Finally, here is my newest story, Two For One, formerly Two, Two, One. This has been a difficult story to write, and it's been a very difficult time for me. However, I will leave writing about all the stuff that's going on after my story, so, should you so wish, you can skip it easily. But, either way, please read this and comment, it would mean a lot to me, considering the amount of effort and my soul I've put into this piece in particular. It is easily my best story yet, so read it, you will not be disappointed, I promise.
Two For One
Thank you to darksuicune, hunterkiller123, and Lugiasian for their help and contribution to the writing of this story. I appreciate all your support and your effort.
This story is dedicated to Her, my entire inspiration for this story, and indeed, my inspiration to get up every day, and live. I love you, and I always will. Tu auras toujours un endroit dans ma coeur. Tu es ma raison d'etre, ma coeur, mon esprit, m'ame; Moi, tout le moi. Merci. Je t'adore.
Bode Prince roared in anger as he slowly advanced into his home. It had taken a few moments for him to take it all in. It had taken a few moments to realise his home had been ransacked.
“Oh…” A softer cry behind him turned him around. Despite the sad features on the beautiful face, he smiled softly. It was that face that had bewitched and enchanted him many months ago. It was that face he had since fallen in love with, it was that face which he now loved and knew so well, and it was that face he was soon going to marry.
All the destruction was forgotten as he slowly approached her; the books, sprawled on the floor, the broken china, the overturned furniture, the ruined carpet, the shattered crystal, all forgotten as he took her in his arms.
“Grant will pay…” he muttered under his breath.
“Shh… You don’t know it was him,” the soft voice returned.
“Look around,” Bode said bitterly, casting his eyes over the ruins of his home. Everything was a mess, a shadow of what it had been just hours before. His weeks of work, weeks of writing, were torn and tattered, covered with ink. His wardrobe of clothes had been raided, and at least a quarter of his finest clothes were missing. His wooden bookshelf was in pieces on the ground. Books had had pages torn out from their spines. His beloved hat lay flattened on the ground in front of him, saturated with dust and dirt. He was still in shock, the inability to accept what had happened coupled with his incomprehension. This was extreme, even for Grant.
“Look there.” He pointed. “All the reason you need.”
As the girl turned, she knew Bode’s words held reason. The mirror reflected her perfect features flawlessly. She turned her head, closed her eyes and sighed sadly. How had it come to this? Bode kept his eyes on the mirror, now reflecting her beautiful hair.
As she struggled to comprehend it all, the chaos and the destruction, some part of her was innately uneasy, and she could not calm it. She contented herself with silence and rested her forehead against Bode’s savagely beating heart.
Bode held her tightly, feeling her warm breath and comforting touch through his shirt. This evening hadn’t gone as planned. And yet, he reflected, it wasn’t all bad. For he still had her; his mind, his soul, his heart; his whole. That was all he needed.
“It’ll be alright Lucy… It’ll be alright. I love you…”
Between her affirmative sigh and his warm embrace, neither noticed the ace of clubs wedged in the remains of his table; the calling card of the local gang.
* * *
“What foolery is this?!” Grant roared, striding through the double doors of the bar. With powerful arms he knocked aside a wooden chair in his path, sending it crashing noisily into a small man at a side table. Boldly he confronted Bode, lifting him up easily from his seat, and turning him to look at him squarely in the eyes. “What are you up to now?” he demanded angrily. His piercing green eyes bore holes into Bode. “One moment I’m sleeping and the next I hear you’re accusing me of destroying your house! As if I didn’t have anything better to do!” he sneered.
Bode rose from his seat slowly, to the inspection of every man in the bar. Grant was a big man, easily bigger than Bode, but he refused to be intimidated by that. As he turned, he checked himself, dusting off his black leather jacket. He leaned on the counter casually, brushing his cowboy hat aside as he did so. Despite his smaller stature, Bode Prince could never be taken lightly. His relaxed posture concealed his solid frame. “Grant, perhaps you were sleeping off a hangover, but I can guarantee the people of this town that you were drunk and in my house last night whilst you were so,” Bode smirked, and he tapped the metal of his belt to make a ringing sound. “Wakey, wakey.” The bar’s inhabitants laughed. Grant’s recent tendency to drink heavily was one known well by everyone; the gossip of the town.
