum locks from his eyes, which were nearly the same color as the woman's. He towered over her, however. At 6'3, it was hard for him not to tower over the slim 5'2 girl. Turning, the woman eyed him with a teasing glint in her eyes.
"It feels wonderful! But, you know, I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you, Leo. Thank you... thank you so much," she said, going upon her toes to brush her lips across his cheek. It was true; he had beleived in her when no one else would, and therefore saved her from herself, in a way. Tossing her head, she allowed her gaze to drift to the trucks again. From behind the foremost truck a woman hardly older than Lori herself strode, another man on her heels, striving in vain to get a rise out of the ever-calm Mrs. Gold. Leo chuckled, moving his arm to encircle his lady's waist, much to the bitter anger of the other man. They were all the same age, having grown up with each other, but now Harry had become keenly aware that Lori was a prize to have, and a hard one to get. Leo was the only suitor she'd ever allowed to come near her, and her returns of affection made it harder for the other man to imagine life without the girl he'd grown up with.
Mrs. Gold swept up, her strides as graceful as Lori's, if not more so; she was older, and therefore more expiranced. Looking at the two, it was hard to tell if they were sisters or not. They both had the shining locks of golden blonde, and eyes of a similar hue. Both had flawless complexions and sweet temperments, but it was clear that each had a very different personality. Lori's eyes were lit with amusement and desire, the other woman's were lit with an inner glow that just seemed to shine out of her. It was no wonder that everyone called her Goldie, and Lori now decided to speak to her, remembering how she'd always said if light decided to take a body, Goldie was it.
"Morning, Goldie, Harry," she said as the other man jogged up, shooting his half-brother a dirty look in the process. As with Leo, he had blonde hair and silver-blue eyes, but his eyes were sunlight and Leo's were firelight. He stood at the same height as his dear brother, and the slow, steady smile that crossed his face so often was upon his lips, making him even more appealing. He nodded in resopnse to her greeting, while Goldie broke into a golden smile.
"Lori? You've finally come to work with me? What role were you cast in, sweetie? And you must be Leo," she followed up, turning to study the young man with a protective arm about Lori's waist. He was everything she'd been told of, but there was an extra sparkle to him that she couldn't figure out. At his nod, she went on. "Well, dearest, I hope to see you again! Come to my dressing room before the show tonight at 7, alright?"
"Of course, Goldie. I'm just an understudy anyway," Lori murmered, turning quite red as she said it. Understudies were important to the show, but unless someone was sick, they were never seen. As the beautiful woman turned to go, Lori grabbed for Leo's hand. "Let's go inside."
He was powerless to resist, as always. There were so many times that he couldn't quite believe that something so lovely could possibly belong to him, and now was one of them. Mounting the stairs, he followed her mechanically into the building, unaware that he would be forced from her side at the enterance. Lori kissed him once, briefly, before she went inside, leaving him in the frigid air of the morning. "Why me? Why me? I always get left out in the cold," he muttered, turning to leave. Jogging down the stairs, he reached the car in a few seconds. He opened the car door, hopped in and sped off, not knowing he'd never see his beloved Lori alive again.
Lori had been shown to her dressing room, shut the door and locked herself in. Now she was sprawled across her bed with a script for "The Wizard of Oz", scanning over the lines she had to learn. Bored to tears, she rose and began to pace, wondering what had become of Leo, Harry and Goldie. Had Leo left again? Would he come back? Where was Goldie's dressing room? She thought all this and more as she restlessly moved like a caged tiger who hadn't been fed. Afraid to disturb the rehersal she knew was going on, she continued to pace in her room, not realising that a small, round brush had fallen to the smooth floor until she stepped on it.
She felt herself falling and instinctively threw out her hands in an attempt to catch herself, but the damage was done. She stood near her small dresser and felt the sudden impact of it's sharp corner striking her forhead before her body fell to the ground with a sickening snap. For an instant, she felt like her whole body was on fire, and felt the heat of her own blood streaming to the hard floor beneath her. Then, just as sudden, nothing. Her eyes closed and the world went black before her eyes. She knew nothing more from this world, and never again looked upon Leo in this life. Instead, though she couldn't feel it, she was being brought to another place, a place she'd only dreamt of, Middle-earth.