A/N: One night I was talking to Riley J. Overton (fictionpress name) about a phrase that came to me and just stuck. So just for fun, we both composed drafts of a story based upon those words, which Riley J. Overton will probably post up here when the assigment is done. This is mine. Enjoy!
He felt her hand in his own; a fragile, diminishing line of pearl. But everything about her always was… Diminishing, warmth fading into something else, the incandescence left imprinted on his eyelids, the deep inhales of breath dwindling into nothing. He watched them spiral into the air, highlighting her body against the sheets, and he prayed silently for just one more day.
She would never forget what they had together.
Kissing her cheek in silence, he fell victim to the prose of her sleeping figure. All that he'd left there returned to be transformed into something else – but was it love, quietude, remorse, anything? She was as gentle as an engraving on glass, just as still, but the rondures of her skin made everything else appear jagged and sharp.
"Perseverance…" She whispered, and he smiled, reluming the dark corners of her mind, the valves in her heart (to diminish) straining with every breath. "Now that's one thing I've never forgotten."
He cleared a lock of hair away from her face, a stanza, disturbing the poetry that was her. She would look so beautiful in the pallor of that wedding dress. A goddess, if only she could remain for just a little while longer…
She will, he promised himself. Pretending is easy. It let him feel less like a human being, and more like a soul under her possession, a piece of jewelry caressing her neck. One day there wouldn't be anything to keep them apart.
He shut his eyes and waited until the next day, whispering "I know you haven't," as she cuddled close to his body, listening to his heart, trying to make her own organ follow this example. Just one more day, a few more hours, an allotment of seconds. "Not once."
Remembrance is a past tense he can't ignore. The isle was strewn with petals and rice, a lace of fecund seeds that seemed more transcending than appropriate. White is a dead color, meant only for ghosts, and she wondered why brideshad towear this adornment, but it was too late for questions. The music had begun, and so had she, walking down the isle toward the rest of her life.
He was still praying for one more day. Every voice in his head screamed that it wouldn't happen, her heart had grown too weak, that she could hardly maneuver down the pathway. He watched her footsteps dwindle, the way they were too clumsy to align themselves in front of her, and he prayed for just one more. Just one more step. Just one more miracle. Just this once.
She paused for breath after only twelve feet. The inches felt like miles and his bride was only moments away. They had insisted upon this,languor be damned, that she would die as a wife, whatever this was, because this was what they'd wanted, right? To love and be loved? To hold and care for one another?
Heaven could spare a moment for that.
Her cheeks etiolated to colorless landscapes, a shade that could have glowed in the sunlight if it weren't for her lack of health. He knew the lace must have felt heavier than chains, the gentle light of spring pummeling them like lead. He also knew that everything in his existence had only amounted to this, that the one woman he loved was, in reality, nothing more than a walking corpse. Or soon to be. Maybe heaven couldn't wait any longer, after all.
A few more steps padded nearer to the alter, bound in silk and a crippling disease, before she realized that she couldn't do it. Too much energy, and the world was falling away. Her knees gave out like earring clasps as the runner sank closer, a few gasps echoing from their spectators. His footsteps covered them all, too mesmerizing to be real.
"No, no don't," he whispered, latching his arms around her, tears sinking into satin. "We're so close…"
The beginnings of a chuckle etched her throat, but it would never make birth, aborted somewhere in her lungs, dying with her pulse. "It seems that something is always pulling us apart," She murmured, round lips carving intimate truths. His hands felt warm, yet chilling at the same time. Cold as bone.
"Five more minutes," he pleaded, eyes fogging with tears, the audience leaning over the sides of their benches like watchful birds. "One more moment, a second, anything." He needed that steady thrum of her pulse more than she did in the final seconds they had together, the slight washes of her blood through the channels of her body, tributaries filling with red.
The lace of the gown was a sickly white, and he knew that by the time he whispered, "Just this once…" She couldn't even feel his embrace -- lost to the Spring, the chapel, the flecks of rice, and him.
This life had always managed to slip through him in pieces. He felt it day by day, felt through it with the tips of his fingers, the essence of what was real. Everything was in constant motion and he wanted to pause and catch a piece for his own, treasure it, pin point why he felt like something had left him behind.
Then there was her.
She shuffled the cards with Vegas precision, young eyes flashing a chocolate brown. "Almost ready," she smiled, cutting the deck in two perfectly equal piles, spaced so very far from each other.
He quirked a brown as his arms folded across his chest, standing like a wall of strength. "Why do you do that?"
Words that were made of curiosity. Her eyes rose to meet his own, glittering with something he couldn't quite understand, flitting passed his comprehension. He wanted to capture it. Store it with those moments. He never wanted it to go away. "Why? Don't you believe?"
Scarecrows flutter when birds leave their perches; such was the case with his imagination, unable to stir on its own, somehow provoked by her constant questions. "You know that I don't."
"No matter," she shrugged, neatening the piles. One was all over the place, trying to slide in every which direction, and the other stood uniformly still, unwavering. "I just wanted to know."
"What's keeping us apart. It seems that there's always something…" Another gaze of hers nearly crumbled his defenses -defeat never took much. Not with her. Yet he prayed for their moments together to never end, or even if it was just one more day, a few more hours, an allotment of seconds... Anything. Where did these thoughts come from? "Please?"
Refusal to such a desperate plea was not even an option. "I don't think you'll find the answer in a deck of tarot cards."
"No, maybe not, maybe not even in this life…" she grinned, watching as he sat down before her, laying out the symbols in a simple spread. He wished she wouldn't wear that white sweater so much. The color didn't become her. Something aboutthe young womanwearing an empty shade was more depressing than funeral garb, his mind shadingthe lines of herformin illness."… But perhaps the one before."
He shook his head and gripped her hand, painting a loving expression across his face. These fragments were the ones that seemed to fly by, the shreds worth savoring, the ones that he'd prayed so hard for. Only small instants of contact - every minute they had together.
"Alright," he agreed. He treasured the way her face lit up with such vivid glee, studying the sweet curve of her lips as if he'd seen it somewhere before, glowing in the distance, shimmering like glass. "Just this once."