Grant refused to be baited. “As if your word meant anything at all,” he replied. “You think too highly of yourself, Bode. What arrogance makes you think I’d bother with you?”
“The confidence,” Bode corrected, “with which I made Lucy mine.” He paused, his trump card played, grinning. “The confidence you never had.” He smiled, lifting his head slightly to gaze at Grant’s face, fast becoming redder and redder. “And yet you say you have no reason. As if she weren’t reason enough!” He declared triumphantly, raising one finger into the air. The bar rested silently.
Bode chuckled softly, like the purring of a cat poised to strike. Slowly, deliberately, he tucked his shirt in neatly. As though that makes him any more respectable, Grant thought. Running a hand through his blond hair, Bode cocked his head, and fixed his gaze once more on Grant, a bemused face, yet one lined with the deadliest malice in those dark eyes. Slowly, his arm came down. Just as slowly, and more subtly, his face changed from that of malice to a taunting face. The corners of his mouth lifted and his lips parted to reveal a line of perfectly even, serrated teeth. His eyes narrowed, yet kept their mocking gaze, as though daring him to act.
When he spoke, his voice was something different entirely. It was no longer the hard voice of a lion, but the soft, menacing voice of a serpent, and twice the venom. Slowly the finger continued to come down, past the large features of Grant’s square and unkempt face, to stop lightly on his chest. “Do you… miss her, Grant?” Bode leaned back on one leg and crossed his arms carelessly, smiling a wretched smile. “Do you miss her touch? Feeling her warm breath on your skin in the morning? The soft touch of her weightless body on you at night? Her mere, magical presence? Her laugh, her smile, her happiness, do you desire this, Grant? Do you desire her once more?” Bode laughed, a shrill laugh which would have made the king of beasts shiver. His voice had become deadly quiet, with a mocking tone, almost as though he was talking to a child, torturing it, forever keeping its toys away. Slowly, he shook his head. “Tsk, tsk, Grant.” He grinned. “It’s too late. You can never have her now… Do you remember her kiss, Grant, can you recall that? Well whenever you do from now on, think of me, won’t you?” Bode’s voice became that of a pitying woman, but there was nothing caring in this voice. “Think of me, kissing her, Grant. Her body against mine… Her tongue in m-“
“SHUT UP!!!” Grant roared. Despite his large bulk, all the locals knew Grant had hidden speed as well as power. Before Bode could react, Grant had fired two hooks into his right cheek. The impact sent him sprawling to the floor. Bode skidded across the wooden planks to a sudden stop as his upper back impacted against the wooden panels on the wall. Small cracks formed in the wood, such was the impact. Bode shook his head groggily and reached out to put his hand on his back, but before he could attempt to rise, Grant had crossed the floor in four huge strides, and raised him up above the ground with one hand by the scruff of his neck.
Slowly, Grant lowered Bode slightly until he was at his eye level. The height difference meant Bode was still off the ground. Grant glared ferociously into the dark eyes of Bode. For a few seconds, he held him there, still and silent, breathing breath smelling of alcohol into his face. Carelessly, he dropped him, and Bode collapsed at the feet of Grant.
“Yes, you took her from me,” he began. Taking off his hat, he ran a strong hand through his messy dark hair. When he replaced his hat, he found he could not pick his head up. Instead, he stared down with a strange blank intensity at Bode. “You took her from me, Bode. The one girl I loved more than anyone or anything in the world. I cared more about her than I did myself. You took Lucy away from me, but only through the darkest treachery! You are no man,” he declared, pointing one thick finger at Bode below him, “but a mere shadow of manhood. You corrupted her against me!”
“Hahaha.” Bode looked up slowly at Grant, yet beyond his hazy eyes there was a deep hatred, emanating from him through that laugh. Slowly, he got to his feet. Grant did not stop him. He waited before he was sure his voice would carry him before speaking. After many long seconds, he looked up at his taller foe. “Hahaha,” he laughed once more, this time shaking his head as he did so.
