Well, here it is. The End. Let me know what you think. I hope I haven't rushed it, but I think it works quite well this way.
A couple of hours later I felt better and, against Bryce and Hillary's protests, got dressed and headed downstairs for some lunch. After all, scary as it may have been, it wasn't an experience that required days of recovery. I wandered the house looking for Kurtis, but couldn't find him anywhere.
Entering the television room where Hillary was relaxing with a quiz show, I hovered by the sofa and watched the programme as a few general knowledge questions were fired off, not really interested.
"Hillary," I interrupted, "have you seen Kurtis anywhere?"
Hillary glanced up, graciously breaking concentration from the television. "He went to his room just after we rescued you. I haven't seen him since. He's not come down, as far as I'm aware."
"Oh." Disappointed, I dropped into a chair, resting my chin in my hands and staring at nothing despondently. "I thought he might have come to see me."
"Maybe he just thinks you need time to rest." Hillary rubbed my back comfortingly. "Are you sure you're feeling better?"
"Yes, Hillary," I smiled, though my heart wasn't in it. I sighed lightly and got up, deciding to go and visit Kurtis in his room.
I knocked on his door, but there was no reply, and when I tried the handle, it was locked. I knocked again, calling his name and listening at the door, but it was silent. Hurt brought on by the fact that Kurtis hadn't been concerned enough to come and visit me, taking away all persistence, I turned and shuffled off down the corridor, my head hung and my shoulders slumped. Obviously, Bryce had been wrong. Obviously, Kurtis did not fancy me, and he did not care as much as I had clearly kidded myself that he did.
The late afternoon and evening passed quietly and thoughtfully, myself, Bryce and Hillary still a little preoccupied with the events of the morning, and I still smarting from Kurtis' aloof manner.
Dinner was served later than usual, our daily schedule put back by my accident, and the sun had already set by the time we sat down to eat. Kurtis still did not appear.
"You start, I'll go and fetch him," Hillary instructed, and he left.
Minutes later he reappeared, a scrap of writing paper in his hand and his face disturbed. He looked at me, worried. "Lara," he faltered, and I looked at him, noting his troubled eyes and his unsure manner. I guessed immediately that it had something to do with the paper, and I leapt up and snatched it from him before he could react.
Reading it, my eyes filled with tears, and I ran from the room, tearing upstairs to Kurtis' bedroom and yanking the door open, wanting to prove the letter wrong.
I was met with an empty room, as clean and tidy as if not a soul had occupied it. Not a soul had, I thought to myself bitterly as I reread the letter. Moving into the room with heavy footsteps, I fell to the bed, clutching the paper tightly in my hands and wiping away tears as I read the words over and over again.
I'm sorry I couldn't say goodbye, but that's not how I do things. That's not how I leave. I move, and I don't look back. Sometimes I think it's easier for all involved, sometimes I think I'm just a coward.
What happened this morning made me realise that I can't live the life you want me to. I used to know that, but these past couple of months, I got confused. It's not who I am, and it's not the life I lead.
I can't be with you, Lara, or anyone. If I get close to people, they get hurt. Friends and family get caught in the crossfire of the life I live, and people who share that lifestyle with me – people like you – come with their own danger that I can't handle. I'm not prepared to deal with the pain that comes with loved ones getting hurt.
Again, I'm sorry.
Maybe our paths will cross in the future, but when and if they do, I hope enough time will have passed for me to have become numb enough to be able to work with you again.
That night, I walked to the stereo and searched through the track listing for just the right song for my mood. As the mournful, sadly accepting tones of the music began to fill the room, I turned and slowly moved to the sofa, curling into a ball and laying my forehead on my knees. I breathed heavily, shakily, trying not to cry. I'd felt a connection with the man from the café, a kindred spirit, but he hadn't wanted to observe it. The swishing of clothes as someone walked and the soft crush of the carpet under their feet approached, and the seat next to me sank as they sat down, putting their arms around me. I moved into their embrace and clutched at their T-shirt, numb.
So? Good? Bad? I'm thinking - Trilogy. Make this part 1, part 2 covers the events from Kurtis' viewpoint and part 3 is a nice Tomb Raider-y action adventure where Lara and Kurtis' paths do indeed cross again. What do you think?
As a side note - the song I was envisaging when I wrote the last paragraph was 'The Quiet Things That No-one Ever Knows' by Brand New, which I think fits Lara's feelings pretty well.
And so ends Acid's premiere performance on Fanfiction.Net. :-)