Jon’s eyes drifted to her. Bev sat chained by her kennel, rocking on her haunches, and staring at him like he was a stranger. She wants to kill me.
He let his gaze move to the willow by the gate. He still remembered the summer when they met; he’d had to peel his locked eyes away from hers. Now, not so much. She was gone. For good.
He made his way to the tree, ignoring her grunts at his side. Two years ago, we’d have been trimming this together. He remembered her hands on his, guiding his movements; showing him how to prune the branches back for maximum growth. As if that matters now. As if any of it matters now.
He kept pruning. Branches fell away, young shoots merging with the old in a pile beneath. Slowly, the willow's old form began to return, beautiful against the flowering ivy of the walls. It was starting to look like home again, and he liked it. He felt his heart warm, as it always had, working in the garden.
Bev's grunts penetrated his filter. “Gahn. Gahn!” More: “Jahn! Jon?” This was no grunt. She was speaking!
He flinched, eyes locking with hers.
“Jon! Oh God, Jon! You’ve come back to me!”