Contemporary Historical Fiction Sad

December 31st, 1879

Another life, another New Years. She smiled and danced and kissed cheeks in the Continental way, trading giggles with the other unmarried women as she did. She danced and sang a duet and offered a handsome boy her final dance of the night. She quite liked this style of a New Year's. Parties were such a more preferable way to wait for it all. She was so used to just waiting around that this was a breath of fresh air. She hoped the party tradition continued.

A few minutes before midnight, she went out to the garden.

He was waiting for her, seated on the edge of a fountain.

"You're blonde!" Was the first thing she said.

He frowned. "What's wrong with that?"

She shook her head, her flushed cheeks too warm in the freezing cold of the winter air. "Nothing. I'm sorry. It's just—" She paused, slightly embarrassed. "You've just never been blonde before, is all."

He huffed at her. "It's not like I get a say in it, you know."

She shrugged, embarrassed. "It's a nice change of pace?"

He glared and shot her.

She died laughing as the clock struck midnight.

December 31st, 1909

The Ball would be dropping soon. Such a fun tradition! He hoped it kept up. He kissed his wife on her cheek and excused himself.

"Just checking in on a guest," he promised, stepping away.

"Do you have to?" She sighed. "It's nearly midnight."

"I'll only be a few minutes, darling," he said, lying through his teeth as he looked at her lovely, heart shaped face and her warm green eyes. "I love you."

She beamed at him. "I love you too."

The elevator was surprisingly quiet. Or maybe the noise from the rooftop party was so loud it sounded quiet by comparison. Maybe a bit of both.

Either way, he went down a floor. Her room was Room 613. He unlocked the door with his master key and stepped inside.

She looked up at him, smiling. "There you are. I was beginning to wonder."

"One of these days," he said, making sure his suit was perfect. "We'll have to stop this. Or remember why it even started in the first place."

She let out a low wheeze of laughter. "What on Earth for?"

He sighed and poured himself a glass of champagne. "For context, I suppose? Is the name on the registrar even yours?"

"Maybe?" She shrugged. "Technically, I suppose. I think it used to be mine."

"I can't even remember why you're here to kill me," he said. "That seems like it would be an important detail."

"Do you actually want to know?" She asked. "Or are you just delaying the inevitable?"


She rolled her eyes. "Just die already."

He did not. Instead, he returned to the rooftop party and kissed his wife one last time before dying of arsenic poisoning.

December 31st, 1939

Her rouge was pink and her skin was brown. She danced with her husband, dress flying out as they did the Lindy Hop.

Five minutes until midnight!" The singer announced. "Here's to the year!" Cheers went up with glasses.

"Hey." She pulled her husband's attention and kissed him. "I'll be right back. Just gotta touch up my powder, ok?"

"Be back before midnight," he said, squeezing her waist. "I wanna get my New Year's kiss."

She laughed and kissed him again, making her way off the dance floor to the bathrooms. Inside, she touched up her powder. Even though she was about to die, she wanted to look her best.

He stepped into the bathroom and locked the door behind him. She glanced at him in the mirror and carefully tapped some lipstick onto her lips.

"You look lovely," he said quietly.

"Thank you." She adjusted her hairpins. "You look rather dashing yourself."

He looked away, suddenly shy for some reason. "I'm sorry."

She shrugged. "I knew this was coming."

"I saw you. With him." He looked at her in the mirror, brow creased. "You looked happy."

"You know." She placed her lipstick and powder back in her clutch. "My life doesn't revolve around you."

He scowled. "I never said it did."

"You implied it." She turned to face him, leaning her hip against the sink. "So. How are we gonna do this?"

He half smiled. "Want to go out in a cinematic way?"

She smiled.

As the clock struck midnight, he stabbed her in the stomach with a shard of the mirror, twisting it this way and that. Then he stood up, pulled the shard out, wiped it clean of finger prints, put it back, and then went out to the dance floor, dazedly announcing that he had found her dead.

The whole thing was later made into a movie.

December 31st, 1969

The party was in full swing. She laughed and danced, accepted kisses from everyone and anyone, drank glass after glass of champagne and vodka tonics, her cheeks flushed so warm her makeup felt wet. All the while, her eyes skimmed the faces surrounding her.

Where was he?

Outside, lights shone and parties from other buildings could be faintly observed. The glittering ball suspended over One Times Square flashed its lights, forcing her to blink away the spots.

From the party's location, they'd have the perfect view of its descent, looking down at its journey, ringing in the New Year from a penthouse above the city.

Where was—

A cold hand brushed her elbow and she jumped.

"You look flushed. Perhaps you need some air?"

She forced her heart to calm its racing. Found him. Why was she so nervous this time?

"Yes," she agreed, tilting her head to look up at his handsome face.

"Follow me."

With a hand on her elbow, he carefully guided her out of the main penthouse and to the balcony of the master bedroom. Rose petals were strewn over the bed, an unopened bottle of champagne in a bucket of mostly melted ice sat on the dresser. The lamps were all turned down.

Out on the balcony, she took a look over the city. Far below them in the streets, people gathered, no doubt sharing glasses and flasks and well wishes for the coming new decade.

"It's all so much, isn't it?" He asked, his voice soft, almost impossible to hear.

"It is," she agreed, turning back around to face him.

He was blond again, with brown eyes and a face that she would normally describe as nice to look at. But she knew what was under that face. The agony, and the anger.

"Who's turn is it this time?" She asked. The pin pressed against her scalp suddenly felt cold.

"Yours." He looked at her with such regret that she felt irritated.

"Oh wipe that look off your face," she snapped. "You knew what you were signing up for when you came here. Why are you getting emotional?"

"Because I'm tired." His answer was unexpectedly soft.

"You're getting weak," she muttered, looking away from him. Her heart unexpectedly stung at the thought of him being weak. That... that wasn't supposed to happen. He wasn't supposed to get weak. Neither of them were.

"Come here." He tugged her against his chest, her head tucked under his chin. She stared at his pocket square in shock. "I'm sorry."

Her brow furrowed. What could he possibly be—

Her mouth dropped open, back arching.

A dull clatter attracted her attention but he refused to let her turn her head. He grasped her chin and pulled her mouth to his. She felt something warm and wet drop to her cheek as she kissed him. Why was he crying? Why did he change the outcome? Was this what he was tired of? Killing her? Did he think this would stop their cycle of violence?

She twisted her hands in his shirt and shook, angry and exhausted in one fell swoop as the weight of centuries fell to her shoulders.

"I love you," he gasped against her mouth.

"No you don't," she mumbled, fighting the blood loss.

"I do," he insisted. "And I'm sorry." He pulled the pin from her hair and leaned her against the railing, wrapping her fingers around it. She focused as much as she could and thrust it forward, catching him in the heart.

She slumped against the railing, pin falling from her hand as he fell backwards. She stumbled forward and collapsed into his arms. His blood soaked through her dress as they tumbled to the floor. Distantly, she heard cheers and screams of joy, voices repeating the same words over and over again,

"Happy New Years!"

December 28, 2021 19:55

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