5/20/10(The part in which Cossette backs away from Marchello, who holds the weapon, to the part where he kills her, is taken from the actually show; I only added the thoughts and description: the rest I have made up. No copy-right intended!)

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Red...!

The thin brush in my trembling right hand swept across the canvas, my eyes following it's movements across the colorful display of a woman with–

Blue..more of it! My hand dropped the paintbrush into the vase of water at my side, snatching up a clean brush from the table. I slow down my pace dramatically as I dabbed the brush in the lightest of blues, and bring it up in light, patient dabs in the left corner of the canvas.

Blue...Her eyes are blue. It is all I ever think about– that and her youthful beauty. I lower the brush and touched the tip of the bristles into the black paint. This is all I have left to add, and the portrait of my petite Cossette will be completed.

As I dab this around her eyes, and – noticing I've missed a few shadings– brush it gently down her bonnet, I can hear her human body breathing. I tear my eyes from the canvas and look at her.

She sits on a white bench, her hands in her lap, holding a white fan. The blue bonnet's white ribbon on her head is blown gently by the winds of the world around us.

For a moment, I am distracted. I look around myself, and see the gazebo a few yards behind us, the great line of trees surrounding the clearing, and the stone walkway that leads back to the mansion. I had forgotten I was outside.

"Marchello?"

I look back to my canvas, then glance over it to peer at Cossette.

"Yes, my dear?" I ask her.

"Are you all right?" she asks, tilting her head. "You seem..."

I hear no more. There is a flaw in my canvas; while Cossette herself has a darkness in the cavern of her ears, mine does not.

Black... I hastily grab a fresh brush, a much smaller one, and touch it to the blank paint, – brown, lightened with the sunlight– then the brown, bringing it next to the yellow. I mix these colors slightly against a clean spot on the fold-out table, then bring it up to carve Cossette's ears into perfection.

Cossette waits in her seat like a good girl. She knows when I am finished that we will be able to have our picnic in the gazebo.

Time passes– I do not notice time even exists until I hear Cossette's stomach starts to growl from hunger, which reminds me of our picnic once more. But I am willing to starve along with her if it means getting Cossette's youthful body right. And that reminds me–

Too much shadowing– white, yellow-mixed-brown. I lowered my brush and adjust the coloring, sweat biting into the back of my neck.

...it reminds me that she really is just a girl. She is young, beautiful, captivating.. And as she matures for into a woman, other people will look at her as I do, and want her for themselves. I cannot let them take her from me...No!

Violet!– her white fan is touched with this color where the trees shadow the bench. I drop my brush into the water vase, stepping back. The canvas– this portrait– Cossette– it is...it is...

"Perfection." I say it out loud; this statement is so true, it cannot be kept secret...or should it? If Cossette is to be mine, then I must marry her. I must make sure no one is holding this beauty aside from me. I want her youth, I want her body, I want her blue, blue eyes...

"Cossette, dear..." I hear myself say. "You may get up now."

She stands and walks over to my side, hugging me around one arm. We stare at the portrait for what feels like an eternity.

"Can we eat now?" asked the girl at last.

"Yes." I turn and walk with her over to the gazebo, arm-in-arm, until we step up into it. I let her go and move around the table, pulling out her chair for her.

"Thank you," she says quietly, her voice high, as if on the verge of giggling.

I seat myself and pour the tea, while Cossette takes the bread loaf from the basket.

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As we sit and enjoy the meal of lettuce and tomato sandwiches, tea, and fruit tarts, I alone notice the darkening of the sky. I think of my canvas, and quickly excuse myself from the table.

"What is it?" asked Cossette, alarmed. She started to stand, but I told her to sit, so she obeyed, slowly.

"I need to take your portrait inside before it rains," I explain. "I'll be back in a minute."

When I reached the canvas, I quickly scooped up all of my paintbrushes from the fold-out table, dropping them with all the others into the color-tainted water of the vase. I fold the table back onto itself, then I half-jog back over to the gazebo and set the vase and the folded table on the steps, then turn and run back to the canvas.

