Before You

"The bathroom's that way," Henry pointed, indicating the door at the other end of the shop. He had wanted to take her to the hospital, but she had refused, and so he had brought her to the liquor store so that she could clean herself up. It was early and the store was empty, except for the two of them and the bottles and bottles of alcohol that lined the shelves.

"Thanks," she said, turning towards the door. "I won't take long. Do I really look bad?"

"Just wash your face, and maybe your hair," he answered wryly. As she disappeared into the bathroom, he folded his arms and leaned against the counter, still trying to ignore the throbbing hangover in his head, the nausea building in his stomach. She seemed so desperately familiar, and yet so unreachable, as thought placing her were like finding a star in the sky. The memory of a woman, yellow hair floating in a cloud of bitter darkness, came to him, but he shook it away.

When she reappeared a few minutes later her skin was clean and translucent, and her hair free of the red stain, was brushed to the side of her face. The dark bruises and dirty, ripped velvet of her blouse stood out in stark contrast against her pale body. "I think I have some extra shirts in the back," he offered, turning to the closet at the back of the store, and she followed him expectantly. He pulled out a plaid shirt and handed it to her. "Will this fit?"

"Maybe," she replied, and lifted the torn blouse over her head. The skin on her torso was even paler than her face; her lithe body curved daintily to the waist. "You're beautiful," he sputtered, before he could stop himself, and, magnetically, he pulled her towards him, pressed her against his chest, knowing only that he needed her more than he needed to know who she was.

She didn't push him away, didn't say no. As their lips met he felt a fire stirring deep within himself. He pressed a hand to her bare back and ran his fingers between her breasts, and he felt as though he were melting into her, as though this were meant to happen. She tangled her fingers in his hair and moaned quietly, "Oh...Jake..."


She froze, and pushed him away, nearly doubling over from the burst of memory. She heard the gunshot, the crack of wood, and her own screams as his body tumbled into the dark water. She swooned, and he caught her, but she felt nothing, nothing except for the agony of the memory.

"WHERE IS HE?" She screamed. "Where's Jake? What happened to him?"

"Shhhh..." he tried to calm her, but she was struggling violently. "You did this to him! You! I'll kill you!" She clawed at his face, his chest, and her fingers brushed against his pocket and hit something hard. She reached in, pulled out a gun, and pointed it at his head.

"What happened to him?" She yelled, clicking the safety off. Henry stared at her. His heart was pounding with fear, and with desire, and yet he could remember nothing.

The End

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