It’s... in pieces.
A dark sky.
Some snow, or maybe rain.
The fake leather of the steering wheel.
A crashing sound.
A jolt to the side.
Nothing, and then biting cold. On her cheeks, her hands.
Something wet. Warm.
Loud sounds. A scream? Flashing blue.
Bright, white lights. Hands on her body.
There is nothing for a long, long time.
In the nothing, there are bits and pieces of… bits and pieces.
Not enough to be a something .
Sounds, like words, but muffled. Shapes of words that don’t fit, won’t fit.
Sometimes light, moving light, shadows dipping around her, but nothing in sight.
There are touches. Touches? A pressure, sometimes, on maybe her hand, maybe her cheek. Definitely her hair. Touches, through her hair. Soft. Maybe stroking.
The stroking is the boldest thing in the nothingness. The stroking is the only thing that is something in the nothingness.
She holds onto the stroking, holds onto knowing .
Eve holds on.
Jesus Christ, it is fucking bright .
Why is it so bright?
She wants to lift a hand to her face, but finds it stuck by her side. Nothing moves.
Her eyes aren’t even open.
Is she dreaming?
And can someone turn off the damn lights?
She feels her own lashes flutter, eyelids moving.
How deep asleep had she been? It feels impossible to open her eyes.
Eve doesn’t really believe in impossible; not in this case, anyway. It isn’t logical. It isn’t logical for it to be impossible to open her eyes.
So she keeps trying.
And she opens her eyes.
It hurts .
That’s when she realises there’s something wrong.
It’s still really fucking bright, but her eyes start to slowly adjust. Slowly. Really slowly.
Another red flag.
Eventually things come into view and she sees she’s in a white room with units on the walls. She darts her eyes downwards, sees the shape of her legs, one weirdly bulky, beneath crisp sheets and surrounded by the bars of a bed.
Then she hears the steady beeping.
And Eve realises she’s in hospital.
Fear swells in her chest, rises in her stomach like bile. The white of the walls and the sheets become oppressive, become almost blinding, so she slides her eyes to their corners to get away, to stop seeing, to remove herself in any way she possibly can from what she’s woken up to.
She’s about to cry out, but then she sees her.
A shape slumped in a chair by the bed, blonde hair, long limbs, freckles clustered by her left eye, clear even through Eve’s haze.
Her voice cracks, splinters painfully in her throat from the lack of use, but it’s there.
The shape in the chair jolts, and suddenly Eve is faced with hazel eyes that act like an antidote to her building fear. The eyes are wide, shocked, bloodshot red and rimmed with darkened skin.
But still, it was her.
“Villanelle.” Eve says again, voice still harsh in her mouth and in the room, just because she can, because she needs to.
“Eve.” It’s soft, desperate, tired . “Finally.”
And then people are in the room, they’re rushing, rushing, and people are by her side and Villanelle is moving out of the way and people are touching her and pressing buttons and the haze thickens, the busyness of the room makes her head spin, and all she wants is Villanelle, to just look at her for a moment, for a second, to just look at her again and, and, hold onto that, that image, that-
She feels like a broken record but it’s the only word she can say, the only one she feels confident saying without it breaking apart and stuttering. Eve tries to look past the people, who she now realises must be doctors and nurses, to find Villanelle again, but she only catches glimpses, only bits and pieces of her through the rush.
Eve closes her eyes against it.
If she can’t look at Villanelle, the only thing grounding her, the only thing stopping her from losing her mind to all of the bright white, then she just won’t look.
Eve wakes up again, and Villanelle is there.
She’s pacing, and Eve watches her for a moment.
“Vil-.” She manages to rasp out.
Villanelle jumps a little, then turns on her heel and makes her way quickly over to Eve.
“Is she okay?”
Who is she speaking to? Eve wants to answer, tries to, but a deep voice comes in its place.
“She’s fine, Ms Miller, just adjusting to being awake.”
Eve frowns as much as she can, tries to crane her neck to the right to stare at whoever this guy is, answering for her, but it hurts to move her head.
She does it anyway.
“No, Eve, don’t do that. Stay still.” Villanelle says, but Eve ignores her, turns her head to look straight at her instead defiantly, still frowning, and Villanelle sighs.
“Typical.” Villanelle murmurs quietly with a small shake of her head and an even smaller smile. “Hi, Eve.”