The storm clouds gather with dark purple hues, mixed with black, touched with silver... They promise a heavy rainfall. If the rain falls upon my wet portrait, then her youth will melt from the very face of her angelic form. I pull up the canvas and sprint across the grass, as around me the wind slings leaves and small twigs into my view, trying to cling to the wet paint. I shield my beloved Cossette's youth with my arms, being careful to only hold the edge of the framework.

Thunder roars in the distance as I leave the girl behind, running across the field, reaching the iron gates just as the first drop falls. I kick open one side of the iron gate and slip inside, taking the steps two at a time as the door comes closer and closer.

My hand touches the door knob.

I see my reflection it the polished metal; I see a flash of lightning streak from behind. I flinch and turn the knob, closing the door tightly behind me.

Cossette...she is safe, now. I place the canvas against the far wall, squatting down to gaze into her blue eyes. She is out of the storm. Her youth has not been spoiled. Not a single dot of paint has been smudged. With a satisfied sigh, I turn to the door and remember our picnic we had planned all week– only for it to storm the very day we decide to have it. Cossette will be most upset about our destroyed afternoon plans.

Cossette...?

I looked over to the canvas; Cossette looks back at me, smiling her soft, innocent smile.

But she is only a portrait.

In a wild frenzy I shout her name, jerking open the doorknob and throwing myself down the stairs. The rain is falling heavily, now, and I slid on one of the steps, falling on my side.

"D-damn...it...!" I stand up, glancing at my hands; they are shaking, stricken into a slight numbness by the impact of cold stone. The thunder cries out loudly, as an effort to warn, or threaten, I do not know which.

I call the name of my beautiful youthful girl– then again as I push past the gates and stumble through the wet grass. I see the gazebo before I see her; the rain is so quickly falling, that is makes the world seem glazed over in white lines; within these lines I see a glimpse of blue, of Cossette's long, blonde hair, a glint of lightning reflecting in her large, watchful eyes.

"Cossette!" I do not understand why she never answered my call; I found her sitting at the table, wet and shivering, hugging the picnic basket in her lap. On the table, the cups over-flowed with rainwater, spilling over onto the slick table.

"I think we should try to have the picnic tomorrow." was all she said.

I reached out and grabbed her hand, and we ran through the wet grass, squinting through the rain, the thunder mourning over the earth.

Neither of us noticed the white fan blowing away in the wind.

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When we were both inside, I closed the door and faced her. "Do you feel all right?" I asked her.

She nodded, then sneezed roughly in her hands, her nose and cheek flushing.

My Cossette was sick.

I scooped her up into my arms and carried her up the steps, to my room, which also connected to the master bathroom.

I let her sit on my bed while I went back down stairs and warmed a kettle of water on the hearth for her bath, then carried it up and started filling the tub; it took me nearly twelves trips to fill it.

When the bath was ready, I led my beautiful girl to the tub and began to undress her.

"I-I can do it." said Cossette, sniffing.

So I left, retreating downstairs to the front room. I walked over to the portrait and picked it up and went to the gallery I had built, which was surrounded by a twisting of iron metals, forming a barrier between the pictures and the middle of the room. I walked inside this iron hallway, going to a place in the wall that was bare; that would be where this portrait would hang– forever as a portrait of undying youth. As I walked, Cossette stared at me from the red, plush chair, from the bed, from a tree, and from the staircase, and from hundreds of other places I made her stand for two or so hours. In each one, she was happy.

Cossette...I was her professional painter, recommended three years ago by her father. Upon meeting her for the first time, I was struck by her lovely complection, and after doing my assigned job, I soon became the girl's devoted friend, and since then I have been painting this glorious angel whenever I felt the urge to paint her again and invite her over.

But that was in the past.

As I hung her picture on the wall, I felt a deep sickness enter by body, swimming through my veins like poison, crushing on my skull. I winced as the revolution took place before my eyes: this portrait was slightly different from all of the others. Her eyes were more swallow, her lips more thick, her fingers more stiff: she was aging right before my very eyes.

