Chapter 1: The End Times
The sound of a click…that almost seems like the sound of the front door opening. Then other sounds, like heavy steps on the floor. Diane feels like she can’t breath and then looks at Kurt, who already seems alarmed. They are looking at each other and she knows that all the concern and fear that sees in his eyes are for her.
“Kurt” she whispers. He puts his hand over her mouth roughly and he is bringing the finger from the other hand to his lips, trying to stop her from making any sounds. He slowly lifts from the bed, trying not to make a sound and then as his heart is beating like a thunder in his chest he puts his jeans and his shirt on his naked body as fast and as silently as he can. The sounds are coming closer and as he now knows for sure that someone is in the house he almost jumps, opens the door and takes his gun out, loading it. The fear makes his hand move faster, he doesn’t really know where to position himself. He makes a sign toward Diane to capture her attention.
“Go into the bathroom and close the door.” She is watching him lost for a second. “Go”
“No! Kurt, no” Her mind is racing, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. And in the last second, before the swat team bursts inside, she realises. They are being swatted. They did this to them. Her brain is in a fog, like she is underwater and she sees everything in slow motion now. In the last second, she shouts, a desperate, raspy voice that she doesn’t recognise as hers coming from her chest.
“Kurt, no! Drop the gun, drop it, drop it!’ She runs towards him, and in a split second her words reach him and while she is running he drops the gun and as she reaches him, he turns around, holding her in his arms, shielding her from the bullet that imminently would hit one of them. The sound that escapes him makes her whole body shake and somehow she finds the power to shout.
“Don’t shot, please, stop! Stop! It’s a mistake! “
The swat team stops, but is too late, the bullet already hits Kurt. She looks at his face, while he is closing his eyes and his body is getting heavier and heavier in her arms. No, this can’t possibly happen, it can’t happen, it can’t happen. Is just a nightmare, she is sleeping in his arms and this is a bad dream that will go away. Nothing could go wrong, nothing. Not now. She lets him on the floor easy, hovering over him. She hears a strange sound and then she realises that those are her own screams. She is hysterical and doesn’t know what to do. As she tries to find out where the bullet hit him, the swat team enters their room.
“On the floor! I said on the floor, ma’am, on the floor!”
She can’t actually understand and process what the man is saying, she holds Kurt tied, her hands are now covered in his blood. She sees that it becomes difficult for him to breathe. The man is behind her now, pulls her arms to the back and then slams her to the ground, while he is taking the handcuffs and puts them to her hands. She feels this sharp pain, like he is about to break her arms. From then on, everything is blurry. And she can’t remember much, only her screams to make them help Kurt. Eventually, they are calling the emergency services and assist Kurt until the ambulance arrives. She is not even dressed, she has only this beautiful burgundy negligee, that only minutes earlier he lifted over her hips, his hands caressing her skin, taking her panties off. The pressure of the guy that holds her down, is too much, and she feels like she can’t breathe anymore.
“I can’t breathe” Diane says, her voice barley there. “Please…I can’t breathe”
Kurt opens his eyes and turns his head towards her. He looks up, seeing a large man doing what he thinks is CPR to him. Than he turns his look to Diane again, his head moving slowly, like some force is opposing its motion and through the dizziness he realises she can’t breathe properly.
“My wife…please, she can’t breathe. Please!”
The guy above him looks at her, then to his colleague.
“Man, take your elbow!”
“What?” the other man responds calmly.
“Take your elbow from her back. You are killing her. And let her cover up with something afterwards, for God’s sake.”
The moment he takes his elbow, she takes a large breath and she raises her head searching Kurt with her eyes. His eyes are closed and she almost can’t think anymore, she feels like the world is crumbling around her. But then he opens them and looks at her.
“Diane, everything is ok, is alright, I am ok. They will take me to the hospital and I’ll be fine. We’ll be fine.” Saying these words takes all the strength he has left. He tries to encourage her, seeing the tears rolling down her face, her entire body shaking. He knows she is in shock and he hates his incapacity of doing anything to help her. Seeing her on the floor like that, with that man putting handcuffs on her beautiful hands, seeing her so lost and fragile is more painful than the burning sensation he feels in his body. And he is scared out of his mind. He never thought that their story would end like this. All the years they’ve waisted, his mistakes, that made them lose even more time , everything is passing through his mind. And even now, as he is feeling the cold touch of death, he can only think about her.
The paramedics are rushing in, putting him on the stretcher. She is now standing but her handcuffed hands are in so much pain, just as much as the arm that his hand is gripping. She starts to scream and tries to liberate herself from the grip but it's pointless. She doesn’t have the force.
