April Writing Challenge
"I'm so sorry." He said, pushing a few strands of her hair from her face with his blunt tipped fingers. Gently he tucked it behind her ear. She had been so shy when they met, she frequently hid her face behind her curtain of long dark hair, and the first time he'd touched her was to move it back from her face so he could look into her eyes.
"Sir, they're waiting." An aide touched his shoulder. He shook off the hand and turned to glare at the younger man.
"Let them wait. And get out. Everyone." He glared at his secret service men, who were reluctant, and his aides who were prodded by the ear pieces budding from the side of their heads like growths to bring him with them.
"Sir, they need you to..." The aide began.
"They don't need me for dick until they have more intel so get out until they do." He snapped. "I'm not their babysitter and sitting in a room of grown men wetting themselves is not in my future. Now get out."
Chuck, a large beefy agent in a black suit and a red tie put his hand on the aide. Chuck was a good man, and had been assigned to Mara. Had been there when she had complained of a sudden headache and fell over dead. "I'll watch the door for you sir." He said in his bass rumble. "And let you know if anything significant changes."
He only nodded and turned back to his wife. "Sorry I cussed in front of you, sweetheart. I know you don't like it." He took her hand in his, so cold now, and held it. Her nails were buffed to a high sheen because she hated nail polish. She'd said that her nails couldn't breathe with that stuff on.
"So..." he said and let the word drop in the room of white counters and steel drawers.
So you don't love me anymore, so you left me, so this means you won't divorce me, so ...
Strange thoughts that had nothing to do with what happened.
"So, I don't think I can do this without you." He said finally, and that was the truth. It was a truth he'd repeated over and over again from the start. They'd dated in college, and broke up. She was planning to go back home and he was sitting sullen and angry in his dorm room throwing away her photographs. One dark eyed girl smiling at him after another, all with her face, and felt more hollow as each one went into the bin. When he got to the last one, a photograph where he'd caught her unawares and pensive, holding a book in her hands and staring out a rainy window he couldn't release it from his hands.
He'd raced across campus and caught her loading her suitcase into her car. "Don't go." He said, panting.
She tilted her head, her hair covering her face as she looked at him suspiciously. "Why?" She asked. "You said ... all those things."
"I know, I said a lot of really stupid things because..." He swallowed hard. "Because I was scared. But then I realized something, something really important." He moved forward, and was encouraged that she didn't move away, and tucked those dark strands behind her ear so he could meet her eyes with his own. "I don't think I do this without you."
"Do what?" She whispered.
"Have a life."
"Oh." She breathed more than spoke. "OK." And she forgave him for being young and stupid with a kiss so tender, the merest brushing of lips, he knew that it was a seal of fate between them no matter how light the pressure of her mouth on his.
"I didn't catch you fast enough this time to stop you from leaving." He told her in the cold room twenty four years later.
There was a tapping on the door and Chuck entered, closing the door behind him to the noisy crowd in the hall. Many more people than when they'd come down.
"Sir, they still aren't responding, and reports are they've gone hot." Chuck paused. "It's not looking good right now."
"I understand." He stood and kissed her forehead. "Got to go and save the world, sweetheart."
He stood, straightened his jacket and tie, glanced in the mirror over the sink. A haggard man looked back. Pulling from his pool of skills gained over a twenty year run in politics he put on a game face, pulled his shoulders up and back, practiced a smile.
"All right." He said, "Let's go."
But even as he entered the crowd it was too late. In some other part of the world, a civil war ended as all the people who were fighting it had left the world in a flash of light. Fall out would affect people for years to come who had never heard of the place before this day. But for him, it wouldn't be the day of his biggest failure, or the day the world changed. It would always be the day Mara left him behind.
(I chose "The story is about a leader. It starts in a morgue. The story ends with an apocalyptic event." from the list.)
Created: Apr 22, 2009Document Media