I stumbled back into the twisted iron screen, my head tilting up to compare her face with the others. I was right.

Her beauty was fleeting right off of the portraits, melting like wax into the floor– only to been seen again through dreams.

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When I started up the stairs to my room to check on Cossette, the door opened and she stood at the top of the steps, saying she would like to go home now.

She was dressed in another of her blue dresses, which she had brought along with her incase something like this were to happen. I met her halfway up and lead her to the door.

"I don't think it is raining anymore," I said, hoping I was right.

Storms causes stress; stress causes aging; aging causes youth to fade; youth fading causes beauty to die. I have it all figured out, yes... All I must do is keep Cossette happy, and she will always have that youthful glow in her cheeks; her beauty will never fade.

I opened the door for her, and yes, the rain had stopped. I called one of my stableboys to round up one of the carriages and take the girl home. As the boy ran off to obey, I turned to Cossette and took her soft, perfect hand in mine, bringing it to my lips.

I heard her give a soft sigh of pleasure as I kissed her hand, and I raised my eyes to hers, saying, "It was a pleasure having you, Miss d'Auvergne."

She gave me a slight curtsy, smiling. "And thank you, Mister Orlando." she replied, trying to remain formal.

The carriage sooner arrived, and I took her arm and led her down the damp steps, the sun warming the air, making my eyes burn. I opened the carriage door for her as Cossette got to the seat, me telling her to stop by when ever she wished. The girl smiled at this and sat into her seat, waving as the stableboy drove her away from me.

Once they were out of sight, I went inside my mansion and closed myself into my studio the rest of the afternoon, sketching her body over and over until I nearly vomited with hunger pains and the odd sickness that still swam inside my body. It sickened me to know that Cossette's beauty would not forever last.

When I went downstairs I made myself a salad, tossing a few almonds into it for flavor, and poured myself a glass of red wine into a Venetian glass, setting it on the marble table in the dining room.

I went around the room and lit a few candles before seating myself at the table.

I held up the glass to the dim candle-light, turning it's rainbow-hued surface in my finger tips. The wine moved like hot blood in the glass, quivering as if it were alive– I noticed then my hand was shaking, so I set the glass down and held my hands flat in front of my face, palms facing me. They were still shaking.

A sudden pain entered into my head, at the same time sending a cold queasiness into my stomach. My eyes burned in their sockets, and they jerked, setting a deep stare into the colored glass, the candlelight lightning up a certain shade of blue...Cossette!

I got up from the table, sliding my chair away.

I wasn't hungry anymore.

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Cossette hadn't came back to my mansion for two days, in which time I got over my sickness and nearly forgot all about why I felt ill in the first place.

I have waited so long for this day she would arrive; I am going to ask her to marry me. I am going to harvest her beauty, keep is sealed away inside her so it will never leave; she will be youth incarnate; my own perfect angel.

As the girl arrived on the third day, I ran out to open her carriage door.

"Cossette, so wonderful to see you!" I said, taking her hand as she reached for mine, stepping out onto the front walkway. "How are you this evening?"

The girl smiled her delicate smile as she closed the door and linked her arm around mine. "I am a little tired from the trip," she admitted. "But I am doing quite well, and you?"

Her question meant nothing to me. It was the answer she gave me to mine that made my heart grow cold. "Come on inside," I said quickly, leading her up the stairs. "I'll let you rest on the couch in the den, if you like."

"Oh, yes, thank you, Monsieur!" breathed Cossette. "But..."

I glanced at her sharply. "But?"

"But why do you worry about me?" she asked.

"Because I care about you, Cossette." I answered. "I care about you very much."

"...Marchello...?"

We had reached the door and I was about to open it before she said my name. I looked at her.

I absorbed the details I already knew by heart: Her blue eyes as piercing as a spear, blond hair long, straight, knot-less, her clean, clear skin touched with pink which was free of wrinkles, moles, or even a single scratch.

