All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Candice watched the girl from a distance, clutching onto the red pole so she wouldn’t fall over when the subway train screeched to a halt. She knew everything about this girl; that her name was Samantha, but she preferred to be called Sam; that blonde wasn’t her natural color, but because she was publicly harassed in High School for being a ‘Ginger’ she went blonde. Candice knew that Sam was allergic to shellfish, and she loved to eat peanut butter ice cream, especially when it was cold outside.
She knew that Sam slept in the middle of her large king-sized bed, because she missed her husband who had died three years ago, and was buried some fifty miles from the city in a family plot she’d never be welcome in. Candice knew all these things, because that’s how she was programmed.
Sure she looked like your average everyday antisocial brunette, but she was actually a top secret spy on a mission so classified that she wasn’t even told about it. As far as she was concerned for now, she was your everyday female New Yorker; she loved the congested, polluted air, the constant sirens, and the pigeons in the park. She didn’t realize that this wasn’t really her life. That this was the first time she had ever ridden a subway train before, because when she was in her right mind, she’d never venture so far below something due to her paranoid fear of being buried alive. Candice didn’t even know that her name was actually Jenny Simmons, and that’s how they wanted it.
With the painful screech of the breaks, the subway train made its slow stop, finally coming to a halt in a dimly lighted station where other New Yorkers were waiting to board. Candice pushed past a man that paused to talk with a middle aged woman, and she followed Sam from the subway car into the station, always staying out of her sight.
She wasn’t sure why she had this aversion to being seen, and she couldn’t really remember why she was following Sam, but something about it felt right; it had to be, she’d been doing it for three months now.
It was raining when she finally came up to the surface world, and her body relaxed from its unconsciously tensed form, and she stopped, glancing the other way when Sam looked back. In her peripheral vision, she saw Sam’s eyes grope the crowd, searching for something, but in a few breathless moments, she gave up and continued on down the sidewalk in her red Prada high heels, pulling up the collar on her calf-length trench coat, because she didn’t have an umbrella.
Candice shivered absently when the cold moisture hit her skin. A flashback of another life blew restlessly in her mind, and Candice shook her head, trying to clear it. She saw the twist of black pin curls, brown eyes almost as black as the night, and dimples; most of all dimples.
Candice felt her own cheeks as she continued to follow Sam. She smiled, but there were no dimples in this smile. It was almost as if she didn’t know herself anymore.
“Get it together,” she growled, realizing that she was losing Sam. She jogged slightly, not fast enough to draw attention to herself, but still quicker than a walking pace.
“George,” Sam said, and Candice stopped short. When she peeked around the corner, she saw Sam standing under a red canapé for the outside part of a café, cradling her cell phone between her ear and her shoulder as she dug around in her purse. Her voice was shaky, “P-please, can you meet me…tonight. I’m scared.”
She paused, sniffling as she listened to his response, and finally her hand found what it was searching for. She dabbed the Kleenex under her eyes, trying to wipe off the mascara that had smeared when the tears streamed down her face. Her expression brightened slightly, “You mean you’re in town?...Where?...Michelangelo’s at seven? Yeah, I know where that is. No, I can take a taxi; you don’t need to send a car.”
Candice stiffened something inside her saying that whatever the reason she was following Sam for was now over. Now she felt oddly confused, and out of place. She didn’t know where she was…or who she was; not Candice.
She stumbled in the opposite direction where Sam was now headed, and she bumped into an elderly man, almost knocking him over.
“Sorry,” she said, not even lifting her head as she continued on past him.
He murmured something about ‘kids today’ and stalked off, mumbling more abut drugs, and violent TV shows being the death of today’s youth. Candice staggered into a rough brick wall of a building, suddenly feeling off balance, and it took everything she had in her to stay upright. She pulled out her cell phone, ready to call 911, because she thought she might be having a stroke. Younger people had strokes too, didn’t they?
A pair of strong, unyielding hands drug her out of sight, into the alley. She struggled against them, but it was no use. She tried to scream, but the man the arms belonged to clamped a coarse hand over her mouth, so only a soft yelp could be heard.
