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We Die Together
I should have run. I should have ducked my head trying to hide my face from the black smoke and ran through the long corridor, following the crowd of the people out of the building. I should have. But I didn’t. I stood in the hallway, starring at the orange flames dancing in and out of the different rooms. The fire that had originated in the hallway was now engulfing other rooms that had been left open in the panic of everything. I suddenly wanted the boarding school to burn. It had caused me nothing but pain and agony. First ripping me away from my family. Then ripping me away from the love of my life. Smoke bellowed out of the rooms and pressed against the celling. I watched the flames with a sort of fascination.
All of the girls from my wing were gone now. They had all escaped and now I was standing all alone in the corridor. Alone with only my thoughts and an idea that all of the sudden consumed me. The crackling of the fire filled my ears until I heard my name being called.
“Annabel! Annabel!” Black smoke bellowed throughout the hallway and soot covered the floor. Then he burst into the hallway. He wasn’t wearing his normal suit which surprised me. He had on a very nice white flowing shirt and tailored black dress pants. His normally slicked back hair was messed up and hanging in his face. His frantic face was colored with relief when he caught sight of me. He ran down the corridor, flames dancing behind him. When he got close enough, he grabbed my arm and turned to run us out. But I planted my feet and shouted,
“No!” It was hard for him to hear me in here. The crackling had only increased.
“Annabel if we stay in here, we die!” He was searching my face for something. Probably hoping I’d come to my senses, but I wasn’t budging on this.
“Simon, I’m not mad! And I’m not leaving! If we leave, you die and I would not possibly be able to go on after that.” Tomorrow they would hang him for a crime he did not commit, but he had no one to believe him, but me. And who would listen to the word of a woman?
“No! Listen to me. If you die, I die. We die together.” I could see the war going on inside him. He wanted to protect me at all cost. I knew that he would pick me up and run me through a wall of flames right now if I asked him to. But he could also see my point. They would hang him tomorrow. Either way he would die. Now he was deciding whether he wanted me beside him for it. “We die together.” I repeated.
Then, I saw it. His face hardened with decision for a moment and then softened. He uncurled my fingers from his shirt and laced them with his. We walked hand in hand to the end of the corridor; to my room. He shut the door behind us, but the black smoke curled under the door and my silk nightgown, that trailed behind me, swept in some of the soot.
I coughed hard and Simon brought me into his chest; holding me tightly. Once my coughs faded I looked up at him. “Just tell me the smoke will take us before we burn.” He held my eyes for a long moment. They were red and irritated from the smoke, I would bet mine were too, because they stung. He said nothing and I took it that he wasn’t sure.
Still holding onto his hand, I broke away from his embrace and walked over to my bed. I laid down and so did he pulling me close to him. My back was to his chest as I coughed again. His arms that had been wrapped securely around me tightened as if to keep my chest together. When both of our coughs settled to shallow hiccups, I turned around so that our faces were so close I could feel his breath on my skin. “I love you.” I whispered, my voice hoarse.
“Forever.” He agreed, his voice raspy. The smoke grew thicker and I grew weaker. We had been laying here, starring into each others’ eyes. Not wanting to miss a thing. Now I was sure that I had every line, every crease of his face right. Every curve and texture of his body memorized. And I was positive that I could distinguish his eyes from any other persons’ on the earth.
My fingers laced a crown a top his head. Marking him as the prince I always, but no one else was able to see him as. My body seemed more distant from me now, but with the last amount of energy I had, I kissed him. If there had been any doubt in my mind, it had now been erased. I loved him with my whole heart and I could tell that he felt the same. This kiss was not like our earlier ones where his hand had snaked up in my hair and crushed my mouth to his while I pressed myself as close to him as possible. This one was slow and deep. But we both kept our eyes open the whole time. Watching each other still. Our lips slowed as I watched as the light faded from his eyes and felt myself slip away.