Eve takes a deep breath in, tries to relish the slight burn of it, her ribs feeling almost rusted from lack of movement.
“Hi.” She manages to say.
It’s a victory.
It seems like Villanelle agrees, because her smile grows a little.
“How are you feeling?” Villanelle asks as Eve feels large but gentle hands on the side of her head.
“Thirsty.” Eve replies. She allows the doctor to touch her, because she can see Villanelle, and that’s fine, that’s just fine. “Got any wine?”
Villanelle’s laugh is like music. It’s like an alarm clock ringing, but beautiful, blissful, and Eve feels herself start to wake up.
“You have been in a coma for two weeks, and the first thing you do is ask for wine?”
It’s both a splash of ice cold water and a warm wave of comfort, the mixture of what has just been said and Villanelle’s amused and gentle voice, the familiarity of the accent.
The ice water wins out.
“Coma?” Eve breathes out.
The doctor comes into view.
“Ms Polastri, you have been in a medically induced coma for just over two weeks now. Can you tell me what you remember?”
Medically induced coma. A bad accident?
“Um, I… pieces? I remember… I remember, a bang and, and flashing lights, and something warm and wet…” Eve sees Villanelle look down and then away at that. “What happened?”
“Don’t worry; It is typical for someone not to remember the events immediately before this sort of trauma. You were in a car accident, Ms Polastri. The driver’s side of your car was hit by another car that had spun out of control. You took a significant blow to the head, as well as breaking your collarbone, elbow, forearm, and leg.”
Eve takes a deep, trembling breath in and holds it, trying to contain her panic.
“Your bones are healing fine, and the cuts and bruising will fade with only minimal scarring.” The doctor tells her gently, his voice warm and soothing, the perfect bedside manner. “We are still monitoring your brain, but the fact that you are having this conversation with us now is a very good sign. The induced coma did its job of letting your body heal.”
She lets out the breath in a relieved gasp, laughs a little, winces at the pain in her chest and her head.
“Fuck.” Eve rasps. “Okay, so… okay. God, I don’t even remember what happened, I don’t…”
She trails off. Something doesn’t feel right.
There’s something niggling at her. Or, not. Something missing?
She doesn’t feel like talking to the doctor anymore.
“Do you think, um, do you think it would be okay if I-” she pauses, takes a breath, tries to clear the crackle from her throat with little success. “Can I just be alone with my girlfriend for a bit?”
She sees Villanelle freeze, leg no longer bouncing as it has been while Eve and the doctor spoke.
“Yes…” Eve says, scrunching her face up a little at Villanelle. “Why did you say it like that? Of course ‘girlfriend’.”
Villanelle stares down at her, then stares at the doctor.
“Is this… does she-” Villanelle’s voice is bordering on urgent, and Eve looks over to the doctor to see him frowning in concern at her.
“Eve, can you tell me what happened on the day of the accident?”
“I, uh…” Eve thinks, thinks back to before the nothingness. “I… was driving?”
She catches Villanelle rolling her eyes despite the nerves painted across her face.
“Okay,” the doctor says calmly, pressing a button by her bed before focussing fully on Eve again. “Can you tell me where to?”
“I…” Eve starts, thinks, stops, “I don’t remember.”
“That’s fine. Maybe you were driving to work?”
“I... guess…” the off feeling is building fast in her chest.
“Where do you work, Eve?”
“I work at…” starts, thinks, stops, “at, um… I work at…”
Villanelle rubs a hand over her face.
“Okay.” The doctor nods, looks up as a nurse enters along with another woman in a white coat. “Eve, can you tell me your address? Even just the street name or house number will do fine.”
“Fuck, I… I don’t…” it’s frantic, the panic is frantic and she is frantic, and she’s reaching bandaged arms out, trying to push herself up, “I don’t remember, I can’t- What the fuck, I- I don’t remember anything, I don’t remember anything , I-”
The doctor is touching her head and the woman in the white coat is writing something down and the nurse is by Eve’s side and she’s prepping something, attaching a bag linked to a tube in her arm, and Eve turns her head to Villanelle, finds her across the room, finds her stepping away.
“I remember Villanelle.” Eve says desperately, raw throat be damned, “I remember her, I- I remember you, Villanelle. I- what are you doing?” She demands of the nurse and doctors suddenly, trying to yank her arm away from them, and it hurts, fuck it really hurts, and her head is pounding and her blood is pounding and Villanelle is disappearing, fading, stepping away.
