Serenity

Just something sappy I whipped up during my free time in the mornings.

The man lay on the pavement, soaked in water and blood. One of his hands was struggling to stop the wound in his abdomen but the blood kept trickling past, filling the air with a metallic tang. He had been shot; that was clear enough. His memories were blurring like his vision through the rain, but certain things stood out. A stroll. A tender kiss. A masked man and, in his hand, a gun. A scream. A bang. And that was all. The man let his hand drop to the floor. He knew he was dying-it was only a matter of moments. His gaze caught on an empty wallet a few feet from his face. It was his, but it had been full of bills just a few minutes ago. He let out a dry chuckle, but the act sent blood spraying from his mouth and brought on a fit of coughing. His stature, his place in society, his money…all was useless to him now. They hadn’t been able to protect him, and they themselves were the blight that had caused this. The sound of footsteps startled him from his reverie but, glancing up, he realized it was her.

Her sleeveless black dress was crumpled and sticking to her pale skin, soaked through with rain. Her shoulder-length blonde hair was weighed down with water, mascara running and lipstick long worn off. A bloodied hand clutched her shoulder, making the man flood with guilt. He shouldn’t have dragged her into this, shouldn’t have let her get hurt…

The man couldn’t help but feel that, despite her frazzled appearance, she was the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen. The woman met his gaze and, seeing the blood around him, let out a strangled cry and rushed to his side. Her small, delicate hands tried unsuccessfully to stop his wound, but the man just shook his head.

“I’m dying, Liz.”

The woman clamped her hands over her mouth, trembling violently.

“No…no. This-can’t be-”

The man took one of her hands and held it in both of his, eyes suddenly shining with excitement.

“Can I ask you one last thing? I’d meant to ask later tonight, but seeing as how there’s been a change of plans…”

He said it with a lop-sided smile, though the woman had let her hand drop from her face, biting her lip.

“S-sure.”

The man reached into his suit’s pocket and pulled out a small, now-disheveled velvet box. He held it out on his open palm, other hand still holding the woman’s.

“I won’t live to see the day, but Elizabeth Alice Birmingham,” he said, clearing his throat, “Will you marry me?”

 The woman let her tears out, sobbing while a smile blossomed on her lips.

“Yes. Yes, I will marry-”

Her voice choked up and she threw herself into the man’s arms, crying into his shirt. His arms instantly surrounded her, gently stroking her back. She breathed his scent, realizing that it may be the final time she ever would. She felt her hand being taken again and looked up to see the man slipping a diamond-studded ring on her finger.

“It’s beautiful.” she breathed, her voice melancholy.

“Not as beautiful as you, Liz.” the man whispered back, running his hands over hers.

His touch faltered and when the woman glanced at him, eyes fearful, his face was contorted in pain.

“I love you." he said, so quietly that his words were nearly lost to the downpour.

And, just like that, his shuddering breaths stopped and he fell limp, eyes glazing over. The woman desperately felt for a pulse, felt for his steady heartbeat, but…nothing.

“No! No-"

Liz broke into sobs again, but silently. Each tear rolled down her cheek without the slightest sound, blending into the rain still falling. The sound of footsteps echoed in the alley for the second time that day and, when Liz looked up, she was met with the barrel of a gun. She had had only enough time to close her eyes before bullets and blood rained onto the pavement again, and she fell back into the arms of her beloved.

The End

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