R is for Recidivism

I can’t keep doing this,” she said, and he look she gave him almost broke his heart.

Almost.

He’d seen it more times than he could count. The wounded eyes, the mouth turned down at the corners. Flushed cheeks. Sweat dripped from her face, beaded at the edges of her eyebrows, at the hair at her temples. He’d seen it a million times, and it amazed him that it still almost broke his heart, that it never actually did so, that she was still so goddamn beautiful, that he noticed some new detail about her to love each time.

She wiped blood from her lips with the back of her hand. She stared at it, disgusted and weighing whether or not to lick it clean in equal measure.

He sniffed. “You say that, but here we are.”

She shot him a look, her anger hotter than the midday sun. He shut up. For a moment.

“Well, what other choice do we have?”

“We could not.”

“We can’t not. We’ll die.”

“Would that really be so bad?”

They’d tried to go without in the early days. It’d been bad In that life, he’d had friends who’d gotten addicted to the kinds of things where withdrawal left your brain screaming at ghosts and your body shitting itself in protest.

It hadn’t quite been that bad, but it’d been pretty damn close. “Yeah. It’d really be so bad.”

She shook her head. “I can’t keep doing this.”

He gave a nod towards the unconscious form lying on the ground between them. Still breathing, but slowly. “He doesn’t mind.”

He’d expected another glare. Instead, her shoulders slumped and she turned and walked away. It broke his heart. For a moment.

“ You’ll be back,” he whispered. He’d meant to shout it, to scream it at her, but his voice barely rose above a croak. “You’ll be back.”

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