Nothingness greets her again like an unwanted guest, making itself at home behind her eyelids.
There’s a tree.
It’s a fucking huge tree.
It’s beautiful, with a thick trunk and branches heavy with leaves letting dappled sunlight through to dot the grassy earth with gold light.
Eve feels the bark of the trunk against her back and the weight of a head in her lap.
She looks down at Villanelle whose face is turned up to her, eyes closed, soft expression giving her a serene look in the glow of sunlight.
“You look perfect.”
Villanelle smiles at Eve’s words and blinks her eyes open. She squints in the light, but her eyes turn almost green anyway, golden green, framed by those curly eyelashes that flutter so beautiful as Eve’s fingers wind through blonde hair.
“You don’t look so bad yourself.” Villanelle’s murmurs happily. “Even with that twig in your hair.”
Eve scoffs a laugh and frowns a little, reaching up and finding the offending stick tangled in her curls.
“I don’t… how did it even get there?”
“Your hair is magic.” Villanelle says simply. “It draws things in.”
“Like it drew you in?”
Villanelle sighs a little, grins.
“Just like it drew me in.”
It’s quiet for a moment, only the sound of rustling leaves caught in a summer breeze and the tweet of birds to accompany their steady breathing.
“That, and your sweet little toosh.”
Villanelle’s accent slaughters the word and Eve throws her head back to laugh, hitting it accidentally on the tree, and then Villanelle is laughing too.
The nothingness is different this time.
There are memories.
Few memories, but they’re there, and they all share one persistent factor.
When Eve opens her eyes again, it feels different. Less thick, less hazy. A little easier, like waking up after a particularly deep sleep.
And then she remembers.
Remembers that she doesn’t remember.
When she’s seen this sort of thing in movies, the people always seem sort of at peace that they don’t remember. Maybe because they don’t know what they’re missing, they don’t know what to be upset about.
But Eve knows that those things she can’t remember must exist. She must’ve had a job, she must’ve had a family. Has a family. She knows she’s an adult woman, she knows exactly who she is, just… none of the external details.
Except for Villanelle.
But she doesn’t… she doesn’t remember why she knows Villanelle. Just that they are each other’s.
Or, she’s pretty certain they are.
Eve turns her head to the side and finds it’s less painful to do so, but still uncomfortable. She feels less padded.
There’s no one in the chair.
Eve reaches up a hand gingerly, feels an ache in her arm and sees thick adhesive squares covering parts of her skin. She glances down at the other arm and sees it’s in a cast, like the kind she had as a kid after falling off the jungle gym at school.
She brings the free arm up and touches her head, flinching a little at the sting the contact brings. There’s a bandage there too, and tape. A head wound? That would explain the memory loss. Blows to the head can cause trauma which can lead to loss of memory. Usually temporary, and usually lasting longer the more serious the head injury.
Will it be temporary for Eve?
She drops her hand and looks around the room, takes in her surroundings. The units are still there, of course, but this time she notices the window to her right, showing tall buildings. Still in London then, probably.
There’s a table in the corner with a vase of flowers, and a floating balloon with an obnoxious ‘feel better’ message printed across it. There are cards on the table too, and what looks like a small cat plushie, jet black.
She blinks back tears as she realises she has no idea who any of them could be from. Friends? Family? She has no clue. Does she even have anyone?
She only knows Villanelle.
The only solid image in the cloudy haze of her mind.
It’s so strange, having no memory. Her head feels empty, new, retaining all of the present details with startling clarity as if it now has room for more.
There are Villanelle memories, though.
They’re not dreams. She knows they’re real, can remember them in exact detail.
Eve lets herself fall into them, holding onto the only things she knows to be true.
“Stop touching the turkey.”
Eve jerks her hand back like it’s been slapped.
“I’m helping!” She insists. “Let me help.”
“No, you will ruin it.” Villanelle argues with a small shake of her head. “You are not allowed to touch the food.”
“Just let me do something? Something easy. I’ll chop the potatoes?”
“I don’t know if I trust you with knives yet.”
Eve scowls playfully, then moves into Villanelle’s space between her and the counter, placing a hand over her stomach gently.
She cups Villanelle’s cheek with the other hand.
“You know I’m still not sorry about that, right?”
Villanelle rolls her eyes, then kisses Eve’s palm.
“I know. I’m not sorry either.”
