Disclaimer: This is just a fanfiction, I don't own the rights to this film or anything related to it.
IN A HEARTBEAT
The sun felt warm. The sheets felt soft. And the bed felt empty.
Where was Amelie's one and only? Where was the boy who had promised to be by her side in the morning, as the sun came up? Perhaps great loves were so hard to find because they only last for moments at a time.
Amelie normally enjoyed adventure, but Nino's unexpected departure left her heart sinking. He had promised.
Oh, well something important must have come up. The government must have rang precious Nino and informed him of a dire tragedy in some obscure country across the ocean. For the president valued people like Nino, who had warm hearts and interesting hobbies. Yes, it had to have been some important government mission.
Or perhaps a family member had suddenly been struck by a horrid disease, which even the greatest surgeons of France could not cure. And Nino must have run to the poor relative's death bed at once.
But he promised.
A cup of tea and a basket of croissants sat on Amelie's kitchen table. The tea called for Nino, and the croissants tried to comfort the distressed Amelie. (Not the least bit aware of their own tragic fates; namely "consumption".) Each tick of the kitchen clock cried Nino's name, and the portrait on the wall suddenly looked much like a certain boy.
Amelie was a patient girl. But love only comes around every once in a hundred years or so. She would not risk her great love for anything. So out the door she walked, down the stairs she scurried, and out onto the street she ran.
The door of Nino's shop opened, and Amelie peered in curiously. No Nino.
The apartment? No Nino.
The grocery store? No Nino.
The park? No Nino.
Nino was missing! He had disappeared off the face of the earth! Or at least from her neighborhood. Should she ring up the police? They would probably rebuke her for being impatient though. They would say that Nino had most likely gone out with friends, because that is what men do when they're away from their lovers.
But not Nino. He promised.
And he always kept his promises to Amelie.
So there she was, where she had started. In that big, empty bed, with her little television to keep her company. The news was a depressing reflection of the world, one that Amelie did not care to see. The channel changed to a black and white movie, in which a couple waved their goodbyes as the woman departed on a train. Her face was streaked with tears, and soon Amelie's was as well.
Wait! The train! Amelie had not yet checked the train station!
That was bound to be where Nino was. Probably digging underneath the photo booth again, fitting pictures together, little fragments of life that we forget about. It seemed a strange time in the morning for Nino to be pursuing his hobby, but it was the only place that Amelie could think of at this point.
She walked quickly, her black shoes tapping away on the concrete road. Her heart beating a hundred times a second, as if it were going to leap out of her chest.
Tap, tap, tap.
She could hear the trains roaring in, and the sounds of people scurrying out to work, to homes, to lovers. She drew a picture in her head, a picture of Nino coming out from underneath the photo booth and lightening up with a smile. He would run up to her and cover her face with kisses and apologize for leaving her that morning. And her face would light up and her heart would beat, and everything would be the way it was supposed to be.
Tap, tap, tap.
She spotted the photo booth. It was big, and empty and Nino was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he had just left. Perhaps their paths had not managed to cross and he was on his way back to her apartment right that moment.
Another train roared in. Through the windows, Amelie could spot dozens of people in each car, looking bored and tired and thoroughly displeased. It only added to her not-quite-perfect mood.
But who was that? That boy standing among dozens of other people, yet standing out so fiercely against a background of gray.
Amelie's heart skipped a beat, as Nino stepped out from the train and started walking toward the exit in long strides. She felt silly for having worried so much. Obviously, he was fine and healthy and on his way back to her.
He kept walking with his head down.
Yet again, he ignored Amelie's voice. What on earth could be happening? Had Nino lost his hearing in some outlandish adventure that morning?
Amelie followed Nino. Her quick tap-tapping tried to catch up with his long, agile strides. She tap-tapped across the busy streets, through a quiet park, past a quaint neighborhood, and to a large bridge. It was a fairly large bridge, built of red brick and stone. Below it were dark, murky waters.
Nino suddenly turned around to face her.
"Amelie, I'm sorry."
He placed his hands on the railing of the bridge and sighed.
"You needn't be sorry. We can go back now if you like. Or if you're busy, I'll let you be."
Amelie felt her heart leaping again. She couldn't read the look on Nino's face.
"Amelie, please, let me go now."
His eyes pleaded with her, and his hands shook profusely. Amelie shook her head slowly in disbelief. Her eyes asked, what do you mean?
"It is a burden, that I carry every day, every hour, every minute. I know you call this your great love, but it is not my great love. It is my great burden, and I wish you'd let me go now. Just let me go, so I can leave and we can both go on with our lives. I don't want to break your heart, Amelie."
She could not believe her ears. It couldn't be true.
But it was. And Nino was trying to leave her.
Amelie was a good person. She wished only for the happiness of others. She wanted the world to be beautiful and happy, and good despite the sad moments in between.
But love could be a selfish thing. It didn't know of generosity, and sacrifice and pain. And Amelie could feel a monster inside her that would take what it wanted.
The expression on Nino's face was one of a man who pitied.
"Let me go, Amelie."
"I said, no." Amelie was firm.
Nino looked helpless. Like someone who had to go somewhere, but had nowhere to go. He looked down into the water, and a strange look entered his eyes.
To Amelie's horror, he leaped up onto the railing and his body was soon falling down, down, into the black water.
It was like watching a film in slow motion.
He fell into the water with a splash. He didn't come up. He wouldn't come up. Amelie felt numb and shocked and she could no longer feel her heart beating.
Sometimes, when a person experiences great shock, they are no longer aware of their own thoughts or actions.
And before she knew it, Amelie was on the other side of the railing, and throwing her body off the bridge. She didn't bother to realize that she wasn't a good swimmer. And she didn't bother to realize that the river might just swallow her up as it did Nino.
It was cold, and dark, and her breath was escaping her. She was only aware of her hands, as they flailed desperately in the water trying to find Nino.
The sun felt warm. The sheets felt soft. And she felt Nino's hand underneath her own.
Nino wasn't gone, and she wasn't drowning, and everything was as it should be.
Amelie leaned over and covered Nino's face in kisses. Partly out of gratitude, and partly to make sure he was really lying there next to her.
He slowly opened his eyes, and smiled at her. "Good morning, Amelie."