“Shh, it’s okay, it’s just me,” he said, flipping her around to face him. He released her mouth, and she gasped wildly, “Sorry, I didn’t realize I was cutting off your air. Stop struggling. Don’t you remember me?”
“I don’t know you,” she said, still fighting his grasp, “I don’t know you.” But she did. She saw something familiar in his face that brought her mind back to the other life; the one with the dimples.
“That’s okay,” he said, his face kind as he grabbed her arms with one of his hands, wedging her against his body. With his other hand he pulled out a needle, popping the safety cap of with his teeth, and spitting it in the direction of the trash cans, “You will.”
He stuck the needle in her arm, and she yelped, but it was too late. She was already gone.
I blinked tiredly against the bright florescent lights, pushing his hand away when he tugged lightly on my bangs, “Stop being so annoying.”
“Do you remember me now?” Kit asked with a bright smile that contrasted dramatically with his tan skin. I rolled my eyes. It was amazing how much he reminded me of a child, even though he was thirty, and was technically considered a genius.
“Obviously,” I said, sitting up with a little effort. I smoothed back the mess of tangled black curls out of my face, and then rubbed my aching arm where Kit had injected me with the serum. “Next time be gentle. I’m definitely going to bruise from that one.”
“Sorry, but you never remember me, and it’s so hard to get you to come with me willingly. If I could come up with a better way to revive you, I would, but I can’t. It’s just not physically possible. I can’t just whip elements out of thin air if they don’t exist. Besides, that serum is better than what they used to do in the old days. Back then they used to whack agents upside the head with large sticks, and hope they didn’t get brain damage.”
“Stop being dumb, you know there were no old days. If there were, I would’ve been a part of them,” I said, and glanced around. We were in the small white infirmary, and I was sitting on the mattress of springs they called a bed. I wrinkled my nose distastefully at the smell of bleach, standing up on wobbly legs.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going?” He demanded as I maneuvered around him and started to punch in my access code to the control panel on the sliding door.
“I’m just going for a little stroll. I need to walk this off. If I stay in here, I’m definitely going to barf.” The doors slid open with a metallic hiss, and Kit followed me hesitantly.
“I don’t think this is a good idea. You just got back from the longest mission you’ve ever had, and I don’t think your mind or your body can take too much more stress.”
“Stress? What stress is there in walking,” I asked, patting my pockets, but they were empty. “Where’d you put my smokes?”
“You haven’t even been debriefed by Dr. Sanchez yet.” Kit said, ignoring me.
“And I don’t need to. I think he’s a quack. I think psychology is a bunch of bull.”
“Well, we are certainly enlightened by your opinion, Ms. Simmons.” I turned around and I saw that it was Jack, the director of this whole espionage operation. He pulled a lollipop out of his breast pocket and tossed it at me, “Hmm, your reflexes look good. Anyways, you know you’re not allowed to smoke in here.”
I pulled the wrapper off of the lollipop, tossing it at him, and I stuck the lollipop in my mouth, “Never stopped me before.” I pretended to smoke the lollipop, and blew out a pretend smoke ring, “Oh yeah, ‘cause this is so much healthier. What kind of place are you running now? I’m away for three months and you start giving tours to a bunch of kids.” I said dryly, looking around him at the group of curious community college-aged kids.
I felt old, and oddly out of place in my white scrubs compared with their dress clothes. Sure, I was only thirty two, but still.
“These are the new recruits for the E. M. program. I was hoping that you’d tell them a little about your experience in the field, if you’re feeling up to it. I know you’re supposed to be on rest-“
“-I don’t know if that’s wise Sir,” Kit interjected before I could say anything, “She has been out in the field for three months, and she hasn’t even had her psych exam with Dr. Sanchez yet.”
I licked the lollipop one last time, and then put it on Kit’s face, smiling when it actually stuck to his skin instead of falling on the floor. “I’ll do it. C’mon, let’s go to the classroom,” I said, walking down the hall, not bothering to look back to see if anyone was following.
The classroom was a large opaque room, with rows of folding seats like what they had in a theatre. I sat down behind the desk in a black swivel chair, propping my feet up on the desk. The kids filed in quietly, taking their seats in the first two rows with eager expressions.
Kit sat down behind them, frowning, which made me grin. Director Jack gave me a see-ya wave, and closed the door behind him, leaving me with his tour group. This was going to be fun.