I resisted the urge to reach out and stroke her face, since I was afraid that– like glass– I may damage her.

She giggled suddenly and blushed, saying, "Please, don't stare..."

I found myself blushing as well, embarrassed of myself. "I, I'm sorry, I–" what excuse did I have? None. But her laughter gave me a warm sensation in my heart, awakening a feeling I did not know I felt for her.

I opened the door and let her in, apologizing once more. I watched as she walked down the hall with a slow, graceful movement of her legs, her head turning to gaze at her surroundings, as if she hadn't been here over a hundred times. "May I play your piano?" she asked.

I closed the door, realizing stupidly that I hadn't yet. I nodded, saying, "Of course; right this way." I walked ahead and lead her down the hall to the piano room, where nothing else occupied the room but a few bookcases and dark-red curtains resting beside the tall windows of the room. As I walk down the hall, I sub-consciously ran my fingers across the smaller portraits of my Cossette, and I feel a flicker of joy ignite within me.

Cossette...you will not have to ask to play much longer. It will be ours to share, once I make you my wife; I will take you. I will make you mine. I will own you– beauty and soul. You are my precious doll that will never tarnish.

As soon she sits down at the piano, she lays her slender fingers across the keys and brings them across the notes, pressing them with a flawless grace, a sweet, mysterious music filling the room, making my heart quicken.

She has always had such a talent for music. In the past, I would listen to her play at her father's house while I did a portrait of the man. But this music was she played now was very...unique.

I walk over and join her side, placing one arm on the grand piano's base, smiling down at her, watching her fingers dance. Her face is relaxed, eyes half-closed, and, standing this close, I can smell her sweet perfume, and the light scent of leather– possibly from the carriage ride.

As she plays, I come closer, a warmth flowing through my face as her music becomes more and more intriguing. It almost makes me jealous; I want to reach down by her side and join her in a romantic duet, but I know it would only ruin the flow of her hands.

Cossette...

"You play wonderfully." I tell her softly, and she looks up at me, smiling warmly, fingers never stopping, always moving, making a song I had never known could be made from a simple piano. She looks back down at the keys, and I swallowed hard against my growing admiration, feeling a slow headache coming on for some odd reason.

When the song ended I nearly started clapping, but I stopped myself, taking her hand in mine as she pushed from the bench and started to step over it.

A feeling came over me, a feeling I can not explain; it took over my body, and I took the girl in my arms and began to dance with her. She followed my lead easily, a smile shining on her face. If this is how happy she is when she is beautiful, it would be damaging for her to lose it... I smiled back, loving her more every moment. Until then, my dear... I stepped in a wide circle around the room, twirling her in front of me as we danced, the soft morning light shining through the windows, brightening our features, then erasing them as we stepped into the shadows, again and again as we moved, perfectly in-tune with each other.

I never knew she could dance.

I didn't even know I could.

But we were... I glanced down at her as she suddenly pushed herself into my chest, letting out a long, sweet sigh. I let out a breath I wasn't aware I was holding, and drew my arms closer around her little body. All I can think of is that if I ask her to marry me and she refuses, how much grief I would feel... how much pain I would feel in my heart at her refusal, how much–

"Marchello...?" her voice is but a mutter, a sleepy, dream-like bliss.

"Yes?" I ask.

"Can we have a picnic this afternoon?"

I nearly laugh. Cossette is so simple... "Of course we can." I reply.

"And...Marchello...?"

"Yes, Cossette?"

"Can Sauete with me next time I visit? He would love to meet you, and..."

–Sauete is her small-bred dog, white, and possibly mixed with a poodle. She often talked about the dog in the past, so when she brought it up now, it surprised me. I thought that dog had died. Or maybe it was my lack of interest in the dog that kept her from talking about him...

I drew her away from me, looking down into her face as she turned it up at me. "I would love to meet your dog." I told her, smiling. Whatever makes you happy. Whatever keeps you young...

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That afternoon we packed a lunch of apples, waffles, and whipped cream.

