She isn’t moving.
She lays still, motionless, cold, she doesn’t look as lifeless as she is. The blush may be out of her cheeks, but she could be sleeping. He expects any moment now she will stir. That her body will shift with the rhythmic cycles of breath as she inhales and exhales. Maybe her eyelids will flutter open and she’ll smile at him in that soft way that she does when he’s caught her napping. Slightly embarrassed, sheepish. She’ll laugh lightly at herself and he’ll tease her…
He’s been holding onto her for an hour. Crying over her stillness, begging her to talk to him, to wake up, to come back to him. He needs her, he’s said, he cannot live without her. He’s tried everything he can think of, said every configuration of words that his brain can come up with, but he can’t seem to make her understand.
If she did, she wouldn’t be doing this. She would open her eyes and look at him. She would stop this terrible foolishness. If she truly knew what he was saying, she would come back to him. That’s all he wants. Her. To be with her forever. All he’s ever wanted was to be with her. He’s loved her since the first moment he laid his eyes on her. He’d worked to make her his, and he’d treasured her every single day that they were together. Treasures her still, and tells her so now.
Between his sobs, his words are barely decipherable. But she should understand them anyway, he feels. She should just know his intent. The tone of his voice, the inflections, it’s all there despite the marbles on his tongue.
Why? He asks her. Why?
As if she can answer him.
Most of her blood is on the floor around them. It’s still leaking out, though slower now. It was placed there by the bullet that ripped through her chest. A bullet that drilled a hole through her insides so quickly that she didn’t even realize it at first. The terror in her eyes hadn’t come around until the red began to bloom on her dress. She’d fallen like a ragdoll only seconds later, as if the knowledge was what killed her, not the lead.
Prior to that she’d been saying things. Telling him she was leaving. Telling him that she was done trying. She’d given so much. Hadn’t he given, too? he’d asked. She’d told him how much she’d loved him, how she would have followed him to the ends of the earth, but he wasn’t the person she’d thought he was, and she was done hurting. Done. She was leaving. He was cruel. She was leaving. She was giving up. On all of it, on them, on him in particular. She was leaving.
He doesn’t remember drawing the pistol from the holster on his hip. She must not have really seen it, either, or she wouldn’t have moved. His shot wouldn’t have gone into her so cleanly. He doesn’t remember the sound of the gun firing, he doesn’t even remember the feeling of the trigger on his finger. He doesn’t remember dropping it, though he must have, because it’s not in his hand now, and it isn’t anywhere nearby. He does remember the panic, though. At losing her. He remembers that ache in his heart, something that wasn’t quite as bad as what he’s feeling now, but had felt like the end of the world in that moment. He realizes that this, not that, is the end of the world. No, the whole universe.
He apologizes again.
Tells her he loves her.
That he can’t live without her.