“Okay, my name is Jenny Simmons, Jay, or Jen, for short, and I am an active field agent for the E. M. program. I’ll take any questions you have.”
“How old are you?”
“Any question but that,” I chuckled, “Next?”
A prissy looking blonde girl with a ram-rod straight back held her hand up high like she was about ready to break out into random spirit fingers, so I picked her next. “Hi, my name is Sandy, and let me just start out by saying that I truly admire the work you do for our country-“
“I don’t like you.”
“What?” She asked, totally surprised.
“I said, I don’t like you. Next.”
Sandy pouted for a moment and then leaned over to a girl beside her, whispering mean things about me, but that was okay. I usually brought out that reaction in people.
“Um, could you clarify something for me?” A kid with glasses asked.
“What exactly does E. M. stand for? I mean, no one has really explained what we’ll be doing if we choose to work in this field of science and government.”
“That’s a good question. I like you,” I said just to spite that Sandy chick. “E. M. Stands for Erase Me.”
“No it doesn’t,” Kit sighed, and I had to smile with my dimples this time, “It stands for-“
I got up, taking a marker to write on the large white board. “It doesn’t matter what the acronym means. Basically this program takes espionage to a whole new level for our government. Recently, I trailed a woman named Samantha connected with a drug lord named George Canon. He’s been on the government’s radar forever, but they were never able to catch him, because their Intel was just a little too slow, so they sent me in, made up a mask that makes me look different, the kind better than what Hollywood uses, and I was able to tell Uncle Sam where to find Canon.”
I stared at the whiteboard, noticing the sudden disorientation, a loud ringing in my ears that made me grab the desk to keep from falling over. My back was to all of them, so they didn’t know what I was doing. They couldn’t see the blood that streamed down from my nose that I quickly wiped away, only to have to wipe more away a few seconds later.
“I think…I think, can we do this later?” I asked.
“But you haven’t answered all of our questions,” Sandy snapped, “What kind of slack off organization is this? First your director dumps us off on you, and now you want to ditch us too?”
“Jay, are you okay?” Kit asked, grabbing my elbow, and spinning me around to face him. His expression went from concerned to deeply troubled when he saw the blood, but he didn’t get the time to say I told you so before I fainted right there like a big baby.
The world came back to me all at once, a big blob of noise and scents assailing me all at the same time. I blinked tiredly against the lights overhead. I heard Kit shift in his chair, so I turned my head and greeted him with a rueful smile, expecting an overdue ‘I told you so’, but my stomach dropped when I saw the somber look in his eyes, the grim line that was his mouth, and the way his hands curved like talons around a thick stack of papers.
“How long have you known?” He asked, his voice shaking.
I stared at his face quizzically. There was something more than just annoyance, it was a pure rage of a volcano about to blow its top; it was a hurt like I had personally stabbed him in the back.
“How long have you known?!” He shouted, his face turning a delicate pink when I didn’t answer his question.
“I’m not sure I follow. What is it that I’ve known about?”
“Don’t give me that crap, Jenny,” Kit growled, flinging the stack of papers at my face. The papers rained down over my head, and some fell in my lap, and on the bed, whereas others floated like a specter to the grimy linoleum floor. The scientific garble of words meant nothing to me, and staring at the mix of numbers, and words beyond my comprehension made my head start to ache.
“I took general classes in high school, and one art class at a community college, Kit; you’re going to have to explain all this to me.”
“I figured you would’ve guessed by now what I’m angry about, Jay. Do I have to spell it out for you?”
“Seems so,” I replied, slightly amused.
“Fine. If you want to do this the hard way. You didn’t tell me that you were dying; that you’ve been parading around, going on missions with a time bomb tumor the size of a golf ball in your head.”
I propped myself up on my elbow, and looked down at the papers, realizing that they were lab results. I squinted at the results, my eyes trying to read the too-small print, wondering if the words confirmed his accusation, but after a minute of staring at the text, I was just as lost. Inside, I felt myself shutting down, an iron cage closed around my heart, the wheel in my head, ceasing its turning. Everything that wasn’t necessary seemed to flick of, as if the power was cut to conserve energy to the high powers, the ones that were basic for survival. Lungs: In out. In out. Heart: thump. Thump. Thump.