I took her hand in mine, and we walked down the field to the gazebo.

We never made it there.

She kept teasing me on the way; she would fall, or stumble, testing to see if I would catch her. I played her game without objection; I wanted her to be happy, and for her to know that I am here to protect her from harm. When she was satisfied with my reactions, she told me she was too tired to keep walking, and we sat down in the grass and ate out lunch.

We talked briefly about the weather, about our parents, and I personally asked her about her gift in music. She merely laughed and told me she was taught a long time ago by her father when she was seven, and since then never forgot how to play.

I was impressed, and when she asked me where I learned how to dance, all I could say was that I was good at making things up on the spot. She gave me such a sweet smile, that I had to laugh.

Her beauty was holding up remarkably well.

It seemed happiness neither added to aging, or made it go away; it simply... stopped time.

A sudden desire to paint her swept over me, and I took her hand and lead her back to the mansion, running.

"Where are we going, Marchello?" she asked me.

"I am going to paint you a portrait." I answered. "It will be the most beautiful one yet."

This got her attention, and she went with me into the mansion, up the staircase, and to my studio, where I set her down in a chair and snatched up my pant brushes, pants, and a blank canvas– I slammed the paint brushes into a vase of clear water, grabbed the paints and mixed them on a piece of paper, and set the canvas firmly on the stand.

The candles around us flickered once I stopped moving so quickly, and Cossette eyed me with a fluster look of pleasure. But in that pleasure, was confusion.

"Don't worry, my dear." I told her, peering from behind the canvas, my hands itching for the brush. "It wont take very long."

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Once the portrait was competed, I threw a sheet over it and lead the girl back downstairs, thanking her graciously for letting me paint her. She happily welcomed me, and started down the stairs before me.

I took her hand, stopping her. She turned and looked at me, blue eyes wide. I closed her small hand in both of mine, and– though not in the most romantic of places– I asked her to marry me.

"Marchello..."

"Please." I said quickly. "I cannot stand not being able for you to stay with me...I can't stand the thought of someone else marrying you before I have the courage to ask."

Cossette blushed, then hugged me around the neck.

"Yes!" she cried. "Yes, yes, you can marry me, Marchello!"

A hot shiver flew up my spine, and I hugged the girl back. Yes...Cossette... You can love me as much as you want, but it doesn't change the fact that I will always love you more... I pulled the girl closer into me, feeling her soft skin rub against my neck. With you by my side, you will never age. You will always have a smile on your face, and a glow of happiness in your eyes. You will never be sad.

I picked up my girl and swung her around like the precious doll she was, me stepping down the stairs carefully, her laughing, smiling...the picture of youth.

Cossette...my love...

You will always be young.

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By the end of the day, I walked Cossette to her carriage, and my stableboy drove her home. I waved back until she vanished into the distance. Then I turned and walked into my mansion as always, and began walked up the staircase to my studio.

Cossette...

I reached the top step and entered into the room, half of the candles blowing out by the sudden gust of wind from my entrance. I noticed the chair in which she sat in while I painted her, time after time... I could picture her sitting there, watching me.

But something was wrong with her eyes– or maybe my memory is failing me. In her eyes... sitting there in my own hallucination...I could have sworn her eyes looked very, very sad.

I walked swiftly over to my portrait and threw off the sheet.

Cossette stared back at me, a beautiful smile gracing her all-ready beautiful face. My love...my perfection. I picked her up and carried her down to the gallery, where the twisted iron screens awaited to trap her still form. I walked down the stairs, my footsteps echoing in the lonely mansion, and I turned into the hallway, and walked under the gaze from the many faces of Cossette d'Auvergne.

I walked over to a bare place in the conjoining hall of pictures, and placed it beside a picture of the girl posing with a childish smile on her face, black roses in her hands. Stepping back, I felt my heart harden.

The picture was more aged than the previous one I had painted yesterday. Though both masterpieces, this painting showed a shadow of a wrinkle here, and a touch of sadness around her lips. Was it really possible? Was Cossette aging every day? Was she not happy?

