Bulletproof Kisses

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Save a life

A month passed since Maria fled Leon's hospital bedroom. Leon sat in his office, a grimace on his face — kinda like the one he sported for the past month.

Staring down at the computer screen before him, he realized he could see nothing but a blank screen; he knew what exactly his lack of concentration came from.

Her.

The person whom he had stayed strong for, but who seemed to have fallen heavily from their love.

A boulder was suddenly added to the huge wall Leon was building around his heart, intentions strict on making it indestructible.

No more would he fall in love. He now knew that while falling may seem euphoric, the landing would be like no other. He fell on a stake that drove right through his heart.

Leon hissed, getting up from his seat, but winced, feeling the dull ache in his stomach that wasn't fully healed. Once again, he was reminded of the events that took place one dreadful month ago. He paused in that spot, remembering when Maria's face was the last he saw before he had slipped into unconsciousness.

He remembered thinking, while unconscious, that her face would be the one he'd wake up to, but what he'd hoped for was not what he got. Instead, he was met up with his mother's melancholy eyes and happy smile. Eyes telling him, his love was gone, her smile reassuring that she was there.

Maria, was the first thing he said, the only face he'd wanted to see then, but he hadn't seen her. He saw a note instead, the penmanship beautiful, but the words the ugliest he'd ever seen.

Leon immediately reached for it, removing it from the drawer he had placed it in. Many times he had thought of destroying it, along with his feelings for her, but he found, neither was easy to do. With shaking hands, he unfolded the sheet of paper, jaws clenching, eyes burning.

It read:

My dearest Leon,

I'm so sorry I couldn't say this in person, but I'm afraid I'm not that strong.

I can say that the greatest times in my life were the ones spent with you. I'm glad to have found love, I'm glad to have known the meaning, because of you. I can never truly express my gratefulness to you for bestowing upon me, such privilege.

But at some point we'll have to admit that we are sinking ships at sea and we cannot save each other. We can do nothing but watch each other drown because that's the reality of our love.

I'm sorry, I wish things had been different, but I especially, have caused you so much hurt and from the bottom of my heart, I'm sorry. You deserve someone a lot better and I deserve some time.

Be with someone who makes you happy more than she makes you sad, someone who can give you the beautiful babies that you want. Someone whom you can love without hurt. I'm sorry that person isn't me.

Get well soon.

Love, Maria.

Swallowing hard, Leon crumpled the paper and threw it to one side of the room. It seemed the more times he read, the worst he felt. He wanted to say he hated her, he wanted to feel it so badly, but his heart was engraved with another four letter word he hated to admit, but couldn't help feeling — no matter how much he denied it.

Love.

However, he knew it would eventually fade and he would eventually move on. Even if it took forever. He would move on... Without her.

A knock came at his door. Leon quickly cleared his throat before answering.

"Come in."

He managed a smile when the mother of his heartbreaker entered.

"Julia, hi. How are you?" He greeted, moving towards her to embrace her in a friendly hug.

He was often times tempted to ask about Maria's well being, but he was also intent to let her remain where she was.

In the past.

"Thanks to you, the police are no longer breathing down my neck. Thank you for taking care of everything,' Julia expressed brightly — thankfully.

Leon smiled, remembering his good deed. He had pulled the necessary strings to convince the police that it was all self defense and though Julia had been charged with the illegal possession of a firearm, he had managed to clear her.

"It was no problem at all. Still no word on where Marianne is?" Leon asked after realizing it had been a month after she disappeared from the hospital.

"None, but I hope it's hell," Julia hissed disgustedly.

Leon curtly nodded, both divulging in silence.

"How are you?" Julia asked, face growing sad.

"Wound is feeling better as the days go by," he smiled.

"Good, but how are you,' she emphasized.

He scratched the nape of his neck. "I'm fine," he expressed stiffly.

"Leon, I know —"

"How is she?" He couldn't help it. He had to ask especially when a source was so close by.

Julia smiled sweetly. "Why don't you ask her yourself?" she suggested hopefully.

He scoffed. "You know I can't do that. She made a choice and it wasn't me."

Julia slightly hung her head before she spoke. "She was in a bad space, she was hurti—"

"And oh, I was at home, watching Netflix and drinking beer?" He bit back sarcastically, dryly, feeling his body grow heated with anger. "I was in a hospital bed, trying to recover from a wound that would have killed me, but I still stayed strong for her, but what did she do?" He scoffed. "She left me flat on my face — or should I say back? — with a measly note that told me just how she felt, so don't tell me she was hurting. I was dying."

Julia swallowed, not knowing how she would compete with his sad, but truthful words. She contemplated on telling Leon the reason which prompted Maria to go all cold turkey, but knew she couldn't be the one to tell him.

"This may seem hard now. I've seen the way this has affected you both and it's not in a good way. You both are hurting yourselves and it's not good—"

"I will manage," he cut in sharply.

Julia sighed. "Leon —"

"I have to get back to work," he moved around his desk. "I'll be heading back to California again, I just came back to finish up some business. I don't know if you'll see me again."

Julia stood there not knowing what else to say in the given situation, but she felt so desperate.

"Maria was pregnant!" She blurted, immediately biting her lips.

Leon's head snapped around so quickly it might have strained, eyes wide and filled with questions.

