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I’ll try anything once. That was the motto she lived by. It started off simple, in high school. Her friend at the time had asked her to go to a heavy metal band concert. She swore that if she went, she would love it. She didn’t enjoy it, descending into the mosh pit and getting slammed by both the people and the amplified noise, but she tried it. Once. Then, when her boyfriend in college asked her to go skydiving, she said that line one more time, and it stuck, became her mantra.
That was how she ended up in this situation. She never meant it to be taken so literally. Anything had its limitations. But John didn’t seem to think so.
“Look, Josie, do this for me,” he said, his blurring blue eyes imploring her to trust him.
“John, I don’t think I want to do this,” she said, shrinking back from his hand.
Skydiving had been fun. When John took her hand as they sat in the plane and asked if she was really sure about this, she had turned to him, looked him in the crystal blue eyes she had fallen in love with, and replied that she would try anything once. Of course I’m really sure about this. He nodded, grabbed her hand, and pushed a strand of her straight brown hair back into her cap.
She smiled at him as they glided down through the sky together.
Josie was a good, conscientious student. It was something that she prided herself on.
Jos, Baby, just skip this once. It’s only Chem 101. The class is huge. No one will notice you’re gone. He stared at her with those big blue eyes, cool pools of water.
Just this once wouldn't hurt. She said it slowly, testing the feel of it on her tongue. I mean, I’ll try anything once. She nervously pulled her brown hair back into a ponytail.
He smiled at her, and she slid off of her bed and into his arms.
John! She was yelling at him. Screaming really. He was lucky that the dorm was empty because of Christmas vacation. You know how I feel about this! I told you that I’m not ready! Stop!
He didn’t. His hands continued on their path, slipping under fabric, pulling her brown, frizzing hair down. I know, I know, he drunkenly murmured in her ear. Baby, come on. Just once. His eyes flashed open, clearing slightly.
She protested with all of her might, pushing him away, yelling at him, screaming at the top of her lungs.
But Baby, I love you. You’ll try anything once, right?
She froze under his still moving hands. She looked into his eyes. Her mind was at war. And he loved her.
I’ll try anything once. Just once.
Just once, he agreed.
Together, they slipped into the bed.
He had this hazy look. Everything about him seemed to blur.
John, what’s wrong? She was concerned. He looked sick.
He stared at her through bloodshot eyes, the redness washing out the blue. Nothing Baby, I’m fine.
She stared. He stared back. Actually, Baby, I have something I want you to try. Just one hit. Besides, you’ll try anything once, right? That’s what you always say.
She kept staring. She took the lighter from his outstretched hand, and pushed her messy hair out of her face.
As her mind fuzzed out, the sickly sweet stench wafting in the air, John took her hand and blinked slowly at her.
They tripped to the floor together.
Come on, Josie baby. Anything once.
She shook her head, her tangled hair flying across her vision. She had her limitations. No, John, no.
He continued to offer the syringe to her. Just once, baby. You won’t get addicted from just one time.
She backed away. You don’t know that, John. You can get addicted. It happens all the time!
Everything will be fine. Just do it once. Now he was demanding, his tone leaving no room for debate, his blue eyes hard. Anything once, you said. You promised.
Shuddering, she took the cool plastic and metal in her hands. He winked at her, and gave her a proud smile.
I love you. He said.
I love you too. She replied.
They spiraled into limpness together.
“Josie, come on. Please. For me.” He was compelling. His eyes were a little bit sharper than usual, the normal haze receding in excitement.
“John, no! Anything doesn't mean this!” She was crying, silent tears running down her cheeks.
He was getting mad—she could see it in his eyes. He was angry all the time now. “Josie, you said ‘Anything once.’ Well, this is something, and we’re only going to do it once.” He looked at her, his eyes raging seas, so different from the cool ponds that she had fallen in love with.
“I love you,” she murmured. “Anything once.” She ran her hands through her knotted, limp hair once to calm herself. She took his hand, and he pulled her onto the ledge.
Together, they fell.