I was tempted to launch this on you without preamble, but as I have been known, rarely, to dabble in romance, that seemed a little cruel. Between Heartbeats has been written for the Love Bites anti-Valentine Blog Hop. You have been warned.
By five I’d been waiting for almost an hour, but I wasn’t impatient. I’d come early on purpose, giving myself plenty of time to be sure of being in the perfect place, of getting every detail right. I’d played this out too many times to let it go wrong now, and I knew today might be my last chance to reach her. The wait soothed me, the familiarity of the scene easing away my nerves, and by two minutes past five, when the first people started to trickle out of her building, I was utterly calm, my pulse smooth and even, my palms dry.
She was not a creature of exact habits, and I had to watch carefully, not knowing when she might appear. The extra delay did not disturb me. The later she was, the quieter it would be, and the quieter it was, the better. I didn’t want a crowd around her. This was just for us.
When she finally emerged she was alone, and perfectly framed by the arched doorway as she hesitated at the head of the steps. I’d considered using those steps, pleased with their dramatic potential, and for a moment I regretted deciding otherwise, but it hadn’t been only the possibility of bystanders that had dissuaded me. On the steps she was under the eye of a security camera, and I didn’t want her reaction caught on tape. That was for me alone.
I had a good clear view of her as she started down the steps, a beautiful girl, and soon to be mine. I enjoyed the show whilst I still could; soon enough she was stepping on to the level street and then, for a while, she was only a flickering presence behind the railings. I could see enough to know that she was hurrying, but that was okay. I’d expected that, if she came a little late. She would pause, anyway, when she reached the bridge. I knew her well enough to be sure if it. I knew she’d give me all the time I needed, though she’s always been so reluctant to give me anything else.
I’ve tried roses, tried scent. I’ve tried chocolate and champagne. All I have left is this, my one skill, my last shot. It’s cost me almost everything I have to set it up, and it will cost me more, by and by. It’s a long shot, too, but I’m sure of it, and that’s all that counts.
And here she is, pausing, a little breeze playing with her hair, spoiling my perfect image, but that’s okay, too. All expected, all allowed for. It’s time to pause myself, to turn my concentration inwards, to focus, as I was taught, on my own pulse.
And then, between heartbeats, to squeeze the trigger.
Looking for more revenges on Cupid, more opportunities to stick it to St Valentine? Don’t forget to have a look at the other Love Bites, here.