Fading Pictures

One

"I love you," she whispered in his ear before gently kissing him on the lips.

"I love you, too," he answered, hugging her one last time. She smelled like shampoo… he smiled. If only she knew, he thought, if only she knew how much I really love her.

"I'll see you later," she said before turning away and getting in her car. She blew him another kiss from inside before driving away.

That was the last time he ever saw her.

-X-

Marc sat down in shock. He was in his fiancée's living room, but it was Raven who was telling him what happened. Kim's parents were in their bedroom, talking quietly and comforting one another.

"No…" he said weakly, putting his head in his hands. "No…"

Raven, whose eyes were red and puffy from crying, sat down next to Marc, trying to comfort him as best she could.

"I'm… so sorry…"

Marc looked at her, his own eyes filling with tears. "She can't be dead," He said. "She can't be. I just saw her yesterday."

She smelled like shampoo.

He looked away from Raven and felt the news start to sink in. He'd never see her again. Never see her beautiful green eyes… never kiss her soft lips… He felt as if his heart was being torn apart; he needed to get out of here or he would explode. Hatred, loathing, misery, hopelessness… it was all getting to be too much.

He'd killed her. I'll kill him. I swear to God, I'm going to kill him.

"Marc?" Raven asked. He hadn't realized he'd stood up and his hands were now fists. "Marc, what are you doing?" Her tone was one of alarm and fear.

"I'm going out."

"Then I'm coming with."

Marc said nothing as he and Raven got into his car and drove off. The ride was silent, both absorbed in their own misery and swirling thoughts. Before he knew where he was going, Marc realized that they had driven to The Lounge, the only decent bar in Minneapolis. Hell, they were of age. And they both needed a drink. Both got out of the car, and went inside.

"I'll have whatever you've got," Raven said to the bartender.

"I'll have anything that's strong," Marc said. They sat down on the stools and waited as their orders were served to them. "Cheers." Marc said tonelessly. They clinked their glasses and drained their drinks.

"Round two." The bartender said, serving them up more alcohol. Within an hour, both Raven and Marc were drunk, but both had achieved what they had come to do- at least dull the searing pain of losing a best friend and fiancée.

Green eyes…

Marc downed another drink. He slammed the empty flask down on the bar and looked over at Raven, who was giggling. Marc didn't know what was so funny, but he joined in, his laughter mingling in with hers and soon they were both in fits of pee-your-pants laughter. After it had subsided, Marc looked at Raven.

"What the hell was that about?" He slurred. Raven simply shook her head. Marc realized that he'd never really noticed how pretty she was. He must have been staring, because before he knew it, Raven had leaned forward and kissed him.

And he was kissing her back.

They are in 9th grade, coming back from pep band. Kim is sitting on Marc's lap and has her arms around his neck. She is laughing, and he has his face buried in her shoulder. They have only been dating for two months, but Marc thinks that he is falling for her. Hit with a sudden urge to kiss her, Marc kisses her check. Kim turns her head towards him and puts her mouth on his, kissing him as if it is her first time to do so.

Marc drew away as the sober part of his mind smacked him in the face with that memory. He was somber now and the tiny part of him that was still using reason sent waves of guilt washing over him.

Marc knew that Raven wasn't going anywhere, and he stood up. The room was spinning. After the room had stopped moving, he made his way over to the bathrooms, where he sat in a stall, but his face in his hands, and cried.

-X-X-X-