“No, Grant, no. You have always failed to understand, and you continue to flail in your refusal to accept and comprehend. I did not steal Lucy Waters from you,” he said. Slowly, he began to circle Grant tightly. “You,” he recommenced suddenly, jabbing one finger hard into Grant’s spine. Grant didn’t move. “You lost her. It’s all… Your… Fault,” he drawled, lengthening every syllable as he came around to face Grant once more. He shrugged as though these matters were of no real concern or importance. “I am better than you, Grant, in every way,” he said lightly, standing on his toes to almost match Grant’s height.
“You can never have her again.”
“Do not mention her!” Grant snapped, closing his eyes, squeezing them shut violently as though in pain, and in a psychological way, he was in the deepest pain, his heart pierced and ripped and torn and burning, and he felt not words nor expression nor feeling nor anything could ever express the magnitude of what he was feeling. It was pain beyond pain, beyond the realms of imagination.
Slowly, his eyes opened as his heart slowed down along with his breathing. He was confronted by the face of Bode inches from his. He smiled softly, and with two fingers on each of Bode’s shoulders, pushing him down so that he could no longer stand on his toes to reach Grant’s height. “In all your arrogance you bask, Bode,” Grant resumed finally, “but when that bubble is burst, when someone takes Lu- her from you in turn, then, then you will understand.”
Bode nodded. “You would know, wouldn’t you?” he sneered.
Grant merely shook his head. It was clear to him now, that until such a moment came, Bode would never understand how it felt. Bode did not understand people, that much was certain.
Bode raised his head and opened his mouth suddenly. He left it hanging for a moment. When he closed his, he laughed. And he laughed continuously, even daring to pat Grant on the shoulder. Their eyes met once more. He shook his head slowly, in mock amazement. Or maybe it was real. “Despite all your… Noble talk, you and I both know that Lucy will always hold a place in your small heart…” Bode began to pace up and down in front of Grant. When he opened his mouth to speak once more, he wagged his finger at Grant. “I have hit the mark, have I not?”
Bode laughed again, and bowed. As if he was a gentleman, and an honourable one at that!
From his silent pacing, Bode stopped mid-step. Only his head turned to face Grant, one slow, slithering movement. Bode smiled, tasting blood.
“You still love her,” he concluded triumphantly
Grant guffawed as he broke into a fit of laughter, roaring as though Bode was on fire. “That was your great inspiring vision?” He asked, incredulous, much to Bode’s bewilderment. He broke down once more, laughing. “As if that gives you victory,” he snorted derisively. “I am over Lucy, Bode.” He continued before the other could speak. “But I don’t expect you to understand that. Never did understand people and emotions did you? Well,” he finished, “I wash myself of this matter.” He sighed. It is done. Finally. But despite what he wanted to believe, Grant Jones knew all too well in his heart, the turmoil and the pain was far from over. It would never be over.
Grant turned to leave.
“Wash all you want, your foul odour will never disappear,” Bode called. Grant froze, as if disbelieving that Bode would not let it rest. Not that it surprised him. Weasel. “You will not escape punishment of what you did yesterday so easily; Grant. The people demand justice.”
What would you know of Justice? The sceptical face of Grant burned the question. Bode ignored it. “And so, I, Bode Prince, challenge you, Grant Jones,” he spat, “to a duel, tomorrow at dawn, on this very road,” he informed, pointing outside. “Pistols only, if you dare.” He paused, raising his eyebrows. “Unless you wish the town to be informed of the coward you truly are!” he declared.
In unison the gaze of the bar turned slowly to rest on Grant; ears poised for every word expected in reply. Not a person moved, everything was frozen as the reply was waited upon. Grant took a long time to do so. Thoughts ran through his head like wildfire. He didn’t need to commit to this. But then, he did. If he lost? If he won? He shook his head slightly, lost in a torrent of thought, consuming him like wildfire. He would not win, either way. He could only lose. As would Lucy, whatever the result. She would lose the most, ultimately. She had been genuinely sorry to leave him, he believed her when she said that. But Bode had been… What was it she had said?
“He’s just… Such a special person, this aspect of him that I’ve seen, and… What am I supposed to do, Grant, what am I supposed to do?” She had asked him, crying. “I can’t say no. It’s something I can’t explain, I just can’t, and I can’t say no, Grant. I’m sorry… I’m so, so sorry…” She had run out of their – his – room, then, weeping. Grant couldn’t stop her, because as much he hated to admit it, he had realised it, too. She couldn’t have stayed if he had forced her. She couldn’t say no to whatever she had seen in Bode – though what that was exactly Grant still could not figure out. Nothing he could do or say would have ever changed that. His obstruction would only have made her decision all the more difficult for her – a decision she had already made - and Grant would rather have died than cause her any more pain.
