Falling Into Place
He followed her gaze. "You used to believe in all that."
She turned around. "Until I lost you."
"I'm here now… you gotta believe. No one's going to get to you unless they go through me."
"That's what Scott said and look what happened to him. Dammit, it's not fair!"
"I'll believe for the both of us. We'll get through this together." He pulled her into his protective embrace. "Remember that first book I got for you? That author friend of mine?"
"I still have it. I couldn't part with it. I couldn't lose you again."
"That's a very special book. One of the first off the presses and autographed." He turned her around to see her face.
"Her first love left her at the altar for some stupid reason that I can't remember." She stared at the buttons of his shirt, unable to meet his gaze. "Two years later, she fell in love with another guy and married him. She finds out that her husband murdered her first love because he was a criminal. I wasn't expecting that ending." She looked up.
"Don't look at me like that. I didn't kill Scott. You know I didn't do it."
"I don't know anything anymore." She absently twisted a strand of hair near her left ear.
He knew her nervous gesture. "They think you're dead. You have to stay that way for now."
She glanced at her empty ring finger. "Like you?"
The accusation ripped into his heart. "I had to protect you."
"Don't you dare walk away from me again."
"I'm sorry – I had to do it that way."
"Ten years Travis. That was ten years ago!" She punctuated each word with a poke at his chest. "Our twelfth anniversary is today or don't you remember?"
"I remembered Kathy. I had no choice. The only option."
More pokes. "They said you died. I mourned you for five years!"
"You had Scott. He was there for you."
"I wanted you… I needed you… I wanted to die… I almost did." The anger was gone. Sadness took its place. She leaned against him for support as she watched the clouds cover the stars.
He moved his hands down from her arms and placed his palms lightly on her abdomen. In the past, this soothed her when she was upset.
She pushed his hands away. "Please don't."
"You're shaking – what's wrong?" Unsure what to do, he shoved his hands into his pockets.
She leaned forward and grabbed the windowsill. "Travis, you never should have come back. You should have stayed dead."
"You don't mean that, Kathy. I want to hold you… only if you want. Dammit Kathy, talk to me. I'm here now."
"For how long… before you abandon me again?" She looked at the stars that had peeked through the clouds.
"If you tell me to leave, I will."
"How long will you stay away?"
"Don't make promises –"
"I won't keep. I'll keep this one."
She took several deep breaths to calm her shaking slightly. She turned around and sat on the edge of the windowsill, her right arm around her midsection. She stared at her muddy boots. "The day you died… I drove to the hospital… it was raining so hard… I was crying… I didn't see…"
"Didn't see what?"
She looked up and saw something flicker across his face. It was gone when she blinked back her tears. "No one told you?"
"Kathy, you're not making sense. I don't know what happened to you after I disappeared. I couldn't…" The words died in his throat when a haunted look appeared on her face.
A low whisper. "You never followed up?" Her lower lip quivered.
"No. I didn't dare. If I saw you… we'd both be dead. I know I should have, but I couldn't."
She focused on her boots. "I woke up at the hospital a few days later. I don't remember how I got there. All I know is that I was in a car accident…"
"Kathy, look at me."
She looked up and held his questioning gaze. "Travis, the doctor said that he was sorry that he couldn't save our baby."
He took a step back. "Our baby?"
She grabbed his arm. "Yes, our baby." She pulled him toward her.
He couldn't look at her. Not now. "If I knew…"
"I know you'd come back." She wiped his tears. The first time she had seen him cry. He didn't shed any tears at his mother's funeral even though they were very close.
He brushed her lips with his. His gesture of thanks.
A shot in the dark. Glass shattering. A body falls.
Darkness clawed at her, pulling her down. Realization dawned on her as she whispered, "The end –"