I closed my eyes and tried not to think about it any more.I tried to ignore the obvious, and blame myself. You're just tired... But that couldn't be it either. Regardless, I went to be presently at 9pm.

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The next four days passed without a visit from Cossette. I assumed she was telling all of her friends for the new of our engagement, though I hadn't even got her a ring yet. So that afternoon, when the grandfather clock struck noon, I left and went to the jeweler and bought my girl a golden ring band, and a silver one, set with a small white diamond.

I left for home after buying Cossette a new ribbon for her bonnet; the old one seemed to be graying somewhat after the years.

I put the ribbon and rings in a box, and hid them under the bonnet of a porcelain doll, who was made similar to Cossette herself. The doll is also hidden– under my bed.

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One the fifth day, my fiancé Cossette arrived. I walked down the stairs and opened her door promptly, all-smiles until a small white thing pounced out and began chewing on my shoes.

"No, no Sauete!" said Cossette, climbing out with help from my exposed hand. When she let me go, I bent down and picked up the little dog, and handed it to Cossette.

"Your dog is very excited to see me." I said tonelessly.

Cossette smiled, taking the dog, curling it against her chest. "Oh, he just likes to chew shoes."

I offered my hand. "Shall we go in?" I asked.

She took hold on my hand and said, "I want to stay outside for awhile."

"Oh?"

She nodded.

"All right, then." I let the girl lead me across the lawn, one of her arms securing the dog, the other arm brushing against mine, our fingers laced together.

Halfway to the gazebo, Cossette put the dog in the grass and threw a stick for it. "Go fetch, Sauete!" she cried.

I sat down and watched my fiancé play with the dog, noting it's energy and strength. "Your dog seems young." I commented.

"Why do you say?" asked Cossette, looking over at me.

"He's very lively."

Cossette looked back to her dog, and started to wrestle the stick from it's mouth. "When he gets bigger," she said, "He will be even more lively, because he is aware of things he wasn't before, and he will be mature."

"What are you saying?" I asked sharply.

"I can't wait to grow up." she admitted. "I want to be a dancer, or a famous musician."

"You can do that now." I said.

"No," she looked at me, tilting her head. "No, I mean for real...I want to do something with my life...with you."

But you will age, Cossette...you will age, and you will no longer be beautiful. I could not bring myself to tell her this, so I told her instead, "What about the portraits?"

"You're asking me about your work?" the girl seemed shocked.

"No." I answered. "I want to know if you'll still look the same." Of course she wont, though. People change when they age; it's the process of dying.

"No." answered the girl quietly, looking at her dog. "No, I will be different."

You will be ugly. You will age, and your beauty will melt as quickly as hot wax... You are not like a dog; you do not have fur to cover your aging skin. Cossette...

I watched as she picked the little dog up and put it into her lap. She began stroking it's fur, cooing to it softly. What she said, I do not know. I was not listening to her anymore.

If Cossette wishes to age, to mature, then my portraits I will paint of her as my wife– she will be ruined, sagging– a disgrace among a thousand masterpieces of youth! I cannot let her do this to me– or herself. I must...do... something.

Or I fear it will be too late.

She is aging day-by-day.

I must stop it before it's too late: I must stop time from destroying the youth of her soul!

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That afternoon, we ate inside, while the dog Sauece played in the field, chasing the white butteries.

I prepared us a simple meal of eggs and jam-over-bread, served with juice, which was very refreshing.

After the meal, I took my fiancé to the den, where we sat snuggled together on the couch, saying very little, feeling very much. I left the room after awhile, returning with the Venetian glasses, full of wine.

I handed one to her, and we drank from the rainbow glasses.

Then she pointed out something to me. The saber, a gift from my father's father, placed decoratively above the hearth on the wall. I set my glass on the floor, walked over to the saber, and removed it. She came and stood beside me, curious, sipping her wine.