“I know.” Eve says with a smile. She presses her lips to Villanelle’s once, quickly. “Now let me chop the potatoes.”
There’s a static over that memory. Eve doesn’t know why she or Villanelle said some of the things they said. External reasons must have caused them, but Eve doesn’t recall the externals. Just Villanelle.
Villanelle is there when she wakes up again.
She stares at her for a moment, takes in blonde hair, worried eyes, impeccable clothes. Eve sighs.
“What the fuck is happening, Vil? What… I don’t even know where to start.”
Villanelle nods slowly.
“I can help, if you want. You can ask me questions. The doctor told me it could help jog your memory.”
But Eve only has one question.
“Before, when you reacted to me calling you my girlfriend. The thing that sparked… this.” Eve takes a deep breath in, blows it out carefully. “Why?”
Villanelle studies Eve, then looks down, touches one of the buttons on her jacket. When she looks back up, her eyes are glassy.
“Because I am not your girlfriend, Eve.”
It doesn’t make sense.
“Of course you are.” Eve frowns. “It’s… it’s the only thing I remember. We’re together. I… I remember dates, and, and trips, and… sometimes they’re fuzzy, like I’m missing something else , but they’re real.”
With a sigh, Villanelle rubs a hand across her forehead.
“They’re real.” Villanelle agrees, but her smile is sad.
“Then I don’t understand.” Eve shrugs as best she can in the bed. “I don’t get it.”
Villanelle looks like she’d rather be talking about anything else, eyes darting around the room uncomfortably before landing back on Eve with a melancholy Eve finds sort of familiar, somehow.
“We are not together anymore, Eve.”
Eve doesn’t believe it.
Their togetherness is the only thing that’s real .
“What? That’s… no, that doesn’t make sense. Why would we not be together anymore?”
With shining eyes, Villanelle stands up.
“You ended things. Six months ago.” Villanelle stares at her boots, scuffs a toe along the floor. “I’m going to go. I will be back again, at some point. I just… didn’t want you to wake up alone again.”
Villanelle is gone, gone before Eve can claw her way through the swamp of emotions thickening her throat to say ‘wait’.
“No, you taste like vodka.”
“You like vodka.”
“No I don’t!”
“Okay, but you like me.”
Eve sighs, looks at the drunk form of Villanelle snuggled into her side.
“Ugh, I do like you, don’t I. Fine, come here.”
Villanelle is sloppy in her giddiness, almost knocking their heads together as she leans into Eve, who giggles against the blonde’s lips.
“You’re a hot mess, honey.”
“I’m your hot mess.” Villanelle whispers.
And then they’re kissing.
Despite the alcohol in Villanelle’s blood, it’s a smooth kiss, an easy one, perfected with practice over time. When they pull apart Eve is rewarded with a drunken smile.
“That was not so bad, was it.”
Eve laughs and shakes her head, hair scrunching against the pillow. She runs her fingers through blonde strands and tucks them behind Villanelle’s ears.
“What did I do to deserve a smokin’ hot weirdo like you?”
Villanelle grins, then drops her face down again, lips hovering a breath away from Eve’s own.
“You found me.” She murmurs. “That’s how.”
They give Eve a notepad.
Each page is lined on one side and blank on the other, and they encourage Eve to write and draw what she knows.
She spends a couple of desperate days covering pages in harsh scribbles and crossed out sentences that make no sense to her. The doctors tell her it’s okay, that she’s doing well even if it doesn’t seem like it. They tell her the likelihood that it’ll come back to her is high, they just don’t know when it will happen.
She’s angry and frustrated, but she only flings the pad across the room twice.
Villanelle comes to see her on the third day, and Eve has to try not to snap at her.
“You are being cold, Eve.” Villanelle says with a weary sigh.
“I’m sorry.” Eve says, squeezing her eyes shut. “I just… my brain thinks we’re still… it’s annoyed at you for not being here all the time. It thinks you should be. But I know… I know we’re not… we’re not-”
“It is okay. I get it.” Villanelle says softly.
Eve opens her eyes again and looks at Villanelle’s tired expression.
“Why do you visit me?”
Villanelle spins the ring on her thumb.
“Because you remember me. I think you need me here.”
It’s true. She does. Villanelle’s presence grounds her, stops her from losing it completely and floating away.
“But… you don’t have to be. I know this can’t be fun for you. If I did what I did, then you shouldn’t feel like you have to be here.”
