Hundreds of times, where a look lingered or a touch strayed from somewhere safe to somewhere dangerous, in which either one of them could have spoken up and put an end to this.
This: a thread of tension, plucked from moment to moment by such nimble and shy fingers.
This: a threat of action, eyes lit up from within in a rush of air and near-catastrophe.
This: a trust between souls, a bit battered and a bit beautiful and a bit like something special.
But Helena was swallowed up with madness first and then Myka left the Warehouse.
But Helena was cut off from the world once more and Myka had to reduce her feelings to memories.
But the world was in peril again and the one time Myka wanted to be selfish was the one time that Helena wanted to be noble.
Hundreds of thousands of millions of times… They’ve had them all, resting in the palms of their hands – only to set them aside, only to shove them back, only to say ‘one day, someday, soon…right?’
Myka watches her own face in the mirror opposite as repetitive brushstrokes go through her hair.
Watch but don’t look too closely.
And just like it has been for weeks now, her mouth is filled up with words left to rot.
‘Someday soon’ arrived, though.
And Helena stood there, in the foyer of the bed-and-breakfast, as unsure as a lost child. And there was the clatter of anger up above, Claudia’s room caught up in a thunderstorm that no one could hold off. And Pete hovered around, talking with a point in mind and then rambling with no point at all, until Myka looked over at him in a second of silent communication.
“Right. Right… I’m gonna, you know, see if Leena had time to make anything to eat… you know, while we were all trying to save the Warehouse and freaking out… Like stress baking or something…”
And then he drifted away with a look in his eyes, a look that spoke of getting-it… whatever ‘it’ is…
And then Myka and Helena were alone with each other. And the silence wore on and on until both of them were sort of grinning, sort of shuffling their feet or clearing their throats, sort of narrowing the distance inch by inch.
Until Myka finally reached out, cupping Helena’s warm cheek with her hand, and slid quietly into the deep end.
“I love you, you know?”
And Myka watched the words as they fluttered across Helena’s face, as they perched upon Helena’s lips and then flew back from whence they came.
“That is the only thing I shall ever want to know.”
It was a gorgeous kind of truth, the kind that only a writer could conjure up – poetic and epic and like every line in every novel that Myka devoured as a little girl…
…and it was much better than an ‘I love you’ said in return.
/ / /
It’s a lot like having the same dream over and over and never fully waking up. And all the surfaces seem to give way under her touch, so Myka doesn’t press too hard – lest she just fall right through the whole damn world.
Past walls and through floors… sinking into the ground and into an ache that won’t go away…
And the Tesla is in her hand, grip tight and shaking, as another mystery is solved, as another wonder is packed away to gather dust.
/ / / /
What they didn’t say, in that other universe, was – nevertheless – implied.
With life-lines intertwined once and for all, they drew back their armor and let the past fall away. Gone was the need to forever beat that dead horse – of wounds that refused to heal, of mistakes foolishly made, of deeds never to be undone – and Myka shuddered with all that she could have lost.
And then she was tumbling onto Helena’s body, knees hitting softly and hips fitting like missing puzzle-pieces, and Myka shuddered with all that she now had.
What they didn’t say, in that other universe, was ‘don’t ever leave me.’
But it was implied with Helena’s tongue, so quick and so slow at the same time, mapping out this new chance they had been given all along Myka’s eager skin. It was implied with the sweat they shared, passing from hot mouths to raised breasts to the sweet length of bare thighs. It was implied with the sound of Helena’s undoing, swallowed up by Myka’s kisses as the night bled away to dawn.
And Myka swore to herself, with Helena’s body draped over her own, that they would get it right this time.
This time was built for the two of them and they weren’t going to throw it away again.
/ / / / /
‘Don’t ever leave me’ was never said.
Not in that universe, nor in this one.
And Myka stares at her own face in the mirror opposite, vowing internally to not blink more than necessary.
When you blink, you remember.
And Myka stares at her own face until the edges blur, until the darkness of her room becomes so deep that she starts to blend in with the shadows.
When you remember, you feel.
Only then does she rise from the chair and shift her body to the bed, hearing the creaks and groans of furniture that is rarely used these days. And Myka’s bones collapse under the weight of all the hurt she carries, toppling to the mattress in complete disarray.
When you feel, you break.
And she calls it sleep but, really, it’s nothing like sleep at all.
/ / / / / /
Every once in a while, Myka would close her eyes and the world would be different.
And they didn’t save the Warehouse. And they didn’t stop the bomb from going off. And they lost everything.
That’s when Myka would curl her arm about Helena’s waist, tugging the woman closer – until there was no space between the two of their bodies – and she would tell those thoughts to disappear.
Because they saved the Warehouse and they stopped the bomb from going off and they didn’t lose everything.
But every once in a while, Myka would jerk awake in a panic and wouldn’t be able to breathe until Helena’s concerned voice pushed past that maddening crush of sudden agony…
…And so Myka would hold onto Helena even tighter than before, just like a woman drowning in a sea that could not be seen by anyone else. Just like a woman who believed that she could keep a terrible reality at bay by the sheer power of her will and of her love alone, Myka leaned her head back and was swept away by Helena’s touch again and again.
But still, one day, Myka woke up and remembered what was meant to be forgotten.
/ / / / / / /
It’s a lot like a nightmare, isn’t it?
Twisted metal and black smoke and a charred hollow carved into the earth.
No, not a lot like one… It is a nightmare. This is all a nightmare.
Helena’s face wiped away, blissful one minute and gone the next, never to return.
But I can’t seem to wake up. I open my eyes but I am still stuck in this fucking nightmare.
And hundreds of times, layered on top of one another like stacks of paper, in which either one of them could have spoken up and put an end to this…
This: you and I and a dare to want more even as the world falls apart.
This: you and I and a dream that started the first time I laid eyes on you.
This: you and I and this love of ours.
…Myka watches them all blow away.
/ / / / / / / /
'Don't ever leave me.'
/ / / / / / / / /
And the words turn to ash.
/ / / / / / / / / /