"This was passed down to me from my grandfather," I explained. "It is said that this weapon was formed as a tool of beauty, and peace. It has never been used to harm a single person" I felt Cossette draw closer, eying it with her wide, blue eyes, "It's only purpose in being made," I continued, "is for people like you to point it out and marvel in it's skillful formation."

Cossette smiled at me and kissed me on the cheek. I looked at her as she spoke, "Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom." and watched as she left the room, walking calmly towards the bathroom down the hall, bringing the expensive glass with her.

This weapon... this saber. It is perfect. It is what I will use as my rebellion against time. Holding it up to the light from the window, I measure it's weight in one hand, and carve an invisible line through the air. Cossette...Are you aware of what I am going to do?

No. You are not.

My love...I walk down the hallway towards the bathroom, the saber swaying in my right hand. I am going to give you a parting gift; the gift of eternal beauty. You will never grow old, and your aging face will never hang on my walls. You will die as you lived; beautifully.

I found the girl wandering down the halls after using the privy. She walked into a room, not noticing me following her. I caught her looking at portraits of herself in the other room, a faint smile on her lips. She sets the Venetian glass on a tabletop, and walks a bit further, looking at herself.

Then she sees me, and gives a soft noise of surprise breaks from her pale, pink lips, her eyes widening in sudden alarm when she sees the weapon I am holding.

I stand in entryway of the hall. I can tell by the look in her eyes that she has me figured out.

"Marchello? Why?" she asks, folding her hands over her heart.

I walks towards her, speaking in a reasonable tone, so that she may understand. "My Cossette," I say, "Why do you want to become an adult?"

Her eyes widen in growing fear, of me.

"My painting are sacred and perfect masterpieces of beauty," I explain. "But it is not right if you, the model, change."

She backs away further from me, making a similar sound of anxiety escape her trembling mouth. "Marchello?" she whispers.

She keeps repeating my name, as if I have forgotten who I am. But I know who I am... it is her who is confused. How can she want to age, when her beauty would surely fade?

"You are not allowed to change. " my tone comes out more angrily than I expected. You're supposed to remain the same as all my paintings."

I walk forward as she continues to step back. "Rest assured," I tell her softly, raising the saber to my side. "I will,"–

–She interrupts me by foreseeing what I plan to do; she raises her hands in a feeble attempt to fend me off, though I have not made my move.

—"in all your present beauty," I continue, then reach out and grab her left shoulder to keep her from running.

She cries out in alarm.

"–stop your time." I finish.

I watch as she blinks her blue, blue eyes into mine. Tears begin to fall from her face, opening a wound in my heart for making her cry. "Why?" she begs. "Why me...?" I wait, listening to her soft voice trickle into my ears. "When I love you...?" she finishes.

"I love you too, Cossette." I remind her.

I bring the saber down into her chest, her cries drowning the instant she sounds them. Her blood shoots out from the wound, sticking to my face.

When I removed the sword from her body, I turn away, laying it on the ground, then rise up and wipe the blood from my face off with my sleeve.

I do not look back at the mess I have created.

"Good bye, Cossette." I told her, refusing to face her dead, lifeless form. "I have always loved you."

From outside, the dog Sauete– I hear him barking. He wants it.

But I am not going to let him inside.

I walk back to the hallway, leaving the girl, the bloody saber, and the Venetian glass, behind, then turn and walk up the stairs to my room.

Inside my room, I remove the porcelain doll from under my bed, and set it on my pillow. I then remove the box, which has the white ribbon and rings inside it.

Cossette...I remove the ribbon, twisting it around my fingers. You would have made a beautiful wife– if you would have only remained beautiful. The rings come next; I loop them through the ribbon and tie both ends so they wont come off.

I put the ribbon around my wrist as a bracelet– as a reminder of who I have loved, and who I have saved from the terrible side-affects of aging.

I turn and walk down the stairs, then up the flight of the next, leading to my studio, where a canvas waits for my brush to rape it.

I will draw my fiancé over and over until the day I die: She will live forever in my mansion, upon every single wall; portraits of one girl, repeated as the very essence of youth: Cossette d'Auvergne

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