“ Ma’am, stop it. Stop fighting me or I will be forced to use other ways to restrain you and you don’t want that”
“Please let me go with him to the hospital, please. It’s my husband for God’s sake. This was a prank. You shot an innocent man over a prank.”
“You are under arrest, you will have to come with us.”
“ Oh my God, Kurt” she shouts again, but he is already in the ambulance and the moment she hears the sound of the ambulance taking him away she feel like her knees will give in and she will faint. This has to be a nightmare. Has to! Has to!
Chapter 2: The Waiting
Hi! Here's the second chapter, i will try my best to update soon. This story turns out to be pretty complex and challenging for me, because there are many ways this could go and more characters, besides Diane and Kurt involved, lots of legal, procedural stuff. So after i've researched a little, i figured i need a few months just to research to feel i have an idea about all of this. So finally i decided to write it as it comes, focusing more on the plot and the characters relations. I am sure the Kings will do a much better job than me, this is just fun. Hope you like it and comment!
The dripping of the water. That's all she hears. The drops were falling continuously, one after the other. With her eyes closed, she desperately tries to focus on something, anything, other than the despair, to the point of madness she feels. She feels like she is continuously screaming inside since this morning, The wall she is leaning her head on is cold, the smell inside the cell is pungent.
Five more drops have fallen. She is now finally silent, after she yelled at everybody that passed by to tell her something about her husband. She didn’t received a word, not a single word. She walked from one wall of the cell to another for what she thought were hours, trying to calm herself, to figure out a way to get to him. And still nothing, nothing. They have to at least let her make that damn phone call.
She finally sits down, closing her eyes, trying to bring the lawyer inside of her to light, trying to compose herself. She was the only one to blame, she did this to him. Kurt has been shoot because of her, of her. His only fault was loving her, wanting to protect her. She realised she was playing a far too dangerous game when it was too late. A sob comes out of her chest and she feels like she can't breathe anymore. If something happened to Kurt…. She can't even process that thought, she can’t even go there, him dying alone in that hospital, not even knowing why.
She remembers the way his rough skin felt earlier that morning, his smell, his happy, loving expression, the way her lips tingled when she kissed his cheek. She sees it all in a fog, like it happened ages ago. And then him taking the gun, screaming at her to hide, trying to protect her, him heavy in her arms, the blood on her hands. She still has blood on her negligee and she can’t even look at it, as she is sure that underneath the jeans they allowed her to put on, her legs are covered in his blood.
She makes an effort to calm herself, wipes her tears and slowly opens her eyes. She jumps a little seeing a policeman standing in front of her.
“Come with me!”
She silently obeys him, not having the power to question him anymore. He opens the door and she follows silently, feeling her whole body heavy, barely able to walk, like she was sentenced to death and maybe if something happens to Kurt, it would be the right end for her.
“ Here, you can make a phone call, but I think you can leave custody today. Things have cleared out. If your husband wouldn’t have been armed…I am sorry!”
“You know something about him? Any information?”
“No, ma’am, sorry! But I am sure you will be able to be by his side until the end of the day.”
She nods resigned, knowing that the man is truthful, that he really doesn’t know anything about Kurt. She needs to get out of here, needs to know what happened to him, needs to be by his side. She needs it like the air she is breathing. She picks up the phone, hesitates for a few seconds, not knowing who to call. Maybe it would be wise not to involve Liz in this, given that she is already involved. She picks up the phone and calls Adrian. The phone rings one, twice, three times, nothing. She lets it ring until it goes to voicemail. She breathes deeply and she finally decides to call Liz. After the phone rings two times, Liz answers. She is laughing and then she hears her talking to her kid. She feels bad bringing this into her home, into her life.
“Hello! Hello, who is this?”
Diane exhales the air she was holding as she tries to talk.
“Liz, is Diane!” her voice is small and she tries really hard not to cry, although she feels the tears gathering in her eyes. Liz immediately realises that something happened, that something is wrong.
“I am, I am in custody. Liz…I need you to come here, if you can, please.”
“I’ve tried to call Adrian but he didn’t answer the phone, I didn’t wanted to bother you”
“Diane, for God’s sake, forget about that, what happened?”
“Kurt…Kurt has been"…she gathers all her strength to say this, trying not to breakdown, but as she says the words “He’s been shoot” she does. A sob escapes her and tears are running freely on her cheeks.
