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The Widow's Kiss

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She trailed her fingertips lovingly back along his jaw - a gesture so familiar, even if it felt slightly different, even if it felt slightly chilled by circumstance and the night air.

He always had such beautiful eyes. She’d always thought so - they were the first thing she’d ever noticed, across the room at a function when she was younger. Her parents were always sending her off to those things, practically auctions for the eligible ladies; even across the ballroom, his eyes had struck her. His eyes and his smile.

He wasn’t smiling right now - his lips were parted, loosely, and coloured all wrong, but his eyes . They were still just as gorgeous, wide and shining in the moonlight.

There was a faint smile on her lips as she traced a finger just beside them, just along the rim of his eyebrow as he stared sightlessly at the ceiling.

Such beautiful eyes and such a beautiful smile - he had two of them. One, full and gregarious, accompanied by laughter when all friends were looking his way. The other one was private and slight, only a hint like the Mona Lisa, and was reserved for her.

His wife.

Beautiful eyes, two beautiful smiles, so full of life he had been until recently, and the only problem was that she couldn’t… remember…

...his name…

She could feel it in her mouth, the shape of his name - something round and full like the perfect bite of fruit or soft cheese - but she couldn’t say it and she could not recall it. Her own husband’s name.

Immediately she could have recounted the date of their wedding and all of the foibles that had accompanied it - the cake was delivered to the address of the ceremony rather than the reception, the flower truck had been in a collision which was not serious but did seriously delay the delivery, the ring-bearer had come down sick and needed to be replaced at the last minute with a thankfully willing uncle who bore a silly grin and pretended to be eight years old the whole time - as she could have recounted a hundred thousand other things about their lives, but she couldn’t remember his name.

Her trailing fingertip traveled too near a spot of his blood and picked it up, and she slipped her fingers against each other, slick with that essence of life. It had gone cold, now - his blood was cold.

It was the most horrid thing she could think of.

How long had she been here? She frowned as she thought about it - he was pale and cold, the skin of his face starting to tinge blue in the moonlight. It must have been some time.

She thought she probably should leave, although to what , she couldn’t imagine. Still, something drove her eyes to flit away from him and off to the side table - reflexively searching for her phone. That wasn’t the first thing her gaze landed on, however.

There was a picture of the wedding day, there - a gorgeously ornate metal frame with glass holding the photograph in, the both of them smiling (his beautiful smile, his gorgeous eyes) and the date which she already knew, and their names, inscribed into the glass.

Gérard.

A smile came to her lips as she read it - recalled it, as well; whispering it, murmuring it, calling it out in desperation and in ecstasy and in pain, at different times. Pleading it, most recently.

Gérard.

That was his name, and she was pleased to have remembered it.

Her eyes slid to the other name then - Amélie - but she felt an instant distaste for it, her lips curling into a sneer. That was not her name.

Not anymore.

She slammed the picture frame back down on the side table, heard the glass crunch and instinctively flipped it back up to check. The glass had broken, yes - shattered - and a shard slit her finger before she dropped the picture again.

Her blood welled slowly into a thick drop which she squeezed between her finger and thumb. Her blood felt… cold.

It was the most horrid thing she could think of.

Idly, her cut finger rose to her mouth, lips and tongue thoughtlessly stealing away the blood there as she thought. Where could she go? Not to family. Not to police. Certainly not to Gérard’s teammates and coworkers.

There was one idea which drew her, though - one thought which she felt compelled to follow.

Mind made up, she stood from the bed, still wearing nothing more than a silk slip, and took one more look at her husband laying there in the moonlight.

Wide eyes, staring in shock and horror at the ceiling amidst a face that was turning blue from time, lips open in one eternal last gasp, blood staining the sheets and spotting on his skin.

He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

“Gérard,” she whispered, lips quirking into a slight smile as she said the name. Leaning down, stretching across the bed, she pressed one final kiss to her husband’s forehead - her own blood on her lips left a stark red mark of her lips against his pale and bluing skin, shining in the moonlight.

“Je t’aime, mon cheri,” she murmured as she stroked a finger behind his ear, gazing lovingly into his sightless dead eyes one last time. “Adieu.”

She stood and walked from the room, stopping only to grab a long coat from the closet. She closed the door behind herself - instinctively softly, turning the knob and slipping it shut so it would make no noise. A simple habit developed over years of Gérard sleeping at all odd hours after returning from work.

The room was perfectly still in her absence, save for the ticking of a clock and the slow progression of moonlight over the slain Gérard’s face; there would not be another motion in the room, not a movement, not until the police arrived. Not until the forensics team came in with their brushes and their photographs. Not until the people stood in hushed whispers and wondered what had happened - to him, and to the wife.

It would be a funeral full of fanfare, practically perfect. No detail would be left unattended. Flowers and a gorgeous casket, music, his colleagues bearing him out, the folded flag - every single thing would go off perfectly, save for one.

The only shame was that the coroner would long since have wiped his forehead clean by that point.