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A Sky Painted Black (Working title)

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I found myself wanting her at all times; every hour, every minute, every second of the day—I craved desperately for Vivienne, because she was somehow so much more than just my fiancée. Vivienne was my everything. It scared me, how much I desired to be with Vivienne—when I had first met her, I had thought of her as some exotic being, someone who deserved more than an average, ordinary man like me. Her platinum hair, her cerulean-slate eyes, her ruby lips all looked so. . .extraordinary when compared to my tousled hair and plain, gray eyes.

I had never believed myself to be worthy of her; I considered her a princess, a goddess—a thing to be treasured and worshipped, to be cherished and valued. I met her for the first time at a café and before I knew it, we began talking. An apology from my side after accidentally bumping into her and consequently spilling her coffee all over the floor lead to me buying her another coffee—then, after she held up a hand to halt my million apologies, we introduced ourselves to each other.

I don’t quite know what happened after that—I knew we talked for hours on end about everything under the sun; we chattered until I realized I had to meet my mother, and most unfortunately, had to bid her goodbye. We exchanged phone numbers and promised each other we would call. Much to my extreme pleasure, Vivienne did call the next day and we made plans to go out for a movie.

A few outings every few weeks became a routine for us; we would see each other every day and I could not have asked for a better arrangement. Every moment in the relationship told me that Vivienne was the person I should spend the rest of my life with. I was the luckiest man on earth, to have had Vivienne walk into my life and to have her choose me when she could have any man she desired.

I firmly believed Vivienne loved me back—even though I wasn’t someone who could do a lot for her, even though I wasn’t a man who could give her the comfortable, luxurious life every woman wished for and even though I was the well-groomed, classy kind of man her parents would approve of. I knew Vivienne adored me just as much as I adored her. I could feel her affection for me in every kiss we shared, in every night we spent together stargazing, in every touch and breath, in every walk we took together. . .

I regret to inform you that my story does not end well; my darling Vivienne fell horribly ill. She woke up feverish, sweaty and dazed almost every morning, experienced dizzy spells that almost overwhelmed her and frequent nosebleeds. It escalated to a point where Vivienne was much too exhausted to even move out of bed; her already pale skin had taken on a chalky nature, her eyes and cheeks grew sunken and lifeless. The situation had become so grave and out of my hands that I realized, I should have taken her to a doctor as soon as she started to feel unwell.

A doctor’s office is not a pleasant place; the absolute lack of privacy, the prodding, poking and interrogation by several nurses and doctors, the millions of tests that have to be taken and the suspense that plagues you as you wait for the doctor’s diagnosis is incredibly unsettling. I watched as needle after needle was inserted into Vivienne’s body, as nurses and doctors hovered over her, asking her a plethora of questions and as she answered as politely as she could. I could tell she was annoyed.

I turned my head away from her—I wanted to be strong for Vivienne, obviously, but I couldn’t help but feel doubt snaking up my back and crawling into my mind. Would Vivienne die? What was she suffering from? Was it treatable? Would she be handicapped in any way? I was ready to support Vivienne—I would do anything she asked of me. I simply didn’t want to let go of her yet. It was too soon. I imagined the two of us having a future together, complete with two children, a dog and a huge house with a white picket fence. I had a dream, a fantasy, a delusion, starring Vivienne and I wanted to breathe life and reality into it. Little did I know how much relationship with Vivienne was centered around only how much I loved Vivienne and what I could do for her. I had no idea as to what Vivienne liked or disliked, or what she wanted from me in the future.

At long last, the doctors were finished. I had no idea how much time had passed since I had arrived at the hospital; a few hours? Half a day? I faintly registered that the doctor placed in charge of Vivienne was talking to me.

“May I ask what you relationship with the patient is?” He asked, his voice holding a quality of somberness to it.

“We’re lovers.”

“I’m sorry to tell you that your lover has acute lymphocytic leukemia—”

And those words broke me. They cruelly trampled on the life Vivienne and I had so carefully and painstakingly built together in a manner akin to an elephant running over a loaf of bread. I swallowed the sickly lump that had formed in my throat and squeezed my eyes shut to hold my angry tears back. I raked a hand through my dark hair and mustered enough courage to look at the doctor.

“S-so when do we begin treatment?”

“We don’t.” The doctor replied, averting his gaze from mine.

“I’m sorry?”

