Before I had a chance to react, Gerard spun me around and threw me at the front door. It only took me a few seconds to realize what he wanted me to do. I grabbed the doorknob and yanked the door open just as Emily raced over to me.
She grabbed my arm and threw me away from the door and towards Bert. I landed hard on the palms of my hands at Bert’s feet. Emily slammed the door shut and grabbed Gerard, forcing him against the wall.
She glanced between us laughing. “Did you really just try and run? That’s hilarious.”
We tried to escape and failed horribly. Now I was sure Bert was going to kill us. Not just Gerard, not just me. But both of us. It was a terrible feeling, knowing you’re going to die.
Bert was silent. I looked up at him and he was staring down at me, the gun pointing at the floor, forgotten for the moment. For a minute it looked like he was going to help me up, but then his expression changed.
He shook his gun, pointing the gun at me. “You know what, maybe I should kill you. Like I planned. I mean, you chose Gerard. You’re too blind to see that he’s just going to hurt you like he hurt me. It’s probably best.”
Emily smiled, “Yeah, Bert. Kill the poor bastard. You’re too good for him anyway.” She let go of Gerard and grabbed my shirt, pulling me to my feet. She held me with one hand, and with the other, she pushed Gerard away from the door and into the center of the room.
He was only a few feet away but it felt so much farther. More than anything I wanted to feel him one more time, kiss him one more time. Tell him how I felt. I loved him more than I’d loved anyone else in my life. I could tell by the way he was looking at me that he felt the same way.
I closed my eyes, not wanting to look at him anymore. I couldn’t bare to see his face as Bert killed me. I heard Bert cock the gun, and I knew it was over. Just a few more seconds and then I would be no more.
Either time slowed down, or Bert was taking a very long time to pull the trigger. It felt like hours before I finally opened my eyes. Bert was standing in front of me, still pointing the gun at me.
Our eyes met, and I could see the conflicting emotions. He didn’t want to do this. He couldn’t hurt me, not now.
Slowly, I stood up. All eyes were on me. Emily, still holding on to Gerard just a few feet away looked like she was going to be sick. Gerard looked terrified. Not just for himself, but for me too.
“Bert, listen to me.” His eyes never left mine. “You don’t have to do this. You can let us go. I promise everything will be fine.”
He shook his head, tears falling once again. “How do you know for sure? You don’t know Gerard like I do.”
I grabbed his shoulder gently, “People change. Gerard changed. He’s not going to hurt me, ever.” I paused for a long time. We stood there looking into each others eyes not saying a word. “You can change too. Starting right now, by letting us go.”
“Oh my God, Bert. Do you even hear what he’s saying? He’s just saying these things so you won’t kill him.” Emily was angry. I could hear it in her voice. Obviously if things were up to her, I would be dead already. I was just glad she didn’t have the gun.
“Shut up, Emily!” Bert was getting frustrated. He wanted to believe me so badly, but he’d been hurt before. Honestly, I didn’t blame him for not trusting me because Emily was right. The main reason I was saying anything was so he didn’t kill me or Gerard. But deep down, I meant it. Gerard had changed, whether Bert believed it or not. And I was sure Bert could change too.
I was about ready to say something else when Emily threw Gerard on the ground. She stormed across the room to Bert and yanked the gun out of his hand, pointing it directly at me.
“I’m sick and tired of people taking advantage of my brother.” She paused, staring into my eyes. It felt like she was staring directly at my soul. “He wanted you dead, and that’s what he’s going to get.”
Everything just happened so fast. There was no time to react.
She fired. Gerard screamed. He charged toward me, pushing me on the ground. He fell to the ground. Bert cried. Emily dropped the gun.
It took me a lot longer than it should have to get myself back together and fully realize what happened.
Gerard saved me. He pushed me out of the way, and saved me. Instead of shooting me, Emily shot Gerard. Directly in the chest. Bert was standing over his body, crying. Emily had backed herself into the corner and stood there with her head in her hands.
I crawled over to Gerard, resting a hand on his forehead. His eyes fluttered open and he smiled faintly. “I love you, Frankie. I love you so much. Never forget that.”
He was dying. He knew it, Bert knew it. I knew it. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It should have been me instead of him. I couldn’t lose him after fighting too hard for him to be in my life.
Our lives together had barely started. We were still barely married. We wanted a family.
I couldn’t live without Gerard. If he died, a part of me would die with him.
“No. No, you’re not going to die.” Tears were streaming down my face. “You can’t leave me!”
He smiled, “Just let me go, Frankie. You’ll be fine. I know you will.”
I just stared down at him, watching the life drain from him. Leaning down, I kissed him. He grabbed my arm and squeezed it gently. It wasn’t until I broke the kiss that I realized he wasn’t squeezing my arm anymore.
Just like that, he was gone.