Villanelle shakes her head and gives Eve a rueful smile.
“It is fine. Anyway, how is the notepad working out?”
“Bad.” Eve huffs, eyeing the pad unhappily. “Nothing makes sense. It’s just… stupid stuff, I don’t know.”
“Can you draw something now? For me?”
“You know I can’t actually draw.”
“So you remember that then.” Villanelle’s smile is genuine for the first time, and Eve chuckles in both relief and amusement.
“No I cannot.” Eve agrees. “But I can doodle. What do you, um… what do you want me to draw?”
“Something you remember about us.” Villanelle suggests. “Maybe not a solid memory. Maybe if there’s something you remember only little pieces of.”
Eve stares at the blank page for a long time.
Then she picks up a pen.
It’s vague. This memory isn’t full, this one does feel like a half forgotten dream, but it still stands out as real to Eve.
She and Villanelle are on a bed. They’re looking at each other. Something is said, and it’s all soft and calm but there’s a simmering confusion and anger beneath the surface.
She sort of recalls Villanelle’s hand on her face, so startlingly gentle. She has a hazy recollection of luxuriously soft sheets against her cheek as she rests on a pillow while staring into hazel eyes.
It feels like an old memory.
Eve can’t make much sense of it.
But she remembers the colours.
A beige colour with splashes of green, like green glass maybe. Then pink, soft pink, Villanelle is pink. Navy on herself, maybe a cardigan.
A lot of red.
And all of a sudden, Eve remembers the smell.
“Fuck.” Eve breathes out harshly.
She drops the pen and looks at the page, looks at the red ink spread across it, the pink and navy and beige and green lost underneath it.
She looks at Villanelle, only to find her smiling, eyebrows raised.
“You know, I think I see what you are remembering.”
Eve gapes for a second.
“What the hell happened?” Eve asks in a rush. “Why do I remember so much… blood? Was one of us hurt?”
“Oh yes,” and Villanelle is chuckling now, “very hurt.”
When she doesn’t continue, Eve waves an exasperated hand at her.
“So are you gonna tell me, or?”
Villanelle’s smile dims, but only by a little.
“I am not sure this is a memory you want to remember. The doctor says to focus on good memories. Maybe… maybe we will talk about this one another time.”
She gives Eve no room to argue, reaching over and pulling the pad from her, flipping to a clean page. When Eve tries to question her she is shushed and immediately spoken over, Villanelle telling her to write down a solid memory instead, something with dialogue and images and thoughts and feelings.
And Villanelle looks almost happy for the first time as she grabs more colouring pens for her.
So Eve does as she’s told, and draws the tree.
Sometimes, memories come to her in dreams.
Villanelle’s long fingers thrust deeper. Eve feels them brush on that patch inside of her, and she arches her back.
“Don’t stop, don’t stop.”
She feels Villanelles other hand on her thigh, nails digging into the skin while her tongue works at Eve’s clit, fingers pumping and bringing Eve closer and closer and closer and-
“Fuck, Vil, fuck-”
She trails off into a high moan as she comes, a fever rushing through her, heating her skin further and tingling in her fingertips, and she realises she’s holding her breath.
It leaves her in a great gasping sigh as she comes down, and she starts to recognise the feeling of gentle kisses on her thigh.
When she opens her eyes and looks down, Villanelle is nuzzling at the skin she’d been clenching.
“I hurt you.” She mumbles into Eve’s thigh.
“What? No you didn’t.” Eve says, still breathless. “What do you mean?”
Villanelle moves slightly and Eve can see it now, four crescent moons on her thigh, glittering red.
“Oh.” Eve sighs. “I didn’t even feel it baby, I swear. It’s okay.”
Villanelle leaves one last kiss there before sliding back up Eve’s body.
“Sorry,” the blonde mumbles against Eve’s neck, “you just make me so… hot.”
Eve feels a slickness against her hip where Villanelle’s naked body touches hers. It flushes Eve with heat all over again, so she rolls onto her side to face Villanelle.
Her lips are immediately caught and they’re kissing, it’s all sliding tongues and nipping teeth and fire, and Eve knots her fingers into blonde hair.
“Let me touch you again.” Eve mumbles into the kiss.
Villanelle groans, and nods. She gasps at the touch between her legs and Eve drinks in the sound, the look of ecstasy on Villanelle’s face.
“You’re my everything.” Eve whispers. “I want to touch you forever.”