“There’s not much we can do for her; I’d give her about eight months to live—we can help her through the process and make it more comfortable for her. There are pills she could take for—”

I shall tell you, without the slightest hint of shame, that I couldn’t handle what the doctor had told me then. My knees grew shaky and a feeling of queasiness settled in my stomach. My knees collapsed and thudded against the marbled floor as warm, salty rivers made their way to my chin. Cancer was a poisonous being, strangling my precious Vivienne. I could barely hear the doctor calling out to me and shaking my shoulder—Vivienne, Vivienne, Vivienne. . .the only thing that seemed clear to me at that time was that I would have to spend a lifetime without my beloved Vivienne.

As we drove back home, I tried my level best to not look at Vivienne; she seemed to be taking the news rather well. She wasn’t crying profusely, like I was—she had resigned herself to staring aimlessly out of the window. The air was dull, tense and thick with raw rage.

“I’m not scared of death. I can accept it.” Vivienne remarked her jaw clenched tightly.

“I know.” I replied quietly through sobs, still processing the information I’d been given.

“Don’t treat me like I’m a coward, then.”

“You aren’t a coward.”
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People are only lucky in their dreams. Vivienne taught me that—in a dream world, Vivienne would still be well and maybe, I would still have some semblance of happiness.

I could tell something was wrong as soon as I stepped into our home.

I changed out of my work clothes—I taken Vivienne to the doctor’s right after I came home from work—and stepped into the living room, expecting to see Vivienne seated on the couch, gazing intently at her hands and lost in thought. I couldn’t blame her for reacting in such a manner; she had just found out that she had a year and a half left to live. In my opinion, she was strong; if I were her, I’m certain I would be crying.

I did see Vivienne once I entered the living room—she wasn’t mulling over her illness, or lost in thoughts as I expected her to be. She wasn’t even sitting down.

She stood, glaring furiously into my eyes, her fingers wrapped around a gun. She lifted her hand and pressed the cold barrel to my forehead, her thin lips twisting into a vicious, darkly playful smirk. She tossed her pale-golden hair back and touched my cheek, as if to tell me she was the one in control.

“Vivi, sweetheart, is this a joke?”

A rough slap was what she graced me with.

“After I die, Aaron, won’t you be all alone and tired? With nobody to be by your side until you’re wilting away in a rosewood coffin?” She jeered mockingly, keeping the gun against my forehead the entire time.

I had never known Vivienne to be like this—my heart was racing, pumping violently against my ribcage—like a bird, wanting desperately to soar though the sky. She seemed to be propelled by some strange kind of mania and anger—she was determined to kill me. She stepped closer to me, her grip around the trigger tightening. She gave a laugh as I shuddered—a small, tinkling laugh that I had always thought of as sweet.

“What do you want from me Vivienne? I’ll give you anything—” I pleaded, panicked and frenzied. I reached out to hold her and talk her out of whatever scheme she had plotted.

“It’s not fair, is it? You get to live and I don’t. I don’t want to be alone anymore, Aaron. I want you. I want to be with you—forever, but as we both know, I’m not even going to live for another two years.”

“Vivienne, please—”

Once again, she refused to listen to me. Her macabre grin grew wider, her eyes danced with delight and a smooth laugh escaped her lips again.

“I want us to always be together Aaron. If not in this world, then at least wherever we go to after we’re dead. Before you ask—I know you’ll say you’ll kill yourself after I die, but there’s nothing to guarantee that you actually will take your life for me after I’m gone.”

“I love you Vivienne—you know I would do anything for you—”

She cut me off, clearly not wanting to listen to what I had to say.

“So I know a way we can always stay together. I’ll,” She leaned closer and whispered into my ear. Her voice was misty and commanding—a feat, given that Vivienne was much smaller than me and it was commendable, how someone so petite and small could control me with just words. “kill you now. And then I’ll die. And we’ll meet all over again in hell.”

She pulled the trigger.

I heard a blast and a then a jarring, crippling pain coursing through my head as a bullet penetrated layers of muscle, tissue and bone and then lodged itself in my brain. Thick, metallic, coppery blood spilled out of my mouth, trailed down my chin and saturated my shirt. I slumped weakly against a wall—everything was moving in slow motion, just like in a movie—my clothes were now coated in the torrent of blood that was pouring from the wound in my head and from my mouth.

“See you in hell, Aaron.” She laughed giddily in a falsetto voice.

And then my world turned black.
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