“Oh my God, what? How? Diane, what happened? Was it an accident, was he hunting or something? Please calm down, is ok. “
“No, we’ve been swatted, he thought that burglars entered the house, he took his gun and"…she made a pause because it was so painful to say those words… "and they shot him.”
“Where is he now?”
“I don’t know Liz", she says between tears, her voice breaking, "I don’t know a thing, I feel like I am dying here. He was conscious when they took him to the hospital, but nobody told me anything else.”
“Ok, don’t worry, I am coming over there. I will talk to Adrian, he will go to the hospital. Everything is going to be all right, hang in there. We’’ll get through this”
“ Ok, I will try. Liz...be careful!”
Chapter 3: You've Got a Friend
In the darkness, he heard a loud noise. It was getting louder and louder, until he realised it was his own ragged breathing. Suddenly he was in the middle of the road, between dark streets. He looked around, but no one was there. Everything was completely still. It looked like an abandoned town. Just his breathing, so loud that he couldn’t even hear himself think.
How did he get there? There…Where was this there? He couldn’t recognise these streets, he felt completely lost. And the sound of his breathing, loud and recurring, over and over, covering all the stillness. And then her name formed on his lips…Diane? Where was she? Why was he alone, here, in this darkness? Where was she? He could not remember. He felt lost, he felt just as abandoned as these streets were. But…what if she is searching for him? They somehow lost their way to each other. He started panicking, feeling the despair growing bigger and bigger inside him, taking more and more space, until he would completely disappear. He felt like he’ve been looking for her for an eternity, he felt defeated, useless, weak, he always had this feeling, that someday he will lose her someday, one way or another, like this was their faith, to barely touch in this life. And that touch to be the most meaningful event of his life.
Suddenly, he saw movement. There she was running with her back at him, turning left and disappearing. He started screaming her name, screaming like a mad man, with all his being. “Diane, Diane”. And then he began running, desperately trying to catch up with her, wanting to make sure that she is all right . He ran, and ran, but nothing. She wasn’t anywhere to be found. He was again at this crossroad, back in the place he started running from and there she was again, this time going in the other direction. This time he immediately ran, but she vanished before his eyes. She was wearing white, some clothes he didn’t remember seeing her wearing before. He ran and ran, trying to reach her, every time seeing her for just a moment, before disappearing and back to the crossroad. He stood there and howled her name, his own voice deformed. He then fell on his knees and started crying. He will never see her again, never. It was already too late. This heavy, ugly feeling of loss, of knowing their story was over, grew in him. He covered his face with his shaky hands, lost and scared. Then a groan found its way out. He suddenly felt this burning sensation in his body, so powerful that he had to place his hands over his chest. The pain was fast becoming unbearable, like an open wound he’d been carrying for years. And then nothing.
She did this. Is her fault, is her fault, is her fault. She could not stop these words repeating again and again. She was looking through the window of Liz’s car, her head propped up the cold glass. She looked down at her hands. She washed them more than once, but still, under her nails she saw clearly his coagulated blood, almost black. Over her hands, tears began to fall. She sniffed her nose and then she tried to remove the hair that was sticking to her face and discretely, she wiped her tears.
With the corner of her eye, Liz was watching her from time to time. She turned her head to her, empathetically covering her hands, with her right hand.
Diane hold on to Liz's hand, as if it was her last salvation. She slowly turn her head towards Liz, keeping her eyes down, and voiced what she was feeling.
“I did this Liz.” She started with a low voice, almost a whisper.
“Now, Diane, come..”
“No, Liz, I did it. It was me. He would have been all right if it wasn’t for my stupid , irresponsible behaviour.“ She felt her whole body trembling as the guilt took over her.
“Diane, try to calm down. Everything is going to be alright. Just, don’t break down on me”
Diane inhaled deeply, trying to control herself.
“You know”, she said much calmer, “maybe it would have been better if we would have never got back together. Or maybe if we never have met or started all this. He would have been just fine without me. He would have…”
She started crying again, just when Liz was parking the car, unable to finish her sentence.
“Diane…” she said completely moved by the state Diane was in. She was so vulnerable, so powerless. She only ever saw her as this strong, independent, powerful woman. And seeing her like that was…heartbreaking, she didn’t even knew how to act around her, but she was there for her. So she took off her seat belt and just embraced her. She held her tight, her strong arms trying to take a little bit of her pain away and give her a little of her own force.
“Diane, you have to be strong. You have to be strong for him…”
Diane just nodded, wiping her tears off her pale face.
“Ok?” Liz told her, more like an encouragement than a question.
Diane just nodded mechanically, getting out of the car, unsure if her legs will be able to take her inside that hospital, not knowing what was waiting for her there.