Yet with that knowledge, peace did not come. Still, his heart bled, every day, every night his heart was dry, his body left without tears, nothing to do but drink the night away and forget about any existence. He couldn’t sleep anymore, alcohol was his only reprieve.
Yet his thoughts at other times he could not help. He could still picture her face as she said it over and over again that night. I’m sorry… I’m so sorry Grant… I’m sorry…
Grant turned his head back to face Bode, waiting impatiently. I’m sorry too, Lucy. I’m sorry sweetheart. I really am... He took a breath. It went against everything, but he could not refuse. “Inform the town that tomorrow morning, one minute after dawn, Bode Prince will be needing a coffin.”
Without another word, Grant Jones walked out of the bar. There was silence as the double doors creaked as they swung, until slowly they swung no more, leaving only the sound of Bode Prince, staring intently after him, seething as he drew loud breaths of air.
“The only one needing a coffin, is You.”
* * *
“No. You can’t.”
“Shh, my love… Lucy, this… This distraction,” Bode began, motioning around him, “on my turf, is the excuse I needed to-”
“It shouldn’t be an excuse for anything, Bode!” Lucy cried. Why couldn’t he see that? “It should not be an excuse to kill a good man, or get yourself killed trying! This is not a problem, Bode, which should be solved by pulling a trigger!” In these past months since she had met him, Bode had always been benign, and so charming. How had such an arrogant being surfaced in his place?
Lucy brushed her golden hair out of her eyes, their brilliant green only magnified by the trace of tears. She took him be his head and forced him to look into her eyes. “Please stop this!” She looked down. “It’s not your fault I know, but you and I have already taken out Grant’s heart and soul. You’ve seen him, the poor man, drinking, and a shell of a man. He was a good man, and we’ve hurt him enough… Can’t you please leave him be?” Lucy asked, breaking into shameful tears.
Bode snorted. “Grant doesn’t have a heart,” he returned flatly. “What you ever saw in him I don’t know. But Grant is a nuisance and he is a plague. It’s obvious that his presence still weighs on your heart. You need to stop thinking about him. After tomorrow, you can finally do that,” he said.
What I saw in you I don’t know either, now, Lucy thought. When it came to Grant Jones, Bode often became harsh and irritable, but this time, more than usual. Lucy still didn’t think it was Grant’s style, to have ransacked Bode’s house. As much as Bode tried to downplay it, Grant did have a heart, and he had honour too. She took her brown sweater and wiped a tear from her eye. “Oh Bode, stop being so proud, you won my love way back, Grant is no threat to you. You’ve hurt Grant enough; I’ve hurt Grant enough, let him live his life, and maybe eventually he can get on with his life. He was always so gentle to me. He always took care of me. Gave me the best of everything. He’s a kind soul when you’re not provoking him!”
Bode examined his pistols, his pride and joy, a gift from his father. They were nothing special in looks but they had always meant much to Bode. It was well into the night, but he wouldn’t sleep. “Bode! Listen to me!” Lucy ordered, more forcefully now. “As much as you can’t or won’t admit it, Grant is strong, especially when people anger him. He’s far more powerful than you give him credit for, don’t overrate yourself,” she warned. “This is dangerous! What if you get hurt? What about me if you get hurt?”
This had the opposite effect that Lucy had wanted. Bode smiled. “Don’t worry so much. I’ll be fine. Just you wait.” He held her close to him and bent over to meet her at eye level. “Tomorrow; all our problems will be solved!” he said, as though talking to a child. As though I was a child. “Everything will be perfect! You know I’m doing all I can, all this for you! It’s for you I fight this battle Lucy!”
