That’s What They Always Say

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That’s What They Always Say

By Amanda Charowsky

She loved him.

She loved the way he looked tonight, she loved his slow, relaxed movements. She loved the way his eyes reflected off the flickering lights of the chandeliers. She loved him, even with the way he was looking at her right now, as if he were about to lunge and rip out her jugular, tear her body into shreds. Her blood would splatter across the walls, it would drip down his neck, and he would look holy. She loved when he looked holy, like an angel, trapped in stained glass, traveled from heaven.

She loved him.

“Do you trust me?” The chandelier died again as he spoke, and his voice was hollow, echoed off the empty walls like a scream. Snow still fell outside, and a thin, delicate coat of frost covered the window behind him. He didn’t wait for her response, and his eyes met hers as he lit a candle, flames appearing out of nowhere.

“Yes,” it came out before she could stop it, before she had the chance to bite down, puncture and kill it. “With everything I have.”

That came out, too.

He smiled— emotion never reached his eyes. But she loved that smile, as much as she loved him. “Of course you do,” he sighed, “they always do.”

“They will never love you as much as I love you.” He was her sun and stars, he created the world and held it over his shoulders. He was her beginning.

“Of course you do, they always do.”

He stepped closer, only once, but it felt as if he stood right next to her. “How much do you love me, Alice?” He stopped, frozen, and the light came back for a split second, before it was gone.

“More than-”

He was tired, “More than you love yourself.”

She never loved herself, or at least she never remembered if she did.

“Am I your sun and stars, Alice?”

“They don’t shine as brightly as you.”

“Am I the center of your universe?”

“The universe, the world, the galaxy.” Anything and everything.

He was closer, now, but she couldn’t see exactly how he was looking at her, she just felt it, natural and raw. All she wanted was for him to look at her. “Am I your beginning, Alice?”

Their bodies pressed together, yet there was a space she couldn’t close, couldn’t fill. It fell out of her grasp whenever she tried to sew it shut. He was so far.

Stay close to me, forever, she thought.

His fingers cupped her face, hand outstretched over her jaw. He raised her chin, had her stare at him.

“Am I your end?”

“No,” she reached up to touch his chest, tried to find his beautiful, beating heart. “You are my forever.”

He gave her a sad smile, “That’s what they always say.”

That’s what she always thought.

She loved him.

“I want you to count, Alice.” The balcony rail rode up her back— half her body in limbo, half in his arms. “I want you to count how many kisses I give you. Close your eyes and count.”

“One.” Her cheek. His lips were cooler than outside.

“Two.” Her neck. His breathing rang in her ears.

“Three.” Her hand, her wrist. They were no longer parts of her body.

He whispered, “Good, Alice. Very good.” He didn’t pull away, thank god. “Count again.”

She loved him.

“Three.”

She loved him.

“Two.”

She loved him.

“One.”

She loved —

He was gone.

The ground was underneath her, the old, dirty red carpet. The sky, the wall was above her. The old ceiling, paint chipping away, cracks scattered across the surface. Something wet pooled underneath her shaking body, cradled her head, soft like a pillow. She was warm, when all she felt around him was cold.

She loved him, though.

He and the light returned at the same time.

He was fully saturated, and he was so beautiful, empty and carved from marble, gilded gold. He stood over her, and she loved the way he looked at her.

“Do you love me?” He asked.

It was hard to speak, hard to breathe. She tasted blood, and it reminded her of kissing him.

“With everything I have.”

She could’ve sworn he grinned, and his face turned to stone.

“That’s what they always say.”

 

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