"I'm sorry, Ava, I can't..." Beatrice says, not meeting the Halo-Bearer's eyes.
"W-What do you mean?" Ava stutters out, desperately trying to catch the nun's eyes, hoping to find some kind of answer in them.
"What do you mean you can't, Bea?"
"I..." Beatrice trails off, fidgeting with her hands as she inhales and musters up the courage to finish her sentence.
"I don't think we should do this anymore." The nun says, finally meeting Ava's eyes.
"My parents, they said they found a suitable suitor for me, and are now calling me home." Beatrice utters out.
Ava scoffs. "So what? You're just going to break up with me and run off into a sunset with a dude you barely know?"
"You have to understand, Ava.” Beatrice pleaded. “My parents, they–”
“I really don’t, Beatrice!” Ava all but shouts.
“What happened to feeling unburdened and unbound? What happened to finally being yourself? You’re finally where you wanted to be – where we wanted to be – and just the week before you were thinking of finally telling your parents whether they accept you or not; now you’re just gonna throw that away and marry some rando?!” Ava was feeling hysteric now, she could feel the Halo pulsing on her back, clearly reacting to her agitation.
“I–” Beatrice chokes up, clearly just as affected.
Closing her eyes, the Halo-Bearer willed herself to calm down, the light of the Halo slowly flickering away. Ava turns to face Beatrice, face devoid of all emotion, “You know what? Fine. Let’s end this.”
She turns on her heels and walks away from the nun, she stops by the door and says, “I guess I’m just not worth fighting for.”
"You're a coward, Beatrice."
"Lilith." Mary warns.
Beatrice ignores the brunette, opting to turn her gaze to the woman beside her, "How- How is she?"
Mary sighs, "She – well – she's out right now, cried herself to sleep."
"Yeah, thanks to you," Lilith, rebuts with a scoff, crossing her arms across her chest as she glares at Beatrice.
The nun purses her lips, feeling like her heart was on her stomach as she spots a car rounding up the corner and pulling up to them.
The driver comes out of the car and helps Beatrice load it in the vehicle. She walks back to open the passenger door, hesitating for a moment and glancing back to Lilith, Mary and Camila; the former giving her a scalding glare while the other two tried to give her a reassuring smile.
"Miss, we must be off." The driver reminds her.
She goes into the passenger seat; and as they drove away, she couldn't help but think that maybe she was truly a coward.
"Beatrice, this is Michael, your soon to be husband." Her mother introduces cheerily, though she can see it in the woman's eyes that she was anything but so. There's a look in her mother's eyes that says 'don't mess this up' and she feels a bile rise up her throat at the thought of sharing her life -- sharing anything, really -- with the man in front of her when she could be sharing it with Ava.
She plasters a fake smile, hoping it would appear genuine as she takes the man's hand and shakes it.
'God, I'm such a coward.'
The day of the wedding came and she didn't know anyone; no friends, barely any family.
And as the preacher says "Speak now, or forever hold your peace." Beatrice half expected Ava to burst in the church and whisk her away from this god awful place. Yet... There was nothing.
And just like that, she was married.
Later that night, Beatrice breaks down crying in front of Michael. Why did she do this? She could be doing this with Ava -- she wanted to do it with Ava -- so why had she chosen to fold into her parents?
'I didn't have a choice.'
'Bullshit. You had a choice, you just chose the most cowardly one.' The voice inside her head retorts.
Ava's tanned skin and sweet smile flashed into Beatrice's mind, and she sobs harder.
Michael asks her what was wrong, but she couldn't get the words out through the sobs wracking her body.
She let Michael hold her, trying to find comfort in unfamiliar arms. Beatrice pretends it was lithe arms wrapping around her, comforting her, like Ava had the first time she saw Beatrice cry.
Two years into the marriage and Michael turns out to be the perfect gentleman. He was smart, kind, and understanding, he never did anything Beatrice didn't want. Everything you'd want in a man; but he was no Ava.
Beatrice spent those past two years dreaming of Ava. Dreaming of those brown eyes that seemed to contain everything her soul thirsts for. Of Ava’s touch and how every time she touches Beatrice, it was as if stars were dancing on her skin. She'd dream of their time together, how happy and unbound she felt; sometimes she'd see glimpses of what could have been, she'd see her and Ava married and having kids together. It feels so real that sometimes she expects to wake up to Ava's slumbering face.
