All sound and light narrowed to a pin point. Voices were tinny and distant, raucous laughter canned and artificial.
I felt like I was moving in slow motion while every one around me carried on at double speed. My tunnel vision focused on the couple across the room. As if a spot light shone on them, even in profile, I recognized the clandestine touches, the secret smiles, a lean in that’s too close.
Swimming up stream through thick emotions, I strained to separate their conversation from the rest of the hum in the room.
Outside of their electrified bubble, arms by my side, fists held in tight knots, I tried to still my breathing, the rushing deafening in my ears. I feared my pounding heart would crash through my ribs. I knew if I attempted to speak my words would be feral screams, angry and raw.
As I inhaled their scent, thick and cloying, he looked up at me. His smile, bright as the sun, held me spellbound. Their bubble wavered, but didn’t burst. A flicker of triumph sparked across her face as she acknowledged my intrusion. Her touch lingered a heartbeat too long on his arm before he stood to welcome me into his embrace.
My insecurities tricked me into thinking he didn’t hold me as close as he once did, or as long. She made a show of moving over on their couch, so I could sit between them. The heat from her body evident when I took her place.
He kissed the nape of my neck, his arm draped nonchalantly across the back of the seat, his skin hot against my shoulders. In my mind’s eye, I imagined his wandering hand wrapped in her hair, not mine; his gaze looking through me to caress her face, not mine.
I heard her breath quicken with desire. My own caught in my throat, threatening to strangle me. Pushing away, I attempted an escape only to stumble against him kneeling on one knee at my feet.
A blue velvet box open in his hand, the sparkling bauble inside a shock to my senses. As he took my left hand in his, I couldn’t comprehend the words tumbling from his lips. Turning toward her, I watched as the smile slid from her face, and the fire of hatred blazed in her eyes.
Warm gold encircled my finger, and my attention was pulled back to him, waiting expectantly for my answer. His smile encompassed a lifetime of happiness and it shone only on me.
The lightning flash came without any thunder, quick and lethal. He fell where he knelt, my hand held tight in his. The others pulled her away, the blade still in her hand, wet with his blood.
Kneeling at his side, I leaned in close. His whisper a kiss upon my cheek, his words too soft to hear. All sound and light narrowed to a pin point. Voices were tinny and distant.