Life was too short.
Not a single second of it should be wasted, not for anything or anyone, and certainly not for chasing someone who could never love you.
Reid’s voice had Georgette wiping her eyes with the back of her hands. “S-sorry.” But then she felt his hands cup her face, and she started crying again. “N-no.” She pulled away from him, knowing that she had to say what she had to say now—-
Before she succumbed to her greatest weakness.
“Promise me…promise me you won’t ever blame yourself for this.”
“T-that’s all I want.”
Finally, he managed to find his voice, and Reid said hoarsely, “You’re crazy.”
A teary giggle escaped her, and somehow it gave her the strength to meet his gaze. “P-please?”
His heart clenched.
And then he heard himself say, “I promise.”
They looked at each other.
More words could have been spoken. More words might have changed the future. But none were said because neither of them had ever expected it would be the last time they would see each other.
It was almost half a year later when Reid, together with five other men, walked in grim silence as one of Georgette’s pallbearers. Upon finding out that her ordeal had left her carrying one of her attackers’ child, Georgette had insisted on an abortion. And in so doing, the world had lost both her and her unborn baby.
Even now, a part of him was numb with shock, unable to believe that she was gone.
But she was.
When they made it to her burial plot and the coffin was laid to rest, her parents came forward, followed by others, showering her resting place with white roses.
He stared at the growing pile of flowers without really seeing them.
All he could see was Georgie.
She was smiling at him in the hazy distance of his mind.
Her lips began to move, and her soft voice slowly reached him.
Words from the letter she had left for Reid before undergoing the operation drifted to his ears.
Since I last saw you, I never stopped thinking about you. It always felt like I should have said more, and I’m not sure why, but right now I suddenly feel like I have to tell you everything that’s in my heart.
In the five years I’ve known you, I’ve seen how tirelessly you’ve worked just to do something good. Believe me. I know how uncommon that is when someone looks like the way you do.
But in those years, I’ve also seen how the world has stupidly insisted on being blind to everything. You take a girl out, and they think you’re about to rape her. They see you drinking beer, and they think you’re on your way to rehab.
It’s stupid, but that’s how it is and lately, the same thing’s happened to me, too.
Everybody paints me as the martyr, the girl you heartlessly dumped, the one who has all the reasons to hate you, and no matter what I say or do, they just don’t seem to care.
I wanted the world to believe I was okay because I didn’t want my parents to worry. I didn’t want YOU to worry. But the more I tried, the more it felt like I was lying to myself. They made me feel like I could only cry with their approval, could only forgive you if they think it’s the right time.
And it wasn’t right.
The same way it’s not right stupid people like them should have power over you.
You’re a good man, Reid.
No matter what people think – you’re a good man. I think not enough people tell you that. So I’m saying it now. You’re a good man, and I hope that you don’t dishonor your parents’ sacrifice by letting the sins of the past define you.
And yes, I do know what really happened. I’m sorry, but I was really obsessively in love with you that I bribed someone in the courthouse – it pays to have a barrister for a father – to give me a copy of the proceedings of your adoption case. I’ve known about it since I was fifteen, actually, so that thing you said about me barely knowing you?
I do know you.
And what I know has made me love you more.
I still love you actually, so if it’s okay, will you let me get away with something else? Something a bit crazy?
Like…maybe if you can’t escape your past, then maybe you don’t have to. Maybe you were meant to embrace it instead. Maybe you were meant to use it, ruthlessly, to be the best you can be.
If the world wants you to be evil, then let them think you’re evil and use it to do good.
Does that sound too twisted for someone like me?
I can almost imagine you grinning and shaking your head incredulously as you read this.
But…it makes sense, doesn’t it?
Whether you think it does or doesn’t – I’d love to hear from you. Call me?