Lucy slapped him with a growl, seething. “How dare you bring me into this! How dare you?! As though I’m an excuse to kill a man! I will not be the legitimacy behind your self-righteous actions. Don’t pretend that my presence gives your wishes any shred of validity! This is not about me, Bode Prince,” she accused furiously. She shook her head in anger. She saw this Bode so clearly now. “This is all completely about you, and shame on you if you don’t have the guts to admit it! This is a personal vendetta, nothing more. If you truly wanted what I want, if you truly wanted to do something for me, you would have stopped this fight. You would never have started this fight. But no, Bode, you made this about yourself the moment you pictured yourself victorious over Grant. Grant is no monster, just a poor victim, and after breaking his heart, and forcing me to make the single darn hardest decision of my life, now you want to use me as an excuse to try and hurt him again!” Lucy screamed, sobbing, tears flowing freely.
“Never mind you could easily get killed too! Not a chance Bode! If you make this choice, you do it alone. You do it without me, and without my support or my love. The whole town can know it too, that this has nothing to do with me! And it never has, has it, Bode?” she asked bitterly.
“Know this, Bode Prince, if you go ahead with this duel, you will pay dearly,” she warned, her entire body trembling furiously.
Bode grinned. “Better you being trouble than Grant.”
Shaking her head disbelievingly, Lucy ran out, between spasms of sobbing, and disappeared out of sight, into the night.
“Wait! Lucy! W-What?!”
* * *
“Lucy?! What on earth are you doing here? Does Bode kno-” Grant broke off mid sentence, having turned around to see her face for the first time. It was the saddest face he had seen for a long time, and to see it from Lucy broke his heart. “Oh…” Quickly putting on a shirt, he hurried over to Lucy. It was obvious she had been crying. She knows, he sighed. Though he knew that she would find out quickly enough, he had hoped that it was after the fight, when all was done. He began to put his arms around her, but stopped, and instead rested them by his side.
Lucy didn’t fail to notice. She took his hard arms and gently put them around her waist, both so that her touch could perhaps comfort him and also spite Bode in some childish way for his previous behaviour. She sensed the hesitancy in Grant as she did so, but he did not resist. Poor man, she thought sadly. Lucy had left him a few months ago, not because Grant was played in any way or because she didn’t love him; it was simply that Bode had seemed more attractive to her in character. He was confidant, bright and charismatic, and had betrayed nothing of the arrogance he had since shown.
She hadn’t known how he would react to seeing her again; that was a risk she had to take when she decided to come here. However, one look told her everything; his pain, his grief, his sorrow, his fears, and… His continuing love, he still loved her deeply. Though it wasn’t a complete surprise, it only augmented Lucy’s pain. She almost cried on the spot. She hadn’t initially planned to come here, but she had no choice.
She realised that within her too, a part of her still loved Grant; and yet she loved Bode also, more so perhaps, for reasons she couldn’t comprehend, even despite his recent character. It was a tug o’war, and her heart was the rope, a rope breaking and splitting with each passing second. She struggled desperately against tears.
Grant, too, saw all this is a moment, and continued to hold her tentatively, letting his hand drift behind her head and gently rested her head on his softly racing pulse. It had been months since he had done so, but Lucy didn’t struggle. Her familiar, warm touch and her steady pulse assured and calmed him. For a second, it all felt natural again, as though everything was going to be alright. It was almost like it used to be. Grant remembered still how he had held her, how he had touched her, how he had kissed her, and how she had kissed him back. He sighed, waiting for the appropriate words to come to him. Normally, he was a patient man, and silence was comfortable to him; but not this one. His heart struggled to come up with the words, the right words, in this rare moment now that they had together. He knew it couldn’t and wouldn’t last, making it even more precious. Grant could no longer approach or talk to Lucy whenever he wanted, Bode had seen to that; and it hurt him to know that, that the girl of his dreams so close, and yet he still couldn’t talk to her when he wanted to. It hurt badly that she was always so tantalisingly close, and yet he could never get to her, never, ever again. In a way, that she was so tantalisingly close to him now hurt too, the knowledge that soon he would have to let go. It hurt him unimaginably, to be so close, to be restricted, to let go; the problem was, Bode knew it, too.
He opened his mouth to speak, but his mouth was dry, and no sound came out. He paused, and swallowed. “You know that…” He stopped, and now he too was on the verge of crying, his now soft green eyes smoothing out his rough features. “Lucy… I… I still…”
“I know. Me too, Grant.”
But she could not bring herself to say the words directly.
