“It’s time.” He tells her. She turns, pale pink lips already pressing into a thin line.
“So soon? But…” She trails off, thoughts swirling. Her eyes flicker out the window, and sadly, she spots the smoke already rising from the buildings below. She bites her lip, swallowing the unwanted emotions building in her throat. She wants to scream. She wants to cry.
She does neither.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers, suddenly close. He reaches for her hand, cradling the trembling fist in his larger calloused hands. “I tried to stall…” He offers. She raises her head, forcing forth a smile to combat the burning behind her eyes.
“I know, thank you.” She tells him. He sucks in a breath, the air whistling between his teeth, and nods once, sharply.
She takes a shaky breath and uncurls her fist, but instead of pulling away, as she’d done so many times before, she stays, lacing their trembling fingers, savoring the warmth that has always clung to him.
He raises their hands, pressing a kiss to her pale skin. She smiles, for real this time, and squeezes his hand, only once, before releasing it. The separate, him; to collect a nice blanket or chairs to set out on the lawn. Her; to collect the meal she’d been preparing.
Dinner and a show. She thought bitterly.
He’d chosen a patchwork quilt this time, a gift from a quaint little shop by the boardwalk. She sighs, nose crinkling as a burnt smell fills the air of their small haven. They’d chosen a good home this time around; a nice cottage built on a hill overlooking a small beachside town.
It was a good town, she thought as she moved. With nice people. Friendly, but respecting of their privacy, low crime rate. Not a bad place to spend the last day on earth.
She finds her beloved sitting with his back turned, and pauses. His shoulders are drawn almost to his ears, hands grasping the blanket beneath like a lifeline. Like it was the only thing holding him here, in the present, in one piece.
An outsider would wonder what he’s thinking, what terrible memories race through his head, keep him up long into the twilight hours. Her friends had always asked about it, asked what they could do to help, what to do during a flashback, how to prevent panicking moments.
She’d never had the heart to tell them there was nothing they could do. That she often woke in the dark to find his side of the bed cold, that the times he did stay, often left them both with red eyes and a raw throats.
She shook her head, dark curls bouncing against her cheeks, and returned to his side. They ate, watching the fire rain down, smoke rising, the sky darkening, while unholy screams filled the air.
A pity. She’d hoped for a nice last sunset. A quick, quiet end.
They cast their plates away, and press close. The woman dropped her head on her beloved’s shoulder, pale fingers clutching at the fabric of his shirt. Her holds her there, one hand wrapped around her shoulder, the other laced with her free hand.
In the distance, a bright scorching light fills the sky. She squeezes his hand.
“…Find me again?” She breathed, vision blurring with tears.
“Always.” He answered firmly. Daring the universe to prove him wrong.
She pulls him closer, banging their noses together in a sloppy passionate kiss. She wants him to be the last thing, and from the way he claws at her, fingers likely leaving angry red lines, so does he.
Then, from one breath to the next, there is nothing.