Only four years into the marriage did Beatrice get the courage to finally break free from her parents' shackles.
"Michael, we need to talk." Beatrice says, motioning Michael to sit.
"What is it Bea? Is everything okay?"
Bea. Even after all these years that nickname still causes a pang in her heart. All she can hear is Ava’s voice calling her.
"I want a divorce."
"A divorce? Why? Are you unhappy?" Michael asks, taking her hand into his.
"I- I never wanted this marriage in the first place and I've been miserable every passing day. Don't get me wrong, you were perfect, you gave me everything I could've ever asked for but..."
"I'm not him." Michael finishes with a sad smile.
"Her, actually." Beatrice whispers, bowing her head waiting for the blow up.
"Beatrice, are you a lesbian?" Michael asks gently, the brunette lifts her head to look at him and doesn't see the look of disgust or contempt she expected, instead, she sees gentleness and understanding.
Feeling braver, she replied, "Yes, I am."
“Oh, Bea.” Michael gathers her in his arms, and she lets him.
“I’ll help you.” He says resolutely.
They had originally been planning on spinning a lie saying that Michael was having an affair, and, in the process, fell in love with the mistress; but Beatrice couldn’t help but think that it’s another cowardly way out. She decides to finally just rip the band aid.
She tells them. Tells them how unhappy she’s been in the marriage and how she never wanted it in the first place. Tells them that she didn’t like men and how she loved this one woman, Ava.
Her parents predictably blew a gasket. Telling her that even with sending her to a catholic boarding school, she’s still continuing this “behavior”.
She flips them off and proceeds to walk out of the house.
She decides to go back to Spain. Why? She didn’t know. Maybe she was hoping for something.
She goes into a quaint café, sitting by the glass window, watching the people walk by as she waits for her order.
“Lilith, over here!” Beatrice whips her head towards the voice.
“Ava.” Beatrice breathes out.
Apparently, she didn’t say it that quietly, as brown hair whips to her direction and pools of brown locks with her own.
“Beatrice.” Ava says, shocked.
“What are you doing here?” Lilith says venomously, as she goes up to both of them.
“Lilith.” Ava says, sternly.
“Ava, can-- can we talk?” Beatrice blurts out, her heart feeling like it was trying to beat out of her chest.
“No, you cannot.”
“Lilith,” Ava fixes the taller girl with a heavy glare. Lilith huffs, looking away as she crosses her arms across her chest.
“Go sit on the table, I’ll be back.” The taller girl reluctantly complies, grumbling on the way and Ava gazes at her with a fond expression.
Beatrice couldn’t help but soak up Ava’s presence. She’s taller now, maybe even taller than herself. Her hair is now longer and lighter and she still sports the smile Beatrice was oh so familiar with. Except… it was directed onto Lilith now, not her.
Ava turns back to her, “So… Let’s talk.”
“I- I just want to tell you I’m sorry I didn’t fight hard enough for you, you made me feel so free, so unburdened that it scared me.”
“And,” Beatrice takes a shaky breath, “Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, just probably me, mindlessly dreaming; but if we loved again, I swear to you I’d love you right.”
“I’d go back in time and change my decision…” Beatrice tails off.
“But you can’t.” Ava interrupts.
“No,” Beatrice agrees quietly, “No, I can’t.”
“I’m sorry, Beatrice.” Beatrice felt her gut churn at those words.
“I’m with Lilith now, and unlike you, she actually fought her family to be with me.”
Beatrice squeezes her eyes shut in an effort to stop the tears pricking her eyes to stop.
“I’ve always chosen you, Beatrice, no matter the circumstances; but, you seem to pick anything but me.” Ava says, as she gives her a sad smile.
“But Lilith… Lilith chose me, and to be chosen for once, it feels exhilarating,”
Beatrice lets out a quiet sob, and Ava couldn’t help but wipe her tears away.
“In our next lifetime, I’ll choose you again; and maybe then, you’ll be ready to choose me too.”