The rain washes it all away

Submitted into Contest #112 in response to: End your story with a character standing in the rain.... view prompt

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Romance Sad

“We’re reporting live from Arizona where countless people reported spotting an asteroid in the sky. Now we have no evidence of this but in-”

“-we have an anomalous source from NASA who reports that there is an actual asteroid heading this way. They say that it’s been calculated that it would pass us harmlessly but it would be the closest an actual asteroid came to our atmosphere in decades. So be prepared to witness a phenomenal-“

“-miscalculated. The asteroid is heading our way in about 13 days. There is no need to panic, the government will find a way out. We have united with other countries to find a solution to-”

“-have protested in the White House and all around the state against using nukes to destroy the-”

“-live in Kansas where a crowd has gathered to wait for the countdown of the release of the nuclear bombs. People all around the world are outside observing this surreal-” 

“-failed. It’s heading right towards us and the government is doing nothing! It’s already visible in the daytime and getting closer every second. The world is at an uproar, people are hounding the government for what to do and-”

“-failed you. We’ve done all that we could, the whole world united together, depleted all our resources and still...we failed. Our scientists managed to calculate the time until it hits, which is in 8 days and 14 hours. We have resources and warehouses for whoever needs them. In the meantime, we advise you to spend the last days on earth with your families and loved ones. We hope-”

“-broke in and killed 6 people in the shootout. Rampages are becoming more common as people are losing their will to survive. We caution you to remain inside and lock all-”

“-are resigning... this will be our last news report, so we wish you the best and hope humanity stays strong until the end.”

“...”

      December 8th, 2032. 11 hours remaining until the world ends.

      “To the end of the world,” Harry clicked his glass against Julie’s. He quickly drank his drink in one shot. The alcohol scorches it’s way through his body chasing away all the fear. Beside him, Julie coughed halfway through, “Where did you find this anyway?”

“I think it was my father’s.” 

Silence filled the room, Harry set his glass aside on his bedside before laying back on his bed. He stared accusingly at the clock stuck to the wall, his head was empty of all thoughts except the tick tocks counting down the last hours of his life. He willed the clock hands to stop moving, to stop stealing the time that belongs to him.  

“I still can’t believe the world’s ending.” Julie whispered, staring despondently at her half-empty glass, the alcohol swirled inside catching the glow of the setting sun through the bedroom windows, setting it aflame. 

“No one does, doesn't mean it won’t stop the End.” 

There was nothing to say to that because it was true. She drowned the rest of her cup before joining him on the bed. He turned towards her, instinctively reaching forward to wrap her brown hair around his finger, playing with it. She closed her eyes at the sensation, leaning toward him. 

“Are you sure you want to be with me now, instead of your family?”

“I’ve said everything I need to them already, let my parents spend their last moments together without needing to worry about keeping a strong facade for me.” he tugged her hair, and waited until she looked at him to continue, “there's no one I'd rather spend my last night with than you.”

“I can't believe this is the end,” she repeated, breathing in slowly, trying to stop the stinging in her eyes. “There's so much I want to do, so many things I didn't know I wanted. But there's not enough time, there never will be.”

“Tell me one of them.” 

“What do you mean?”

“Like if you could go anywhere you wanted right now and there wasn't an end what would you do? Close your eyes and imagine you’re there now. Tell me what’s happening.” he pulled her closer, resting his forehead against hers.

She closed her eyes, eyebrows furrowed together into what he likes to call her ‘thinking face’. Harry closed his eyes too, listening to her soothing voice, a balm to his soul.

“I'd be… on a beach in Florida with my mom and sister. Laughing at my sister as she tries to finally enter the water. My mom would be nagging me to wear sunscreen. We’d bring cold drinks and me and my sister will pretend we’re too old for sandcastles but we’d still make one anyway.” she smiled fondly before abruptly frowning, remembering that she can’t see them, couldn't even give her last goodbyes in person.

One of the first things to shut down was the airports, it became too hectic with a lot of the employers quitting and everybody rushing desperate to join their families and pretending that the end was happening just in america. 

Knowing where her thoughts are going, Harry softly interrupted, “and am I there?”

“You’re always there.” she pushed his hair away from his face, staring at her hand against his darker skin. “I can't even imagine a world without you.”

“And what would I be doing, Jules?” he smiled as he intertwined their hands, keeping it against his cheek.

“You’d be pushing me to the water, and I'd be clinging to you laughing because the water’s too cold for me. And you’d say to me as you always do-”

“Don't be so sensitive, you drama queen.” he huffed out a laugh, glad to see the smile back on her face, “is that you’re perfect day? Your mother’s nagging and me teasing you?”

“Then tell me what’s your perfect day, you jerk.” She faked contempt, but her twitching lips betrayed her.

“My perfect day is everyday spent with you, whether it’s watching tv, staying up late playing board games,” he stood up, pulling her after him off the bed. He offered his hand, smiling his smile that was only meant for her. “Or dancing. Would you allow me a dance?”

“Right now?” She laughed.

“What better time is there?”

She mockingly curtseyed when Harry tipped an imaginary hat, she took his hand and he pulled her closer until there was no space between them, until they shared the same breath.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, and Harry grabbed hold of her waist, his head tilted down towards her, blue eyes locked on her own brown eyes, lost in them.