“I want that too.”
Eve wakes with a start, and Villanelle is there, looking like she’s just sat down.
“Oh, hi.” She says, but Eve is too busy trying to shake off the dream to reply.
Villanelle looks at her.
“Are you okay? You are flushed.”
“I’m fine.” Eve says hurriedly, trying to sit up, looking away from Villanelle. “I’m fine.”
But the blonde ducks over the bed to stare in concern at Eve who desperately tries not to look at her, because Villanelle knows what she looks like when she’s turned on, and everything is already such a fucking mess that this can only make things worse.
But it’s too late.
“Oh.” Villanelle says in surprise, before her face breaks out into a smirk. “Oh.”
“Shut up.” Eve mumbles, running fingers through her hair in an attempt to neaten it. “Just don’t.”
“And in a hospital , Eve. Tut tut.”
Eve growls a little and stares Villanelle down until the blonde lifts both hands in surrender.
“It’s not like I can control when I have a d- a dream.” Eve stumbles over the word ‘dirty’. “Besides, I’m pretty sure it was a memory anyway. So, that’s good.”
“That is good,” Villanelle nods, but then the smirk is back as she adds “ very good.”
Eve sighs in exasperation and Villanelle seems to take pity on her.
“I will stop.” Villanelle says, trying to keep the smile off her face. “Especially as you cannot… you know.”
Eve says nothing, just deadpans Villanelle who shrugs, eyes wide.
“What! You can’t!”
“Did you want something, or did come to remind me of the awful situation I’m in?”
Villanelle’s smile disappears.
“Okay, well if you’re going to be like that.”
When Villanelle stands up, Eve’s hand shoots out to hold her wrist.
“No, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.” She says apologetically. “Please stay.”
Something passes over Villanelle’s face.
It looks like hurt. Recognition. Then it’s gone as she sighs and sits back down.
It’s silent for a bit, Villanelle staring out the window and Eve staring at Villanelle.
“Why did I end things?”
Villanelle jerks her head round and regards Eve with apprehensive eyes.
Eve shrugs, picks at a thread on the hem of her bed sheet, bundled slightly in her lap.
“Why did I end things? Why did I break us up? From what I remember, we seemed so… happy.”
Villanelle looks away, worries her bottom lip between her teeth.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay.” Eve says, with a small nod. “That’s fine. I just… don’t get it. I don’t know why I did it. But… okay.”
Villanelle sighs, but says nothing.
“In my dream,” Eve starts, and Villanelle looks curious but wary, “I called you my everything.”
Villanelle’s eyes slip shut. Eve watches her swallow.
“Yes, you… used to call me that when we, um. Yes.”
“Hmm.” Eve hums thoughtfully. She stares at Villanelle, stares as hazel eyes open and look fixedly at the wall. “So then why would I… Did you do something?”
Villanelle is looking at her now, frowning, eyes narrowed. Eve lifts one shoulder in a shrug.
“I mean, I don’t know, did you do something that made me break up with you? Because from what I can remember-”
“Well, you can’t remember.” Villanelle snaps. She gets up, grabs her jacket, spins on the spot to face Eve. “You don’t remember. You don’t remember what happened, what you did, what you said-”
Villanelle cuts herself off as her voice shakes. She takes a steadying breath, but it doesn’t seem to help.
“I am going. I don’t know if I will come back again. This is… too hard.”
“No, no,” Eve says desperately, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked that, I just… I can’t-”
“Remember, I know!” Villanelle yells in the small room. She looks around herself and lowers her voice. “But what happened, happened. You ended things. A bump to the head doesn’t change that, so I am going to go. I don't even know why I started visiting in the first place.”
“Please don’t leave.” Eve gasps, reaching out for Villanelle. “I can’t do this without you, you’re the only… you’re the only thing that’s real. Please don’t leave me alone.”
A tear slips down Villanelle’s cheek and she rubs at it furiously.
“I have to look after myself too, Eve.” She says sadly, anger gone from her voice and leaving only hurt in its place. “I am sorry, I know this whole thing is difficult for you, but I can’t… I can’t be here anymore. It hurts me.”
“Please Villanelle,” Eve breathes, “please don’t leave me.”
Her hand goes to take Villanelle’s, but the blonde tugs it away.
“That’s exactly what I said to you, and you left anyway.”
And then Villanelle is gone, and Eve is alone.
No more new memories come after that.