My hand reached up mechanically, and felt my skull, as if sometime overnight a bulbous mass had formed, and was sticking out of the side of my head to say ‘I’m a tumor’, but I felt nothing. My face was expressionless, a flat mask when I looked back at him. What he said sounded reasonable enough. Now that I thought about it, I had been getting a lot of headaches lately, migraines to be more accurate; at least one a day for the past six months, but I had chalked that up to my incompatibility with the E. M. serum always being shot into my body.
“I’m sorry, Kit, I would’ve told you…if I had known.”
Kit blanched, “You mean this is the first you’re hearing of this? Who was your doctor? Haven’t you been going to your monthly check ups?”
“His name is…Dr. Shaw, and he said the only thing wrong with me was my allergy to the serum, and my smoking, and so he gave me a clean bill of health seeing as how those two things aren’t going to change.”
Kit cursed softly under his breath, “Shaw was arrested and fired for possession, and disorderly conduct three weeks ago.”
“Hmm, I suppose that sounds right. He kept grabbing my breast when he said he was going to listen to my heart, and I thought he was just being flirtatious, I guess he could’ve just been stoned instead. Either way, I hit him hard enough to make him fall on the floor. I think I broke his nose too.” I chuckled.
Kit made a face at my fake nonchalance, “Well then, I guess we should discuss treatments.”
“Uungh, I’m fine the way I am for now. When it’s my time, it’s my time, and I hope that when it does come, the Lord will be extra forgiving. However, for the time being, I’d rather just do my job.”
He shot up from his chair. “You’re insane! No one, especially me, is going to let you go out in the field in your condition. You are going to get treated whether you like it or not, and I am going to tranquilize you if you even so much as think of getting out of that bed,” Kit growled when I started to throw off the covers.
“You could try, honey, I might even go easy on you.”
Kit rolled his eyes, smoothing back his hair, trying to calm himself. “Why is going out in the field so important to you?” He asked, his ocher brown eyes clearly questioning my sanity.
“Kit, honey, if you were only good at one thing in your life, you’d try your hardest to be the best there ever was at it.”
“Not if it was going to kill me,” he said, “Besides, you are the best; there will be no one better.”
“And I plan to keep it that way,” I replied with a macabre smile.
Kit opened his mouth to object, but the sliding door opened with a hiss, drawing his attention away. I leaned around him to find that it was Jack who had come in.
“How is my favorite agent? Well I hope.”
“Shhh, Jack, what will the children think,” I teased, looking at the tour group standing uneasily, just outside the infirmary.
The Director chuckled, “Would it be okay if they stayed and watched Kit work? I’d hate to put you in an awkward position.”
I opened my mouth to answer, but Kit interrupted me, “No. Absolutely, not. I haven’t the time or the patience to deal with them now, and once you send them home, I must speak with you privately.”
“You can tell me now, come in here ladies and gentlemen. I’m going to leave you in Jenny’s capable hands for a few minutes. Dr. Andrews wishes to speak with me for a moment. Now, don’t touch anything until I get back.” Before he could say anymore, Kit drug the director out of sight, and I sighed, getting up. Tranq, or no tranq, I needed a cigarette.
I grabbed Kit’s secret pack from a middle drawer in his cabinet, and lit one up, enjoying the burning sensation it left in my throat.
“Smoking is a terrible habit,” Sandy sniffed distastefully in my direction from where she stood, peering out the door, hoping to catch a little of what Jack and Kit were saying.
“So is being a blonde tramp who can’ keep her nose out of other’s business,” I replied, blowing smoke out of my nostrils.
“It’ll kill you.”
“If that tumor doesn’t first.” I looked over and saw the kid with glasses reading my lab results.
“Hey, I thought you were told not to touch anything. What’s your name anyways?”
“My name is Walden Heath, and I’m sorry for being nosey, but I figured I’d better read up on the agent I’ll be working alongside. I plan to be an agent too.”