Chapter 4: Back in again
He opened his eyes slowly, gradually, failing to do it a few times. He felt his body heavy, like he carried an armor, his head throbbing with pain. The moment he came into conscious again, even before he knew where he is and what had happened to him, he felt this strange, unnerving feeling, like a deep feeling of worry taking over him. He eventually opened his eyes completely, the lights coming from the ceiling feeling like blades to his cornea. And then he remembered, all that happened hit with full force.
“Diane” his dry lips managed to whisper, his ragged voice taking him by surprise, while a tear fell down his check. He looked around him for a second and then he removed his oxygen mask off his face, in one shaky and yet forceful move and then he tried to lift up the bed, like he wasn’t just about to die, like he didn’t just came out of a major surgery. Nothing mattered, not now, when he knew nothing about her. He felt the pain spreading through his body and he eventually had to sit back for a few seconds, to regain his breath and then he continued his efforts to get off that damn hospital bed. He hated this, he hated the way he was feeling, so little, so powerless, so tired and this fucking pain shooting all through his body. He changed his strategy and tried to get out of the bed, by rolling on his left side, unaware of the tubes that came out of him. He suddenly felt dizzy and then he fell off the bed. He managed to see the blood coming out of his bandages and then he gasped. He could not breath properly, he was struggling to take deep breathes, but it became harder and harder. Something was wrong, something was definitely wrong. He will die here, on this hospital floor, without having the chance to see Diane one more time. He imagined her the way he first lay his eyes on her, in her red jacket and her lips covered with that deep red shade of lipstick, checking him out when she thought he wasn’t watching. He thought he heard some noises coming from the distance and then saw some people’s feet approaching him and that was it. Dark.
“Adrian, where is he? Take me to him. Is he ok? I need to see him. Where is he? “ she asked without a single breath between the words, she was asking questions but she didn’t even really waited long enough for the answers to come. But she couldn’t. What was long enough? If there was something that she was missing right now, in this tragedy, was time. And patience. She just wanted to know that he is safe, he is ok. She wanted someone to already tell her something about him. She wanted Adrian to tell her “ Diane, is ok, he is all right, it was just a scratch, a scare, that’s all” But he wasn’t doing any of that, so the fear was rising in her dangerously and it made her talk without stopping, without waiting for answers.
“Diane, listen, listen” Adrian was using his most calm and soothing voice, trying to calm her down, because he realised she was just a step away from a panic attack.
“ Adrian, for God’s sake, what happened? Where is he?” and this time she really was close to a total breakdown, she started walking chaotically, looking inside every room, trying to find him. She had to find him, she could not stand staying in the same spot without doing anything, not even for a moment. Adrian reached her, placed his large hands on her shoulders, stopping her in her track and just looked in her eyes.
“Diane, he was out of surgery, he was doing fine. He is now back in surgery.”
“Oh my God, she said, her hand covering her mouth, while her eyes became injected with new tears instantly, fear written all over her face. “ What happened, tell me already what happened. “ For a moment, her voice became strong, like she was in court, demanding with all her determination to know the truth.
“That’s what I am trying to do, tell you. Would you just stay still and listen to me already? He was fine, but I don’t know what happened after surgery, he tried to...i don't know, I think he moved suddenly or he tried to stand and he fell. He had some broken ribs from the gun shot and the fall was enough for one of them to perforate one of his lungs.
”Oh God, what was he thinking, what was he trying to do? And why wasn’t he supervised? How could this happen?”
“The doctors found him immediately, he was still conscious when they found him and they’ve rushed him back into surgery right away.”
Diane felt suddenly dizzy and she lost her balance for a second. Both Adrian and Liz were beside her in a second to support her. Adrian guided her to an empty chair and helped her sit.
Liz looked worried at her and then at Adrian.
“Diane, I am going to find something to eat for you and some water.”
“No, is fine, Liz, I don’t need anything” . She needed something, only one thing, and that was Kurt. And Kurt was in a surgery room, being cut open for the second time in the same day. This was a never ending nightmare, because this was their reality now.
Chapter 5: Each other
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a second. Her palms were sweating, her vision was blurred and for a moment she felt like she was going to faint. She could barely hold back the tears threatening to spill, while taking unsure steps, her entire body weak and trembling.
She felt like she had no strength anymore. She felt both guilty and powerless. Everything depended on him now, on his body’s power to heal. She realised how small and insignificant people are in the great scheme of things. Just a moment, a wrong step, a little mistake, an error in judgment, her error in judgment and you’re gone, like you’ve never existed. She would be all alone without him, truly alone.
