A/N: Gosh, I haven't updated this for a while! Still, I'm back-and we're also beginning a new chapter in Susan's life. Thank you for your patience!
She smiles at me, and I almost stop breathing. She has never been more beautiful, not when she was popular, not ever. She smiles at me, and she is the most glorious thing I have ever laid eyes on, or ever will. She smiles at me, and if I die now, I will be a happy man. 'It's all right,' she says to me. I can't tell how long she has been sitting in this church. I didn't think to look for her here. I stand motionless in the nave, between the rows of old wooden pews, watching her. Her eyes are dry and clear. The sun is setting through the stained glass windows, and her face is a blaze of bright colours. 'It's all right,' she repeats serenely, 'they've just gone on ahead.'
'Who?' I rasp, dry-mouthed.
'Them who I loved most dearly in all the world,' she says softly. 'They're waiting for me, all three of them. They just went on ahead a little way.'
Perhaps in another setting I might have thought she had finally snapped, but the weight in her words crushes my cynicism.
'I couldn't see them for such a long time. I thought they had abandoned me. I thought that I deserved it. That it was my punishment.' Happiness such as I have never seen before burns in her face as she gives a little laugh, as if to shake off her own foolishness. 'My own blindness was the real punishment. They called me, and I didn't answer. I blocked my ears. But I'm listening now. I see them now. They're waiting for me to come home.'
She rises from her knees before the altar, and walks towards me like a triumphant angel, adorned luminously with all the colour of the stained glass windows and the golden rays of the decaying sunlight. She stops before me, so close I can see an otherworldly shimmer glinting in her eyes, and suddenly, sweetly, deliberately, she leans forwards and presses a kiss to my hollow cheek.
'Thank you,' she breathes.
'For what?' I manage.
'Everything,' she whispers. 'But it's all right now. I'll see them in the morning.'
And she leaves, silhouetted in the doorway of the church for a moment like a goddess, like a saint, like a queen.
He puzzles all night over what she means by 'seeing them in the morning.'
When morning comes, he thinks that he has figured it out. He runs to her house, terrified of what he is sure will greet him-a rope in the rafters, a pool of cold blood, an empty pill box-but instead all there is is her, and a strangely cheerful 'good-morning,' and a fresh cup of tea for him, and an old crucifix resting on her white collarbone.
A/N: While things have previously been very grim here, this is a story about redemption. I am a firm believer in the saying I first heard in a movie: 'It'll all be all right in the end. And if it's not all right, then it's not the end.' I find this quite appropriate for Susan's story. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it! But I am not quite finished with Susan yet-there's more to come still.