She couldn't let go. Her soulmate… And another, more violent, sob erupted from her lips while the policeman called for backup.
I woke up with a start, sweating and my breathing labored. Such a vivid dream… I patted the bed beside me, reaching for Josh for reassurance. But he wasn't there. Then I heard quiet voices and knew he must be out in the kitchen. The aroma of bacon filled my nose and had my mouth watering. He was such a good guy, always doing cute little sweet things like breakfast in bed. I remembered the day he had taken me for a walk through the park and picked me a bunch of daisies, my favorite flower. They were framed out in the living room, always a reminder of one of our many wonderful days together.
Quietly, I hopped out of bed planning to sneak up on Josh. This morning I was a mess but I knew Josh wouldn't care. As I tiptoed out the bedroom door and down the hallway I realized there was more than one voice. My eyebrows furrowed in puzzlement, who was here at this hour? It was seven a.m. I regretted not cleaning up but turned the corner anyway into our small living room.
My mother, twin sister, Josh's parents and little brother, along with a policeman were all waiting. Most of them sat on the couch but the mothers were cooking breakfast for everyone. I noticed Josh's mom, Maggie, had tear streaks on her face along with her youngest son, Austin who was only twelve.
"What's going on everybody?" All their heads snapped up to look at me. Danny, my sister, jumped up and rushed over to me. Her bone crushing embrace had me gasping for air.
"Oh, I'm so sorry V," she said, her voice all wobbly.
I pulled away from her. "Sorry for what? Hey, where's Josh?"
I felt six pairs of eyes staring at me. "What, why are you all looking at me that way?" I asked looking at all of them in turn.
My mother, Sylvia, came over to me as Danny took her spot on the couch again. I looked around nervously at everyone and noticed the policeman again in the background. He looked very uncomfortable and kept shooting worried glances at me.
"Honey…" my mother started. She had a sad glint in her eyes that I'd only seen before when my father had died. Who died now? Suddenly an anxious sick feeling hit me and I had to fight to stay standing. Josh…
"Where is Josh?" I asked, my voice strained.
"He, um, Vanessa… Josh is dead. You were there, don't you remember?"
I could feel everyone staring at me but nothing mattered at that moment as memories flew through my mind. Coming back from the coffee house, walking down the street in the snow… Then a man, taking Josh and holding him against a knife, slitting his throat and running away. The blood stained snow seeping into my clothes and feeling colder than ever as I held my dead soul-mate in my arms. A policeman yelling in the background and talking into his radio as I sobbed…
It all came rushing back and this time I did collapse. I fell to the floor and felt strong arms on either side of me lifting me up into an armchair, Josh's favorite where he used to read for hours on end.
The thought had me bawling my eyes out. He'd never be here again, never be with me ever again. I'd never be able to hold him or say I love you again. Never able to walk in the park and pick daisies together, hear his laugh and sarcastic remarks that I've always loved so much. He'll never be here to brighten my day with a single smile again, holding me in his warm embrace and cuddling under the blankets on a particularly cold day. We'd never have one of our all-day movie days again where we watched any good movie we could get our hands on… I'd never see him again.
I cried and cried for I don't know how long. My heart hurt, my lungs burned, and my eyes were swollen but nothing could stop the tears. Distantly I heard the policeman leave, telling Josh's father that they'd call if there was any new information on who'd done it. On the man who ripped away my everything just for the money in my purse and the anger in his heart… I hoped he rots in hell.
There was a warm hand rubbing my back and a mug of hot chocolate set in front of me. The hot chocolate just made me cry harder when I remembered all the times Josh had made me hot chocolate, going out of his way to get the mini marshmallows that I loved so much and couldn't find anywhere.
My tears were dwindling and all I wanted to do was crawl in a ball and pass out, then wake up to Josh next to me. When I realized the last part wasn't going to come true I cried some more before going to the couch and trying to fall asleep. My eyes were heavy and drooping but suddenly I didn't want to close them. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw red stained snow and a retreating black figure laughing while I cradled Josh.
Apparently my body couldn't take it anymore because it shut down by itself and drifted into a deep sleep. Why couldn't I be Sleeping Beauty? Where I slept forever until my true love came and kissed me awake? Then I wouldn't have to live without Josh and honestly, what's the point of living without love?
I slept and dreamt of red snow falling from the sky that turned into rain and washed Josh's body away from me. I ran to catch him but just when I was about to grab onto him, I fell, falling into a deep, dark, cold hole that finally let me drift off into nothingness, sleeping peacefully.