Even through his pain, Grant could see it all from her voice. “You still love Bode,” he said quietly.
It was neither accusing nor angry, but merely stated the painful truth. Now, tears did start falling from her warm brown eyes. In any other time, any other place, she knew she would have gladly loved Grant, and probably even married him and settled down. He was truly a wonderful man, kind and honest and loving. But there was yet something deep, still binding her heart to Bode’s, something she could not simply break at will.
Lucy nodded reluctantly.
“Please… Grant, if our love meant anything at all, you must stop this fight! No-one will gain anything,” she insisted flatly.
Grant smiled a ghost of a smile, the knowing yet ironic smile so unsuited to his face. It was a broken smile from a broken man. Slowly, he nodded. “Yes. I know. I will not have regained your full love, he will not have defeated his true problems, and you will have lost a loved one.”
He swallowed, and paused. For a little while, neither spoke, Lucy staring determinedly into Grant’s face, but Grant unable to meet it, instead looking down at the ground. He sighed.
“We both know that,” he continued finally. “But, despite this, I can’t Lucy. As much as I want to, for you, more than for me.” At last he looked Lucy in the eye. “However, we both know that Bode would not stop hunting me. I live alone now,” he said, sending a sharp pang of guilt through Lucy. “I don’t care about my appearance or my reputation. But, I cannot avoid Bode in this town forever. This fight will happen, if not now, in a few days, weeks, maybe even months. But the result will be the same, and the impacts worse.”
“Then go away, away from this town!” As soon as she had said it, Lucy realised that she had made a mistake. Who was she to ask him to leave this town? She knew that he surely would, save that she was here. She was the reason he stayed in all his nightmares, making friends with his shadows. She was the reason he was a shell of a man. Now she had asked him to leave behind his home, his life, and go further away from his love. That latter Lucy knew to be the hardest of them all. She had made that choice once, and it had ripped her apart. She had no wish to wish that on anyone, least of all to Grant. I’ve caused him enough pain…
She changed the subject before Grant could gather his thoughts. “If you continue with this fight, both you and Bode will lose dearly,” she warned.
“I know this,” came the reply. “But please know that however much you or I both wish it to be so, I cannot stop this. And, even if I did, the end result could potentially be worse.”
Lucy sighed inwardly. She had feared this. Grant spoke the truth, of course. But what could she do now? If Bode wins I’ll love him, but never in the same way. I’d always be scarred. I could never feel completely comfortable around him again. If Grant wins I would love him still, too, and yet I could never love him totally, not in the way he loves me, nor how much I love Bode, nor how we want to love each other. Either way, I would never love either of them the same way. Bode thinks he’s fighting for my love, but that’s the only thing both men will lose… She thought sadly. Why can’t he see that? Why can Grant, but not Bode? Bode has my love. Still he fights, so that either way, he will lose it… He thinks the obstacle is Grant, where it is not.
”Know, however, that whatever happens Lucy,” Grant said softly, interrupting her thoughts, “I love you, I always have loved you, and I always will love you.”
Lucy started to leave. “You can’t love if you’re dead.”
“My love will remain in this life as long as one of us remains.”
“Then you would do what I asked. For love.”
“Would you return my love? Would you love me again? I would do it, but not for my love, Lucy. I would do it, but only for your love. Would you give me that again? Would you truly commit your entire love to me, as I had committed mine to you?”
“Would you truly love me again?”
* * *
Lucy wept, tears streaming down her beautiful face. She did not try to stop them as she sobbed uncontrollably. She knew, deep down, that Grant was right, of course. Again. As he always had been. She had known Grant to be an intuitive man. If she could pick out one endearing quality of his, it would be that he understood people. He understood her like no-one else had, and far more than even Bode did now… More than anyone ever had. Yet now, for once, his sharp conception troubled her.
If he won, I might return his love, and certainly I would seek him and his love for refuge. But would I love him totally, love that is pure and true and complete? Being honest with herself, she doubted it. She shared something subconsciously with Bode she did not now with Grant, the unconscious ties that bind. No, she would never commit her entire love to him, however much she wished it, not like Grant had committed his entire love to her. Commitment hard sought, hard placed, and hard won.