“Is that so? Well, you don’t look like agent material to me, but then again, I suppose they have tests for that nowadays. When I was starting out, they didn’t have the blood analysis tests they do now, so they didn’t know I’d be allergic to the serum that implants false memories to help you with your missions. Come here, I’ll show you how they tested me, and the other agents.”
Walden came eagerly, like a lovesick puppy dog, and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes, “Stand up straight, hands reaching out, palms up, and stand with your feet shoulder width apart.” Walden did as I said, and then I kicked him in the groin, plucking my lab results out of his hands before he crumpled to the floor, moaning. Justice served. “Now that I come to think of it, that test was probably why we had more female agents back then.”
Right on cue, Jack and Kit returned, both of their troubled faces shifting to shock and then understanding when they took in Walden’s fetal position and me out of bed.
“Not again, Jay,” Jack complained.
“What can I say; at least I’ve lessened the need for maternity leave around here.”
Jack helped Walden up from the ground and ushered his herd of whispering kids out the door, throwing me a disparaging every-time-I-leave-you-alone-you-get-into-trouble look. I felt a hard pinch on my arm, and when I looked, I saw Kit had stuck me with a needle.
“That’s not fair,” I growled, already feeling dizzy. The world was a merry-go-round of swirling colors, and I collapsed into his waiting arms.
“I told you I’d tranq you. Now what was that about going easy one me?” He chuckled softly, and I slipped into the unwelcome darkness once again.
Kit made himself busy after he laid Jenny back in bed. He called the other twelve agents down one by one, taking blood samples, and other tests, because he sensed something fishy. Jack had been too calm when he had told him about Jenny’s condition, as if he already knew. But how could he, unless…unless Dr. Shaw had been in cahoots with him the whole time before his termination in the program.
The agents gave their blood willingly, all but one showing a level of deep concern for Jenny. Berry was the exception. He had never liked Jenny, and never once tried to hide the fact, especially when he came in an hour earlier, the fourth agent to have his blood drawn.
Kit didn’t blame him; Berry was still new, and the only experience he had had with Jenny was his first day when she dumped her tray of nachos and cheese on his head because he had taken her usual seat. Jenny was like a foreign cheese; once you got past her foul personality, you could appreciate the kind, caring woman dedicated to serving her country in a way she’d never be publicly merited for.
Kit sat back in his chair, propping his feet up, and letting his mind wander while he waited for the computer to analyze the data, and print out lab results for all the other agents. His mind brought him back to the time when Jenny smiled, and really meant it, when her dimples were wide, and she showed her perfect white teeth. He remembered her when she was the young Jenny in love.
Of course she wasn’t in love with him, that fact had always stung a bit, because he had loved her all these years tirelessly, but what made Kit really angry was the fact that she had loved that man. That man was Henry Phillips. He had a poker face that could fool the world’s best detective, and a seductively smooth southern lilt that made Jenny melt like butter every time he paid her a compliment.
They had a fling, and it took only one time for Jenny to get pregnant. She loved them both, and planned out a wonderful fairytale ending for all three of them as a family, but Henry had other ideas. He left her without so much as a goodbye, and Jenny had no choice but to join E. M. The serum was deadly to her in a way, crossing mental wires of memories that were true, and others that were false. Often, Kit would have to remind her that her name was Jenny, or that she was an agent instead of a soccer mom late for her son’s game. At first she enjoyed the release from her past; from her first and only love; from the self hatred she felt for aborting her baby.
The years past and Jenny became hard; she started to smoke, and drink, and pick fights, especially when she was sober, but she was kept around because she was good at her job. Most didn’t see the crude beauty in her; the one that cajoled Tilly Saunders off of the ledge, when she wanted to commit suicide after she had mistakenly killed her partner while on a mission; the beauty that saved hundreds of people by catching the bad guys without so much as a thank you.
The printer kicked into overdrive, pulling Kit’s mind from the past, and out of his chair, to retrieve the results it was spitting out. He stopped short when he heard a knock on the door, and when he turned around; he saw that it was Arnold, the guy who worked in the mailroom. “Sorry to bother you, but this package looked urgent, so I decided to bring it right up to you.”