He started humming, because there weren't any radios working anymore. Harry twirled Julie, suddenly dropping her only to catch her. She laughed, the sound so hypnotic, he wished he could bottle it up, because he would never tire of it.

Julie burrowed her head in the crock of his neck, his chin rested on top of her head.

They swayed together, losing track of time, the sun set and the moon rose, bringing with it beams of light that shone down on them like stage lights.

They swayed together, there was no end of the world, no havoc and fear, just a girl and boy completely head over heels for each other.

They swayed together, until rain began to lightly pour, its sound a backdrop to their performance. 

There were a million and one things Harry wanted to tell her, how beautiful she was like she was now, smile bright on her face wearing his hoodie, how he didn’t know how colorful life was until he met her. How he wanted her by his side for eternity and longer still. But what left his mouth without thinking was,

“Marry me.”

He didn’t know who was most shocked by what he just said, him or her. The words hung in the air between them with a physical presence. They stopped dancing, but they still stayed in each other’s arms. Julie looked at him dumbfounded, as if trying to see if he meant what he just did. 

She didn’t ask him to repeat himself, she heard the words clearly, it was the meaning that eluded her. 

Harry ducked his head, suddenly shy. He didn’t know what possessed him to say that but now that the thought was planted in his head he couldn’t get it out. He couldn’t think of anything that he wanted more than this, him and Julie bound together, growing old together, maybe even having kids. He felt his heart constrict inside his chest, futilely fighting the knowledge that it was an impossible dream.

“I’m serious, let’s get married.”

Except for the faint crescendo of steady rainfall, it was silent between them, but he waited, because Julie was one of those people he would always wait for, no matter how little time left he has.

“Are...” Julie diverted her gaze, rocking back and forth on her feet as she always does when she’s nervous. “Are you doing this because you really wanted to or because I'm your only option left?”

“Julie. Julie, look at me,” Harry implored. “We've been together for years now, known each other even longer, and I've never been happier than with you. I'm not choosing you because you’re the only option left but because you're the only option I'll ever consider, even if I have the world in the palm of my hand, you're the only one I want. It's always going to be you.” he laid her hand on his chest, letting her feel her effect on him, how her touch sets his heart hammering against his ribs for her, only her. “I love you, julie. I always have, and always will.”

“Dont.” she said, and he could feel his body still, every part, every atom, of him held in suspense, as if resignedly waiting for her to push him off the ledge, rejecting the heart offered to her on a silver platter. But it didn't last more than a moment before she continued, “don't make me fall more in love with you Harry, you’re already my entire world, I can't phantom how I can still love you more and more everyday.”

“Is that a yes?”

She nodded, smiling as his own smile widened. “When I used to think of my future before all of this,” she raised her hand towards his floor length window, to the world on the other side. “I could only see you. You, Harry, are my future, the only constant in my life.”

They laughed, and for a moment everything was okay, better than okay despite the world ending. Harry grabbed her hips, twirling her around. Julie grabbed his face, peppering it with kisses. They didn't need rings and diamonds when their love for each other was branded on their hearts. Their blissful embrace was interrupted by a distance boom, followed by others. They jumped back in shock, before rushing to the window to see what happened. They could see colors lighting the sky, sparkes bright against the dark sky. Fireworks. Some people were lighting fireworks as a sarcastic hooray to humanity. They don't know how many hours they have left, and they're too terrified to find out.

“Come on,” Harry said as he led her to his window, sliding the glass panel to step through to the balcony. She gingerly followed him, holding his arm tightly so she wouldn't slip on the wet floor. 

They leaned on each other, sparks reflected in their eyes, as the rain kissed them. Harry side-hugged her, pulling her closer to him in an unconscious attempt to keep her warm.

He couldn't help but remember all the fond memories he has of them in the rain, dancing in the park, running towards shelter, walking hand in hand under a single umbrella. There were many more, simple moments captured under the rain, not knowing how much they’re worth.

They stayed outside, even after the fireworks ended leaving the world in an eerie silence, all the noise they didn't notice of the city alive simply gone. The world was stripped bare, it was crying tears, it too knew that its end was nearing.

The clouds parted a little, showcasing the sky in all its glory. A million stars dotting the sky, glowing brighter than ever now that there wasn't any artificial light obstructing it. 

But all that failed to distract them from the asteroid heading their way, closer than the moon, and getting closer every minute. It’s outlined in flames, a rock disguised as a miniature star, still as deadly as it hurles towards them promising the end of all things. Despite what it promises, it doesn't change the fact that it's unnaturally-

“-Beautiful.” Julie murmured beside him, as if taking the thought directly out of his mind. “How can the end of the world be so beautiful?”

“I don't know,” Harry signed before looking back at her, “I’m glad I met you, julie.” 

“I love you harry.” The words hitched in her throat, filling with all of the emotions she couldn't express in words. 

And it hurt, god it hurt. How every treasured moment he has of them, felt bittersweet. And they sat there together, but felt miles apart. There was nothing left to be said between them. Julie looked up at the sky, while he looked at her. And if they cried, so what? The rain washes it all away, leaving nothing behind its wake except their sorrow. At least they'll be together until the end, and that thought dulls the pain a little. Julie is all his beginnings and endings, which he thought is only fitting that the last thing he’ll see before darkness claims him is her.

September 24, 2021 21:54

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