I'm calling this "From Paris, with Love"
(Yes, I have an obsession with 'Romeo and Juliet'. And no, Romeo is not the ultimate guy. That other guy is. And if you want to see the Paris I'm talking about, watch the 1936 version of "Romeo and Juliet". Much less awkward than the newer ones.)
The Capulet Mausoleum.
His footsteps were of an unsteady tempo, but they matched the beat that made sore his ribs, that throbbed in his skull. The darkness of the moonless night was compounded by his moist blindness. He fell, tasted blood, spat behind him.
His pain, his frenzy, the blood: they all reminded him he was alive.
He didn't desire to be alive.
He desired Juliet, the innocent, glowing flower he'd danced with at the masquerade.
And Juliet lie dead, just beyond the cold, stone door before him.
He held the torch before him, the flame bouncing wildly, and - as he heaved the door open - it cast unnatural shadows within the crypt.
The flame was reflected by the silk that his bride had been cocooned in.
His fingers numbed and he heard the torch fall.
He collapsed at her side, gathering her into his arms.
"Juliet . . ."
His tears splattered on the girl's face. It looked as if they were her own.
"If I could give my life for thine, I would fain commence the exchange," he whispered, stroking her hair.
He imagined a waking sigh, and buried his face in her chocolate locks, drinking in the scent of lavender and vanilla.
"I know I had not your love. I know the young Montague has stolen your heart."
He forced down the bile that choked him, his face stinging with passion.
"But . . . if your heart desired him . . . I would . . . gladly . . . yielded."
A small void cooled his cheek. His numb hand registered movement within her, and he watched - stupefied - as Juliet's eyelids opened, revealing crystalline azure eyes.
. . . TO BE CONTINUED.