“Thanks, I appreciate it,” Kit said, taking it, and Arnold left as quickly as he had came. Kit looked down at the package raising an eyebrow when he saw the collection of stamps licked and posted on the outside. This package had started out from E.M. headquarters, and then traveled all around the world before returning to E.M. Kit undid the clip, and lifted a bunch of old magazines out, furrowing his brow in confusion. Why would anyone send a bunch of magazines around the world just to send them to him?
Kit glanced down at the floor when he saw a yellow post it note flutter to the floor. He bent down, and picked it up, and when he read the message on it, his mouth went dry. There was only three simple words in the message, all printed in large capitalized letters, in Dr. Shaw’s handwriting. THEY ARE DYING.
Kit dropped the magazines, and they fell with a muffled thud on the linoleum. He ran over to the printer, grabbing the thick stack of lab reports still printing out. He flipped through them quickly, each name hitting him like a low blow, over and over again. Tilly: Clotting disorder. Mack: Heart disease. Berry: Pancreatic Cancer. Kit dropped the results, unwilling to read anymore. The note was right; they were all dying, or more likely to die than when they had started taking the serum. It wasn’t just Jenny anymore. It was everyone. Kit ran back to the stack of magazines, flipping through them quickly.
On the twenty seventh page of each magazine, several words were circled, and lines were drawn, connecting each word in the order it should be read. Once Kit organized the magazines in order by publication date, he took out a pencil and paper, scribbling down the words, only to find Shaw’s last message:
I am a coward for letting this go on so long. They could’ve been saved from agony if I had had the courage, but Jack threatened to kill me if I told. The serum is pure poison, and he knew, from the very start, and so did I when he made me develop it. By now, Jack has probably already disposed of me, so I pass this curse onto you, my friend, so that you may save them. Resting in peace-if the lord will still have me-Dr. Shaw.
Kit sat for a moment, his mouth forming a grim line. He got up and walked over to the red telephone, bringing it to his ear, and telling everything he had just learned to the emergency worker on the other line. After the man assured him they’d take care of Jack, Kit turned his radio on to fill the deafening silence, and sat down on the edge of Jenny’s bed; waiting.
Kit was playing with my hair when I woke up again, his fingers soft and tender, making my heart thrum like the wings of a hummingbird when they would accidentally brush against my skin. The sensation brought a blush to my cheeks, and I saw him raise an eyebrow when he saw this. There was something in his touch, comforting, although it was something else too. I sensed it. It was a provocation to something more, something I had never expected, but had unconsciously wished for.
I focused on the radio for a moment, chuckling softly when I heard it was Thomson Square’s Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not song.
“What?” He asked, his finger tracing the shape of my jaw, encouraged by my initial blush.
“Shh, listen to the radio for a second,” I replied, and he smiled quizzically at me, leaning over to turn the volume up so he could hear it more clearly.
Are you gonna kiss me or not
Are we gonna do this or what
I think you know I love you a lot
I think we have a good shot
Are you gonna kiss me or not
Kit looked pleasantly surprised, but understood my invitation without anymore hints, leaning back over me to plant his warm lips against mine.
I laughed around his lips, wondering why I had been stupid enough all these years to be completely oblivious to such a great guy. His hands were fire against my skin, like sharp edges, cutting me, but I held onto him, enjoying it all the same. My head ached, but I barely noticed it over the lovely quickened thumping of my own heart; I barely noticed it when I was erased.
Kit felt Jenny’s lips slow, and halt completely, and when he drew back, he was afraid to find that she was regretting her decision of letting him kiss her, but when he looked into her eyes, he knew that wasn’t it at all. Her brown eyes were almost completely black, swallowed up by two large pupils staring at him in a fearful confusion, her lips parted in an unformed question.
“Jenny,” He asked, “Baby, what’s wrong?” But he already knew. He had seen this look before.
“W-who are you?” She asked, and it was as if someone punched him in the gut, and then proceeded to kick him while he was down. “I don’t know you.” Jenny’s eyes fluttered and she collapsed into his arms for the last time.
Kit drew her closer to him, picking her up from the bed, and cradling her limp body in his lap, already her skin was like ice. He stroked her black curls, memorizing the light scent of honeysuckle on her pale skin; trying to fight the tight knot forming in his throat as he whispered, ‘That’s okay, honey, that’s okay,’ as if she’d hear him all the way up in heaven.