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February 2nd

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February 2nds were sleepless nights for Phil.

No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't force his mind to stop echoing the one stupid thought that was always in the back of his mind.

What if it happens again.

Phil had been sitting upright in his bed, staring at the clock as the hours ticked by. Occasionally, he would glance at the window to see if the sun had risen yet, even though he knew it was far too early for that. He loved watching the sun rise. Sunrise meant he was safe. Sunrise meant he hadn't looped.

He had never been the same after that infamous February 2nd spent in Punxsutawney. Of course, Phil guessed that was the point. It was the universe's way of telling him to stop being a selfish asshole, and it worked. But there were certainly many negatives that came along with it.

For starters, déjà vu gave him awful panic attacks. Phil lived with the constant fear that if the higher-powers-that-be decided he needed to be taught another lesson, he would be stuck once again. There was rarely a night where he didn't have awful nightmares about the many times he had committed suicide. Even small things like the sound of an alarm clock in the morning sometimes sent him over the edge.

Phil was interrupted from his thoughts by a soft snore. He looked over at the one thing that he would never regret about that day. Rita. She was sleeping soundly and Phil responded with a smile. Rita was clearly dreaming, because she got that little cute crease in her nose when she was.

If one thing was for certain, if all of the painful memories meant he had Rita, they were worth it.

Phil carefully removed the covers and began to creep out of the bed, cautious not to wake the sleeping girl next to him. Although it was snowing outside and had been for a few days, (what's with Groundhog Day and unexpected blizzards?) Phil didn't bother to grab his coat and scarf before exiting the house.

The sun would be rising soon; February 3rd would make its debut and that was what Phil was counting on. He made his way to the curb where the sidewalk met the street and sat down in the cold snow. He often wondered if others had experienced the same thing he had. If other people were forced to repeat the same day and just were too scared to talk about it. Phil understood why they wouldn't; he himself had trouble confessing the incident to Rita even after they'd been dating for a few months.

She had initially not believed him. Who would? The concept itself sounds ridiculous to any sane person. But Rita could tell when Phil was lying. The intense look in his eyes when explaining his experience was almost enough in itself to convince her.

"You're going to freeze out here, you know."

Phil was snatched from his thoughts by a familiar voice. He made eye contact with Rita, who was now gently placing a blanket over his shoulders.

"Maybe you could keep me warm," he joked half-heartedly.

Ignoring Phil's crude joke, Rita sat down next to him. Although it was still fairly dark outside, Rita could tell Phil was staring intensely at the skyline and she was fully aware of what he was waiting for.

She softly placed her hand over his, which was violently clutching the snow beneath. Rita could visibly see Phil's shoulders relax at the gesture.

"It won't loop," she said, almost too quiet to hear.

"I know...I just - I just have to see it," Phil responded. Rita heard the quiver in his voice.

"I understand."

She would never fully understand, but any comfort she could supply, she would offer up.

The air was bitter and cold. Rita found herself moving closer to Phil to shelter herself from the frigid breeze, and placed her head on his chest. Phil didn't visibly react, but Rita knew the offer of comfort was appreciated.

The sky gradually turned from darkness to light. A pale orange painting the sky and calming Phil's fears. It was tomorrow. Phil glanced down at Rita, who was close to drifting back to sleep.

There were some moments Phil wouldn't mind living in day after day without end. This was one of them.

"Happy February 3rd, Phil."