"Of course you're here of all places.' A deep voice pulled me out of my thoughts and made me turn towards where it came from. I was standing up from where I was crouching down when the figure came out from the shadows of the tunnel. Their footsteps on the gravel were only acquainted by the loud flow of the river. The stars above twinkled in their own space and I felt myself getting distracted by them. God, I have to figure out a way to stay focused.
"You've got that right." The same voice piped up. I threw him a confused look as he shrugged and walked closer to me. "Old friend, you haven't changed a bit," he said quietly.
"On the contrary, I believe I've changed in more ways than one, Jonathan", I replied solemnly, "for example, here," I pointed to my aged hair, "here," my wrinkled forehead," and finally here," I pointed to the dark spot covering the left side of my cheek. I sighed and carried on, "you on the other hand, have not. You haven't aged a day since I last saw you. Jog my memory, when was that?"
He chuckled and smiled at me; that ridiculously gorgeous smile that I used to think the world of. "Well, it's been over forty years since you last saw me, my dear. Saturday, the 23rd of May 1863. But I've always kept a close eye on you." He gave me a smile; I'm not sure what it was filled with, guilt or content. I knew I was going to venture into my thoughts over the debate of what that smile was on, so I quickly addressed the issue at mind.
"What are you doing here, Jon? Why have you come back?" I crossed my arms over my chest, a stance I had found comfort in. I saw the smile on Jonathan's face grow fonder and before I knew it, I was wrapped up in his arms. The arms I used to call my home. I found myself clutching onto the edges of his crisp white shirt and pulling myself closer to him. I felt his warm breath over my neck and his head drop on to my shoulder as he rubbed slow circles on my back. "I've come back for you, Jade."
I slowly pushed myself away from him, far enough to see his young face. His soft brown eyes, the color of freshly ground coffee, had a twinkle that I knew I'd never get bored of. Even as he had killed the man who raised me, I was always mesmerized by that twinkle that never seemed to disappear. His eyes weren't the only feature that never ceased to amaze me. His lips as soft and pink as they were the day when I first felt it against my own, looked glazed over. It took me back to how it was after I tasted those cherry lips. I wanted to taste them once more. To feel those lips against my neck and cheek, I would give up everything.
"Why now? After all this time, why now? Why now, when I wasted ten years wondering what I had done to make you leave me. After I wasted ten more years regretting ever loving you. Why now?" I didn't want to raise my voice but I couldn't help it. I only hoped it didn't wake any more of the dead than it had. "What gives you the right to come back into my life after all this time?!"
"I'm back because I want to apologize! Because you didn't deserve the pain and suffering I would've brought to us! Because I didn't want to be someone who would hurt you again!" He shook himself off from me. "I didn't want to live in regret for ever making you feel what that man had made you feel! I didn't want to live on knowing that the last image you had of me was the man who would abandon you!" It was obviously his turn to raise his voice.
All this fighting over 'what if's' and 'buts' made me realize how stupid it was. Call it an epiphany; but I know I haven't much time left in this world. I decided it was time to make bygones be bygones. I did have a good life. It was time I made sure he continued without me in peace.
I sighed before I began, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I ever made you feel your love was incompetent for me because it wasn't, Jonathan. It won't be and there may have been a time where I regretted loving you but I only felt so because I never got to fully accept the fact that you were gone." I stole one more glance at the stars before I looked down back at the man still in close proximity to me.
"You saved me from the darkest evil I could ever face even when it was I who had the most power at the time. We molded each other into which we were meant to become back then. Jon, you never made me feel the pain you let yourself think you had me feeling. I don't know what would've ever made you think that but it was never like that for me."
By this time, I can see the tears pooling in his coffee eyes. I felt tears of my own streak down my face. I reached over and wiped his tears away. The way my hands were trembling, I knew my time was coming up.
"Jonathan, before I leave, I must thank you." I gave him the softest smile I could give; well what I hoped was the softest. Right before I slapped him across his face. The shocked look on his face was soon followed by that sly smirk that I came to love.
"I would like to say that all those years of pain and anguish must have gone away with that slap but honestly I'm assuming from your smile they went away a long time ago, Jade." My laughter echoed out before I know it and his followed after. The man who I had once called my husband held me in his arms one more time until the darkness enveloped my vision as I closed my eyes; for the very last time.