❤❤❤

She was losing weight and she didn't like it at all.

Maria sat on the sofa, under a blanket to bar off the cold weather. It was fast approaching winter and the changes in the atmosphere could be felt. But the drafty air was not completely why she was all wrapped up. She also wanted to just hide away, protect herself from herself.

She missed him and she missed him bad.

Guilt and a small bit of regret was racking her entire being, but Maria knew it was too late. She knew that though what she did was selfish, it was also right.

Everyday not talking, not being with Leon after reuniting with him after such a long time was tearing her apart. But how could she forget everything that happened?

She often questioned herself on the matter but never found the answers. It was hard to forget her sister's betrayal, her ex- fiancés betrayal, abuse, coupled with his death. It was hard to forget that she lost her love on the basis of a misunderstanding and most of all it was hard to forget the child she lost. The child she knew nothing about, conceived with a man whom she hated.

She said in her letter that she needed time — she knew that to be true — but she also needed Leon.

Her phone rang, pulling her from her thoughts. Maria hesitantly picked it up and placed it to her ear.

She didn't recognize the caller ID.

"Hello."

A sniff came. "Maria, I'm sorry. I'm truly sorry." Maria stiffened when realization of the voice dawned.

She immediately wanted to hang up but she seemed frozen in that spot.

"I know I caused you all some whole lot of hurt but all I wanted was to feel like I belonged," she cried. "I— I should never have done what I did but I'm sorry..."

Maria's hands trembled placing it to her mouth to hide her shock, the tears watering in her eyes.

"You don't have to worry anymore. I'm going away for good, you won't have to see me again," her voice trembled.

"Where?" Maria couldn't help asking.

A sob broke free. "I don't want to live this life anymore. I've done so many things, I've hurt so many people."

Maria tightly closed her eyes. "Marianne —"

"I killed dad!" She exclaimed hysterically. "I said all those things because I knew he wouldn't take it well. I'm a horrible person who doesn't deserve to live. I ruined your relationship —"

"Marianne, where are you?"

"I just want to drown my sorrows. I'm sorry, I just wanted someone to love me like everyone loves you." The call then ended, a beep ringing out in Maria's ear.

The phone remained at Maria's ear for some passing seconds before reality kicked in. Her first instinct was to call her mother to inform her of the call.

She paced the room after making the call, wondering what Marianne would do.

She sounded suicidal.

"I just want to drown my sorrows," her words came rushing back full force. Maria gasped.

As much as she disliked her sister, she couldn't let her die like that and so Maria grabbed her keys and dashed off to her car and drove to the nearest bridge and water body she could find. She hoped she was right.

_____

Maria sucked in a breath, seeing the persons gathered at the central park, bow bridge. She immediately dashed off to see what was going on and when she saw her sister, sitting on the edge, both hands gripping the rails, she gasped.

Camera's were out videoing the scene while some onlookers were busy talking about what was happening. No one bothered to try to talk the suicidal woman out of her tendencies.

Maria slowly approached, not entirely knowing why she was moving forward, when really she should be doing the opposite, considering the hurt her sister caused. However, the good in her told her to do the right thing, and that was to try and save her sister's life.

"Marianne," Maria slowly said, gaining the attention from onlookers which resulted in a flurry of whisperings.

Marianne slightly turned, her face streaked with tears, her nose running.

"Don't come close — I've already made up my mind," she sniffed, gripping onto the rails while staring down at the water below.

Maria licked her lips. "Marianne, we can work this out, just get down please," she pleaded, the sight more displeasing than she'd thought possible.

"You hate me!" She cried. "Stop acting like you care!"

Maria swallowed, tightly closing her eyes before she spoke. "I am angry with you for all the things you did but there's still room in my heart for forgiveness," she said, stepping a bit closer.

"Don't come close," she quickly snapped, Maria immediately paused, vision taking her to her mother who was coming close. Maria used her hand to signal, indicating that she shouldn't come any closer. Julia paused, hands over her mouth, eyes wide and teary.

"We can work this out Mari, there's still time—"

"I've done unforgivable things. Don't say you can forgive me when I can't even forgive myself," she blubbered, turning to the lake.

Maria stepped closer. "Marianne please, just come down and we'll talk. About the good times, about the bad, but we'll laugh at the realization that, that was all in the past and we can't go back in it. What we can do is move forward, create a new start because there's no point dwelling on what was, when moving forward is more important. You are my sister and that has to count for something, so please..." She was crying now when she realized her words hit home as it pertained to her relationship with Leon.

She made a grave mistake and only hoped she wasn't too late to right her wrong.

Marianne turned to have a final glance at her sister, tears still streaming — sorrow in her eyes.

"I'm sorry," she barely said, her words, her voice indicating that she was still going ahead with her initial plan.

Before she could make the fall, Maria and Julia had already ran to her and was gripping her waist, while strenuously pulling her over the edge.

They fell in a heap on the floor, breathing heavily, Marianne crying, begging them to let her leap to her demise, but while Maria's heart battled with confliction for her twin, she could do nothing but hold her close.

As if sensing a magnetizing presence, Maria looked up, the breath hitching in her throat when she saw Leon standing there.

She swallowed hard, unable to read his expression, but knew that she'd have to talk to him eventually.

Her heart fluttered at the thought, but soared from seeing his face from after what seemed like such a long time.

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