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“What? No. I need it now.” I hissed, leaning forward to get in a glare at his drooped head. “Like… Now, now. Not tomorrow, not in two hours. I cannot wait any longer!” My hands whipped as I spoke, replacing as much better speakers than my tongue with their brisk movements and jabs. I didn’t have time to wait, time was something valued, something I could never get back or reach for an inch further. “I have been very patient with you.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” His voice was faint, dreaded, almost luring a hint of pity from me.

“No, you’re not. I need it now. I know you have it.” My arm thrust outwards, fingers extending to bare my palm. There was a fatal silence in the air, all except the soft crashes of the waves and faint rush of the ocean pulling back from the sand, white caps rolling forward and dispersing upon the cover of beiges. He fumbled in his left pocket, eyes daring not to meet mine, resting on the dark greys of the water coruscating the hues of oranges and pinks from the melting canvas above. He looked like he wanted to cry, a jaw tightened.

“You really don’t have to do this… I hope you know that.”

“I know. Can you just give it to me?” I whined. I was growing impatient. His fingers would pinch upon something, his hand snaking out from his pocket to hold a gold ring. A simple, half-inch thick piece holding engravings of vines. No jewel or gem would be held in the casing of the metal, but something even more valuable, a date on the inside. I snatched it from his hand, his head finally veering to watch me push myself up from the thin grain beneath us and approach the body of water that almost seemed to be involved as well. Black eyes stalked, crawling up the rocky cliff side to get a better view. It felt as if I couldn’t breathe, my cheeks were burning, my face fading red from its milky complexion, breaths heavy to only raise my chest, and shove it back. My heart was thumping like a jackhammer against a clothed table, and I drew my arm back and tossed the ring into the water.

He flinched, I could feel it behind me, a recoil that turned his head and brought him onto his feet. Hands were tucked into the pockets of his jacket and he simply stood there basking in the overwhelming muteness, nodding to himself, and then turning back to the lacing of stairs that reached up the hill. Not one word left his mouth since, and then came the gut wrenching feeling. I snapped to him, my lips falling to speak a word but only a soft gust of air left them. I had run to the bay, splashing into the water, my legs searing through the frigid arms that would drag me forward to waist length. My skin seared in a consuming piercing as I leaned down, frantically searching for what I had just sacrificed. Hands whipped through, patting the ground, feeling around broken shells that nipped at my fingertips, eager for the smooth touch of the casted gold. I moved deeper, my heart racing, my skin numb, the sea luring me into the unknown, to the lost. Consumed entirely, my feet lifted, my legs kicking back and forth to keep me from inhaling a bitter, lung-dwelling water before I held what my chest could hold, diving deep beneath the waves that rose and fell. The tender release of the body, the gentle cradle of the water that washed the tension seething in the chest, a gentle left, and right in the bassinet. To drain my very energy before there was a fault, a suction, and a grab that tore me from the arms of the sea back further and further. My face had broken from the surface, my mouth parting to take a gasp of air and the frigid sheathe gathered. “Are you insane?!” He barked, throwing me onto the sand and kneeling down, propping me up and running a hand through my swells of dark locks that had collected a layer of sand upon them, clinging to the back of my neck. “Huh?! What the hell were you thinking? Are you trying to kill yourself?!”

“No!” I choked, shaking my head frantically, glancing between his face of widened eyes and furrowed brows “No! I just wanted to get the-”

“The ring back?” his voice was harsh, briskly spoken as he let go of my shoulders “And you decide after you throw it into the ocean?!” he watched my face fade blank, shocked. “You did this, Nikita! You! You can’t keep… keep on going regretting every damn decision you’ve made! That is the exact reason why we’re still here!” He was a bull that had been flashed red, resentment flowing through his mind. “Now what?! Do you regret killing her? Do you regret moving all the way out here to hide?!”

I stared at him, shivering beneath my skin. He had never snapped like this, he had never raised his voice before, and seeing him so exceedingly angry was faintly frightening. “No…”

The waves responded, rising with his displeasure and crashing down to foam at the shore. “We’re here because of your selfishness. Not mine, not anyone else’s. Yours.”

“… I understand that.”

“No. No, you don’t because you keep making these stupid decisions.” Blue orbs glanced down, his hand thrusting out towards the house that watched from the mend of the hill “Get inside before you freeze to death…”

And I followed, prying myself from the sand and hiking away, sinking into the welts that moved beneath my feet, grabbing at my ankles to only slow me down. I embarrassingly climbed up the stone stairs that snaked through the green field. I had nothing to say, I couldn’t even think of anything through how cold I was. It was an accident, I kept on reminding myself. I didn’t do it because I was jealous! She had taken what had originally been mine, she had planned and awaited my demise and that is why she never saw it coming, that’s why she was dead. And for him to act like he wasn’t a part of it? For him to act like a mindless dog who watched from the sidelines when he was the one who had given it to her! They were both plagued by sentiment, they were both inhaled by the mouth of intimacy and too blind to even realize their predicament. One ended up dead, and the other was alive and losing his mind. But, he found a woman to blame! Surely I did have her blood on my hands that never seemed to wash off beneath cold water, but I could paint over them, but him? He acts as if he was veiled, jaded, and tricked, he had lured her to me! He had spoken to her, and brought her to me! He left me to do the dirty work, and I did, and it was cleansing. For what he had said, ‘Intimacy is the murderer, not I!’. And what did I gain from it? A getaway out on a vacant island in the middle of the ocean? A boat? A house? Nothing of that mattered, I was given a lifetime of guilt, a lifetime of contrition. I knew what I had to do, but I didn’t have the belly to do so. To only dip my arms in the bucket of warm crimson. For now, I will love him like I said I would.

Notes