Eve has been awake for a week and a half.
A man named Kenny comes to see her.
He’s awkward and shy, but Eve doesn’t know if that’s because of the situation or because he’s like that all the time.
He answers some of her questions.
She’s divorced. Used to be married to a Polish man named Niko, hence the unusual surname. They no longer speak.
She was born in London but grew up in Connecticut until her parents split, then she moved back to London. She has no siblings.
She used to work for Mi5. Then she worked for a ‘private’ task force. She’s not allowed to know any of the details.
Apparently, she’s repeatedly gotten into a lot of trouble.
She’s not allowed to know any of those details either.
“So, I’m a rebel?”
Kenny smiles a little, and it’s sweet. It seems like maybe he was like a younger brother to Eve, before.
“ Definitely a rebel.” He nods.
Kenny tells Eve they used to work together in the task force, and that Eve had once encouraged him to break some rules that almost cost him his job and his innocence.
“Your innocence?” Eve questions with raised eyebrows.
“Mmm,” he hums with a grimace, “I found out some things about my, uh, mum, that… no son should ever know.”
“Your mum? What does she have to do with it?”
Kenny shrugs, sympathetic smile on his face.
“No details, right.” Eve sighs.
Eve finds the quiet few minutes that follow comfortable, but Kenny is clearly anxious, fidgeting.
“Is there anything you remember at all? Or anyone?”
Eve is sitting up in her hospital bed, wearing a soft pair of pyjamas that Villanelle had brought her three days after she woke up, a favourite pair of Eve’s apparently. They’ve got little Eiffel towers on them. Eve doesn’t know if she’s ever even been to Paris.
“Yeah, actually.” Eve nods, staring at her hands in her clap. “Just one person.”
“Who is it?”
Eve looks at him, watches him sip lukewarm coffee from a paper cup.
Eve jumps as Kenny spits the coffee back out.
She jumps again when he starts laughing.
“What?” She asks, a little put out. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing, honestly, nothing is funny about that.” Kenny says through his hand, covering his mouth to stifle his chuckles. “It just… it figures that’s she’s the only one you’d remember.”
“Why is that weird?” Eve asks, getting a little frustrated now at once again not knowing something that someone else does. “We were together, why wouldn’t I remember her?”
Kenny stops laughing.
“You were what?”
“Together.” Eve says slowly. “You know? Partners? Girlfriends? I think maybe we were living together, but I can’t…” she trails off, thinking hard, but stops once she sees how pale Kenny has gone. “Kenny, what?”
“Nothing.” He says, clearing his throat. “I just… I didn’t know. Uh, I… wow. This explains a lot.”
Eve isn’t just a little frustrated now. She frowns at the man. He sighs at her reaction.
“I’m sorry I can’t tell you more, Eve, I really am. But it’s the law.”
“Then break it.” She growls.
Kenny shakes his head, almost fond expression on his face.
“You really are a rebel.” He says. “No wonder you two liked each other so much.”
Eve stares him down, but he doesn’t budge on the matter. After a short silence, he stands.
“Eve, maybe don’t mention Villanelle to anyone else that comes in, alright?”
Eve doesn’t say anything else after that. She has nothing left to say, nothing more to talk about as she sits in the bright white room while completely in the dark. Kenny leaves shortly after, gives her his number, tells her to call if she has any other questions that aren’t to do with Villanelle.
But Eve doesn’t want any other answers.
The doctors won’t let her leave due to the amount she can’t remember.
It’s not safe, they tell her.
She’s stuck there for a little longer, and if her memory doesn’t return, there’s a chance she’ll be sent to a special home until it does. If it does.
Eve begs her own brain to just fucking work .
“You can’t change me, Eve!”
Villanelle is shouting.
“I’m not trying to!”
So is Eve.
“Then why are you trying to make me normal?”
Eve throws her hands in the air.
“I’m not, I just want you to stop risking your life so flippantly! Our life.”
“I’m just trying to have some fun.”
“Oh, so I’m not fun for you?” Eve snaps. “Is our life together boring you?”
“No, Eve, you know that’s not it!” Villanelle shouts, fingers wrapped tightly around the back of a dining chair. “But I am different, I need more .”
“Well then I’m sorry I’m not enough for you.”
Villanelle shakes her head, eyes going glassy.
“Do not do that, do not turn it like that. You are my world.”
