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"Jasper," I begged. "Call the fire brigade, we're gonna burn to death in here!"
"Oh so now you want to co-operate," he chuckled. "Not until you drop the damn knife Bella!"
"Jasper, please - we're going to- Jasper! Please! Let me call them, or put it out- or something!" The flames were moving now, eating alive the kitchen counters. The sound of the fire alarm began until it was difficult to hear what Jasper was saying.
The result was that he wouldn't let me. He wanted me here, stuck with him, for as long as possible.
"Leave me alone, Jasper!" I screamed. "It's over, we're through!"
"Bella, you love me, I know you do, you left the note, you left the note!"
"In a moment of weakness! I threw it away! You wouldn't have seen it unless you were going through my trash, Jas!" His nickname slipped out in my panic, and I wished I kept more vases. The sink was the only water source. I began coughing, my eyes watering.
"I watched you write it!" He screamed. "I watched you cry and write it and cry and you wanted me there, you wanted me here, so I came!"
"It wasn't meant to be, Jasper! We never were- we, we could have been!" I sobbed. "But not now, not like this, Jas, please help me - put it out, or we'll both die here."
"You threw that Edward in my face! And the fucking cat he was just your connection to Jake! You never thought of me here, waiting for you!"
"I never tried to, Jasper, please," I sobbed, coughing uncontrollably. Jasper was moving further from the fire now, and I followed - it made so little difference. My head was swimming, my skin prickling.
How long did we have left?
"I remember the way you looked when I first saw you," he said, moving closer until I brandished the knife again. "How lost and alone. And I felt like that and I put on a persona, and I tried to make it better, and I did, we both know I did!"
"If I'd known then what you'd become, I never would have let you through my door," I snarled at him, kitchen knife in hand. What was I going to do with it? Honestly, I didn't know yet.
But it made me feel safer.
"You should've known!" He howled, tearing his hands down his face, a madman burning. "You should have known what you would do!"
"What I would do? Don't you blame me for this! I never asked for this! " His eyes burned in the light of the flames and I wondered if the phone had been caught in them yet. Could I reach it? Would he let me?
"But I do blame you, Bella. And now you're going to pay for it." He pulled the gun from the waistband of his jeans.
My breath stuck in my throat: what could I say? I loved him? For in truth, I didn't any more, I hated him. My head spun with the heat, the noise of the fire alarm piercing my senses.
"Goodbye," he sobbed, tears mingling with the sweat on his face. "I really love you, Bella, I really do. But if I can't have you, noone else can."
He aimed and shot.
I crashed to the floor, the burning pain in my shoulder all I could think of- all I could breathe was the pain, all I could see was the pain, all I could hear. Everything was so hot, so smoky. The fire alarm was shrieking- why had no-one come yet? Why was I stuck here?
My shoulder felt shattered. I tried to move my fingers but couldn't. Everything was blurred, the shapes, the sounds, even the smell of the smoke was warped. But I remember that day better than any other of my entire life.
Everything went dark. I was propped up against the partition between the lounge and the wall. I could hear voices. There was no smoke any more. No heat.
"Yes, everything's fine," I heard him speaking. Was he at the door? Had someone come?
I tried to scream for help, but barely a croak came from my lips. I tried to move my arm again; the pain was blinding, a thousand needles drilling into me. I heard the door slam.
He was at my knees, holding them. "I'm here baby, I'm here," he whispered.
I croaked, finally, "Why aren't I dead?"
He started crying, then. "I can't live without you, you're- you're my life source, I need you to live. I need you. I remember when I met you, you were so close to me. You weren't nervous and I was all shaky; in the same place, at the same time. I was convinced it was fate, I have to admit. Your eyes were a deep brown, so smouldering that day...I was again, convinced that you could see right into my soul, see through my pathetic façade. I also hoped you could see with your all-knowing eyes how good we would be together."
I groaned and felt my body slip down further, in amongst the blurriness I thought to see a welt of blood on the floor. My blood.
He saw it too. "You're -Bella, Bella you're bleeding I'm wasting it, I'm wasting all your life," he began trying to pick it up with his fingers, succeeding only in coating them in the same red paint that adorned my wall. "Do you remember? The way your hair was damp and messy, in disarray. And the way when you pulled your jacket from your body, your shirt rode up a little, exposing your stomach. I had to look away."
He began collecting the thick red, my life source, and tried to press my blood back inside the wound. My failing throat let out a scream of pain unwillingly - I hadn't tried this time.
"Baby, I don't want to waste it - this is what keeps you alive and you keep me alive so it keeps me alive, stop bleeding!"
"You shot me," I hissed.
"I- I didn't mean to," he lied. How could he not have meant to hit me? Maybe he meant that he didn't mean to miss and leave me in a painful state. I lost focus again, could only hear him mumbling.
I love you, I need you to live, and you need this to live, you need this in you to live and I need you to live...what will I do when you're gone? Who will I have? Maybe I will - maybe I will find someone else, like you are Alice and I will find a Bella. You were - you were better than her.
Don't scream, my love. I'm here. All I want - all I want is you. To be with you. You. You can't live without me. But you're - you aren't going to live now, are you? And everything keeping you alive is running away. And I need that to keep me alive, I need it and you, I need - you.
And then I felt a dragging pain from my shoulder, difficult to describe. Like giving blood but on a larger scale, like being pulled but not moving.
Then a wrenching pain, tearing. I screamed again and opened my eyes. The dragging had stopped, and I looked in time to see Jasper's red mouth spitting out the bullet.
Huh. I thought that only happened in movies.
My arm was gushing blood again, my head swam. I felt the dragging again. I felt lighter and lighter. I opened my eyes again. Jasper was lapping at my wound like a puppy.
I tried to protest but it was difficult; only a croak escaped my throat.
He snapped up, alarmed. "Bella- I don't - I didn't want to," he wiped his mouth, and his image spun around me, red lips, pink chin. Crazed eyes. "I have to- I have to get as much of you as I can before you - before you go."
And I was going. Badly, quickly. Everything felt cold; my fingertips felt empty and icy. I could hardly keep my eyes open.
I heard, rather than saw, Jasper convulsing, retching. Liquid hitting the floor. Turns out his system couldn't handle his life source.
As I drifted I thought of the first day I met him. If there was anything I missed, anything that could have told me that he'd be the one to ruin my life, and take it.
There wasn't much left. Nor in that day.
I couldn't fully comprehend then, the shock associated with what was happening to me. I can now. I can see that my ex boyfriend, ex..whatever he was, shooting me and then sucking my blood like some sort of perverted vampire - that's something you fight against. That's something you try and run from.
But I was just lying there, slumped against the coffee table. I didn't fight any more. I didn't even try: I knew I could make no sound. I couldn't move any more. Maybe before - maybe before I could have tried. But not any more. I heard him whisper, I love you. And then I was gone.
It's difficult to explain, going. It's not - bam, dead, like I'd thought it would be. It was going once, going twice...going...going...gone. The blankness just never stopped. Well, it hasn't yet. Maybe some time soon - I don't know what time is, here, though - I'll wake up and I'll have been in a coma.
I keep hoping.
I don't think I'll get my wish, to wake up. But he got his. Noone will ever have me again; he had my last hour, my last minute, my last second.
I hope he choked on my blood.