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He holds out a hand, white and scarred. She feels her palm fit against his, the scratching of his dry skin against her own sending shivers up her spine.
“You don’t have to do this,” he says.
She shakes her head and rolls her eyes to show him that she thinks he is naïve, that he still doesn’t know her at all. Even after all they have been through. She coughs. “I do.”
He looks away, down at their hands for a second, then out to the bright golden sun, then down to the white foamy crests of green waves. Sighing, he takes his free hand and wipes the beads of sweat that have started to cascade down his face. “Are you sure.”
It is not a question.
“Are you doubting me?” She asks. Her voice is sharp. His eyes glint with tears in the light of the setting star. In the brilliant blues of his irises, she sees his doubt, his disbelief, and the hatred that has slowly been building. The tables turned when she took his hand, and he is only just realizing what has become. He can choose now.
To her, he is just an accessory so that she doesn’t have to do this alone. So that in her last moments she can make herself remember that she was once loved.
To him, she is everything.
“Fine,” he says.
She takes the two extra steps to the edge of the cliff, dragging him behind her. It is a long way down, almost two hundred feet, but she can’t be sure. He stands beside her, his hand now sweaty and hot. He does not let go.
With a quick look at his face, she notices for the first time in a very long time that she is happy. She is content, at peace, joyful.
She smiles and walks forward.
Taking him with her.
He catches her gaze, his eyes almost invisible in the darkness.
“Why me?” he asks.
She grins. “Why not?”
His teeth glow as he smiles. “I love you.”
Her smile slips. She turns from her position lying next to him on her side so that she lies on her back. The ceiling is a dark shade of gray, boring and plain and uneventful. Just like her life.
He tenses beside her, reaches out a hand to take hers, frowns when she flicks her fingers away. “Did you hear me? I said I love you.”
The tear slides down her face, cascading down her left cheek, the one turned away from him. She blinks and breathes out. “I heard you.”
Propping himself up onto his elbows, she hears the bed creak like the sound of a breaking heart. She flips onto her left side, showing her bare back to him.
He shakes his head, bemused. “What, you don’t have anything to say?”
She doesn’t respond. She waits for a minute, her teeth grinding, clenched tightly together. With the pain, numbness courses through her body, shielding her.
“I don’t love you.” The words feel like a metal pole protruding from her mouth, leaving her to bite down on the cumbersome end. Metal shards pierce her tongue and filter down to cut her heart.
The cold seeps into the covers as the door slams shut.
She closes her eyes and breathes in.
At first, he is puzzled. Never before has he seen her, so why is it that she seems so familiar?
She looks up at him with muddy lime eyes, little splotches of brown dulling the green. Her face is a face and nothing more.
He scowls. “‘Yes’ what?”
Her features do not change; instead they remain impassive. Lifting up a finger, she stands and taps him once on the forehead. Heat spirals in waves from the spot and he feels the world goes fuzzy. He blinks and the world rights itself.
This time she smiles.
“Yes. You will do.”
Then she walks away, leaving him to trail after her.