All I saw was the light vanish from Victor Reed’s eyes as he collapsed into a small heap with Cora clutched close to his body. Despite how weak he appeared, he had Cora locked in quite the grip, probably trying to protect her from me. I knew this before she struggled a bit in his arms before she released herself. When she crouched low beside him once again, even in the darkness I could see a stray tear roll down her cheek. I watched her swallow the lump in her throat. I wanted to comfort her so badly, but I felt as though that would only make matters worse.
When she spoke, I never realized then how much I missed her voice.
“I know it’s you. I know what you did, and you’re going to pay.” Cora sounded full of menace. I could tell she was serious about her warning.
Even though it was only me and I intended no harm, I took the one step towards her and placed my hand on her shoulder. She flinched at my touch.
“Cora, it’s me. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Once my words were out in the open, it was a tidal wave crashing down on a tiny village on the east coast. Cora had unraveled and was cradled in my arms in seconds.
“Oh, Alex, I can’t believe it, he’s gone…” She cried into my chest; I held her tighter when her body started to shake with her sobs.
“I know, I know.” I kissed her forehead.
“I said so many bad things, Alex, and I can’t take them back… I just hope he knows that I’ve always loved him.” I felt her fingers scratch my skin.
“He knows, Cora.”
After what felt like an eternity, she turned her heart-shaped face up towards mine and planted a shy kiss on the edge of my jaw. She peeked at me through her long eye lashes, and I couldn’t help but notice that they were still brimming with tears. It warmed my heart to feel her wrap her arms around my neck and hug me closer. I’d never been in such an intimate embrace. It made my heart race and I felt childish for being uncomfortable, but it was also something I never wanted to forget.