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Mary's Point of View

I stood in front of the body mirror in the corner of my bedroom. I made sure my black dress laid straight and unwrinkled as I smoothed my hands down my stomach to my hips. I'm surprised there wasn't a single wrinkle in the silk since all I did was cry in the dress when I woke up this morning. Maybe I didn't want to wake up and when I had I cried. I cried so hard for him. For the man lost, the second man I loved. The man who never knew what a great man he was on the inside and what he covered on the out.

He was perfect. So, so perfect.

And he was dead.

After I lost myself in my memories of Chris, of what we had and never fully got to share, I stand and I stare at myself in the mirror. Oh, how my skin was so pale with shock and my eyes puffy with the countless tears I've cried.

This wasn't fair. It just wasn't. I never had a chance. I didn't even get to say goodbye.

I rub my eyes to clear the coming tears. I will not cry anymore. I have cried all I could for this man. I don't think I have anything else to shed.

I dropped my hands with that heartbreaking solution, and I look again in the mirror. Nothing has changed. Chris was still gone. My swollen eyes a fact of that. I won't cry anymore. Cannot! But when I thought there was nothing else to cry, I hear the soft music outside my window, and the tears flow.

The others will be waiting for me. The music told me that. The ceremony will begin momentarily. They couldn't start Chris's funeral without me. I will never forgive myself if I'm late.

And then I couldn't stop crying until I felt a pair of strong hands on my shoulders and I was led away from the mirror to the bright sun that would lead me to Chris's final resting place.

~

The book was closed.

The funeral was over, but nobody moved.

          I felt hopeless. I was so scared to move, to speak. I wanted to talk to Vin and thank him for being my rock when he came and took me away from my mirror and tears. For holding my hand the entire time. I loved Vin so much. I couldn't have asked for a better friend.

But I still didn't speak. I refused to.

Chris was gone.

He was really gone.

And this must be so hard on Vin.

He lost his best companion, his right hand man.

Vin must be killing himself over this. He must be blaming himself for letting Chris ride out on his own to protect Vin's name. Chris was so determined to free him from the murder charges five years ago. He felt guilty for killing the last link to Vin's innocence.

Vin told him not to worry about it. He would think of something but Chris wouldn't listen like he never listened to anyone.

He didn't even listen to me, and I finally became his lover and he let me hold him, and love him.

Oh, how I loved him so.

Then the next morning he was gone, and I will never again hear his voice so close to my ear telling me he will be right back.

Vin found Chris's horse running wild in the fields. The horse tracks brought him to Chris. And now the horrible news Vin delivered brought us all here to place Chris six feet under the ground.

I needed more time.

I couldn't handle doing this.

I didn't want them to bury Chris.

It was too soon.

I needed more time.

Vin tried to let go of my hand, but I wouldn't let him. He tightened his grip, looked down in my swollen eyes and nodded his understanding.

Buck was the first to move. He placed his hands palm down on the wooden coffin with his dear friend inside, and leaned over to kiss the top. Then he stepped aside, his head bowed, and folded his hands to his chest to keep from crying out.

The mourners did the same as Buck until only Vin and I were left.

"I can't move," I breathed after hours of silence.

Vin nodded, and glanced at me, "Neither can I."

Silence crept between us again before I choked out a sob, "What will happen now?"

"We bury him."

So blunt, so sad, so thoughtless.

"Just like that? I don't want to." I said as I tried to catch my breath on a hiccup of tears. I failed.

"What else can I do?" Vin asked, his voice so helpless, so defeated.

I squeezed Vin's hand one last time before letting it go. I summoned enough courage, though not enough, and walked toward the coffin.

By this point, the tears were like waterfalls upon my face. I walk steadily, my black shawl covering my hair, over my shoulders. I removed it from my head and took another painful breath of air. I took another deep breath as this was my final farewell to Chris.

And I bend down, my hands on his coffin like I saw Buck had done, and I leaned down and kissed the hard surface.

When I thought I would pull back and walk away then, the pain and tears became overwhelming and my strength abandoned me as I tried so hard to. My tears never let up, but this time they dropped on the coffin. Another rush of pain stabbed me in the heart, and I fell forward and lay my forehead down and patted it gently, crying so hard.

"I'm so sorry, Chris! I'm so sorry!"

My cries turned to hysterics as I leaned in and brushed a soft kiss where I knew Chris's mended face was just below.

"Please, come back!"

Again, I felt the strong hands on my back and Vin tried his best to pull me away. He, too, was losing his strength as he watched me cry to defeat for the man I loved.

His best friend.

His right-hand man.

Was gone.

"Vin!"

I cried as he tugged me and held me in his big, strong arms and enveloped me within his warm body that was quickly withering away from the guilt he had.

"We'll get through this, Mary." He cried in my hair. "We'll get through this."

We will get through this....

But without Chris....how will life ever be the same?



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