This was something that often thought about, especially in the dark period when they were apart. It was her dark thought, that visited her often. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, this thought wouldn’t let her close her eyes. They only had each other, that’s it. Of course, some friends, but they didn’t had children or siblings, their parents have passed, they only had each other, the only soul she was truly connected to in this entire world was his. She never felt more alone that in the time that they’ve been apart. She always felt like she was on a brink of a panic attack, when he thought about him all alone, in his cabin, in the middle of nowhere. If something would have happen to him, she wouldn't even have known. But back then at least then she knew that he was out there, that if she really wanted, she could pick up the phone and hear his voice.
She lift up her eyes in front of this white door. She was so afraid of seeing him like that, she was so afraid of what she is going to feel seeing him on that hospital bed, with tubes coming out of him, motionless, helpless. But for now, he was ok, the doctor told her so, so he must be. He must be, because he can’t leave her alone again. She finally, slowly, opened the door. The moment her eyes lay upon him, rivers of tears started falling down her face. She felt like a lost, little child. His face looked so peaceful, even in this vulnerable state, he still looked stoic.
Finally, the need to touch him became too strong and in two, quick steps she was beside his bed, taking his hand in hers. She fell on her knees beside his bed, taking kissing his hand softly, then brushing her chick on the back of it, trying to find some comfort, some alleviation, knowing that he was still there, still alive. She remembered the night she drove him home from hospital, she remembered the way his unsure fingers tingled the skin on her face, how he tried to comfort her, although he was the one being injured. Back then she accepted his gesture reluctantly, not wanting to raise his hopes up. How she wished her fingers could caress her skin again. Back then he made him promise that he won't do things that put him in the hospital and now he was laying unconscious, on this hospital bed because of her.
With pale, trembling fingers, she arranged the strand of hair that felled on his forehead back in to its original place, then gently lean in and kissed it. His skin was warm and somehow that gave her more confidence, in a strange, unsettling way. She pushed the thought away and looked at him, continuing to caress his face. He seemed so serene and tranquil, like he was just having a good, dreamless afternoon sleep. She wished she could rest her head on his chest, it was a need that was so hard to quench, but somehow she needed to hear his heart beat under her ear. She started crying slowly, resigned, taking his hand to her lips again and kissing it ceaselessly.
Suddenly she felt his fingers twitching and she heard this hoarse, shaky voice, that she almost didn’t recognised.
She jumped, looking at him incredulously. She didn’t know if she should laugh or cry, but with a sob she embraced him, repeating endlessly, like a prayer, like a thank you to whatever grater power brought him back to her.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry, I’m sorry”
Adrian collapsed on a chair next to the one Liz was seated.
“Is so painful to even imagine what she must be going through.” Adrian said, leaning his head on the cold wall behind him.
Liz gave him a small, sad smile.
“Well, I have an idea or two. Is true that we weren’t exactly a couple, but still…”
“You’re right, I’m sorry”. He covered her hands with his large hand for a moment, giving her an apologising smile. “ This man is her entire world. And just yesterday she seemed so happy and so In love.”
“Yeah” Liz answered with a sad voice, looking a little lost in her own thoughts.
Adrian suddenly looked more energised, turning quickly towards her and lowering his voice.
“But I don’t understand Liz, how could this happen? I mean a SWAT team…in their home. Why? It makes no sense to me.”
Liz avoided his gaze.
“Who knows? Nothing makes sense these days anyway. I guess crazy mistakes can happen.”
Adrian searched her gaze, forcing her to look into his eyes.
“Liz, are you hiding something from me? Do you…know something that I don’t?” he asked carefully.
Liz looked in his eyes for a few moments, she opened her mouth, then closed it and shook her head.
“I can’t tell you anything, Adrian. I’m sorry. Is something too serious, something that might…she looked at her shoes for a moment and then back to him again…that might incriminate you. So, I have to talk with Diane first.”
“Liz, if it’s something important you need to tell me. We’re in this together.”
“No, Adrian, we’re not. Not in this, trust me.”
They both looked each other for a few seconds, then both looked straight ahead, not saying anything for a while.
"I wanted to tell her about the merge. We need to do it and fast.” Adrian’s voice seemed professional all of a sudden.
“I know, but I don’t think this is the right moment.”
“I know, but we need her vote on this so we can move forward with the procedure. We are fucked, Liz, there is no way out, we are fucked” he looked at Liz again and then he closed his eyes, resting his head on the wall again, both sighing.