He is my best friend, we've known each other for years and he knows everything about me, except one thing....How I feel about him.
And now, he holds me in his arms, our eyes locked in a stare that seems to last forever. My lips are slightly parted and my breath quickens with each second that passes by. His eyes seem to search mine for an answer to a question he can't find the words, or maybe the courage to ask.
Then it breaks from his lips and he rests his forehead against mine, one hand tangled in my hair, holding my head against his, the other wrapped around my waist, crushing me against him as my knees go weak. "Why?"
He presses a hand to my tortured body and chokes back a sob.
The two of us are on the ground now, he sits on the pavement with me lying in his arms. I begin to shiver and he shrugs off his jacket with one hand, trying to wrap it around my shoulders.
"Why? Why did you do this? What possessed you? How could I let this happen?" his voice breaks and I feel tears prickle in my eyes. "I...I'm sorry." I gasp as I cling to his shirt. "I didn't...mean for it...to end..this way." It hurts to even speak and so I reach up and touch his face, his lips, my hand slowly falling to my side.
"You told me you would do anything for me, but not this, not this Alli. I can't.... Alli why? I never told you...." his voice trails off as his warm tears splash onto my face. I lift my arm and cough into my sleeve, staring at the criss cross patterns of red that splash onto the white cashmere jumper I'm wearing. I don't have long, this moment won't last forever. "I did it because..." my body suddenly convulses as I slip deeper into shock. He lifts his hand from my stomach and he stares at the crimson liquid that trickles across his palm, his whole hand stained a deep red.
But.. I think fleetingly... at least he is safe, I did my job.
"Alli no, no please. Don't leave me! It should have been me" He rocks me back and forward in his arms. "It should have...should have been me..." he sobs as my eyes flicker, trying to close.
I struggle to keep them open, I have to find the strength, I have to tell him....
Both of us speak at the same time.
"You can't leave me because..."
"I did it because...."
"I love you."
I smile then as my body begins to shake uncontrollably and I cough, blood trickling out the corner of my mouth. My eyes close just as I hear the wail of an ambulance siren. "Over here!" I hear people shout. "She threw herself in front of the gun." "The shooter ran." "She's dying." "You can't let her die." "She saved her friend." "She got shot instead."