Burst Bubbles


1. Burst Bubbles

He gave her bubbles in her stomach. Not butterflies, not worms, she had never understood why people used the analogy of insects in their stomach to describe this feeling? She couldn't think of anything worse, and this feeling was far from bad. She was sure he hadn't noticed her; sure he didn't know who she was. She glanced at him, he was watching her. She looked away quickly, and then looked back just as quickly, her eyes ignoring the pleas from her brain. He was still watching her, she ducked her head and he smiled at her, an open warm smile that she drank in like those first delicious gulps of water on a searing hot day. He walked over to her, offering to get her a drink. She agreed and as he went away to get them drinks she sat down on the sun loungers behind her. As she sat down, a warm feeling spreading throughout her that had nothing to do with the beating sun, she felt a figure sit down next to her, they had the sun behind them and it took a second for her eyes to adjust to the sun. As the black silhouette came into focus her stomach sank. He was exactly the opposite of whom she was waiting for. He looked out of sorts and she was frightened.


'Drink?' He asked her. 'What the hell are you doing here?' she responded. He mumbled something unintelligible and she stared at the floor agitated. The man of her dreams was about to walk back to this scene and she was willing to do anything to prevent that. 'Go away' she said. 'You don't really want me to go away'. His arrogance pushed her buttons, she turned her icy gaze on him until he left, crossing the room to get a drink and standing there, holding it watching her. She stared at her hands self consciously, distracted, and when a champagne glass was put in front of her face she looked up angrily only to see those lovely hazel eyes staring back at her. She grinned at him and shimmied backwards on the sun lounger, him sitting down on the other. They both laid back, him on his side facing her.


'I have a question to ask' he started. She turned more to face him. 'I don't want to bullshit around, when we first met, did you feel it?' She knew what he was meaning, it crossed her mind to play with him, to pretend to misunderstand, to be coy, but when she looked into his face, his eyes searching her face for the answer, she knew she didn't want to play any games, and though this thought scared her she returned his gaze saying only 'Yes.' His face relaxed and he exhaled with a whoosh of air. 'I thought I was crazy'. 'You might still be' she replied, laughing.


She took a sip of champagne, the feel of the bubbles in her mouth mirroring the party happening in her stomach. As she lowered her arm her bracelet clinked against her watch and she moved her glass to the other hand. He reached out, fingering the classic Tiffany's bracelet around her wrist, his thumb grazing the inside of her wrist in a move that was as calculated as it was electrifying. He let go and took a swig from the Corona in his hand. She twisted her body back around so she was laying flat on the sun lounger. He started to do the same and as he turned she saw him walking purposely towards them. He had his hand in his pocket and as he got to within two metres of them he pulled it out, continued walking and fired the gun in his hand straight through her companion's chest. His mouth opened into a little O and he gave a tiny little gasp, more like an exhale, the last exhale he would ever give, and he slumped on the sun lounger, his face pale and still.


She screamed and pulled herself up on the sun lounger as he came around the chair. He was upon her before she could stand and she was crouched on her knees as he aimed the gun at her chest. Rather than staring at the gun she looked him straight in the face, her eyes pleading with him to stop. In his eyes she saw fear, she saw indecision. His face was white and sweaty and she could see the vein in his forehead. His hand was shaking and as her eyes pleaded with him he raised the gun and pushed the barrel hard into the side of his head, all the while staring hard at her, the chaos around them may as well have been on another planet. She stared at him, feeling her lips mouth the word 'don’t' all the while trying to take in everything that had happened, her vivid imagination jumping straight to what was possibly ahead of her. He looked defeated, his previously rigid jaw slackened and she watched his wrist become slack as he lowered the gun to hang limply by his side.


She sank back into the chair. Dizzy with relief. But as she turned to her right, grief took over as she reached out to the lifeless body beside her. She gently ran her index finger down his jaw line, stopping under his chin. Guilt raced through her body as she realised that if it weren’t for her this person would still be breathing, still be living. She didn't want to take anything else in, she knew there were people everywhere, knew he was still holding a gun, but nothing seemed to matter. Nothing except for her and the empty shell next to her that had housed a soul that had lit up her world. Then she heard the gun fire again twice, like the start of a race it jump started her into action. She whipped around wondering for a split second if she had been shot until she saw him lying on the floor, gun limp in his hand, the self inflicted wound creating a pool of blood that expanded to form a macabre pillow for his head.


As police and medics converged on her everything seemed to shimmer for a second with an odd golden glow. A young police officer on his very first assignment caught her lifeless body as she fell to the ground. She was too young, he thought, her shiny dark hair caught up in his fingers, too pretty. He sat with her as the chaos continued around them, as the bubbles all burst.


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