“I cannot keep living not knowing if you’ll come home after some stupid spree, just because you got a little antsy playing house with me.” Eve bites out. “I’m tired of not knowing where my fucking girlfriend is.”
“This is who I am.” Villanelle taps her own chest. “It is who you are too , you just still refuse to accept it. How long will it take?”
“You need to watch it.” Eve glares at Villanelle, starting to walk away. “Or one of these days I won’t be here when you come back.”
“I do not really want to be here, doctor.”
Muffled voices, distorted through sleep.
“But I appreciate you coming in, Ms Miller. We think your presence might help.”
Voices getting clearer. Eve feels her eyelids twitch.
“Ms Polastri hasn’t really spoken since you were last here. Isn’t making an effort to recall anything. She’s getting a little difficult to work with.”
Eve is half awake now.
She wants to kick the doctor.
She keeps her eyes closed.
“Okay, okay, fine. But I won’t be coming again after today, alright?”
“We’ll see. And thank you again.”
There’s muffled footsteps as the doctor leaves the room, and then Villanelle huffs.
“Are you awake?”
Eve says nothing, simply lies still, tries to keep her breathing slow and even.
Villanelle huffs again.
“I have to be here and you are not even awake.” The blonde mumbles. “Great. Or, maybe that is for the best.”
There’s a minute or two of quiet, and Eve spends it willing with everything she has for Villanelle to start talking again.
“You left me, and yet I keep coming back.” Villanelle sighs. “No matter how much it hurts. You never could accept just how much I loved you. Love you.”
Eve’s heart thuds. She tries to still her shaking hands, nestled under the sheets.
“You are it for me, Eve. I think that maybe I will spend the rest of my life in pain if it means staying involved in your life. Whether you like it or not. Like the good old times.”
Villanelle chuckles here, a sad sound, before sighing once more.
“Wow. I really am a psychopath.”
Eve hears the crash of cars colliding.
Then she hears the radio, playing Christmas music, too cheery for her sour mood.
Then she sees the snow, then she feels the slush under her feet as she walks to her car, then she hears the sound of the key clicking the lock closed on her front door, then she sees the urgent text from work on her phone, and then, and then, and then-
It’s all in reverse.
It floods her.
Growing up in America. School. Piano lessons. College. Boyfriends. Travelling. Moving. Niko. Bridge club. Good job. Easy life, standard life… boring life.
A hospital bathroom, a nurse with honey blonde hair and cat-like eyes.
Are you okay?
Wear it down.
And then murder after murder after murder.
Rush after rush.
Chase after chase.
A stabbing, oh god , a stabbing .
More and more and more and lipstick and blades and sex with men when it should’ve been Villanelle and, and-
A loud gunshot.
A long recovery.
A reunion, a lot of shouting, a lot of confusion emotions.
Time with nothing.
And then, some time together.
Then together a lot.
Then just together .
And then, then back to nothing. Back to easy and standard and boring.
Eve blinks her eyes open, finds Villanelle staring down into her lap.
“You should never call a psychopath a psychopath. It upsets them.”
Villanelle looks up in surprise. She gapes at Eve.
There’s silence. Nothing is said. Eve just watches, and Villanelle eventually closes her mouth, eyes shining.
Eve smiles. Nods.
“I still cannot believe you shot me.”
And Villanelle bursts out laughing.
When it dies down and when all that’s left on Villanelle’s face is a mixture of relief and apprehension, Eve props herself up on her elbows.
“I love you.”
Villanelle gulps, looks away.
“I know this doesn’t change anything,” Eve says softly, “but I’ve had a lot of time to think, and a lot of space, actually, seeing as… well seeing as nothing but you was left in my brain.”
When Villanelle glances back up, she looks guarded. Eve continues.
“And what I’ve thought about is you. Us. Everything we’ve shared. This is very soppy and you’re probably thinking I’m being lame right now,” Villanelle nods, and Eve breathes out a laugh, “but that’s okay. I just want you to know that I love you. Still. Always will. And, and if you want to talk about what happened, I’d… I’d like that.”
Villanelle looks conflicted. Eve reaches out and gently takes her hand.
Villanelle swallows hard.
“You’re mine.” She whispers.
“And you’re mine.” Eve says softly.
They smile, quiet in the bright white room, pieces finally pieced together. Villanelle squeezes Eve’s fingers, and Eve sighs happily.
“But I’m still not sorry for stabbing you.”
And Villanelle laughs again.