The way Villanelle smirked at her made her heart beat faster. Bounding beneath her ribs. Eve swallowed it down, hoping Villanelle couldn’t sense how her body reacted.
Eve had turned around, but why? The person in front of her, who met her gaze now, had tried to kill her. Many times, she thought. Near fatally wounded physically. Fatally wounded mentally and emotionally.
As she tried to process the slew of emotions and thoughts running through her, Villanelle took a step forward.
Eve realized she had been holding her breath until Villanelle was in front of her. A shaky gust of air escapes her lungs.
“Breathe, Eve.” Villanelle chuckled.
Eve wants to smack her smirking face. She wants to push her back into the bridge railing. She wants to grab Villanelle’s hands and jump over the railing together, plunging into the icy waters below. Anything to feel some sort of release from this feeling that clings to her with every breath.
“Why did I turn around, Villanelle?”
The smirk drops from Villanelle’s face and she searches Eve’s eyes.
“I didn’t think you would.” Villanelle says as she takes up the same position she held on the railing before they attempted to walk away from one another. “I always knew I would, and I was prepared to watch you walk away. I made peace with that.”
Eve searched Villanelle’s profile as she gazed across the dark water’s surface. She leans against the railing of the bridge, never taking her eyes off of Villanelle.
Villanelle keeps her eyes on the water and takes a shaky breath. “You’ve never escaped my thoughts. I don’t know the last time I hadn’t thought of you. Probably before I knew you existed. I have been consumed with the thought of you since. And I can’t put my finger on why that is. I just know I can’t stop. I’ve tried.”
Villanelle sounds defeated as her words linger around Eve.
“I know.” Eve says, as she leans across the railing, mimicking Villanelle’s position. “I’ve tried as well. I’m tired of trying to stop, honestly.”
Villanelle laughs. “We exhaust one another.”
Villanelle turns now to Eve.
“Look at me, Eve.”
Eve holds her breath again as she turns to face Villanelle. Breathing normally around Villanelle is impossible. It’s either exasperated sighs, sarcastic laughs, or yelling. Now, it’s holding a breath in to hold something else in that Eve can’t put a finger on just yet.
Villanelle’s eyes are different than they ever have been. They are softer. They are vulnerable. Nervous. Maybe even scared.
”A lot has happened in the last few months that I thought I had a handle on. But, I’m starting to realize that I've never had a handle on it.” Villanelle clears her throat shakily while diverting her eyes down to her boots for a second and then back to Eve, boring into hers. ”I’m not safe.”
Eve knows something is different in her. She feels it and it overwhelms her. She thought she really started to understand Villanelle and how she worked. She's clung onto that understanding since they met. She made that understanding a goal of hers and felt empowered when she felt like she met that goal. With everything that has happened since Villanelle appeared forcefully in her life, that understanding was all she had left. With this shift, Eve feels more than off balance.
“What’s happened to you, Villanelle?”
A breeze whips at her back and Villanelle’s coat snaps in the air with it. The snap of her coat seems to cause Villanelle to tense and look over Eve’s shoulder quickly, as if not to alarm.
“Can we walk?” Villanelle asks as she returns her eyes to Eves.
“Sure. Are we not safe here?” Eve asks as Villanelle guides Eve briefly by the elbow towards the lights of the town. Eve doesn’t mean to flinch when Villanelle touches her, but it happens instinctively. Predator and prey. As it always has been with them in the past.
Villanelle notices the flinch, Eve is sure of it. But she doesn’t reveal her notice. She just drops her hand and glances down at Eve.
“Are we ever?” Villanelle says, half laughing.