A fresh burst of guilt and pain shot through her as she realised that she had thrown this all away, discarded it like an old toy, that which Grant had had to summon all his courage to do, to commit himself so totally to a woman. And she had, in the process of loving Bode, destroyed that, and created a broken man. It was all her fault, Grant’s pain.
She knew now, however, that Grant did not ransack Bode’s house. It was but an intuition, albeit one that she trusted. Grant might not care about being branded a coward, but it was true that he was no coward. Dawn was approaching, and time running out. And yet… There may still be one way to stop this fight…
* * *
“Are you ready to die, Grant?” Bode taunted confidently.
“This can’t go ahead, Bode,” Grant said quickly, “We will both lose something, and neither will have anything to gain. We should call this off.”
“No, Grant, you’re wrong. Only you will lose something today. I have everything to win – Lucy’s complete and total love. Without you interfering.”
“No, you are the one who is wrong. Even you cannot deny that Lucy still holds feelings for me, and though they are weaker than the love that binds the two of you, they are by no means negligible. You will not gain anything. Use your head!” he urged. “If you lose, you will be unable to enjoy her love, and I know I would not gain her full love as I had had it. If you win, I will no longer be present, but still she will mourn for me, and though she will still love you, her love will always have a shadow cast across it so that you will never enjoy her love fully. Is this what you want, Bode?” he asked, staring him down fiercely.
Bode’s eyes narrowed. “Lucy came to you.” It was not a question. “What could she possibly have wanted from you?”
“Something you cannot provide.”
“Nor you, apparently. Or… Is it merely cowardice that causes you to say such things, Grant?”
“It is but love and foresight that does so.”
Bode laughed. “You are not loved, Grant.”
“More than you know.”
“I know more than you think,” Bode smirked.
“You won’t be thinking much longer.” Grant sighed. “I see then, that this will not be stopped,” he conceded quietly. He looked around. The entire town had come to witness the event. Word had evidently spread quickly through the small town. Men, women, and even children lined the streets and looked out from windows. They chatted quickly and excitedly amongst themselves, and one could feel the tension brooding in the air. I’m sorry, Lucy, my heart. I tried. For love. I’m sorry…
From the crowd, stepped a stout and short, but well dressed man. He wore a chequered shirt, a leather belt, and a fine felt hat – but neither Bode nor Grant noticed this. Then focussed quietly on the task at hand. One of them would die in a minute, and they knew it. Each had his own little ritual he hoped would bring him luck, luck that meant they would live another day, albeit each with something taken from their lives. They checked their holsters, and their pistols. They practiced a draw. Then, both satisfied, they turned slightly to regard this man, who was to call the death of a man.
“You will start back to back. I will call step. When I do so, you will both take one regular stride away from each other. You will fire only when I call fire. You will not fire otherwise.” Both men knew this, of course, but it was the custom which ensured no protest. The rules were clear. Any man who did not follow them would be dishonoured and punished. They would get no glory and no recognition for their effort. Neither men intended such a thing.
“Are you both ready?”
Wordlessly, the two men stood back to back in agreement. Bode had a slight advantage in having a slightly bigger target in Grant, but everyone knew that the result was by far a certainty. Grant looked around once more. Still no Lucy. She didn’t come… Good choice… Good girl… I love you. I’m sorry. How ironic it was that now he was the one saying sorry. He was the one to apologise.
Bode closed his eyes briefly. For you, my love, he thought silently. For us.
The two men stepped together.
The chattering in the crowd stopped. There was dead silence as the air stayed still.
Bode Prince stepped loudly and confidently.
Grant Jones stepped sadly and quietly.
A familiar face flashed in the crowd. Grant’s blood stopped flowing. His face went pale. It couldn’t be… Not now…
Numbly, he did so. Bode had not yet seen her, lost in his preparation, ready to pounce.
A card, an Ace of Clubs, flashed out above the heads of the crowd.
Grant pulled himself together. At a time like this, no matter what the reason, he could not be distracted; not for anything. One momentary distraction was all that was needed, and he would die.
A woman, desperate now, pushed through the crowd.
Bode finally saw her face. He smiled to himself. How fitting it was that she be present for his moment of triumph.
Another step, and now there was yelling, too. A high, sobbing, pleading voice. No time to register it. No time for thought.
