Sarah stared at Max as he smiled and reveled the truth. He was dead. The man who had violated her twice was well and truly dead. But was it real? "Are you sure it was him?" She asked her voice still shaking.
"He had blond hair and a black scratchy beard, Smelled like pot and cat piss and had three gold teeth. He also had a scar of some kind over his eyebrow so he didn't grow an eyebrow there." Max looked from the sky back to Sarah. "Sound like your devil?"
Sarah shook uncontrollably. He was really dead. He was gone from the world just like he should be. All those nights she wished he would disappear and she could finally know he was gone for good.
"I never knew the bastard was like that." Max said as he took a drink of the bottle. "I always knew he was a creep but never expected he was that bad." Max couldn't help but let a smile creep over his face. "The world really is a twisted thing." He muttered.
"How so?" Sarah asked quietly.
"The same bastard who got me into dealing drugs attacked you. He made you leave what you loved and put me on the path to be a murderer. Now we're both up here because of him and he's dead." He laughed again. "Just seems . . . Ironic. Like fate almost."
Sarah looked at the night sky above them, the stars shining dimly above their heads with the moon a slim crescent raining its shadowy light over the bright city. "I . . . I'm happy. I'm happy he's dead. I've never been happy that anyone was dead before but I'm so happy right now." She sobbed into her hands again. "Am I really that horrible?"
Max put a hand on her back. She flinched but didn't pull away as she had done many times before when someone touched her. "You're not a bad person. To be honest you don't belong up here." She gave the young man a curious look though her hands. "You've still got a life, now that the bastard is gone, you could leave and go on."
Sarah thought about it briefly. He was right. She came to kill herself because she couldn't live with the idea he would come back again and again but he was dead now. The thought of the bastard in her home still mad her feel sick but knowing he would never come back, that he had been killed in such a brutal way it felt right.
Max watched as a smile came to her face. "You are extremely pretty when you smile." He said. She turned to him and cast her eyes back down, her face flushing red. "You should smile more." He said taking the last sip of the bottle. With a heavy sigh he rolled the glass bottle to the far side of the roof. "So, do you still think you're going to do it?"
Sarah couldn't look up from the ground. She kept staring at the stone under her shoes, trying to think. Did she still want to die? The thought of that monster attacking her was still there, but there was also the scene she imagined of him being beaten to death, a scene she enjoyed. "I don't know." She said. "I'm scared to die, but I don't know what to do if I don't die. I had it all planned out."
Max nodded silently. "Yeah, I know." He whispered. "But then again that's what life is about, finding what you can do. At least you know you can go back to playing, maybe try singing again?"
"I don't know. I've never been able to sing very well since . . . since he attacked me." She said, trying not to tear up again.
"Sing for me." She jerked her head to face Max while he smiled back. "Please? I mean, I really would like to hear you, if ya don't mind." She actually saw the man blush a bit in the dark.
Sarah looked from him to the sky. She wasn't sure if she could sing, but he seemed so sad she couldn't help it. She tried to think of what to sing and remembered the last song she sang, the night before that vile monster raped her. She sang, starting low and quiet but her voice gradually rose to a higher volume and pitch. In a few lines she was back to how she had been once, her voice carrying over the rooftop with the grace of the wind. Rising and falling in tune with each verse and sound. She finished the little song with a smile on her face and tear on her eye. She didn't want to look in fear of being rejected but she turned to see Max's reaction.
The man was crying. He was smiling but his face was strewn with tears. "Damn." He breathed. "You are incredible." He leaned in a bit closer as the wind whipped over them both.
She blushed and turned away again. She looked back up to see him staring at her again. His eyes reminded her briefly of the man who hurt her but she saw something different in them. There wasn't the sight of madness or desire but something she couldn't quite place. Sarah felt herself drawn to him and leaned closer to him as well. They're faces were inches apart before Max stopped. His eyes changed, asking her something. She replied by pressing her lips to his and pressed back.
It wasn't like with her rapist. It wasn't forceful or powerful it was kind and gentle like she was made of glass and he was afraid of hurting her. She felt his hand come around her head and gently cup her head to his and she reached up to do the same. They held the kiss, their tongues briefly slipping before they pulled apart. She looked into his eyes and he looked back. She felt like a school girl having her first crush and kissing a boy on the playground.
They looked into each other for a long time before either of them could speak. "Tell me you won't die here tonight." Max asked in a quiet whisper.
Sarah nodded and held his face in her hands brining him in for another deep kiss. They shared that moment again, neither giving thought to anything outside each other. They parted lips again to breathe and look at one another again. Max shifted and carefully slipped his arms around her lightly and pulled her closer to him. She complied and laid her head into his chest. His heart was beating like a hummingbird going so fast she was afraid he might pass out. They lay like that for a while, just sitting in each other's arms, but I all had to end at some point.
"It's time for me to go." He whispered quietly to her. She knew what he meant and tightened her grip around his waist.
"Please don't. I'm not why should you?" She cried a little as she asked.
Max patted her head. "I'm not the same as you, I can't go back, I'm already a monster."
She hugged him tighter as he tried to peel her away. "No." She cried like a stubborn child. "We can work through it. I don't want to lose you."
Max was crying by now, his own eyes red and strained from tears. "I know you don't, but I can't go back, not after what I've done." He finally managed to force her up and to look at him. "I can't go on with the faces of those poor girls in my mind." He planted a light kiss on her forehead. "But I can leave knowing I helped you before I left."
She cried again and clenched his hand in hers. "Please Max. I-I don't want to lose you like this. We can make it work, we can explain to the police, it wasn't your fault."
He shook his head. "It was my fault. I killed those girls and I've come to terms with that. This story can't end well for me," He pulled her chin so she could look at him in the eye. "But your story isn't over yet. Promise me you'll make it a good one okay?" He was crying too and she couldn't do anything but nod in response before burying her face in his chest.
Max sat her down and stood up himself. He walked to the edge and didn't look before stepping to the stone ledge. He turned around and looked at Sarah. "Look away alright?" She nodded again and cast her eyes down. "Thank you Sarah, for listening to my story and telling me yours."
She didn't see him fall but she became aware he was no longer there. She never heard him hit the ground either, or if she did she blocked it out. She heard some people screaming a yelling but she didn't pay any attention and was too busy crying into her knees.
. . .
Sarah was in a club three weeks later. The first time in front of piano or crowd in a long time. She took a deep breath and walked out into the light. There was a round of applause as she took her seat and adjusted the microphone to her. She had planned on this night for some time and she had something to say first.
"Before I start, I just want to make a dedication." She said softly to the microphone. "This song is one I wrote myself and I dedicate it to a dear friend who isn't with us anymore." She could hear the audience shift in their seats. "It's because of him I'm here today and because of him I have this song. So I want to dedicate this song to him, and to all the others out there who left us so we could stay behind." She turned back to the keys of the piano and gently laid her hands on it.
"This is Angel on the Rooftop."
And she played.
Okay, I fell I need to explain a bit here. This story went through more changes than any other I've ever written. The original plot was for them to come to terms with their lives and end them together. Then they were going to both live on and work things out living happily ever after and I settled on this ending after a while since it felt right and had some hope in it while still being believable.
Guess I'm not a complete monster.