The couple drove into the parking lot of the nearest bank. Her boyfriend put the car in park. She kept her gaze down on her clamy hands, but that didn't keep his burning stare at bay. She felt it crawl up her side and into her brain, trying to cut the circuit of every last bit of her sanity.
"This is a matter of life and death," he said in his rough, matter-of-fact way.
"For him," she said back, still not looking at him.
One of his calloused hands encased hers and she watched him stroke her palm with his thumb. Her doubt subsided slightly as he sighed deeply like he always did when he touched her. He was her true medicine for survival, and she was his. She tried to remember that.
She heard herself say, "But he doesn't have to die."
He moved closer. She could feel his hot breath on her neck. "But he does, Darla. He does."
But Darla didn't understand. She turned her neck to look at him and remembered the first night she forgot about regret. It was with him, it was wrong, but it didn't have to end like this. She had no preconceived notions that her boyfriend was a man such as this. No red flag waived in the air from her common sense, nothing drove her away. Everything only drove her in, closer to him. Closer into this affair.
"Think about it," he said. "If we do nothing about this, we would only be killing him slowly, painfully. Does he deserve it? I don't know, but what purpose does he have now that he's lost you?"
She wondered if he, her husband, the man she was married to, really had a purpose still. She thought back to their wedding day; their wedding night. The night they gave themselves to each other for the first time, and to each other only. But that wasn't the case anymore, she knew that. The doubt still lingered on, though, no matter how much it was beginning to thin.
Brock, her boyfriend of two recent, passionate short months, kissed her. She let him work his hands around her shoulders, into her hair, behind her back. But she didn't let him have all of her. Not if her husband no longer had a purpose. Brock pulled away a minute later and asked her what was wrong. Darla didn't answer. She was too busy thinking about the first day she met her husband.
Knowing he was the man she was to marry was instantaneous. Despite his conservative neck ties, sweater vests, and trousers that were always a soft color of something, she loved him immediately. His love for her was no question, either. It still wasn't a question for him. Only for Darla. Two months ago she found herself fantasizing about a life other than one with her husband.
And why? She grew tired of all of the security, of all her husband had given her. She lived a content and peaceful life with a man she loved. It was in this stability that she found herself wanting more of something she wasn't sure of. That was when she met Brock; rugged, young, and strong.
He skated a rough hand down her arm and she looked back to him. He asked, "You've already done so much damage to him now, how much does he have left?" He turned around to check and see if the pistol was in the back. He then put the car in drive and slowed out of the parking lot. "Cheer up, Darla," he said. "It's all going to be okay. As soon as we do this for him. It's a matter of life and death, you know."
She nodded, but she wasn't sure why. Every muscle, every brain fiber, ever hair on her body was crying out in protest. He braked slowly on the car and told Darla to grab the gun in the back. She did as she was told. Brock stopped the car half a block from her husband's office. As if fate was a perverse master of coincidence, her husband stepped outside. Brock placed a hand on her thigh, a silent approval for what they had talked about doing for two months now.
He was fifty feet away and Darla gripped the gun with such chastity, with great determination, with pure doubt. Her husband had no quality of life left now that she had betrayed him so easily. And as her doubt mounted to a zenith she didn't think possible, she realized that she had even less than him.
Brock sighed and Darla stepped out of the car, the gun steadily rising up into the air of regret and decision. Rising into the the line of her quickening breaths that had a little less quality of meaning with each exhale.