Fighting arms and bodies, fighting to break free.
Lucy Waters broke through the masses into empty space. Her head swivelled, looking first at Bode, then at Grant.
Neither man took their attention off the calls. “It wasn’t Grant, Bode!” A voice shrieked. “Stop this! Stop, stop, stop this!!!” The voice cried. So persistent, the men had time to think.
But the call could come at any time now. No time for anything. This was life and death. Nothing could stop them; nothing could be allowed to distract them.
The lone woman in the space looked to the man calling the shots. “Stop!” she begged. He caught her eye, though only for a second. But, it was enough. Lucy realised it now. He couldn’t. The evidence couldn’t. Reason couldn’t. Not even Love could. Only one person could stop this senseless murder now.
Again, Lucy Waters caught the man’s eye. Again, it was only for a split second. Again, it was enough. She realised it immediately. It was about to happen. Her worst fears. She was crying now. No time for logic. No time for thought. No time to hesitate. No time to stop it. No time to cry. No time for anything, except… No time… She ran.
The reaction was simultaneous.
Two men turned.
Two pistols fired.
One body hit the ground.
Well, did you like it? Whether you did or did not, please comment so I know what you liked and what I can improve on! Certainly I feel that in terms of emotions this story rings true and deep. I liked the way I wrote about emotions, and the changing of attitudes towards the characters as the story continued. However, you may not have liked it (or you may have, I hope so!), so tell me what I could've done better (or what I should keep doing)!
And now onto the stuff I just have to write. Feel free to skip this if you wish.
*Sigh* It's been an extremely difficult time for me. It's been a time of highs past and seemingly unending lows. As I've also mentioned, this has been an extremely difficult story to write, because of the circumstances involved concerning my life right now. This past week has been the most painful and the hardest in my short life of fifteen years. It's gone from a few weeks of absolutely ****ing high to suddenly the lowest and most depressed I've ever been. I've seriously considered suicide more than once. It would be so easy, just to end it all. But, ironically enough that would result in something I would rather die than have happen. So it really wouldn't help anything at all. And, if I did it would be like denying it all, hiding it, as though it had never happened, and that would be dishonouring everything we've shared, as though I was ashamed. I could never do that.
I've hardly been myself, and all my friends have noticed, too, both on MSN and IRL. I've barely eaten, I've barely slept. I don't feel particularly like either, and when I sleep I spend hours awake, and then the few hours of sleep aren't much better. I'm really quite a mess, if you (like my mum) haven't figured it out already. Everything reminds me, everything makes me remember...
I always pour my soul into my writing. When you read my writing you read a part of my heart, but I think it's especially so in this story, more than any other I've written. The emotions of pain and suffering are from my personal experience, as is love. These but also the rest of the emotions, I feel like I've truly written from inside me, and it's a lot like how I feel, and it comes from my heart.
My inspiration came originally from simply a thought, a moment; what is now the ending. However, as I went through experiencing what I have, and seeing the tragedy at the end, and then feeling its shocking impact, I guess my inspiration changed. And then, everything revolved around emotions. Love, hate, anger, sadness, joy, desperation, depression, arrogance, helplessness, inevitability, all these things come from some aspect of what I've experienced. And, as I continued, my inspiration changed to be my one and only. I guess I started writing this from both our experiences. I started writing while putting as much of myself as I possibly could from this; my writing is a window into my soul.
Right now there's just so much doubt in my mind, always there, taunting me, amongst the pain and the grief. I'm just so lost in my whirlwind of emotions that I don't notice much anymore. I don't feel things physically or emotionally like I used to. Amongst the haze will always be my light, but everything is just so doubtful right now that I don't know what to do except live, and wait and sit here in my misery. But, I'm still alive. If you can call me alive, anyway.
If you've just skipped that, I really don't mind, it's just a pile of rubbish I had to type for no reason. If you have read it, excuse my rambling, I know it sounds bad and it's not like me and it's welling up with self-pity, but I guess I'm just depressed. But, thank you for taking the time to read that.
Either way though, if you've gotten this far, thanks a lot for reading, and please please please post a comment, they really do keep me going and keep me writing, a show that hey, people are actually reading this and hopefully enjoying it (If not, tell me why, and if so, ditto!).