Grim: 2

‘I thought you said 10am sharp!’ I teased as I felt the huge bulk of Shade coming my way. The floorboards moaning and moving under his unseen weight. ‘It’s now 2pm.’
Shade laughed. I could almost see him bring his wrist up and gander at the watch. ‘You know I can’t travel as easy during the day.’
I nodded. I knew. Shade wasn’t exactly visible, but it would still be hard to fool the mortals of his footfalls. I was rather surprised the old floorboard hadn’t given under him. After all, they were as old as this town. ‘So where is he?’
‘Bell, Bell, Bell!’ The callous laughter of the one I’d been seeking for centuries bubbled around me, vibrating off the walls of the derelict house. It was deemed haunted by the locals so they barely hung out here. ‘You’re still just as beautiful.’
‘Show yourself!’ I spat in spite of knowing I should hold back. He’d never dared come face to face with me since the day I almost tore his throat out. But then again, lovers are known to have a spat every now and then. We were no different. ‘How long are you going to hide from me, Val?’ 
‘How much longer are you planning on staying angry with me?’ 
Shade shifted his weight and a board dangerously creaked beneath him. ‘Give us a moment, will you, Shadey?’
Once the floor stopped shaking, my hand automatically went to my hips. I was beyond pissed. ‘If you’re here wasting my time, I am in no mood for your wooing. You always were terrible to begin with!’
A figure glimmered in front of me, as if made of all the floating dust moats from the air. His face was the last to form, and even though I hadn’t seen him for good 200 years, it still knocked the wind out of me. ‘You were always a beautiful man,’ I gasped despite myself.
He smiled, though it was barely like the smile I remembered. ‘I need your help, Bell.’
‘What can I do?’
‘You’re the only one who can help me die.’
I was not used to dizzy spells. I didn’t even know I was faltering. The house started warping around me. I could even see Val scoot by my side in order to hold me up, but in the end it was Shade’s strong grasp I felt on my shoulders as he steadied me and sat me down on a ratty old lazy boy I’d be caught dead sitting on otherwise. 
‘Easy, Bell. Easy.’
‘Belladonna!’ Val’s voice floated once more around me, and all that remained was his floating dusty head. ‘You know what I’m saying, don’t you? The time has come.’
I blinked at his face, reaching out with my hand to caress a cheek of the man I’d loved all my life, but felt nothing but air and saw nothing but swirling dust. ‘No.’ The word escaped me as if someone else had uttered. ‘No.’
‘I’m so sorry, Bell.’ Shade was saying somewhere above me. 
‘No.’ A whisper escaped me again. Shocked. I wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t ready yet.


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